The Cotswold Wildlife Park – The Book!

I was given the opportunity to see the park first hand and a copy of their new book about the gardens… and its brilliant!
A visit to the park is wonderful but how do the gardens staff create this perfect environment for the flora and fauna that live there?
Find out a bit more for yourself!

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I have had the pleasure of visiting and having a tour of the gardens with Tim Miles twice now, yes I am that greedy, but with so much to see its worthwhile to make repeat visits to this wonderful venue.

The most recent visit was to cover the book launch ‘A Celebration of the Gardens’ written in collaboration by Harriet Rycroft and Tim Miles. Now most of you will have heard of Harriet who’s expertise in arranging seasonal floral displays is legendary to say the least. This book is utterly enchanting.

Continue reading “The Cotswold Wildlife Park – The Book!”

Ulting Wick – year to date

An update on Ulting Wick’s garden diary.
What’s been happening here?
Open gardens for NGS and competitions!

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Hi everyone, its been ages since I posted! Apologies for that, since January of this year life has felt relentless and I just haven’t had the energy to write. I have tried, I have 3 unfinished posts in my drafts which I may or may not come back to at some point but I figured if I wasn’t finding it fun to write others may not find it fun to read!

So whats been happening at work? Those of you who follow Team Ulting Wicks twitter accounts of Phillipa, Rachel and Myself will perhaps be up to date on some of the more momentous things that have occurred but lets think back to January when we were still fully into the pruning and the tulips hadn’t even showed their faces!

Continue reading “Ulting Wick – year to date”

Camellias, a very British love affair

What makes you fall in love with a plant? Do you long for acid soil to grow these wonderful, elegant shrubs?
How about trying them in a pot! I fell in love with them whilst working in Kent and I’ve just added one to my garden, I think it won’t be the last…

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Camellias are of course not native to England but the plant has become so firmly embodied in British culture it might as well be our National flower. You probably have it every single day, a cup for breakfast at the very least. Camellia is of course the source of your very British cup of Tea!

We as a nation have been obsessed by tea since its arrival in the 17th century, oddly coffee up until then was more popular but coffee shops were seen as hotspots for political sedition! King Charles II became worried that the intellectuals at the time were becoming too ‘woke’ and banned the sale of coffee in 1675.

But back to camellias! Continue reading “Camellias, a very British love affair”

Snowdrop mania!

Given my disastrous failure this year you would think id be put off spending more money on these ephemeral beauties but not so, I have a cunning plan with fungi!Record breaking prices and galanthophiles abound!

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The interest in these tiny flowers seems to be gaining in popularity in the last 15 or so years, some of them reaching phenomenal prices! I myself have succumbed to their lure and can be found lurking around tables at snowdrop fairs looking wistfully at the ones far out of my budget, scanning for my must haves at a price I can justify to myself. It is not a hobby without heartbreak though, for myself it has been a disastrous spring. My small collection despite all my efforts took a severe beating, maybe due to the prolonged heatwave in the summer, maybe I had the dreaded fungal/viral infection which eats snowdrops alive? Whatever the cause I awaited patiently for them to emerge and when 3 varieties had I finally lost patience waiting on the others and tipped the pots out to investigate only to find either no evidence of them or sad soggy brown husks where once had flourished what I humorously termed my “pension fund”…. not so funny now eh! Continue reading “Snowdrop mania!”

2018 review

Another year has passed in Ulting Wick and what a year! Gardening has never been so challenging with our extremes in weather. That aside, there’s been good things, scary things and exciting unexpected events!
Writing this has given me a chance to go through it all in my head, how has your year been?

 

 

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Just to warn you, this is a picture heavy blog post, I wasn’t sure what I would take from it on a personal level, I thought I was just doing a step by step monthly review, I’ve been surprised. Surprised at what I’d forgotten, surprised at how many emotions which I haven’t talked about either here or on social media I’ve been through. Going through pictures for me is often cathartic, I take pictures every day, its almost my way of diarising my life. I hope you enjoy my year in review and tell me your highlights from yours! Continue reading “2018 review”

Christmas gifts for gardeners

Running out of time?Stuck for ideas? Here’s a few that won’t leave your gardening loved one grimacing! From tools to courses give them something they’ll love this year and appreciate for years to come…

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This post is was inspired by some of the worst gifts, given with love and misguided ideas on what a gardener values obviously, I have received over the years. Saying this feels really ungrateful as the people who bought them for me really did care and had taken time out to get me what they believed were things id find useful etc but the reality was I never did find that radio shaped like a watering can useful and would actually have valued a watering can far more.

So in the spirit of helping non gardening folks to present their loved ones with gifts that will bring huge smiles to their faces upon opening them, that they will treasure for years to come I give you my top selections for gifts for gardeners!

Continue reading “Christmas gifts for gardeners”

Warning plants want to kill you! Part 1 – the edible killers

Warning plants want to kill you! Part 1 – the edible killers
We often hear dire warnings of plants toxicity on the internet but how bad are they really?
Heres some fun facts on poisonous plants you can eat and survive!

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Ive been threatening to write this for a long while now, if youre easily disturbed, prone to nightmares, find it difficult to watch Day of the Triffids, Little shop of horrors or have an unfounded of fear of a plant leaping out of the border to wound, maim and kill you in a vicious, unprovoked attack then this will be your only warning!

There will be graphic scenes of killer plants malevolently growing!

Some of these vicious, psychopathic killers may be just outside your door. Worse! you may have even welcomed some of these murderous felons into your house! Stop, look very carefully at that plant on the windowsill, you’ve lovingly watered, repotted and fed it for years…. all the while its been sitting there, waiting for you to drop your guard so it can thrust its leaves down your unwilling throat and poison you!

The cads! Continue reading “Warning plants want to kill you! Part 1 – the edible killers”

Beloved and annoying! Salvia madrensis

A look at a plant that’s teaching me new things about Salvia’s. Propagating itself and teasing us with its flowers

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Aka: Forsythia sage

Native to the Sierra Madre, Mexico. Grows at 4,000-5,000 elevation in warm, wet areas. First documented by botanist Berthold Carl Seemann (1825 -1871) who worked extensively in South America.

In a tip of my virtual hat to Alison levey’s blog ‘The Blackberry Garden’ where she regularly features a plant that has been causing problems Id like to tell you about mine. Continue reading “Beloved and annoying! Salvia madrensis”

Apple pruning courses 2019

Apple pruning courses 2019
Wanting to tackle that tree but don’t know where to start?
Learn a new skill or brush up on old ones?
Treat a loved one to a surprise Xmas gift with a difference!
Heres the details for an exciting day course, get in touch and book a place!

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As some of you will know for the last few years myself and Nick Black have been running Apple pruning courses, these have been growing in popularity and we try to find a new venue every year to challenge people and also to give people the best experience possible.

I think this year we may have surpassed ourselves and its with much delight I can reveal the venue for our upcoming courses is….. (please imagine a drumroll at this point!)…. Continue reading “Apple pruning courses 2019”

A year in the life of a Sweet pea grower – Johnsons Sweet Peas

A year in the life of a Sweet pea grower – Johnsons Sweet Peas
Ever wondered where your seeds come from? I did!
I was lucky enough to see how Phil Johnson a UK grower from Kent produces his so you can have beautiful Sweet Peas.

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Have you ever wondered exactly how seed companies get all the seeds they sell you? How they keep varieties true to type? How they breed new varieties?

I have and last January I decided to go and find out with the help of a British seed firm specialising in Sweet Peas. Continue reading “A year in the life of a Sweet pea grower – Johnsons Sweet Peas”