For the full time gardening students at Capellagarden, the year runs from March to September. At the start many of them may never have gardened before, but from Day 1 groups of 4 students will be given the entire responsibility for one of the rotational plots within the teaching garden. They choose the seeds, plan the layout, prepare the soil and do the planting. They help one another, pooling what knowledge they do have, and what they don’t know they find out by asking the tutors, or looking things up in the library. As their confidence grows they are encouraged to experiment and push the boundaries and learn through their successes and failures. They also grow flowers for cutting, tend the orchard, help in the productive garden that feeds the school, as well as having responsibility an area of herbaceous border and doing greenhouse work. As Carl Malmstem intended, it is all very hands-on and the garden is impressively productive. I asked students what they do after Capellagarden – some go on to further study at university, some start their own gardening companies, some buy land (it’s still very cheap in rural Sweden) and some stay on as helpers at Capellagarden. The short course students dip in to all aspects of the garden and do all sorts of other interesting things including dying with indigo, learning about lactic fermentation, making sweet preserves, picking and arranging flowers from the garden and visiting other gardens on the island.
A place to sit on the rotational plots
The productive garden
Harvesting carrots in the productive garden
The Garden Shop
The left over garden using up all the spare flower plants
Annual flower plots
Summer School compost heaps
- Indigo dyed fabric and clothes
Much as we would love to think that the sun always shines on our gardens in the summer, the reality is that rain is often an uninvited guest when we are doing outdoor entertaining. A covered area is just what’s needed in these circumstances but it’s not always practical to have something permanent. It takes up space, anything halfway decent costs serious money, and if you live in a windy location there’s always the concern that it will take off and disappear over the neighbour’s fence. This is when a pop up gazebo comes into its own – if rain is forecast you can unpack it, unfold it (generally a simple process) and relax in the knowledge that should the heavens open (or the sun blaze down) there is shelter available. www.gardengazebos.co.uk sells three sizes: 3m x 3m, 4.5m x 3m and 6m x 3m priced from £219.99 to £399.99 and there is a current offer of free side curtains.
We are all devotees of the Japanese style workwear made by Kiraku Clothing – Monty’s blue denim jacket and Sarah’s tunic are both made by Kiraku who have now branched out as The Garden Clothing Company and have a stand at the Hampton Court Flower Show. If you aspire to looking stylish when you garden (at least some of the time) but need something durable – these are the clothes for you – and me. I stocked up at the show where there are special discounts, but if you can’t make they can also be bought online.
The rocket-like stems erupting from the central bed are the seedheads of foxtail lilies
I do like a productive garden, especially when it has glasshouses and potting sheds. Those at Petworth are an object lesson in tidy order. The Vegetable Garden has been revamped so that it is decorative as well as productive – and a lot easier to look after in these days when it is no longer necessary to grow food for a household of hundreds.
Productive borders are divided by gravel paths and brick-edged lawn
Artichokes and Crambe in the central circular bed
Campanula pyramidalis – one of nature’s more eccentric offerings
Pelargoniums in the Petworth glasshouses – I particularly liked (and now want) Pelargonium tricuspidata with its unusual foliage
I suspect that the current head gardener doesn’t write up these immaculate ledgers, but there is no doubt that he keeps a tidy shed
Fair Quiet Have I Found Thee Here
This perfect corner at Petworth with its beautifully engraved wall plaque says it all………