Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Inner Temple Garden
This weekend heralded the beginning of the marvellous Chelsea Fringe , where you can attend many a quirky horticultural happening, mostly in London, (although lots also happening around the UK, especially Bristol and Bath and further abroad) until June 12th-mostly for free.

Last Sunday, the Inner Temple Gardens were holding posy making workshops as part of the Fringe. Rarely being open to the public at weekends, this was a great opportunity to visit the gardens and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

This year, head hardener, Andrea Brunsendorf made the decision not to clothe the beds with tulips, but instead, concentrated on foxgloves and sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis). On entering the garden you couldn’t helped being wowed by this heavenly display. I also espied (top left) the rather tricky to grow Geranium maderense which is just about hardy in London and takes two to three years to flower. Mine never survived further than the first year of flowering-do they ever?

Inner Temple GArdensNot having the space to grow their own, five hundred ‘Camelot Lavender’ foxgloves were commercially grown for the gardens and this abundance of repeat planting created majestic swaying rhythms throughout the borders.

Hazel supports 2Gorgeously hand crafted hazel supports were in evidence for later flowering perennials, such as asters, and this only added to the sense of a thoroughly well-planned (and beautifully executed) garden.Peonies in potsHanging out in a Mulberry tree near the posy making were these delightful peony posies in jars. As I said, well thought out and executed to perfection.

If you can get to visit during the week, the Inner Temple gardens never disappoint and are open to the public between 12.30pm and 3pm. (Nearest tube Blackfriars.)

And I’m hoping to get to see loads more Chelsea Fringe events over the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow evening (Thursday 26th May) there’s the Guerilla Gardeners’ Walking Tour in Lambeth, Friday morning (27th May and other dates) you can get a sneaky look into one of Stefano Marinaz’s latest designs in a private garden in South Kensington.

The Olden Community Garden in North London (just opposite the Emirates Stadium) always has a great event an offer, and on Sunday 5th June they’ll be throwing a Music Party between 2pm and 7pm. You can expect an eclectic mix of sounds including English, Irish and American Folk, Tuodr Polyphony (sounds interesting), French Jazz and more, all set within the walls of this urban oasis.(Nearset tubes are Highbury and Islington and Holloway Road.)

Anmnarose's fernery in the toilet 3

Whenever I’ve been to a Chelsea Fringe event in the past, I’ve (nearly) always come away inspired. I loved Deb Nagan’s Garden of Disorientation back in 2012 and Anna Rose Hughes’ planted up toilet in Peckham (above) in 2013, so I’m off to peruse the website for more possible treasures.

Carimine quinquefoliaFriend Julia, who has an amazing memory, pointed out that I’ve mentioned this delicate spring perennial before. And so I have, back in 2011, first glimpsed when volunteering at Great Dixter. However, it’s such a gorgeous (and useful) plant, that I’m mentioning it again!
Cardimine quinquefoliaThese lilac blooms seem to pop out of nowhere in early spring, flower for a good few weeks, and then, equally swiftly, vanish after giving their sterling performance.

En masse, they look wonderful with snowdrops and hellebores and strangely this year, with the rather early appearance of Leucojum (just nodding there in the background, and normally flowering in April). Along with the hellebores and snowdrops, it’s happy in shady parts of the garden and its lilac petals are such a welcome splash of colour in February and March, when the rest of the garden looks so dull and monochrome.

Cardimine quinquefolia upright

Over the last few years, it’s slowly increased its mounds of gently serrated green foliage, and as soon as it’s finished flowering, before it does its vanishing act again, I’ll be dividing a few clumps to plant in other parts of the garden (and maybe a few divisions will be winging their way to Julia’s garden too.)

 

 

Raised beds

origibal raised bed

Back in 2010, I espied a couple of old palettes in a neighbour’s front garden and thought these might make wonderful raised beds for my own front garden. I spent an afternoon deconstructing the palettes and building the beds (here’s a ‘How to’), and then filled them with a mixture of topsoil and lovely rich compost as the soil below is rather heavy clay.

original raised bedsA year later and the beds were flourishing. In fact, they’ve been wonderful spots for experimentation ever since, and I’ve loved growing heaps of salad leaves, herbs, tomatoes

Tulips in front garden

and my annual tulip display (grown in the front garden as squirrels decimate these bulbs in the back garden).

Old wooden raised bedHowever, this wood doesn’t last forever, and despite a bit of mending here and there, these beds are now well past their best and in need of replacement. The question is, what with?

Deborah Nagan I visited Deb Nagan’s very inspiring garden in Brixton in 2013 as Part of the Chelsea Fringe,
Deborah Naga's metal raised bedsand her lovely metal raised beds have always stuck in my memory. Such gorgeousness combined with such great practicality.

So where to get some metal raised beds?

Tree pit edging

In the past we’ve used Everedge to supply us with metal edging for our street tree pits,

Rsuted steel raised bedand they also have a large range of other products for raised beds and planters. Following some very helpful discussions, I plumped for two (very reasonably priced) custom-made raised beds, 20cm high in Cor-Ten Steel. This naturally rusts over time, but they also supply galvanised steel which won’t rust, and powder coated steel which can give you different colours.

Rusted steel raised bed 2I love the deliciously warm colour of the rusted steel and its rather industrial look sits well in our urban setting. Peter from Everedge has added, in the comments below, that you can also have rolled edges if you’re worried about safety, but I can’t say that this crossed my mind when I was planning the bed.

It took a little while to construct as you have to bolt various lengths and corners together, but these raised beds should last for many years to come and I’m eager to see how my red and white Arsenal tulip display will look in this rusted bed come April.

P.s. I’ve also noticed that Harrod Horticultural sell a cream 30cm high snazzy ‘Retro’ raised bed. Not rusted steel, but groovy nonetheless.

%d bloggers like this: