Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My Garden Inspiration P1. Hatfield House

 I sit here contemplating ......

Each part of this Garden is divided into different sections. You can walk through the
hedged archways and take in a different border or feature to take away with you.

This view is in a sheltered walled part of the Gardens. 

I have always loved Gardens 
since I was small. I was very 
fortunate to be brought up in 
a family whose parents and 
Grandmother were the
most amazing Gardeners. 

I since trained as a 
Gardener and so it is kind 
of already in my blood. I really 
love to visit other peoples Gardens,
big or small, so I can get inspiration 
and also contemplate the ways of Nature. 
 It is a very therapeutic past-time. 
May is a great time to visit large 
Private Gardens within huge grounds.

The public can, at a reasonable price, mostly,
wander around at their leisure and take in the

Hatfield House, in Hertfordshire, is one
of  these places which is open to the public
most of the time. 

Mini Iris at Hatfield House by lake

                                                     As a trained Gardener I am clearly
interested in the way these huge
Gardens are designed. I may not
always like the over the top Topiary
and massive yew hedging but it is
definately a place to feel a connection
with nature, to feel peaceful and to
escape from the modern mad world.

I have to say that I find that the owners
of these Stately Homes and the like are
not the people I would want to give
my money to but we all do need
to escape and feel a calm and relaxing
part of nature somehow.

So sadly we have to give in and
they provide the show for us.

White wisteria in perfect setting

Many plants give us different memories or evoke certain emotions in us. 
This Wisteria really is something that takes me back to being a young girl
living overseas. I have seen three different varieties at Hatfield House 
including this white variety. It is something else. There is always
something new for us to learn about.

Plants live in different environments, some are physically protected by walls
giving off more heat and perfume, in this case. One of  them was hanging over me and so happy there. 
Plants like us really do benefit from the sunshine.

Isn't this fabulous?

Spring is the best time to take in all the changing colours and beginning of the new cycle of plants.

I need to feel peaceful in my mind by being enveloped in a beautiful landscape. 
Gardens which are
beautifully manicured and designed are far from that which we create for ourselves. I need the contrast
of this physical place, to be absorbed in, and connected with it. I am sure that many of you who are reading 
this will feel the same. Gardens which we can borrow will stay in our minds until we are able to return to them.

Here at Hatfield House there are lots of vistas
and personal places. The beauty of it is that
you can escape from other people and be alone
with your floral artistic thoughts.

It has been designed  in such a way that
there are many walks and paths to take
you on different colourful experiences.

 I am going to take you to one of the most beautiful
parts of this Garden now. It is only open once a week 
but it is so worth the extra, small supplement.
See P2. My Garden Inspiration

Gardening Tips

Haiku - 
Running water
Green hedges
Wet pebbles

Minature Iris by Lake

Remember that all plants in Containers need to 
be watered regularly. Baskets, pots, planters 
are all Mini Gardens and do need to be 
kept fed and watered often.
If the compost is dry it is in need of

 Compost needs to be replaced
now and again with big planters.
 Keeping your plants
nourished and as healthy as possible is the secret
to happy plants. More on that later on.

Different plants need different Composts.
See section on Soils and Compost coming soon. 

Hanging Baskets
There is a real knack to planting well 
and successfully in a hanging basket.
I will talk about that more fully later on.
Once planted up you need to feed
them with plant plugs and keep watering 
daily if the soil is dry.

Shrubs in Pots
Sometimes we forget to water and
feed shrubs which are not in the ground.
They are just as important but can get
Such as this prolific Clematis.
It took a long time to grow and after a couple of years suddenly produced
beautiful bell shaped flowers. It now has a few lovely seed heads.

Remember in windy weather we need to keep plants well watered so they do not dry out,
even those in the ground. With this extreme wind we need to make sure plants are where possible
put in a sheltered place. That is if they happen to be in a pot you can easily move. Dead heading flowers
that have gone over, like roses. 
You can keep the dried petals and make your own lavender/rose bags.

Pests and Disease
Remember Gardening is not always a pleasure..
Roses are particularly prone to green or black fly.
So we need to spray them regulalry to remove them.
This year my hellebores seem very susceptible to aphid attack.
I have had to spray them quite a few times already in a short
period of time. I keep them away from other plants incase they
too get infected.

Watering Plants in Summer
All plants in hot weather need to be given extra attention and watered more often.
All plants in pots need to be kept reguarly watered or they will suffer. Look at the 
leaves if they start to droop or even if they start to shrivel up and dry out. 

This is leaf scorch on my Actinidia

This is a beautiful climber and does love sun. It gets a lot of direct sun 
when it is out and suddenly got really scorched.

I have removed the dead leaves which fell off and watered it a lot twice a day. 
I have given it more multi purpose compost as it needed more. 

I will keep an eye on it and see how it is doing over the next week. 
Keep reading please.

Lemon Balm scorch on leaves July 15

 This Lemon balm plant is normally quite happy and grows
well but it too has developed some leaf scorch. It is also in a relatively 
sunny spot and the intense heat we have had recently (end of June/early July)
has been a bit too much for it. So again I will remove these leaves and keep it

Friday, 22 May 2015

Soil Types - Overview

"What is it you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life."
Walt Whiman

Soils and Compost
This is the basis of Gardening. Soil is the one essential substance
we need to grow plants in but so often we Gardeners get it wrong.
Please read on and find out more.......

Soil Types
What do I mean by different types of soil?
Surely it is all the same I hear you ask.

Well no, most plants need to be grown
in one type of soil to flourish and feel
happy. If not they will not give their best.

This is a mix of pre packed compost for my Veggie trial

Loamy Soil -
This is a good type of soil as it is
made up of clay, sand and silt.

Chalky Soil -
This type of soil is found in many
parts of the UK. It is literally made
from chalk. As a pure white substance
below the surface of the soil.

Three pieces of chalk from my Garden

It can be small solid lumps or it can be in larger pieces. It is a tricky soil to deal with
at the best of times and so we Gardeners need to take extra care when preparing a
planting hole or a flower bed.

Clay Soil -
This type of soil is as the name suggests it part made up of clay - that natural
substance we use to make Pottery from. It is a 'heavy'soil and it is nutritious
but tends to get water logged. It is hard work to work it but it is full of goodies.

A mixture of compost and top soil

Sandy Soil -
This type of soil is easy to work with and it is what is called 'free draining' but
it looses nutrients so they need to be added to it. By adding good organic
matter it will create a good soil.  
When you pick it up in your hand it will fall through your fingers.

Broken down leaf mould

Composts - Ericaceous  
Some plants and shrubs really need to be treated with kid gloves.
The likes of the Azalea family, rhodedendrons, Maples (Acers),
Blueberries etc do need ericaceous soil to be happy and healthy.

So if you are unsure what to do or what your soild type
is and you have a Maple or these plants I have just mentioned,
then buy some nice,attractive pots and use Ericacous soil from
a good Garden Centre.

Keep well watered regularly so that the soil does
 not dry out. Feeding them too is important now and again. 
Use a special feed for such plants such as a Concentrate for
Azaleas and Rhodedenrons.     

House Plant Compost
Use this for all house plants. It is a special type
of  Compost designed pecially for indoor plants.
Ensure that the planter is big enough for the plant
you want to plant up in it.

Remember that indoor plants do need to be watered
quite regularly as they will dry out fast. 

Vegetable Compost
When growing Veggies we want the best possible flavour from them. 
So we should use a special Vegetable Compost to provide extra nutrients 
and nourishment.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Contact Page

Please contact me for further information at
Or call me on 07944 868209.

I am here to advise and I will be charging 
a nominal fee of £20.00- £25.00 for my
professional advice. Many Thanks for your interest in my Gardening blog.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Famous Gardeners and their poetry

"Tell me what it is you plan to do with 
your one and wild precious life?"

Mary Oliver (Ohio)

One of her lovely poems is called The Swan. 
It is so beautifully written. 

Claydon House

"I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, 
between the 
shadow and the soul." 

Pablo Neruda. (Poet)


Claydon House,

"For most of history, Anonymous was a woman."
Virginia Woolf 


Christopher Lloyd 

He wrote so many books on gardening and 
he is so engaging and easy to read. 

I find  'In My Garden' a great book to read. 

It is timeless which is a real skill 
of such a talented writer. 

He has left me me with so many fabulous 
memories of his own 
garden and all the things he did in his life. 

He was so loved by so many people. 
He lived in the most fabulous house and gardens 
known as Great Dixter all his life. 

It is a truly inspirational place 
and so worth a visit. 

"Gardening is the purest of human pleasures."
Francis Bacon

Going back in history we have so 
many inspiring 
Gardeners we can follow. 

Vita Sackville West was so resourcefu
l and talented. 

She has written many books and long
 descriptive poetry.

Quote " The whole of Sissinghurst reeks of hops, 
which I find an agreeably Kentish smell."

Vita Sackville West

We all need to get inspiration 
and ideas from different sources. 

The Internet can be useful in ways
to do a quick plant search or find
a picture to identify a plant. 

But the best source is to read up on what famous
Gardeners have written and read their take on 
what to plant where and how to get the most 
from plants. 

There is so much to learn when you 
are starting out and we all need a little help 
along the way. 

I do urge you to check out some
such great authors. 

Robin Lane Fox started his career 
at The Botanical Garden in Munich.

Later he was a Garden Master of 
New College Oxford. 

He also wrote a Gardening column 
in the Financial Times 
for many years. 

He published many books but the top 
best sellers were

'Better Gardening' and 'Variations on a Garden'.

He wrote of Christopher Lloyd

"He was the acknowledged king of garden writers. 
One of the most influential
masters of practical gardening in all its forms. 
The most thoughtful of Gardeners."

Beatrix Potter 
She was a great Gardener and 
of course famous 
writter especailly of childrens books.

To me she was very resourceful
 in her time 
and was very hard working too. 

She lived in different parts of the 
United Kindgom 
and most famously the Lake District.

Her favourite was said to be Camfield Place 
in Hertfordshire, close to Hatfield House. 

Carol Klein is the most enthusiastic 
Gardener I have come across. 

She is so full of confidence and resourcefulness and really can help 
you see the wood from the trees. 

She is very easy to follow and she
helps all kinds of people 
to create beautiful gardens from scratch. 

She has written a lot of books as well 
as being a Garden presenter. 

One of here really neat books I have is 
called 'Grow your own Veg Journal.'

 It has simple headings for each month, 
dealing with pests, how to grow sweetcorn
etc, some recipes etc. 

It is split up into weeks 
so you can record what you 
have sown when. 

A useful book to help you 
as you are going along. 

We all need to learn and experiment 
with plants. Sometimes we win and 
sometimes we loose. 

It can be hugely frustrating when 
plants don't grow and there is always 
a reason why.

We may be planting the something 
we love in a very unsuitable place but 
by reading up on what the experts say 
we should hopefully learn the right 
things to do.

Who do you enjoy reading about? 

Who inspires you?

I find all writers who can 
put over a message 
clearly makes it an interesting read. 

So often we just need to check why 
a plant is struggling and where 
better to go than the experts.

Do let me know. 

It is good to read articles as well for 
a good source
 of planting information.

The Guardian has a great 
week-end magazine 
which always has articles on 
someone sharing their favourite plants 
and I have so many cuts outs 
throughout different months.  

It really is worth following. 
One article 
by Gardener, Alys Fowler 
was about Apples
and the many varieties 
we can choose from. 

It was really informative 
as she is always 
engaging and amusing. 

I urge you to take a look.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

How to create a Mini Garden P2.

"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living 
from a small piece of land."
Abraham Lincoln

Let's start with the Veggie patch. For this purpose I am going to cheat!

Here is the Veggie patch ready
to go. I have dug it over and
removed old roots and stones
from it. We are ready to plant
it up now. I have one marrow
and one courgette as small

I will plant them in this nice mixed compost and soil I have
used to grow veggies in before. I need to protect them by
covering with a cloche against slugs. They would devour
them otherwise.

Some bought cloches have little air vents on the top so
ensure that they are closed in the evening and overnight.
They can be opened in the day time to allow ventilation but make
sure you don't forget to close them. I prefer to keep them closed
incase I forget.

I also need to make sure they are watered regularly and 
I will feed them too. (will talk about that a bit later on).

So I want you to watch them growing and spreading
out in this space. I have put down some potting grit
around them to protect them against slugs.

Please keep reading as I update this blog.

Plant No 1 (Day 1)

Plant No 2

Growth in a couple of days under cloche

Next I am going to plant up another
vegetable in a hanging basket. As
I do this I will explain why.
Please keep reading!

Some of the first leaves of
Plant No1 have got a bit eaten. 
I will see how it goes over the next
few days. Then I will let you know
what I plan to do.
Please see P3 How to create a Mini Garden

 The concrete space - Balcony

I hope you have managed to gather a selection of Planters
by now. I am going to talk you through your planting.

It is important to make it as simple as possible.
You will need a few tools to help you along.

 1. Planters 2. Compost                                               
3. Gardening gloves 4. A trowel/ small fork

Good compost is full of nutrients so buy reasonable
quality stuff. Make sure your trowel is sturdy enough
and preferably a nice
metal one.

Planter 1
Rosemary (blue flowers)
Purple sage (purple and green leaves)
Apple Mint (below)

Planter 2

Planter 3
Miniature Bay


I have bought three different small herbs.
I will plant them up soon and show you
how easy it is.

Purple sage, lavender, thyme

Having scrubbed and washed 
my terracotta planter (below) I lined it with
thick plastic sheeting. Terracotta dries out so
fast so it helps to retain some moisture. I also
placed some red terracotta stones in the base
to help with better drainage. 

I have planted up the Purple Sage and the Thyme in this.

Pictures to follow as it is in my potting shed and need to get up my steep and wet,
slippery garden to do so. So as soon as the sun comes out I will post up the photos.

Purple Sage and Thyme 
This is now ready to go outside but in case of frost it is still in my potting shed.
We can still get frosts in May which seems crazy.
This planter is doing well. These herbs are growing well in the potting shed.
I need to keep watering them daily as they are drying out a lot. 

See the growth on the Purple Sage 
As it grows more it seems to loose a lot of its purple leaves and grow green ones