In an effort to find out why the EU is banning the sale of packets of mixed varieties of vegetable seeds, I had a word with Paolo Arrigo from Seeds of Italy. He tells me that the ban is having an impact throughout Europe, not just the UK, and seed companies are totally mystified as to why it has been introduced. Apparently the only seed mixtures that are now permissible must consist of a single species e.g. brassicas, bean, onion or lettuce varieties. If a mix of species is wanted, each must be in a separate packet within the outer packet which will naturally result in more expensive seeds. This is particularly relevant for salad mixes. Given that the gardener who likes to grow mixed salads will then mix the seeds together, it’s hard to understand why the Eurocrats are not prepared to let the experts do it for us. Unless they want us to buy our salad mixes from the supermarket instead of growing our own. Grrr!
It would appear that the Post Office hasn’t got the message that bees are a good thing and that killing them is a bad thing, even when they interfere with the postal service. Walking down a lane in Suffolk we came across this letterbox which had been taped up with black and yellow tape to stop people posting letters because some bees had taken up residence. The result was frantic buzzing from inside, lots of bees trying to find their way in and many dead bees who had died trying to get into the box. We tried to poke some holes in the tape but it fell off (whoops) resulting in much happy bee activity. I can’t imagine that anyone would be daft enough to try and post a letter in a box so clearly occupied by bees, but surely the correct action would be to put up a sign saying ‘Box out of action until bees can be moved’ and then call on the help of a local beekeeper? We need all our bees.
B&Q Tower garden
The B&Q garden was a showcase of fine, well-grown plants, so why-oh-why is it that every time I go to a B&Q the plants are either dessicated or drowned – unless I get there immediately after a delivery. B&Q is known for its good eco-credentials, but putting energy into growing good plants and then failing to care for them properly is extremely wasteful. Maybe they should be giving grants to horticultural students who can then manage their gardening sections.
'Balconies' cascading with tomatoes and nasturtiums
Ferns planted in gravel between the raised beds
Fruit salad anyone ?
My least favourite style of planting is what I refer to as ‘fruit salad’ where plants are jumbled together with not enough structural planting and not enough green.
A garden for someone who doesn't like to garden?
I’m also pretty averse to the old-fashioned style of low maintenance garden where low-growing evergreens dominate. This garden will look pretty much the same every day of the year – boring.
Great Lego - not sure about the planting
The Lego Garden has had plenty of press, but entirely about the complexity of the Lego figures. I couldn’t have told you anything about the planting until I looked at my photos. The plants are very much the supporting cast.
Cold and soulless
This modern garden probably cost the most was a cold and soulless affair. I’m sure the WAGS will love it but I can’t imagine it appealing to many gardeners.
The Over-Active Bladder Garden - seriously!
I have to confess that I thought the ‘Matter of Urgency’ garden with the giant pink tap was about water conservation. My catalogue revealed that it was in fact about over-active bladders. Although I thought the tap was very clever, I’m not a great fan of Barbie pink and I’m sure that the gushing tap would have anyone with the condition rushing to find the nearest loo!