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Fabulous Florence Fennel!

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 with it the excitement of a great many wonderful growing opportunities in the garden; it’s hard to beat this time of year!

Dr Catherine MacDonald and the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Left to right: Seedlip’s Head of Horticulture Tom Harfleet, Rod Lamborn (the son of Dr Calvin Lamborn), Garden Designer Dr Catherine MacDonald, and Seedlip founder Ben Branson. The Seedlip Garden was designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald and built by Landform Consultants.  This Space to Grow Garden was sponsored by Seedlip.

Garden designer Dr Catherine MacDonald devised the Seedlip Garden as a celebration of the pea – Pisum sativum

Hogarth Hostas at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

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!

Mark Gregory and Welcome to Yorkshire, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden I honestly couldn’t fault the Welcome to Yorkshire garden.  I would have moved into the delightful stone cottage in this garden if I could have got away with it! The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 was designed by Mark Gregory and built by Landform Consultants.

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

Peat Free Compost Trial 2017, Growing Carrots

Why Use Peat Free Compost?

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. 

Peat Free Compost Trial 2017, Growing Broad Beans

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! 

Book Review – The Chinese Kitchen Garden

The Chinese Kitchen Garden: growing techniques and family recipes from a classic cuisine
By Wendy Kiang-Spray
Published by Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-677-6

The Chinese Kitchen Garden by Wendy Kiang-Spray is 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.

Book Review – No Dig Organic Home & Garden

No Dig Organic Home & Garden:
Grow, Cook, Use & Store Your Harvest
By Charles Dowding & Stephanie Hafferty
Published by Permanent Publications
ISBN: 978-1-85623-301-9

No Dig Organic Home & Garden: Grow, Cook, Use & Store Your Harvest by Charles Dowding & Stephanie Hafferty, is 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.

Access Garden Products Classic Growhouses

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. 

Jackie Currie, Alliums, and the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017

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.

Jackie Currie’s Allium exhibit, which was designed to showcase the beauty of the Allium, and to inform visitors of how to cultivate Allium species, cultivars, and hybrids, from this interesting genus.