Archive for the ‘Small Gardens’ Category

I love an edible window box. Gorgeous to look at, with tasty bites.

These delicate violas are from viola specialist Wildegoose Nursery  (Viola cornuta ‘Winona Cawthorne’ I think) and as well as being edible, they have a delicious honey scent. And planted alongside are some wonderfully textured mustard leaves. Red Frills, Golden Streaks, Green in Snow and Giant Red are all in the mix. Dead-heading keeps the violas constantly flowering, although I might have to replace some of the mustard leaves soonish, which are just about going to seed.

And talking about edibles,  I went to see the new Tord Boontje’s ‘Dawn to Dusk’ swivelling chairs on the Thames at the weekend as part of the Chelsea Fringe. They’re right next to Vauxhall Bridge, so easy to get to (Vauxhall tube is the nearest).

They’re handsome benches (modelled here by the gorgeous Gianna),

beautifully planted up with drought tolerant plants which look great against the rusted steel.

I particularly liked the Tulbaghia violcea (aka Society Garlic), a stunner of a plant of which both stems and flowers are edible, with quite a garlicy kick. Which almost makes this an edible chair?

Now here’s the turning bit. Below, there’s me giving you a twirl with the London Eye behind.

And here’s the very accommodating Andrew and his parents who let me film them while they were out Chelsea Fringing too. All great fun!

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Fan trained quince tree at Chelsea Physic GardenI’ve just had a large ornamental cherry tree removed from my smallish back garden. I’ve been humming and hawing over this drastic surgery for a few years now, and although it has produced a lovely display of early white blossom every spring, it has also completely dominated the garden. Sapping moisture and nutrients from the soil, the tree has stopped most other plants from flourishing. So it had to go.

Now done, I’m absolutely delighted (if a bit in shock) that there’s so much more light and space. And this is where the quince tree comes in. I want to replace the ornamental cherry tree with another tree, something more productive, but a tree  that will provide some privacy without dominating the garden again.

Blosson on Quince at the Chelsea Physic Garden

In spring, I went to hear Joy Larkcom talk at the Chelsea Physic Garden, and was completely charmed by their fan trained quince tree (and Joy’s talk of course!). This tree completely fits the bill. The blossom in May was huge and enchanting and I was equally smitten by its large leaves. The supports here are approximately 3m wide and the tree at the moment is maintained to about the same height too.

On a recent trip to Wisley, the fantastically knowledgeable Jim Arbury recommended ‘Meeches Prolific’ as a variety that has some resistance to Quince leaf blight, and growing on Quince C rootstock (similar to the semi-dwarfing M26) should keep the tree relatively small. Keepers Nursery in Kent also recommend ‘Ekmek’ as its fruits are less gritty than ‘Meeches Prolific’, making it good for all types of cooking and baking. Now is the perfect time to order my tree, so I need to get out in the garden and get supports ready before it arrives in the new year. Very exciting!

Fan trained quince tree at Chelsea Physic Garden-back viewIt’ll be the first time I’ve ever trained a quince tree, but I’m excited by the challenge, and in years to come, it’ll be great to have these gorgeous fruits growing in our back garden.

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