Showing posts from October, 2010

We've grown a hospital in the garden!

Well this is really it ... I'm leaving for India ... to open the hospital that we've built in the garden!! It's taken two years; there have been moments when I wondered why I've done it; days when I wish I'd stuck to the seeds and plants that I know back home; but after two years of hard work, we're ready to open our doors to patients in rural Rajasthan. And as a passionate gardener, I can say it's been a bit like making a garden from scratch. We started with nothing except a plot of land (above) and a lot of determination. We planted the seeds and waited anxiously for them to grow. We watched nervously while we endured terrible weather conditions - days when the temperature went well over 100F and torrential rain that rendered working on site impossible; but the seeds survived. After a few months they began to grow into very small plants and slowly the building began to rise from the ground. Construction work started a year ago in November 2009 and although…

Gardens for all Seasons - Wakehurst Place

Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, is affiliated to and managed by The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. It also houses the Millenium Seed Bank, an ambitious project set up to store the seeds of every plant in Britain as well as a further 24,000 species from around the world. It's certainly a garden for all seasons and has a remarkable collection of trees, spread over more than 450 acres, so is well-known for its autumn colour, but there is also a fine winter garden, which bursts into colour in November.
The Tudor mansion (above) was built in 1590 for Sir Edward Culpeper, and provides a good backdrop to the adjacent Sir Henry Price walled garden (top), which is well stocked with colourful perennials throughout the spring and summer months. Sir Henry bought Wakehurst in 1936 and lived there with his wife during WWII, and together they restored both the mansion and the gardens. The garden bearing his name has a distinct "cottage garden" feel to it and is famous for its mauve, pi…

Wordless Wednesday - Autumn Colours

Why not share your autumn colours too and participate in the Fall Color Project, which is hosted by Dave at The Home Garden?

Gardens for all seasons - Waterperry

As November beckons, it's harder to find gardens here in the UK that welcome you with open arms. The majority of our gardens close at the end of September; a hardy few remain open until October; and it's really only the botanical gardens, arboretums and great parks that keep their doors open throughout the winter months. But Waterperry is one that welcomes visitors every day of the year except Christmas, and its easy to see why when you look at the planting at this magnificent garden near Oxford.
One of the great joys of Waterperry is that any aspiring gardener can visit to see what they'd like to grow at home. The nursery beds (above) are beautifully organised into groups of herbaceous perennials, and all plants are labelled. When I dropped in last week, it was the asters that took my breath away and you can see here (below), just how brilliant the signage is! The nursery here is also excellent and assisted by the labelling, I left with a car full of plants for my own gard…

A miniature garden Utopia and great for the kids - Bekonscot Model Village

Imagine living in a magical village where you don't need money! Everything is free; you're surrounded by greenery; there's an amusement pier, a fairground and a harbour; and even a free train service to take you to the shops or to see your friends. Everywhere you look there's open spaces and glorious trees ... and the maples are just beginning to turn, so you've got wonderful autumn colours.  This little Utopia is Bekonscot Model Village in the heart of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire - former home of London accountant, Roland Callingham, who had a passion for model railways. He started building this miniature world some 80 years ago, with the help of his gardener, Tom Berry, and today this two-acre site survives in the heart of commuter-belt Britain, and gives pleasure to hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
This is a classic story of a cloud with a silver lining because this attraction nearly prompted a divorce for its creator! There was a time when Roland C…

Autumn glory in Oxford - Botanic Gardens and Impressive Architecture!

I can never decide whether it's spring or autumn I like best, but the colours were so glorious in the sunshine at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden yesterday that I'm swaying towards autumn! I love this garden and it's never better than on a slightly chilly day in October, when the sun catches the plants at their best. It's the oldest Botanic Garden in Britain (founded in 1621); its location is wonderful; and its plant collections are astounding (and I know I've written about it before, but it deserves to be mentioned again because there's so much going on here!). This is just one of more than 2,200 Botanic Gardens in 153 countries around the world. All play a major role in plant preservation, because today there are more than 30% of the world's endangered plant species in these gardens. And Oxford is certainly doing its fair share to make people aware of trees and plants with its new "Healing Power of Plants Trail" which aims "to introd…