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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

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. 

Jonathan Hogarth and his Hostas at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

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.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, supported by Viking Cruises, is the world’s largest annual flower show!  This family orientated Show covers 34 acres of ground, occupying both sides of the Long Water, in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

This year Garden Designer Juliet Sargeant has designed the RHS Kitchen Garden, which has been created to showcase a number of innovative methods used to grow edible plants.  

Juliet Sargeant and the RHS Kitchen Garden

One of the gardens that I was most excited to visit at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, was the RHS Kitchen Garden.

Straw Bale Gardening was a feature of the RHS Kitchen Garden, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017.  Cavolo Nero Kale, pretty pink Dianthus and thyme, pictured in the RHS Kitchen Garden, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017.