I first heard about Wendy Shillam’s wonderful rooftop garden via the Chelsea Fringe. It’s a small, but perfectly formed fruit, veg and flower garden, 5 floors up, and just round the corner from Oxford Circus in the heart of our metropolis.
I say perfectly formed, as this bijou veg patch also comes with a fully equipped writing shed,
and a very productive greenhouse.
It’s hugely impressive and utterly delightful.
Each time I visit, I’m wowed by how much veg Wendy grows in her 6 inch raised beds,
and how, over the years, she’s developed strategies for taming the wind on her rooftop to allow her to grow such a wide variety of plants.
This Spring, Wendy is running a number of workshops on growing year round salad leaves, edibles for a healthy diet, yoghurt making using herbs for flavouring and ‘preserving sweet flavours that are a million miles away from shop-bought cocktails and sugary colas’. Booking is now open, and I’m really looking forward to going on the first workshop in March.And talking of the Chelsea Fringe, the website is now open for signing up events if you’d like to participate! This year it runs from 20th May until the 4th June. Our community veg growing project joined in in 2012 and 2013. It’s massively enjoyable to take part,
and also great to see as many as possible of the hundreds of events that pop up each year (fernery in a toilet from 2013 above).
I can’t wait to see what the Fringe has in store for 2017……(Above-Geoff at the Inner Temple Gardens Dog Show in 2013)
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Ah, the first snow of the year (in London)! I’m deliciously warm and cosy inside, and this enforced idleness from gardening allows me a little time for reflection and planning for the year ahead.
Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis oderata) has to be one of my favourite herbs. Its subtle aniseed flavour is always a great addition to salads and this perennial herb is also a natural sweetener, so can be added to Rhubarb and other tart fruits when cooking, instead of sugar.
Last summer I visited ‘Little Sparta’ just south of Edinburgh (another post to follow on this wonderful artist’s garden) and was enchanted by the use of Sweet Cicely as soft feathery underplanting around a small copse of trees, looking like the most delicate of fur collars. Now I think the soil at Little Sparta may be somewhat damper than my own garden, but certainly an idea to experiment with and proof that not all herbs need full sun to flourish.
If you fancy experimenting yourself and don’t have a herb nursery on your doorstep, Herbal Haven is a great online herb nursery that always sends out quality plants at very reasonable prices.
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Posted in Herbs, Lettuces, Vegetables, tagged Aniseed flavoured herbs, Freckles, Front garden lettuces, Lettuce Freckles, Lettuce Navarra, Lettuce Solix, lettuces, Sarah Raven, Sweet cicely, Urban gardening on July 3, 2013|
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I’ve just got back from a trip to Sweden (blog post to follow on fabulous Swedish gardens), and was greeted by my lettuces which are now ready to supply many salads. Top of pic is ‘Solix’, with ‘Freckles’ in the middle and ‘Navarra’ below-all available from Sarah Raven. (I know, I’ve got a bit of weeding to do too.)
I also have some Sweet Cicely-a most delicious gentle aniseed flavoured herb, ‘Chatsworth’ Cos lettuces (from Sea Spring Seeds) and flowering mustard leaves to add to the mix and am just thrilled to have dinner right there on my doorstep.
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