One of the joys of travelling abroad is that you're never quite sure what you'll find, what memories you'll create.... the food, the wine, the smells, the sights and of course there'll always be something that stumps you. Something so bizarrely, BIZARRE it leaves you baffled! A plant with orange fruit but not an orange. A tomato-like skin but not a tomato..... Perhaps, just perhaps it could be a ........per.....
Medlars. They have to be one of the most curious fruits of Autumn. The French call them cul de chien (dog's arse) and, if you've ever see a medlar fruit, it's not difficult to see why! D.H Lawrence once described them as 'autumnal excrement'..... so far, it's not looking good for the poor old medlar. But wait! Who wants to be part of the herd? Medlars, once bletted (read on) could elevate your standing in the fruit isle of life......
It's often the case that the most interesting and memorable moments happen 'just by chance', or maybe by divine intervention........ ? In the shadow of Winchester Cathedral you'll find Dean Garnier's garden, created in the 1990s to commerate Thomas Garnier, Dean of Winchester (1840-1872) and a founder member of the Hampshire Horticultural Society. It's open to the public and provides a tranquil place for rest and reflection.....
One of my favourite plants for late winter into early spring are the flowering quinces. These dense, twiggy shrubs make ideal wall shrubs for an east facing wall. Their bright, delicate looking flowers give a burst of welcome colour this time of year.
Whilst I've always shied away from using proprietary chemicals in the garden, I've become more aware of just how much garden and household waste has literally been going to waste. A recent flick through Bob Flowerdew's book 'Organic Bible - successful gardening the natural way' reminded me that 'anything that ever lived can be converted back into fertility'.
Cooler nights and shorter days are beginning to creep up, slowly but surely. It's time to light the lanterns and cast some magical (Torchlight) in the garden.
It's the height of summer and with most people thinking about their annual holidays, it seems appropriate to provide a summer (and hopefully) year round home for all those beneficial insects. Hence the new insect house, freshly installed and ready for use. Shop bought, I admit, but it would be easy to make one yourself or maybe just bind together some hollowed out canes so that some creatures and insects can find shelter inside.
As the thermometer hits 30C here in the UK, I can't help but admire the ingenuity, tranquillity and beauty of Spanish garden design, especially the patios and cooling water features that hide behind dark and alluring entrances in labyrinthine alleyways. Here're some ideas we can all apply to our own gardens when the going gets hot....
As we fast approach mid-summer, there's an abundance of colour wherever we look. But spare a thought for the humble legume. From deepest scarlet to delicate shades of lilac and cream, the humble garden bean can add beauty and colour to the vegetable plot and beyond.