View from the Valley 1
I’m writing to you from my windswept garden 600 feet up a west facing slope near the border of England and Wales. I should like to prove to you that Wales has a lot more to offer the world than male voice choirs and rugby. Wales has stunning scenery from the gently rolling tree covered Black Mountains in the south to the bare and rugged peaks of Snowdonia in the north. In between there are lakes, sparking rivers, streams and a coastline that boasts some of the finest beaches and cliffs that you could hope to find anywhere. This diverse landscape also produces some of the finest food you will ever enjoy. From salt marsh lamb to fresh water salmon, and artisan breads, cheeses, oils and oh yes fine wines. I am talking to you about my View from the Valley.
View from the Valley 2
The last time we were leaving Tredegar House and on our way to St Fagan’s Castle just of Junction 33 of the M4. The grounds of St Fagan’s is the home of the Welsh Museum of Life but the Castle is surrounded by formal gardens and terraces. The Museum contains a series of demonstrations of miners’ gardens over the decades. The buildings in the Folk Museum have working gardens surrounding them that are historically correct.
Tidy Turf Tips
Over the next couple of weeks the sound of hundreds of thousands of lawn mowers will be heard coming from gardens all across the country. Quite rightly we are proud of our lawns and the British climate helps us to produce turf to the highest standard and quality. But, if we are not careful our beloved lawn can go from a loyal servant to a demanding master.
March into spring
It looks as if the long wet winter could finally be coming to an end and at last we can think about making plans for the coming season. But don’t be in too much of a rush to get out on the soil. The structure of heavy clay soils when they are over wet can be destroyed in a couple of hours. Loamy soils will drain and become workable after a week and sandy free draining soils will be ready to work in a couple of days. But before walking on the soil always allow the surface to dry out before attempting any cultivations.
Westonbirt- The National Arboretum, is managed by the Forestry Commission and can be found just three miles from the attractive Cotswold market town of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. They are supported by a dedicated group of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum who provide valuable support to smooth operation of the site.
Traditionally kitchen gardens were laid out in long, straight rows, but gardeners today prefer to divide their gardens up into smaller plots or beds for ease of weeding, watering and harvesting. However if you are thinking of design your own fruit and vegetable garden there are a few tips I would like to recommend to you.
Reginald Cory & The Duffryn
In 2013 The Royal Horticultural Society celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show it is worth looking back towards 1913 and acknowledging Reginald Cory, one of the individuals who played a prominent part in the Show’s establishment.
Grow and show
World Championships for biggest and heaviest. Big and ugly but impressive.
Slug and snail control
There are no prizes for guessing the number one enemy of the gardener. In fact there are two and they are separated by a shell. Wherever gardeners are polled to name the major pests in their garden, slugs and snails always come out top. They are so destructive; and in most cases we only take action to control them after the damage is seen. And usually by then it is too late.
Take a walk down any country lane, across a piece of waste ground and you can’t help but notice that they are smothered with plants. Also now that roadside verges are not being sprayed with herbicides the range in the diversity of plants flourishing alongside them is also increasing quite noticeably. And it is because of this resurgence of growth that we believe all plants will grow quite happily together.
Practical Garden Training
I offer practical training in fruit, flower and vegetable production and gardening organically. I can deliver on-site training, workshops and demonstrations tailored to meet your needs. I offer expert advice on the cultivation plus the formal and informal pruning training of vines, top and soft fruit.
I provide gardening consultancy services, including: garden site assessment and analysis, preparation of design and layout plans, research material, organic management and training. Conversion to full Soil Association Organic Certification if desired.
The Kitchen Gardener
I am a Heritage and Garden Restoration specialising in growing historical fruit, flowers and vegetables. If you have a kitchen garden restoration project and need any help or advice in garden history or heritage varieties, please get in touch.
I will visit and provide practical help and advice to you in your own garden, guiding you through the organic management process including biological pest and disease management systems. I can to help you achieve and maintain organic certification.