Saturday, 31 July 2010

Frogs in a Grow Bag

We have always had numerous types of frogs in our garden. A green frog watering can, stone frogs and some made of cast iron. Although we do not have a pond there have always been real frogs. One of which came all the way with me to the rubbish tip and back again. Than goodness I realised he was there before the clippings went down the chute. I always now check my garden rubbish bags before setting off.

This year we have had a real delight with the frogs. They have taken up residence in the tomato grow bags. Each time the tomato plants are watered one, and sometimes two frogs, peep their heads out to receive a lovely dousing. I am using organic seaweed fertiliser on the tomato plants so I am hoping that there will be no harm to the frogs. We have also spotted what I think is toad in the garden. The more the better as far as I am concerned especially as I am sure they are helping to reduce the slug population in the garden.

Most information on the internet about attracting frogs and toads to your garden concentrates on having a pond. However most frogs and toads do not hibernate in water and spend a lot of their time on dry land so there is no reason why they cannot be frequent visitors to most gardens. The tree stumps and log piles left in our garden may be a prefect habitat for them. The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust gives lots of tips and information about creating a frog-friendly garden.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show: My Favourite Garden

The garden one that bowled me over most at The Hampton Court Flower Show was the ‘An Uprising of Kindness’ garden designed by Bill Butterworth. The garden celebrated the homeless charity Emmaus which began in France in 1954. The planting was beautiful, with an edible French Mediterranean theme, including vines, olive, bay and apple trees. The colours of purple and orange were divine. The main water feature had 19 stacks of plates representing the 19 Emmaus communities across the UK. However it was the entrance to the garden which appealed most to me. You enter through a circular arbor with seating. On the floor two curled up people are depicted with glass bottle bottoms sunk into the ground. To enter the garden you cannot walk around these people as you usually would homeless people. You either step over or walk through them when you go in. You also have the choice of sitting in the arbor and contemplating what you can see.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


When I visit gardens I am always on the look out for ideas that will get children playing and really looking at their environment. This year there was lots on offer at the Hampton Court Flower Show.  A garden which aims to raise awareness of overactive bladders may not be an obvious candidate for having child appeal. Yet any garden with a giant pink tap hovering in the air and pouring out water is a great eye catcher. There is no doubt that children will be intrigued as to how it works and how magical it really is. I am sure there will be quite a few ‘I want one of those’ heard during the course of the show. And, indeed, a smaller toned down version would be great fun.

A Matter of Urgency

A garden with a more traditional child-friendly feel is the Playful Garden designed by Southend Borough Council. It combines a blend of play, vegetable and landscape garden, all with a quirky feel, so that plants hang down rather than grow up. The tunnels in perspex are designed so that children can see the roots and animals living in the soil. The design and planting encourages lots of different type of active play and interaction with the plants and structures. I liked the arena – giving children the freedom to run around, tumble down or to dress up and put on a play.

Playful Garden

Root World Tunnel

There has been lots of publicity the Legoland Garden, which has great novelty value for the kids and is definitely better than plasticine flower garden shown at Chelsea last year. It is unlikely that you will be able to use similar features in your own garden. If you miss it at Hampton Court you will be able to see it when it is rebuilt at Legoland Windsor.

The Legoland Pirates Landing Garden

For me one of the highlights of this years show has to be the Home Grown Area. You can take tour around the fields of an arable farm in miniature and a similarly miniature market garden or is it a large allotment.  There is an orchard and chickens and an unusual mushroom growing area..  Everything looks great and children can really see where there food comes from and how ornamental it can all be. Inspirational.

Finally there is the recycled containers competition from Girlguiding UK.  I rather like this container just about identifiable as a shopping trolley.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010

My review of the 2013 Flower Show can be found here

 I  thought I would share a with you some of my photographs from the Hampton Court Flower Show.

More on my favourite gardens and child friendly and quirky gardens to follow.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Photography and Savill Gardens

I have recently realised that you can’t write a website and a blog about gardens without getting into photography. A trip to Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park last week with a photographer friend provided the perfect opportunity to have a plant photography tutorial. I hope we will all benefit from any improvement. One of the photos below is taken by my friend, Brigitte Flock. See if you can spot which one.

Go to Savill Gardens this time of year to see the hostas, trees, new rose garden and stunning perennial borders.

I am attending the Hampton Court Flower Show on Monday 4 July so I will be practising my new skills then.  You can usually pick up good tips for child-friendly gardens at the show.  I shall be especially looking out for the Playful Garden.  Where plants are fun to look at, feel and smell especially if they are upside down!   So watch this space to find out more.
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