Peace amongst the Peonies at Chelsea Flower Show for 2012?

April 27, 2012

I hope this newsletter finds you well... if not wet!  Well of course I had to mention it!  The second the hosepipe ban was introduced we’ve had nothing but rain!  Don’t get too excited though, it’s unlikely to affect either the drought or the ban.  Instead make sure you’re collecting as much rainwater as you can, whilst you can - details below - your garden will thank you for it, it’s much tastier than tap water!

wildflower meadows

Watch this handy video on how to start a wildflower meadow by my pal Nick Mann from Habitat Aid. Habitat Aid sell trees, plants and seeds to help British wildlife. You might also like this video from Cambridge FilmWorks of starlings swirling around the skies before 'dropping' into their winter roost.  Or this video of a Queen honey bee laying an egg! Send your wildlife videos or photographs to me and I'll try and feature some in next month's newsletter.

flower & veg tasks for the month ahead

  • Complete your outdoor sowing of hardy annual flowers.  Not sure what to choose?  If you like to pick your garden flowers for instant indoor arrangements, try the cow-parsley-like, but more delicate and durable, Ammi Majus (Bishop’s Flower) or Corn poppies, Papaver Rhoeas; for foliage and structure try Euphorbia Oblongata (if you're allergic to their sap then try Bupleurum Rotundifolium which looks similar, but is no relation).  And for the final dramatic effect the delightful Helianthus Annuus 'Valentine' Sunflower (this beautiful photograph has been provided by Rebecca Fennell Photography) or Malope Trifida ‘Vulcan’ with its deep magenta-pink flowers and green Chinese lantern buds.  If this all sounds a little confusing, give me a call to discuss your re-planting.
  • Spray all new leaves on your disease-prone roses with fungicide, to prevent infection.
  • Lightly clip your box edging and topiary to tidy them up.
  • 'Earth-up' potatoes, by mounding up soil around their stems when they reach approx 10cm tall. This will increase the length of the underground stems that will bear the potatoes and can be repeated once or twice more at 2-3 week intervals to ensure the best crop.
  • Plant your tomatoes in pots or grow-bags in the greenhouse.
  • Place a raised paving slab or piece of broken tile amongst your crops for frogs and toads to shelter under!

soap opera for gardeners!

I haven’t read this personally, but Noel Kingsbury - nurseryman, writer and Telegraph gardening contributor - has created a written soap opera for gardeners. Unfortunately it’s currently only available on Kindle.  If you have a Kindle, do let me know what you think!  You can drop me an email here. Episode1 and 2 now available online.

fairytale hotel

I love this and I'm sure your kids and grandkids will too!  Follow this link to view the ‘multi-storey insect hotel’ and encourage your little poppets away from their PlayStations and Xboxes and into the garden! Includes full list of materials and construction guide too!

best of the butts

Here's some tips on how to water your garden in a drought (as if you need it at the minute!!!) but, more importantly, as promised, details below of some good waterbutt deals! This company called EvenGreener are offering some great deals on a variety of sizes from the space-saving 100L to the giant 1200L water tank!  If you fancy something a little different what about this Oak woodfinish? Prices for EvenGreener's waterbutts start at just £25.95!

more tea anyone?

The National Gardens Scheme was introduced some 85 years ago in order to give anyone and everyone access to ‘nice’ gardens with a donation to charity. This rather controversial article by Anne Wareham reviews the scheme’s place in today’s society.  What do you think?  Personally I think the grimmer the garden the better the cake!! (You can download the recipe for this delicious cake from www.beechwoodfinefoods.com).

fury amongst the fuchsias

Following some accusations over last year’s judging, the RHS has recently revealed more about the process in this article for 2012.  Personally my view is that you are never going to please all of the people all of the time and mostly the judging at CFS stands up to scrutiny.  The show is all about exhibitors 'meeting the brief’... to which they have responded and presented beforehand so the judging is against the interpretation of the designers’ own design. If you have any thoughts on the articles above or would like to talk about your gardening plans, give me a call on 07708 643313 or drop me an email.

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