Saturday, 23 April 2011

This Morning's Headlines

The Telegraph are fuelling the debate about the use of peat in gardens.  This follows on from recent comments made by Alan Titchmarsh and Jamie Oliver, which have caused somewhat of a kerfuffle with gardeners up and down the land.

In today’s publication the Telegraph focuses on a recent RSPB survey of ‘the country’s top 27 leading gardeners’ and what’s more surprising is that I get a mention.  Described as a ‘more “modern” gardener’ I’m included as one of the eleven gardeners who have managed to cut out peat completely. I'm proud to be in such great company with the likes of Alys Fowler, Charles Dowding and Emma Cooper also favouring reduced use of peat.

If you would like to read more please click on the image above.

In other news my post on RHS Cardiff appears to be getting some attention in Amateur Gardening magazine.  If you don’t buy the magazine you can read the full text here and I’d love to hear your comments.  Should bloggers dare to have opinions?  I think we should!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Ryan's Garden: An update

Spring is always a season in which we are stimulated, invigorated and given a hint of what’s just around the corner.  After a long winter, beautiful Spring days accompanied with warm weather and new growth really make you reflect on the year that was and the coming seasons just out of reach.

On the allotment, things have sprung forth.  The broad beans are in the ground after growing on a little more in my vitopod and have been planted just in front of the sweet pea obelisks.  This year I’m growing ‘Cupani’ and ‘Stars And Stripes’ from Seed Parade and ‘Just Jenny’ which I picked up at the gorgeous Malvern Spring Show from a great exhibitor whose name I’ve forgotten (Sorry!).   I did however; spot one mistake at the plot.  I’ve somehow managed to sow half a row of spring onions in the wrong furrow and I now have a rather strange arrangement of beetroot and spring onions seedlings fighting for space.  I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with this but I may just sow the other half of the row and stagger the harvest.  
All of my fruit bushes have been awash with bees and butterflies of late and it now looks as though they've set fruit.  It could be a very good year indeed!

In the garden things are coming on well.  It seems as though my 2-3 years old planting has truly knitted together well and is looking really good right now.  Combinations of cirsium, alliums, apple blossom, fennel, tulips and box are looking great (well, as great as they can in a small space) and I’m truly thrilled.   Edna, my Lavender Araucana chicken, is now resident here too and I’m very keen to monitor her attempts at reorganising my planting.  She’s already taken to scarifying my chamomile lawn with her heavy footed approach and I’m praying that she gets nowhere near my orchids.  Lily beetle arrived but was swiftly dispatched and the vine weevil population made a small snack for Edna.
In the cutting garden the peonies, dahlias, lilies and gladioli are all growing well and it looks as though my pound shop experiment may just pay off.  The bargain Daffodils which I planted sometime in January or February are now blooming and make a great addition to the plot.

This weekend will see me sowing my runner beans, amongst other things, and I have a few experiments on going too, which I hope to share with everyone soon.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Vitopod Review

Please click the screen shot above to read the full review.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Ryan's Garden Competition: Banana Beanbag

This competition is now closed.  congratulations to Ms B who is the lucky winner!  Please can you email through your contact details and address?

With the sudden upturn in the weather I can't help but think about future days lounging in the garden with a glass of something nice and some great food.  It's with this thought that I've selected another great prize for you from The Garden Furniture Centre.  I'm really pleased to be offering one lucky reader the chance to win this great banana beanbag (worth £99.99), which can be used outdoors or in.

To enter the competition and for your chance to win this great prize simply leave the answer the question below in the comments box and accompany this with either a tweet including my username @ryansgarden to @gfcuk or add a comment to facebook using the link:

Question: If you were to win this beanbag which colour option would you choose?  Light Brown or Beige?

Good luck all and I really hope this weather stays for a little while!

Terms and conditions: Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older to enter. The winner will be chosen at random and you agree that by entering your name may be published. Prizes will be delivered by courier within 28 days. The competition is not open to employees or affiliates of The Garden Furniture Centre Ltd. Entries for this competition will close at midnight on 3rd May 2011.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

RHS Show Cardiff 2011

Today I visited the local RHS show in Cardiff and I've captured a few bits and bobs for those of you who couldn't attend.  I always try my best to visit the show as it's only down the road and it's a great way to offer my support and catch up with gardening friends I rarely get to see.  We've had fantastic weather for it this year and it's really helped to lift the spirits, add energy and help lift the plants and gardens.

In a similar ilk to my post on the RHS Show Cardiff 2010 I found that yet again the show was seriously lacking on show gardens, although the numbers had increased a little.  Overall what was on display did little to inspire progression or influence new styles and I guess when all was considered the general feeling was that  it was pleasing at best.  It would have been great to see something that added a sense of challenge or spectacle but unfortunately this was not to be.   Maybe next year?

Sheds, offices and other rooms featured heavily in this years gardens maybe indicating that the garden office or space is fast becoming a staple.  All I know is that I would love to have something similar in my garden from which to work or read.
West Meets East - Gaynor Witchard Garden Design and Alfresco Landscape & Garden

The 'Best Show Garden' (above) winning a Silver-Guilt medal used a limited palette of colour and a lot of restraint to achieve its primary goal of fusing the Japanese garden with the West.  When I met with Gaynor she discussed that it was hard work to get the job done in such a short space of time as there was so much gravel to clean.  As a result the pond area was rather tricky to execute but Gaynor battled on and said she was pleased with the overall result.  Gaynor's garden at last years show entitled 'Irene's Garden' also won Best Show Garden and couldn't be further away from this design.
The Reading Room - Ben Brook

This garden also used a garden room and other similar influences to create a modern space for reading and relaxing.  Again we see a rather muted and limited use of colour with the garden being somewhat dominated with wooden landscaping.
Sweet Retreat - Imogen Cox & Pippa Tee

'Sweet Retreat' stood out from the other gardens with it's busy use of colour, both in the planting and in the hard landscaping.  This really grabbed the attention of passers by and coupled with the dominating yet beautiful shed had the potential to work well.  What really let the garden down, I feel, was the sheer volume of plants and their proximity to one another.  Overall the garden felt as though it was suffocating and did not appear to be at all practical in the long run.
The floral marquees were gorgeous as ever however I am beginning to see quite a lot of repetition as the years go on.  Despite this there are still new and exciting things to discover and I guess that's half the charm of  attending.  I didn't leave with armfuls of plants this year but instead I restrained myself buying only a small selection of perennial herbs and plants including Tree Onions and Winter Savoury.  Some of the Erythroniums on display were absolutely stunning and I may have to look in to buying some of these to add to my garden.
Entertainers were on hand to cheer the crowds and keep small children out of mischief and they really did succeed this year.  Yes, those are indeed vegetable and fruit babies!
And finally, RHS Cardiff is not complete without the schools wheelbarrow competition.  This year my vote went to this 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wheelbarrow' Royal wedding inspired number, which is truly eye catching, I think you'll agree?!

On reflection this year's show left me feeling as though I'd seen it all before.  It did little to truly hold my attention for any meaningful amount of time and it did not have enough content to keep me entertained for even half a day never mind a full day out.  Perhaps it was the lure of a meal at a nice restaurant or my general state of tiredness that led me to feel this way but I can't help but think I am trying to make excuses as I really want this show to do better? It's a shame really and I sincerely hope that in the near future the garden element improves and grows as surely it is this that should be at the heart of the spectacle?
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