Posts Tagged ‘The Garden Museum London’

Vinca major var. oxyloba

I bought this lovely delicate star-shaped Vinca oxyloba at the Garden Museum‘s plant fair this weekend. It actually grows in their garden and this is from their own stall. It’s a new plant to me and one I’ll be using again and again.

Vinca major var. oxyloba 2

I’ve grown to love vincas over the years for their ability to colonise the most difficult of shady areas and to surprise me with flowers when least expected.

African Basil

Herbal Haven was the nursery that originally lured me to the plant fair, and I stocked up on African basil (and some other tasty plants) for the year ahead. Not only are the leaves absolutely delicious, but the gorgeous pink spires of flowers will attract bees all summer long. Herbal Haven offer a great online shopping service too with a fantastic selection of herbs, and The Garden Museum will be opening its doors again for the Heroic Herbs Fair on June 1st.

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It’s such a treat to have the opportunity to buy from specialist nurseries, all under one roof at the Garden Museum in the centre of London. As the heavens opened, even traders outside in the gardens still seemed to be doing a brisk trade.

Seen on Friday night on Gardeners World, this Euphorbia amygdaloides Purpurea, on the Swallowfields Nursery stand, just stopped me in my tracks. Gorgeous large airy lime green bracts atop delicious dark foliage was more than I could resist. A bit taller than its close cousin Euphorbia robbiae, and without its creeping habit, this plant will perfectly replace a larger Euphorbia wulfenii, which has outgrown its space and is crowding other plants in a client’s garden. Plus it can take some shade too. Perfect! Swallowfields nursery had bought plenty of choice perennials up from Ashford in Kent to tempt and I while I mulled over where I could squeeze in a couple of Euphorbia polychroma, they were quickly snapped up by another plant hungry gardener!

On the hunt for a purple Heuchera for another client, Rotherview Nursery from Hastings had plenty of choice specimens to choose from, plus some gorgeous looking Tiarellas and much more.

‘Rustic Garden Things’ from Rye in Sussex offered many enticing vintage tools. By chance I’d already bought a border fork when on my travels out of London in Rye, which I love and use every day. Couldn’t stop myself buying another of these perfectly formed objects as I find their size and weight (and good looks) ideal for everyday use.

Resisting the cosy cafe, with piles of pastries for a Sunday morning, I ventured back out into the rain to stock up on herbs. ‘Herbal Haven’ from Saffron Walden in Essex had a wonderful selection to choose from and as well as stocking up on regulars such as Parsley and Basil, I also bought an African Blue Basil and a Black Peppermint.

The African Blue Basil, aka Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum ‘Dark Opal‘, is a perennial Basil and although not hardy, I shall endeavour to nurture through the winter so I can savour its gorgeous purple leaves, year after year. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed buying plants at this wonderfully eclectic plant fair. Hats off to the Garden Museum and all the exhibitors who braved the downfalls. Much appreciated by this London gardener. 

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Thinking ahead for next year, it’s great to see what courses are out there that can add to your gardening knowledge. I’ve been intrigued for a while now about the ‘No dig’ system of gardening, where soil is improved by adding compost every year to beds but without digging it in. My back supports this idea very much as all the hard work is done by worms gradually working the compost into the soil. No digging also retains the structure of the soil and if you can add a couple of inches of compost each year, will help to reduce weeds too. Charles Dowding (above) is a great advocate of ‘No dig’ gardening and has been operating a successful veg growing business for twenty-nine years using this system. I’m hoping to attend one of his courses running at Great Dixter in February next year. As well as books about ‘No dig’ gardening, he’s also written about salad leaves for all seasons, and so ‘participants will also learn about the importance of sowing at the best time of year for each vegetable crop, to help minimise pests and maximise yield, and there’ ll also be the opportunity for discussion about planting by the moon and biodynamics’. Planting by the moon -another topic that I’ve always meant to investigate (but often wondered if planting by the moon would be possible with my sometimes rigid gardening schedule), so I’m really looking forward to attending the course and learning from an expert in his field.

If you can’t make the course in February, there are many courses at Great Dixter (above) throughout the year that will tempt you and Charles Dowding also runs courses from his farm in Somerset which are booking now for spring next year.

West Dean Gardens, nr Chichester in W.Sussex are offering some really interesting gardening courses for next year including ‘Training trees and shrubs’, ‘Designing your own garden’ and ‘The organic kitchen garden’ (and lots more), and it’s worth keeping an eye on The Garden Museum in London too as they’ll be introducing more talks and events for 2012 soon.

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