First we weren’t sure we wanted it, now we have withdrawal symptoms – bring back the Olympics! Thankfully we have the Paralympics to look forward to… and of course the lovely Olympic Park’s 2012 Gardens will provide inspiration for years to come.
Located between the Aquatics Centre and the Olympic Stadium, along the banks of the Waterworks River, the 2012 Gardens pay homage to Britain’s long history of trade, exploration and plant collecting.
Divided into four climatic zones: Europe, Southern Hemisphere, Asia, and North America, the contemporary perennial plantings are set out in a naturalistic style.
We visited the North American zone where prairie plants provide summer flower colour and a late supply of nectar and pollen for wildlife.
Allium 'summer beauty'
Verbena bonariensis and Rudbeckia maxima
The full plant list can be found here.
Montpelier Cottage, Whitney-On-Wye, is the garden of Timber Press author Noel Kingsbury. As part of the National Gardens Scheme, Noel opens his private garden several times a year, donating all proceeds to charity.
Noel’s garden is an excellent example of a naturalistic approach to planting design - and we’re sure you’ll agree from the pictures below that the results are stunning.
We were lucky enough to visit on August 12 — but don’t despair if you missed out as Sunday September 16th will see Montpelier Cottage open its gates once again.
View across the gravel garden to the Pavilion
Hollyhocks self-seeded and crossed to make new colour
British native persicaria
With all of the wet weather we’ve had in recent weeks, outdoor plants can use a helping hand. The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids (£12.99) by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher is packed with more than 100 family-friendly activities, including a recipe for homemade insect repellant which older children can whip up in no time at all.
Brewing up Homemade Insect Repellant
All-natural kitchen ingredients to keep insects off your garden plants.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon washing up liquid
- 1 (680 ml spray bottle)
- Food processor
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Peel the onion and garlic clove.
- Blend the entire onion and garlic clove in the food processor.
- Measure and add 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Blend again.
- Wash your hands well. Cayenne pepper can burn if you accidentally rub it in your eyes.
- Scoop blended ingredients into a spray bottle and fill almost to the top. Let the mixture sit for at least 1 hour.
- Add 1 tablespoon of washing up liquid to the mixture and shake vigorously.
- The strong odors and tastes should deter insects from eating your plants, so spray your mixture onto the leaves of garden plants you want to protect, such as the leaves of a tomato or potato plant. Do not use on plants grown for their edible leaves, such as lettuce or kale.
- When you are ready to harvest and prepare your vegetables, wash vigorously to avoid a spicy surprise.
Also try this:
You can set up a simple experiment to test the effectiveness of your insect repellant. Plant an entire bed with the same plant, then spray bug juice on half of the plants. Then watch how the different halves of your bed handle pressure from local pests.
If you like this project, why not buy the book? Get your copy here
After the wettest April to June on record and heavy downpours in July, snails and slugs have taken over the garden. But what can be done about these slimy pests?
Teri Dunn Chance, author of The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers says, ’If you’ve lost a lot of plants to slugs, mere traps and barriers may not be your first line of attack. Take a fresh look at your garden and do some tidying and grooming. Get rid of weeds as well as old pots or other garden debris that may be harboring slug populations. Try to dry out the area by thinning dense plantings and improving drainage. Reduce or eliminate mulch.’
‘Use insecticidal soaps to control garden pests,’ urge Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard, authors of Decoding Gardening Advice. Insecticidal soap is a great cure for infestations of soft-bodied insects and gastropods. Why reach for more toxic alternatives when you can reduce the population with safer alternatives? You can even use a homemade spray using washing up soap, hot pepper or garlic.
Please share any alternative methods you have with us – we’d love to hear your suggestions!
Take a look at why The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids is the best buy you’ll make this summer!
The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher is an inspiring guide which offers simple, practical advice as it takes you step-by-step through more than 100 engaging, family-friendly garden activities.
In July you can buy The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids for £9.74, a 25% saving off the retail price of £12.99. Just enter the code KIDS20 at the checkout on our website before July 31st to claim this offer.
It’s Wimbledon fortnight and time for the annual hike in strawberry prices!! If you’re thinking about growing your own next year, we’ve got a special offer just for you!
Sugar Snaps and Strawberries tells you all you need to know about growing delicious fruit and veg in tiny spaces. This book is usually £14.99 but if you enter the code WIMB2012 at the checkout on our website you can buy it for just £5.99, postage free in the UK mainland. You can’t get many Wimbledon strawberries for that price!
We are sick to the teeth of the constant focus on London – and we live here.
Taking advantage of the Diamond Jubilee long weekend, we headed off to the Athens the North, Edinburgh, where the Gardening Scotland 2012 show pitched up at the Royal Highland Centre. This Scottish celebration of gardening featured many highlights such as the Bonsai Exhibition and Floral Hall, however it was the Pallet Garden Competition that proved the most memorable.
Gardening clubs and schools from across Scotland created 1 metre x 1 metre gardens. Many of the entrants produced pollinator-friendly gardens and some were very elaborate. Click here for more pictures, courtesy of the website GrowsOnYou.
Can you believe that a hosepipe ban has been implemented by seven UK water companies during a week of forecasted downpours (and the occasional flurry of snow for those living up north)? But assuming this is a seasonal blip, we should all be looking for ways to use water more efficiently in our gardens.
Graham Rice, author of Planting the Dry Shade Garden, has some tips on keeping gardens green while saving water on the Guardian Gardening Blog.
Graham also mentions the importance of sustainable planting. Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens by Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden has 200 great ideas for drought-tolerant garden plants. Here are two of my favourites are Baptisia minor and Panicum virgatum. If you have a top-tip for waterwise gardening share it with us!
Or save £5 off Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens. Use the code WATERWISE at checkout (valid until April 22 2012). But hurry, like the weather this offer is subject to change!!
You can tell by the name that the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) is one of the world’s weirdest plants. It’s also one of the stinkiest and takes 8-12 years to grow large enough to flower. The last time it flowered at Kew was in 2010. Now the lucky people at Cornell University are holding their breath to see this spectacular plant do its stuff again. But they need to hurry – they’ll only have 4-5 days before the flower dies. To celebrate this event we’re offering you an equally amazing 45% off our book Bizarre Botanicals which features this and other horticultural miracles. Don’t delay, like the Titan Arum flower, this offer will expire in less than a week on Monday 19th March.
Social media. It truly is like opening a can of worms. Once upon a time, we started to tweet. Gradually we added our own Facebook Page and started promoting the Timber Pinterest page and linking to YouTube… and that’s when we realized… we are hooked!
As many of you will know, the US Timber Press office has a fabulous blog called ‘Timber Press Talks’. They offer giveaways and guest author posts, share sneak-peaks of future releases and create a dialogue with other bloggers. We hope to bring you the same great features, with a bit of a British slant.
To entice you, we have a print to give away from the book Seeing Trees, courtesy of photographer Robert Llewellyn:
- Robert Llewellyn, Seeing Trees
This print will be given away at Chelsea, so stay tuned to learn how to enter.