Archive for the ‘Pots’ Category

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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This is the second time that I’ve visited Lucy Mackenzie’s Lip na Cloiche garden and nursery on Mull. I was originally wowed by this hillside haven and its phenomenal planting about a year ago, but since then, the island has been battered by the worst storms in 30 years, with salt-laden winds hitting the land at over 120 miles an hour.

Salt and wind burn are easily in evidence on some of the plants. However, ceaseless rain since last August, unlike our drought in the South, has also done for a fair amount of perennials too.

After a brief sunny spell, the rain was back in force on the day we visited, but had its compensations as it looked rather gorgeous captured on the hairy leaves of this Meconopsis.

Despite, or maybe because of some gaps left in the planting, there are some great sculptural developments in the garden. I love the fork heads climbing their way up the slope amongst the ‘London Pride’ (Saxifraga x urbium),

and the teapots filled with various bulbs are a fabulous quirky delight. Along with the stunning planting, Lucy Mackenzie’s outsider art credentials seem even stronger than before.

Found objects have been artfully recycled throughout the garden,

and beachcombed treasures displayed with panache.

Spade heads echo the fork head pilgrimage ,

and teapots are reprised as planters at other points in the garden.

Bedsteads define the border at the top of the garden at Lip na Cloiche,

whilst willow has been woven to mask off the compost area half way down.

There’s so much artistry to feast your eyes on, from Fritillarias in colanders,

to trees in trunks and much, much more,

that I know I’ll be drawn back to visit this spectacular garden again and again.


Prompted by a comment by Jono at Real Men Sow (a fantastic veg growing blog), adding a couple of pics of Lucy’s gorgeously chunky raised vegetable beds. They’re tucked in, in front of the greenhouse area,

and nice and deep, allowing for plenty of veg planting choices. There are also some trained fruit trees and raspberry canes on the other side of the hedge, heading towards the shoreline. Heaven!

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Went on a fantastic foraging course at King Henry’s Walk in Islington yesterday (blog to follow shortly) and couldn’t help but be taken by the amazing bike stands/planters at this forward thinking community garden.

These ‘Plantlocks’ are made by the Front Yard Company in Kentish Town and I must say, look rather fetching even without a bike attached! Immovable, once filled with soil and plants, this fab invention retails at £135.00 and seems to be just the ticket for your urban bike storage needs. Love this one packed with herbs.

P.s. King Henry’s Walk is open to the public this Wednesday evening (Yellow Book Open Gardens) from 6-9p.m with live classical music and refreshments. Not to be missed!

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