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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Futurescape 2013

Posted by on in News & Views

I visited a landscaping event in November at Kempton Park Racecourse called Futurescape, it was packed full of suppliers of all manner of products from wildflower seeds, pergolas, paving, lighting, gravel, tools and many more.  I found it very useful in terms of being able to talk to directly to suppliers and ask them questions which helps me to improve my knowledge for when I specify their products in garden designs. A lot of suppliers had products on their stands so we could really look at them properly rather than in a brochure which sometimes can be difficult especially where colours are concerned.

I also attended a few workshops too, one was how to create the perfect wildflower meadow and this was delivered by the person respsonsible for all the wildflower turf that we saw inside the stadium during the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony - a great opportunity to hear how it was all done!  Early afternoon I listened to a lighting specialist who gave a talk on how and when to use lights in the garden, the benefits of the 'less is more' principle.  Late afternoon there was a question and answer session with a panel of 5 of our industry's top designers and landscapers who sat and answered questions possed to them. It really was an excellent opportunity to hear how they overcame obstacles both now and in their early career, how they deal with certain situations and how they started in their chosen profession.

All in all it was a really great day, I thoroughly enjoyed learning, networking with other designers and landscapers and of course meeting suppliers.  I came away feeling inspired, enthused and excited to take on whatever 2014 brings!

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Great British Garden Revival - Episode 1

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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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