We use cookies on this website. To use the website as intended please accept cookies.

Tuesday July 23 , 2019

Blue Daisy Blog

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

Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in John Massey

Great British Garden Revival - Episode 5

Posted by on in News & Views
Carol Klein - Rock Gardens
RockgardenAs we know the British have been great explorers and as such we have visited all corners of the world discovering new plant treasures and bringing them back to our shores.  It was this inquisitiveness and interest in different species that helped to inspire the rock garden which allowed us to grow alpines and mountain plants from around the world in our gardens.  
Rock gardens were first built on large estates by wealthy aristocrats back in late the 19th century, it was their success that eventually led to their decline and they gradually fell out of fashion.  Rock gardens were easy to create and anyone could build one - the most successful rock gardens created the illusion of being up a mountain surrounded with flora and as such the British people took rock gardens to their hearts.   Experts believed that the rocks themselves were more important than the plants, it was vital to consider what each rock would look like and what function it would play in its natural habitat.  In other words get the rock positioning correct and then the plants would be happy.  The Japanese have always regarded rock gardens as very important as they create miniature landscapes within their own gardens.
Moss Bank Park in Bolton was a very famous rock garden in the UK and was also a huge part of the community but back in the 1990s the funding for its upkeep was lost and sadly it became a target for vandals and began to deteriorate.   In the last few years funding has been secured and together with an army of volunteers there has been an ongoing restoration project to bring it back to its former glory. 
A private 3 acre garden at Ashwood Nurseries, which has received over 50 RHS Gold Medals, is owned by John Massey who has created a beautiful plantsman’s garden which incorporates a rock garden and is open to the public on specific days.   His top tips for a successful rock garden are to remember that plant choice is important to lengthen the flowering season; Cyclamen is a must as it has a long flowering period, it is important to keep alpines flowering by constantly deadheading and weeding, the more weeding you do the less you’ll have to do in the longer term
In order to create a good rock garden there are some rules to follow, firstly it needs to be sited in the sunniest and most exposed part of the garden.  Sourcing the right rock(s) is essential (preferably from a local supplier) to ensure they don’t jar with their surroundings, consider the shapes of each rock and angle them in the same way to mirror nature, creating the maximum growing space to create your own mountain scene.  Choose your plants carefully, seek advice on which are the best plants for your space and don’t forget to incorporate some specimen trees or shrubs to add height and all year round interest.  Once it is planted up ensure a layer of course grit or fine grit is laid in order to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
If you only have a small space a small rock garden can be created in an alpine trough and a few points from Carol to create your own are: it’s essential that drainage holes are covered with crocks and filled with chunky gravel half way up the container to ensure that the roots aren’t sitting in water.  It’s a good idea to then cover the gravel with some mesh so that once the gravel is covered with compost it doesn’t wash through.  Carole recommends that the compost is half loam and half gravel chips then purchase some stone/rocks with angular shapes, tuck plants into the rocks so they look like they are growing through then apply a fine gravel to retain moisture and suppress weed seeds.
Today alpines are disappearing fast and Carol urges us to find a space for them in our garden to help keep them and our rock gardens alive.
Toby Buckland - Herb Gardens
HerbsHerbs have been used throughout history, they were fundamental to everyone’s lives and today there is a real danger that a lot of this knowledge and our connection to these plants are being lost. 
Chelsea Physic Garden, established 1673, and its apprentices studied the medicinal qualities of these plants.  The leaves, seeds, roots and flowers can provide us with a lot of life’s essentials; many years ago if you were ill you would go to your garden and find plants that would cure you instead of visiting the chemist and all this wonderful knowledge used to be second nature. 
In Tudor times herbs - including some that we call weeds today - were used for many things by both the wealthy and the poor.  In many homes it was common for herbs to be strewn across the floor to freshen up the rooms, a strewing lady would cut and scatter the herbs and those that were trod on would emit essential oils which would help to fumigate the homes!!  
The pharmacy became popular during Victorian times and it stocked both herbal and non herbal based medicines.  They eventually monopolised the market and herb growing in back gardens diminished; and as a result skill and knowledge wasn't being passed down through the generations. It is true in today’s world that medical progress has been excellent but the core use of herbs has been lost.
If you’re growing herbs in containers make sure they get lots of sun and they’ll need plenty of drainage so mix in some horticultural grit.  It’s a good idea to plant perennial herbs first such as sage and rosemary then combine with some of the shorter lived varieties such as basil and parsley.  Excess herbs can be kept for use in the winter by snipping some into ice cube trays, filling with water and freezing – fresh herbs in the thick of winter! 
Toby visited Jekka McVicar’s Herb Farm in Gloucester which has the largest collection of culinary herbs in the UK and is open to the public. Jekka says that herbs are fairly easy to grow, they can be drunk as tea, can turn a good meal in to a special one, fresh herbs are easier to digest than dried and they are really great for pollinating insects too!


Hits: 5673 0 Comments

Blog Categories

Tag Cloud

May garden colour in your garden Gardeners World GYO pests Wildflowers Urban Heat Island Effect build Cloches plant pots April garden Alan Titchmarsh topiary rainwater harvesting Greenhouse Tom Hart-Dyke Buxus traditional style Rachel de Thame Futurescape kerb-side appeal Cut flowers Ilex spring garden Stone Lane Gardens gravel Fleece Lawrence Johnston edible garden show scented shrubs herbs Berginia Cambridge botanical garden water butt bulbs lawn care ha ha wildlife structure Joseph Banks Charlie Dimmock Snowdrops autumn garden CorTen steel Toby Buckland Laurel contemporary front garden ash Chelsea Flower Show Selfridges Roof Garden Phyllostachys nigra hard landscaping Monty Don composting saving water blue wild flowers James Wong Daffodils Lantra Cosmos astrosanguineus Kew Gardens Seed sowing grey water garden advice at home eco-friendly December garden sweat peas sorbus Great British Garden Revival Ashwood Nurseries September garden twitter Joe Swift garden design tip courtyard cottage gardens Absorb pollution February garden surfaces hydroponic Decking Capability Brown November garden Floating Paradise Gardens of London rococo Birmingham Library Chelsea Physic Garden roof garden watering Sophie Raworth water conservation cottage garden winner winter garden snow recycled materials Bamboo stonemarket Prince Harry pollinating insects patio Acuba London alpines Narcissus National Trust drought summer garden Horticulturalist garden pond Carol Klein Chris Beardshaw deer birch March garden National Gardening Week acer career in horticulture green spaces Crocus basil Spring shrubs Kelmarsh Hall water feature Perennial sound in the garden Mrs Loudon June garden Wisley hosepipe women and work award repetition Nicki Jackson New York Highline timber Matt James John Massey cyclamen October garden pollinators Alys Fowler Horticulture Berberis NSALG Euphorbia unity RHS Tatton Park July garden plants kitchen garden Hidcote bees January garden Jekka McVicar paving Echinacea Horticultural house plants Stoneleigh Joanna Lumley Trees RHS Chelsea productive garden Levens Hall HNC garden focal points Briza maxima Herb ornamental grasses Events & Shows spring bulbs rosemary legacy gift terracota Taxus Urban Heat Island herbaceous borders heatwave grow your own Winter shrubs February form bulb display Coastal plants August garden roof gardens show gardens Herb garden reclaimed materials Geranium planning your garden Shrubs Kensington Roof Garden doddington hall Glasshouse watering can Blue Daisy elm Garden Planning gardening on tv vertical garden water sunflowers movement in the garden Achillea BBC garden design trends Malvern Spring Show HTA Malvern Hills garden design garden room Moss Bank Park poppies RHS Malvern Hosta rock gardens Highgrove RHS Hampton Court CorTen RHS

Welcome to Blue Daisy Blog

Our Promise

promiseWe work hard to keep our customers happy.  We work to a voluntary customer charter.

Peace of Mind

simplybusinessWe take our responsibilities seriously so we're insured through Simply Business.

Click on the logo for our Garden Design insurance details. For Gardening details see our gardening services page.

Proud Members Of...

landscapejuicen... The Landscape Juice Network where we interact with other professional gardeners, designers and landscapers.