Happy new year! Happy new plants! Here are the dates and details of many local plant sales, plant festivals, sales, swaps, and other super opportunities to buy wonderful, locally grown plants at fantastic prices, or even to swap plants or seeds for free! Great quality, rare, hard to find, special, and unusual plants can be found at the specialist plant fairs and other events that I have listed for you below, in this my 2019 Calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs, Festivals, Sales, and Swaps.
I relish the opportunities that each season offers us. January provides the chance to pause and rest, take stock of our plants and introduce new plants to delight us over the years ahead!
This is the perfect time to plant trees, hedging plants, roses, and soft fruit: plants that are lifted during the dormant season and sold bare root; the plants’ roots are coated in wax or wrapped, to prevent desiccation.
In this column I share my favourite gift ideas with you, these are the best products that I have personally tried and tested this year, as part of my quest to help you find quality presents for your loved ones this Christmas!Vegepod
Vegepod is an award-winning container gardening system that is really quite marvellous! This raised bed system has universal appeal, you don’t need access to the soil, so if you’re gardening on concrete but ache to grow vegetables, this is for you.
I love growing vegetables, it’s a truly wonderful, soul enriching experience to grow your own food! Sadly an increasing number of us are without the luxury of a garden or allotment and have nowhere to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, or flowers; while a great many others struggle to garden in small, often paved spaces, without any access to the soil.
Dear Readers, I caught up with Pippa Greenwood recently, Pippa has a website where you can purchase vegetable plants, seeds, and other gifts for gardeners. Pippa offers a service where her customers can order the vegetables they want to grow, the vegetable plants are then grown in Lincolnshire, in the UK, and posted out as garden ready plants in early to mid May, when the vegetable plants can be planted out in your garden, or at your allotment.
I cherish every special, magical moment when I meet a person with whom I share a deep connection and enjoy a true and meaningful, lasting friendship. One such fellow, whom I am very fortunate to call a close friend, is the horticulturist, broadcaster, journalist, author, plantsman and nature lover, John Negus. John is a truly wonderful man, he is an expert gardener and horticulturist; John never fails to inspire me.
What a joyful month June is! June’s warm sunshine seems to infuse every fibre of our beings, imbuing our souls with a feeling of uplifting bliss that can only be found outdoors. June also brings us the gift of sweet summer rain to refresh our plants, and the excitement of a great many wonderful growing opportunities in the garden; it’s hard to beat this time of year!
Garden designer Dr Catherine MacDonald devised the Seedlip Garden as a celebration of the pea – Pisum sativum. The Seedlip Garden features peas and plants related to peas – plants from the pea plant family – Fabaceae. This Space to Grow Garden also honours the work of three men and their work in relation to peas. The first man that the Seedlip Garden commemorates is Gregor Mendel (1822-1824).
The highlight of the horticultural calendar, The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is the world’s most prestigious flower show! Over the past three weeks, award winning garden designers from all over the world, together with their teams, made up of some of the best landscape architects, project managers, builders, technicians, horticulturalists, artists and crafts people, have been working solidly to transform the Royal Hospital’s grounds at Chelsea into an oasis of gardening ideas and inspiration!
I love to visit the Grand Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show! This vast arena, which extends to almost three acres in size, is filled with super exhibits created by around one hundred specialist nurseries during the week of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s such a joy to visit! If you’re looking for some new plants, and you don’t have a particular variety or species in mind, visiting specialist nurseries, or enjoying a day out at a specialist plant fair, or a flower show, such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show or the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, can help to connect you with your new favourite plant or plants!
At this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show I couldn’t wait to visit the Welcome to Yorkshire show garden, which was designed by Mark Gregory and built by Mark and Landform Consultants. This show garden took a picturesque, heart-warming view of the Yorkshire countryside to the centre of London, where I was there, ready to welcome the garden with open arms!
I love our planet, I love plants and nature. I want to protect our environment. I want to live more sustainably. Sustainability is not a new desire for me, it is something that I have always aspired to. Firstly though I must tell you that I am far from perfect, I make mistakes and I am always learning. I want to improve, I want to make changes to live more sustainably and to live ethically.
Peatlands are extraordinary environments, which cover just 2-3% of the planet’s surface. These scarce ecosystems are also very fragile, they are dependent on sufficient moisture levels being available, and they require a slightly cooler temperature range to allow the necessary sphagnum moss, which slowly forms peat, to grow, flourish, and reproduce. Peat bogs can increase at a rate of one millimetre per year if the desired conditions are present.
I have found that peat free composts can vary enormously: from bags of compost filled with bark chips, which could be used as a mulch, but can’t be used as intended – as a compost to grow container plants or seedlings, right through to the other extreme – the finest quality composts, which are capable of producing prize and award winning plants, and of course, every compost in between these two polar opposites!
Since I published my December 2017 Orchidarium Update, a number of readers have had questions about how I gather my data, with many asking why do I collect data, and what equipment do I use? So, here’s an article that I have written especially for you, which I hope will answer all of your questions.Data is really exciting!
It’s easy in life to make assumptions, but assumptions are rarely accurate.
The Chinese Kitchen Garden: growing techniques and family recipes from a classic cuisine
By Wendy Kiang-Spray
Published by Timber Press
If you’re making a list and checking it twice…..of all the interesting and exciting vegetables and crops that you hope to grow next year, then you might be interested to read The Chinese Kitchen Garden, a charming book, written by Wendy Kiang-Spray.
No Dig Organic Home & Garden:
Grow, Cook, Use & Store Your Harvest
By Charles Dowding & Stephanie Hafferty
Published by Permanent Publications
I have included the No Dig Organic Home & Garden book by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty in my recommended 2017 Gifts for Gardeners article, as this is simply a great gardening book, which clearly explains the principles of the organic ‘no dig’ method of gardening.
I used to have a large glasshouse. I felt so fortunate to be able to enjoy the use of my glasshouse, every day I appreciated the exciting range of crops I could grow inside, and the extended growing season and bountiful harvest that my glasshouse helped to provide me with. I was so grateful, excited, and so inspired by the vast array of glorious fruit and vegetables that I grew inside the glasshouse.
Inside the Floral Marquee at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, I met Jackie Currie, a passionate Allium expert and Garden Designer from Surrey. The RHS judges presented Jackie with a Silver-Gilt Medal, for her first ever exhibit at Hampton Court, which featured a selection of Alliums, from Jackie Currie’s National Collection of Alliums.
Beth: Congratulations on your beautiful Allium exhibit and your success here at Hampton Court Jackie!
Jonathan Hogarth of Hogarth Hostas holds a National Collection of Small and Miniature Hostas. In 2016 Jonathan exhibited his Hosta collection at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where the RHS judges presented him with a Silver-Gilt Medal, and at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where Jonathan was presented with a Gold Medal and the Best Plant Heritage Exhibit by the RHS judges.