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

Monday March 01 , 2021

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 herbs

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: 6905 0 Comments

Blog Categories

Tag Cloud

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

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.