Chawton House virtual gardens

Round & About

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Celebrate gardens of all shapes and sizes with two days of talks, Q&As, interviews and readings… all online, and all for free

‘Get out’ and enjoy Chawton House’s virtual garden festival this weekend on May 30th and 31st at this garden event like no other.

The 400-year-old manor house was owned by Jane Austen’s brother Edward who gave his mother and sisters the nearby bailiff’s cottage, which became Jane Austen’s House Museum.

The event will bring you an exciting programme inspired by the Chawton House gardens and collections. Gardening talks and tips, botanical workshops, discussions with heritage gardeners, and a chance to take part in a virtual ‘best in show’ competition on Instagram will all feature.

Find out more about what it takes to manage a country house garden, the inspirations behind them and the team managing the gardens at Chawton House.

Learn about the extraordinary botanical women such as Elizabeth Blackwell who was also the inspiration behind their herb garden.

Take a virtual walk on Chawton House’s Jane Austen Garden Trail and find out more about Jane Austen and her love for gardens. There will also be plenty of opportunities to ask any questions that you might have as the Chawton House team share tips throughout the weekend to use in your own gardens.

Just register for your free weekend ticket and Chawton House will send you the full programme and line up. All content is free excluding their online creative writing workshops. There is a cost of £5 per session with festival sign ups given priority booking.

To find out more

Gardening tips 2

Round & About

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With many of us spending more time at home, getting some fresh air and keeping our minds occupied in the current situation is so important.

So switch off from the news and take a break in your garden. Gardening is a great stress buster and it’s a good form of exercise too. 

If you’re looking for ideas there are plenty of uplifting projects to get stuck into in your garden. Why not:

> Plant a tree

Grow your own fruit & veg

Create a wildlife-friendly garden

Plant patio climbing roses

Try growing some plants from seed

Get the children into gardening

Create an edible window box

Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres believes escaping into the garden is a great way to lift your spirits to soak in the beauty if the outdoors generally and our gardens.

She said: “In times like this nature and simple pleasures, like gardening, watching the birds and looking out for wildlife, seem all the more precious and a boost to body and spirit. If you need us we are here to help you get gardening and find some outdoor relaxation and exercise.”

She added: “If you are spending a little more time at home over the coming weeks, I hope that the weather is kind and you are able to enjoy your outside space.”

Squire’s also offer a local home delivery service. Simply call your local centre to arrange delivery. Squires Garden Centres

Spring Clean

If this gets you in the tidying spirit – why not try our Spring Cleaning ideas? Broken down into five easy days!

Gardening tips 1

Round & About

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While having to stay at home is not ideal for any of us there are lots of things you can do in the garden and what better time than with the spring weather, here are a few more ideas, that will not only keep you occupied, but also mentally and physically active too:

> Dust down the mower and get out and tackle the lawn, not forgetting the edges which you can trim with shears. This simple task will immediately make your garden look tider.

Welcome the birds into your garden, order some feeders and birdfood to get started if you don’t already have them and the sight and sound of our feathered friends will put a smile on your face.

Do your bit for wild plants that are under threat by sowing some native plants into a window box, on a balcony or in a corner of your garden and make a mini meadow to encourage nature back.

Children can join in with nature/gardening-based craft activities to inspire and entertain them to get growing too. Why not make a den in the garden if you have room and see how ingenious they can be.

Don’t stare at a blank wall or fence, add some colour with hanging baskets or try environmentally-friendly, hessian flower bags filled with compost and planted with flowering plugs.

String up some garden lights to bring a sparkle to a tree, porch, archway or shrub.

Don’t neglect the patio or terrace when dealing with the plants, veg and greenery – a blast from the pressure washer will easily give it a new look.

For a real taste of the summer to come order some strawberry plants and get them in now with some fertilizer to really encourage the juicy sweet fruit.

Add some sunshine with some cheery sunflowers, sow seeds now, put pots on the windowsill and plant seedlings when frosts are gone.

Pot up some herbs, salad leaves, spinach, beetroot, dwarf French beans, potatoes and dwarf carrots which will all do well in containers or skip the sowing and go straight to plug plants.

Spring Clean

If this gets you in the tidying spirit – why not try our Spring Cleaning ideas? Broken down into five easy days!

Make your own garden for wildlife 

Round & About

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Photo credit: Adam Cormack

A new campaign launched today by The Wildlife Trust and RHS is asking you to pledge some garden space for butterflies and moths

This year’s Wild About Gardens campaign is calling on gardeners to get growing to help the UK’s falling numbers of butterflies and moths.

The new campaign draws inspiration from a new film adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, The Secret Garden, starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and newcomer Dixie Egerickx as Mary Lennox. The film will be bringing the magic of wildlife, childhood and gardening to the big screen this spring when it blooms in cinemas across the UK from Good Friday, 10th April.

The Wild About Gardens campaign, run jointly by The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), looks at butterflies and moths as important pollinators, who, along with caterpillars, are vital food for birds like robins and blue tits as well as bats. However, their habitats have faced catastrophic declines and once-common species like the small tortoiseshell have dropped by up to 80% in the last 30 years in some areas.

An ideal butterfly garden has a wide variety of plants throughout the year to support their life cycles – for butterflies and moths emerging from hibernation, egg-laying females, caterpillars and then as adults. Early-flowering species such as dandelions, aubretia and native bluebells are good sources of nectar; these could be followed by buddleia and red valerian and, finally, ivy flowers which are a great late-season asset in the autumn. Many wildflowers and long grasses are also excellent larval food-plants. Whether your garden is large or small – or simply a flowering window-box – it could throw these declining insects a lifeline, especially in urban areas.

The Wildlife Trusts’ gardening champion, horticulturist and TV presenter Frances Tophill said: “Our garden flowers and plants provide a rich source of rejuvenating nectar for these much-loved garden visitors as they emerge from hibernation to herald the start of spring.

“Go wild in your garden and leave the dandelions and daisies in the lawn to provide a meal, aim for year-round flowers and include a wildflower area for egg-laying females as well as gardeners’ favourites like lavender, nasturtium and verbena.

“The Wild About Gardens website is packed with information and easy actions we can all take to support butterflies and moths throughout their impressive life cycle.”

The Wildlife Trusts and RHS believe every butterfly garden counts and want to know about every new wild area, box or border that’s being grown for butterflies. Each garden contributes towards the network of green spaces that nature needs to survive and they ask you to pledge a bit of garden for butterflies and put it on the map here www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk. 
In the story of The Secret Garden, the garden eases grief, heals rifts and brings the joy out in all who experience it. Make a special place for wildlife – your very own Secret Garden where you can replenish your soul, reconnect with nature and help wildlife to thrive. You’ve probably noticed how spotting butterflies or birds, or walking through woodlands, or alongside rivers and streams can help to lift your mood. Make some time for nature today and enjoy the restorative benefits!

Download or pick up a booklet 
The Wildlife Trusts and RHS have published a beautiful – free – booklet with colourful advice and easy tips designed to make our outdoor spaces more attractive to butterflies, moths and their caterpillars. Available here https://wtru.st/butterfly and on the Wild About Gardens website from today, 12th March. 
These will be available at special events during the spring including the Chelsea Flower Show and promoted through Wildlife Trust events, visitor centres and community action groups including the In Bloom network.

Find more

Find the full range of wildlife gardening booklets, advice and inspiration here 

Wisley garden

Karen Neville

garden

Make the most of the longer evenings thanks to some highlights this month at RHS Garden Wisley in Woking

Various events “after hours” at RHS Wisley should have you enjoying summer to its fullest. Quad Cinema will screen three films from 11th – 13th July including Mamma Mia, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman.

On Wednesday, 17th July, join Surrey Bat Group for an evening walk, and on 24th July pet owners can bring their dogs for walkies. On 26th visitors can enjoy and evening stroll and some live music in the garden until 9pm. There will also be an open-air theatre performance of The Wind in the Willows on Sunday, 28th, at 5.30pm.

Fuchsias are the focus of the Glasshouse display at RHS Garden Wisley from 6th July to 18th August, with a colourful display from Wisley’s fuchsia collection. The Glasshouse Gallery hosts the Carnivorous Plant Society for its show between 20th and 21st July with talks, advice, sales and a special presentation each day at 11an and 3pm entitled The Natural History of Carnivorous Plants.

Jazz in the Garden will take place each Saturday afternoon, 1-4pm at RHS Garden Wisley, when Chi Jazz entertain Wisley visitors from the Butterfly Pavillion. RHS Garden Wisley invites you to help celebrate 50 years of The Very Hungry Caterpillar with some fun family adventures in the Garden. They will also explore lifecycles and help children understand where their food comes from and how it grows.

Info

RHS Wisley, GU23 6QB; call 01483224234, email [email protected] or visit their website

Dreamscape designs

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Spring is almost here and now is the perfect time to focus on creating your dream outside space…

Each of us have our own personal idea of a fantasy garden. With the RHS Malvern and Chelsea flower shows on the horizon and croci poking their little heads out of the soil, there is hope in the air.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is encouraging us all to get busy, with tips on how to grow a colourful container and transform suburban and smaller spaces for the nation’s health and the environment. Whether you’re planning a cottage garden or formal city space, signature plants can help you achieve your dream look. Pulling off a convincing Mediterranean garden is a popular aspiration for many UK gardeners – start with a few choice plants and you won’t go far wrong.

A recent poll of Home & Gardens readers uncovered garden-lovers’ ultimate dream garden components (your own private folly, anyone?!). Dreaming big is always encouraged but you can also make a huge impact to your outside space, however small, front and back, by taking some small, practical-minded steps now.

A visit to a friendly local garden centre will be sure to leave you thriving with great ideas, especially for Mother’s Day. Horticultural experts will be happy to discuss your own personal oasis, using what you have as a starting point.

Decorative paving can make a huge difference to your outdoor space, creating the ideal vista from which to admire your trees and planting and perhaps set up a barbecue and dining area in time for the summer sunshine. Perhaps your patio is looking a little tired, weary or discoloured? Whether it be natural stone or concrete, you can transform it with the right treatment but it’s vital to seek expert treatment. Be careful of cleaning products that may contain an acid-based cleaner as these can affect natural stone, especially if it’s limestone. So ask your local supplier who can advise which product is best for your type of paving to make sure it’s looking its best without causing damage.

Also think about refreshing your garden furniture. Alison Chatten, trend expert and head of design at leading British soft seating brand Icon adds: “With evenings growing longer and temperatures starting to rise, spring brings a sense of renewal and revitalisation. The palm house trend continues to be a strong theme, as well as bright clashing Latin American-inspired designs – it’s all about bringing energy to your living spaces.

“Drawing on colours and themes already in the home, and using these outside, will create the impression of more space by harmoniously bringing the two areas together. Brightly painted pieces such as vases complemented with vibrant flowers, clashing colours and patterns are great for bringing life to your outdoor space.”

Wishing you all a fantastic spring!

Henley House & Garden Show

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Looking for some inspiration for your home and garden, the head to the Henley House & Garden Show at the weekend. 

The show is returning to Henley town centre and the historic town hall on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd March with more than 65 exhibitors of high-end interior and garden goods and services as well as speakers, entertainment, competitions and more. 

Exhibitors include architects and curtain-makers, hot tub suppliers, cars and garages, cushions, candles and infusers, ceramics, garden sculpture and a boat. Designers for gardens, interiors, lighting and sustainability are available for expert advice, plus conveyancing specialists, home-builders and finance advisors. Home décor stands abound and all styles of furniture are covered from Italian dining tables to antiques, farmhouse tables and chairs to ‘living edge’ tabletop consoles. 

The show’s theme is conservation – both of the home (through sustainable recycling and time-honoured building traditions) and of the garden where butterflies and bees do such hard work.  These insects are the show’s symbols as they appeal to both garden and home lovers.  The RSPB and the Woodland Trust will be exhibiting as well as Henley’s own conservation and garden societies who will be in the town hall. Honeys of Henley will be giving a bee and honey tasting talk too. 

Local school children have been involved in an arts and poetry competition to draw bees and butterflies and the winning drawings and poems will be displayed at the show. There will also be a photography competition that will be overseen by the Henley College. Hashtag #HHGS19 on Instagram to send in your winning photos. 

Demonstrations, coordinated by the Creative Duck, will take place throughout the weekend on the stage in the central marquee. Displays include lampshade making, life drawing, building a hedgehog hotel, and tile painting. Local chefs will also be cooking at the Tara Neil Kitchen stand offering delicious treats to try. 

Three speaking events are taking place in the town hall, two on Saturday and another on Sunday. 

Tickets cost only £5 and all proceeds are going to the development of the garden at the Chiltern Centre for disabled children, a respite centre in Henley. 

Also on Sunday there will be  two Lego workshops for children at a cost of £15. 

To find out more visit www.thehenleyhouseandgardeshow.com 

  Tickets can be purchased at www.thehenleyhousegardenshow.com/speakers-workshops/