Heart of a Garden Blog

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  1. Only 47 shopping days left until Christmas!  How time flies...it only felt like yesterday when we were out enjoying the warm summer weather! 

    We've been working hard over the past months to source new garden ornaments, so there's lots in stock to tempt you and help you find ideas for Christmas gifts for your family and friends...so don't put it off, start shopping now and don't leave it until the last minute which is always very stressful!  I for one have much first hand experience of that - this year will be different!

    Looking for something unusual...check out our Wind Sculptures - a fantastic gift for anyone who spends time in their garden.We've 6 models to choose from, plus we're adding 2 more unique wind sculptures to our range (arriving next week) - the Wisley and the Versaille.

    chelsea-wind-sculpture(1) solstice-wind-sculpture-1 jubilee-wind-sculpture

    We also have some beautiful decorations for the Christmas tree or home  - new in are the 'Banana Fibre' Angels which would look fantastic on top of a Christmas tree; some gorgeous 'Star' tealight holders; and a range of handmade decorations in seasonal red with a lovely snowflake design.  All of these are Fair Trade products, hand made by artisans in Kenya.  Any purchases help provide a stable income and a good standard of living for the artists and their families.

    christmasangel christmas_decorations

    Also new in stock are some delightful Ducks, and Rose and Arum Lily Plant Stakes made from recycled metal in Africa and Fair Trade products. 
    Following them later this month will be a Reindeer and a Robin Red Breast to bring some Christmas cheer to the garden - limited stock of these, so please contact us to pre-order one.

    robin_red_breast reindeer

    Lastly, don't forget to treat yourself to something!

  2. I wanted to share with you some photos of a recent visit to Holehird Gardens, a little gem of a garden in the Lake District.  These gardens, which are run by the Lakeland Horticultural Society, are on the fell-side above Windermere with a glorious backdrop of lake and mountains beyond.  My favourite part is the walled garden with its herbaceous border full of perrenials, shrubs and climbers covering the walls.  At the moment it's full of plants showing their autumnal colours...Acers, Asters, Dahlias, Chrysanthemums, Sedums and Rudbekias to name but a few!  Holehird also have three national collections - Astilbe, Polystichum and Meconopsis.
    It's well worth a visit if you're coming to the Lakes.


    Dahlias giving a riot of colour to the walled garden

    This has been a fantastic year for berries as can be seen on this Cotoneaster.

    The walled garden with beautiful herbaceous borders and views of the Lakeland fells

    Beautiful Sedums, rudbekias and Asters

    One of the lovely Acers in the walled garden

  3. Japanese-anemoneJapanese Anemone (anemone x hybrida)

    Japanese Anemone - a bit confusing as the plant actually originated in China! 

    With beautiful pale pink  or white flowers, yellow stamens and dark green foliage, this is a plant to give a welcome boost to the garden in late summer and early autumn. It's an invasive but very lovely plant so be prepared to pull up or divide when the clump reaches its boundaries.  

    In my garden it’s one of my favourite plants from August to October as it loves growing in shady areas with the elegant flowers growing up to 1m high.  So far I've been lucky and it’s been well-behaved, staying in nice, neat clumps!

  4. One of the reasons I love gardening so much is looking back and seeing how quickly changes can be made to a garden…
    and it’s all possible on a small budget (see my tips below).

    In only 4 years my garden has changed from this…. 

    17 kirkfield rise jan 2010 (20)
    Jan 2010:  Mostly grass and paving slabs.  Restrictions on the layout were the access
    path (for our neighbours) around the side and back of the garden.


    To this...

    june 2014
    June 2014: Not a blade of grass in sight, just lots of lovely plants and a
    gravelled area for seating (Cafe range bistro table and chairs).

    ...and in between...

    May 2010: I live on the slopes of a Lakeland fell and I spent weeks digging out large stones
    and rubble before I could re-fill it with soil and compost ready for planting. 

    July 2010: Planting up – mostly with plants I’d brought with me in pots or been given by
    family and friends, plus some I’d planted from seed.

    August 2011:  a year on and plants are flourishing!  To keep costs down I made my own
    rustic trellising and obelisks to support the climbing roses.

    June 2012:  The old shed has gone and a greenhouse is installed, plus a small planting
    area is made in front of it for some herbs, vegetables and soft fruits.

    June 2014:  This beautiful garden rose arch entices you down the path past the fennel and bamboo beyond.


    Tips for making a garden on a budget:

    • Design and make your own trellising and obelisks - I used locally sourced hazel sticks from a friend.
    • For edging the borders I used wood log roll - the shortest height I could purchase for cheapness - I gave them extra height by placing on top of buried breeze blocks (found in the garden).  You could also use old bricks, stones or logs of wood.
    • Source as many plants for free from family and friends.  Ask them to give you cuttings and divide large plants.
    • Grow plants from seeds and cuttings.  As plants grow and spread, divide them to make more plants. 
    • If buying from a garden centre or nursery, buy small plants and keep an eye out for plants which are on sale or reduced in price later in the season.
    • Recycle or re-use everything possible that is already in the garden to save on trips to the tip.  I recycled all the grass turfs and rubble by burying it under the gravel areas and using as a base for the new shed along with the unwanted paving slabs.  The large stones were put to use as features around the garden.






  5. I spent yesterday visiting Holker Hall Garden Festival and came home with several beautiful plants, including a pretty Salvia ‘Ostfriesland’ and Sambucas Nigra ‘Black Tower’ which I now need to find room for in my small garden!  The lovely Sambucas has maple like leaves in a rich purple-black colour, with fragrant pink flowers in early summer and black berries in the autumn, and its upright, columnar habit makes it ideal for planting in the middle of my central border.

    salvia   sambucas-nigra-black-tower

    I was also very tempted with some gorgeous creamy white foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea ‘alba’) which were being sold off from one of the lovely show gardens at the end of the day but unfortunately the queue was too long and they were quite costly!  However I love the coolness of white foxgloves and they would be perfect for my garden which is fairly shady, so I’ve decided to save myself some money and sow seeds instead - if I sow them now they’ll be ready for planting out in the autumn and for flowering next year.