19.01.2024 - 14:58 / clairesallotment.com
Now this hasn’t happened for ages, but nothing was going on this weekend. No cinema, no bell ringing, no seeing family. It was just me in the garden for the entire weekend. Obviously there was the usual shopping and household chores to do, but most of those were done on Saturday morning. It was then just me and my plants….it was beautiful.
Mark and I fixed the top of the wooden box which our oil tank goes in and I gave it another couple of coats of paint. The hinges had broken and new bigger ones went on. Yes we have oil based heating and hot water, and gas canisters….we live out in the sticks. We do have mains water and electricity, but sometimes the water gets switched off and we’re not told, and we have frequent mini power cuts. But you get used to it after a while and I never reset the timer on the oven or fridge freezer because it’s pointless.
But we do have wildlife all around from bunnies hopping around the back field and round the front and scooting across the road in front of the car, peacocks calling to each other, sheep and lambs in the field down the road, rhea’s grumbling as you walk past and a myriad of different birds flitting about, some small, some medium and some marsh harriers and the occasional owl and bats. The local swans in the stream are now teaching their babies about the Green Cross Code. Us locals drive sensibly, it’s the out of villagers that drive like idiots. Drive past them really, really slowly and carefully.
I got loads done in the garden so here goes. I know it’s early, but I’ve checked the weather and we are not due any more frosts in the south east of the UK so my Runner beans can now be planted out. The French beans are quite large enough so I’ll leave them for a little longer.
Often, these are timeless items that have truly stood the test of time, but there’s also room for innovations that have transformed the way we garden – battery-powered tools that have done away with electric cables and noisy, smelly two-stroke fuel, for example. We asked the country’s top head gardeners which tools they couldn’t contemplate gardening without.
In the ever-evolving tapestry of horticulture, 2024 brings forth a new chapter as gardens undergo a transformative journey guided by the latest trends. From the integration of nature into outdoor spaces to the tech-savvy approaches that are revolutionizing horticulture, this year's garden landscape is a canvas of innovation and sustainability. Join us as we delve into the heart of these trends and explore how they are changing the way we imagine, cultivate and experience our gardens. Step into a world where sustainability meets aesthetic expression, where technology blends with the natural, and where each garden becomes a unique testament to the creativity and conscientiousness of its caretaker. Welcome to the garden trends of 2024 – a celebration of greenery, diversity and the limitless possibilities that bloom in the outdoors.
For gardeners across the globe, English gardens are renowned. Their reputation for being the most romantic, beautifully planted and idyllic spaces a gardener could hope for has spread far and wide. But how do you define a quintessentially English garden? Say the words and the mind immediately conjures up certain images: arbours and pergolas dripping with rambling roses; herbaceous borders with sky-blue spires of delphiniums, York-stone paving and clipped yew hedges. There are some features that no self-respecting English garden should be without, the essential elements that make the country’s gardens so iconic – here are our must-haves for that dreamy English garden look.
Flowering fiesta Bright Color
Some people get their kicks from designer labels, others from rummaging through flea shops, or collecting obscure Japanese comics, vintage tractors, handbags, dolls, beer-mats, Star Wars merchandise or whatever else. Me, I get mine from ordering seeds.
The news has been awash with UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson’s issues in relation to the badger cull. There has been fierce opposition to this issue. No one seems certain whether this strategy will help make a positive impact on the reduction of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. With fierce protests and ongoing issues yet to be resolved, it seems this is far from over.
The Main Avenue of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the heart of the iconic event. An extraordinary opportunity for talented newcomers and experienced designers alike to showcase innovation, creativity and the transformative power of a garden space in the heart of the city and watched by an audience of millions. Tom Massey is back after his 2023 Chelsea Flower Show success, this year partnering with Je Ahn, and familiar faces Ann-Marie Powell, Matthew Childs, Tom Stewart-Smith and Robert Myers are designing show gardens supported by Project Giving Back.
After several years of sowing at different time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the perfect time for me to sow my Runner and French Bean seeds in the greenhouse is on 1st May. That way they have exactly one month to grow and be the perfect size to be planted outside on 1st June. I live in the South East of the UK so all worries of frost have gone from that area by the beginning of June. If you live further north or south of where I am, then you know your frost dates and can adjust your timings.
About 10 days ago I had another 5 bags of top soil arrive. This is usually an annual thing, I like to get it in before the end of the financial year as it’s an expense for work. The soil in the raised beds always drops slightly during the year, it’s just something that it does, but eventually I won’t need to get any more. Each bag weighs about a ton, so that’s a lot of soil for one person to move on their own. George is at university so got away with it this year, but with Mark and I shovelling into the barrow, Emily wheeling the barrow and then with the help of Kai tipping the soil into the bed and then Kai raking it about we were working like a very well oiled machine. We got the first 2 bags done within about half an hour, and then sat down for a little light refreshment, and then did the last 3 bags. We started at 10.30am and were finished by just gone noon. I didn’t think that we’d get them all done by lunchtime, I was hoping to get about 3 done, so that was brilliant. Well done team Woodside Barn!!
It doesn’t happen very often that I have an afternoon free during the week, but today I did. So it was the perfect time to sow all my April seeds, inside and out. After lunch I grabbed a cup of tea and my April box of seeds and off I went to the greenhouses to start.
Today was Mother’s day and I got some wonderful gifts from Emily, George and Kai. No beer or wine, but then my birthday is in a week, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed I get some then. Still I had plenty in the fridge so that was fine. The kids clearly know me very well, as they got me a lovely chicken tea towel and mug, as well as come lovely fudge (not the smooth kind but the stuff that melts in your mouth which I prefer), and a couple of posh bars of soap so I can try and get my hands clean after a day in the garden.