Monthly Archives: March 2012

walled garden envy

On a sunny Sunday, Scunny was the destination for our day out, Normanby Hall Victorian Walled Garden to be precise. Even though I been visiting this walled garden for years I always find interest here, interest and envy, I’d love a walled garden, I love the idea of secrecy and order almost like a monastery. I like to visit at this time of year getting to see the bare bones of the place but with the promise of delicious things to come.

apple espallier

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rose arch

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March round the garden

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architectural heads of Sedum still going strong

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Forsythia blossom is the brightest thing in the garden

kale red winter
Kale slowly going to seed but keeping its beauty

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Gunnera looks so delicate when it first appears

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Delicate Berberis Darwinii blossom but don’t be fooled it’s a most spiked devil

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Late Purple Sprouting taking over from it’s early cousin

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I love the juxtaposition of the chaos of the old growth with the fresh architecture of the new

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Dew drops on Alchemilla leaves never fail to fascinate me

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Wassail dark days are over

Almond blossom

It’s finally here the spring equinox and dark days are slipping away and spring is off from the blocks. The Usain Bolt of the seasons must be the most dramatic in change and weather, we get them all, starting with the first peeping of bulbs to the promise of Swallows nesting under the eaves. One minute your in shirt sleeves the next your dashing inside to escape the hail.

Today it’s beautifully bright but freezing to the bone the wind cutting through me so seeds will be sowed in the kitchen but it all matters not as there is true hope this time off year all is fresh all is new the growing season starts over, it’s our chance to try again and learn from last years mistakes. For me the years starts now.

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Garden formalities

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I don’t know when I decided on such a formal layout for the mail part of the garden, which is also the veg patch so therefore the most important part of the garden for us. I think part of it is wanting to recreate a cross between the feeling I had when working into the courtyard gardens of Valldemossa monastery in Majorca, a Victorian walled garden and French potager. A little grand for a semi in the suburbs of Leeds never!

formality seems to be unpopular in design but gardens which hold beautiful examples of formal excellence seem as popular as ever. There seems to be no retro for garden design like fashion. I’m not saying I want rockeries or crazy paving back- although I quite like crazy paving.

Many people who have been too see the garden taking shape have said “it’s very formal” almost as if I’ve missed it or it’s wrong. I think that a formal space works better on a small space giving the garden seasonal interest and definition. Call me what you like I can take it, I’m keeping my formality.

Ok there is also a little bit of the wannabe English gent about me too hence the ridiculous facial hair but pish and twiddle to it.

“I’ll have a cup of cocoa, cold veal and ham pie, slice of fruit cake, and a macaroon. Same for you, Bertie?”

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Headingley Guerilla Herb Garden

Thanks to a tweet from Richard Reynolds yesterday evening a friend and I found ourselves at the rock and roll end of horticulture having our photos taken by Paul Harris for 2020Vision. Well OK it’s not like being photographed falling off a toilet at Glastonbury but it was fun. Guerilla Gardening is as much about raising peoples awareness of the fact that they live in a world that they are part of not separate from. It’s also about the ownership of space these are public places, the clue is in the title, we need to remind ourselves that we do have ownership of these places not from a “I pay my taxes” view point but that it’s where I live where I walk past everyday why don’t we take pride and responsibility in these spaces as much as our homes.

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Anyway I’m ranting, this was an unloved planter outside the Arndale Centre in Headingley, Leeds. I wanted to turn it into a veg box so I’ve started to plant herbs, Rosemary, Thyme and Egyptian Walking Onions because I love them. Hope fully I can add to this as the season allows. If anyone is in the area please feel free to add what you like.

I thought the idea of making it a veg box compliments the local eateries like Greggs and Pizza Express, oh I feel another rant coming………..

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