Posts Tagged ‘Summer time’
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 Saturday, 21 July 2012
So good to see blue skies at last, summer’s here and isn’t it welcome after weeks and weeks of rain? The good thing is that most plants have survived and grown away like mad, the downside is too much lush growth can mean over-tall and untidy plants, so time to sort out the borders a bit. Also gone crazy are the slugs and snails, they’re everywhere – mainly chomping their way through my dahlias!
- Clear space in the borders by pulling out any early annuals or cutting back early flowering perennials
- At last you can plant out any half-hardy annuals you’ve kept under cover due to the heavy rain
- Keep feeding your tomatoes – with any luck they’ll recover from what has been a fairly disastrous early summer
- Keep planting lettuces
- You can start collecting seeds from plants like Honesty and poppies
- Pin down strawberry runners into soil to make new plants
- Deadhead like mad, keep tidying up bedding plants, perennials and shrub roses and tie in vigorous climbers. Leave roses that produce attractive hips
- Disbud and dead-head dahlias if growing for large blooms
- Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed, especially if a spring feed was not done
- Cut back delphiniums and geraniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage a second flowering period. Feed after cutting them back
- Divide clumps of bearded iris
- Tidy up fallen leaves, flowers and compost – this will prevent potential pest and disease problems
- Check plants regularly for signs of glasshouse whitefly, leafhopper, glasshouse red spider mite, mealybugs and scale insects
- Don’t forget to keep watering your pots, they’ll dry out really quickly now that warm weather is here
And in between all the garden housekeeping – enjoy the sunshine!
Posted by editor on Saturday, 2 June 2012
If you nip down to your local garden centre, it may not be too late to rustle up some red, white and blue bedding plants and even perennials to plant up a couple of pots or window-boxes (ideal for your front garden if your street is planning a party!).
The RHS website has some brilliant ideas – the following info is from their website:
Patriotic displays of red, white and blue-flowered plants are traditional favourites for British celebrations. Below is a selection of plants recommended by the RHS and the Horticultural Trades Association, who have been working together to promote the brightest and best to garden centres and nurseries for the summer celebrations.
|Begonia Semperflorens Cultorum Group||
|Begonia × tuberhybrida||
|Viola × wittrockiana (pansy)||x||x||x|
*’blue’ plants include shades of mauve and purple, as there are few true-blue flowers.
Images are from:
One Good Thing by Jillee – who also suggests painting your pots in red, white and blue!
Bill Flowers - love those ‘over railing’ pots!
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 Friday, 19 August 2011
Rudolph and Peter’s Garden, Early June, Late Afternoon 2011
Poem by Renee McAlister (gardener, and Garden House friend)
Alcanet fusing with Geranium.
African daisies shut-shy without sun.
Bristling box with stray branches untrimmed.
Spidery Iris like bee’s eyes: undimmed.
The garden, in thickets of late afternoon,
is unsettled still, but will still with the moon.
Bamboo is bracing. The pace of the breeze
speeds up as it batters the flat leaves of trees.
Buddleia’s budding. Its dark brush will come
and paint purple parapets, spires of plum.
Hazel-shade shadows the dead Bleeding Hearts,
whose slow-beating life will return when spring starts.
Cornus and Hollyhock, safe below Birch.
Cranesbill, through Hebe, continues its search.
Grasping at Fuchsia, Lonicera climbs,
its aroma a rhyme to the Fuchsia’s white chimes.
Cloud Ceanothus that mirrors the sky
in the spring, as it screams out its blue battle cry.
A straggle of Chives guards Begonia’s blooms
while a pale Helichrysum frisks them with fumes.
A wind from the South shakes the sound from the sea
and, though sirens splash shouts through the green, I am free
in the salt-saturated and seagull scared air
watching gold Philadelphus shed petals and care.
The harsh scent of Rosemary drops on the grasses
whose shoulders are hunched, for they hide as time passes.
The courage of Quaking Grass staking its claim
as it eases itself through Tobacco Plant’s flame.
There are boxes of Basil, of herbs and of Pinks.
No longer a wall where the great Ivy thinks
of another wall, other bricks, render and tiles
onto which it can cling, onto which live for miles.
The South facing border is pent up and primed.
Imposing Anemones, growing in lime,
shift their corpulent foliage east and then west
and Verbena unfurls fists of mauve at its crest.
The soft Dusty Millers, all purring and fur,
press their paws in the earth as if to deter
the encroaching Hydrangea with flattened false flowers,
its patterned white plates making meals out of hours.
The chattering Strawbs are absorbing the light
as they gossip of red flesh and talk of the night.
The Cardoon is King, though it waits for its crown,
its cut-silver accent born far from this town.
Spent stars of Allium wait for their kin
to appear in the black of the night’s fleeting skin.
Columbines colonise unconquered soil
and Sedums seem infused with bright, verdant oil.
As Lavender licks at the last of the light
and the sun seethes and settles, bemoaning the night,
and the wind slaps a cold evening hand on my back,
I walk back to the house. We all walk into black.
Posted by editor on Sunday, 14 August 2011
At this time of year, hardy Passiflora are in full bloom. A wonderfully exotic-looking plant, the Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea) has large white flowers and central filaments of purple, blue and white, followed by egg-shaped, orange-yellow fruit, and flowers from July to September. The fruit are edible, but not very tasty and not to be confused with ones you can buy in the supermarkets!
This vigorous, trouble-free climber looks really good in a tropical planting scheme, and will grow best at the base of a sheltered wall in full sun, although they can tolerate some shade. Even the leaves and tendrils look other-worldlly, deeply lobed, dark green and glossy. It is frost hardy but may need some winter protection in cold areas. The eventual height is 10 metres.
The “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
- The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance
- The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ
- The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer)
- The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns
- The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
- The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance)
- The blue and white colours of many species’ flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
Being easy to grow they require little maintenance, but if you don’t want them to reach too high, plant in pots or tubs and let them grow up and cascade over an obelisk.
Choose three to five of the strongest shoots, tying them in to horizontal wires. Once the plant is established, cut back the flowered shoots immediately after flowering to within two or three buds of the permanent framework of the plant. In spring remove dead, misplaced or overcrowded stems.
If you want to find out more about passion flowers, Passiflora: Passionflowers of the World by Torsten Ulmer and John M. MacDougal is a really good read.
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
Posted by editor on Thursday, 14 July 2011
Our plant of the month for July is the hardy annual Ammi majus ‘Graceland’ which has been attracting a lot of attention at the Garden House for several weeks now. It really is a favourite – a ‘good doer’ and its dark green feathery foliage makes the perfect background for an unusually long lasting display of flat, lace-like heads of dainty white flowers opening from green buds.
The upright plants are ideal amongst perennials or other tall annuals, and are especially attractive to bees, butterflies and other insects. They also make valuable cut flowers where they bring a lightness and airiness to displays of bolder flowers in pastels or brighter shades.
Ammi is really easy to grow from seed – we sowed ours in a cold greenhouse in September, they were then potted on into 9cm pots and kept outside over winter to harden off in the cold frame.This makes for a very hardy plant and this treatment has really paid off as they have been in flower for about 8 weeks now. Ammi are about 1.4m tall and hold themselves up well against other plants but need staking if they stand alone.
Just to note for future reference – we will be selling the seeds of Ammi at The Garden House from September!
Posted by editor on Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Come along to our Charity Auction at 6.30pm on Friday 8 July! Below is a list of some of the FANTASTIC items to be auctioned – if you are unable to come you can email us a silent bid!
The auction is always great fun and all proceeds go to charity. This year we’re supporting the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The PHA UK is the only charity in the UK supporting people affected by pulmonary hypertension; a serious condition that causes damage to the heart and lungs, and which can affect people of all ages, race and gender.
1. Luxury converted chapel in North Norfolk – sleeps up to 12 – beautiful location, near beaches and fantastic walks and restaurants. Available for one week, dates negotiable (not in school holidays!).
2. House in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands – sleeps 4 – own gardens and communal pool. Available for one week, dates negotiable (anytime in the year). See www.villagecko.co.uk for more details.
3. Our infamous Friday Gardening group will come and transform your garden – up to 15 people for 5 hours gardening – all experienced and keen!
4. Men’s Wimbledon towel – as used on centre court by Novak Djokovic to wipe his brow!
5. Painting by Angie Bonnel: gold ink drawing from her nature series, entitled “Umbelliferae”.
6. Mosaic mirror by local artist Sue Samways.
7. Aromatherapy massage.
8. Three course vegetarian meal for four delivered to your door (local only) – delicious!
9. Screen print by Gary Goodman: a limited edtion hand-pulled screen-print printed at Artizan Editions and signed by artist Gary Goodman. Local artist Gary Goodman was inspired to create a new piece of work around the principles of liberty, freedom and democracy when he heard that Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese leader, human rights advocate and Nobel Peace laureate was to be the Guest Director of the Brighton Festival 2011. Taking her plea to ‘use your liberty to promote ours’, Gary has co-created with Artizan Editions, an original screenprint which features a colourful bird and reflects the themes of liberty and freedom. Gary’s new print has drawn on these symbols to create a mythical bird using a colour palate with influences from Brighton and Burma. Launched at Brighton Festival 2011.
10. Golf lesson at Hollingbury Park Golf Club – clubs provided!
11. Chiropractic assessment and treatment by Karen Swirsky.
12. Hair cut by Nikki Ward.
13. Signed copy of novel by Julia Widdows – and your name as a character in her next book – you chose if you are a goodie or a baddie!
14. Oil painting by Aine King called Silent House.
15. Two x 1-hour stress management coaching sessions with an qualified, experienced practitioner.
16. Facilitate an evening of French dancing.
17. A delightful tray of toiletries.
18. Painting by Phil Cole using polyester resin on wood.
19. Yves St Laurent ‘Paris’ perfume set.
20. Sunday roast dinner for two at The Foundry pub (vouchers).
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT.
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 Sunday, 12 June 2011
At The Garden House we have a variety of geraniums in bloom, many looking fantastic and coping well with the drought – one of them is a favourite, Geranium ‘Orion’. It is planted prominently in our herbaceous beds, its striking violet-blue flowers really stand out, supporting the gorgeous roses (especially wonderful next to Rosa mundi) and other herbaceous perennials. What a special and easy plant, it flowers superbly all summer long…
Common name: Cranesbill ‘Orion’
Cranesbills, Geranium, comprise a genus of around 300 species of annuals, biennials and herbaceous, semi-evergreen, sometimes tuberous perennials. They are sometimes confused with the genus Pelargonium, commonly, though mistakenly, known as geranium.
Herbaceous perennial: Fully hardy, it is in the Pratense group of hardy geraniums.
This stunning cultivar has attractive, highly dissected leaves (medium green, slightly hairy with paler more hairy reverse) that almost disappear from sight when the plant is in full bloom.
It bears large violet-blue flowers up to 5cm (2in) across, with fine dark red veins with white at the centre. It starts flowering in May and can go on until the autumn.
Height & spread: 80cm (31in) high x 170cm (67in)
Soil: Fertile, well-drained to moist
Aspect: Full sun or partial shade. Cranesbills are found in all except very wet habitats in temperate regions. They are generally easy to grow. Compact perennials, to about 15cm tall, are good for a rock garden; trailing, spreading or mat-forming plants are effective as ground cover in a woodland or wild garden. Taller, clump-forming species and hybrids are suitable for a border or among shrubs.
- Perfect for underplanting roses or filling the front of a border, coping well in full sun or partial shade.
- Water freely in the growing season. This plant is fast-growing and will benefit from a late summer chop to tidy up its habit and encourage production of fresh foliage and extended flowering.
- Plants may be damaged by vine weevil and sawfly larvae, slugs and snails. In dry conditions powdery mildew may be a problem.
- By seed – sow in containers outdoors as soon as ripe or in spring.
- Lift and divide large colonies in spring.
It has deservedly received the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Posted by editor on Sunday, 5 June 2011
As we’re all too aware here in the south-east, water is in really short supply and hosepipe bans almost inevitable. To be effective, it’s important to water your vegetables when they need it most – so we thought a guide to which vegetables need water and when, would be most useful!
Broad beans and peas need lots of water at flowering time in order for pods to set, and again two weeks after flowering begins. As young plants, avoid too much water as this can encourage leafy growth and reduce the yield. Runner beans need constant moisture for pods to set, whereas French beans are less sensitive to some dryness.
Celery, celeriac and Florence fennel need water during growth. Periods of drought stress are very damaging and should be avoided – it can lead to bolting or poor quality crops.
Courgettes need constant moisture all the way through to harvest. Marrows, pumpkin and winter squash benefit from watering but, in practice, often produce fair fruits from minimal watering. Trailing types need less water as their spreading habit conserves moisture and the stems root where they touch the ground.
Aubergines, sweet corn and tomatoes all need watering well to aid establishment and also at throughout the flowering and fruiting period.
Cabbages, chards, lettuce and all salad crops need water at every stage of growth. If water is especially short, make sure that you soak the ground around cabbages and lettuces when hearts begin to form.
Carrots, beetroot and parsnips require watering before the soil becomes dry, for example, if there are 14 days without rain.
Onions, shallots and leeks need only to be watered when they are establishing, and in very dry spells.
Potatoes benefit from being watered every 10-14 days once the tubers are marble-size (more often if growing in potato-bags).
Radishes need to be watered every week in dry spells.
So, remember – by really focussing on your plants individual watering needs, you will save time – and save water!
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 Saturday, 14 August 2010
Just because summer’s coming to an end, there’s no need to give up on vibrant colour and plants that flower well in the autumn – and it’s often the warm and rich colours of late flowering perennials that look best at this time of year. From warm yellows, through vibrant oranges, to rust and mahogany tones…
Amongst others our favourite plants for hot yellows and oranges include the lofty Inula magnifica, Crocosmia species (think Emily McKenzie), Helenium (Moerheim Beauty is a must), Hemerocallis (Corky is a favourite), Kniphofia (shown here is Tawny King) and the statuesque Eremurus (the foxtail lily).
For rusty and terracotta tones look to Achilleas; for deep mahogany tones consider Helianthus, these rich and stunning sunflowers will flower through to October. All sit well with ornamental grasses, especially as they dry and go amber and gold.
Deadhead fading flowers of herbaceous perennials regularly to stimulate new blooms and prevent plants from self-seeding. Once you know there’s no likelihood of further blooms, leave the last flower heads in place – not only can they look great, but they’ll provide perfect food for the birds in your garden as they prepare for winter.
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 Friday, 9 July 2010
The Garden House is once again opening its garden gate in aid of a local charity – this year we are raising funds for RISE (Refuge, Information, Support, Education), a local charity supporting women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse.
Join us for a brilliant afternoon! There will be stalls selling all sorts – including garden tools, jewellery, home made gifts, culinary delights, and a multitude of gardening items.
Tea and cakes will be on sale too, and we have our Grand Auction at 4pm! Auction prizes include:
- One week in a villa on Fuerteventura
- Large abstract painting by Sussex artist Bobby Boud
- Deckchair with customized patchwork seat
- Photo session in a local studio
- Patchwork quilt
- Coffee machine and coffee set
- Two complementary planted containers
- Voucher for a hair cut in a local salon
- Bridgette’s Friday gardeners – working in your garden for one day!
- And many other items, including ‘ingredients for a screaming orgasm’ (don’t ask!)…
Entrance fee: £2 per adult
We are also holding a Garden Dinner Party, which starts at 7pm. Why not book a table with friends? The cost of the dinner will be £20 for a delicious three-course meal and a glass of wine (we will have wine available for donation should you need extra!) – and during dinner we’ll be serenaded by live band Vinyl Riff!
- Starters: roasted Piedmont peppers, OR mushroom, sherry and walnut pate, OR watermelon and goat’s cheese salad
- Main course: organic Cheddar, zucchini and roasted red onion quiche, OR Malaysian fish curry, OR tortilla with fried beans served with guacamole and salsa
- Dessert: free-range homemade meringue nests with summer fruits, OR chocolate brandy refrigerator cake, OR fresh fruit platter
Contact us for more info: 01273 702840 / 0778 8668595 / email@example.com
Please come and bring your friends and help us to raise some money for this hugely worthwhile cause – thank you, and hope to see you then!
Posted by editor on Friday, 2 July 2010
As part of The Garden House Plant School we spent Wednesday evening at the quite gorgeous Marchants Hardy Plants, Laughton, in the knowledgeable company of proprietor and plantsman Graham Gough and his partner Lucy Goffin.
Following a short career in classical music as a gifted tenor, Graham’s love of plants was re-awoken by a cathartic trip to Sissinghurst Castle in Kent where his eyes were opened to the artistic and creative process of gardening at its highest level; Lucy is a textile artist. It is palpably apparent that creativity flows through their fingertips – everything in the garden and nursery is beautifully considered, immaculately laid out and personally attended come rain or shine.
What Graham doesn’t know and feel about plants seems hardly worth knowing. He is one of a small group of passionate plantsmen and women, always exploring, propagating, exchanging ideas – citing amongst others the late Christopher Lloyd, plantswoman Marina Christopher, and writer Noel Kingsbury as friends. His passion and creativity has created a unique nursery, one where you can guarantee finding that special ‘must have’ cultivar, where you know you’ll be inspired…
At the end of a long day, glass of wine in hand, he walked us around his garden highlighting key plants, indicating where planting has worked brilliantly and where it has not (rare!), infecting us with his philosophy and enthusiasm.
“At Marchants, the nursery drifts almost imperceptibly into Gough’s rich, dramatic sweeps of herbaceous planting: sanguisorbas, daylilies, masses of grasses, achilleas, dark agapanthus…” Anna Pavord, The Independent Magazine.
For Graham gardening and creating the nursery is the best therapy one can get. He tries not to go with the trends, but takes a more subjective view, relying on intuition. He advocates “going it alone, keep your eyes open, and make personal choices”.
Key messages from the evening:
- In a small space you have to be selective; achieve a visual calmness by narrowing the number of plant types used
- Find peace in clear spaces; a simple water feature with little around it, creates a sense of sanctuary
- For colour inspiration look to 20thC paintings
- Set aside an area of the garden where you can ‘play’, doing something different each year, trying new plants
Marchants Hardy Plants, Mill Lane, Laughton, East Sussex BN8 6AJ
Tel/fax: 01323 811737 www.marchantshardyplants.co.uk (check website for opening times)
Posted by editor on Monday, 28 June 2010
Taken from the writings of our London friends at The Women’s Room blog: www.thewomensroom.typepad.com/the_womens_room/
I don’t go to therapy, instead I garden. It keeps me calm, I can work through all my issues and have imaginary arguments in the greenhouse where no one can hear me and I always win. The plants respond well to the attention and there are weeks when I spend more time nurturing my seedlings than my family.
The other advantage of gardening is meeting other gardeners, who are all too willing to share their interest in growing things and often give you stuff, in the form of cuttings and bits of leaf to identify. This weekend we went to the Garden Gadabout in a very sunny Brighton where we met some fabulous enthusiasts eager to share their green spaces.
We saw a number of interesting trends…..
- The new shed - everyone’s got a fancy room-in-the-garden shed, with sofas/internet connection/curtains
- Vegetables in raised beds – everywhere but everywhere
- Potatoes in bags/containers – apparently easy and prolific
- Beech sticks as wigwams for climbers (prettier than bamboo)
- Chickens – who have their own fancy coups if they’re lucky
- Seating areas – loads of them everywhere
- Recycled boxes/tins/sacks are the new pots
- Mosaics – from small to complex, black and white or multi coloured
- Creating your own seed packets and hand drawing the floral fronts
- Cakes – it seems all gardeners can cook cakes and make excellent lemonade
Here are some of the photos taken this weekend…
…and don’t forget the Garden Gadabout (private gardens opening in aid of the charity Susssex Beacon) is happening again weekend 3rd/4th July.
Note from GG coordinator Bridgette Saunders: “As usual The Sussex Beacon’s garden will be opening Saturday 3rd July. Come and visit us and see the changes that have taken place. You’ll receive a warm welcome and have the opportunity to visit the gardens of this unique centre. There will be stalls, a tombola and of course cream teas to buy and enjoy whilst relaxing in tranquil surroundings. All the funds raised from The Garden Gadabout come directly to The Sussex Beacon.”
Check their website for details www.gardengadabout.org.uk
Posted by editor on Monday, 14 June 2010
Opening one’s personal space to visiting gardening enthusiasts is a tense business, like baring your soul for all to see. We’re really not sure why we do it – it’s an emotionally rocky time – one moment you’re revelling in a little admiration, then appalled when someone notices the empty petunias box from B&Q shoved into a forgotten corner (we only bought them at the eleventh hour to plug a gap for heaven’s sake!)…
Of course when the wellie’s on the other foot – nothing gives us more pleasure than exploring someone else’s garden, loved and nurtured over many years, or newly created and full of potential and exciting ideas…
If you possibly can, keep the weekends of 26/27 June and 3/4 July free – two weekends when over sixty beautiful private gardens and community spaces will be opening their gates for this year’s Sussex Beacon Garden Gadabout. Many are in Brighton and Hove – but also as far afield as Lewes, the village of Rodmell, and to the east, Peacehaven and Seaford.
There are an extraordinary variety of outdoor spaces to enjoy. New gardens join the best from last year – visit overflowing allotments, community spaces, shady nooks and courtyard gardens, large expansive gardens, gardens where creativity is key, and gardens where plants come first – all hidden gems waiting to be explored…
Many offer delicious homemade cakes and refreshments, plants for sale, jams and honey – even sales of local artworks.
So whether you’re an experienced gardener, keen novice, or simply want to come along to see what your neighbours have done with a space similar to your own – check the website, look out for the free booklet, and start planning your trails! www.gardengadabout.org.uk
All proceeds from the weekends go to the Sussex Beacon, a unique centre providing innovative services to meet the changing needs of men and women living with HIV. www.sussexbeacon.org.uk
Posted by editor on Saturday, 5 June 2010
The Garden House invites you to its first “pop-up restaurant” on Friday 2 July! Come on your own or bring a group of friends to enjoy outdoor eating at its best. We can promise you great company, a beautiful setting in The Garden House garden (tented if it looks like rain!) – and great food and wine, of course!
Cost: £25 per person for three courses.
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT. Starts 7.30pm until late.
Places are limited and must be reserved. To book contact 0778866 8595 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – do spread the word via Twitter and Facebook!
MENU: Fresh and local ingredients, some from the garden, will be used wherever possible (menu subject to change if adverse weather dictates!)
- Fried halloumi cheese and lime and caper vinaigrette
- *served with selection of breads
- Mushroom croustade
- Salmon en papillote with dill and lemon, and fresh Hollandaise sauce
- *served with seasonal vegetables and green salad
- Summer pudding
- Baked vanilla and lemon cheesecake with marinated strawberries
- Cheese and biscuits + £3
- Coffee or tea, with chocolates + £3.00
Posted by editor on Saturday, 29 May 2010
Brighton-based designer Andy Sturgeon won both gold and Best in Show Garden at CFS with his contemporary gravel garden. A wonderful and adventurous garden in many respects – the free-standing rusted steel structures framing stunning planting. Our eyes were particularly drawn to three large dramatic bowls of bronze coloured irises (Iris ‘Action Front’).
We also loved the stunning display put on by Cayeux, the French Iris specialists. The logistics of exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show were quite a challenge for Cayeux – their nursery in France has no poly tunnels, all irises being grown in 55 acres of open fields. Thus the plants shown at Chelsea were grown in England by the nursery Iris of Sissinghurst, in pots from rhizomes sent over in August 2009 from the Cayeux fields in France. www.iris-cayeux.com
Irises are well suited to dry, hot conditions. The following planting/care info is taken from the Cayeux website:
- When to plant: July to mid-October. It is important that the roots of newly planted Irises are well established before winter.
- Where to plant: In full sun – Irises need sun at least two thirds of the day. The soil must have very good drainage. Plant either on a slope or in raised beds. No water should be allowed to stand in iris beds.
- Soil preparation: If your soil is heavy, coarse sand or humus may be added to improve drainage. Lime is also good to improve clay soils. The ideal pH is 7 (neutral), but irises are tolerant in this regard. Remove all the weeds before planting.
- Distance apart: Plant 30 to 40 cm apart. Closer planting will give an immediate effect, but the irises will need to be thinned often.
- Depth to plant: Irises must be planted so that the tops of the rhizomes are exposed and the roots are spread out facing downward in the soil. Just after planting, water to pack down the soil around the roots.
- Watering: Newly set plants need moisture to help their root system become established. Once established, irises do not need to be watered except in arid areas and it is always better to under-water than over-water. TOO MUCH WATER CAN INDUCE ROT.
- Dividing old clumps: Irises must be divided every 3 to 5 years before they become overcrowded and begin to flower less. Thin by removing the old divisions at the centre of the clumps and leaving new growth in the ground. Alternatively, dig up the entire clump and remove and replant the big new rhizomes.
- Feeding: Depends on your soil type but bone meal, superphosphate or 5-10-15, or 6-8-12 are effective. Feed once in early spring and then one month after flowering. AVOID USING FERTILIZERS HIGH IN NITROGEN, IT ENCOURAGES ROT PROBLEMS.
- About the foliage: During the growing season healthy green leaves should be left undisturbed, but diseased or brown leaves must be removed. In the late autumn, trim off old dying foliage and cut the leaves back to about 15 cm. Flower stems should be cut off close to the ground after blooming.