Posts Tagged ‘Arts & Crafts’
Posted by editor on Friday, 17 May 2013
While enjoying the sunshine and spring flowers there’s serious work to be done to get your garden ready for summer – and one of the main tasks on the to-do list is staking!
If you haven’t already done so, start staking and training your taller herbaceous plants. The vigorous growth of many perennials and climbers often needs a helping hand to prevent them flopping over, and putting plant supports in place early means that even the most obvious ones can be hidden by the foliage in just a few weeks.
Create nest-like supports for your larger herbaceous plants, as well as taller arches and wigwam structures for sweet peas, pumpkins, runner beans and gourds to scramble through! We love edging our beds with the smaller off-cuts too.
At the Garden House we use twiggy sticks (cuttings from your shrubs can be useful here), birch trimmings, straight hazel branches, bamboo canes or willow.
Most of our staking was done under the creative eye of Bea Andrews, ex-head gardener at Sarah Raven’s Perch Hill garden, who has a really natural way of staking plants. Her ideas for supports, both large and small, have given wonderful structure to the garden as you can see in our photos, as well as creating interest as the plants grow (that’s Bea in the grey hat!).
Posted by editor on Sunday, 5 May 2013
Next weekend we’re joining in the spirit of the Brighton Festival, but in a uniquely Garden House way! Visit us on 11 & 12 May, 11am-6pm, for a wonderful weekend of specialist plant buying.
We have invited many of the best Sussex nurseries to bring along many of their wonderful and often ‘hard to get hold of’ plants – trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetables and succulents. This is the perfect time to top up and refresh your planting plans, and the growers will be on hand to offer their knowledgeable advice as to the selection of right plant, right place!
We also have a small selection of makers selling ironwork, plant supports, pots, restored garden tools and a variety of garden paraphernalia.
Plus a pop-up cafe selling delicious homemade food – and a plant swop – bring along a plant to exchange!
- Blueleaf plants – wonderful succulents
- Big Plants – exotics
- Garden House plants – shrubs, perennials and annuals
- Paul Seabourne – perennials and annuals
- Sussex Prairie – grasses and perennials
From left: Lorraine Philpot, Adele Scantlebury, Chris Burchell Collins
- Adele Scantlebury – woodblock prints
- Amanda Saurin – specially made Garden House soaps and scrubs
- Chris Burchell Collins – contemporary nature-influenced ironwork
- Deborah Goodwin – all manner of gifts and garden paraphernalia
- Ian Swain – beautifully restored tools and garden equipment
- Lorraine Philpot – naturalistic ironwork garden supports
Bring friends and family, and enjoy a great day out!
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Posted by editor on Monday, 4 February 2013
Surely the best way to judge a successful workshop is by the feedback one receives. Laura Dodson’s Creative Photography workshop held last Saturday was one such success.
Using the beautiful Garden House setting as inspiration for practical exercises exploring composition and lighting techniques, Laura helped her students to capture wonderful images of natural textures, garden details and plant patterns – see just a few of them here!
We look forward to welcoming Laura back soon – we’re planning a new workshop and 6-week course later in the year, dates will be on our DIARY soon!
“Really valuable day – learnt a great deal more about my camera, and found the sessions on composition and light helpful. Beautiful setting, and lunch…fab.”
“I so enjoyed the day and you’ve opened up my camera to me! Now I realise just how much I don’t know but am looking forward to practicing what you’ve taught us. So inspiring and informative – you’ve been so generous with your time and knowledge.”
“I found it easy to ask questions. This is the beginning of a big journey into photography – thank you for not making it too complicated. I like doing it, getting feedback and doing it again.”
“Excellent course – I learnt so much and it has given me the confidence to play around with my camera. What a lovely day, a nice group of people and lovely food. Thank you!”
“A great day. Got me thinking about noticing light and framing shots. Thank you.”
“A lovely course, very informative and at an understandable level. Everyone was wonderfully friendly and the environment tranquil and a delight to be part of. Many thanks.”
“Excellent day – very cold but lot of cool stuff to photograph once I got my eye in! Learnt loads about how to make better use of my camera. Wonderful lunch and shortbread.”
“Fab day! Lots of very useful tips and tricks to take away. Gained confidence to make more of my settings on both cameras.”
After many years developing her photographic skills at college and running a camera club, Laura established her photographic career in 2001, working both in the studio and on location. Since then she has taught photography at The Friends Centre in Brighton and Portslade Community Centre, and now provides a unique learning experience: ‘Fotos On Foot’ photography tours and classes.
Posted by editor on Thursday, 20 December 2012
If you are looking for some special last-minute Christmas presents then come along to our Winter Solstice celebration on Friday 21 December, from 4pm - 8pm.
We’ll have original and gorgeous gifts for sale including a range of natural skin products, hand crafted gifts, Christmas breads, preserves, foliage wreaths, plants and fresh flowers. Winter shrubs and plants will be on sale, also silver birch branches if you are looking for an alternative to a Christmas tree! And for a special gift, why not buy a gardening enthusiast some pre-loved vintage tools?
Garden House vouchers for our exciting 2013 craft and garden-related courses and workshops will also be available!
Pop in on the way home from work – there will be food and mulled cider as well as a bit of carol singing to get you in the Christmas spirit!
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Posted by editor on Sunday, 16 December 2012
Our Christmas wreaths are fat and round,
Made of the woodsy things we found.
We tied brown cones upon the green,
And stuck red berries in between.
Upon the wreath on our front door,
We tied red ribbon from the store. (Anon)
Posted by editor on Monday, 10 December 2012
One of our favourite shopping destinations is characterful Lewes with its many delightful independent shops. Lewes is certainly worth exploring at any time of year, but with just a couple of weeks of Christmas shopping time left we find ourselves gravitating towards Cliffe High Street, and Malling and South Streets, just over the river in east Lewes, where there is a concentration of interesting stores.
Leadbetter & Good is a small modern emporium chock full of wonderful gifts, cards and papers – contemporary ideas for the cook, gardener, seamstress, or reader – hard to imagine any friend or family member for whom you could not buy the ideal gift here!
We love that local and independent stores, often managed by the buyer/owner are so totally committed to great customer service, and offer carefully considered, inspirational and quality ranges – often bought from smaller companies and makers – to explore and discover.
Fur, Feathers ‘n’ Fins is a totally unique pet store come antique shop experience selling as it does ’Pets, Dog Grooming, Antiques, Curiosities, Bygone Furniture and all manner of Needful Things’. In a similar vein, though quite different, are the deeply practical items to be found in Bunce’s Home Hardware store.
Perhaps you’re looking for something pre-loved and a little more unexpected, in which case check out the Lewes Antique Centre, one of many delightful antique markets and shops in Lewes where you can discover all manner of affordable treasures, or check out the Lewes Book Centre for a fine secondhand book. If you’re looking for a pre-loved party or weekend outfit we suggest you have a rummage in the excellent Roundabout, it is chock full of the best high street and designer labels – secondhand of course, but just great for a bargain!
If you’re looking for a great selection of crockery, pots or pans, take a look in Louispotts Lewes, or if searching for children’s books, there’s the delightful Bag of Books.
Eateries include Bill’s, The Real Eating Company, and for tea and home made cakes we’d happily recommend Le Magasin or The Buttercup Café (tucked away on Malling Street behind Pastorale Antiques).
Meanwhile The Snowdrop Inn and The Gardener’s Arms will provide something just a bit more restorative following a busy afternoon’s spending!
Posted by editor on Monday, 19 November 2012
Packing up for winter means cutting back, cleaning your pots, washing down the greenhouse, tidying your shed – and also sharpening and oiling your tools all ready for winter!
Ian Swain collects and restores garden tools. He started acquiring and restoring more traditional equipment over 15 years ago when, while studying at agricultural college, he simply found many modern tools and gardening items unsatisfactory in use, and aesthetically unappealing.
His recent workshop at The Garden House was a masterclass in good maintenance; Ian demonstrating all aspects of sharpening axes, loppers, shears, secateurs and spades. Ian explained in great detail the process for each different tool, each tool requiring careful assessment of the angle of the blade edge. Below info gives some of Ian’s key preparation pointers.
Safety comes first of course – Ian advises:
- Appropriate protective equipment, perhaps gloves and safety boots
- First Aid kit
- Adequate equipment to allow you to work without cutting corners, or yourself
- A quiet place to work free of distractions. Perhaps the job shouldn’t be done on site?
- If you are in your place of work then you need a Risk Assessment to show that you have considered these issues.
Some signs that sharpening is required are:
- The tool user is having to apply excessive force to the tool
- The item being cut is left ragged, or with parallel scratches on its cut face
- Chips can be seen on the blade edge
- If looked at head on the blade edge has bright spots that reflect light
Use the right tools for the job; sharpening devices could include:
- Carborundum stones
- Treadle whetstones
- Carpenters bench stones
- Slip stones
- Diamond stones/hones
- Japanese water stones
Most of these can be obtained in various grades from coarse to very fine. Costs vary from a few pounds to tens of pounds, depending on quality, size and shape. Many stones are fragile, and should always be kept in a padded box. Virtually all the sharpening materials should be used wet, because you are removing metal from blade, and water keeps things moving, and prevents the metal particles getting stuck in the rough abrasive. In addition it prevents metal dust being created. Spit does nicely when out on site!
Sit down somewhere quiet and out of the way. Support the tool (for heavy or large items) or the sharpening stone (light items like knives) as appropriate. Depending on what you are sharpening an appropriate support might be your thigh, a stump, a log or the fork of a tree. Improvise, but think through the consequences. A vice can be used to hold the tool, but then you must be vigilant that it stays firmly clamped, take care not to impale yourself, and never leave the tool unattended in the vice.
Wear your gloves, don’t get distracted – look at what you are doing! Unless just ‘touching up’ the tool you may need to start with a coarse abrasive, and use this to cut back the bevel until you have eliminated the damage (i.e. wear, chips, dents). Then refine the edge with a finer stone. Sharpen away from the edge if you value you fingertips. Don’t monitor progress by touching the blade edge.
When you have finished sharpening your tools wipe over the blades with 3-in-1 oil. Wooden handles can be rubbed over with boiled linseed oil.
Most of Ian’s stock of restored tools harks from the mid 20th century, but he does occasionally have Victorian and Edwardian items. Their quality and design is often exceptional, and is unlikely to be repeated by modern items. Look out for Ian at various plant and garden fairs in Sussex through the year – and we look forward to welcoming him again to The Garden House! www.theluddite.com
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 30 October 2012
The next best thing to being in the garden is looking at pictures of gardens. Sue Woods’ wonderful talk on Artists and Gardens introduced us to many familiar and less familiar paintings, as well as photographic records of artists and their gardens. Sue restricted herself to 19th and 20th century examples in England and France, and even so it was packed evening.
William Morris’s first garden at the Red House
Beginning in the mid-Victorian era, we looked at William Morris, John Ruskin and JMW Turner. In contrast to the ornate and controlled bedding style of the time, Morris’s first garden at the Red House in Kent was romantic and informal: the roses, trellises, and dripping fruits fed into his beautiful and enduring designs for fabric and wallpaper. Colour theory was developed at the same time and heavily influenced Gertrude Jekyll’s gardening style. Her garden and Lutyens-designed house, Munstead Wood in Surrey, is not open to the public but is being restored and Sue was lucky enough to visit it and showed us some photos she had taken of its famous long herbaceous borders. Like Morris, Jekyll believed in blending the edges of a garden into the surrounding landscape and using local crafts, makers, and materials.
William Morris wallpaper design
Then we crossed the Channel for a splurge of Impressionist light and colour. As well as working in a looser and more informal way, these painters elevated domestic life as a suitable subject for art, which included intimate family groups, houses, and gardens. Sue touched on the influence of Japanese prints at that time, with their flattened surfaces and decorative use of colour. We heard of Monet’s wish to catch “the passing moments” of light and weather and flowers which is a beautiful way to describe the continuing pleasures of a garden.
Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden at St Ives
Returning to England, we looked at the work and influence of the ‘Bloomsberries’ and ended with Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and finally Derek Jarman, whose sculptural works use gardens and landscapes as a setting and a frame. I am sure Sue could have chosen many more examples of paintings and artists, but we were spoiled for choice anyway. I came away from an enlivening evening with so many vivid and inspiring pictures in my head, just the thing as we are heading into the darker and more dreary months of the year.
Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage at Dungeness
Words: our thanks to Julia Widdows
Posted by editor on Friday, 28 September 2012
Last Saturday’s ‘Domestic Bliss’ textile print workshop with local designer and maker Kate Strachan was a great success. The day was sunny and bright – always a good start! – and the students keen to roll up their sleeves and get printing!
The idea was to create a design inspired by The Garden House garden, then to interpret this design and create a simple one-colour screen, and finally to print onto tea towels or canvas bags.
“It was quite one of the most enjoyable days I’ve spent for a long time. You walk through the gate into a different world, don’t you? Unexpected, quirky and beautiful, more than a bit of rurality in the city somehow…
The day was like an injection of creativity for me and I was inspired to draw for the first time in ages. The spirit of the place has really stayed with me, proof that a garden is best when it completely reflects the personality of its owner. Kate was delightful too, the other people all had interesting reasons for being there and it was amazing what everyone achieved in such a short time! Oh and lunch was delicious too!” Jaine M.
For inspiration Kate brought along a variety of everyday domestic objects printed with her own delightful designs.
We were skillfully guided through initial sketches, selecting and drawing up a design and cutting paper stencils. After a simple introduction to the process of textile screen-printing, we rolled up our sleeves, donned our aprons and got working.
“Bridgette and Deborah’s Garden House is an oasis of quirky creativity and warm hospitality: everywhere you look there are beautiful planting combinations and madly creative garden sculptures and furniture.
A day spent in their company kickstarts your creative juices and warms up your friendship batteries. Kate is an encouraging and thoughtful teacher, and her screen printing day brought out the best in all of us — we were liberated to explore our individual creativity, and it was an absolute pleasure to meet and spend the day with such an interesting bunch of students.” Jackie G.
Kate teaches fashion and textiles part time and produces her own pieces using mainly vintage fabrics or linen, and makes limited edition silkscreen prints on textiles and paper.
Her work references the utility era, the simple obviousness of a useful household item. It plays with the convention by which we identify an image with the thing it represents and encourages practical application but with some enjoyment! www.katestrachandesign.com
Posted by editor on Saturday, 8 September 2012
Last Sunday the wonderful Paul and Pauline McBride invited over 60 specialist nurseries, artists and makers to set up their stalls dotted in and around the vast perennial beds that make up the Sussex Prairies landscape.
On the left, Bridgette Saunders with Paul Seabourne
We set up our stall to meet and talk with new people, happy to tell them about the exciting upcoming Garden House workshops, courses and talks – everything from our 8-week Gardening for Beginners courses, to an evening talk with Ed Ikin, head gardener at Nymans, and a Green Roof Workshop where you can not only learn about green roofs, but actually plant and take away your own green-roofed bird box!
On Saturday 29 September we’re returning to Sussex Prairies for our Designing with Plants at the Sussex Prairies Garden Workshop – an exploration of what makes for dream planting partnerships – looking at colour, shape, texture and architectural forms of plants. See DIARY for more details.
Our stand also featured mosaic pieces by Brighton-based mosaicist Sue Samway and a great selection of specialist perennials propagated by Paul Seabourne.
Hard to believe, but the borders at Sussex Prairies were planted only 4 years ago in 2008, and all 30,000 of 600 different varieties have been carefully logged and recorded! The sweeping beds planted in the shape of a spiralling nautilus shell encourage exploration and adventure and visitors are able to roam through narrow pathways in amongst the mighty plants to further enjoy the experience. The plantings consist of large groupings of each variety, planted in a free flowing style, which contrasts leaf forms, stems, stalks, flower shapes and textures.
Even as some of the planting fades and begins to go over, there remains the rusty and blackened colouring of the seedheads and grasses. In many ways quite as attractive as the late summer Heleniums, Rudbeckias and Sedums.
On the weekend of 15/16 September another unusual event is taking place at Sussex Prairies: the Blackfoot Lodge and Spirit of the West will be camping in the garden with their teepees, totem poles and buffalo skins. Visit and talk with them about the native American way of life anytime between 1pm and 5pm
Sussex Prairies, Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road, Henfield, West Sussex, BN5 9AT www.sussexprairies.co.uk
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Earlier this year we visited the amazing gardens at Arundel Castle in West Sussex.
Before the present 18th Duke and Duchess moved permanently to the Castle in 1987, the gardens had been largely neglected. Over the intervening years the Duchess, together with the head gardener, has transformed the 2 acres allocated to the gardens. The centerpiece of this restoration is the new formal garden, conceived as a light-hearted tribute to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), known as ‘The Collector’.
It is set in a third of the area of the Georgian and Victorian walled kitchen garden and was designed by the very creative Isabel and Julian Bannerman (www.hanhamcourt.co.uk), with the enthusiastic support of the Duchess.
The garden is divided into formal courts with a centre canal pond and tufa-lined cascade. It is quite unlike anything we’ve seen before, a wonderful mix of eccentric grandeur and rusticity, and rich with historic references.
The domed pergola and fountains are based on those seen in the garden vista in the background of the famous Mytens portrait of the Countess of Arundel and are constructed from green oak giving a somewhat robust rustic charm.
The grand centre piece is the rockwork ‘mountain’ planted with palms and rare ferns to represent another world, supporting a green oak version of ‘Oberon’s Palace’, a fantastic spectacle designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Henry’s Masque on New Year’s Day 1611, flanked by two green oak obelisks. This contains a shell-lined interior with a stalagmite fountain and gilded coronet ‘dancing’ on top of a jet of water.
The garden has many less grandiose areas and details too. There’s a stumpery (very much a Bannerman trademark), and a pleasantly informal kitchen garden with its restored glasshouse – and even a living willow arbour (they must have got that idea from The Garden House, no?)
We loved its restrained planting, completely over-the-top green oak statuary, honest rusticity and humorous (even kitsch sometimes) charm.
Admission to The Collector Earl’s Garden is included within the standard admission prices. To find out more: www.arundelcastle.org
Posted by editor on Monday, 7 May 2012
Over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting the wonderfully creative artists and makers showing at The Garden House every weekend in May; our first are textile makers Mandy Murray and Janie Jones.
Mandy grew up surrounded by the fabrics of her parent’s upholstery business, later becoming increasingly interested in textile history, particularly the functional textiles of ordinary women. She started collecting patchwork quilts, finding more beauty, poignancy and meaning in simple red and white blocked quilts made from flour sacks, than in the more intricate embroideries of the parlour.
The social history behind these and other hand stitched objects fascinates her and inspires her own textile work created from old printed cottons and inspired and influenced by all those nameless women, by folk art, and by the beauty of, and her love of, gardening…
Mandy works with old and new fabrics, patchwork, applique, machine and hand stitching, recycling old stitching into her designs.
Janie Jones work is inspired by antique books and vintage images – hand printed cotton twill, cards, notebooks and silk ribbons – all created using much loved collage techniques and French typography. Find Janie’s work on Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/madametreacle
Click here for more info and our full list of artists and makers. ALL MAJOR CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS ACCEPTED (not AmEx)
Posted by editor on Monday, 30 April 2012
At the Garden House we love a mosaic or two – especially in the garden! Sue Samways is a self-taught mosaicist with a love of gardens who has created many pieces for us – stepping-stones, mosaic-covered tabletops and mosaic-covered pots.
In 2001 she was commissioned to create mosaic-covered stepping-stones for a bronze medal-winning garden for children at the Hampton Court Palace flower show. Sue’s passion is for creating new from old – she uses pieces imbued with history, her favourite commissions involve taking people’s much-loved but broken china and creating new and unexpected treasures.
Visit the Garden House every weekend in May, 12.00 to 18.00, to see Sue’s work plus that of a wonderful group of artists and makers who are exhibiting work inspired by gardening and the garden. Located in a former market garden, we offer a unique setting for decorative and practical pieces of work by blacksmiths, potters, a basket maker, paper artists, wood workers, sculptors and painters. Click here for list of artists.
Mosaics enhance any garden space, being both functional and beautiful – at the Garden House Sue will be selling mosaic-covered stepping stones and flowerpots (other work, including mosaic-covered mirrors can be seen at 31 Preston Park Avenue on the Fiveways trail).
If you’d like to learn more about this colourful craft, book early for our next mosaic workshop, Design and Make a Mosaic Mirror, on Saturday 10 November. Sue will inspire you to experiment with colour, pattern and texture to create a totally unique mirror to decorate your home or to create as a gift (the perfect Christmas gift?!) – how wonderful!
Posted by editor on Thursday, 19 April 2012
Now is the very best time to get your plant supports into place. With growth on most perennials just starting, you can clearly see where the plants are and more easily get stakes or supports into position.
Of course, not just tall perennials – climbers, certain roses, even vegetables like broad and runner beans will need careful staking to avoid the plants collapsing as they grow in heavy rain and winds. In March 2011 we wrote a post on decorative staking, CLICK HERE to read it again!
And note that we’re opening for the first time as one of Brighton’s myriad Artists Open Houses! Our garden will be host to many wonderful artists and makers showing and selling all manner of garden-related items – including Annemarie O’Sullivan’s willow balls and wigwams, and blacksmith Lorraine Philpott’s naturalistic structures – all ideal as plant supports…
Posted by editor on Monday, 19 March 2012
As you walk through your garden, something sparkles and catches your eye. How wonderful if it is an artwork you have made yourself…
Last Saturday’s stained glass workshop led by Annie McMullan offered just that, a thoroughly enjoyable day learning a new craft and taking the resulting stained glass decorative panel home: “This is going to hang in my garden where it will catch the light. I can’t believe I achieved this all in one day!”
Fused glass ‘flower pictures’ were made in advance by Annie – the students selected one of these then picked out complementing colours of stained glass to go with it, and under Annie’s experienced eye they then cut the lead and soldered the panel together.
Annie said: “What a fantastic and enthusiastic group of women, they all learnt the skills really fast. Although initially a bit uncertain about cutting glass they soon overcame their fears and were cutting with great skill!
Some particularly loved the leadwork part of the workshop where you cut the lead to hold the glass into place, while others did very well using the soldering iron.
By the end of the day everyone had produced a beautiful piece of stained glass. I think everyone should all be very proud of their achievements. The day was a real mixture of creativity, concentration and fun.”
Wonderful, another successful Garden House event! Check out Annie’s website www.anniemcmullan.co.uk
Posted by editor on Thursday, 2 February 2012
Seedy Sundays now include Seedy Saturdays too and are attracting more and more people. Primarily the event is about swapping seeds but they have grown and now make for a great family day out with workshops for adults and children and the opportunity to meet people interested in gardening, local food production, climate change and sustainability.
Lewes: Saturday 4 February 10am-3pm at Lewes Town Hall. Free for children, 50p for adults. All day workshops include: making paper plant pots, willow weaving, bug trays, children’s craft and art workshop – and lots more. www.lewes.gov.uk/business/9729.asp
Lewes talks include:
- 10.30 – Brighton Permaculture Trust
- 11am – James Greyson, making a Biochar cooker for soil improver while brewing a cup of tea
- 11.45 – Millennium Seed Bank, Kew at Wakehurst Place – practical talk about seeds
- 12.30 – Peter May, Sussex Apples and Good Fruit Tree Health – bring photos of diseased branches to get accurate advice
Hove: Sunday 5 February 10am – 4.30pm at Hove Town Hall, Norton Road BN3 4AH. Free for children, £2 for adults. Come and enjoy more than 50 stalls, lots of talks, demonstrations and children’s activities as well as the community seed-swap. Bring seeds to swap (in labelled envelopes, please) or make a 50p donation per packet. www.seedysunday.org
Hove talks include:
- 11am – Crop varieties – why do gardens matter? Bob Sherman, Chief Horticultural Officer, Garden Organic
- 11.40 – Seeds of Activism – campaigning for the seeds, agricultural biodiversity and food sovereignty of the world’s majority food providers. Patrick Mulvany, Chair, UK Food Group
- 12.15 – How to dry seeds from your garden and keep them alive. Vanessa Sutcliffe, Training Specialist, Millennium Seed Bank
Posted by editor on Sunday, 13 November 2011
MARK THE DATE! Saturday 26 November, 12 – 5pm. Come and buy your Christmas presents while enjoying home-made food, lunches and teas, mulled wine and festive delights as well as carol singing.
- yummy Christmas breads, cakes and preserves
- beautiful plants, bulbs and seeds
- marvelous mosaics
- gorgeous knits
- stunning jewellery
- amazing art
- stylish ceramics
- hand-crafted gifts for the gardener
And a whole lot more besides! Enjoy a wonderful festive afternoon – bring friends and family to The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Posted by editor on Sunday, 4 September 2011
The first signs of autumn are upon us. Somehow the air just smells different, and rain aside, September and October are just about my favourite months in the garden. Although there is much in flower (in fact a wonderful time of year for all those late flowering perennials), things are gradually closing down.
Having had a fairly lazy summer in the garden – my ‘to do’ list for the next few weeks is getting longer and longer…
The vegetable garden needs clearing of the almost finished runner beans, courgette and squash plants are tired and sprawling, the onions have been pulled and although this season’s tomatoes have been excellent I can see I’ll only have another week or so of cropping. We’ve eaten the plums and pears, made jars and jars of crab-apple jelly, and now the apple trees are weighed down with fruit and I’m trying to work out how to preserve them (luckily I’ve just found a Sarah Raven recipe for Apple & Mint Compote that looks delicious, so will get cooking tomorrow).
Seeds need to be collected, and seeds need to be sown. The flowerbeds are still colourful and abundant with big blowsy dahlias, neat little zinnias, verbena bonariensis, persicaria and many other late-flowering perennials. So we’ll have another few weeks of fresh flowers for the house, but then they’ll have to be cleared and dahlia tubers lifted (a real palaver, but the ones I left in the ground last year did not survive, so it has to be done).
Earlier today at the Sussex Prairies Garden’s open day (rain, sun, wind, a typical approaching-autumn day!), temptation was all around. The various specialist nurseries all had great plants for sale – it’s so worthwhile seeking out specialist nurseries in your local area, their knowledge, helpfulness and beautifully raised young plants just make buying such a pleasure (even when there really, really is no room left in your garden!). So, even though there really, really is no room left in my garden (!), I bought three Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’, three stunning dark magenta Lobelia ‘tania’, a delightful Japanese Toad Lily (Tricyrtis formosana), a light mauve Physostegia virgina variegata, and some pretty white-flowered garlic chive plants (allium tuberosum) for the veg patch.
The Garden House stall caught everyone’s notice, with its display of herbs and preserves, mosaics by Sue Samways, and posters highlighting all the GH autumn workshops and courses, and the events for 2012 – including an evening talk with Fergus Garrett, a spring visit to Woolbeding Gardens at Midhurst, and a four-day trip to see Beth Chatto’s garden, the gardens at East Ruston Old Vicarage in Norfolk (inspiration at every turn!), and the truly wonderful Woottens of Wenhaston nursery!
Whilst at Sussex Prairies I also bought a beautiful old spade (a ladies border spade) restored to its almost original glory by Michael Ristic whose stall was a treasure-trove of pre-loved garden tools. It feels quite unique and nothing like the garden-centre variety. Hopefully it will also last a lot longer too (I managed to break two border forks this year!) and encourage me to get going, lifting and dividing!
And the spring bulb catalogues have arrived – another sign that autumn is definitely here. As always the catalogues look so tempting, and it’s sensible to try and do your planning and ordering sooner rather than later. I noticed that several of September’s garden magazines have inspirational photos of spring pots, showing varieties of narcissi and tulips mixed with various other bulbs, winter-flowering pansies and evergreens – useful if you’re feeling stuck for ideas and new combinations.
So…whilst enjoying the last of late summer, and contemplating an abundant autumn, I also find myself happily looking forward to next spring – what joy!
Posted by editor on Monday, 29 August 2011
Well worth a visit – on Sunday 4 September 2011 (from 11am until 5pm) a rare collection of exciting nurseries, artists and crafts people will be coming together at the Sussex Prairies Garden. Over 60 stalls will be displaying a great selection of unusual plants and beautiful pieces for you to buy.
The Sussex Prairies Garden also happens to be one of our favourite gardens, renowned for its dramatic drifts of late summer-flowering perennials.
The Garden House will be there – ready to discuss our forthcoming (and very exciting) Christmas and 2012 courses, workshops, garden visits and talks (evening talk with Fergus Garrett at GH on 23 March 2012!). We’ll also be selling GH-made preserves and a variety of seeds and plants.
Plant exhibitors include:
- DESIRABLE PLANTS – Specialising in herbaceous perennials, Epimedium and other woodlanders, Galanthus, Watsonia, Gladiolus, Tritonia and other South African Iridaceae, outh African Erica, Sanguisorba, Geranium, Hedychium and Roscoea. www.desirableplants.com
- SCARECROW PLANTS – Out of the ordinary plants, English Native wildflowers and plants to attract wildlife. Also hand-made local ironwork and trellis. 07939 272443
- RAPKYNS NURSERY – All grown in their traditional nursery – a unique and exciting range of quality and unusual cottage garden plants. 01825 830065
Art exhibitors include:
- ANNEMARIE O’SULLIVAN – whose passion lies in all things woven, knotted and netted, will be showing baskets and larger woven forms. www.annemarieosullivan.co.uk
- FRANCES DOHERTY – extraordinary ceramics based on the forms of fruiting bodies, flowers and particularly seedpods. Richly glazed to complement the form and often combined with metal and reclaimed sea defence timber. www.francesdoherty.co.uk
- CHRIS BURCHELL COLLINS – A Blacksmith and Green Woodworker whose work is influenced by the wonderful forms and shapes found in nature.
- JANINE CREAYE – will be bringing many new small sculptures for gardens and interiors. Stylised and patterned wood carving, stone carving and drawings of natural forms. www.sculptureform.co.uk
- HOLLY BELL – wheel-thrown functional ceramics including jugs, tea-sets and planters. www.hollybell.co.uk
And many, many more – a great chance to source some amazing plants and artifacts for you, your house and your garden! For more information visit www.sussexprairies.co.uk
Posted by editor on Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Edinburgh in August means Festival time, and I have just spent three wonderful days enjoying a cultural feast, involving the serious, the brilliantly clever, the poignant and the daft, and all thought provoking.
We heard one of three pieces composed and played by Philip Glass, accompanying a mesmerising film, Naqoyqatsi, a series of images about “civilised violence”.
At the Book Festival I particularly enjoyed a discussion between Tom Hodgkinson and Matthew de Abaitua about returning to a simpler way of life, which felt very in tune with what we are supporting here at the Garden House. Tom’s book Brave Old World, a Practical Guide to Husbandry, celebrates former ways of life, and how to live sustainably, and with humour.
I failed in my mission to see one of the events, Allotment, “exploring the powerful legacy of generations of gardeners”, and actually held in the real Inverleith allotments, but I did manage a few hours in the botanic gardens which are absolutely wonderful, currently with an inspirational exhibition using recycled materials.
Elizabeth Blackadder, well known for her paintings of flowers, in particular irises, has a marvellous and extensive retrospective exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery.
As well as the above, I saw a brilliant expressive production at the Dancebase called Silent, about a homeless person; and a joyful show by four young men from South Africa called Soweto Entsha, which made me determined to return to that wonderful country!
My sister lives in Edinburgh and may be doing bed and breakfast in her very central, and gorgeous, location for next year’s festival, so keep watching this space for more details…
IMAGE: Anemones and Hyacinths by Elizabeth Blackadder
Posted by editor on Wednesday, 22 June 2011
If nothing gives you more pleasure than checking out other people’s gardens, then the Garden Gadabout is for you! Two weekends – 25th/26th June, and 2nd/3rd July – over 70 local gardens around the Brighton & Hove (and many beyond!) will be opening their garden gates for charity.
The gardens are wonderfully varied, giving inspiration at every turn – from the smallest courtyard to large ‘wild’ gardens and allotments – each with its own unique mix of planting and hard landscaping ideas.
The Garden House will be open on the first weekend only, 25th/26th June. There’ll be plants and seeds for sale, fresh eggs from our hens, a tombola – and a whole lot more! Our garden is a unique and imaginatively restored old market garden, extending behind other houses to make a very large space filled with vegetables, flowers and many decorative ideas using recycled materials. We’ll also be offering lunches, wine and soft drinks – so make a date, bring some friends and come along! Find us at 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT (side gate!).
For info on all the gardens and downloadable guides, go to www.gardengadabout.org.uk
Carole Klein, patron of the Garden Gadabout, says: “I’m thrilled to be patron of The Sussex Beacon’s Garden Gadabout once again. This year over 70 gorgeous gardens and community spaces will be opening across the two weekends, and there’s a wealth of wonders to discover. As well as scrumptious lunches and teas, many of the gardens this year will be offering something a little bit extra to make your visit even more special.
There’s nothing quite like being a part of making things grow, watching and waiting for the changes that unfold day to day, season to season. The Gadabout is a great opportunity to gather ideas from all sorts of spaces. From bold and stunning contemporary designs, to quiet havens of wildlife – of all shapes and sizes. I’m a passionate enthusiast of sharing our green spaces, it’s just so inspiring to discover what other people have lovingly created. So take a good browse amongst these pages and plan your visit, not forgetting of course where to stop for teas, cake and lunch.
The Garden Gadabout also fulfils an important role in raising essential funds for The Sussex Beacon, enabling them to continue their work, meeting the changing needs of men and women living with HIV. This year the funds raised by the Garden Gadabout are more important than ever, as new diagnosis of HIV continue to increase and fundraising becomes even tougher.
A big thanks goes to all the lovely gardeners who open and share their gardens, to all the volunteers who help them, and to all of you who come along and enjoy this wonderful event.
So go on….get Gadding!”
Posted by editor on Saturday, 7 May 2011
If you have the energy and time to spare, set aside the coming weekends to visit the wonderful Artists Open Houses 2011 – more than 1,000 artists are exhibiting their work at over 250 venues, spread across the city of Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area.
The event provides a great opportunity to view unique work in artists’ homes and studios and to buy directly from the artist or maker. The art and craft works are of every different type – paintings and prints, ceramics and metalwork, textiles and felt work, jewellery and silverwork – and sculpture.
Of course, our particular interest is in sculpture and art works for the garden, and there are many artists creating work for our outside spaces.
The open houses are grouped into ‘trails’ – so select a trail, check the website for maps and directions – and get walking! For more info on trails and artists visit www.aoh.org.uk
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 Tuesday, 30 November 2010
“If Dixter always remains loved and retains its own identity, everything else will fall into place.” Christopher Lloyd, January 2006
The incredible spirit of this wonderful garden still lives on and is a testament to the words of the great horticulturalist Christopher Lloyd who lived and gardened at Great Dixter all his life, leaving the estate to The Great Dixter Trust on his death in 2006.
Great Dixter is a Tudor house bought in 1910 by Nathaniel Lloyd, father of Christopher and author of books on brickwork and topiary, and was restored by Edwin Lutyens. Nathaniel designed the framework of the garden and it was initially planted by Daisy Lloyd, Christopher’s mother, who taught Christopher how to garden.
The house is surrounded by the now world-famous garden that was Christopher Lloyd’s lifelong passion; his influence since the war on amateur gardeners in this country can scarcely be overestimated. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of plants, together with a love of form and colour – and together with his great strength of trying something new Great Dixter was always evolving, always fresh.
In 1996 he became bored with his rose garden, which had been designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and established for more than 70 years, he simply uprooted it. The replacement, a brazen kaleidoscope of sub-tropical plants, sent shock waves through the gardening world.
It is the most inspirational garden, clearly loved and still gardened by Fergus Garrett who was Christopher Lloyd’s head gardener, and who continues as the garden’s creative head.
Yesterday on a cold November day the late autumn structure was astonishing – the yew hedges and topiary, grasses, trees and shrubs looking beautiful in the low November light.
The fires burning in the grates were welcoming – doubtless the timber in the great hall could tell a thousand stories, Christopher Lloyd was alive today I think he would have been delighted to see his extraordinary home filled with people having fun and enjoying the spirit of Great Dixter.
For a great read try: Colour for Adventurous Gardeners; The Well-Tempered Garden; or Cuttings (a collection of writings for the Guardian) – all by Christopher Lloyd.
See the website www.greatdixter.co.uk for events, opening times, and admission costs and location (if you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll be first to hear what’s upcoming!)…
Christopher Lloyd – “The right time to do a job is when you are in the mood to do it.” What wise words!
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!