Posts Tagged ‘Garden House outings’
Posted by editor on Thursday, 21 February 2013
Early spring is a wonderful time to visit the RHS London Shows held in the RHS Horticultural Halls at Greycoat Street and Vincent Square. They are always a real treat, with beautifully considered displays, books, garden paraphernalia, plus of course specialist nurseries often selling rare, unusual or hard to get hold of plants and bulbs.
Several stands were bulging with spring bulbs – all looked stunning with many new cultivars on display. We also loved the hellebore displays.
Pennard Plants were selling heritage and heirloom seeds – some with fantastical names, such as a lettuce named Fringe-Headed Drunken Woman – it will be interesting to see how that turns out! A sweet pea name Mumsie also took our fancy.
Being plantaholics we enjoyed a great day out and reminded ourselves not to leave it too long before another visit. The next spring show will be the RHS London Orchid & Botanical Art Show, 12-13 April 2013. To buy tickets in advance, CLICK HERE
Posted by editor on Sunday, 10 February 2013
A visit to Marchants Hardy Plants nursery for their ‘snowdrops weekend’ was a wonderful way to kick-start our spring garden visits (though relentless rain on Sunday proved a bit of a dampener to our enthusiasm for the new season!).
The Marchants garden itself was awash with delicate swathes of snowdrops peeking up over the mulch and lighting up the beds and bare hedgerows; and in the ‘potting palace’, an exquisite display of special varieties set in moss, with nearly 40 varieties available for sale.
Galanthus are more commonly known as snowdrops. They are perennial, herbaceous plants which grow from bulbs and are found growing wild from Italy to Turkey, mostly flowering in the depths of winter. They are very hardy. The common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, is in fact not native to UK. It arrived during the 17thC and has made itself at home here, often spreading to form huge colonies.
True collectors, Galanthophiles, relish the subtle and not-so-subtle differences of the many single and double forms – the plant and leaf form, the central green markings, the way in which the bloom hangs from the thread-like pedicel, the shape of the six tepals (three outer, three inner tepals – it has no petals).
If you would like to receive the Marchants snowdrop list by email, please CLICK HERE for their contact & catalogue request page making sure you tick the ‘Snowdrop availability’ box. For more information on this wonderful nursery visit www.marchantshardyplants.co.uk
Here at the Garden House we’re also enjoying the quietly emerging early spring buds and flowers. At this time of year, it’s like a game of hide-and-seek as you have to move leaves and trim away spent grasses to reveal, not just snowdrops, but early crocus, anemone, narcissi – and just starting to push up are the leaves of miniature Iris reticulata and of Iris “Katharine Hodgkin’ (one of our favourites). Our many varieties of beautifully subtle hellebores are in flower now too.
Planting & growing snowdrops:
- Snowdrops are best bought and planted while actively growing – growers call this planting ‘in the green’ – ensure they are planted at the same depth as they were growing before they were lifted from the ground – the point where the green leaves start to turn yellow should be level with the soil surface
- With pot-grown plants, the surface of the compost should be level with the soil
- They do not like hot, dry positions preferring part shade
- Snowdrops can be naturalised in grass under trees where they look spectacular alone, or mixed with crocus. They will make handsome clumps in a shady border or under a hedge or among shrubs
- Plant in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil with plenty of humus
- Where bulbs are planted in grass do not cut the grass until after the leaves have died back. Divide large colonies immediately after flowering while the leaves are still green
- Flowering period: January and February
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Join The Garden House special visit to the Winter Garden at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden: Friday 22 February. This is a daytime coach trip, for more info CLICK HERE
Snowdrop Days at Pembury House: NGS Open Garden – Pembury House, Ditchling Road (New Road), Clayton, nr Hassocks, Sussex, BN6 9PH: See the snowdrop displays on 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 February. Special Hellebore Day, Friday 8 March (all dates 11am-4pm). CLICK HERE for more info on Pembury House
Marchants Hardy Plants, 2 Marchants Cottages Mill Ln, Laughton, East Sussex BN8 6AJ Tel: 01323 811737 / web: www.marchantshardyplants.co.uk
Posted by editor on Monday, 1 October 2012
One of our very favourite gardens Great Dixter is holding its annual Plant Fair next weekend, Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October.
This is a particularly special event as it includes some European nurseries that one wouldn’t normally see over here – Domaine de la Source from France (Asters), De Hessenhof (herbaceous) and Kwekerij Arborealis (shrubs and trees) from Holland, and Chris Ghyselen from Belgium (Perscaria). Also many excellent UK specialist nurseries.
There will be talks by the nurserymen about their plants throughout the weekend. Click here for the Timetable of Talks.
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 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 Monday, 2 January 2012
Take part in our three-part Gardening Quiz and join us for FREE on our visit to the wonderful winter garden at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens on Saturday 11 February OR on our day trip to Woolbeding Gardens at Midhurst, West Sussex on Friday 20 April - first entry received wins!
Introduce a new friend to The Garden House and they will receive a 10% discount on their first booking!
GARDENING QUIZ: PART 1
1. The cranberry, so popular at Christmas, is botanically known as what?
2. What would a gardener do with a dibble or dibber?
- Scrape mud off spades and trowels
- Make holes in compost to transplant seedlings
- Grade soil particles according to size
3. What is meant by resistant vegetable variety?
- A variety that is resistant to attack from pests or diseases
- A variety that is not resistant to attack from pests and diseases
- A variety that doesn’t like being moved
4. The Royal Horticultural Society runs a large garden at Rosemoor. Which county is it in?
5. What general term is given to trees and shrubs whose leaves fall in autumn?
6. What is the popular term for the flowering house plant Impatiens walleriana?
- Black-eyed Susan
- Busy Lizzie
7. What is the name given to the technique of clipping trees and hedges into ornamental shapes?
- Renewal pruning
8. Why do gardeners practice crop rotation?
- To grow bigger vegetables
- To make the garden appear organized and efficient
- To help prevent a build up of pests and diseases in the soil
9. Which part of a tree can be used to make cork?
- The bark
- Root tissue
- Pulped seeds
10. The love apple is the original name for what?
Print off each of the four quiz parts, ring around the correct answer, add your name and address (of course!) – and post to Bridgette and Deborah at The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Answers must be received by 25th JANUARY – and we’ll announce the winner by the end of January – best of luck!
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 Saturday, 16 July 2011
Fifteen of us, plus Deborah and Bridge, gathered for the Garden House Summer School last week. The horticultural settings we visited on each of the four days were fascinatingly different, as were the proprietors and gardeners we met.
Our first day was at Hankham Organics, who supply local greengrocers and weekly veg boxes to about 500 households. Pete, who gave us the grand tour and supervised our tasks, was very knowledgeable and clearly passionate about growing organically and running a sustainable business. We got to admire the mighty compost heaps, examine tiny pests and almost-as-tiny predators, and then we were let loose on their precious stock. In the 1.5 acre glasshouse we pruned tomato vines, tended cucumbers and picked beans; then into the field, where we hoed pumpkins and vied to become the slowest leek planters in the world!
Tuesday saw us at Highdown Herbs in Small Dole, working mainly in polytunnels. Arthur, Janet, and Jack taught us how to divide grasses, take herb cuttings, and how to pimp an overgrown and weedy plant-pot. Bridge shared her love and knowledge of herbs, and we found out just how wide this category of plants can be, from amazing magenta-topped Tree Spinach to beautiful Coneflowers (Echinacea) and even Willows, which make the ever-useful aspirin. And we all went home smelling most fragrantly of mint and rosemary.
On Wednesday we visited Gravetye Manor, now a hotel, whose romantic garden was originally designed by William Robinson in the 1880s. Tom, the relatively new head gardener, is reclaiming it from recent neglect and was full of information. The garden tour showed us a contrast of formal and informal areas, including his Zen long border (his name for a manure mulch alongside a gravel path). Vera, Tom’s dog, scared rabbits while we took note of flower names, admired the views, and worked out how soon we could visit the hotel for lunch or high tea. We worked in the walled kitchen garden, planting, pruning, training, digging out weeds, and saving seeds. Some people even got to wrangle live chickens.
Our last day was back in Brighton, in an overgrown secret garden. With some extra professional help, we worked in four teams and wrought an amazing transformation, hacking, hauling, sawing and strimming. Two vanloads of prunings and weeds were taken away, and in just five hours we had revealed the structure of the garden again, uncovering paths, patios and statues that were invisible when we began. The day ended with a very welcome sit-down and delicious meal back at the Garden House.
What did we learn? That coffee and cake are essential to horticultural success, that greyhounds like bean salad, that cucumber rash and uphill hoeing are very bonding experiences. And some other stuff, too… Thank you to Bridge and Deborah for organising it all and giving us a peep into four very different gardening experiences.
Words by Julia Widdows
Photos by Sandy Gee