Archive for July, 2012
Posted by editor on Friday, 27 July 2012
It’s just an idea, and we’re testing the water – to find out whether our lovely gardening friends out there would be interested in going on a garden-focused holiday next year?
Grenada is one of, if not the, most beautiful Caribbean island, and with year round sunshine and temperatures comfortably in the twenties, it is an ideal paradise island to explore.
The Garden House holiday (May 26 – June 2, 2013) will be based at the award winning and acclaimed Calabash Hotel – welcoming, friendly and with five star accommodation, and also a great place for the garden lover.
In 2012 the Calabash Hotel supported the award-winning exhibit created by Suzanne Gaywood at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The exhibit won Gold – this was the tenth Gold for Suzanne who says: “each year we try to convey some of the magic and much of the floral diversity of Grenada.”
She has in fact won Gold no less than 10 times with stunning displays of exotic plants that grow abundantly on this volcanic island with its fertile soil, abundant rainfall and wonderful climate, in which spice trees grow alongside tropical and sub-tropical plants of every description.
Beautiful beaches along 75 miles of coastline washed by Caribbean and Atlantic waters – Grenada is an island of warm seas, lush rainforest, volcanic landscape, brilliant vegetation, outstanding flowers, and the lingering smell of fragrant spices.
The hotel has just thirty suites, all spaced round a sea-facing horseshoe within eight acres of lush tropical gardens. Each suite is beautifully decorated and has its own balcony or patio, where your room attendant will serve your breakfast.
Our stay will be half-board, so will include dining a la carte in the hotel’s exclusive Gary Rhodes Restaurant.
There is also a delightful spa, a beach bar, swimming pool, gym, tennis court, occasional evening entertainment and free wi-fi. Their service (as experienced by friends of ours earlier this year) is second to none with nothing too much trouble for the friendly and helpful staff.
Of course we will ensure that you are able to explore the wonderful vegetation and fascinating culture of the island. Example tours include:
TOUR 1 – visit Noelville, where the nutmeg producers/Chelsea Flower Show coordinators are located. Then to the Grand Etang Rainforest to walk the short nature trail guided by a local plant expert and admire the outstanding plants that showcased at Chelsea including orchids, anthuriums, heliconias and gingers, and finishing at the Grand Etang Crater Lake with a picnic lunch, provided by the Calabash Hotel. On the way back to the hotel you will stop at the Annandale Waterfall, where you can dip your feet in, hire guides to ‘jump’ from the top into the falls, or just observe the natural beauty of it.
TOUR 2 - dinner theatre at The Spice Basket where you’ll enjoy a musical and theatrical story told through the passion of dance, pulsating music and drama.
TOUR 4 - visit Smithy’s gardens, then journey up the West Coast to the town of Guoyave where the local ‘Fish Friday’ is held – and where a few streets are closed off and vendors sell seafood and flowers of all sorts (check out the Smithy’s Garden florists)!
TOUR 5 - visit to the capital St. George’s to wander around, go to the vegetable and craft market and to enjoy lunch on the delightful waterfront, The Carenage , at the ‘Ocean Grill Restaurant’.
Well, that gives you an idea of what COULD be in store for May 26 – June 2, 2013 – if you’re interested, do let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by editor on Saturday, 21 July 2012
So good to see blue skies at last, summer’s here and isn’t it welcome after weeks and weeks of rain? The good thing is that most plants have survived and grown away like mad, the downside is too much lush growth can mean over-tall and untidy plants, so time to sort out the borders a bit. Also gone crazy are the slugs and snails, they’re everywhere – mainly chomping their way through my dahlias!
- Clear space in the borders by pulling out any early annuals or cutting back early flowering perennials
- At last you can plant out any half-hardy annuals you’ve kept under cover due to the heavy rain
- Keep feeding your tomatoes – with any luck they’ll recover from what has been a fairly disastrous early summer
- Keep planting lettuces
- You can start collecting seeds from plants like Honesty and poppies
- Pin down strawberry runners into soil to make new plants
- Deadhead like mad, keep tidying up bedding plants, perennials and shrub roses and tie in vigorous climbers. Leave roses that produce attractive hips
- Disbud and dead-head dahlias if growing for large blooms
- Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed, especially if a spring feed was not done
- Cut back delphiniums and geraniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage a second flowering period. Feed after cutting them back
- Divide clumps of bearded iris
- Tidy up fallen leaves, flowers and compost – this will prevent potential pest and disease problems
- Check plants regularly for signs of glasshouse whitefly, leafhopper, glasshouse red spider mite, mealybugs and scale insects
- Don’t forget to keep watering your pots, they’ll dry out really quickly now that warm weather is here
And in between all the garden housekeeping – enjoy the sunshine!
Posted by editor on Sunday, 15 July 2012
Our four day long horticultural summer school in early July illustrated the great diversity to be experienced in the gardening world – from the formally structured and controlled, to the wilder and seemingly uncontrolled! It was inspiring and heartening, meeting and talking with so many interesting people, all passionate about what they do (not least Bridget and Deborah!).
Day 1. Hankham Organics. One of our tasks at Hankham was to work on the rows and rows of healthy salad greens being grown under glass. We teased and lifted these humble offerings from the ground while being fed the story of the organic dream – and the complex reality of holding the ecological reigns of nature’s wild child, the summer glut. As we left we were reminded that if you don’t leave any beasties on your plants for predators to eat you will lose your predators, themselves food for others – and so the organic cycle continues!
Day 2. Great Dixter. A complete change to the rows and rows of vegetables, this is a garden of great beauty and extravagance. Divided into lushly planted rooms, there is beauty and surprise at every turn. What a privilege to work there for the day under the eagle eye of head gardener Fergus Garret and his enthusiastic team. We split and potted on dahlias intended for a burst of October colour, planted wonderfully named gourds such as Turks Turban, Jim Jams and Lunch Ladies on top of the haystack-like compost heaps, and learnt to stake plants the ‘Dixter way’. We then descended on the nursery – as you can imagine, it was somewhat depleted upon our departure!
Day 3. Sussex Prairie Gardens. A local Sussex ‘super star’, and a complete contrast to Great Dixter in age, development and style. Paul McBride explained how he and partner Pauline transformed a boggy, clay field into the spectacular garden that it is today, giving us a comprehensive and highly informative tour of the garden, telling us about the perennial planting that is Sussex Prairie’s specialism – swathes and swathes of tall and colourful plants and grasses. Paul even went in detail about the type of compost used to mulch – no question went unanswered! We were then let loose with shears, stakes, buckets and various hand tools to trim, weed, support and shape (there were definitely some budding ‘green’ sculptors among us!) under the watchful eye of Paul, Bridget and Deborah.
Day 4. Friday’s gardening, in a local garden, brought us all back down to earth – with a great dousing of rain! However there was plenty to get on with undercover including a fun horticultural quiz and much recapping of lessons learnt through the week. This was followed by delicious and generous lunch, hosted by Bridget & Deborah – a perfect way to reflect on the rich diversity of our week together as gardening folk, and round off a superb few days! As one person noted before we said all our good-byes: ‘I feel relaxed but tired, and definitely inspired to get out in the garden!’ Thank-you.
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 10 July 2012
The Garden House will be hosting its annual charity event, as always in aid of a local charity. This year we are supporting Brighton & Hove Sands, a small group which relies heavily on the dedication of its valued volunteers to provide the level of services that parents and their families need when they experience the death of their baby. Part of a national charity, Sands (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Society), the Brighton & Hove group provide support in the Brighton, Hove and Worthing areas.
The group support bereaved parents and families by phone, email or face to face. They also run group meetings once a month at locations in Hove and Worthing, where bereaved parents can share their thoughts, feelings and experiences. More information on the group can be found on their website, www.brightonandhovesands.co.uk
B & H Sands supports both Brighton’s Princess Royal, and Worthing hospitals by funding and supplying memory boxes to all bereaved parents, and providing national Sands training to local healthcare professionals. One of their aims is to be able to fund and supply a new type of cold cot to each hospital which allows parents to take their babies home, or spend longer with them whilst in hospital.
If you would like to donate anything to our auction or if you would like to have a stall at this event then please let us know ASAP – stalls cost £20 (For SANDS).
Afternoon Open Garden:
- Opens 2pm – £2 entrance per adult (children free) – tea, cakes and stalls
- 4.30 pm – the Grand Auction – amazing items to bid for – see list below!
- Supper will be served at 7pm – £20 for three courses, wine available by donation – this will be a sit down supper with waiter/waitress service (menu below).
- To book a table please email us or call on 07729037182 for a booking form – places are limited so please contact us ASAP!
Hummus and baba ganoush dips with bread and olives
Gazpacho or hot seasonal soup (weather dependent!) with Real Patisserie bread
Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Harissa-style Dressing .
Fish pie with dill and a seasonal salad
Fresh raspberry trifle
ITEMS FOR AUCTION:
- Holiday home in North Norfolk – sleeps up to 15 converted old chapel with luxury accommodation – limited availability during school holidays
- Stay in two bedroom villa in Fuerteventura – sleeps four – with pool
- Stay in stone cottage in Skye – sleeps 5 – limited availability during school holidays
- Kate Osborne watercolour framed print of hens
- Voucher for four donated by Southern Water, for the famous Brighton Sewer Tour
- Two seats in Amex stadium box for one Brighton and Hove Albion football match, courtesy of Southern Water
- Haircut by Nikki Ward
- Herbal skin care kit made by local herbalist
- Bushcraft activity experience at Stanmer Park for up 10 children – aged 7 -11 years with experienced leader
- Two volume RHS plant encyclopedia
- Italian taster lesson
- Home made vegetarian meal for four delivered to your home (Brighton and Hove)
- Home made Greek meal for up to 6 people in the Garden house
- 2 hours gardening from four members of the Friday group
- Half a days gardening from approx 15 people to transform your garden
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT.
Please come along and support this very worthwhile charity.
Posted by editor on Saturday, 7 July 2012
When Debbie Hinks was wondering where to hold her 50th birthday party – she knew that she wanted a gossipy, relaxed, sunny atmosphere for her special day (Debbie was SO lucky with the weather) and where she didn’t have to worry about offspring. She soon realized the ideal solution was just around the corner!
I was thrilled when Bridge and Deborah agreed to host my party on one of their precious Sundays off! Then when Bridge and Deborah produced the lunch it was so lovely – beautifully laid out, fresh flowers, pretty un-matching crockery, embroidered tablecloths – gorgeous food! – and chickens roaming freely much to our amusement. Everyone LOVED it!
I invited 20 girlfriends, we all drank far too much fizz, reminisced, and laughed a lot – especially me! In Bridge and Deborah I feel like I’ve made two dear friends, nothing was too much trouble. I’ve got some lovely memories of a special day, and I’m still smiling now.”
Check out Debbie’s website for info on her drawing courses - www.debbiehinks.com
Posted by editor on Monday, 2 July 2012
My choice this month is the wonderful rose, Rosa ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’, an old rose variety first introduced in 1865 (image credit and copyright: ©Paul Barden / www.paulbardenroses.com)
This is an absolutely perfect rose and one that Vita Sackville-West loved above all. The flowers are deep claret and after the first flush in midsummer, they will continue to flower in smaller quantities until the autumn. It is one of the very best climbers for a north-facing wall – in fact it prefers this situation as it tends to fade if it is planted in full sun.
Rosa ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’ performs well on poor soils and can be grown either as a climber or as a shrub if they are given support – a good way to do this is to insert four hazel poles into the ground and then tie the rose almost horizontally around the posts when the new growth is still soft and pliable.
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: fertile, humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: July to September
- Flower colour: deep wine red
- Other features: excellent cut flowers
- Hardiness: fully hardy
- Eventual Height: 3m
- Eventual Spread: 2m
Plant any time during winter and early spring as long as the ground is not waterlogged or frozen; roses like plenty of water but also need well-drained soil with a pH around 6.5.
Prepare a hole 2½ times the depth of the pot incorporating lots of organic matter into the bottom and sides such as well-rotted stable manure, leaf-mould or garden compost.
If there has been a rose growing in the same spot before then, to avoid replant disease, you could use a bio-degradable cardboard box, no smaller than 1 cubic foot in size. The box should be sunk into the ground in the position where you wish to plant your new rose and filled with good soil or compost, as well as organic matter. Plant your rose in the centre of the box at the normal planting depth. Use bonemeal or another slow-release phosphorous-supplying fertiliser at 85g per sq m in the backfill.
Plant slightly deeper (2.5cm, 1in) than it appears in the pot.
For spring planting prune back to a healthy outward-facing bud 5-8cm (2-3in) above the ground and remove any dead and decaying material.
Water thoroughly and apply a 4-8cm (1½- 3in) layer of mulch using well-rotted manure or similar, making sure it is kept away from the stem of the rose.
Stake and deadhead as necessary and remove any suckers by pulling away from the rootstock.
Prune after flowering, reducing side-shoots to between two and four buds.