Tree Connections

I’ve been wanting to write a little piece about trees for a while now, but as often the way, it’s been just another post on the to-do list. However, when our friends on BBC Gardeners’ World produced a special program dedicated to trees, I was inspired to get out my notes and to revisit that post I’ve been meaning to write.

Limes in the morning mist.

Like many other people, I’ve a long held interest and fascination for trees, and not least for the fact they can grow from the smallest wind blown seed to enormous, living and breathing structures. How they establish a root hold and adapt their growth, melding with the environment they find themselves in is nothing short of extraordinary.

My Gardeners’ World Video

I’m delighted to record that after watching BBC Gardeners’ World on my screens for what seems like an eternity, I finally made it onto the screen myself! Okay, it was a video I’d sent in about me and my garden but still – I’m very chuffed for my clip to have been selected, and I’ll be walking around with a rosy glow on my cheeks for the weekend at least!

At home, Spring 2021

Last Spring

I’ve written in my journal before about how the pandemic impacted my gardening world, in as much that whilst enduring the first lockdown I was fortunate to be able to continue working. I say fortunate because I live for working with, in and around gardens, and to think of having to stay indoors, or to have been restricted to a small space would likely, well, I can’t even begin to think.

My Sensory Garden

Do you have a sensory garden? If not, are you sure?

I find myself sitting at a little bistro table in my garden with fingertips poised near the keyboard. It’ll be my first post for a few weeks you see, after life, as it does, got a little heavy. But with a few moments of peace available I’m determined to reignite my writing brain and post something interesting, or useful at least so here goes; a post about my sensory garden.

Blue hyacinth flowers in a rusting, tin pot, in the garden
Hyacinths punch well above their weight in terms of scent – these are incredible!

Sense of Smell

Take a patch of moss…

I was dazzled in the garden yesterday, and not for the first time by a patch of moss. This patch was part of a larger one growing very happily on the lower part of a tree trunk sheltered by hedges. The patch was soft but tough, rooted firmly to its spot and wrapped tightly around the west face of the tree – a shadier space in the garden could scarcely be found.

Its brightness captured my eyes for a while, shining as it was on a dull February day. One of those days when the sun only occasionally appeared, and only then like torchlight through the fog.

My Gardening Ways

Garden blogging – what’s it all about eh? Why do I invest good money in a WordPress blog site, only to invest more valuable time in the creation and editing of articles? (Articles that generally get caught up in the tiniest corner of a loose outer strand of the World Wide Web anyway!)

A recent article of mine…

It’s cathartic and therapeutic, that’s why. It gives me opportunity to ponder the incredibly diverse world of plants and gardens, to consider the never ending revelations, and it gives me a very personal and creative outlet. This I believe is more important than the ‘stats’ behind any blog, stats that I don’t make time to study and play to anyway.

Trust In The Gardener

Many people have ownership or responsibility for an outside area, a conservatory or balcony. The idea though of actively working one of those spaces into a garden, of cultivating plants or improving that space does not always come easily.

I’m not a gardener,” and “I know nothing about plants,” are statements I’ve heard many times, and it’s often through a fear of failing, of being judged or maybe, of having a space for growing but not knowing how to approach it.

Time’s well spent in the garden….

Now I’m not for a second going to judge or wag a green finger of disgust, because everyone is their own person, in their own unique situation and gardening shouldn’t be a forced activity. Indeed, gardening actively for some people can be next to impossible.

Just a Rusty Old Garden Tool?

If you’re of a like mind, I’m certain that at some point in time you’ll have found yourself wondering through a historic property, maybe past garden buildings at a Georgian Manor House, or through a farmstead developed through the Victorian period. Maybe it was a rural museum you strolled around, peppered with Tudor structures and land managing paraphernalia, or even a cottage garden where you stepped carefully along wiggling blue brick pathways wide enough just for one.

Photo of an antique garden roller At Calke Abbey
An Ironcrete garden roller enjoying retirement at Calke Abbey

Whatever place it was, I’m sure you’ll have happened across a rusty garden implement or two – and I’m not talking about the gardeners!

A Love for Trees

In my formative years as a gardener, I can honestly say that I never thought that trees would play such a significant part. I mean, I learnt about them, planted a few, chopped bits off a few more and did my fair share of ident’ sessions, but did I really get to know and understand trees?

A backlit autumnal oak ​at Sulgrave Manor, with the setting sun right behind
A backlit autumnal oak at Sulgrave Manor

Naturally I grew up with trees all around, as most people do: trees in our family gardens and down the street, a huge conker tree in the school playground, even the Christmas tree in the corner each December. (OK, maybe that last one was a bit of a stretch!) But did I really take proper notice of them?

Raising the Hedge

Welcome to my GardeningWays blog, where this week I shall attempt to give rise to the significantly trivial formal garden hedge.

Hedge trimmer resting on the hedge top between trimming sessions... at Sulgrave Manor in Northants
Hedge trimming underway at Sulgrave, although that blade can be tighter…

You see, we finally managed to make a start on trimming the yew hedges in the garden at Sulgrave Manor, and whilst there’s a long way yet to go, at least we’ve made a start.

In preparation, I found myself sharpening, and sharpening and sharpening the trimmer teeth, and whilst lost in the moment I started thinking about the formal hedge I was about to trim for the first time. I also began considering formal hedges in the wider world of gardening, and particularly about their reputation.