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Power of community gardening shown to 650,000 flower show visitors

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 20:07

Pic: Designer Chris Beardshaw - "an ambitious and exciting project"

Power of community gardening shown to 650,000 flower show visitors

The power of community gardening has been shown to more than 650,000 RHS flower show visitors this summer through a series of challenging Urban Oasis gardens designed by Chelsea Gold Medal winner Chris Beardshaw.

The last garden in the series, unveiled this week at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, marks the conclusion of an ambitious partnership between environmental charity Groundwork and the Royal Horticultural Society to raise awareness of the difference community gardeners are making across the UK. The exhibit, sponsored by Marks & Spencer, will be on show at Tatton Park from July 18-22.

Beardshaw’s Urban Oasis gardens mark the first time a landscape designer has produced an exhibit for every RHS show in a season and showcase some of the most challenging urban environments where gardening, community work and good quality landscape design have brought people together and yielded powerful social benefits.

The Tatton Park Urban Oasis looks at ways of improving the space between streets of terraced housing. Back alleys, often used simply as a place for bins or hanging out washing, can – when gated at each end – have massive potential as community gardens. Previously dull spaces soon become havens where children can play safely and gardening clubs can flourish.

Elements from this garden will be reused at projects across the north-west of England, including the Atherton Road community garden in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Currently an underused and neglected green space, the site will be transformed into an area with sensory planting and vegetation to encourage wildlife. Raised beds will also allow users to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

All the Urban Oasis gardens came together to form the 1,600m2 centerpiece exhibit at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and were inspired by Groundwork and RHS community projects that Chris Beardshaw visited earlier this year.

The Urban Oasis message is to challenge people to think about how they can get involved in either preserving their cherished green space or creating their own Urban Oasis.

Chris Beardshaw said: “It has been an ambitious and exciting project and I am really pleased to have been responsible for designing and creating the schemes to reflect the work of these two valuable charities.

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2012 Unveiled
Friday, 11 May 2012 17:38

The Royal Horticultural Society's Flower Show Tatton Park will open this July, once again set in the beautiful surroundings of Cheshire's stunning thousand acre deer park. Renowned for its pioneering and innovative gardens and ideas, the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park is the highlight of the North of England's gardening calendar. The 2012 Show will feature Visionary Gardens, Show Gardens, the RHS National Flowerbed Competition, Orchestra Gardens, the announcement of the National Young Designer of the Year, the Floral Design Studio, the Great Taste Food Market and much more.

Especially exciting will be the announcement of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year in association with the Society of Garden Designers on Wednesday 18 July. The three finalists for this year's competition will be launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May and each will be granted £12,000 to make their designs a reality at the Show in July - Judges will face a tough decision choosing from these talented under-28s.

This year's Visionary Gardens will bring together art and horticulture to challenge traditional ideas and boundaries of conventional garden design and engage art and sculpture in horticulture. Also on display during this year of the London 2012 Olympics will be entries for the RHS National Flower Bed Competition, celebrating the Olympics. A range of flowerbeds by local authorities and community groups from around the country will showcase the theme ‘Celebration of Sport', with each bed depicting a different sport.

Those more interested in music will be intrigued to see Orchestra Gardens, a new themed garden competition in which designers have been given the brief to create a garden that reflects part of an Orchestra. There will be five gardens each representing one musical discipline for example brass, strings and percussion.

Visitors in search of culinary inspiration should head for the Great Taste Food Market which will showcase delicious regional produce from across the UK. In addition to this Fortnum & Mason Michelin-starred Chef Shaun Hill will select the finest ingredients available at the market and incorporate them into his menu on offer in the Tatton Club and Parlour at the Taste of Fortnum's.

Garden designers of the future will also display their expertise with this year's School Front to Front Gardens. 28 local schools will create gardens based around a theme of favourite children's television programmes, Local primary schools will also be encouraged to enter the ‘Jubilant Diamond Jubilee' North West Container Competition. Containers will be on display for the duration of the Show with visitors voting for their favourite across the five days.

The popular Ladies' Day taking place on Thursday 19 July, features fashion, floristry demonstrations, cocktails and talks, promising to be a great day out.

From music to fashion and flower beds to food markets; this year's RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will be the most exciting yet. Guaranteed to be the hottest ticket in the North West this July and a wonderful day out for all the family.

Get pumped for pumpkin growing!
Thursday, 19 April 2012 16:18


The Royal Horticultural Society has launched the RHS Heaviest Pumpkin Competition. Professional and amateur growers alike are invited to enter by 24 September for the chance to win £1,000.

This new competition is part of the RHS London Harvest Festival Show (9-10 October 2012) at Lindley Hall, Westminster. Entrants will present their prized pumpkin to be weighed and judged on Tuesday 9 October.

2012 RHS London Shows
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 20:29

The RHS London Flower Shows are the longest running of all the Royal Horticultural Society flower shows. Established in 1862, they were first held at the RHS garden in Kensington, but moved to the RHS Horticultural Halls when they were built in 1904 and have remained there ever since.

WWT welcomes the Festival of Gardening for Wildlife 1-31 March 2011
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 20:11

(Goldfinch © Paul Stevens/WWT; Dragonfly ©Judi Helsby/WWT; House sparrow © James Lees/WWT; Red damselfly © Gary Darbon/WWT)

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) will be celebrating 'gardening for wildlife' throughout March by hosting a medley of green-fingered events and activities at its nine visitor centres across the UK.

Hampered by last year's cold winter garden birds such as the great tit have suffered considerably and need all the help they can get to flourish throughout the upcoming seasons. WWT's wildlife wardens across the UK are showing British gardeners how to take action and do your own bit of nature conservation without even leaving their homes.

Kevin McCloud - build houses that make people happy
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:05

Five years ago Kevin Mcleod set  up a company called Hab (Happiness Architecture Beauty) in order to "build houses that make people happy". The recession has slowed its progress, but its first creation, a 42-home development in Swindon called the Triangle, is now complete. Next month, Channel 4 is screening Kevin's Grand Design, a two-part documentary about the project, which was achieved in partnership with the housing association, GreenSquare Group. When it is suggested that the attention these programmes will attract will be a double-edged sword, he says: "It will be a one-edged sword with the blade laid across my throat."

Learn more about this project in this well written article by Rowan Moore, The Guardian
Here are just 10 reasons why a bigger bed is a far better bet
Thursday, 06 October 2011 15:40

'Shameful shoebox homes' are scuppering many couples' hopes of a great night's sleep.

According to The Sleep Council, most couples would get a better night's sleep if they shared a king-sized rather than standard double bed.

But cramped modern homes simply don't provide enough bedroom space for king-sized beds.

A new study by The Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) – The Case For Space – has again highlighted the growing problem of space restriction in homes, dubbing many new builds 'shameful shoebox homes'.

Said Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council: "In our experience, most couples would choose a king-sized rather than a standard double bed because more space means less partner disturbance and therefore better sleep.

Home desgner gyms - The new must have for high end homes
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 02:33

Which room is the current must-have for the best houses – a marble bathroom, a restaurant-quality kitchen or an opulent bedroom? None of the above, it seems. The new craze in interiors is for a home gym, and former tennis star Tim Henman is just one of the many getting in on the act.

High-end houses won’t be seen without them, according to architect Nick Norden, who specialises in sumptuous dwellings in north London’s affluent Hampstead. He estimates that 80 per cent of his clients have a fitness studio high on their wish list – and they are prepared to build into the basement to get one.

You might think that working out in the absence of daylight is a total turn-off but, advises Norden, “The basement’s best. You can make a lot of noise without disturbing the rest of the house. There’s a big solid floor for heavy equipment, and you will now get planning permission, as long as the basement copies the footprint of the house.”

JK Rowling’s childhood home!
Friday, 29 July 2011 00:07

Harry Potter fans rejoice!

The magical franchise may be drawing to a close but we’ve found the ultimate keepsake for the most devoted of fans…

JK Rowling’s childhood home!

The three-bedroom detached grade II listed cottage is situated in Chepstow and is on the market for £399,950. While it isn’t quite Hogwarts, there’s a definite gothic, enchanted feel about the place and we can just imagine the best-selling author day dreaming about Harry’s adventures.

Church Cottage was built in around 1852 and still retains many original features including an arched doorway and a striking vaulted ceiling with authentic beams.  The property also boasts an impressive cottage garden with alluring features such as a small pond with lily pads, rambling roses, ornamental shrubs and plum, holly and crab apple trees.

The house of Beckham! – David and Victoria Beckham's family home is up for sale!
Thursday, 28 July 2011 23:57

While the Beckhams have been busy this month welcoming their bundle of joy Harper into the world, their old family home has been put on the market.

Hollinshead House was home to Posh and Becks in the noughties and is now up for sale for £2,250,000. The couple are said to have bought the five bedroom barn conversion back in 2001 for £1.25million and they didn't sell up until 2005 when the entire family moved to Spain for David's transfer to Real Madrid.

The exquisite grade II property boasts a 35ft long indoor swimming pool, outstanding rural views and a prestigious setting. The Beckhams are likely have fallen in love with the property's private and secure location; situated at the end of a private road in Nether Alderley, Cheshire, the home is a secluded getaway from the prying eyes of the paps.

Home Style: 20 Questions with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen
Monday, 25 July 2011 02:38


Say Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's name to people and they'll instinctively come back with something about smoking jackets, lace cuffs or his makeover having made that poor lady cry that time on Changing Rooms. You may love or loathe his distinctively flamboyant sartorial and decorative style, but 15 years on, Mr Llewelyn-Bowen's media and design careers have not only flourished, he's become something of a national treasure. Shy and retiring he is not: talented, passionate and charismatic he absolutely is.

Whether it's popping up with an unexpected cameo in The League of Gentlemen, starring in his own reality tv show, sitting on the panel of Popstar to Operastar, designing schemes for Blackpool Illuminations or advocating fabulous patterned loo roll, you never know quite what to expect from Britain's best known interior designer - and that can only be a good thing. We fired 20 questions at Laurence to find out more about the man behind the flock wallpaper:

Creating a seaside inspired interior.
Monday, 25 July 2011 02:21

You may not live by the sea – but you can create the illusion of doing so. This recent article published in the Telegraph by Rosie Brown gives some fantastic advice on how to create that ocean side interior. If you have any tips yourself then please add your comments at the end of this article.

Interior Design - The 7 deadly sins
Thursday, 07 July 2011 01:40

There are times when, try as you might, your house disappoints you. You can't put a finger on it, but your home seems to languish under a general malaise. It is not tidy, well-decorated, fashionable or worth enough. Above all, it just doesn't seem as, well, nice as the other houses you happen to visit.

If you recognise these symptoms, you are probably suffering from one of the Seven Deadly Sins of Householding. Banish these gremlins from your life and you will soon have a happier relationship with your home.

Have you seen this caterpillar?
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 15:42

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) are calling on gardeners to help the RHS map the whereabouts of box tree caterpillar (Cydalima perspectalis).

This native of East Asia eats the leaves of box plants (Buxus species) and has been reported for the first time in British private gardens. Adult moths have been recorded in Southern England since 2008, but its caterpillars had only been found at one commercial nursery in Surrey in 2009 and 2010. In May 2011 the RHS received the first specimens from private gardens in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

The Dry Summer - How Gardeners can Cope With The Drought
Saturday, 11 June 2011 00:04

Green-fingered Brits could have a miserable summer ahead as a heatwave threatens to cause drought across the UK, the Telegraph reports.

Expert forecasters are predicting that this year's June and July going to be so hot and dry that Britain risks its most severe drought since 1976. Gardeners in the UK are facing a difficult summer after the driest spring in over 100 years. But how can home horticulturists cope?

It is important to try and conserve valuable water at these times and select the correct plants.....

Gardening with Children - Kids love the garden
Monday, 06 June 2011 19:29

Editor's note: This column originally appeared on Jamaica Plain Patch.

Some people bring their children to the garden to teach them about healthy food or to introduce them to nature. For others, it's a way to get them away from the electronic screen. For some, it's a way of continuing a family tradition.

For Rachel Parker's girls, going to the community garden means having fun. First of all, there's the dirt. There are holes to dig and piles of dirt to move around. Rachel says that until kids are at least two and a half, that's the best thing of all. Child-size shovels make it even better.

Then there are seeds to plant and water. Fast growing plants like radishes, lettuce and marigolds are satisfying because you can see your results in a few weeks (for the flowers on the marigolds it takes a little longer). Watering with a hose on gentle or with child-size watering cans is absorbing. The Parker girls like to water with the wand at the end of the hose – just holding something called a wand is halfway to being a wizard or a fairy princess. (Speaking of watering, it's a good idea for kids to wash hands often when gardening in urban soil, and it's not a good idea to let children eat a peck of dirt.)

Interiors - Tailoring your space to reflect your personality
Friday, 03 June 2011 20:00

Decorating can be a tricky task these days with a dazzling array of styles, designs and influences on offer: from shabby chic to crazy colour, gorgeous glamour or even full-on confusion!

But tailoring a space into somewhere that speaks volumes about your personality and taste doesn’t just serve to impress visitors – more importantly it also turns it into a home.

Vertical Garden Beds - Green Wall features at Chelsea Flower Show 2011
Friday, 03 June 2011 17:23
Vertical Gardening
The B&Q vertical garden prepared a Vertical garden for the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show.

A green wall is basically a vertical garden bed (and they are referred to as vertical gardens). Green walls are a relatively new trend, that is not only space efficient but equally productive as traditional ground based gardens.

Green walls are a great alternative for gardening in small backyards, and is an ideal solution to the general increase in higher density living. Many new developments now see green walls specified by building designers and architects as the walls can become an integral part of the house design, not only offering produce but also providing shade, privacy and natural cooling to the dwelling.
Japanese Gardens and Where to visit them in the UK
Thursday, 26 May 2011 12:00

Japanese gardens can be found at private homes, in neighborhood or city parks, and at historical landmarks such as Buddhist temples and old castles.

Some of the Japanese gardens most famous in the West, and within Japan as well, are dry gardens or rock gardens, karesansui. The tradition of the Tea masters has produced highly refined Japanese gardens of quite another style, evoking rural simplicity.

In Japanese culture, garden-making is a high art, intimately related to the linked arts of calligraphy and ink painting. Since the end of the 19th century, Japanese gardens have also been adapted to Western settings. Japanese gardens were developed under the influences of the distinctive and stylized Chinese gardens.

New Sculpture for Chatsworth Garden Weaves A Magical Welcome
Monday, 16 May 2011 04:59

A flowing series of woven sculptures created for the Chatsworth Kitchen Garden are already weaving a spell on visitors, with cries of ‘lets walk this way’ being heard from those who spy the new piece. Award-winning artist Laura Ellen Bacon from Darley Dale, in Derbyshire was commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire to create the piece to help encourage visitors explore this part of the 105-acre garden.

The Royal Wedding Trees - A magnificent entrance
Monday, 02 May 2011 03:55

The aisle at Westminster Abbey was transformed into an "avenue of trees" up to 25ft tall for the royal wedding.

Six field maples and two hornbeams flanked the route to the altar as a part of Kate Middleton's floral plans.

Almost 30,000 flowers, most taken from Windsor Great Park's Valley Gardens in Surrey adorned the abbey on Friday, including azaleas and blossoms.

Wedding florists say the choice of white, green and cream foliage reflects the bride's English country style.

Artistic director of flowers, Shane Connolly, said: "The theme was that everything was from the estates and that everything was English, that everything was seasonal, and all along Catherine had asked that it all be in a neutral colour.

The floral decorations and trees  will be left in the same place to be seen by the public until Friday, May 6, 2011. After that date, the trees will be taken and then planted in the beautiful estate of Prince Charles, Highgrove Gardens.

The couple called the Belfast-born florist Shane Connolly in London, which uses only organic flowers, seasonal and cuts but that does not keep them in their pots.

Highgrove garden tours can be booked online - visit the Highgrove website: http://www.highgrovegardens.com

Royal Wedding Florist: Shane Connolly Flowers: 7, Bracewell Road North Kensington London W10 6AE

Innovative Frog BracKit invention to star on BBC Two’s Britain’s Next Big Thing
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 19:18

The award-winning, stylish, eco-friendly Frog BracKit invention, created by single mum Debbie Evershed from South London, that turns small gardens and balconies into stunning spaces to attract birds and wildlife, is to feature from tonight in the brand new TV series - Britain’s Next Big Thing on BBC Two.

Presented by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, the 7 x 60-minute series (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b010hgdt), which is currently airing Tuesdays at 8pm, features the retail industry’s power-brokers - such as Habitat, Liberty and Boots - who are looking to find the illusive next big thing in retail.

Debbie’s Frog BracKit, an award winner at the British Invention of the Year Awards 2008, proves to be a big hit with Habitat - securing a substantial order - and as a result, is now available through Habitat’s retail outlets across the UK as well as its online store.

Exclusive video with Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins!
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 13:57

With spring now truly upon us, we have video of former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins giving you some top tips on how to make your garden work for you this year.

In association with National Garden Gift Vouchers, Chris gives some top tips for the herbal side of your garden and how you can calm your nerves and get the kids to sleep with very little effort!

Sir David Attenborough campaigns to save the butterfly
Tuesday, 05 April 2011 16:55

Did you know five species of butterfly have already become extinct in the UK and almost half the remaining 56 species are under threat of extinction.

The country's butterflies have been in declining in numbers for decades, with the trend accelerating in recent years. Today more than 70 per cent of butterfly species are declining, wildlife organisation Butterfly Conservation said.

The conservation organisation found that declines in even common species. Numbers have decreased in the past decade, with numbers of small tortoiseshell tumbling by 68% and peacock butterflies dropping by 30% in the last 10 years. Butterfly Conservation is calling on gardeners to plant buddleia, Verbena bonariensis, perennial wallflowers (Bowles' mauve), lavender and marjoram (oregano), which are all great sources of nectar for the insects.

Tips on saving money on your gardening this year!
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 03:12
Gardening Cheap - It takes is a little thought and a bit of experimenting but you can save a lot.
In a recent UK survey of 1,000 people it was found that 26% were saving as much as £200 a year by growing their own fruit and vegetables. Most in the survey said they were doing it more for fun than a way to save money.
B&Q the largest outdoor goods retailer, reported that as a consequence of this attitude, sales of vegetable seed have rocketed by 27 per cent. Another contributing factor is that customers can see that their food is fresh and organic and tastes better than what is being sold by the UK supermarket chains.
Growing your own food can indeed save you money, but you have to remember it always requires time and energy; you might put a price on that and decide the savings are not so impressive.
Still, growing your own food is definitely an option worth considering.
Here are a few ways you can save money by, or if you would prefer, gardening on the "cheap."
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