Friday, 27 May 2011

RHS Chelsea Show 2011

The Chelsea Flower Show, deserves the title 'The greatest flower show in the world' and completely blew me away, when I visited it on Tuesday.

We arrived not long after it had opened but we were by no means on our own. Hundreds of people had got up at the crack of dawn to see the most wonderful show gardens.

The first one you encounter is the M and G garden by Bunny Guinness. Being mainly vegetables, I absolutely loved it and was quite surprised to find it got a silver gilt not gold medal. 

The curved raised woven willow beds were packed to the gunnels with the most perfectly poised vegetables. It was absolutely beautiful and proved that vegetables are a thing of beauty and deserve centre stage in any garden.

The two avenues on which the show gardens are located, were very busy and you had to be very patient and wait your turn to slip into the front for the perfect view but it was definitely worth the wait, they were so wonderful.

My two favourites were the Laurent-Perrier garden by Luciano Giubbilei which has the most delicious plants imaginable. There were a couple of Astrantia's I had not seen before. 'Buckland' with its soft pink flowers on whitish bracts with green tips and 'Roma' with it's beautiful sugar-pink flowers.

The plants chosen for this garden had a lovely soft hue and the garden was so relaxing, with its wide stretch of water running through the middle; lots of ideas and inspiration to take home.

My other favourite show garden was Cleve West's garden for The Daily Telegraph. This sunken garden, with it plants suitable for a dry garden, was loosely inspired by a visit he made to the Roman ruins at Ptolemais in Libya several years ago. 

I loved the plants he chose like Dianthus cruentus, one which I heard lots of people ask about, with it ruby red flowers, interplanted amongst plants like, Calamintha sylvatica and Acanthus mollis and lots of plants which would self seed amongst the gravel.

Of the small gardens, A Post card from Wales, designed by Kati Crome and Maggie Hughes, was my favourite.

Designed around a small cottage in Wales, this garden has a mixture of cultivated cottage garden plants like Aquiligia, Campanulas, Veronicas and Thymes and then on the other side of the garden, along with a beached boat on silted mud were their wild cousins.

I loved these small Artisan gardens. As they were so small, your eyes could linger on every part of the garden and take everything in, which sadly you just can't in the large gardens. 

When you enter the flower pavilion, your nostrils are awakened by the wonderful perfume pervading the air. 

If you love flowers, it probably is the most exciting place to be in the world this week. I saw the most wonderful roses, & peonies and a gorgeous tulip called Angelique which is a must have for the garden next year.

The coverage of Chelsea by the BBC has been fantastic this week.

Instead of getting my weekly garden fix, courtesy of Gardeners' World on a Friday, I am getting it every day!

If you didn't get a ticket for Chelsea this year, how about going to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show from 5 - 10 July. The bonus of this show, is that you can buy the plants you see on the stands. Maybe it's best that you can't buy plants at Chelsea, well best for my bank balance anyway!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Childrens gardening tools - fun and functional for the mini gardener

Children love gardening. Getting their hands dirty, digging and especially watering, so with this in mind, I have been testing some gardening tools designed for mini gardeners and I have found two companies, who have approached these children’s gardening tools from two different angles, with fabulous results.

Firstly has a young gardener range of tools, which are fun, brightly coloured and I for one got very excited when I had a little go at digging with the mini trowel and raking with the mini rake but as they are not designed for big kids like me, I found some willing volunteers to have a go. My first little helper was very taken with the mini broom and swept my patio beautifully. Then we planted carrots seeds and the mini fork, trowel and rake fitted perfectly in her little hands. Of course we had to finish the job by watering the seedlings in and the mini green watering can was a big hit.

My other gardening buddies, loved the mini buckets and pink apron and gardening gloves, now who can’t love a pink apron and they also loved the mini tools which come in a little pouch you can wear around your waist.

I can highly recommend this range of children’s gardening tools. They are well made and there are a good variety of tools and accessories to choose from, which are very reasonable priced. They are perfect to get the young gardeners started but if you have a child who is older and is already showing a keen interest in gardening then I can also highly recommend the children’s range of gardening tools by Burgon and Ball.

These children’s gardening tools have been expertly crafted with quality, high on the agenda. The hand trowel and fork have rubberwood handles, which have been ergonomically designed and the bodies are stainless steel, which makes them strong and durable.


My volunteers used the trowel, fork and the children’s digging fork, which is made from strong ash wood and polished stainless steel and is the most superb quality, quite beautiful to look at in fact.

It’s nice and light to use, so perfect for children or small adults. In fact, Burgon and Ball use the same high quality materials in their children’s range as they do for their adults.

If your children or grandchildren love gardening, then these tools will see them through for many years, in fact the Burgon and Ball children’s trowel is perfect for the potting shed and with a leather thong to hang it up by, I can see the grown ups coveting these for themselves!

Whether you want fun colourful gardening tools for little ones, or practical beautifully made tools for the budding junior gardener, when these two companies have it covered.

The Craftplay Young Gardener tools are available online and the Burgon and Ball tools are available from their online store or check out their website for your nearest stockist.


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