Garden And Gardener

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Christmas at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

🎄 Christmas at The Lost Gardens of Heligan 🎄

The festive season at Heligan always sees the Gardens and Estate burst into joyful merriment with a collection of events set to bring everyone together.


🎄Christmas Lunch

With the days growing colder, why not warm chilly toes by the wood burner in the Heligan Kitchen and enjoy a traditional Christmas Lunch served with all the trimmings.  Festive Feasts will be served from Monday 3rd December until Friday 21st December (except weekends).


🎄Christmas Fair                

Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th December, sees Heligan welcomes back its annual Christmas Fair.  Heligan’s ethos shines through as some of the best local producers, artisans, creators and makers, producing unique food and drink, jewellery, art, ceramics and more, showcase their wares.   Mulled wine and delicious seasonal treats will be available from the Heligan Kitchen, and with well over 100 stalls, this year’s fair looks set to be the largest yet!   Entry Free to Heligan Annual Members; £1 to Local Pass holders & £2 everyone else – incl. garden entry.


🎄 Santa Claus, Christmas workshops & Christmas Trail   

Father Christmas will once again be occupying the Head Gardener’s Office, where the whole family can meet him by the log fire and receive a beautiful traditional gift! Children (of all ages) can write and post their letters to Father Christmas between the 15th-24th December, as well as trying their hands at Heligan’s Christmas workshops and following the magical Christmas Trail around The Lost Gardens.

For full details on all Heligan Christmas events check the website


🎄 Heligan By Night

Throughout December, internationally renowned light artist Ulf Pedersen returns to The Lost Gardens of Heligan to reveal more of the night time magic of Heligan’s historic plantings.  Check out the Website for timings and dates between 12 December and 5 January 2019,  then come down to the Lost Gardens and journey through an after dark world and delight in the incredible textures, colours and atmosphere created by Pedersen’s thought-provoking illuminations.  New for this year Heligan will also debut a selection of Pederson’s unique sound and light installations, creating a dazzling nocturnal immersive experience.


Ulf works closely with raw materials of the site, using light and colour as his essential tools, often combining these natural or architectural elements with new architectural forms he has designed.  Over 15 years he has travelled internationally bringing his work to locations from Oxford Botanical Gardens to Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Tickets for the event are £6 per person and are for timed ticket slots.


And, don’t forget:  Remembrance at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Remembrance Sunday holds a special place in the hearts of those at Heligan as they continue to remember the ‘Lost Gardeners’ of the pre-1914 Heligan Estate. This year, Remembrance Sunday is all the more poignant, as it marks the end of the centenary period.  As the clock strikes 11, visitors will be invited to join Heligan staff in the Melon Yard to observe a two minutes silence. The ceremony will include a dove release and conclude with a live musical performance.

Then, at 11.30am a brand-new art exhibition ‘In Their Name: Don’t Come Here to Sleep or to Slumber’ by South African artist Lize Krüger, will open in the newly restored, Gardeners’ Bothy, previously unseen by visitors.   ‘In Their Name: Don’t Come Here to Sleep or to Slumber’ is a collection of three stunning artworks all brimming with deep symbolism and meaning; portraying the inter-relationship between the garden and its men and conveying the resilience of the garden, its gardeners and soldiers.


Rose is a budding talent at Arundel Castle

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Rose is a budding talent at Arundel Castle

A bright young volunteer in the Gardens team at Arundel Castle has been recognised with a Certificate of Commendation at The South & South East in Bloom Awards 2018.

Rose Philpott, 19, was presented with the commendation at Arundel Castle by gardening guru Jean Griffin, a President of the Kew Guild and BBC Radio personality. The judges examined nearly 300 entries before selecting this year’s winners.

Rose first joined Arundel Castle’s Gardens team on a work experience placement and quickly became a regular volunteer. She spent the summer holidays employed by the Castle, caring for its eclectic mix of gardener’s favourites and more unusual plants, from tulips to tamarillo and, of course, plenty of roses.

Now, Rose studies horticulture at Plumpton College near Lewes and spends one day a week gardening at the Castle as part of the practical work experience for her course.

Head Gardener Martin Duncan commented: “Rose is a fantastic asset to the Castle Garden team and thoroughly deserves this recognition. It is so exciting to see a promising young person so engaged with horticulture and eager to learn. Passing on the tips and tricks of the trade to the next generation of professional gardeners is truly a pleasure.” 

Arundel Castle is open from 10am until 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday until 28 October 2018 and will reopen to visitors on 02 April 2019. For more information on the Castle and its events calendar, please visit:

welcome wildlife into your garden

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

With over 2.5 million grey squirrels and almost 600 different species of birds living in the UK*, there are plenty of ways to welcome wildlife into your garden.

Garden building supplier, Tiger Sheds, has worked with a range of experts to offer the nation five useful tips on how to make their gardens more wildlife-friendly.

1.     Plant smaller shrubs

For those looking to do a spot of bird watching, planting woody shrubs and small berry bushes can provide a perfect grazing spot for smaller birds. Low lying flowers are also a favourite with rabbits and provide some shelter for other small mammals.

2.     Provide a water source

Having a clean, water source such as a birdbath, pond or fountain will provide a great place for birds to drink and wash. A water feature will not only attract more birds to your garden, but could be a draw for amphibians too. Be sure to keep it clean and refill it often during the summer so water will be available when the animals need it.

3.     Create shelter

Having bird boxes can be a fantastic way of introducing shelter into your garden. They can be used by other animals too, such as bats or hedgehogs, who both like to nest in dark places. Natural roosting and nesting sites can be difficult for some animals to find, so providing a suitable shelter for them is important.

4.    Plant fruit trees

Planting fruit trees is a sure fire way to attract a wide range of British wildlife into your garden, they are particularly good for grey squirrels. Dropped fruit can also be a treat for other animals such as hedgehogs, foxes and even deer. Trees that hold their fruit throughout the winter have an even greater benefit for the animals in the colder months.

5.     Choose flowers with insects in mind

Help the bees by planting flowers that they can visit all year round. In the spring; plant lungwort or aubretia, in summer; allium or catmint work well, and in autumn; dahlias will provide bees with a good source of nectar as the winter months begin to approach.

Kiarna Benson of Tiger Sheds said “Brits love to pay attention to their gardens all year round, whether that be updating their garden furniture or introducing new plants and flowers. But for many it’s about welcoming wildlife into their gardens.  A successful garden for wildlife is built on four provisions: shelter and protection, food sources, water sources, and nesting areas. Paying attention to the types of flowers you plant also help some of our most important insects feed such as bumble bees.

“It’s always great to see more wildlife in your garden and we hope our tips will help prompt the nation to get into their garden and make a difference.”

To discover more ways to welcome wildlife back into your garden visit

Historic houses and glorious gardens in Essex

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

EssexHistoric houses and glorious gardens


Whether it’s meandering round a manor or stepping back in time 


Meander round a medieval barn, wander among works of art and get away from it all in Essex’s inspiring gardens and historic gems.

In the heart of the county, September sees the return of the Chelmsford Heritage Open Days (8th to 11th September) with a host of properties again welcoming visitors and offering free admission. Highlights include access to the grounds of Pleshey Castle, tours of Hylands House and joining in the open days programme for the first time this year, Writtle Agricultural College and the Little Baddow History Centre. For more information, visit   and search events for ‘Chelmsford’.


A palace in all but name, Audley End is not just one of Essex’s grandest country houses but one of the nation’s. Amongst the Jacobean splendour, the history of the house and people who lived and worked there down the centuries is brought to life, and this summer the whole family can experience a series of events centering upon the wonderful Victorian stables.


As well as a new weekend stable yard timetable, there will be marvellous monthly horse shows on the first weekend of the month, until September. Find out about the life of a horse on a Victorian estate, from the elegance of carriage driving to working in harness. The resident horses and their visiting friends will be on hand to demonstrate the horse work that would have taken place at Audley throughout the 1800s.


On Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September, Audley End welcomes the ladies of the Victorian period for Stunning Side Saddles. Join these historic heroines as they take a stroll in the grounds, with demonstrations and experts on hand to tell you everything you want to know about horses and the modest but challenging art of riding side saddle. For full details of these and other events, click on


In nearby Saffron Walden, tucked away amongst the medieval market town’s picturesque back streets is Bridge End Garden. Consisting of seven, lovingly restored interlinked gardens, Bridge End is a Grade II-listed evocation of the Victorian taste for both formal and practical horticulture. In the case of the former, visitors can delight in a knot garden, complete with hedge maze (the largest in the world), whilst the latter reveals the 19th century diet through the garden’s herbs and vegetable plots.  for more information.


The exotic-sounding Forgotten Gardens of Easton Lodge are a ‘must’ for romantics and keen gardeners alike. Easton Lodge was originally built by Henry Maynard, former Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. His mansion followed the ‘H’ ground plan, typical of the era but was destroyed by fire in 1847. A gothic pile replaced it, which came to Frances ‘Daisy’ Maynard in 1865. Renowned as a great beauty, Daisy was courted by European aristocracy but eventually married Lord Brooke, the Earl of Warwick.


In 1902 she commissioned Harold Peto to redesign the grounds and he did so by bringing his passion for Italianate and French designs to Easton Lodge. These were greatly feted and much photographed during the Edwardian era, but the Second World War saw the estate requisitioned by the War Office and transformed into an airfield. Thousands of trees were either felled or blown up to make way for a runway and to create a base suitable for bomber aircraft.


After the cessation of hostilities, Greville Maynard demolished the house and bequeathed what remained of the estate to his daughter, Felice Spurrier in 1960. Felice sold the remaining buildings on and in turn, the grounds have been passed on to a number of individuals. However, in 1993 a small but enthusiastic group of volunteers undertook to restore the gardens of Easton Lodge. The intervening years have seen painstaking work to restore Peto’s gardens and though it continues, the areas recovered from nature’s wilder habits, are magnificent.


Whilst Copped Hall is another great house that fell victim to fire and abandonment, it too is now enjoying a renaissance thanks to volunteers. Reflecting its Tudor, Georgian and Victorian past, the once splendid hall’s gardens are undergoing restoration and visitors can get a sense of the house’s once majestic lawns, parkland and walled kitchen garden; produce from which – including fresh vegetables, fruit and flowers – can be bought on site.


In 1594, to celebrate his marriage to the Countess of Southampton, Sir Thomas Heneage – the house’s then owner – commissioned Shakespeare to write a play. The resultant A Midsummer Night’s Dream was thus first performed at Copped Hall, after the wedding ceremony in London. Acknowledging this a garden theatre has been created in the grounds.


Not far from Southend’s beaches and expansive waterfront sits Southchurch Hall and Gardens. Originally built in the 1300s, the medieval moated manor house is wonderfully preserved with its interiors laid out in a series of period rooms, including a great open hall reflecting life in the later Middle Ages, a Tudor kitchen with magnificent fireplace, and a solar wing displaying rooms in late Tudor and Stuart style. The surrounding five acres of park include ponds which are ideal for entertaining small children with that most traditional of pastimes, feeding the ducks.


For enthusiastic gardeners looking for inspiration and indeed, plants, the Beth Chatto Gardens are a must. Covering 6 acres, these beautiful gardens have become world famous. Creative use of the space has seen Beth and her team transform something of a wasteland into both a visitor attraction and important resource. There are four principal gardens across the site; scree, gravel, woodland and water all with lush leafy plantings of Gunnera, Eupatorium, Phormium and impressive Miscanthus around a series of natural ponds. New for summer 2016 is an audio tour voiced by Beth herself. To help plan your visit, have a look here

For more ideas of historic houses and glorious gardens to explore and enjoy and details on the attractions mentioned, please visit


Do you need some gardening done?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Need work doing in your garden? Don’t want to spend hours ringing round getting people to come and give quotes.

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Unusual plant fairs

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Sunday 12th May 10 – 6. Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, Penarth. CF64 5UY. Free entry to fair and Medieval Village, and free parking.

Saturday 15th June 10 – 4, Old Hall Gardens, Cowbridge CF71 7AH. Free entry and parking.

Brilliant gardening quote

Monday, November 5th, 2012

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow-Audrey Hepburn

Going to Interesting museum – The Zuider Zee Museum

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The Zuider Zee Museum in Enkhuizen is where you can eat
kippers straight out of the oil drum that they are smoked in.

Plus they have hand made sweets from the sweetshop as well as
sausages from the butchers shop there, plus a brushmakers.

The building was the 17th
century spice warehouse of the Dutch East
Indies Company.

The place is magic, it contains everything a foreigner expects in NL,
but rarely finds. The indoor museum with classic Dutch
sailing boats

in a hall in a dry dock is worth visiting too.

There’s a picture of the smoke

It also has a lot of traditional vegetable, flowers and fruit gardens
around the houses, including orchards full of fruit at the right time
of the year.

Fancy a conservatory?

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The weather this year has probably stopped you enjoying your garden as much as you should have done. Why not invest in a conservatory that you can sit in and enjoy full views of your garden whatever the weather.
A conservatory is a great addition to your house and garden, making a space that joins the two so well.

Request a brochure from Breckenridge Conservatories and find out more about their range of superb conservatories.

Rollable compost bag

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Fantastic products at Original Organics and with a brilliant invention here for making compost quickly. There are several composters that allow you to rotate the container which speeds up the process by mixing everything together. This one is the cheapest I’ve seen and it does it by being rolled on the ground so there’s no complicated set up.
It’s certainly an interesting idea and I think something people would all like to try. If you can make compost in 6 weeks with a little effort then that’d be fantastic for your garden.

Haxnicks RollMix Rollable Compost Bag

Haxnicks RollMix Rollable Compost Bag £15.99
Home composting has never been easier, quicker or more fun than with the RollMix™ Composter!Simply add the specified mix of organic waste from the simple how-to instructions included on the reverse of the pack.The polyethylene fabric traps heat, and by adding water and rolling, it is possible to make your own compost within 6 weeks.With your rich, nutritious compost you can top up raised beds, add to the base of plants and even use as a peat-free potting compost.

This is useful if you live in a rented property and don’t want a permanent long term compost container or have limited space.

I can see this being incredibly useful – imagine turning out good quality home made compost every six weeks! Rolling this looks easier than turning a huge compost bin full of material.