Tag Archives: garden

My 10 favourite gardens at Chelsea Flower Show 2011

strawberry mountain
Strawberry mountain

I loved Chelsea Flower Show last year so was keen to go along when the Bermuda Department of Tourism invited me. Last year, most of my favourite gardens were big show gardens outdoors, but this year I made more time for the exhibitors inside the floral marquee, and found lots of interesting smaller gardens. Here’s the 10 I liked best overall this year (in no particular order):

1. The tunnel of clematis of all different shades of purple and… Continue reading

Chelsea Flower Show – meeting James Wong and my favourite gardens

Tourism Malaysia's winning garden at Chelsea Flower ShowI went to Chelsea Flower Show for the first time last week and, considering how little I know about plants and flowers (see earlier failed attempts to cultivate herbs on my balcony), I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I was a guest of the Malaysia Tourist Board, which won Gold for its rainforest-inspired garden, designed by James Wong (off the Grow Your Own Drugs programme on TV).

The garden was really beautiful… Continue reading

Big Garden Bird Watch: the results

I’ve finally submitted my results online for last weekend’s Big Garden Birdwatch.
I decided to borrow a friend’s garden in the end, as I’ve never seen a single bird in our courtyard. She also supplied me with tea and chocolate digestives which was nice.

I made a little spread of seeds and over-ripe fruit out on her wall but the birds didn’t exactly flock to it. They need more than 20 minutes notice that the food is out, I… Continue reading

The Plight of The Honeybee

The alarming decline of honeybee populations has been in the news a lot recently. The Isle of Wight Festival chose to support a beeHoney feature project, Give Bees A Chance. as part of its Eco Action Partnership this year, and Jordan’s Cereals is running a Big Buzz campaign, giving away bee-friendly plants.

I first got interested in the global honeybee crisis when I was working on a feature for Australia and New Zealand magazine about honey in those two countries (click the thumbnail to… Continue reading

Springhead Sustainable Living Centre

SpringheadI’ve been at a wedding in the countryside this weekend, at Springhead Sustainable Living Centre in Dorset. It’s a ‘rural centre for creative and sustainable living’ and its gardens are in the list of 1001 gardens you must see before you die, no less.

I’m not usually that into gardens (see other blog posts for attempts to cultivate a herb garden on my balcony) but this one was lovely. I surprised myself with how many plants and flowers I could name – I’ve… Continue reading

Garden envy in Japan

I’m on a work trip in Japan at the moment, on the island of Okinawa way down off the south coast.

They have one of the longest life expectancies in the world here – 86 years for women and 77 for men. This is put down to their chilled-out lifestyle and healthy cuisine so I came to Emi’s Place to try some of the Okinawan specialities.

These range from seaweed and aloe vera (bit gross) to pickled cucumber (quite nice) and prawns in dill-tempura (lovely).

Emi showing me around her garden

Feeding time

Plant food

To give them the best possible start in life, I’ve invested in some plant food for my boys out on the balcony.

They’re not looking too healthy at the moment, to be honest. The basil is faring particularly badly. I haven’t watered them all week so that probably hasn’t helped – the weather’s been a bit rubbish so I’ve not been out on the balcony much.

Getting started…..

So, day one of the New Greener Me has involved a trip to Harringey Homebase to buy some herbs to grow on the balcony.

At about two metres square, it’s unlikely I’ll ever grow enough out there to become self-sufficient, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Pick-a-Pep and mint, living together in perfect harmony (I hope)

I had intended to fully research balcony gardening before I went, to find out who likes sharing a pot with who, which