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Archive for the ‘Potaotoes’ Category

Slad Blue potatoes

Despite the name, Salad Blue potatoes are not great for salads as they’re a tad on the floury side and crumble when boiled. However, they do make great chips and mash. And blue ones at that! Bred by the Victorians in Scotland in the early 1900’s, they could be seen, as they were then, as a novelty potato. But the blue colouring is said to contain all-important antioxidants, so surely, this is a super veg!

Slad Blue potatoes chitting

We’re going to have a go at growing these tubers in growbags for our veg growing project this year and if I can find a spare patch of grass, I’ll continue my ‘no dig’ experiments too.

It’s still bitter outside, so I’ll chit these tubers in a cool and bright room until milder temperatures return. And planted at the end of March or the beginning of April, these groovy spuds should be ready (weather permitting) to harvest in August and September.

Salad Blue seed potatoes can be bought from Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes and Pennard Plants.

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Plant belles rusty wire cloch supports with bamboo

I love this show. I always seem to find what I’m look for, and then some more. I’ve been debating whether I should use a cloche for my winter leaves or not and then I came across this nifty and stylish solution for those with petite growing (and storage) spaces. Some bamboo canes and a bit of fleece (or plastic) added to these rusty wire hoops will do the trick perfectly.

Plant Belles rusty cloche supports in different sizes

Plant Belles supply hoops in different finishes and sizes to suit all needs and have other gorgeous plant supports online too. I plumped for a set of 5 smaller hoops for £15.00 and I know I’m going to use these time and time again.

Pachysandra axillaris 'Crug Cover'

I’m always irresistibly drawn, as if by a magnetic force, to the Crug Farm Plants stand, and this year I was delighted by this deliciously scented Pachysandra axillaris ‘Crug Cover’. So similar are its flowers to that of a Sarcococca, that I thought it must be related, but the Pachysandra genus is part of the box family. The ‘axillaris’ leaves are sizeably larger than the more common Pachysandra (terminalis) ground cover that you see in many gardens, and growing in light to dark shade, to about a foot high (and of creeping habit),  this new plant discovery is definitely on my ‘shady bits of the garden’ must-have list.

Chilli Peppr seeds

After a bit of plant gazing and shopping, I was onto the serious business of seed buying. I do want to start some mustard leaves off soon in my mini greenhouse (and new cloche) and called by to the very friendly Sea Spring Seeds stand. They always have  a really good selection of leaves and I plumped for some ‘Broadleaf’ and ‘Red Knight’ Mizuna (fast becoming one of my favourites) and Flaming Thrills and Golden Streaks Mustards-always very decorative. But Sea Spring Seeds are also a Chilli specialist and I’ve ordered some Super Chile plug plants to be delivered later in the year for our community veg growing project. I think they’re going to look fantastic in sunny window boxes and pots along our street come summer.

Pennard plants stall

I also dropped by Pennard Plants to discuss seeds potatoes. These will be for growing in growbags at the end of March and I’ve plumped for Salad Blue Early (a handsome dark purple tuber for some great lilac-coloured mash), which I can collect at the Potato Day at the Garden Museum in Lambeth on Sunday March 10th.

Rainbow mix carrots

And I picked up plenty of packets of seeds so neighbours can grow these gorgeous rainbow coloured carrots this year too.

Lathyrus vernus at the RHS Feb show

As ever, there was a glorious array of spring-flowering bulbs and perennials on offer, and I snapped up a few Lathyrus vernus for another shady spot from the Hardy’s stand. And a few of the darkest of Hellebores and some Hollyhocks for tree pits from The Botanic Nursery. This is my favourite sort of shopping!

Woodland planting in nearby street in Victoria

As you leave Vincent square, there’s a garden nearby (attached to some grand old purpose-built flats in Ashley Gardens-thanks for local knowledge Nicolette) that always looks as good as the show stands. This year was no exception and the cyclamen, primroses and hellebores made the route home a perfect ending to a very enjoyable day.

P.S.

Irises at the RHS Feb show 2

Following Claire’s comment below, here’s a pic of Jacques Armand’s lush Iris display. Have a look at her fab blog for her review of the show.

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Sumptuous curves of Amsterdam

Inspired by Wellywoman’s Golden Welly awards, I thought I’d have a look back over the year and round-up some of my favourite horticultural experiences. So in no particular order (other than what first pops into my head)…..

On the third weekend every June, usually hidden Canal Gardens in Amsterdam are open to the public, so I popped over to Holland with fellow blogger Veronica (you can just see her there in the background) to have a look. (In 2013 Open Canal gardens are 14-16 June ).I have to admit, the omnipresent box parterres were slightly overwhelming by the end of the weekend, but I loved the giant curvaceous sculptural box forms in this garden at Kerkstraat 67.

Sumptuously curvy hedging in Amsterdam 2

Impeccably maintained, this garden was the most inspirational by far out of the 25 gardens or so that we packed in over the two days.

pots in Amsterdam 2

I haven’t been to Amsterdam for years, and I’d forgotten what a fantastic place it is just to hang out. And maybe the real horticultural treat for me over the weekend was not so much the canal gardens (although some were stunning), but the great planting that you see in the streets throughout this beautiful city.

pots in Amsterdam_

At every turn, pots were bursting with blooms,

Streets of Amsterdam

and roses adorned all manner of objects, seemingly springing out of deep concrete. Amazing!

De Kas Restaurant in Amsterdam

To complete our horticulturally themed weekend, we dined at De Kas restaurant, a short tram ride just outside the city centre. It’s a fabulous spot. Vegetable beds surround an enormous revamped municipal greenhouse and dining in this open airy structure added to the joy of eating their delicious meals, where fresh produce from the gardens is used as much as possible.

Black Krim tomatoes

Back in Blighty, I know it wasn’t a great year for tomatoes, but Black Krim, a beefsteak variety which I’d tasted the previous summer at Victoriana Nurseries , was another curvaceous delight. It looks wild and tastes great. Really meaty and rich. I’m definitely growing these again next year. (more…)

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