Archive for 16/05/2014

A large garden can be broken up into a series of more interesting spaces using arches, hedges, screens etc.

I’ve been approached by a TV producer who’s developing a potential new gardening series, which will involve a team of skilled and creative people with high functioning Asperger’s syndrome. The series will involve building a big and visually exciting show garden.

The producer, Claire Castle of Betty TV, wants at this stage to chat to people with Asperger’s who are passionate about gardening and outdoor pursuits, and ask them what they have done before, why they like gardening and if they have any other particular skills. It doesn’t matter if someone hasn’t been into gardening for that long, or their special interest is something different, as she wants different people to bring different skills and elements to the task.

It’s very informal at the moment, and Claire just wants to have a chat over the phone or can possibly pop over to meet people. She is already talking to a couple of people with landscape design and engineering backgrounds, and is especially keen to find soemone who knows a lot about plants! By having a team of people with Asperger’s she plans to explore the underlying theme of gardening therapy and autism, but essentially this is a chance to create something artistic, imaginative and inventive  in an unused green space.

The series is still in a development stage, so Claire needs to put a ‘taster tape’ together for the ‘big broadcasting channel’ she is working with, which will feature the team of people who would like to be involved. So if you’re into gardening or related areas, have Asperger’s and are happy to talk on camera about your green-fingered pursuits, why not get in touch with Claire via, or phone her on 020 7290 0204?

Old School Gardener


Picture: digging done at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

Picture: digging done at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

‘Come my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers and grave-makers; they hold up Adam’s profession.’

William Shakespeare – Hamlet


World Vision UK – the world’s largest, international children’s charity – has a new campaign called “Grow Hope”, which is aiming to raise awareness of Ethiopia’s transformation from drought to lush vegetation and get help to achieve similar results in other parts of Africa.

This year marks the 30 year anniversary of the 1984 Ethiopian famine, the worst in living memory. Thanks to World Vision and the generosity of supporters, the Antsokia Valley, which was hardest hit by drought, is now a lush, green oasis. Hope of a future free from hunger has grown into a reality. This video tells you more…

World Vision will be exhibiting gardens at three RHS Flower Shows this summer to mark the anniversary of the famine and celebrate the transformation of Antsokia. They are also offering a chance to win RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show tickets when you register for a Grow Hope pack, on the World Vision website:

For every person who signs up, World Vision will give vulnerable families in Zambia orange maize seeds, rich in Vitamin A, to ensure children can live a life free from the fear of hunger. They hope that the free packs will encourage people to reflect on the progress made and spread the word about the help that is still needed – to grow hope and share hope.

I’m signing up, will you?

Old School Gardener


Plant Heritage

At the AGM weekend in Norfolk, Bressingham Gardens provided a contrast to the visit to The Harralds, but proved equally fascinating, with interesting vistas throughout.  The garden was first developed by Alan Bloom (1906-2005), and opened to the public in 1962, showing the new concept of using perennials in island beds.  These island beds are still evident today as historical plantings and newer introductions exist together with the number of distinct varieties now in the region of 8000.

???????????????????????????????Jaime Blake, Head Gardener and Alan’s son-in-law, gave a highly informative talk about the gardens, in particular the Dell Garden and the techniques they use for managing the perennials and the gardens, to maintain its history and for the future. Bressingham gardens also hold the National Collection of Miscanthus.


What is most striking, apart from the desire to visit the gardens again, is the different views that appeared in the rolling open landscape turn of the garden.

Paeonia 'Illini Belle' Paeonia ‘Illini Belle’


Seeing perennials in large…

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