Archive for 12/04/2013


Spring is alive and well here in the Buckeye state.  Signs of nature’s renewal remind us that we too can change and once again glow.  Just as nature cycles on a yearly basis, we consistently change and evolve.  Bad habits can be shed like trees in autumn and be replaced with beautiful buds in early spring. New thoughts can be planted and nurtured until they grow into magnificent and vibrant flowers.  This process is not an easy one but can be softened and aided just like April rains when you surround yourself with  helpful and nurturing people.  On your next walk or dive, be reminded when you see a beautiful new bud or a vibrant wildflower, that you too can burst from your ugly habits and be transformed into a radiant symbol of hope.

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The sun looked as though it might break through the low cloud, so we (that’s my wife Deborah and me), put the top down on the car and hoped (we’ve come not to expect any particular weather here in Norfolk, UK). Alas, the temperature hovered around 7 C all day, but it didn’t spoil our outing to Cambridgeshire and north Essex. Just over an hour’s drive away lies Anglesey Abbey, former home of Lord Fairhaven and now a National Trust – run house and garden.

I’ve featured the garden already on this blog under a ‘Picpost’ but didn’t really do it justice. So you can see a few more pics of it in the gallery below. We had a pleasant stroll along the Winter Garden walk with its fiery colours and varied textures, though it was noticeable how many evergreens showed evidence of ‘leaf scorch’ by the recent cold easterly winds – the Garrya elliptica was looking especially sorry for itself. At the end of this walk sits the old Lode Water Mill, where flour is still ground and sold to visitors – fortunately we arrived and ascended the steep wooden staircases just before a coach load of german youngsters (several of the boys must have been 6’6″ plus).

Winding our way along the old mill stream we found the House (as the name suggests some of the older parts were once an Abbey) and donning our paper over – shoes to protect floors and carpets, we meandered around this house full of eclectic decor and collections of this and that – including many things ‘rescued’ from other ancestral homes by Lord Fairhaven during the early 20th century. He certainly had a love of Windsor Castle as there is one and a bit large gallery rooms full of different paintings of the place from a number of centurires and angles. I was particularly impressed with the display of some of Lord Fairhaven’s clothes and especially his shoes which looked as new (and some would probably be back in fashion today). He had so many pairs, for different occasions, that they were hardly ever worn – so much for the idea that it’s just women who hoard footwear!

To be honest, this probably wasn’t the best time to visit Anglesey Abbey for the gardens – the display of Snowdrops is famous but was well over, and the late spring has resulted in only a few bulbs being out, most notably the wonderful purply- blue of Scylla in the woodland end of the Winter Walk as well as some Daffodils. The Dahlia beds of course were looking bare and the Roses will not be out for a good couple of months yet (assuming they catch up). Still, there is a lot of interest here, including the more formal landscape garden with its evergreen hedges and statuary and some lovely areas of woodland. We concluded part one of our day with a wholesome lunch of jacket potatoes and salad in the well-appointed restaurant on site. The sun had not broken through, but we didn’t mind – Saffron Walden and the promise of afternoon tea (and Saffron cakes?) beckoned…. return to read part 2 of our special day tomorrow!

Old School Gardener

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Grow food not lawns

‘Lasagna/e gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil with very little work from the gardener. The name “lasagna gardening” has nothing to do with what you’ll be growing in this garden. It refers to the method of building the garden, which is, essentially, adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over time, resulting in rich, fluffy soil that will help your plants thrive. Also known as “sheet composting,” lasagna gardening is great for the environment, because you’re using your yard and kitchen waste and essentially composting it in place to make a new garden.

Lasagna GardenNo Digging Required

One of the best things about lasagna gardening is how easy it is. You don’t have to remove existing sod and weeds. You don’t have to double dig. In fact, you don’t have to work the soil at all. The first layer of your lasagna garden consists of either brown corrugated cardboard or three layers of newspaper laid directly on top of the grass or weeds in the area you’ve selected for your garden. Wet this layer down to keep everything in place and start the decomposition process. The grass or weeds will break down fairly quickly because they will be smothered by the newspaper or cardboard, as well as by the materials you’re going to layer on top of them. This layer also provides a dark, moist area to attract earthworms that will loosen up the soil as they tunnel through it….’

Sources and further information:

How to make a lasagna garden

Lasagna gardening- the basics

Lasagna – book and blog

Lasagna gardening- step by step guide

No dig vegetable garden

Lasagna gardening made simple

Vegetable Gardening

Old School Gardener

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