This is a technique that you can use on some of your perennials to delay or extend the flowering period and also create sturdier plants that need less staking. The right time to do it is around the end of …
There are few circumstances where a garden is not improved by the addition of one or more containers. They often provide the finishing touch that lifts the garden beyond the ordinary. And for those with a pocket-handkerchief …
Furnishing a garden is an invitation to linger – it says that the garden is a place to relax and enjoy the surroundings – and not just somewhere requiring never-ending physical effort. That said, no matter how comfortable your outdoor …
I was very taken by the Karro Wheelbarrow. Lightweight, robust and durable with a large wheel (this always helps manoeuvring) it is made entirely from plastic. It weighs 9kg, has ergonomic handles, a low centre of gravity and is very stable. What’s not to like? £140 and can be ordered through www.mykarro.com
Gloves are always of interest to gardeners – I have an enormous collection, many of which have holes in the fingers, so I think it is time to cull the less than perfect and invest in a few more. I came back from the show with a pair of MechanixWear womens’ leather-palmed gloves (£22) which are soft, comfortable and washable as well as extremely tough. The sizing is on the small side though so it’s best to buy larger than normal. Burgon & Ball always have innovative displays on their stand – their Love the Glove range (from £12.95) were displayed under glass domes. These gloves are ultra-soft but hardwearing, have padded palm and a wrist strap to keep debris out. www.burgonandball.com
Sneeboer, makers of fine garden tools have had fun with one of their garden spades that they have fashioned into a stool – it’s not for sale, but I best they get lots of enquiries about it – so who knows, in the future it may be added to the range. Just the sort of thing the hipsters love!
Trugs come in every shape and size and the Trugmaker’s Garden featured them in every shape and size. Traditional trugmakers in East Sussex – the Truggery. They may look elegant but they are also tough as old boots and get better with age – I’ve had mine for eight years and it is grey with age but in perfect condition.
In July I will be staying in a shepherd’s hut in the Vosges Mountains – if it is half as luxurious as the Plankbridge hut (prices start at £15,021 plus vat) at the Show I will be very comfortable indeed – I suspect it will be a bit more basic, but more comfortable than a tent! The Plankbridge has double doors on the side and all mod cons within very beautiful and probably cheaper than an extension.
As well as some beautiful glass vases (see previous post), Michael Ruh handmakes makes stunning glass lights. Prices reflect that they are as much works of art as functional objects – his work can be seen at www.thenewcraftsmen.com
One of the first things that caught my eye as I entered the show was the treehouse and climbing ropes tucked between two stands. They are made by www.jcclimbingframes.com
Although you can’t buy plants at Chelsea (except for very little ones) there are plenty of shopping opportunities – and if you don’t feel like lugging your purchases round with you, with most things you can window shop and buy them later online. Here’s my eclectic pick of some of the products that caught my eye.
One of a series of charming or thought provoking laser cut panels from the Sculpture by the Lakes stand. Prices on application.
Tripod ladders are by far the best solution for gardens – safer, more stable, adjustable for uneven or sloping ground and much more versatile. Prices start at £245 from Henchman. What price safety?
Not actually for sale, but a great idea for anyone with a modicum of DIY ability was this plant stand put together from three apple/potato trays of different sizes and given a splash of grey paint.
The Irrigatia solar watering system is discreet and very clever – it can be used from mains water or from a water butt. Prices start at £79.95 from Irrigatia.
This glorious metal Flower Gate is made by master blacksmith Michael Jacques – it’s £4500, so not an impulse purchase – but covetably lovely.
Tendamesh from Agralan is a new superlight version of the popular and effective Enviromesh which is so effective at keeping creepy crawlies off the vegetables. It can be used on easily crushes salads such as rocket or spinach. £1.80 per running metre or £8 per pack from www.enviromesh.co.uk
Top of the Rabbit proof props (£29.95) in my opinion is this bottomless wire basket from www.crocus.co.uk – it’s attractive, prevent plants flopping and will protect young plants from the nibblers.
Chelsea isn’t just about show gardens and a pavilion bursting with blooms. There are all manner of things for sale too, from the sublime to the frankly ridiculous. At the very peak of the sublime, is the work of various craftsmen and women that is on display in the Artisan Retreats. Curated by The New Craftsmen, the Retreats are tucked away on a grassy knoll off South Ranelagh Way – not only are there beautiful things to see – it is also a wonderfully quiet place to visit away from the hurly burly of the rest of the show. Glass artist Michael Ruh has designed a collection of highly covetable Chelsea vases which are on display in one of the retreats.
Mahonia Soft Caress is a fairly new plant that is so very different from its prickly, upright and at times rather ungainly relatives. It’s delicate foliage fills a gap between a grass and a fern and surprisingly (but very effectively) it is used by Dan Pearson in his Chatsworth inspired garden at Chelsea. I had been wondering how this plant could be used – now I know – and I’m sure I will find a spot or two for it in the shady corners of my garden.