Tag Archives: Not so Secret Garden

Catching up with Helen

chilly weather and the end of the dahlias in the Not so Secret Garden

chilly weather and the end of the dahlias in the Not so Secret Garden

The weather has certainly turned in the last week; we’ve had some proper frost and anyone mooching around Hartley Farm will have seen Helen and Christine hard at work, chopping down the frost-blackened dahlias and barrowing them over to the compost heap. It’s Helen’s turn in the spotlight this month so we’ve given her the opportunity to reflect on what makes her garden bloom and what puts a smile on her face in the Not so Secret Garden.

Helen and Christine moving the roses to their new bed

Helen and Christine moving the roses to their new bed

What’s your favourite cut flower – The bronze sunflower from the Not so Secret Garden. We’ve had so many blooms from the plants and they look stunning with amaranthus and the orange tones of dahlias and chrysanthemums.

And your favourite time of year? – It has to be the Spring with the promise of new, fresh growth and the vibrant greens and yellows of the first spring flowers. Wonderful.

Tell us where is the best place on earth? –  It’s hard to pick just one. Looking over Longleat  Estate from Heaven’s Point, the lake at Stourhead, walking a coastal path and being in the garden….

What’s your top tip for flower growing? – I’m a bit obsessed with dead-heading. Not only does it keep a plant producing more flowers  but it also creates strong, bushy plants.

Is there a gardening task you’d be most likely to get someone else to do? – Yes. It has to be weeding. The weeds in the Not so Secret Garden can be enormous and the stinging nettles grow as soon as you turn your back. (Of course, this means the soil is hale and hearty -Editor)

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from being in the garden? – Beware of the tops of garden canes. They are great for staking tall plants but can also catch and scratch your arms and face.

What’s the best thing about working in the Not So Secret Garden? – Working outside, especially when the sun shines; noticing the plants grow and flourish; meeting lovely people. I’m always happiest in the garden knowing I’m contributing to bringing happiness to others.

The flowers in the garden are still going strong. What would you put in the perfect Autumn bouquet? – Lots of bronze foliage and copper beech, bronze sunflowers, peach and orange dahlias, berries, rust-coloured chrysanths and dark sedum.

If you had half an hour in the garden, what would be the perfect way to spend it? – Wandering around the garden noticing what’s grown and flowering since I last gardened. Listening to the birds, watching the robins peck around the freshly-dug soil and enjoying the sunset after a day’s work.

What is your earliest garden memory? –  Helping my dad in the garden, pulling up plants I thought were weeds; going with mum to the botanical gardens in Bath in Springtime when the cherry blossom was in bloom.

From whom do you get your gardening inspiration? -My father who was a very knowledgeable gardener with an eye for structure and colour. Like me, he loved the garden and regularly visited gardens for inspiration and enjoyment. I also like this piece of inspiration, taken from my calendar last month

” Flowers always make people happier…..They are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.” Luther Burbank 1849-1926.

Don’t forget that although the best of the garden blooms are over for a while, you can still enjoy the season with Young Blooms florists, learning to craft a beautiful and unique festive wreath that will be the envy of all your friends and neighbours!

Fresh Wreath Workshop, 9th December 11am-1.30pm

Dry Wreath Workshop, 13th Dec 11am-1.30pm

Tickets are available in the farm shop, or call 01225 864 948 to book your place.

 

 

Catching up with Grace

Our fabulous flowers have taken centre stage on the blog in recent weeks. And rightly so. They have been delighting visitors to the garden, shoppers at Hartley Farm and customers of Young Blooms right through the summer. Even now our dahlias are an absolute delight. However, just as an army marches on its stomach, so a flower garden blooms better for the attentions of a hardworking and skillful group of gardeners. We think that it’s about time you learnt a bit more about the ladies responsible for the abundance of the Not so Secret Garden. Over the next few months we’ll be shining the spotlight on one of the garden gang who work so hard to keep our patch looking lovely. First onto the garden bench is Grace. British flowers Grace, along with her friend and neighbour Becks is the inspiration and driving force behind the Not so Secret Garden. It’s been a tough year for them both as they cope with the aftermath of Becks’s illness but, through it all, the garden is fast becoming that little patch of floral heaven they both planned.  Here’s what Grace has to say about her year in the garden, top tips for great cut flowers to grow, garden memories and what she does when she’s not wandering around with a bucket and a pair of floral scissors. What’s your favourite cut flower?  This year has to be the Zinnia. They are such a fabulous flower. Robust as anything, striking colour and customers seem to love them!

British flowers

Zinnia are a firm favourite

Do you have an unsung garden hero? Verbena! Looks gorgeous when planted in huge swathes and also lasts very well in a vase! Are you an early morning person or a night bird? Early morning for sure, I’m way more productive first thing and there is not much better than being in the garden in the early morning cutting flowers! Can you share your top tip for flower growing? Just get stuck in, if you have never grown flowers before it’s a fun thing to do and you don’t have to spend a ton doing it. Autumn time is great for seed sales. You will get loads of half price seeds this time of year! My garden at home is teeny tiny and I have a Barbie sized greenhouse. I’m gradually expanding the flower part as my husband thinks vegetables are more sensible than flowers! What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt in the garden so far? If it fails just try again and then if it fails again ask for help! The funding that the garden has had from Seedbed has been invaluable. Having Christine and Helen working in the garden has meant that we can bash ideas round together. If one of us gets tired someone else has probably got some much needed chocolate to pep you up! What was your lowest point in the garden this year?  On a serious note it was the night Becky had her accident, I didn’t get much sleep at all. It’s been a incredibly tough year for her. But I just remembering panicking in a selfish way about how we were going to get everything planted! But through support from friends and family the garden has survived and Becks is doing brilliantly! She is able to walk with support and I’m really looking forward to her coming back, maybe next year to work in the garden! IMG_3638.JPG What’s your favourite scent of summer? The pale pink David Austin rose that’s planted under the arbour and I can’t remember the name of! It’s stunning and the scent is quite yummy.

Roses, Not So Secret Garden

The unknown David Austin rose

Tell us the perfect way to spend half an hour in the garden? I’m very easily distracted in the Not so Secret Garden because I want to see everything that’s grown. The garden changes shape so quickly and flowers are always popping up that I had forgotten about. Do you prefer Spring or Autumn?  Oh that’s tough. I think it would have to be Spring because year on year I never get over the excitement/pleasure of planting/growing and watching what happens. We know you love the garden but what’s the best place on earth? There are too many to think about, though the sunsets in the garden this year have been pretty spectacular! What’s your earliest gardening memory?  Weeding the blackberry patch because my brothers wouldn’t. (We think that shows real dedication to gardening – Editor) And finally…. Red or white?  I presume you’re talking wine! It would have to be a nicely chilled white in the summer with a robust red in the winter!  Cheese or chocolate? Cheese, without a shadow of a doubt! Cat or do?  That’s tough, my cat George can be quite moody so most of the time I prefer Winston my Dog! Winston has a habit of getting in on the act whenever we are interviewed about the garden. What’s your party piece?  I can cook a fairly good tarte tatin. Will that do?  We certainly do, especially if she brings one to share over a coffee whilst the autumn planting is going on.