Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Monty Don

I was saddened to hear that Monty Don is stepping down from presenting Gardeners' World after suffering a mild stroke 6 weeks ago.

I really enjoyed Monty's presenting style and he will be missed from the show. Who said gardening was relaxing! Mind you, filming the programme took 12 hour days and after spending a considerable amount of time filming his Around the World in Eighty Gardens series, it's not surprising that he pushed himself to the limit. I thought he didn't look very well, when he was planting out his sweet peas, before he took a break. Thank goodness he is making a recovery and I wish him well.

Now begs the question, 'Who shall take his place'?

I wonder if Carol Klein and Joe Swift will manage the show for this season on their own and they will recruit a new member next Winter. Whoever it is, I hope it's someone with a passion for getting their hands dirty like Monty and the lovely Geoff Hamilton did and not a garden designer. Although Chris Beardshaw has quite a few fans amongst the ladies!

I wait to find out who will be chosen , along as it's not Alan!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Bank Holiday in Dorset

The weather this Bank Holiday has been mixed but the combination of sunshine and rain has made the vegetable patch flourish. Yesterday I was thinking how pathetic my climbing french beans looked and then hay presto, this morning they looked positively perky!

On Saturday we went to the Chettle House Craft and Garden Fare. Chettle House is situated in Dorset in the most archetypal Dorset village you could imagine. It's a collection of chocolate box thatched cottages, a tiny village shop with a petrol pump outside and a hotel with a resturant. A sign on a post states to beware of free range children running round. What a lovely sentiment!

This Craft and Garden Fare is packed full of plant stands in the grounds of the beautiful 18th century house. It is held every Whitsun bank holiday and I would recommend anyone who loves plants and garden paraphernalia and lives in Dorset, to pay it a visit.
There were so many plants which I wanted to buy but as I don't have any beds yet I just looked longingly. There were a few stalls with Bearded Irisis on them. A plant which I want in my garden, after seeing them in Monets' garden in France. I didnt want to come away empty handed, so I purchased a scented geranium to put in a wall planter. This variety is called Atar of Rose and when you rub the leaves your fingers smell of geranium essential oil which has calming and relaxing properties.

Ok, I'm off to end my bank holiday with a relaxing rub!!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Greatest Flower Show On Earth

This week I have been transfixed by the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on the BBC. Arguably the worlds premier flower show. Although I do have a soft spot for the RHS show at Hampton Court, where you can purchase the plants you see and where there is a lot more room to wander and get close to the show gardens. As much as I love Chelsea, it is a place to be seen (if that kind of thing matters to you) and a place where 'one will have a gardener to do that sort of thing' kind of person, is seen loitering around the Pimms tent. That said, you cannot get away from the fact that as a gardener the sight of all those blooms takes your breath away.

I am still digesting the show gardens but one of my most favourites so far is the Daylesford Organic Summer Solstice garden. It has a wheat meadow with wild flowers and native trees with a traditionally layed hedge, edging the kitchen garden or garden kitchen as they have called it. The garden kitchen has hurdles marking out the beds, full or organic herbs and vegetables. At the end of the garden is an oak building for preparing the vegetables after picking.

To check out the video for this garden, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/chelsea/show_gardens/solstice.shtml It really is one of the most beautiful vegetable gardens I have ever seen.

My garden is chugging along nicely. I need to earth up my potatoes at the weekend and tie in the sweet peas. Those pesky slugs are wanting to nibble my dahlias, so I have applied some organic slug pellets to the soil. I also have my first strawberries making an appearance, which is very exciting.

Until then I will continue to watch the rest of Chelsea flower show and marvel at how beautiful nature is.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Reading and Maintance

This weekend has been one of maintance in the garden. Apart from cutting the grass, sweeping and tidying and potting on my butternut squash that has been it. (Still took the best part of Saturday)
I did purchase a fab book for garden inspiration though. It's full of ideas for making your garden an outdoor space you can use. There are no vegetable plots in this book, so I am using the ideas in this book for the part of the garden which is next to the house. I want it to have quite a designed feel and then gradually getting more rustic as it reaches the bottom where my vegetable plot sits.
That is a little way off in the future but for now I shall enjoy reading the book and designing my garden.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Barefoot Gardening

In honour of National Naked Gardening day, I took my gardening shoes off and stood on the wet grass. Thats about as far as my naked gardening goes. We are over looked on one side of the garden, so I don't want to frighten the neighbours plus can you imagine if you are not concentrating when you are trimming the bushes, ooh it doesn't bear thinking about!

On Saturday I went to Haskins garden centre to meet my sister and neice for tea and cake and also a look around at the plants.
My sister Sarah and her daughter Hannah had to go straight after the tea, so I had a leisurely wander around the garden centre, looking at all the paraphanalia, that has nothing to do with gardening (what's that all about?) and also the books and plants. I bought some slug pellets which are certified for organic use (recommended by Monty) and some twine. Not very exciting but neccessary. I am not ready for plants yet but nothing beats nosing about the blooms.

I have also been busy in my vegetable garden. I have planted a row of Pink Fir Apple potatoes. Unfortunately just one row because I just don't have the room. I made a wig wam for my climbing french beans. I planted four beans per stake, with the intention of removing the weaker two seedlings per stake.
I sowed sweetcorn in blocks, a variety called Supersweet, which helps pollination and in between the sweetcorn I sowed carrots. This variety is called Fly Away and is supposed to be resistant against the dreaded carrot root fly. Lastly I sowed some lettuce, which is cut and come again. I have just sowed one row and will sow the lettuce in succession, throughout the summer.
As with all vegetables but especially sweetcorn, once vegetables are picked, they loose their sugars very quickly, so you are best to pick and take them straight to the pot. What better excuse do you need to grow your own!
My last vegetable task was planting up my tomatoes in the half baskets. I added some water retaining granules to the compost, which reduces watering by four times.
After all this work, I got out my wicker chair from the summerhouse and sat down with my camera. Instead for walking around the garden with my camera, I took photographs from where I sat. Its amazing what you can see, if you just concentrate on a restricted area.


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