Archive for July, 2016

To Walter Degrasse

WP_20160731_09_32_56_ProDear Walter,

Summer finally arrived! It’s been a warm few weeks after a cloudy and wet June.  Wa + We= G (where Wa is warmth, We is Wetness and G is growth) just about sums it up.

The growth has on the whole been a victory for wanted plants rather than weeds, though I’ve still been ‘speed weeding’ in the more prominent areas of the garden- mainly bindweed.

It’s been a month of change; our daughter and her husband have returned from living in Portugal and are currently living with us pending settling jobs and a permanent place to live. It’s great having them around, and our son-in-law, Diego has been especially helpful in the garden and more generally; he’s done a great job repainting a lot of the woodwork in the kitchen garden and helping tidy things up. They also brought their two cats with them and one of the most important jobs earlier in the month was finishing off their new home- the ‘Cat Cave’.

At this time of year many of the floral treats of high summer are coming into their own, so here’s a pictorial round up of Old School Garden today…

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After the first flush of produce from the kitchen garden, things have slowed a little, though we have a good store of potatoes, onions and garlic. The strawberries were very disappointing, a combination of poor weather and the early shoots being nibbled by deer. We now have a rather untidy bed with corn growing out of the straw I put round the strawberry plants- a job next week will be removing this and perhaps using some of the spare ground for planting out leeks or carrots.We’ve had and continue to get a good supply of tomatoes, and other things are well on the way, such as some newly planted leeks and red cabbage…

Another important achievement has been finishing off the path next to the ‘Fruit Fence’; I decided to board the edges and cover it with landscape fabric and gravel. It certainly tidies that area up. I’m now starting to contemplate the next big thing, my DIY shed. I’ll turn my attention in the coming weeks to finalising the design and then getting hold of the timber for its framework.

WP_20160731_09_40_44_ProYou may recall a couple of years ago I was involved in tidy up at the local churchyard, and promised the then vicar that I’d produce a Management Plan for this? Well, two years on and with a new vicar in place, who’s keen to get the church up and running as a community venue as well as a place of religion, we are working together to set up a ‘Friends’ Group, part of whose role will be to look after the churchyard. I’ve drafted a management plan for this (see the visual plan below), which features a mix of close mown paths and areas of recent burial, with blocks of ‘meadow’ like habitat. The local Wildlife Trust is interested in helping us and have already completed a survey of the churchyard, which has a good range of wild flowers

st. peters planJuly is also a good time to take semi-ripe cuttings, so I’ve taken around 60 pieces from the lavender in the front garden  (‘Imperial Gem’) with a view to replacing this in a couple of years time, as the plants are now getting rather woody.

WP_20160731_09_39_41_ProI’ve also recently purchased a few ‘bargain’ plants to replace the early flowering Sweet Williams (having collected seed from them) and Violas.

The pond garden continues to fill out and I was pleased to spot a Frog and Dragon Fly there the other day and the host of insects continues to expand. The Water Lily I thought had died off, appears to have revived (the warmer weather is probably the key).

WP_20160731_10_06_24_ProOh, and I also got some free plants courtesy of Blickling the other day, some Ricinus communis. Though a bit ‘leggy’ they have fitted into my exotic front circular bed well, and having added some Scabious (‘Nana’) and Marigolds, as well as a Tithonia, I’m looking forward to this bed producing a bold ‘splodge’ of vibrant colour in the next month or two.

I hope that your own garden is looking splendid and that your new gardener is continuing to impress you with her skills and ideas. she certainly sounds to have been a find and with my recent experience of extra help, makes me think about getting in some extra help here…especially with the prospect fo so much weeding to be done in the autumn…I rather like the idea of being a ‘Head Gardener’!

Old School Gardener


The June issue of Gardens Illustrated has a feature (written by me as it happens) about this impressive garden, so I was more than happy to take a friend and go along to support their NGS Open Day. Set on a steep hill, it is a garden that has achieved a perfect balance of cultivated…

via Fairlight End — The Enduring Gardener

For the first time this week, garden enthusiasts will get the chance to see the remarkable garden created by Pat and Norman Webster at their stunning Canadian home overlooking the water, when the gardens open at 10.00 on 4 August. I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview when visiting Quebec in June with…

via Glen Villa – Pat and Norman Webster’s remarkable Quebec garden opens its doors for the first time on 4 August — The Galloping Gardener


Older patients receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust at a specialist unit in Ipswich are now able to make the most of the great outdoors following a mini-garden makeover.

Large planters which were once left derelict and unkempt have been filled with colourful plants and aromatic herbs, in turn bringing the courtyard at The Willows, which is part of Woodlands Unit at Ipswich Hospital, to life. Elsewhere, new seating has been added and tomatoes and peppers planted so that service users can enjoy growing their own vegetables.

The project was made possible thanks to the Woodbridge branch of Wyevale, which donated the plants, compost and gardening gloves to NSFT Staff Nurse Lesley Bradshaw. Some of NSFT’s service users helped with the planting, while more patients than ever now using the new-look garden to enjoy time away from the ward.

“We are really pleased with the makeover, which has added some colour, texture and aroma to what was once a rather bland and unloved courtyard,” said Lesley. “We asked our patients if they would like to get involved in planting and they really enjoyed it and found it quite therapeutic – one lady in particular who loves gardening at home was in her element.

“We are very grateful to Wyevale for their generosity, without which this project would not have been possible. More people are now using the space and enjoying sitting outside to get some fresh air, which shows that they really appreciate the work we’ve done.”

Brian Luke, Charity Champion with Wyevale, said: “It is a pleasure to help and I hope that we are able to support the unit again in the future and that many people get to enjoy the new space.

“I would like to thank John Bishop, the Garden Centre Manager, Mike Upson, our Horticulture Manager, and Tom Nunn, our Horticulture Team Leader, for making this all possible.

“It is my intention to do what I can to support our local communities in my role as Wyevale, Woodbridge Charity Champion.”

From NSFT Website

Death of the hardware store

Chas Spain

As the harmless nondescript strips of suburban Melbourne are systematically bulldozed by developers, a few local shops cling to each other like possums in the equally sparse remnant vegetation.

Next to the sublime Melbourne Vintage Audio shop (I wrote about yesterday) sits this slither of a hardware store dug in like an echidna, bristling with spiky wares to ward off anyone in a sharp suit. In the soft underbelly no doubt there is an ancient shopkeeper and an able assistant who can find a 31/2″ screw in a flash (no we don’t sell metric fittings in here my dear they would say ever so slightly patronisingly).

When we lived in St Kilda there was such a little hardware shop just off Acland St – a great refuge for newlyweds unsure of the etiquette of dealing with the early disasters of home making. Nothing like a wander about an array of power…

View original post 257 more words

Once upon a time, there was a prince called Pedro who was calm and handsome. As the younger brother of the king, he did not expect to have to perform royal duties. So he devoted his energies to the construction of a palace in the village of Queluz where he could host hunting parties. The […]

via The Queluz pousada — Salt of Portugal

Plant Fest

WP_20160529_10_37_40_ProWhilst down in Devon recently, one sunny Sunday morning I wandered into Tavistock Pannier Market to the Tavistock Garden Festival. It was busy.

There was a lovely range of displays by local nurseries all vying for our trade, as well as some other trades people with garden ornaments and practical garden items. I was tempted…and succumbed, buying three rather unusual plants, all of which now adorn the pond garden here at the Old School: a beautiful white Camassia (I’ve already saved seed from this and hope to propagate further plants), a Sanguisorba with a mix of red flowers and nicely cut foliage and a rather nice Geum, with golden yellow flowers nestling on pinkish red bases.

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Old School Gardener

Designing Regenerative Cultures

Daniel Christian Wahl
Saturday, 18th June 2016

Daniel Christian Wahl says a new generation of designers can design a world in which all can thrive and not just survive.

A new generation of designers are applying ecologically inspired design to agriculture, architecture, community planning, cities, enterprises, economics and ecosystem regeneration. Join them to co-create diverse regenerative cultures in the transition towards a regenerative society. Humanity’s impact needs to shift from degeneration to regeneration before the middle of this century. We will all have to collaborate to achieve this transformative response to the converging crises we are facing….

read more here

Recent research has shown that children are now spending only half as much time playing outdoors as their parents’ generation did. If you’re concerned that your kids aren’t getting enough time out in the fresh air then help is at hand – in the form of the simple stick. We conducted a survey which showed […]

via The humble stick revealed as the must-have toy for summer. — National Trust Press Office

It’s lily season in New England. I know they only last for a single day, but I love them anyway. They’re the same, but different. The colors are all beautiful. They’re straight, and they are curly. They are large, and they are small. They’re like us humans – all different, but all beautiful. 💗 “Gardening […]

via Flowers feed the soul — NewEnglandGardenAndThread

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