Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: May 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chelsea: The BUPA Garden

This one was a feast for the eyes.....quite different from the green and white themes in the other gardens which caught the judges eye. It was difficult to photograph the structure of the garden because there were lots of people in it, including the designer Cleve West, and I'd rather not show people if I can help it.

The RHS website describes this garden as " The value of gardens in the health care sector is becoming increasingly important, and The Bupa Garden was inspired by Bupa’s global commitment to creating garden sanctuaries for care home residents. It is designed to illustrate the individual approach that the company takes in providing health and care, while highlighting its international coverage and leadership as a provider of specialist care for older people.
A key element of the garden is the use of features that make it particularly appropriate for care home residents who have dementia. The garden’s main focus is a large spherical sculpture of textured concrete, which symbolises the organisation’s global values. The garden also contains a soothing water feature, and the paths and planting schemes embrace the needs of people with dementia.
The garden features a number of plants that are used in medicine and the planting structure is made up of several large Amelanchier lamarckii. Carpinus hedging divides the garden and provides different routes by maximising the use of space. A mixture of perennials, roses and grasses provide colour, texture and scent.
The garden serves as an example of how a small courtyard might be turned into a stimulating, but safe environment for residents and their carers.
After the show, the garden will be relocated to a care home.

Alongside this garden was a stall for Bupa, and there was a prize draw to win a day with the designer Cleve West in your own garden, to make suggestions as to how to make it! Needless to say I filled in a form. I can hope! (I bet he'd love a day on the Isle of Wight, and I know he is an allotment lover....!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Chelsea: Thompson and Morgan's Gill Oliver Garden.

This little gem was in the pavilion. It was a very good attempt at getting a productive vegetable garden into a 5mx5m space. There was a greenhouse, composter, seating area, and deep veg beds. There were fruit bushes, lemon trees, a host of veg and many flowers and herbs. It was delightful!

All the pictures should enlarge if you click on them.

We were given handouts with details of the planting. I'm no typist so I shan't be reproducing this here unless someone asks!!!!

My photos of this haven't really done it really sparkled with beauty and freshness.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chelsea: The Daylesford Organics Garden

This garden always had a huge crowd around it, and it isn't hard to see why.....! (All photos should enlarge if you click on them...)

One part of it was a hay meadow....perhaps for use as mulch. It was full of wild flowers...and had a very posh wicker scarecrow in a linen peasant's smock!

The meadow was separated from the Kitchen Garden by a delightful cut and laid hedge.
And the vegetable beds were edged and contained by willow hurdles. Apparently these will last about 10 years. They were very handsome!

Behind the garden was a garden kitchen full of bread!

The RHS website describes this garden......
"Summer Solstice is an organic agrarian garden, linking a green wheat field flanked by native trees and wetland ditching to a sheltered potager for the new century. Kitchen garden becomes ‘garden kitchen’ with an architectural green-roofed building where what is grown is prepared for dining outside.
The planting is native and naturalised, and seasonal for the solstice. The garden is intended to demonstrate that the demands of organic practice, conservation, sustainability and self-sufficiency can be strengths, not limitation, in contemporary design.
Native trees flank and shelter a portion of green wheat, bordered by ditching for drainage and wetland flora, and native hedging for wildlife. This leads over a traditionally laid hedge into a kitchen garden, sheltered by stone walls and incorporating an outdoor fireplace.
The focal point, a state of the art green building, looks down the garden, with planted green roof, solar panels, reclaimed timber and Cotswold stone. At its sides, flowerbeds for flowers and soft fruits, offer clocks of colour, giving sightlines indoors and out and shielding the utilities of eco-friendly living – compost, wormery and water storage."

The plant list is available here

It was truly inspiring, even if it was a bit yuppy!

NB I'll put a few more pictures in the next message because blogger will only load 4 at a time!!!

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Part Two

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Part Three

Here is the compost area of this garden. I hope their rotary composters work better than the one I used! (I only borrowed it, and couldn't get it to make compost so gave it back!)
These espaliered fruit trees made good use of the area behind the composters.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Chelsea: The Daily Telegraph Garden

The RHS site says about this garden
"The theme of The Daily Telegraph Garden is simplicity. Hard elements have been reduced to a minimum, while restrained planting and water come to the fore, encouraging reflection of light and contemplation. The garden was inspired by the purity and restraint found in Japanese gardens.
The garden is a contrast of vertical and horizontal elements; of planting and water; of hard and soft.
A stone-edged, rectangular pool of water fills the space of the garden, and is softened by planting on two sides. A serpentine path of stone, crossed by ribbons of white waterlilies (Nymphaea alba), links the front of the garden to the planting at the back, and leads the eye towards a bamboo thicket.
The pool is punctuated by sculptural rocks, half submerged in the pool, and four trees that frame the views and lend a sense of permanence to the garden, and a sense of age and height to the composition. The largest of these trees is Pterocarya fraxinifolia chosen for its association with water.
The plants in the garden were selected for their strong visual association and effect. Simplicity and precision are key to the planting design. Large green leaves (including Gunnera), grey leaves, vertical bamboo and iris, rounded shrubs and roses create a rhythm. "
I must say that this was my second favourite. I loved its simplicity. This one and yesterdays had the same restricted colour and white. I thought both were lovely because of this restraint.

The planting was is a list of the plants....

 Alchemilla mollis
 Allium stipitatum 'Mount Everest'
 Amelanchier lamarckii
 Athyrium nipponicum var. pictum
 Buxus
 Camassia white-flowered
 Campanula poscharskyana
 Cornus kousa
 Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety'
 Gunnera manicata
 Hakonechloa macra
 Hebe
 Hedera species
 Iris sibirica
 Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'
 Osmanthus heterophyllus
 Phyllostachys aurea
 Phyllostachys sulphurea f. viridis
 Pterocarya fraxinifolia
 Pyrus salicifolia
 Roses - Rosa
 Sagina subulata
 Soleirolia soleirolii
 Spiraea nipponica 'Snowmound'
 Spiraea × vanhouttei
 Taxus baccata (hedging)
 Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'
 Water lilies Nymphaea
 Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Green

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Thursday, May 22, 2008


I did a search on the web for some leek seeds that could be sown in May and came across Atlanta and Tadorna from Suffolk Herbs. I sowed these today individually in rootrainers. I'll leave them in there until they are quite big as I have taken their space for something else and will have to wait for a clear spot when my early spuds are harvested.

At the show I bought some seeds of a "Horned Melon" called Kiwano, from the Robinsons seeds stand. They don't appear on their website, but googling found this information....
and this
so I have high hopes for this. I have sowed 4 seeds today. The man selling the seeds said I just about have time to sow them for this year. We'll see. I have 4 seeds left to try next year if they fail.

I didn't get to the plot today as it just floated by in a haze of catching up with various jobs here. Tomorrow I must check on it all though.

Chelsea Flower Show. Best in Show!!

I had a really wonderful day at the show yesterday, and enjoyed photographing all the gardens. I took 498 photos in all....thank goodness for digital. What would that have cost in film and prints?

The overall show winner was the Laurent-Perrier Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. It was so tranquil. The RHS website

description of the garden says " The Laurent-Perrier Garden is designed as a contemplative space with a dreamy and slightly surreal character. It is a garden of elegant understatement based on the idea of juxtaposing opposites.
The build elements of the garden are made entirely of brick-shaped objects, orientated in one direction, while the planting is in a seemingly random pattern.
The layout of the garden is made by overlaying a number of separate patterns.
A grove of 30-year-old hornbeams extends over the garden. The trees are pruned so that the foliage forms a number of rounded ‘clouds’, which seem to float in mid air. This grove is dissected by a pattern of paths made from traditional Flemish bricks that are laid over the garden like a net. The paths eventually lead to a terrace at the back of the garden to a seating area.
A third element of the design is a number of zinc tanks, which are placed throughout the garden. Designed by Andrew Ewing, they brim with water and appear to overflow. Zinc is also used in large panels to form the rear wall of the garden. The metal was chosen because it can be used to make precisely detailed features and has a beautiful patina, and the cool blue-grey colouring suits the contemplative green garden.
The fourth element of the design is the herbaceous planting, which forms an undulating tapestry throughout the garden. The colour palette is predominantly green, and key plants include Rodgersia, Molinia, Epimedium, Asarum, Hosta ‘Devon Green’ and Astrantia. The planting is designed to be calm and poised, with an emphasis on form and texture, rather than colour. "

I found it quite difficult to choose which of my photos to use because so many of them made the zinc water holders look like coffins!

This picture shows a little more of the garden that I hadn't noticed on the TV coverage...the round balls of clipped box (?) at the back of the garden....perfect!

And the cloud pruned hornbeams were, as many people have already said, inspired.
Posted by PicasaHere is a list of the plants used (the handout we were given explained that they all prefer moisture retentive soil in sun and semi-shade....

 Cloud pruned hornbeam
 Taxus hedging (2.2m high)
 Osmanthus heterohpyllus
 Alchemilla erythropoda
 Asarum europeaum
 Astrantia major subsp. involucrata
 Darmera peltata
 Dryopteris filix-mas or D. wallichiana
 Epimedium × youngianum ‘Niveum’
 Epimedium × rubrum
 Euphorbia palustris
 Euphorbia wallichii
 Geranium phaeum ‘Album’
 Gillenia trifoliata
 Hakonechloa macra
 Hosta ‘Devon Green’
 Kirengeshoma palmata
 Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea
 Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea
 Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea
‘Windspl’ (for foliage only)
 Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea
‘Strahlenquelle’ (for foliage only)
 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Jan van Leeuwen’
 Paeonia lactiflora ‘White Wings’
 Peaonia lactiflora ‘Krinkled White’
 Rodgersia podophylla ‘Rotlaub’
 Selaginella helvetica
 Selinum wallichianum
 Tellima grandiflora
 Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora
 Buxus sempervirens

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tidying up.

As the picture shows, it was getting difficult to get into the shed to get at the shelves at the back. Also the tools were in such a tangle that everything would fall out when I took one to use. I more than once clouted myself around the ear or in the face with the rake by treading on the tines (not funny when you wear glasses....the nose bits were all twisted....lucky I didn't break the lenses, as I always have glass rather than plastic ones). hour spent tidying and sweeping produced the results shown in the second picture....a tidy shed. When they are so small (6x4) they have to be kept tidy if anything is to be found.

I brought away a bin bag full of rubbish!

After this I weeded out the onions and shallots, spent an hour on hoeing paths and digging out deep weeds in them. These are almost pristine now. A little more effort will see it finished.
This afternoon I went back to weed the cabbages, re-net them, and tread the beds to firm everything in. They all have their cabbage collars they are safe from the dreaded root fly.

I also soaked every bed that could cope with it (ie not the courgettes, squashes and sweetcorn...a cold shower is the last thing they want. They had a watering can job, just to their roots!)
Chris on the next plot called out that he has black fly on his broad beans. So I went to check mine and sure enough....the little blighters were there....! So I pinched the tops off them all and tomorrow I'll give them a spray with my organic bug gun stuff.

Every day I am very grateful for my plot. £15 a year's rent, plus seeds and sundries, gives me so much pleasure. I could be paying £35 + a month to go to a gym and be neither so happy, nor (I believe) so fit. Plus....we get to eat good veg and fruit!
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Squashes and Sweetcorn in

A wonderful afternoon I had a good slot for planting out my Squashes, pumpkins and sweetcorn. I had so many that I used the bed set aside for them, and another bed which was to have had leeks (top picture) but which I have given up to this as the leek situation is dire. I forgot to sow these at the appropriate time so have none for here. There are a few at home in the kitchen garden but not really enough.....never mind!

It was a mistake though masquerading as an opportunity though. The sweetcorn plants were of two different varieties and shouldn't be planted too near each other because cross pollination ruins the sweetness of Sweet Nugget (I think was its name) so they are now in beds at different ends of the plot. Sweetcorn is wind pollinated so I think these should be far enough apart. It is windy on my plot, but I don't think it will carry the pollen 25 feet.....after all we have set out the corn plants at 18 inch spacing to ensure the wind can do the 25 ft should be enough distance to be clear.

Anyway...this first bed has Sweetcorn Tuxedo, and squashes Pink Pear, Uchiki Kuri and Red Rooster (a heritage seed library one). The Pink Pear will need some support very soon because it is a climbing squash. Those are the ones that lasted so beautifully last winter.

This long bed at the top of the plot has the Sweet Nugget (?) Sweetcorn, and a variety of squashes and pumpkins.

The photos show where I slipped when scattering the slug ones. I know that isn't the ideal solution, but I don't have time to go up there with a torch each evening as I do in the back kitchen garden.

Today seems to be going to be fine all day. The washing is blowing in the breeze, and the kitchen is cleared up, so I'm off to the plot to weed the onions and cabbages, improve the netting situation over the cabbages, carry on deep weeding the between bed paths, and tidy up the shed.

On Wednesday I am off to Chelsea.......I'll be taking a load of photos like last year and will post the best on here over the next few weeks. I saw the preview last night and it looks like another cracking show. I have a few pennies saved for this and am hoping to be able to order some stunning irises for my front garden re-vamp (it bakes out there in the summer), some new strawberry plants after talking them through on the Ken Thingy (?) stand, check out the new Aqua Pots that another blogger is so smitten with, and look to see if there is any improvement on "John Downey" Crab Apple trees before investing in one of them. I had a really super day there last year and have high hopes of doing so this year.

Last year I wore my Crocs to the show(the slip on ones with the strap that can go forward or back). My feet lasted through quite well considering that I had to walk from Victoria Coach Station both ways as well as around the show all day. This year I have some of the boating ones, with the filled-in top with the draw cord closure. These stay on my feet better and little stones don't jump in as much as they do with the others. I also wear them with socks so my feet will be even comfier.
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tomato Plants in the Tunnel beds now.

I had intended to go to the plot with the squash and pumpkin plants, and the sweetcorn...but it was drizzling all afternoon. So instead I planted out the tomato plants into the greenhouse beds. I forgot to take the photo, but wanted to post this message so that it is recorded under today's date.

Yesterday I cleaned the last bed in the home kitchen garden and planted out the tiny leek plants I sowed the seeds of in Feb. They look so vulnerable....but will grow on now that are not in modules.

Tomorrow I hope to get the pumpkins and corn the plot.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A boring photo!

This being the last hot day for a while, and the plot being in a nice airflow in the mornings...and in the shade too....I decided I could cope with something energetic. So I cleared this pathway between the courgette bed and the Kestrel potatoes. It was thick grass and dock and it had got away from me a bit last summer. I dug out all the offending weeds and got all the roots (the soil had really compacted so it was hard work). Then I used the loose soil to earth up the spuds. I have danced up and down on the new surface to compact it again and am happy with it. I WILL keep it hoped from now on!
I know it looks like nothing, but it took me over two hours!
I also hoed some of the other paths.

There was a water leak around our standpipe, so I phoned the Allotment Officer at 12. By the time I walked the dogs through the allotments at 3 they had been and stopped the leak. We are on water meters here on the Island, and I suppose that goes for the council too.

This afternoon I planted the two currants (red and black) that I bought the other day, into the bed at the side of the garden. It was a bit dry in one of the holes so I'll have to keep an eye on that one.

When it cools down a bit this evening I'm going to have a tidy up session in the back garden. Rain is on the way tomorrow and I have a lot to put away....
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Early start

I made an early start at the plot today because it is in shade all morning and I can't work there in full sun. The first job was to spend a half hour watering everything. I soaked all the seed beds and the spuds, and lightly watered the areas I was going to weed......they were a bit hard. The plot gets no sun until lunchtime so the plants were not warmed up and so could take a chilly shower!

Picture 1 shows the raspberries, doing well, and now sporting their petticoats of poached egg plant. I have put the little modules in front, between, and behind the bushes in the hopes that they will seed profusely and smother weeds forever! That is the plan anyway!

I also took advantage of the shadiness and the chilly wind to do the strenuous work of weeding out two of the untouched beds. The one behind the wigwams will have beetroot sowed there on the next root day. I need a lot as I pickle them for DH for the whole year.

And the third picture show where I have cleaned the bed to front left and sowed peas. Sugar snap, which need the wigwam support as they grow to 1.5m. I didn't have any netting at the plot so will have to go back with that, and with some CDs to hang around to scare pigeons. I aso sowed Twinkle....a normal pea, which needs the usual pea supports.

I must get back to the plot soon to finish weeding out the paths so that a weekly hoeing will keep them clear. I much prefer hoeing to mowing, or clipping so the grass is going!

All in all it was a very pleasant morning once the wind dropped. (I needed my fleece until then. ) It was very cheery hearing the banter of the other plotholders as they arrived, and the slow thwack, thwack of the men playing tennis at the sports club. The almost tame blackbird came and took every worm I threw him. He waits until he has 5 or 6 hanging down like a huge moustache before he flies back to his nest with them. He also serenaded me for a while from the top of the tree by the flats.
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Saturday, May 10, 2008


A busy session at the plot today. DH rotovated the squash bed which runs right along the top of the plot. The chunks of dried manure didn't break up as they are so dry. I'm considering raking them up and putting them in water to make a plant feed.

Whilst he did that I weeded and tilled this bed. It now has courgette seeds in. From left to right...
Rugosa Friulana
Custard White
and Lungo Bianco.
I will sow French beans along the edges and between the plants as a catch crop. They like to grow together anyway.

I also did this bed near the shed. It is where the broccoli was until today. I dug it, tilled it, and erected the wigwams. I have done them in this square shape to make it easier to hoe between the rows. I don't know why I didn't think of that for the tepees in the back garden.

The sticks nearest the camera are where I sowed Borlotti beans, between the wigwams are some dwarf French beans..."Tepee". And the far framework has Climbing French Bean "Cosse Violette".

I still have two beds to work and sow. The one next to this bed and the one nearest the shed, which had field beans in it all winter. That will be for peas, and the bed next to this one will be for more beetroot. There is not enough for DH's pickles in the other bed.

Brian in the next plot was planting out his marrows, courgettes and sweetcorn today. So, when mine are hardened off they will go up into the long bed at the top of the plot. Brian stakes all of his sweetcorn against the wind, but I don't think I will need to as the far bed isn't all that windy....I have a hedge..

Now to walk the patient dogs.....
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