Archive for 11/07/2013

Love Outdoor Play

On the eve of our first visit from a year five class, I was weeding our nature trail and tidying up. To my amazement, I saw what looked like a female stage beetle! I picked up the small rotting piece of wood and put it with the beetle inside a small window seal plant container. I sealed the plastic lid tight as I knew it would rain, so it wouldn’t get flooded out!

Whilst taking 21 children on a tour of our nature trail, I asked who could identify the different plants, vegetables and herbs. The two items of particular interest were: Blueberries and potatoes. I asked, ‘who has had blueberry pie?’I was met with a resounding: No!’ I then asked, ‘who has had a blueberry muffin?’ I was met with a resounding: ‘Yes!’

We looked at the potatoes and one child said, I thought potatoes…

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PicPost: Cushion floor

These are really made out of concrete!

Visit Old School Garden this Sunday!

I’m looking forward to welcoming visitors – including you? – to the first opening of Old School Garden. I’ll do a post about this next week for those that can’t make it.

Old School Gardener

clematis ground coverAn interesting question this week, from a Trevor Arzan of Nether Wallop:

‘Some of the stems on my Clematis have fallen down and are growing along the ground, where they seem to be doing quite well. Can this or any other climber be used as ground cover?’

Clematis make very good ground cover plants as do the yellow-veined honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica ‘Aureo -reticulata’) and the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris). Many roses, especially ramblers, can also be used in this way.

So turn what you might use as climbers into creepers!

And climbers are also useful for covering ugly tree stumps. The less vigourous ivies are ideal for this job. Choose one of the varieties of common ivy (Hedera helix) with prettily marked leaves, such as ‘Glacier’ in grey and white, ‘Buttercup’ with young leaves entirely yellow, or ‘Adam’ with white-margined green leaves. I’ve used this approach ona tallish Cherry Tree stump in Old School Garden and the ivies can even look attractive climbing up living tree trunks. And I’ve also used ivy as ground cover with mixed results- if ground elder is present it’s a devil to get this out without completely destroying the ivy, still Ivy is pretty tough and will re-establish.

It’s also worth trying ‘Dutchman’s Pipe’ (Aristolochia macrophylla), with enormous leaves and yellow and purple pipe-shaped flowers. Schizophragma hydrangeoides, with it hydrangea-like  flowers in creamy white, does very well on old stumps and is self clinging.

ivy cherry tree

Ivy growing up from ground cover to girdle the trunk of a cherry tree in Old School Garden

Old School Gardener

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That Bloomin' Garden

Have I ever told you how much stuff we have? Both hubby and I are collectors of stuff for the garden but you know how it is, we have good intentions but not always enough time. Well, three homes later and now we are finally using some found items. I bought two old gates for $5 each years ago and thought I was getting a horrible deal. That is until I went to a vintage sale and saw a gate sell for $70, cough, cough. Yes, you have that right. Funky old junk is in and the rustier the better.

rusty gate


So I went out in our secret junk area and dragged out one gate. I leaned it against my vegetable garden and there was a new trellis. Hubby saw that I had propped it up with bricks so he knew that wasn’t safe. He fashioned some clamps and screwed…

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