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Tuesday November 20 , 2018

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

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Great British Garden Revival - Episode 1

Posted by on in News & Views

Episode 1:  Wildflowers and Front Gardens

Wildflowers - Monty Don

wild-poppiesDuring his childhood Monty grew up with wild flowers in abundance - as did many of us and our parents - but now a staggering  98% of our wildflower meadows have gone which has meant that our landscape has changed drastically.  He gave his tips for creating a wildflower area, including using yellow rattle which is semi-parasitic and will act as a grass suppressant thereby giving other seeds a chance to grow.  He also showed us how to prepare an area that is already laid to lawn by cutting it on it's lowest setting, raking thoroughly and exposing soil in some areas to make it impoverished before sowing seeds.  Monty also looked at the ancient ways of cutting the meadows down at the end of the season by using a scythe which whilst very Eco-friendly looked extremly hard work!

Interestingly we also got to see how wild flower seeds are mixed by specialist growers - super low tech but an incredibly bespoke approach - so anyone can buy seed to match the precise conditions in their garden.  He showed us his passion for wildflowers whether creating large or small patches regardless of the size of our gardens and he urged us to do so for the sheer pleasure of it as well as to help the ecosystms that rely on these types of flowers.

Front Gardens - Joe Swift

concrete-jungleFront gardens used to be places where we showed off our horticultural prowess but now they have become concrete jungles all across the country.  The decline of the front garden has been traced back to the 1960s largely due to the increase of cars and the need to park them. The result of all this paving though means that in heavy rain our sewers can't cope with the amount of water being run off into them and this often leads to flash flooding.  These paved over gardens whilst offering a practical solution, have proved to adversely affect our well-being, contribute to flooding and have reduced the biodiversity in our gardens.  Joe's message came through loud and clear, he wants us to breathe life into our front gardens not only for those reasons but also for social well-being and civic pride!  

It is true that we need hard standing areas for our cars but we can also have areas for our plants too and by directing water to those borders it will help our front gardens cope with run off.  If each householder made a conscious decision to mix both practical and environmental considerations it would have huge and positive repercussions for us as a country.   By placing plants next to the road they soak up a great proportion of pollution and therefore reduce the amount that gets through to our homes - I loved the idea that front garden plants act like filter paper, soaking up the pollutants before the nasty bits get to us. He showed viewers some ideas from grid system hard standing areas to using semicircular trellis that cover drain pipes so plants like clematis, honeysuckle, jasmine and other climbers can all grab on, work their way upwards and hide those ugly pipes.  

If not for the reasons mentioned above, improving your front garden can help you sell your house or rent it out so there really is no reason not to.   Read what we say about creating that kerbside appeal here.

 

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BBC, Chelsea and Alan Titchmarsh

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

We have heard over the last few weeks that Alan Titchmarsh will no longer be presenting the BBC RHS Chelsea programme next year and instead Monty Don and Sophie Raworth will be taking the reigns.  Some reports are suggesting that Alan has been squeezed out by being offered a lesser role so he felt there was no alternative to him other than stepping down completely.  If that's true it is a shame that after 30 years of being the face of the RHS Chelsea on the BBC that was the only option he saw open to him.

Regardless how you feel about Alan or Monty I think you do have to question the BBC's decision somewhat even though Monty is undoubtedly a well known gardener, the anchor of Gardener's World and has TV programmes, books and columns under his belt.  Monty freely admits that he is not a trained gardener but a hobbyist that has become very successful and has in turn brought his passion to gardening.  Alan on the other hand is a time served gardener, he has experience and knowledge in bucket loads, he has also designed and built a show garden so he has some understanding of what goes in to creating one, and the pressures people are under to deliver the very best they can in the time and budget allotted.  Alan is also a huge advocate of horticulture and is involved in working with the RHS to improve the modern day perception of horticultre as a career.   I do admire both of these TV horticultural personalities in different ways, I have no doubt that Monty will ooze passion but I wonder how he will fare with presenting such a flag ship programme not only for the BBC but also the RHS, they are some large shoes he must fill.

Sophie Raworth, a BBC journalist is no doubt very adept at interviewing and getting the best from people and she will be the support that Monty may need but she has admitted herself she is not a gardener or a designer.  I'm not sure that the BBC has made the best move here, there are so many other designers and horticulturalists out there that have more experience and lots of passion but I will not join the masses that are refusing to watch it; instead I will watch with bated breath and I sincerely hope they succeed and do our amazing industry proud.

 

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Great British Garden Revival- BBC2

Posted by on in News & Views

gardenrevivalA new 10 part series is due to air on BBC2 this week.  It aims to do for horticulture and plants what the Great British Bake Off has done for baking and cakes!  Can this be a good or a bad thing?  Anything that puts horticulture on the agenda can only be a good thing as far as I'm concerned and it will be interesting to see the public's reaction to it.  It's said to be trying to reverse the nation's obsession with paving, patios and decking and trying to stir up some passion for plants and all things green!  

Each episode will have two well known presenters such as Monty Don, Chris Beardshaw, Carol Klein, Charlie Dimmock, Alys Fowler and Joe Swift. They are tasked with bringing an aspect of horticulture to our screens by giving us hands-on advice, explaining the heritage aspect of whatever it is they're concentrating on and showing how, through correct care or restoration, there can indeed be a revival.

Subject areas that will be covered are topiary, herbaceous borders, roof gardens, wild flowers, kitchen gardens, cottage gardens and even house plants.   Perhaps this kind of programme would have been best placed in the New Year schedules when the people have Christmas behind them and can concentrate, or maybe even plan some changes for their garden!  

As for me, I'm looking forward to it and I'll be interested to see how they try to bring back some traditional horticultural skills however nostalgic it might be. 

 

 

 

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