Blackberries

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The first nip in the air signals a change of season and the start of the blackberry harvest

The turning of the year as we travel through the seasons was a huge factor in pulling us back to the UK. The recent change in the weather, with its wonderful chilly bright mornings and nippy evenings, has warmed my heart. Whilst the other seasons have their appeal I can’t love them half as much as I love Autumn.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
Blackberries

Autumn is our season. The most potent memories of the last ten years with my wife belong to this time of year. It is the season of our wedding, of our first kiss, and of our first meeting. It also marks the onset of a series of celebrations and birthdays stretching all the way to Christmas.

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Mollie our Golden Retriever enjoys a foray into the green lanes

I am not a summer child; the sight of me in shorts should be enough to banish any misunderstanding on that matter. Instead, I am happiest in warm jumpers, walking boots, and damp woodland. Days spent walking the dog under a tree canopy are my favourite. Also at this time of year comes the bounty of hedgerow harvests. Already this year I have Crabapple Vodka and Sloe Gin steeping in the larder, all collected from the hedgerows and trees around our village. The other important harvest of the season is blackberries.

This year I read Alys Fowler’s book on foraging and I’m making an effort to note the harvest when it presents itself. Already this year I have Crabapple Vodka and Sloe Gin steeping in the larder, all collected from the hedgerows and trees around our village. The other important harvest of the season is blackberries.

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A view over the Devon hills

Blackberries

I think the ritual of blackberry collecting, bound up as it is in the season, might be even better than the fresh berries themselves. I’m working my way through a jar of blackberry and apple jam made 3 years ago which I find infinitely more alluring than the fresh berries. September signals the start of hunting season for blackberries.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
Not all the berries ripen at the same time

So, with my jumper on for the first time since moving home, we ascend a local hill to find the best berries. Jewel-like berries gleam from the yellowing hedgerow senescence. The bunches of berries carry both mature and immature fruits. The rule of foraging that states you only take a third of the crop you find (the other two-thirds being left for wild animals and someone else) reinforced by the plant itself.

The light prickling on skin reminds you that no harvest comes for free. This only intensifies the sensory experience. You feel like the proverbial child in the sweetshop picking only the choicest fruits between thumb and forefinger. The idea to bring surgical gloves comes to me as I notice the purple staining on my fingertips, as it does every year but is never remembered.

It’s not long before my cheeks are chilled and the light becomes thinner. It’s time to go home.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
Blackberry harvest

A plant for the month of August: The Japanese Anemone

#japaneseanemone #anemone #whiteanemone #whitejapaneseanemone #pinkanemone #pinkjapaneseanemone #pinkflower #whiteflower #herbaceous #herbaceousperennial #summerflower #cottagegarden #garden #gardening #gardenblog #gdnblogger #gdnbloggers #gardenbloggers #gardenblogger #devon #courtyardgarden

Japanese Anemone: A varied herbaceous perennial that’s synonymous with the late summer borders in a cottage garden

 

Whilst I have always admired these plants when seen in other people’s gardens, to my knowledge I have only introduced one into my own. You can imagine my surprise then when, this year, I can count three or four types of Japanese Anemone bursting into flower.

These are easy to grow and yet impactful additions to mixed borders. They have most interest at this time of year so I would always plant them in a mixed border with other plants that can keep the show going. Some of them can be a bit thuggish and form large clumps. What a problem to have! The flowers are beautiful and are improved by mass planting.

I apologise if some of the images are a little blurry. It was a windy day and these tall flower heads like to waft in the breeze. I only wish I had the name labels of these. If anyone has any ideas which varieties these are please get in touch.

My purposely introduced Japanese Anemone

We had been to a plant nursery on the day our little Blue cat was run over. It seemed appropriate to mark the place where we buried her by placing a plant on top. This diminutive, pink Japanese Anemone only reaches 30cm high but the colour is deep and intense.

#japaneseanemone #anemone #whiteanemone #whitejapaneseanemone #pinkanemone #pinkjapaneseanemone #pinkflower #whiteflower #herbaceous #herbaceousperennial #summerflower #cottagegarden #garden #gardening #gardenblog #gdnblogger #gdnbloggers #gardenbloggers #gardenblogger #devon #courtyardgarden
A compact Japanese Anemone marking the spot our little Blue cat was buried

The others

There is a white Japanese Anemone that seems to be in two places in the garden. One is in the Immediate Garden and is following the rules of the colour theme. The other is gate-crashing the Left Border in the Far Garden which is supposed to be a brighter scheme. I like that it has a semi-double flower.

 

Another plant is in the sunny Right Border and is 5ft tall and has a clear hot pink to the face. Its back side is a subtle mauve where it meets the stem. I think the flower buds are just as exciting as the flowers themselves and the seedheads are attractive too. You really do get a lot from these plants.

There is another patch that has just one flower this year. This looks very similar to our memorial Japanese Anemone, mentioned above, and sits under the crabapple tree in the Immediate Garden.

#japaneseanemone #anemone #whiteanemone #whitejapaneseanemone #pinkanemone #pinkjapaneseanemone #pinkflower #whiteflower #herbaceous #herbaceousperennial #summerflower #cottagegarden #garden #gardening #gardenblog #gdnblogger #gdnbloggers #gardenbloggers #gardenblogger #devon #courtyardgarden
A very short pinky lilac Japanese Anemone

Containers at the front of the Cottage

Containers at the front of the Cottage

Two agricultural feeding containers are the main planting interest at the front of the cottage

This year is all about reclaiming my garden from the weed wonderland out the back and the barren, baked wasteland at the front. As I’ve previously described, I have been taking stock of what has survived two years of tenants and reclaiming ground from the onslaught of new weeds. This week I am doing an update on the front of the cottage.

An overview of the cottage’s garden areas

A big clear-out in the far garden

Getting control and structure sorted in the immediate garden

What I returned home to

MyPottingBenchBlog returns home
Looking up the lane

As there is no earth at the front of the cottage, I installed two agricultural feeding troughs to be a simple but vernacularly correct addition to the front of the cottage. These get baked in the sun and have to cope with more breeze than round the back of the cottage. There’s a suffering clematis left over from the previous owners in a planter that looks to have given up the struggle.

MyPottingBenchBlog returns home
Right of the front door

We returned to find that the young wisteria has succumbed and some annual weeds were installed. Mostly though this area was the best of the bunch in terms of jobs to be done.

Giving the containers a freshen up

The goal for these planters was to have a slightly wild grass planting scheme which would cope, or even better, thrive in the drier and windier conditions. They would also look good through winter and wouldn’t need too much maintenance. The two main living areas of the house look out of these windows on to the lane, and by extension, can be looked in on from the lane. I wanted the planters to be sufficiently visually interesting to draw the eye away from whatever was happening inside the house and to form a light screening for us looking out. Importantly, I didn’t want to block any light.

Containers at the front of the Cottage
A teucrium in a terracotta pot beside one container
Containers at the front of the Cottage
Hebe, iris and grasses
Containers at the front of the Cottage
Salvia and stipa

Plant List

Stipa tenuissima

Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foester’

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Rose Queen’

Hebe (unknown variety)

Euphorbia myrsinites

Rose ‘Moody  Blue’

Teucrium (unknown variety)

Iris (unknown variety)

Physalis alkekengi

Plans for the front of the cottage

I’m going to source a climbing rose to replace the clematis. I think the pot it’s in is too small. The roots are getting too hot and dry for it to ever thrive. We’re still deciding on a colour (and may paint the cottage a different colour so that has to be decided before I can purchase anything). I think we’ll get another metal planter to match the two large ones as I think a third type of container would be too much visually.

Wordless Wednesday 28th June 2017

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017

Joining a popular garden bloggers meme and sharing the flowers blooming in my garden each month.

Every 15th of the month garden bloggers around the month share what’s happening in their gardens by photographing what’s in flower on their plot on that day. I last joined in this event in April 2014 and thought it might be fun to come out to play again. I’m looking forward to connecting with more garden bloggers through this.

Previous Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day April 2014

Where it started

Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts this very popular meme and you can find out more about her blog here.

International Comparisons

With the help of this useful map my garden would be in the USDA plant hardiness Zone 9a.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Astrantia major
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Eryngium planum
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Eryngium yuccifolium

This guy can get to over 6ft in the border – I’ve sown more seeds this year to see if I can get a few more dotted through the sunny border in the far garden.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Stachys byzantina

I love, love, love this plant and I can’t wait for it to produce seeds so I can get a drift going. The leaves feel exactly the same as our chocolate labrador’s ears. He passed away last year and it’s lovely to sit and stroke them.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’

The best smelling climbing rose; its bright pink (bordering on Barbie) is tolerated for the scent.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Allium christophii
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Astrantia major
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Geranium – unknown variety
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Iris foetidissima

I’ve taken out clumps of this from around the garden as the coarse strap leaves and muddy flowers are easily out-performed with something else in the space.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Rambling rose – unknown variety
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2017
Climbing rose- unknown variety

I know I planted this one 3 years ago but it’s the only rose not to have its label kept in the ‘label bag’.  Lightly scented and closer to the colour pallet we’re aiming for in this part of the garden. It tones down Gertrude Jekyll.

Other UK blogs that get involved

Sarah Shoesmith’s blog for the Hardy Plant Society

Glebe House

The Rusty Duck

 

Project 1 : Complete

Project 1 : Complete

The final instalment on the transformation of mum’s courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.

I’ve now finished the regeneration of this shady dark corner of my mum’s courtyard garden.

The main issues we took on were;

  1. No-where to sit
  2. Dogs use the garden as a toilet
  3. Dark corner
  4. Limited planting
  5. Uneven, ugly, crazy-paving floor which was a safety issue as well as unsightly
  6. Level changes
  7. Access required through space

 

The final instalment on the transformation of mum's courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.
The white wall has brightened the space and sets off the green climbers

Previous updates;

Mum’s Courtyard Garden Redesign

Destruction Phase

Planting complete

How did we do?

The white walls really brighten and tidy the space. It now looks like a planned garden area as opposed to a leftover storage area. The seat was bought off amazon and softens the square boundaries.

The final instalment on the transformation of mum's courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.
The main corner seat and planted zinc bath

Taking a step back – you can see another layer of slate rocks was added to the steps to form a restraint for the new gravel. This achieved a few things. Firstly, the gravel leaves a simple uniform base to unclutter the space (this was especially needed after the single raised bed idea was thrown out in favour of vintage agricultural reclamation). It also meant that an area near the step that pools water is now raised to avoid it getting slippy and means one level here rather than 3 smaller steps down.

Hard landscaping

The gravel is Blue Slate Chippings (sourced from a local company who delivered it very quickly) and it’s perfect. There were companies offering it cheaper than what we paid (£170 for 850kg bulk bag delivered inc VAT) but we liked the idea of supporting a local business and that we’d be able to pop down the road to get a few more matching bags if we ran out. 

The final instalment on the transformation of mum's courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.

Taking a step back to see the new steps retaining the gravelA wide shows you the change where the large storage structure was. This space is now much larger to the eye. It also gives a home to the tree fern. From here you can see the two trees which shall grow above the fence line on clear stems. This will free up space for planting below and allow the canopies to block the view over neighbouring homes.

The final instalment on the transformation of mum's courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.
A wider view showing the Tree Fern and the wider profile after removing the structure

The unusual shapes of the grain hopper and zinc bath add interest but also perform a practical role of lifting plants up and away from the dogs’ attentions. The plants in the main beds have been chosen to be more resistant to dog urine with thicker leaves (ferns, euphorbia, etc).

The final instalment on the transformation of mum's courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.
This beautiful hosta lives in the grain hopper and brightens this shady wall

 How this space links with the rest of the garden

The main sight-line from the courtyard and the bench runs to the greenhouse. That area wasn’t originally due to be redone at this time but we had a lot of gravel left over so decided to go with it. The gravel here makes the path look wider and forms a link between the two areas. When we replant the border on the right the plan is to include some plants that will feature in both areas to achieve the same unity.

The final instalment on the transformation of mum's courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.
The view back to the greenhouse with the gravel linking the areas

You can see below the way the layout of the garden is in two parts. There is the main terrace outside the patio doors, where the seating area has been created, and a lower area, with greenhouse, shed, pond, and a small herbaceous border. By continuing the gravel all the way to the shed we clearly delineate two separate areas and reduce the number of surfaces to just two instead of three.

The final instalment on the transformation of mum's courtyard garden from grey, dingy, unloved space into a light, floriferous, quiet space for relaxation.
This view is perpendicular to the one above and shows the level change within the garden

In Summary

I’m really pleased with how things have turned out and I’m pleased that my mum loves her new sitting area. It was interesting negotiating design changes with the garden’s owner – I didn’t get my way on the raised beds but I still like the finished product – and it’s nice to see the finished product for all the effort put in.

Project 1 : Planting complete

Project 1: Planting Complete

After a few changes of direction and some very heavy lifting, the bulk of the work is done

It’s been a busy week working on the courtyard garden. At this stage, the majority of the planting is in place. Nearly two days of negotiation was needed to make sure everything is in the correct place. We’ve veered away from some of the original plans as more inspiration was given by a local nursery stocking some zinc planters. The raised beds were researched, and researched, and eventually discarded. Not until we’d gone through sleepers, breeze block and mortar, and dry stone walling did we throw it aside for what you see now.

Previous updates;

Mum’s Courtyard Garden Redesign

Destruction Phase

Jobs completed

  • Walls painted – again
  • Planters purchased
  • Planters filled
  • All planters planted up
  • Border deepened and edged.
  • Climbers tidied

Plant Lists

* repurposed from the original garden

Boat / Bath Planter

Project 1: Planting Complete
Boat Planter and the Border Behind

Sorbus aria Lutescens – White Beam

Choisya ternata

Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’

Helleborus hybridus

Digitalis purpurea*

Border behind Boat / Bath Planter

Clematis x cartmanii ‘Joe’

Bay Tree

Under and behind the seat

Project 1: Planting Complete
The corner seat around the apple tree

Digitalis purpurea*

Apple Tree* – Likely a Bramley but we’re unsure as it was here when the house was bought.

Griselinia littoralis variegata

Hosta

Ferns

Cyclamen*

Grain Hopper Planter

Project 1: Planting Complete
Grain Hopper Planter

Hydrangea seemanii – climbing hydrangea

Prunus avium Plena

Hosta ‘Paul Revere’

Viola tricolor

Circular planter

Project 1: Planting Complete
Dicksonia antarctica in a circular bucket planter

Dicksonia antarctica – Purchased nearly 20 years ago from Trebah Garden in Cornwall. This poor specimen has been dragged from house to house and we’re hoping it’ll pick up in this new home. It’s been thoroughly watered.

Concrete planter

Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Variegatus’

Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Solomon’s seal’*

Digitalis purpurea*

Railings

Holboellia coriacea – likely to be too brutish for the main courtyard garden but it can be seen below on the railings that go around the main terrace.

Project 1: Planting Complete
The garden waiting for gravel

Jobs to be done

  • Lay gravel when it arrives
  • Glass of wine

 

Finally sowing and some sorting 

Finally sowing and some sorting 

I’ve had a busy first week back in the UK with lots of friends and family to see (although there’s plenty of people still on our catch up list we haven’t gotten to yet). However, today has been quieter so I’ve had time to get round to some gardening.

This morning was spent measuring and negotiating with mum over the layout of the raised beds for her courtyard. We’ve settled on wooden sleepers (possibly) and have made some decisions on curves/square and how wide to make them.

This afternoon I went through my much-neglected seed tin and rehomed the contents. Since we’re getting our home back at the beginning of June I need to get a head start on some sowing (even though I’m behind but you know what I mean).

Finally sowing and some sorting 
Seeds not being sown today in their new fancy tin

Some things are going to be used as Microgreens as I don’t have space for a full crop and I don’t think the seeds will last another year as a lot of them are already passed their best. I’m sowing some veg I can transplant into my greenhouse when we move but will be fine in pots in the meantime.

Seed sowing list 11/4/17

To take with us;

Chilli – Cayenne Red, Anaheim, Portugal, Fairy Lights (15x seeds each – Portugal and Fairy Lights were saved from my own plants that were part of my Chilli Challenge in 2014)

Sweet Pepper – Long Red Marconi x15

Cucumber – Tasty King (7 seeds) and Tasty Green (9 seeds)

Tomato – Marmande (15 seeds)

To eat over the next month or two;

Pea Shoots

Microgreens – beetroot, dill, parsley

Basil – Sweet Genovese

Wild Rocket

Lettuce – mixed

For mums courtyard 

Astrantia ‘white’ – self-saved seeds from my white astrantia in my own courtyard garden ( I’m not sure if this is sterile so we’ll see how germination goes)

Finally sowing and some sorting 
The chillies, tomatoes and peppers snuggled into the propagator

New gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016

gardening books for christmas gifts 2016

At this time of year it can be hard to come up with ideas for Christmas gifts for your loved ones. That can be especially true for gardening gifts as we’re a very particular lot. I know myself that most of the tat I see in garden centres – I’m looking at you novelty mugs and neon plastic hand tools – would require a very large effort on xmas morning in the ‘look like you’re pleased face’ department. You’d think that just buying someone a plant would be an easy win but at this time of year a garden centre or nursery can look a bit dismal to the untrained eye and if it’s not on the planting plan it doesn’t go in my garden.

One safe option should be a good gardening book. You’ll now know the obsession I have with gardening books. It’s dark and cold outside and curling up with a good gardening book seems perfect. Only if it’s a good book mind you. ‘101 fake houseplants’ or ‘dummies guide to plant care’ would be re-gifted without hesitation. What I’m looking for is not so much the ‘How to’ style of publication but books about gardening. Gardening has a wide variety of sub-genres to mine for book ideas (history, plantspeople and finders, historical gardens, species specific, instruction guides, travel, and many more) but the ones that have caught my eye this year look to be opinion, historical and ecological. A suitably vintage / illustrated cover also seems to be a requirement.

The Apple Orchard

I heard Pete Brown on a recent BBC podcast with Mark Diacono (of Otter Farm and River Cottage fame) and made a note to look up his most recent book. The poor chap has an allergy to the apples he was researching! The apple merges the horticulture, food, and history of gardening perfectly and I’m excited to delve in and learn more.

New gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016
The Apple Orchard

Nigel

Okay, hands up, I know this isn’t technically about gardening but this list is for gardeners and who doesn’t love a bit of Monty?

It’s too soon since the loss of our beloved chocolate labrador to be diving in to this book just yet. I’m not making a Marley and Me mistake again. Monty has shown time and again through his published books and articles that he’s a master of words and I’m looking forward to learning more about him and his beautiful retrievers.

New gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016
Nigel


Rhapsody in Green

The ‘look inside’ option on amazon is a really useful tool if you’re like me and can be easily annoyed by the voice of an author. There’s nothing worse than finding a good book ruined by irritating prose. My top peeves include overly tortuous metaphors and asinine turn of phrase. None of that with this writer. I chuckled in the first paragraph I read and I am very looking forward to getting my hands on this book.

The blurb suggests it’s content is a gardeners experiences managing a cramped urban garden and other thoughts.

New gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016
Rhapsody in Green

The Running Hare

I’ve not come across the author John Lewis-Stempel before. Looking into his bio I’m not sure why that is as his past catalogue looks to be right up my street. This book details the plight of the native hare in England as an example of the changes in the countryside due to modern agriculture.

New gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016
The Running Hare

Hedgerow

John Wright will be familiar to some from his appearances on River Cottage over the years. He has spent a year foraging for his food in earlier works. In this book he takes you through the history of the hedgerow, and variations on alternative field boundaries.

Hedgerow

The Sceptical Gardener

I’m always a little apprehensive when a collection of newspaper articles makes it into book format. There’s always a feeling of ‘bubble and squeak’ trickery in reusing material. However the reviews of this book look great. I love a different viewpoint approach and more than that I like the being more informed than the Average Joe so I can feel superior in my knowledge.

New gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016
The Sceptical Gardener

Explorers’ Botanical Notebook

I’m currently reading The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf and this new book immediately caught my eye. Having a peek at the inside pages provided by the publisher reveals images of the actual herbarium specimens and notes made by the explorers covered. It looks like a beautifully constructed book covering one of my favourite gardening topics.

New gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016
Explorers’ Botanical Notebook

 

We’ll see is Santa is being generous this year and with any luck I’ll be able to post a book review of one or more of these titles. Fingers (sticky with mince pies) crossed. What’s on your Christmas book list?

Toby Buckland’s Gardening Festival 2014

Powderham Castle

The inaugural local gardening festival

Yesterday was the first Toby Buckland Gardening Festival held at Powderham Castle in Kenton near Exeter. It’s been widely advertised in the local area and was generating lots of excitement on twitter this week.

Powderham Castle is a beautiful setting looking out onto the estuary and surrounded with acres of parkland. It’s also home to Toby Buckland’s nursery. I took my mum and the other half to have a look around yesterday.

A marquee was set up in the ground to host the guest speakers
A marquee was set up in the ground to host the guest speakers

South West nurseries proudly showing their best

It was great to see so many stalls attending the event and quite a few were showing off what the south west has to offer. Hill House Nursery were there and Ray did a talk in the morning. Heucheraholics had a good selection but the prize for most colourful stand goes to Avon Bulbs .

20140504-100153.jpg

Getting there and parking

The site is easy to find on the A-road between Exeter and Dawlish. We were able to park in the disabled area but still had a bit of a hike up the hill into the castle itself. For everyone else there was a good 10 minute walk through the grounds from the parking field. Although if you’re steady on your pins it’s a great walk past the lake in the sunshine!

Hill House Nursery on the rose terrace
Hill House Nursery on the rose terrace

There were lots of stalls on the lower terrace offering furniture and some informative stands on composting and other topics. There weren’t as many gardening sundries stands but I see this as only a good thing. My attention was on the plants and often find novelty sign stands an irritation. There were loads of good food outlets available. We were really lucky and arrived at a vendor when there was no queue and a table available – within 2 minutes of tucking in there was a queue. We all joined in with our favourite chorus of ‘timed that right’.

As well the nurseries there was a speakers tent where a program of talks was delivered. We caught part of a question and answer session with Anne Swithinbank and Jim Buttress.

My 2 companions went away happy with bunches of cut flowers from The Good Flower Company. I was very restrained and bought 2 chilli plants from the Dartmoor Chilli Farm to replace my failing seedlings. Overall it was a great afternoon out, lots of good food, fantastic weather, and a great selection of local and national nurseries.