Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

GBMD: There is a Garden

Stonework and tile details from the Turkish Paradise Garden at RHS Hampton Court 2015

Stonework, tile and planting detail from the Turkish Paradise Garden I also featured yesterday. I was trying to recall Thomas Campion's poem when I saw the garden. Thank goodness for the power of Google when I got home, so I could feature it on this month's Muse Day :)

Planting detail from the Turkish Paradise Garden at RHS Hampton Court 2015

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Beat the Heat at RHS Hampton Court

Nilufer Danis's opulent Turkish garden of paradise at RHS Hamptonn Court 2015
Nilufa Danis's opulent Turkish Garden of Paradise felt right at home in yesterday's heat 

Phew what a scorcher! Temperatures were in the high 20s at RHS Hampton Court yesterday and are set to soar into the 30s today. Here are my tips to help you enjoy the show, instead of getting a bit grumpy in the heat like I did.

  • Go early and/or stay late - it means you can enjoy the show at the cooler times 
  • It was noticeably cooler under the arbour in Nilufa's garden at 1pm yesterday. There are a lot of trees at Hampton court, some with seats around them, so you can have a long sit down - including a picnic or siesta - in the really hot part of the day
  • Wear your comfiest shoes - the show is huge, so there's a lot of walking involved
  • I hate wearing a hat because I get 'hat hair', but I did wear one yesterday. One with a wide brim will also protect your neck 
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing including something to protect your neck if your hat doesn't
  • Take plenty of water and linger by the Long Water, where a delightful breeze blows in for the afternoon. The clever creators of paradise gardens like Nilufer's knew that water - especially moving - can bring temperatures down by several degrees
  • Lugging heavy bags around in the heat is a recipe for grumpiness, so buy your plants late, or leave them in the plant creche to collect later
The tented areas like the Floral Marquee may get rather hot today. I noticed there were some large fans installed at the entrances yesterday, which should help keep things more bearable.

NB it's well worth getting a show programme as it's easy to miss the things you'd like to see and there aren't that many maps dotted around the vast show area to help you get around. It'll help cut down any unnecessary walking! 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Things in Unusual Places #15: Turtles

turtle laying eggs at the Laking Garden, RBG Canada

Pity the poor gardener who kindly guided us around the wonderful iris collection in the Laking Garden at The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) near Toronto. The star attraction at the time was a turtle laying her eggs in the garden's soft fertile earth, so he didn't stand a chance while a gaggle of garden bloggers tried to catch the moment when another egg plopped into the hole.

Apparently this is a regular occurrence in June, which merits a warning on the garden's page on the RBG website. Luckily the turtle was unfazed with her new found stardom and quietly carried on with her business.

A staff member tends the iris collection at the Laking Garden, part of Canada's Royal Botanical Gardens
A staff member tends the collection

Our quest for egg laying pictures sated, it was time to explore the collection of hundreds of irises on display, showcasing cultivars from this and the last century. As you can see, our timing was just right as there was a colourful tapestry of blooms on offer. Most of these are laid out in chronological order, so it's easy to see how breeding has affected the size of blooms, plant height and the variety of colours available.

Many of the blooms are North American bred - I spotted lots of labels originating from Canada and Oregon, so here was a rich supplement to the magnificent displays I enjoyed at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

The entrance to the Laking Garden
Garden Bloggers at the entrance to the garden - spot the back view of NAH too

The Laking Garden is home to the RBG's perennial collection, which also majors in peonies, grasses and clematis as well as iris. In the above photo you can see the perennial borders and some of my Fling friends rushing to take photos.

I also spotted the start of this year's vegetable patch, which focuses on the heirloom varieties grown in Ontario during the 1800s and early 1900s. It also harks back to the garden's origins as a market garden.

Sadly it was too early in the season to see the patch in full fig and I didn't have time to explore the varieties being grown, or to compare them with those we know and love in the UK. There's an excuse for another visit at a later time of the year ;)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Postcard From Canada

Toronto's iconic building: the CN Tower

I've just got back from a fab holiday in Canada, where Victoria and I joined 70 other bloggers from the USA and Canada for several days of varied garden visits and fun during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto. As well as catching up with lots of friends I met in Seattle and Portland, it was great to meet Amanda and Susan at last.

NAH came over with me and as you can see he whisked me up the CN Tower for a sunset visit, plus the opportunity to conquer my fear of heights by walking me across the glass floor in that big bulgy bit you can see in the picture. A further opportunity presented itself during the Fling... more on that later.

Post-Fling, NAH and I toured part of Ontario to the north of Toronto. The friendliness of the Canadians makes it a wonderful place to visit. We had so many interesting conversations with complete strangers and now we're back home it feels odd to no longer be greeting everyone with a smile, a hello and a how's it going?

I'll be telling you more over the next few weeks...

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