Sunday, December 2, 2018

Hibernating is for bears, Spring will soon be here.

Spring plantings are subtle, yet still vibrant. With lots of pastel shades as the sun climbs to its June zenith.
Sure, you can have your Grasscutter/Landscaper throw in a few mismatched plants looking like a rabble of soldiers marching to their Waterloo, or with careful planning and preparation, you can have a garden of complimentary plantings full of flora and fauna.
failing to plan is planning to fail.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Woodland wonder.

A few weeks back, on route to my job site, I caught a glimpse of these remains of what was once a dwelling.

My curiosity was piqued and I stopped to take a look. The well is still sound and in the background the remains of the central chimney can still be seen.

 Even the large granite slabs on which the wooden frame was built are still there.

A derelict farmstead, garden sculpture, or garden planting. Attract the eye and the mind will follow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Yorkshire Dales

 The Yorkshire Dales from Herriot to Home

I will be presenting my new talk at Essex Meadows on Thursday Nov 15th at 11am

 Starting in Wensleydale, home of the famous Wensleydale Cheese, where James Herriot first entered the Dales, we will travel south through the dales and over moors

to arrive in the southern most dale of the river aire where I spent my formative years.

I believe this talk is open to the public.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Blueberry and Blueroot mix n' match in color only

Here is a chance combination that makes a stunning contrast at this time of year.

Aconitum carmichaelii
The last Aconitum to flower and one of the last flowers of the Fall garden. 
Intoxicating to the eye. Toxic to the touch.

Vaccinium corymbosum
High bush Blueberry

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Beautiful Betula

Our River Birch (Betula nigra) planted primarily to create shade for the patio,

 but also for its eye catching exfoliating bark.

We chose a multi stemmed tree to increase the shade area, currently 36ft in diameter.

After a long growing season of being attacked by caterpillars, leaf miners and various pathogens, the tree will absorb the remaining chlorophyll (green) leaving nothing but the skeletal leaves natural pigment (Fall colour) as they abscise and fall to the ground.

The exfoliating bark exposes the inner layers to sunlight, which in turn allows the tree to photosynthesize on sunny winter days, rids itself of  some parasites, lichen, moss, fungi etc and increases transpiration. All aiding in the speedy growth of this exceptional tree.

As the tree ages, the bark takes on a more normal look,

and becomes almost scaly in maturity.

In March 2018 we had a winter storm of wet heavy snow.

Some of the limbs were bent to the ground, but very few broke and returned to their upright position once the snow load was removed.

To prevent recurrence I cabled the main trunks.

When first planted, to give the 8ft birch (left foreground) a head start I excavated a good cubic yd of the sandy soil and replaced it with a mix of moisture retaining aged horse manure and good quality top soil,

while the proximity of our pond provides a constant supply of water.
(River Birch circled in blue)

So when I tell you the above photo was taken on Dec 21st 2009 and this photo dated Oct 16th 2018, you will understand just how quickly this tree has grown.

Bon appetit

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Last of the Fall Bounty

While the temperature forecast for Wednesday and Thursday evening may not result in a killing frost, it is certainly low enough to gather in the last of the harvest beforehand.

Our Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) have been growing with renewed vigor in the cooler, less humid fall weather.

Every part of the plant above ground is edible, leaves, flowers and seeds.

Commonly known as Nasturtium because they produce an oil similar to watercress (Nasturtium officinale). 

How to store and preserve for the winter, next.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A New Parmelee Farm Wall

We are all set for this weekend's walling workshop. We will be building a low wall to compliment the latest addition to Parmelee Farm.
The Sugar Shack

The original workshop wall from the fall of 2009, built by a group of enthusiastic novices is still standing proud.

Now covered with lichen which gives an appearance of aged permanence.

 The Spring 2010 wall had a Lunkie which sadly was dismantled to make way for the underground electricity lines,

and a stile which is still present. Both walls, with a little expected settling are still like new.

Perhaps this Killingworth wall's longevity is due to the vertical capstones. 

More likely due to the instructors, four of the top ten Dry Stone experts in the country.
From L to R
 Chuck Eblacker
Dan Snow
Brian Fairfield
Andrew Pighills

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Magnolia fall colour

At this time of year, I don't recall our Magnolia soulangeana  being quite so colourful.

The seed pods are many and varied.

Some rather grotesque looking.

A contrast in colour is added as the pods split open to reveal bright red seeds.

Although not as spectacular as individual flowers,

or as a whole.

At this time of year, I'll take colour in the garden wherever I can find it.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Art of the Cottage Garden

This morning I will be presenting my new talk "The Art of the Cottage Garden" 11am at Essex Meadows. Below are a few photos and comments from the presentation.

The design aesthetic of a garden is often driven, and rightfully so, by the style of the domicile which it aims to enhance

In our garden we are partial to sowing seeds of poppies and other self sowing annuals.

An aged patio, into a corner of which is arranged an assortment of mismatched and weathered planters and pots filled with color.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

More Fall Bounty

We all know the showy bracts (flowers) of Cornus Kousa, that create a beautiful Spring display.

The colorful fruits that adorn the tree in late Summer

and the true fall color of the leaves.

 Did you know that the fruit is edible, a flavor described as mango and pumpkin

If you know the tree is free from chemicals,simply break the skin and suck out the flesh, be mindful of the pit.