Archive for 13/06/2013

So, what is a putto?

My Botanical Garden

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage It was in the middle of winter when Nigel (Old school garden ) was asking me about historical gardens in my country. Dear Nigel, I have not forgotten I only haven’t found the right one My Botanical Garden could present-till now! But this one is just perfect, listen to  the story:

A.D. 1763

Count Lanthieri enters his room, with handful of first cherries from the valley. Crop is good this year, God knows how will the  wine be. Anno Domini 1762 was a good year. Extensive family vineyards, dominating the valley, gave exquisite wine, it was sold to Venice, Rome, Vienna, Luwigana. And the palace was renovated, garden was redesigned, all in baroque manner. Count opens the window overlooking  the garden, his glance slowly glides along the long garden axis. He is expecting guests from Luwigana today. Before they come, he will have a walk down in the garden…

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PicPost: Ready to pop

Shine A Light

Trying to choose a topic to write my blog about is sometimes challenging, but at other times it’s a handed to me on a plate….or should I say in a crate! (Bad pun I know…)

Last week we opened crate 22 (number 8 to have been opened)… and we were greeted by lots of cots and commodes! A few weeks ago we also found some pall bearers and a coffin template …which I think neatly encapsulates the cycle of life…and death… and as you can see gave me the idea for this week’s blog title!

After opening the crate and some initial record checking we found that some of the cots and commodes had previously belonged to the workhouse at Pulham Market in Norfolk. Being based in the grounds of Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse (built in 1775), we at the superstore found this is particularly relevant and poignant.

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 Close up of strong wind break netting

Close up of strong wind break netting

No, not a reference to too many sprouts, but a serious question from L. Onerf in Somerset:

‘Vegetables are not growing well in my windy garden, but I am reluctant to plant windbreaks of trees or hedges, as they will create shade and take moisture from the soil. What alternatives are there?’

If you want to avoid the costs of installing a fence/trellis with openings to allow the wind to percolate through at an acceptable speed, I think the answer lies in putting in a screen of synthetic wind break material, obtainable from most garden centres or online. The strength and quality of this varies and some is fairly costly, but a 1.5- 1.8 metre high wind break around your plot would give dramatic results. I found a 50 metre x 2 metre roll of knitted net on offer online for around £170 or much the same on Ebay for about £40, and £13 for a 10 metre length. Make sure the posts are anchored firmly in the ground (corner posts may need to be reinforced and they should ideally be bedded in concrete), as the netting takes a tremendous strain in high winds.

On the subject of vegetable or kitchen gardens, is yours laid out for maximum efficiency and growing space?

Traditionally vegetables were grown in large plots, often 6-9 metres wide and as long as the garden allowed. The vegetables were arranged with a lot of wasted space between rows. Today we know that vegetables can be grown far closer together without any adverse effects; indeed, there is a a trend towards abandoning rows and growing vegetables with equal spacing between the plants in each direction, in blocks or patches.

Narrow beds in the Kitchen Garden at Old school Garden

Narrow beds in the Kitchen Garden at Old School Garden

This compactness lends itself to smaller, narrower beds, say 0.9 – 1.5m wide, which can be any length you like. These narrower beds are easier to manage from either side (so avoiding walking on the bed itself and opening up the possibility and benefits of ‘no dig’ cultivation) and the denser planting also helps to crowd out weeds. here at Old School Garden, my kitchen garden ahs been laid out along these lines, though I still have a one large bed which I’ve effectively split into two by creating a ‘boardwalk’ path out of old pallets.

New boardwalk made of old wooden pallets

Boardwalk made of old wooden pallets, used to split a large veg bed into two

Do you have any gardening questions I might help you with? If so, please email me:

Old School Gardener

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