Sunday, 25 May 2014

Shows of Hands – Chelsea Fringe 2014

From a dreich garden in Scotland I’d like to wave my hands and say hello to everyone around the world that might stumble across this blog. For regular blog visitors I’m waving to say hello again and I’m still here! Please do read on… perhaps you have a show of hands photo you might like to share?

This morning, during my current mega photo sort (which has lasted a few weeks and kept me away from blogging) I came across the photo below which is just perfectly topical from me at this time. Photo sorting is still ongoing with a deadline to getting them uploaded and organised in a 100 page book for the end of the month (when the offer I purchased for a photobook runs out). I’m trying not to panic ;-)

The hand above is a reminder to take time to enjoy looking around your garden as many little treasures can be hiding there just waiting to be discovered. It also reveals the beauty and detail of simple flowers and how tricky it can be to take their photos at times. Windy weather, crowds at garden shows and holding a camera with one hand all add to the challenge. The hand above recommends taking lots of garden record photos ;-)

However, the hand also reveals the real gardener here. Yes, I chat about birds and wildlife in this blog but I truly am a plantswoman at heart and this is my hand. My photobook is going to be a celebration of the flowers and plants that have graced my garden at some point over my gardenwatching years and before. I’ve been working in my own personal Chelsea Flower Show Marquee awarding gold stars as I sort :-D

Chelsea Flower Show mega celebrates plants and gardens but is now over for 2014. It is pretty well known around the world but not everyone is able to visit. Have you heard of the Chelsea Fringe? If you are in London, Brighton, Bristol, Vienna, Ljubljana, Turin, Kent or Norwich this could be of interest to you with events running until June 8th.

“The Fringe is all about harnessing and spreading some of the excitement and energy that fizzes around gardens and gardening. The idea is to give people the freedom and opportunity to express themselves through the medium of plants and gardens, to open up possibilities and to allow full participation.

Entirely independent of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (though acting with its support), the Fringe explodes out of the showground geographically, demographically and conceptually. Its events encompass everything from grassroots community garden projects to avant-garde art installations. Our open-access principle means that just about anything goes – as long as it’s interesting and legal, and on the subject of gardens, flowers, veg-growing or landscape.”
Chelsea Fringe/About

Still too far away? I’m clapping my hands now to fellow blogger VP at Veg Plotting for registering her online event of Shows of Hands for the Chelsea Fringe 2014. Once my photo sort is complete I might come back with a second blog. I have an idea but will need a bit of time for it ;-)

I’m waving my hands to you again to say come along and join in with VP’s event…

“The way you choose to present your Shows of Hands is entirely up to you. It can be a single photo, a set of photos, a collage or even a video. It or they can be your hand(s), someone else's or a group - how about a photo of everyone on your community gardening project waving their hands in the air? The hand(s) can be clean, or the muckier the better! They can even be non-human as long as there is a garden context. All are welcome.”
Chelsea Fringe 2014: Shows of Hands - Episode I

Full details can be found here where you will find a blog list to add your posts and browse other shows of hands. My photo sort break is over now but before I go I should say I’ve a gardenwatch photo sort to do very soon. I have to share pics of our Great tit nestbox family who have been entertaining me in the corner of my monitor. We have four chicks now which are growing fast – one egg didn’t hatch.

I’m waving again, this time to say bye for now & hope to see your hands soon :-)

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2014.

Monday, 5 May 2014

How does your garden grow?

Sunday’s gardenwatch assistants (newly arrived and exploring Woodpigeon and Mum to be Great tit) want to ask you about how your garden grows. They will also tell tales on their resident gardener through a brief garden tour…

Do you own a national plant collection?

Nope… I can’t see one here. Mind you, there’s only just enough space to tiptoe through the borders especially after the resident gardener has been moving plants around again! She has no hope whatsoever in keeping a national collection. Have you ever thought about one – if so which plants would you choose?

Is your garden a pristine tranquil retreat?

Nope… I can’t say this one’s pristine. Although we still like the grass/moss paths edging the busy borders and the forest bark below the bird feeders. We don’t mind the old paving slabs or the crunch underfoot over gravel paths (okay maybe we do sometimes). Yep… to a tranquil retreat though - especially since the addition of that new wildlife pond :-)

Is your garden a totally tropical paradise?

Nope… I can’t see the tropics here. Although those stunning yak hybrid rhododendrons bring the colours of the tropics into the garden very well. These plants are likely to have come from a faraway place through plant hunting trips by local rhododendron specialist Kenneth Cox. The resident gardener really should email him to ask the names of these beauties – yep those lost plant labels again  ;-)

Does your garden boast a prize winning veg patch?

Nope… absolutely no sign of a veg patch here. However, this garden patch looks like it will feed a growing nestbox family with enough insects (when the time comes) by the supply being brought in by OH Great tit since incubation began. Yay… we have eggs :-)

We have heard that many moons ago, when there were two young girls growing up in this garden, there was a tiny Potager next to a wooden Wendy house. I bet previous OH Great tit's would have found lots of food around the windows there.

We are to believe that this year, the resident gardener is attempting to grow salad veggies in her tiny greenhouse – no prizes expected there though. We have also heard, our resident gardener knows a few bloggers with a lot of serious experience in growing veggies like VP and Sue if you want inspiration or tips. Out of interest, do you know anyone with a prize winning veg patch?

Would you like the chance to show off your garden?

Through this garden blog, our resident gardener enjoys sharing garden views, creative ideas (to her eyes anyway) and thoughts on garden styles. She is always honest in opinions of garden visits too. However, despite her considerable blog chat we know her to be shy when it comes to showing off her garden.

Are you a passionate gardening enthusiast?

Is your garden your pride and joy? Yep… our resident gardener is both! Would you like the chance to prove you’ve got the best garden in town? Nope… our gardener isn’t competitive enough for that but this does sound like it could be fun and a bit of a challenge too. Perhaps you might be interested - yes? Please do read on...

"The makers of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Garden Revival’ are looking for green fingered fanatics to take part and compete in a brand new prime time TV series. They want to showcase some of the most stunning, imaginative and unique gardens in the country."

The email from the assistant producer of the programme added that it would “celebrate Britain’s beautiful private gardens and the individuals tasked with creating them.” Now… that is a programme our resident gardener would love to watch so please do consider taking part – the more the merrier I’m quite sure the producers would say too :-)

And finally… our resident gardener’s email included the flyer above listing information on the series alongside contact details and told she could pass it directly on to anyone she thinks might be interested. Consider this passed on to all regular gardenwatch followers here in the UK. Please share it in your blogs - the birds and wildlife appreciate all this garden publicity too :-D

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2014.