Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

I first heard of Wisley about six or seven years ago when, while staying with friends, they invited us to go along to what is the Royal Horticultural Society’s show garden. It seemed much larger during that first visit than it has ever done on our occasional return, but it changes throughout the year and hosts a number of events that makes a repeat worthwhile. We’ve been fortunate to see the orchards producing abundant crops, and to go along to such occasions as an autumn harvest and even a couple of sculpture trails. These yearly sculpture exhibitions are hosted by the Surrey Sculpture Society with 2013’s (which ran 24th-August-29th September) promising to be the biggest ever. I believe this quite possible, having taken numerous photographs of the exhibits on display; more, I’m sure than I did when I attended last year.

Although, as always with such displays, there are a selection that make me raise an eyebrow or scratch my head, this year the themes had a great deal to do with nature, and appeared to blend well with the natural environment. Many will no doubt inspire ideas for the garden even if one chokes on the accompanying price tags — the same as art is subjective so were our opinions on the prices asked. Some fair, some not so much. Regardless of the price, many definitely inspired creativity.

Having taken too many photos to make loading them to one blog post viable, I’ve opted to share just three of my favourites — one from 2012 and two from 2013’s exhibitions:







Unfortunately, I cannot recall the name of the sculptures or the artists, but more can be found about the RHS and Wisley, and the SSS on their websites:



Note: I would love to be able to attend this year’s Harvest Festival, if only to get me in the mood for my two haunting October releases. A Not So Hollow Heart, and Seduced by a Legend are both appropriately out in time for Halloween.


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You may (or indeed may not) remember my first post here on the Britwriters blog. It was all about my Allotment and how I was looking forward to the bounty it would bring.

Well, it’s harvest time down at Nobbs’ (mini-)Farm and the wonderfully wet August has meant that while some of my veg has under-performed, I’ve got a bumper crop of that staple of the British diet – Spuds.

Lots and lots of lovely Spuds. I spent most of the weekend digging them up, and I’ve now got four big boxes full of the things stored away in my shed, covered up with newspaper and hopefully set to see me right for the winter.

Which, of course is good, given that the price of everything at Tesco’s has gone through the roof.

Other crops that have done well include my Courgette crop and my French Beans. My tomatoes haven’t done too well though – You need sun for good tomatoes and we haven’t had much of that this year.

Still, we’ve learnt tons this year, and Mrs. Nobbs and I will carry it through to next season – when hopefully, we’ll have an even better haul. Roll on Spring!

ps – I have to show you this photo. I think only the British could do this. On a plot a few down from ours is the best scarecrow in Britain. What do you think of him? Nice Jacket, huh?

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I spent all day yesterday at Chelsea. That’s flowers, not football. Here’s one of the winning gardens, this one sponsored by the Daily Telegraph.

Chelsea is a notable element of the annual British social calendar. The Queen always goes on the first day, and various celebrities who have probably never so much as dead-headed a rose are photographed amid the petunias. On Tuesday, the Governor of the Bank of England and two former prime ministers, John Major and Margaret Thatcher, were exchanging cultural tips with the stall-holders, and Ringo Starr was holding forth about the garden dedicated to the late George Harrison. (Below, left, picture courtesy of The Telegraph.)

But by the end of the week, the die-hard gardeners are trooping down from Sloane Square tube station, wearing flat shoes and a determined expression.

The layout hasn’t changed much over the years; the show is in the grounds of The Royal Hospital, home of the famous, red-uniformed Chelsea Pensioners, who amble around the show being photographed and complimented. Right in the centre is the huge pavilion which contains hundreds of stalls crammed with the best and most beautiful plants. Here, you can order collections to be delivered after the show; this is how I always build up my pelargonium display. This year, I also bought a bougainvillea, having been assured by the stall-holder that it would thrive in this climate. It’s called Thimma, and you can see it here on the Westdale Nurseries site — it’s the second one down, and has pink flowers and white ones as well as some green leaves and some variegated ones.

I’ve been going to Chelsea for many years, and there are some constants. You never know what the weather is going to do. I’ve long given up dressing smartly; layers of clothes, a rainproof jacket with a hood and an umbrella is just the thing; this year we were treated to violent rainfall and brilliant sunshine. It is always horribly crowded, especially at the end of the week when the show is open to the public. And food and drink are horrendously expensive.

Nevertheless, we had a couple of glasses of Pimms — without which no outing to Chelsea would be complete — and a splendid lunch of seafood, strawberries and champagne.

My hayfever was kept at bay by anti-histamine (yes, I am a masochist) and I expect my feet will recover eventually. It was a great day out. Oh, and a bought a little Mediterranean table and chair set from some very nice Australians who plied me with red wine.

And if anyone wants to know a little more about the George Harrison garden, there’s a video explanation here:

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