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Showing posts from August, 2012

Some New Additions for my Garden

As a thank you for looking after her garden whilst she was on holiday, my lovely friend Fiona took me on a little trip to visit a place called the Garden Barn in Cotesbach, near Lutterworth.  In my mind I was thinking it would be just another run of the mill garden centre.  Was I mistaken!  From the outside it was small, nothing special - but inside was another matter.    It was just a wonderful cornucopia of delights.    As usual with photographs they don't do it justice.

Before you even get inside there is all this wonderful vintage stuff - old tin baths, buckets and watering cans.  Old terracotta pots and sculptures made from bits of farm machinery - inventive ways of using stuff that you would find in a reclamation yard.  But inside - well, it was enough to make your mouth water. 

The words 'shabby chic' were invented especially for this place - I could have spent a fortune - I was in paradise.  A lot of things weren't for sale - kiddi-cars from the 50's, o…

My Annual Flower Show

"The quintessence of the cottage garden is an abundance of colour and a jumble of scents.  The cottage flower garden is crowded with flowering plants, jostling one on top of another.  There are practical reasons for such dense planting,  Firstly, the leaves form a protective screen so that weeds have little chance of germinating and, if weeds do emerge, the dense canopy cuts out the light they need to survive.  In other words, the plants act as a ground cover." (Christopher Lloyd - The Cottage Garden)
Every year I sow lots of different annuals for the front garden - some self-seeders pop up too and dominate the beds for a while, aquilegia and sweet rocket in the spring, nasturtiums in late summer, but on the whole I dictate what goes in the borders.  Some years my plans work out better than others, but I do get a colourful display no matter what. 

"Cottage gardens are rarely filled with just one type of plant - they usually contain a wide mixture, begged or borrowed fro…

The Butterfly-Friendly Garden - Buddleia

The Buddleia commonly known as The Butterfly Bush was named posthumously after the Rev. Adam Buddle (1662-1715), a botanist and rector in Essex, at the suggestion of Dr. Wm Houstoun.  Houstoun sent the first plants to become known as Buddleja to England from the Caribbean about 15 years after Buddles death. (this info is from Wikipedia but other articles say it is from China - take your pick).



 Some species commonly escape from the garden. B. davidii in particular is a great coloniser of dry open ground; in towns in the United Kingdom, it often self-sows on waste ground or old masonry, where it grows into a dense thicket, and it is listed as an invasive species in many areas. It is frequently seen beside railway lines, on derelict factory sites and, in the aftermath of the Second World War, on urban bomb sites. This earned it the popular nickname of 'the bombsite plant' among people of the war-time generation.
Butterflies are interested solely in nectar, to maintain their…

The Bee-Friendly Garden - Nasturtiums

  Nasturtiums have to be one of the cheeriest flowers in the garden.  They tangle and twine and climb and add hot spots of colour wherever you plant them.  They self-seed easily, and hopefully, come back year after year. 
 
And the best thing about them, is that they are edible.  They give a nice peppery twist to salads and the flowers add a lovely hit of colour.  The name comes from the Latin 'Nasus Tortus'  meaning twisted nose which refers to the reaction of peoples faces when eating the spicy plant.

They look pretty when brought indoors for decoration too.


Nasturtium buds can also be pickled in place of capers, and as the summer gets hotter so does the pepper in the plants - more heat, more sun - more spice.



Originally they are from South America - the Conquistadors brought them back to Spain in the 1500's.  If you use them as a companion plant they should hopefully draw the pests away from your precious brassicas.  The large, soft, umbrella…