Archive for the ‘Workshops & Courses’ Category
Posted by editor on Thursday, 24 March 2011
Visit the delightful and inspiring Garden House garden on the afternoon of Sunday 27 March!
While an all-year-round opening is neither practical or desirable for smaller garden owners, the long running National Garden Scheme allows many proud gardeners the opportunity to show off their skills for a couple of days each year – and all for good causes.
The ‘Yellow Book’ Scheme, as it is known, was established in 1927 and so has a long history of people opening their gardens to the public. The scheme supports a variety of charities including Macmillan cancer care, Marie Curie nursing service and Perennial – the Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society.
We will have plants, dahias and seeds for sale. Plus, of course, a range of delicious homemade cakes and refreshments!
Opening times: 1pm to 5pm. Come with a friend! You can also find out about the many workshops and courses that are on offer at The Garden House as well as meeting our hens and seeing the progress that we have made in the garden over the past year!
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Posted by editor on Sunday, 13 March 2011
We love their exuberance, their beautiful colours and their form. If you haven’t yet switched on to dahlias, do it now, I’m sure you won’t regret it!
- Plant dahlia tubers (or cuttings) in March or early April, in a generous pot. Plant the tuber stem upwards, 5cm deep, in a light, frost-free place.
- Alternatively, plant out tubers in the ground after mid-April 5cm below soil level, when danger of frost has passed.
- Plant dahlias in a free-draining, open, sunny site, avoiding overhanging trees.
- Add plenty of organic matter and apply bonemeal to the top 5cm
- Use good quality stakes – one per plant – canes are too weak. Tie in plants loosely as they grow.
- Watch out for slugs, snails, aphids and earwigs. Upturned flower pots , filled with straw and placed on top of the stake will attract earwigs. Empty out every few days away from the plants.
- Remove dead flowers to encourage further flowering and mulch around the plant (spent flower buds are pointed, new flower buds are rounded).
- Lift tubers at the end of the season when frost has blackened the foliage.
- Store in a frost-free environment in sand or dry compost.
- By late February remove from storage and pot off to start into growth for cuttings.
At 3.30pm we’ll be holding a FREE workshop on dahlias and how to look after them.
Also selling the following fabulous varieties:
- Rip City
- Karma Noir
- Bishop of Lancaster
- Chat Noir
- Downham Royal
- Red Cap
- Nuit d’Ete
- Café au Lait
- Arabian Night
Bring a friend and enjoy tea or coffee and homemade cake. The open afternoon starts at 3pm and finishes at approx. 6pm. We look forward to meeting you!
Posted by editor on Thursday, 10 March 2011
You know how it is – you buy a Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ only to discover it’s a common-or-garden pink variety, or you plant a bed with Tulipa “Spring Green’ aiming for a delicate look, only to discover the labels must have got mixed, and it’s stunning, but totally inappropriate, Queen of the Night that are popping up everywhere!
Although The Garden House garden is large, it is nonetheless in central Brighton surrounded by neighbours and friends who understandably need their beauty sleep and like to enjoy peaceful afternoons in their gardens. So he had to go!
Here he is saying goodbye to Bridgette’s dad. We think they look fine together. You’ll be happy to know our fine cockerel is now happily ensconced in more rural surroundings joining the hens owned by local hen keeper Kerry Chilcot.
On Saturday 12 March at The Garden House we’ll be exploring the possibility of hen keeping in smaller urban gardens. Kerry will be leading our one-day theory and hands-on workshop – and discussing suitable breeds, housing and how to keep foxes and other pests at bay. There are so many benefits to be had – hen keeping can reduce your waste, provide rich manure for the garden, give great pleasure and a huge amount of fun – and of course, provide eggs for friends and family!
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 1 March 2011
According to global news agency Reuters you can “Forget potted plants and privet hedges; a group of Buenos Aires artists want to make the Argentine capital a free-for-all kitchen garden, turning neglected parks and verges into verdant vegetable patches. Following in the footsteps of “guerrilla gardeners” who have been scattering flower seeds in vacant lots and roadsides in cities such as London and New York since the 1970s, the Articultores group is taking the concept a step further. Armed with vegetable seedlings and seed bombs — seeds packed with mud for throwing into neglected urban spaces, their goal is to provide organic food for city residents.”
Well if Brazil can do it, so can Brighton (and Hove, or wherever)! Join our Seed Bomb Workshop – on Saturday 26 March – and make seed bombs and seed smudges with Josie Jeffery, followed by a local mapped distribution walk.
Josie runs ‘seed freedom’ – www.seedfreedom.net - she recently published a book Seedbombs: Going Wild with Flowers (recently recommended by Alys Fowler in Gardens Illustrated magazine!) – and we love her enthusiasm for spreading the ecological word!
Take a wildflower seed mixture, glued together with a special mud mix, pressed and made into a ball ready to throw into a neglected area of your garden, allotment or urban corner. There’s no need to even dig a hole – with very little effort you can beautify almost any abandoned or seemingly inhospitable site.
Flowers grown from germinated seed bombs also encourage bees into these areas, and by encouraging more bees to our urban streets and gardens they will also be available to pollinate our food crops.
Join us, it’ll be a lot of fun – and you’ll be enhancing your environment at the same time! Check DIARY on this website for more info.
Posted by editor on Sunday, 26 December 2010
“No passionate gardener, even though distracted by the prospect of Christmas family gatherings, will have their minds totally divorced from what’s going on out there. Where shall they get their inspiration? Of course, we rely on the successes of others – I do that myself – yet what we are offered of a practical nature is minimal. So, the actual practice of gardening (taking cuttings, how to dig, how to prune, and suchlike) becomes increasingly neglected. If teachers themselves are uninterested in practice, there will soon be no one to teach the skills required for good hands-on gardening, and they will atrophy and be lost.
There is, thank goodness, a public demand for these skills, yet the actual demonstration of them (in contrast to books about them, which are never so immediate), and the opportunity to try them out for oneself, is increasingly rare.
…when meeting examples of the new generation, I am sometimes enormously encouraged. Genius and inspiration are inevitably in short supply, but those who have it keep coming along. Some are passionate about plants from the start.
…but there are others, scarcely less valuable, who, having started off in the wrong direction and decided that the rat race is not for them, switch careers (at considerable material deprivation to themselves) and become passionate gardeners and careerists in gardening, when verging on middle age. They bring to gardening an unstoppable dense of direction, intelligently applied. And they keep coming along.
But the hands-on skills still need cherishing, their value recognised and rewarded as they deserve.” Taken from Christopher Lloyd’s book Cuttings (a wonderful book – a favourite of ours – full of musings, knowledge and marvellous insights into gardening at Great Dixter).
We at The Garden House wholeheartedly agree with Christopher Lloyd’s thinking – and will be running several courses in 2011 that teach practical gardening – fun, inspiring, hands-on and rich in horticultural knowledge!
- Second Time Gardener 8-week course; starts 2 February
- Garden DIY Workshop; 5 February
- Garden Design with Peter Thurman; starts 7 February
- First Time Gardener 10-week course; starts 21 March
- Growing Vegetables 6-week course; starts 30 March
And there will be more hands-on courses and workshops throughout the year - check in DIARY for more details!
Posted by editor on Monday, 13 December 2010
Garden House courses and workshops make the best gifts – consider buying a full course, or a voucher which your friend or partner can put towards any Garden House event.
We have a very exciting and varied programme for 2011, including:
- First Time Gardener course (starts 17 January)
- Learn to Knit workshop (22 January)
- Make your own Marmalade workshop (29 January)
- Garden DIY workshop (5 February)
- Visit to the Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey (12 February)
- And many more – mosaics, hen keeping, creative plant staking, stone carving, pen and ink drawing, and how to grow vegetables…
We were delighted to receive great feedback: “Peter Thurman was excellent. The group size was just right, not too big. Loved the day at Wisley, it was good to put the theory of the first week into a real situation and have someone explain the different planting styles to you. I think Wisley and the day on hard landscaping helped add variety to the course so each week wasn’t too similar”
Check the DIARY of this website for more details, and contact us at any time if you have questions – and have a Happy Christmas!
Posted by editor on Monday, 1 November 2010
Right now we’re jamming, pickling, bottling, – producing anything from creamy curds and chutneys to sparkling jellies and fruity jams. Many of us are using fruit and veg that we’ve grown in gardens and allotments or foraged from the hedgerows.
Applications for jam-making courses have soared. Preserving is a skill we’ve lost since the war as a result of having fridges and freezers. Before that preserving the bounties of our fruitful summer and autumn was a necessity. It was essential to stock up the larder for the leaner months when fresh food was scarce.
Today preserves may not be essential, but people are realising the satisfaction both in making them and in seeing them on the shelf. We think jam-making works like a sort of safety valve – putting us back in touch with the seasons and satisfying our ‘hunter gatherer’ instincts.
Scour the hedgerows in the lanes for berries, hips, haws and crab apples to make Hedgerow Jam. The hedgerows are abundant at the moment and it is a joy to collect berries for preserving.
This weekend we held our Preserves Workshop – below is one of the recipes we made. It is borrowed from Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall’s book of preserves…
Hedgerow jelly (makes 7-8 x 225g jars)
- 1kg crab apples (or cooking apples)
- 1kg mixed hedgerow berries (see above)
- Around 900g granulated sugar
1. Pick over your fruit, removing stalks and rinsing if necessary. Don’t peel or core the apples as the peel and core are an excellent source of the naturally occurring gelling agent pectin. Just chop them roughly.
2. Place all the prepared fruit in a saucepan with 1.2 litres water. Bring gently to simmering point and simmer until the fruit is soft and pulpy.
3. Remove from the heat. Have ready a jelly bag or muslin cloth and turn the contents of the pan into it. Leave to drip overnight.
4. The next day, measure the juice – you will probably have about 1.2 litres (though this will depend on the berries used). For every 600ml juice, allow 450g sugar. Put the juice into a large pan and bring slowly to the boil. Add the sugar as it just comes to the boil and keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly, without stirring, for 9–10 mins until setting point is reached. Test this by dropping a little jam onto a cold saucer. Allow to cool for a minute then push gently with your fingertip. If it has formed a skin and crinkles a little, it’s set.
5. Skim the jelly, pot and seal as quickly as possible.
Berries that can be eaten and were included in our hedgerow jelly include: sloes (Prunus spinosa), crab apples (Malus sp), hawthorn (Crateageous mongyna), rowan berries, medlars and quinces. Also the gorgeous orange berries of the sea buckthorn can be cooked and eaten.
Other autumn berries – not be eaten but which look fabulous in a vase – include Euonymus europaeus (common spindle), Ligustrum ovalifolium (Privet) with black berries, and Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)…
We hope to run another preserves course early next year – we’ll let you know when!
Posted by editor on Friday, 22 October 2010
Following our amazing trip to South Africa where we visited vineyards and sampled some gorgeous wine, we would like to offer you the opportunity to come and try some fine wines supplied by Butlers Wine Cellar.
On Friday 29 October Henry Butler will be here to guide us ’round the world’ with eight different wines to taste from various parts of the world. This will include fizzy, whites and reds, as well as something sweet or fortified.
Henry will guide us through different grapes, countries, styles and prices. He has a fantastic range of wines in his cellar: he is a great character and passionate about his subject so this should prove to be a fun evening!
The Butlers Wine Cellar – www.butlers-winecellar.co.uk – is a family run, independent wine shop that was established in 1979. Henry Butler and his mother, Gillian, aim to provide knowledgeable, personal service and stock a wide range of interesting, affordable wines as well as wines for special occasions.
”We try to break down the stereotypical snobbish attitude that is often associated with wine by making our service informative and fun. Wines are stocked from most countries; we tend to focus on wines made by smaller producers as opposed to large brands – wines that excite us or have a story to tell.”
The cost is £20 pp, with the tasting session starting at 7pm until 9pm. Spaces are limited, so get into practice for Christmas and book early!
Posted by editor on Sunday, 17 October 2010
To get us all into the autumn mood, we’ve decided to open The Garden House for FREE on the afternoon of Friday 22 October. We’ll be offering demonstrations on seasonal tasks like propagation and bulb planting, with useful hand-outs to take away with you.
The same day, local artist Jo Sweeting will lead our evening workshop, showing us how to create a unique and personal pumpkin carving – and what could be more evocative of autumn than a carved Halloween pumpkin?
Jo typically carves stone but her pumpkins are a sight to behold! Think of making a carved pumpkin ‘soup bowl’, a richly carved table centerpiece – or a pumpkin, beautifully carved and lit from within!
Do book now, as the course is almost full – cost: £42 (or £40 each for two people booking together) – to include a pumpkin (of course!), and a delicious light supper and a glass of wine. The Pumpkin Carving workshop starts at 6.30pm and finishes at approx. 9.15pm.
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Posted by editor on Sunday, 26 September 2010
We love autumn! It’s always hard to choose between the joy of new growth in spring, the pleasure of a warm summer (if we’re lucky!), and the season of greatest change – autumn…
Autumn smells different, it looks stunning (I’m thinking the drama of leaf colour change), and it’s time for wrapping up warm and putting the garden to bed. But of course, nothing stops, we’re also thinking ahead – forcing bulbs to flower at Christmas, propagating our favourite plants, sowing hardy annuals, and planting bulbs and new plants whilst the soil is still warm.
At The Garden House we have some great autumn workshops and visits coming up.
On Wednesday 20 October, a visit by coach to Sheffield Park and Garden to savor the stunning colour change as the many rare trees and shrubs turn yellow, gold and red…(10am to 3pm / £25 pp for National Trust members and £34 pp for non-NT members).
Then on Friday 22 October we have two events:
- Firstly, The Garden House will be open from 3pm to 6pm. Do come along with a friend – we’re offering FREE demonstrations on seasonal tasks like propagation and bulb-planting, with useful hand-outs to take away with you – and we’ll have a variety of bulbs for sale, also tea or coffee and homemade cake for sale (£4.50 pp).
- Following that, in the evening, one of our favourite local artists, Jo Sweeting, is holding a pumpkin carving workshop (6.30pm-9.15pm / £42 pp, or £40 each for two people booking together – supper and wine included). This will be a brilliant evening – Jo is an amazing sculptor, working more typically in stone – and her carved pumpkins are just so different and inspiring!
All the details of these and other great autumn/winter workshops and courses are in our DIARY…check it out!
Posted by editor on Monday, 6 September 2010
Our ‘taster day’ last Saturday was very successful. Many thanks to all of you who visited – everyone was so enthusiastic about the wide variety of workshops we’re running this autumn – thanks also to those who signed up, we look forward to meeting you again!
It was a great opportunity to meet up with some of the workshop tutors, and find about more about them and their skills.
One of our favourite local artists, Jo Sweeting, was there. Jo is a sculptor and stone-carver, working mainly in British limestone. Her work is bold yet incredibly sensitive, and works so well in a garden setting. Her bowl forms are particularly striking, and we also love her small pebbles, carved with hearts, feathers or letters.
Jo will be running stone-carving workshops at The Garden House in 2011 – however this autumn, I’m happy to report, she’ll be turning her skills to pumpkin carving!
Posted by editor on Wednesday, 25 August 2010
It’s on Saturday 4 September! Taste the food. Taste the wine. Taste the courses…
Celebrate your enthusiasm for horticulture. Kindle an interest in learning a new skill. Savour food from the fabulous Brighton-based vegetarian food restaurant Terre à Terre. Enjoy a glass of wine supplied by The Butlers Wine Cellar, a local wine merchant.
- Bridgette will be signing copies of her recently published book Allotment Gardening
- Terre à Terre: The Vegetarian Cookbook by Amanda Powley and Philip Taylor will also be on sale
- Buy spring-flowering bulbs from a wide selection of our favourites – seeds too!
Come inside The Garden Room and browse our resource library and its wealth of gardening books, magazines and reference material at leisure.
NOTE: The Garden Room can also be hired for both work away-days and dinner parties for special occasions, menus and prices available on request.
Our Taster Day is FREE - Saturday 4 September – we’d love you to drop in any time between at 11am and 4pm – bring a friend or two and enjoy the garden and all our fun events…we look forward to meeting you!
For further information contact: 01273 702840 | 0778 866 8595
Posted by editor on Thursday, 5 August 2010
Some weeks ago The Garden House held an open day to raise money for RISE (Refuge, Information, Support, Education), a local charity supporting women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse.
We had a brilliant afternoon, with delicious homemade cakes, chutneys and jams for sale; stalls selling garden tools, jewellery, glass-art, home made gifts; and a multitude of gardening items.
We also held an auction – with prizes including a week’s holiday in a stunning converted chapel in Suffolk, a week in a fab villa in Fuerteventura, a photo session in a local photographic studio, a customized deckchair (how very Brighton!), and so many more tempting items…
Little surprise then that everyone stayed on for the ‘auction action’ at 4pm (Bridgette’s partner Graham has this amazing knack of prising the money from his willing victims – to everyone’s great amusement!).
In the evening we held an outdoor dinner party – delicious homemade food, wine, and live entertainment. Again all profits going to the charity.
So, the bottom line – this year The Garden House raised £2,444.93 for RISE – a fantastic result! Thank you again to all who took part, all who helped make it happen – and of course everyone who visited The Garden House and enjoyed the day with us…
By the way, if you fancy finding out more about upcoming courses and workshops at The Garden House come along to our FREE mini-taster day on Saturday 4 September. We’ve asked many of the course-leaders to hold mini-taster sessions, discussing their upcoming workshops and showing examples of their work.
Plus we’ll be selling spring-flowering bulbs, and Bridgette will be signing copies of her book Allotment Gardening. And if all that’s not enough, the fabulous Brighton-based vegetarian food specialists Terre a Terre will be providing food for the day. We will also have wine and coffee available. Come along! Further details in DIARY on this website.
Posted by editor on Sunday, 25 July 2010
Yesterday local artist and teacher Debbie Hovell lead a workshop in pen and ink drawing using the garden as inspiration.
Debbie took us through a range of inspirational works, from Beatrix Potter to Henry Moore, showing how different techniques suit different subjects or moods, and how different effects can be achieved by using a variety of pens.
The day reminded me just how important it is to slow down and enjoy our garden spaces. Most activity centres around digging, weeding, pruning, watering – and so many gardeners I know say they hardly ever, or indeed never, actually relax and enjoy their garden.
But at any time of year it’s equally important to just sit and review, or capture the moment in ink, paint or on camera – so take a tip from us – summer’s here, slow down, put your feet up, and enjoy…
Posted by editor on Sunday, 18 July 2010
What a treat – a week ago we welcomed Alys Fowler to The Garden House to lead our workshop on the ‘edible garden’. Alys, the well-known writer and horticulturalist, and Gardener’s World presenter, was as delightful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic as we expected her to be.
Her attitude is one of relaxed gardening, of going with the flow – as she says “Conceptually it’s a lot to get your head around, but you
don’t need to fight to make things grow.” She sees making gardening easy as the new way, especially for busy people who love their gardens but have other work/life priorities. “I’m aiming at people who don’t want to dedicate themselves to gardening, but who just want to get some food off their plot.”
Posted by editor on Sunday, 20 June 2010
Last Wednesday, we were delighted to welcome Peter Thurman to our second Plant School evening. Peter is Kew trained, has tackled thousands of design projects in over 30 years as a landscape and garden designer – from small town gardens, to country estates and commercial developments – and teaches at the London College of Garden Design.
Peter lives in Sussex, and has what is clearly a marvellous garden. He brought along a wonderful selection of plants from his garden to illustrate his talk, including some rather unusual cultivars. His focus for the evening was on Designing with Plants – it was inspirational, encouraging us to consider different ways of selecting plants for our gardens to enhance the visual impact we can create. . The focus not only on colour combinations, but on shape of plants and flowers, and how to successfully put groups of plants together. One of many tips is to work together “something similar and something different”.
The evening was a wonderful taster for the Garden Design course he will lead in October at The Garden House. The course runs each Monday, for eight weeks starting on 18 October - a practical and inspirational study programme designed to appeal to those thinking of changing direction into the professional world of garden design, or for those of you who would like to design your own private outdoor space.
For more information on our October course, or to make a booking, check the DIARY on this website.
Posted by editor on Thursday, 20 May 2010
Visit the delightful Houghton Lodge gardens with The Garden House! On Wednesday 23 June we’ve a great day planned – visiting Mottisfont Abbey to see the collection of old-fashioned roses, and Houghton Lodge to see the inspirational garden.
Houghton Lodge is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful privately owned houses and gardens in Hampshire. The house is a picturesque late 18th Century Grade 2 listed gothic cottage orné, idyllically set above the tranquil waters of the River Test. It is set in extensive grounds, with fine trees and lawns sweeping down to the banks of the river.
The garden is described by Tamsin Westhorpe, editor of The English Garden as “one of the most romantic gardens I have ever experienced” and offers a myriad of charms as inspiration for the gardener. There is a fully restored chalk cob walled kitchen garden with greenhouses run on hydroponic principles (thus using less water and space) – also a long herbaceous border, orchid house, topiary parterre and a lovely wildflower meadow leading down to the river.
In late June the roses and peonies will both be in full blossom and should be looking wonderful. www.houghtonlodge.co.uk
For more information on this delightful visit, or to book, go to DIARY on this website.
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Here at The Garden House we love knitting! Which is why we’re running two great workshops in July, led by expert knitter Julia Hincks – Knitting Workshop 1: Cable and Texture on 6 July, and Knitting Workshop 2: Colour on 13 July.
Join these fun and friendly workshops, designed to give you the confidence to complete your own knitting project. Bring your ideas, pictures or creative project. If you have needles, yarns or patterns bring them along too – but don’t worry if not, we’ll have plenty here for you to use.
How about knitting a textural picture or cushion? Or what about some 3D flowers or fruit? One of our favourite knitting shops is Cocoon on George St, Hove – outside the shop is a small tree hung with bright orange knitted fruit! What fun, we love it…!
Check our DIARY on this website for more details. *SPECIAL OFFER – if you book both workshops together – there’s a special discount price of £50 for the two!
Posted by editor on Sunday, 2 May 2010
Roses have a long and colourful history – from the early damask rose, to the old-fashioned China roses, to the modern shrub – and now this much-loved plant is increasingly being used in more contemporary settings. Versatile and easy to grow, they come in many different types, in every size and shape, and are suitable for almost any aspect and situation. They look wonderful scrambling over arches and clothing walls, work as ground cover around shrubs, and as focal points in containers – we could all find a place in our gardens for a rose (or two!).
A Little Budding Rose
It was a little budding rose,
Round like a fairy globe,
And shyly did its leaves unclose
Hid in their mossy robe,
But sweet was the slight and spicy smell
It breathed from its heart invisible.
…by Emily Bronte
If you’re a lover of roses, or a beginner wanting to know more about this fascinating species, join us here at The Garden House on Saturday 05 June for our workshop All About Roses with Simon White. Simon, an expert from the Peter Beales specialist rose nursery in Norfolk, will give an in-depth illustrated talk, plus demonstrations on caring for roses.
Continuing the rose theme we are visiting Mottisfont Abbey to enjoy their national collection of roses on Wednesday 23 June. Why not join us for both? See the DIARY on this website for more information.
Posted by editor on Sunday, 25 April 2010
To introduce the annual Garden Gadabout, the organisers have put together a real treat – Question Time for Gardeners…
If you are wondering what to plant, considering growing your own vegetables or need to identify a pest or disease, then come along and join what promises to be a fun and enlightening evening. Thursday 13 May 7.30pm – 9.30pm.
The panel of horticultural experts is second to none:
- Graham Gough – who, supported by his partner Lucy Goffin, created the magical garden and nursery at Marchants Hardy Plants in Laughton, Sussex.
- Ed Ikin – head gardener at Nymans Garden and a strong advocate of biodynamics, planting according to the lunar calendar.
- Liz Dobbs – London-based gardening writer and editor of Gardens Monthly, whose books include Garden Makeovers and The Essential Garden.
- Julie Hollobone – is assistant editor of Gardens Monthly, a horticultural lecturer and author of an excellent book on propagation, Propagation Techniques.
- Robert Hill-Snook – head gardener at the Brighton Pavilion, and responsible for the restoration of the Regency gardens following organic and nature-assisted principles.
- Jim Miller – horticulturalist and lecturer at Brighton’s City College.
This event promises to be a great introduction to the Garden Gadabout – when, over two weekends in June/July, over 70 private gardens from Shoreham to Lewes and everywhere in between throw open their garden gates in aid of the Sussex Beacon charity. www.sussexbeacon.org.uk/gadabout
Box Office: 01273 736222 / Box Office Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm www.theoldmarket.co.uk
13 May 7.30pm – 9.30pm / £6.00 (£4.50 Concessions)
Location: The Old Market, Upper Market Street, Hove BN3 1AS
Posted by editor on Monday, 19 April 2010
We’re very excited to tell you about The Garden House Plant School. For the first time, we’ve created a course designed specifically to help you further develop your knowledge of plants and their families.
The course starts on Weds 9 June, and runs over six Wednesday evenings, from 6.30 to 9.00pm.
This will also be a very special opportunity to talk with the experts! We have invited plant experts Graham Gough, Julie Hollobone and Peter Thurman to each lead one of the evenings as guest speaker.
Julie Hollobone – is assistant editor of Gardens Monthly, a horticultural lecturer and author of an excellent book on propagation, Propagation Techniques. Julie will start the course by reminding us how plants work, investigating several different plants from a botanical point of view, and identifying their characteristics to aid classification into plant families.
Peter Thurman – is a horticultural and arboricultural expert, who has used his knowledge of plants to create thrilling borders and garden designs. Peter will be talking about ‘designing with plants and planting plans’. (note our lead photo of his stunning Betula/Cornus border!).
Graham Gough – supported by his partner Lucy Goffin, Graham created the magical garden and nursery at Marchants Hardy Plants in Laughton, Sussex. He is a great speaker and hugely knowledgeable, and will talk about plants he couldn’t survive without! That evening will be spent at his nursery, where we can see his ‘can’t live without’ plants in situ.
The course will also focus on selecting plants for the appropriate site – in Beth Chatto’s words finding “the right plant for the right place” – and on how to use colour to its best advantage in the garden.
And finally there will be a session of exchanging information about plant families where each participant, having home-studied a plant family in depth, will share their knowledge with the group.
The course starts Weds 9 June and runs for a total of six weeks. The cost is £280 to include a light supper and glass of wine on each of the evenings.
This very special course is limited to eight people only, so please do book early. For more details and booking form, go to DIARY on this website.
Posted by editor on Saturday, 20 March 2010
We’re delighted to welcome Alys Fowler to The Garden House on Saturday 10 July. Alys, the well-known writer and horticulturalist, and Gardener’s World presenter, will lead a workshop on the ‘edible garden’.
“I want a beautifully productive garden that weaves together flowers, fruit and vegetables in a way that mimics natural systems, – so that nature and I can get along peacefully together”
Alys’ philosophy chimes perfectly with ours at The Garden House – it will be great to hear her ideas on how to grow flowers and vegetables together – ideas and practical demonstrations on how to achieve success in our own back garden or allotment.
It promises to be a very special day here at the Garden House! Do book early as places will be limited. Go to Diary on this website for full details and booking form.
Alys started gardening in her early teens and after leaving school trained at the Royal Horticultural Society, the New York Botanical Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. She started working at BBC Gardeners’ World as a horticultural researcher, appeared at the Gardeners’ World Live show last summer and is currently filming the new series of Gardeners’ World.
She writes for all those who are interested in transforming unexpected spaces, like urban locations, into thriving gardens.
In her new book, The Edible Garden (BBC Books, £18.99), which coincides with a six-part BBC television series starting early April, Alys shows how to grow flowers and vegetables in any back garden, without worrying too much about the rights and wrongs of what you may be doing.
“I would argue that what I’m doing is really, really old school. Veg and flowers growing together is the ancient way of doing agriculture, it’s the traditional cottage garden.” (quote: 13 March www.telegraph.co.uk )
Go to Diary on this website for full details and booking form.
Posted by editor on Wednesday, 10 March 2010
“Rushes are round, sedges have edges, and grasses are glorious”. So said expert grower Monica Lewis at last Saturday’s Garden House workshop!
Enthusiastic and hugely knowledgeable, Monica talked the group through the seemingly endless and largely irresistible variations. So, why grasses?
Grasses are versatile, an almost essential component in any modern planting scheme. They rustle delicately in the wind (the larger the leaf the more noise they make) and change colour according to season, light levels, sun and shade, rain or frost. They can be used as hedging, as low-level edging for pathways or beds – they can be planted as ribbons through beds to give visual continuity, or used to create a stunning backdrop for contrasting perennial planting. Some are evergreen, some deciduous. Many grow well in containers.
There are also annual grasses, easily grown from seed, which mix beautifully with hardy annuals in the cutting garden.
The last ten years has seen grasses return to fashion in a big way. Naturalistic prairie-style planting – developed in Germany, Holland (think Piet Oudolf) and North America – sees blocks of tall grasses and statuesque perennials mingled together to form flowing borders of late-flowering colour.
To see this style of planting at close-hand, visit the stunning 6-acre Sussex Prairie garden near Henfield, Sussex (featured on this website 24.11.2009). Here the large borders, planted by owners Paul and Pauline McBride, combine perennials with huge drifts of ornamental grasses, including varieties of Miscanthus, Panicums, Molinias, Sporobolis and Penisetum. For open days check www.sussexprairies.co.uk
Monica Lucas talks about ‘cool growers’ and ‘warm growers’. Cool growers flower in late spring and early summer (propagate in spring and autumn), whilst warm growers flower in summer and autumn, keeping most of their dried flowers all winter until broken down by the weather (propagate in spring and early summer).
In general grasses need a free-draining moisture-retentive soil – and whilst there are always exceptions to the ‘rules’, and many other options, Monica suggests the following:
- Koeleria glauca
- Melica ciliata
Grasses for clay:
- Calamagrostis x acutiflora cvs.
- Deschampsia caespitose cvs.
- Elymus glaucus
- Phalaris arundinaria cvs.
- Briza media
- Calamagrostis acutiflora Karl Foerster
- Calamagrostis brachytricha
- Carex (most cultivars)
- Deschampsia caespitose cvs.
- Hackenochloa macra cvs.
- Milium effusem aureum
- Miscanthus sinensis purpureus
- Molinia caerulea (all cultivars)
- Stipa arundinaria
Key learnings from the workshop:
- For long term container planting, use ½ John Innes soil-based potting compost No2, ½ soil-less compost, a good deal of ½” grit for drainage, and a controlled release fertilizer (such as Osmacote).
- Don’t over-feed (they won’t flower well) – grasses prefer a low-nitrogen soil – so go easy on the chicken pellets or manure, in preference use well-rotted garden compost.
- If you like a plant, but are unsure if it will grow on your soil, buy three and plant them in various locations in the garden. Wherever they grow best, transfer the others – they will have found their home!
- Propagation involves digging out the plant and setting to (carefully!) with a variety of knives, saws, or even an axe, to cut the root ball into small sections ready to pot up for a few weeks before planting out.
- Use a wide-toothed comb to ‘preen’ (not ‘prune’) evergreen grasses – combing out the dead stalks to clear space for new growth.
When pressed Monica told us her personal favourite is Miscanthus Nepalensis – common name: Himalayan fairy grass!
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Just think – fresh eggs from your own hens, a great pancake mix, and a delicious filling – Shrove Tuesday heaven!
Well whilst we can’t supply you with the first (although of course, we’ll be enjoying the delicious eggs from our Garden House hens ourselves) – we can encourage you to join our Hen Keeping Workshop on Saturday 13 March – and we can suggest the recipe below!
- 125g (4oz) plain white flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- about 300ml (1/2 pint) milk
- 15ml (1tbls) oil
- oil for frying
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and add a little of the milk. Mix the liquid ingredients together, then gradually beat in the flour until smooth.
2. Beat in the oil and the remaining milk to obtain the consistency of thin cream (or use a blender). Ideally, if you have time, cover the batter and leave to stand in the refrigerator for about 20mins.
3. Heat a pancake pan (or shallow frying pan), when hot brush with the minimum of oil. Add a little extra milk to the batter if it is thick. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan and swirl around until it is evenly and thinly spread over the bottom of the pan.
4. Cook over a moderate to high heat for about 1min or until the edges are curling away from the pan and the underside os golden. Flip the pancake over using a palette knife and cook the second side.
5. Turn the pancake out, fill, roll, and eat!
6. Lightly oil the pan between pancakes and do the same as above until all the mixture is gone.
Handy tip: You can freeze pancakes; once cooked turn out, allow to cool and place non-stick baking parchment in between each one. bag, seal and freeze, then reove however many pancakes you would like to consume at your leisure! they take seconds to defrost and can be reheated with ease in a microwave or pan.
Toppings: (the best bit…!)
- Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and sprinkle with sugar - or try lime juice for something different, perfect!
- Place 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream on one side of the pancake, fold over and drizzle with fruit coulis, delicious!
- Drizzle with maple syrup and roll up, irresistible!
- Sliced banana and chocolate sauce, naughty!
- Fill with berries (fresh, or defrost from frozen) – just add ice cream or cream to ensure you’re not being too healthy!
Posted by editor on Monday, 8 February 2010
On the last Saturday in January The Garden House hosted a talk by bee keeping expert Pam Hunter, a committee member of the BBKA (British Bee Keeping Assoc.) www.britishbee.org.uk. It was certainly fascinating stuff, but be under no illusion – amateur beware!
Many of us have been seduced by the idea of bee keeping – we’re keen to aid sustainability and pollination, and we love the idea of collecting and bottling our own honey. Also magazines are talking about bee keeping as a way of countering the decimating losses in honey bee populations caused by the Varroa mite and changes in weather patterns.
However those of us amateurs with romantic illusions of bringing rural bee keeping into the suburbs or inner city, were quite rightly challenged by Pam. Her view is that bee keeping has in some ways become a ‘fashion’ (a little like hen keeping), a hobby that gardeners are embarking on without realizing the commitment, experience and support needed, and in many cases without first thinking about the issues around safety (for your family, pets and neighbours).
If you are seriously interested in keeping bees Pam recommends joining your local BBKA group, taking one of their in-depth courses, and using their knowledge and support before deciding.
For most of us, the pleasure of encouraging bees into our gardens is enough. Bees depend entirely on plants, using scent and sight to identify pollen-rich flowers (they tend to prefer yellows and blue flowers). So fill your garden with bee-friendly plants and you’ll be doing your bit to sustain bee populations and encourage local honey production (honey bees fly up to 5 miles radius in search of food).
Bees prefer single flowers – double flowers are of little use, because they’re too elaborate. The single-flowered rose family, which includes crab apple, hawthorn and potentilla, seem to be irresistible to our buzzing friends, as are the flowers of fennel, angelica and cow parsley, and sedums. Tubular-shaped flowers, such as foxgloves, snapdragons, penstemons and heathers, are also favourite feeding places for bees.
Early flowering plants for bees: Winter aconite, snowdrops, crocus, Daphne bholua, Hellebores, Clematis cirrhosa, Chimonanthus praecox, Sarcococca confusa, Mahonia, Hamamelis.
Spring flowering: Bluebell, bugle, crab apple, daffodil, flowering cherry and currant, forget-me-not (Myosotis), hawthorn, hellebore (Helleborus corsicus, H. foetidus), pulmonaria, pussy willow, rhododendron, rosemary, viburnum, thrift (Armeria maritima).
Early summer flowering: Aquilegia, astilbe, campanula, comfrey, everlasting sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius), fennel, foxglove, geranium, potentilla, snapdragon, stachys, teasel, thyme, verbascum.
Late summer flowering: Angelica, aster, buddleia, cardoon, cornflower (Centaurea), dahlia (single-flowered), delphinium, eryngium, fuchsia, globe thistle (Echinops), heather, ivy, lavender, penstemon, scabious, sedum, Verbena bonariensis.
One last comment from Pam – buy local honey whenever you get the chance – not only does it support local bee keepers, but it is hugely beneficial to our health!
Posted by editor on Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Plan ahead! Although some details are yet to be confirmed, here’s a quick taster of what’s to come in March and April 2010!
All workshops/talks include a light lunch/supper or nibbles, and coffee or a glass of wine!
Saturday 6th – Monica Lucas, perennials expert; one-day workshop covering the identification and propagation of grasses. Cost: £40
Starting Tuesday 9th (then 16th and 23rd) – Mosaics with Sue Samways: a three-session course, learning techniques and creating a mosaic item. Cost: £100
Starting Wednesday 10th – How to be a Gardener; a 10-evening course designed to improve your gardening skills. Cost: £225
Saturday 13th – Hen keeping; one-day workshop, how to select and care for hens in an urban environment. Cost: £60
Saturday 20th – All About Pruning; popular one-day workshop covering when, what and how to prune. Cost: £65
Wednesday 24th – Sustainable living with the garden in mind; one-day workshop. Cost £60
Friday 26th – Ian Currie, weatherman; an evening talk about understanding the weather forecast. Cost: £15
Saturday 27th – Knitting for beginners; one-day workshop designed to teach the basics giving you confidence to embark on your own project. Cost: £50
Tuesday 13th to Friday 16th – Spring School; our very popular four-day practical course, working and visiting a variety of horticultural settings. Cost: TBC
Saturday 24th – Staking and plants supports; one-day workshop covering essential and creative plant support techniques. Cost: £60
Courses and talks are led by speakers and specialists whose expertise we value, and who we know will inspire and inform. Look out for more details soon!
Posted by editor on Sunday, 6 December 2009
The aroma of mulled cider, the scent of eucalyptus and pine – what else could it be but wreath-making at The Garden House! Bridgette and Deborah’s festive wreath-making workshops mark the start of Christmas for me – once my home-made wreath is on the front door, I’m ready to tackle the tree, cards and presents!
Piles of winter foliage, richly colourful berries and dried seed-heads, all culled from Bridgette and Deborah’s gardens – and local car-parks! – are ready and waiting. Everything we’ll need is laid out in the garden workshop, the wood-burning stove is on, we’ve had our coffee and stollen (mulled cider comes later!) and we’re ready to go. Deborah shows us how to prepare the base – moss tied to the circle of strong wire – and how to bind with any of the great selection of ivies, then how to prepare and pin on the smaller bunches of berries, foliage and seed-heads. Then it’s simply a matter of choosing what you want to use from the winter bounty, all piled up outside under the wooden shelter.
The end results are fantastic – every wreath is different, and so creative – and everyone is happy, smiling, and delighted with their individual achievements. It’s a great way to catch up with friends, and to mark the start of the festive season…