More Gardening Podcasts

More Gardening Podcasts. On The Ledge, Still Growing, A Way to Garden, We Dig Plants, gardening podcasts, garden podcasts, garden media, garden media guild, podcast, podcasts, alternative media, gardening, allotment, allotments, gardening blog, allotment blog,

New and newly-found Gardening Podcasts to get into in 2018 and see you through the cold dark days of winter

I’m a bit addicted to Gardening Podcasts and last year I listed My top 5 UK podcasts for gardeners. I had been out of the UK and to some degree out of the gardening habit for a couple of years. Those podcasts gave me a link to what was happening back in the UK and reminded me what I was missing.

I still think podcasts are a great way to access gardening information and there has been a huge increase in interest in these alternative media sources. The recent Garden Media Guild Awards really highlighted the trend in garden media away from traditional offerings to newer modalities and newer voices.

On The Ledge

More Gardening Podcasts. On The Ledge, Still Growing, A Way to Garden, We Dig Plants, gardening podcasts, garden podcasts, garden media, garden media guild, podcast, podcasts, alternative media, gardening, allotment, allotments, gardening blog, allotment blog,

The only UK-based blog on this updated list of Gardening Podcasts. That’s a little sad but this one is a belter.

This podcast focusses on all the houseplants you can imagine, combining instruction on how to care, how to manage pests and interesting interviews with growers and houseplant obsessives.

It’s hosted by Jane Perrone, the former gardening editor at The Guardian and now a freelancer. Jane was featured in my last podcast post as co-host of Sow Grow Repeat with Alys Fowler which has now been shelved.

A Way to Garden

More Gardening Podcasts. On The Ledge, Still Growing, A Way to Garden, We Dig Plants, gardening podcasts, garden podcasts, garden media, garden media guild, podcast, podcasts, alternative media, gardening, allotment, allotments, gardening blog, allotment blog,

Megan Caine is a well-known American Garden Author. She hosts this show which consists of interviews with relevant experts in nature and science as well as gardeners. Often there’s a Q+A correspondence edition.

It’s very calm and controlled and thoroughly interesting.

 

Still Growing

More Gardening Podcasts. On The Ledge, Still Growing, A Way to Garden, We Dig Plants, gardening podcasts, garden podcasts, garden media, garden media guild, podcast, podcasts, alternative media, gardening, allotment, allotments, gardening blog, allotment blog,

Jennifer Ebeling hosts this podcast from Maple Grove Minnesota. She’s an engaging host and we’ve had some lovely interaction via Twitter and the facebook group for this podcast. Every week covers a new topic which could be a design concept, a plant, a landscape, an author interview.

If you can get beyond the upbeat American style ( this dour Brit found this jarring initially but I’m fully converted) you’ll be hooked.

We Dig Plants

More Gardening Podcasts. On The Ledge, Still Growing, A Way to Garden, We Dig Plants, gardening podcasts, garden podcasts, garden media, garden media guild, podcast, podcasts, alternative media, gardening, allotment, allotments, gardening blog, allotment blog,Hosted by Carmen DeVito and  Alice Marcus Krieg, garden designers based in New York, this podcast has gone through some changes this year. In 2017 they’ve been exploring the different USDA Zones in the USA with a monthly episode. The concept is ‘Zone Envy’ and provides interesting information into the different climates in North America.

These women are funny and well-informed and I like their approach.

My last 5 Gardening Podcast Recommendations

Gardeners’ Question Time – Still going strong

Publisher: BBC Radio 4
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qp2f/episodes/downloads

Gardens Illustrated Podcast – All quiet from this one recently

Publisher: Gardens Illustrated Magazine
Source: http://www.gardensillustrated.com/podcasts

RHS Gardening Podcast – Never fails to deliver

Publisher: The RHS
Source: https://www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/publications/podcasts

Sow, Grow, Repeat – This one is no more

Publisher: The Guardian
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/series/sow-grow-repeat

The Sod Show – Still going

Publisher: The Sod Show
Source: http://www.sodshow.com/

 

What’s your favourite Gardening Podcast and are there any more UK-based shows you would recommend?

Project for 2018 – The Great Tomato Challenge

Project for 2018: The Great Tomato Challenge. Tomato, Tomatoes, Grow Your Own, edible, allotment, allotment blog, allotment life, allotments, home grown, tomato growing, grow your own veg, grow your own vegetables, GYO, harvest, Craig LeHoullier, epic tomatoes,

My hunt for some reliable outdoor tomatoes begins – The Great Tomato Challenge 2018

So why The Great Tomato Challenge? I’ve had a few goes at getting some tomatoes from the plants in my little greenhouse but they’ve been much the embarrassment. The plants seem healthy but fruit-set can be poor, the fruit takes ages to ripen and mostly they’ll succumb to either blight or rot before a harvest can be had.

I’ve decided that 2018 is the year of the tomato. Now I have an allotment, with its availability of good light levels and space, I can indulge myself. I’ve tried growing challenges before (see the disaster that was my Chilli Challenge in 2014) so expectations need to be reasonable.

The goal is to find some varieties that can perform outside in the mild climate of Devon. I’m looking for a cherry tomato, a good salad tomato, and a good tomato for sauces. I’ll be judging them based on plant vigour/health, crop weight, and flavour.

The inspiration

I’ve been listening to the Still Growing Podcast this year and Jennifer (over at 6 Foot Mama) interviewed Craig Le Houllier who has grown hundreds of tomatoes as part of his obsession with heirloom varieties.

His book gave me huge amounts of information and a wish-list that neared on three figures for a while. After my initial excitement was tempered by the reality of the space available, and the desire to grow something other than tomatoes on the allotment, I managed to be more discerning and narrow the list down. Once I found a seed supplier in the UK that stocked a large amount of the list I was sorted.

I looked at Real Seeds as usual but the varieties weren’t part of their (excellent) collection.  Plant World Seeds are based just 10 minutes away from me and listed a large number of the varieties on my list.

The Varieties

  • Brandywine Red
  • Brandywine Yellow
  • Giant Syrian
  • Mortgage Lifter
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Kellog’s Breakfast
  • Black Krim
  • Orange Banana
  • Coyote
  • Mexico Midget
  • San Marzano
  • Black Cherry

I’ll probably sow these in February to give them the longest growing season possible. I best get some pots cleaned ready for the challenge.

2017 – A year in review in the garden and on the allotment

2017

As 2017 comes to an end it’s an appropriate time to review some of the progress that’s taken place at home and at the allotment.

2017 was a year of transition for us. The largest thing has been the addition of a daughter to our family. With this comes the juggling of priorities and trying to fit her into our lives. The second thing was returning back to the UK and getting reacquainted with the garden. The other new addition to life has been my new allotment.

It’s been a busy year looking back!

Mum’s Garden

Before I got my hands on the allotment plot and the keys back to our cottage I entertained myself by doing a re-design of a shady corner of mum’s garden.

From dark and shady with uneven crazy paving, 3 level changes, and a large useless garden store, to a calm, bright and, most importantly, green courtyard. The lush evergreen planting has performed well all year and is still looking good.

Allotment

The allotment started out as a patch of grass 10m by 10m. After lots of hard work, it’s now beds and borders and has given a great first-year harvest.

No Dig Bed

I tried something new at the allotment. Never one to shy away from warts and all approach to blogging here’s the biggest let down of the year.

My no dig bed experiment didn’t quite go to plan. I don’t think I had enough organic matter on top of the ground to smother the perennial weeds. Ah well, you live and learn.

Front Borders

The planters at the front of the cottage were weedy when we moved back in. The sad looking clematis has been replaced by another metal planter and a climbing rose. The planters have been rejigged with some more grasses and they’re still looking good at the end of December.

In the Garden

When we got back to our cottage the top garden was mostly covered with weeds. I cleared them out and it’s still looking a little bare. The plan for 2018is to start reintroducing some interesting planting here.

Garden Visits

We’ve had a great year exploring some open gardens

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Eden Project

Sussex Prairie Garden

Gardens by the bay, Singapore

 

Thank you to everyone who read and comment on my blog, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Happy New Year!

 

Six on Saturday – 16th December 2017

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.

Joining in with this popular garden bloggers meme

After two weeks of cheating a little on this Six on Saturday meme, firstly showing images from a nearby woodland and then last week picking the best of someone else’s garden, this time around I’ve picked some highlights from my garden.

When the light levels are low, and most of the perennial plants have dived under the soil to wait out winter’s worst, evergreen plants carry interest through undeterred. We didn’t have any of the recent snow this far into the South West so the garden is unscathed.

The Six on Saturday meme was started by The Propagator and you can find links to other garden bloggers taking part in the comments on his weekly posts.

ONE

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Primrose

This little Primrose was rudely lifted some time ago and dumped into a terracotta pot to be sorted later. Later hasn’t arrived so it’s still in there but doesn’t seem to mind and has started to flower. One day I’ll divide it and find room for it somewhere in the garden. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the flowers.

TWO

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Holly

This is one of the poor Holly bushes that have been languishing in containers for over 5 years. Whilst they have always formed plenty of berries, they never grew well, putting on only minimal growth.

When we were in Australia mum fostered them and duly doted on them with water and feed with very little in return. Only when the metal containers had rusted through and they needed repotting did I realise my mistake – they were still in their 2L plastic pots!!

I must have been planting them after a night shift.

THREE

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Tellima grandiflora

This easy to overlook woodland perennial is one of my favourite plants. It’s evergreen, has soft leaves and sends up delicate spikes of bell-shaped flowers that are fringed with pink. It’s also easy to start from seed and that’s where all of my plants have come from.

I’ve put a mental note to gather some seed in 2018 and start some more.

FOUR

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Helleborus foetidus

A horrible name for a very good plant. I like the evergreen foliage mostly. The flowers which are starting to perform now are just an added extra. Again, this tolerates low light levels well and earns its space in a shady garden.

FIVE

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Variegated bamboo

I’m a bit indifferent to bamboos. I have Phyllostachys nigra in a large container which has never delivered on its promise. Mostly they can be thugs but this shorter variegate variety was in the cottage when we moved here and hasn’t really spread. It adds a brighter element to a dark dry corner

SIX

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Grass display at the front of the cottage

The cattle feed troughs at the front of the cottage have done really well after their revamp this year. Even into December, they are full of texture and interest. When the low light catches the inflorescences it looks great. They have required no attention since planting.

The planting is a mixture of Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, a small leaved Hebe plants grown from cuttings, Euphorbia myrsinites. There are tulips newly planted ready to put on some spring colour.

 

 

 

 

So that’s my first Six on Saturday. Please join in to mark the changes in your garden over the year.

Six on Saturday: 9th December 2017

Six snapshots in the garden to chart the changing seasons

Last weeks Six on Saturday went quite well so I’ve decided to give it another go this week. I’m away from the house so it’s another cheat week from me. The weather has turned chilly and we’re staying at the in-laws’ house in Surrey. The frost in the garden here was too much of a novelty for me so I thought I’d share.

The Six on Saturday meme was started by The Propagator so go and take a look at his weekly post. Also look through the comments to find more blogs joining in.

ONE

This Winter Jasmine putting in a good show this time of year but I doubt I’ll ever covet it for my own garden. I find the growth habit odd and for most of the year it’s just wiry stems.

TWO

Seed heads of Japanese Anemone. This is a lesson in not clearing away your perennials once they’ve gone to sleep for winter – look what you’ll miss out on!

THREE

The same goes for Hydrangeas. Leaving the spent flower heads is supposed to provide some cover against frost but more importantly it keeps interest into the depths of winter.

FOUR

Frost covered acorns and their husks.

FIVE

This Azalea is another plant that I probably won’t plant myself but the foliage at this time of year has great colour and the frosting looks great.

SIX

Well it is nearly Christmas! I’m getting more interested in conifers and the like. The pale blue needles on this Pine match the chilly morning air. After my morning promenade around the garden my coffee had gone cold and my fingers had chilled. Enjoy the frosty weekend.

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Whilst garden centres will have you believe that the ideal Christmas present for your gardening loved on comes in the form of a themed meercat statue wearing a Santa hat, those of us in the real world know better. Here are my practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners.

I was reading this month’s edition of Gardens Illustrated when I couldn’t help but laugh at the Christmas gifts section. I know the magazine is supposed to be aspirational but the recommended presents for the gardener in your life were a mixture of over-priced tat and impractical tools. Here’s my list of real present ideas that will be received warmly and genuinely.

10 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

Plant labels

You can truly never have too many plant labels. I know there’s a move to remove plastic from our gardens (it really is everywhere) but I’ve yet to find an alternative that is reusable and actually lasts one growing season. If I don’t label every pot then I have no idea what’s supposed to be in it. For the allotment, I like the extra large labels so I can write in large letters and be able to read it from standing.

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Fine-tipped permanent marker

I tend to write my plant labels in pencil (partly because I can use a rubber to remove the writing and re-use them) but for things that need to be labelled for more than a few months, I prefer a pen. They need to have a fine tip as I write the whole latin name, variety, and date of sowing on the label. The felt-tip types just end up an inky mess.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Hazel poles

Is it me or does everything need staking on an allotment? Next year I’ll have 2 types of climbing french beans, runner beans, tomatoes, peas, and maybe some sweet peas. Not to mention the netting. Why is it so difficult to source them? Nowhere does home delivery, I have a Citroen C4 which is not conducive to transporting 7-foot poles, and I cannot find a local supplier. This is the closest my online research has found;

http://www.coppice-products.co.uk/product-type/beanpoles-pea-sticks

Cloches

In order to extend the season, you could either cover the plot with fleece or see-through plastic or invest in some re-usable cloches. I would prefer the latter but I’ve yet to get my hands on some of these beauties;

http://www.lavenderandleeks.co.uk/shop/grow/clocheborder-hoops

Trays

I like to keep the greenhouse organised and part of that is having plants, seedlings, or pots of cuttings all gathered together for convenience. I use the odd plastic produce tray that I’ve managed to get from plant nurseries when buying plants. It makes moving plants, potting up, and reorganising the benches much easier.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Outdoor speaker

I tend to listen to podcasts on my phone when I’m out in the greenhouse. I do find that my earphone wires get caught all the time and it’s only a matter of time before I snip through it with the secateurs. Having a Bluetooth speaker would be a little luxury.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Six on Saturday – 2nd December 2017

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,

Joining in with this popular garden bloggers meme

One of my favourite activities at this time of year is to take the dog for a walk around some local woods. Not only does it give me some exercise, it’s the ultimate de-stressor.

There was so much to see today despite being in the thick of winter. I’ve been granted special permission to bend the rules of the Six on Saturday meme by The Propagator himself. This will give me some time to tidy my garden and find something, or six somethings, to post for another week.

ONE

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Euonymus europaeus – The Spindle Tree

I love the Spindle Tree. The bright pink fruit casings are incongruous in the more subtle colours of a winter woodland.

TWO

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Acer campestre – The Field Maple

I have Acer palmatum in pots in my garden but the bright yellow leaves of the native Field Maple hold for a long time and give a really bright glow.

THREE

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Umbellifer – ? Hogweed ? Cow Parsnip

It’s easy to get confused by all the native umbellifers. This one has a lovely pink tinge to its oldest petals.

FOUR

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Snowberry

There’s a hedge I pass on the way to the woods where the top growth always has big fat white berries. This makes it look like a heavy snowfall is sitting on top of the hedge and makes me smile every year.

FIVE

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Harts Tongue Fern

This is my favourite fern. The mid-green sheeny leaves are awesome.

SIX

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Beech Tree Trunk

The moulds growing on the trunk of this Beech Tree match the colour of the turning Euonymus leaves.

 

So that’s my first Six on Saturday. Please join in to mark the changes in your garden over the year.

Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2017

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Here are 5 gardening books on my Christmas List this year

I always put gardening books on my Christmas list. They’re the perfect gift for me, and for all gardeners. At this time of year, when the sun hasn’t come up when I go to work and has long since set before I leave for home, the opportunities for gardening become squeezed. With a book, you can visit other gardens, learn new techniques, and improve your own skills whilst the winter garden rests untended outside.

As the proud owner of a gardening bookshelf that dwarfs our local bookshop’s offerings, you’d think I wouldn’t have space for any more titles. You’d be wrong. We’re building a new bookcase next year and there are so many books I’ve come across this year that I’ve made a gardening books Christmas List.

Previous Christmas gardening books wishlists

Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016

8 Books for my gardening bookshelf Christmas 2015

Epic Tomatoes

by Craig LeHoullier

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

I’ve learnt about my namesake Craig LeHoullier from Jennifer Ebeling‘s (6ft mama) podcast – Still Growing. I’ve been listening and interacting with Jennifer for over a year now and I really like her interviews with interesting people. Craig has a wealth of experience growing tomatoes and is particularly involved in finding and breeding heirloom varieties that are in danger of being lost. Most importantly he’s clear on the merits of a tomato for different uses in the kitchen as well as ease of growing. I’m hoping to find a robust outdoor bush tomato to use the space on my allotment.

The Garden Photography Workshop

by Andrea Jones 
allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

I heard about this book listening to Andrea on Peter Donegan’s Sod Show Podcast this year. I really like photography and I occasionally take to my garden with SLR in hand. It would be great to improve my amateur skills.

The Thoughtful Gardener

by Jinny Blom

This book on garden design has had some strong reviews so I’m keen to see what it’s like. I’m a big fan of Jinny Blom’s planting and it would be good to see how she plans, and implements, her designs.

RHS Genealogy for Gardeners

by Simon Maughan and Ross Bayton

I have the two other books in this RHS series of plant geekery. Latin for Gardeners was released in 2012, with Botany for Gardeners following in 2013. These small, beautifully illustrated, handbooks are the perfect thing for plant nerds to get a better understanding of the science and history of gardening. I’m hoping that Genealogy for Gardeners will be just as good.

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Tender – Volumes I & II

by Nigel Slater

Now I know that, technically, this isn’t a gardening book. I’d say it’s gardening adjacent. I’ve had my allotment since April and I’m hoping for big things next year. The whole point of the allotment was to provide some fresh, seasonal food for us to cook and eat. I’ve mastered my sauteed Cavelo Nero with garlic and it’s become a staple in the weekly meal plan. I’d like to do more with what I grow and I’ve read some amazing reviews of these two books.
allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstonesallotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my ‘must visit’ list for some time.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my radar for some time so I was pleased to finally get the chance to visit this month. The gardens are a showcase for what can survive and thrive in our climate. Aside from the favourable climate of coastal Dorset, the gardens have been planted with foresight and windbreaks to create microclimates.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Traditional path with interesting planting

I’ve had a week of annual leave and we decided to take a day out and make the short trip to Dorset. We make regular trips to Surrey but have never managed to combine the drive past the door with a visit. I’m planning a redesign of the top garden to incorporate more exotic and Australian planting and I was hoping to get some inspiration.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Gingko biloba hovering over the stream

How to find Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

 

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

The gardens are located near Chesil Beach. We turned off the A35 at Bridport and followed the stunning coast road.

Useful Information

Website: https://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk/gardens/

Entrance: A very reasonable £12.50  per adult at the gate. There are online discounts and RHS members get free entry at the end of the year.

Opening times: Open every day except 18th December to1st January. 10am to 5pm (or 4pm in winter)

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Subtropical foliage

Around the garden

The gardens are organised into smaller areas and some larger ones. The cafe is a colonial-style building built in the old walled garden. There are grass borders, a large woodland area, and some formal ponds.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Sunny steps

The woodland area was looking great in November. The Acers were stunning and cast a glow over the pleasant walk. There was a great Gingko next to a stream looking great in its autumn yellow.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Contrasting leaf colours in the woodland

We took the pram and went for a gentle stroll around the grounds. There were some steps and some uneven ground but the paths are well marked and a clear wheelchair route signposted.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Gunnera alongside the pond

We went on a cool, dry, November day and there were plenty of interesting plants to see. The coffee was great and the facilities were of a high standard and very clean. There is a plant sales area but I was disappointed to see that most of the interesting plants I had noted weren’t for sale. It may be that these weren’t offered at this time of year. The selection there was nice, the plants looked healthy, but there wasn’t anything I can’t get anywhere else.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Acer in full autumn colours

Notable Plants

One of the great things about visiting gardens is the chance to meet new plants. I always have my camera handy for taking notes and pictures for research later.

I’ve seen Fasicularia bicolor in Australia and more recently at a hotel in Cornwall. It’s now familiar but I can never remember its name.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Fascicularia bicolor

I think this was the largest Gingko that I’ve seen and the yellow leaves made me stop and stare upwards.

Gingko biloba

The Pseudopanax was well labelled, as were a lot of the specimen trees, and it’s firmly on my wish list.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Pseudopanax laetus

I had to take to Twitter to find the identity of this plant. The fruit looked familiar but I just couldn’t place it. Thankfully, Dr Dale Dixon from The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney helped me out with an ID. This is also now on the wish list. Luckily Plant World Seeds lists it.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Solanum betaceum – the Tamarillo

Other UK Garden Visits

The Eden Project, Cornwall

Sussex Prairie Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Kew Garden

Garden Update 18th November 2017

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,

Garden Update 18th November 2017

I have a week of annual leave with which to make some progress in the garden. The seasonal tasks of cleaning the flagstones and packing away the garden furniture need to be done. It’s not all chores though, I’m also making preparation for next years display in my Garden Update 18th November 2017.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 4th November 

Garden Update 9th September

Allotment Update

We’eve had some slightly colder weather here in Devon but it’s done nothing to stop the progress of the plot. Aside from the sweet potatoes, which have blackened and retreated, most of the plot is looking great.

My leeks are starting to get some momentum behind them. When they went in they were spindly grass-like plants. I was supposed to wait until they’re pencil-thickness but I’m impatient. They’re doing fine though.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Leeks

My brassica bed is starting to produce crops and there’s plenty to come over winter by the looks of it. The leaves of the Romanesco and Purple Sprouting Broccoli are looking extremely healthy. I’m sure they benefited from being netted when young.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,

We’ve been harvesting the Cavelo Nero for weeks and a full handful will do one or two meals (as a side) for the two of us. The plants don’t even look like they’ve been touched after taking just the lower leaves. In the end, I’m expecting to have bare stems as the plant continues to grow up.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Cavelo Nero

The colourful chards are growing well at the front of the allotment and the Pak Choi are looking healthy in the bed that had the legumes this summer.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Pak Choi Vibrant Pink

Greenhouse Update

The greenhouse is taking to its new role as a store for plants over winter. At the beginning of the year, it’s full to capacity with seeds and seedlings. Later on, it becomes home to yet more seeds, seedlings and cuttings. At this time of year, it has tender garden refugees huddling and sheltering together. The chilli plants are getting the benefit of the doubt and coming inside to see if they’ll perform better next year.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Buddleja globosa cuttings

I’ve taken Buddleja globosa cuttings which I rooted in water. These are to be given to my cousin who’s creating a new border in their garden.

I’ve taken delivery of some plug plants from J Parkers. Some Verbascum I ordered myself and some bare root Astrantia plants which were a gift.

The Verbascum are a set of three types of Verbascum phoenicum. I have Rosetta, Violetta and Flush of White. Even though I love Verbascum I have a rubbish track record. However, I’ve decided to give them another go.

My lovely gardening aunt bought us some Astrantia major ‘Florence’ to celebrate the birth of our daughter this year. These will eventually go into some pots that are pride of place in the garden and also contain some honeysuckle plants (also gifts).

 

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Astrantia major ‘Florence’ bare root plants

Garden Update

The action in the garden has been a little dull this week. I’ve pressure-washed all the flagstones to remove 2 years of accumulated algae. They’re now safe to walk on when it’s wet which is a relief. The garden furniture and barbeque have been stored away for winter.

It’s not all chores though. I’ve planted Tulip Dolls Minuet in the front garden troughs and there’s more to go in this week.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Tulip bulbs. Jan Reus and Dolls Minuet
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