Garden ideas from other peoples Gardens

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Garden design ideas from other peoples gardens

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Visiting other people gardens is a great way to discover new garden design ideas and get some inspiring gardening tips into the bargain.

Is this just a British thing or are there schemes in other countries where the general public are invited in to private gardens. The British do not appear to worry too much about the security issues involved. Gardeners in the UK are a trusting lot. Various schemes are run on a regular basis throughout the summer months.

And many a good garden ideas can be sussed from a casual afternoon out.

One such organisation in the UK is the NGS (National Garden Scheme) A charity offering over 3700 gardens to choose from and every year NGS gardens across England and Wales welcome about 750,000 visitors. They also publish an annual The Yellow Book, a guide to over 3,700 gardens, considered by many to be the ‘bible’ of garden visiting. Many of these gardens are town, urban or small gardens and many good small garden ideas can be taken away with you.

For example Rewela Cottage in Skewsby Yorkshire UK

¾-acre ornamental garden, designed by current owner, featuring unusual trees, shrubs, and architectural plants. Other features include a pond, pergola, natural stone sunken garden, breeze house, raised vegetable garden. May for rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and spring bulbs. July for summer flowering plants, year round interest. Over 80 heucheras, 40 penstemons and 40 hostas in the garden

What is it about garden visiting that is so engaging, so fascinating and so inspiring?  Is it that we just want to have a nose at what others are doing on their plots so that we can ‘keep up with the Joneses’?  Engage with aspects of art, design & […]

Outdoor Container Garden Ideas

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Container garden ideas are plentiful around the web but few really stand out out with fresh new thinking, albeit with an old fashioned favourite, after all, a container is a container but sometimes those container gardens take on a whole new look with carefully chosen planting schemes. It is great to see that old trusted colourful, almost non-flowering plant making a comeback, I am referring of course to the Coleus. The Victorians certainly new a good thing when they saw it…

container garden
Container gardening gives everyone an opportunity to experience the joy of gardening. It doesn’t matter if you have a large yard, small yard, no yard or just a deck or balcony. Outdoor container gardening is a quick way to add a splash of color to what outside space you do have. There is no limit to what you can plant in outdoor containers; flowers, herbs, vines, and even vegetables. All it takes are […]

More pictorial container garden ideas. Well-planned window boxes will be dense with foliage even when flowers are scarce.

Gardening Tips in the Southwest USA – Which Garden Plants

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There are always useful snippets or gardening tips related information to be gleaned for your home garden whilst travelling around or when on holiday. This article gives a clear account of which garden plants would suit the prevailing conditions at home. See what plants do well and if those same conditions apply in your own garden the chances are that plant will also do very well. Here the author Matthew Stevens lays it out clearly.

In and around Tucson it is incredibly hot and dry. The average precipitation is only 12 inches, most of which comes in July and August. As such, their landscapes, and their lives to a degree, are really limited by the amount of available water. It is rare to see lawns anywhere- hardly any homes have lawns, and only a few residential areas do, because there is simply not adequate water to keep turf living in most situations. However, many homes and business are very responsible about water use and use cisterns to capture and store rain water for later use….]

Gardeners World – A Gentle Gardening Life in Gascony

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Gardeners World – Gascony France

Gascony in the late Autumn is a wonderful place for a gardener. With a fragrant ancient rose in my front basket, I rode a vintage bicycle through the rolling countryside, passing through tiny villages, long since settled deep into the countryside, as much a part of the land as the crops and the great flocks of birds migrating south overhead.

Gascony FarmhouseSix of us met by helping to maintain the gardens and buildings of a beautiful converted barn and farmhouse, still retaining stone slate floors and noticeably cosy rooms with thatch walls. For a fortnight we worked in the sunshine five hours on week days, called in to hearty meals of crusty local bread, aged wine, Armagnac and home grown fruit and vegetables.

We were impressed with the recycling in Gascony. We walked our recycling to the ubiquitous local recycle points, around the corner down the willow lined lanes, a man in a horse drawn cart tipped his hat to us.

Gascony SquashFrench recycling policy recognises that human habits are not sustainable. This system is ingrained in village life in France, and sets an example to us all as consumers, not only at a governance level, but as individuals taking personal responsibility day to day.

Another aspect of Tillac life worth emulation was the use of water. Our spacious French garden featured a humble but beautiful stream-fed pond. The dusk light the sun lit up bulrush heads to glow like lanterns. A myriad of frogs plopped away at our footsteps, we befriended one little fellow of vivid green.

Be it poets or psychiatrists, Zen Buddhists or hikers, nobody denies the calming beauty of water. Water features are a beautiful addition to you garden.

Garden Ideas

Creating a water feature in your own garden is a hugely rewarding project, creating a serene depth to your garden space. Some may be able to use natural water ways, otherwise use pumps.

To create a wildlife pond, gardeners should follow a few useful pointers. Firstly, choose level ground, avoiding trees which will shed their leaves into the pond and congest it. Landscape the pond, creating ledges for plants around the margins. It is recommended to line the hole with sand to protect the pond liner. Lay the liner neatly, ensure there are no holes. Take photos of the cabling to remember the positioning when it is obscured.

Creating a waterfall not only looks wonderful, it increases oxygenation for the flora and fauna in the pool, and creates ‘white noise’. White noise is a sound that contains every frequency within the range of human hearing in equal amounts, and the calming effects of running water is attributed to white noise.

Placing rocks in the pool will create shelter for wildlife. Plant marginal plants, such as Amphibious Bistort, Bog Arum, Water Cress, Water Crowfoot Ivy, Water Forget-me-Not. Make sure there are oxygenator plants. Include deep water plants, and floating plants such as lilies. Plants can be placed in pots underwater and moved as the grow taller.

Gardening Tips

Our hosts were a fount of knowledge in many aspects of a gardeners world. They took great pride in their onions, and we learnt some valuable tips for the correct drying of the bulb while assisted them in the harvesting.

Onions should be pulled after a dry spell; onions contain more moisture after rain, thus liable to rot and mildew during storage. Onions should be pulled during a reliably dry spell; they must be left in the sun to dry for several days. The onions are ready to store once their roots are dry and brittle.

Gascony Veggies and ChurchOn this gardening occasion I was a ‘wwoofer’, immersing myself in traditional French life in the name of gardening. ‘Wwoofing’ (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) is the chance for gardeners who like to meet wanderers and welcome them at their tables whilst getting help with their gardens; the flip side, of course, is that adventurous gardeners can travel and experience cultures off the beaten track in a non-monetary exchange.

The arrangement was originally work on sustainable organic farms in return for food and a bed. It is no longer confined to organics or gardening has expanded to caring for huskies, taking air balloon tours or running NGOs.

Otherwise called ‘Helpex’ or ‘Workaway’ after the two leading wwoofing websites, volunteers network with hosts all over the globe Wwoofers do anything from an afternoon of painting to 12 months keeping gardens in a yoga retreat.

The wwoofing scheme is a brilliant way to share knowledge across borders, a face-to-face barter system enriching friendships and demonstrating the transcendence of gardening in all corners of the Gardeners World.

Gardeners World – A Leaf from the Gardeners in Catalan

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Gardeners World – Catalonia Spain

Taking a solitary stroll around the Catalonian hilltop village, Castelló d’Empúries, I spy the thriving allotments of the locals. I have devoured the excellent local cuisine, and am eager take a closer look at the fresh produce and a gardener’s life in Northern Spain.

The Castelló d'Empúries allotmentsThere is a sleepy ancient town in Spain, where quaint allotments nestle in the ruins of a bygone castle. I am peering over a crumbling wall at neat rows of leeks and dwarf beans, peppers and bursting lines of courgettes. There are wicker trellises supporting climbers and a yellow scallop squash hangs like a jewel among cheerful decorative flowers.

Flowering plants make the vegetable garden pretty, of course, and flowers in the veggie plot seem to proclaim the joy of gardening alongside the satisfying practicality of gardening. But the flowers serve another purpose; as practical as any. Certain blooms attract the right insects to the patch, increasing pollination and boosting veggie yields.Vegetable and Flowers Catalan Garden

At 8:30 pm there is soft daylight still in the August sky. The gardens are dotted with an occasional figure peacefully pottering down the rows. The gardens support the inhabitants of the quiet village that saw its hey day in the 12th century, when the noblemen moved their castle from the coast to the vantage point atop the gentle hill.

Gardeners World Ideas

The Castelló d’Empúries allotments are a reminder of how people all over the world are making use of every available space for their gardens. Nurtured in the most unlikely places, Gardens shall prevail! We should take a leaf from their gardens, finding space for homegrown veggies and herbs, be it castle ruins or buckets on our balconies.

Available space can be used to create a route to sustainability that is a pleasure to the eye; who doesn’t feel the surge of pride and joy to glimpse in passing the fruits of their labours, waiting to be hand picked fresh as fresh.Vegetable patch in Catalan garden

In the serenity, with my reflections, I share my stroll with five or six Catalan men who are meandering companionably homewards down the middle of the road. The ancient moat and castle are on our left, a fertile valley on the right, stretching away to the distant Pyrenees mountain range, blue on the horizon. A gardener’s idyll, to enchant and bewitch.

A thick set man in a robe and scull cap wanders home with a magnificent lettuce in hand, nods to acknowledge me on the curved bridge over the moat. I envy the beautiful fresh salad he will no doubt enjoy, bursting with the flavour and fragrance of the land.

The allotments are sustained by a lattice of shallow irrigation gutters dug into the soil. There are deeper ditches which feed the gutters; no hosepipes in sight.

The utilisation of the rivers and the natural fall of land is a brilliant way for a community to irrigate their veggie plots. Careful planning and a little research can give any gardener great ideas on water preservation and irrigation.

Walled garden and mountain Catalan Castelló d'Empúries allotmentsAs we know, water conservation can be a major headache for the irrigation of our beloved beds, and with national water shortages, we are screaming out for clever ways to keep the garden flourishing.

In the absence of an ancient castle moat to keep your roots wet, gardeners must turn their attention to the water available in their own environments; rain water catching systems, or suitable grey water.

Barrels can be positioned to store water that runs off the roof. Soapy water can combat bugs on flowering plants and most soap and detergents will be filtered by the soil. Soil quality can help – adding nutrients to nourish the plants and layers of mulch to preserve water.

In times of drought, soaker hoses and drip systems release water very slowly underground, feeding the roots in the most effective and preservation way.

I ascend into the village, and standing in an ancient basilica turret I survey the land below me. As the sky darkens over the village, the locals settle into their evening meals in the cool of the evening. There is a harmony between the gardener and the fresh food on his table.