Sunday February 25 , 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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Using Plants to Create Movement in your Garden

Posted by on in Garden Design

plants-for-movementOne of the questions I get asked the most is ‘how can I make my garden more interesting’ and there are a few elements to consider for example form, texture and colour but here we are looking at movement.  What is important to remember is it really doesn’t matter whether you have a small urban garden or a big estate the same design principles can be applied albeit in different quantities.

Quite a few gardens that I visit often appear static, with plants that look as though they have been placed like ornaments, rather than contributing to the ambience and dynamism of the garden.  

Movement doesn’t have to be drastic though it can be a subtle addition to the space you are trying to create. 

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Garden Design Quick Tip: Sound

Posted by on in Garden Design
WaterSound can often take a back seat in gardens as most people tend to favour elements for our other senses.  Do you know what sounds are in your garden?  There will no doubt be bird song but can you hear any others?   Sit out one day for 10 or 15 minutes and make a note of all the different sounds you can hear.   Are the sounds in your garden satisfactory?  Are there any you want to disguise like a train or traffic in the distance?  Are there any you want to hear more? Once you have the answers to those questions you can begin to alter the sounds to fit your personal needs.
There are four main ways to incorporate sound: surfaces in the garden, wildlife, water and plants.  The use of different surfaces can create sounds that suit a particular area in your garden for example, gravel has a distinctive crunch, bark is soft and quiet and paving will have a low impact thud all of which will let garden creatures know you’re approaching!   Increasing the sound of wildlife in the garden can be achieved by attracting more birds through using specific plants and installing a feeding station.  Choosing plants that attract pollinating insects such as bees will increase the soft hum they create whilst busy at work.  Frogs and toads create sounds by not only their croaking but also by plopping into water!
Water is a well known element for creating sounds in a garden but be sure of the kind of effect you would like.  If you want to have a relaxing ambience you’ll be leaning towards a soft trickle or if you would like a refreshing and stimulating atmosphere then perhaps a rhythmic cascade of a series of waterfalls.   Apart from attracting wildlife other plants like ornamental grasses will create rustling sounds when the wind pours through their leaves.  Plants react differently to wind in different seasons; in the autumn for instance seed heads filled with seeds rattle as well as leaves swirling and rustling on a blustery day.
Three great plants that can be used to create sound in the garden are: 
  1. Bamboo particularly the Phyllostachys varieties e.g. Phyllostachys nigra has foliage that rustles in the wind but on a blustery day the canes knock together producing a hollow sound.
  2. Nigella damascena also known as Love-in-a-mist with its blue flowers is quite popular in traditional cottage gardens, likes a well drained and sunny border, on a windy day its seed heads rattle.

  3. Briza maxima known also as greater quaking grass stands around 60cm in height is an annual ornamental grass preferring full sun, will self seed around the garden and has nodding flowers that rustle in the wind.
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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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