October 31, 2015
B rit a in'sed st m o st t ru in vo ice g a rd e n in g
easy steps to breed your own fuchsias
wildlife needs your
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to grow at home Grow weird & wonderful
We reveal the tastiest treats worth growing
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Carol Klein's favourite autumn perennials
GET CRAFTY WITH PUMPKINS! ● Planters ● Lanterns ● Recipes
s Neil Harrison/AWG Photo
once-derelict walled garden is producing a wide range of unusual vegetables for local businesses. The Apley Walled Garden, part of the Apley estate in Shropshire, lay derelict for 60 years, until owners Lord and Lady Hamilton decided to try turning it into a thriving business. Head gardener Phil Allen now grows a wide range of crops using traditional methods in the 1.6ha (2½ acre) site, supplying the estate farm shop and café, as well as local restaurants, catering companies and the University of Wolverhampton. Said Phil, “This is our second year and we are growing more than 160 different crop varieties, including 15 varieties of tomato from beefsteak to cherries, both indoors and out. We grow any crop local businesses want, such as basils and yard-long beans for a Thai restaurant. Next year we hope to stage a tomato festival between September 17 and 25, with over 100 varieties on display. Our private visits, garden tours and practical courses have also
Hugh Dyas/AWG Photos
Walled garden is productive success
Strawberry popcorn is useful and ornamental
exceeded expectations.” Crops are grown and fed on organic principles, with manure dug into the ground in winter, plus top-ups of chicken manure and liquid feed generated from comfrey. “We only water tomatoes once a week and use aspirin solution to help keep them healthy. Kept on the dry side, the fruit is much tastier as a result.”
First crops in production – walls protect tender veg
A sh a d e G re en er
Purdy Words & Photo: Lucy
6 Garden News / October 31 2015
Parts of the walled garden date back to 1775
Pumpkin rescue festivals
M Pumpkins: not just a spooky face!
Other features in the garden include heated hypocaust walls used to grow tender fruit such as apricots and peaches, and an old glasshouse range still needing renovation. ‘We hope to open up the old dipping ponds next year,” said Phil, “as well as erecting some polythene tunnels to grow salad crops out of season.” Said Lady Harriet Hamilton: “We’re aiming to bring back a sort of taste revolution – by way of this truly magical walled garden.” ● Visit www.apleywalled garden.co.uk
ore than 10 million pumpkins are grown in the UK each year, testament to the rising popularity of Hallowe’en. But an estimated 18,000 tonnes of these beautiful globes go to landfill each year, once Hallowe’en is over. Help is at hand though via charity Hubbub UK, who ran the first Pumpkin Rescue Festival in Oxford last year. More than 20 festivals are happening this autumn as a result, from a mass pumpkin lunch on Worthing seafront to squashthemed treats at a pay-as-you-feel café in Cambridge. The events aim to ‘carve up Hallowe’en conventions’ by urging people to eat these spooky staples, not throw them away.
“While we’ve imported Hallowe’en festivities from the US, we have not adopted their love of cooking with pumpkins,” says Tessa Tricks from Hubbub. “We want to change this and make sure pumpkins are eaten rather than dumped. If not cooking with them, at least bring their drooping carved faces to a dignified end by composting them. We hope that this inspires action on food waste year-round.” ● Top chefs are helping Hubbub make the most of this seasonal abundance. Try Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall’s pumpkin and raisin loaf at www.hubbub.org.uk/Event/pumpkin-rescue
Head gardener Phil Allen and ‘Turk’s Turban’ gourd
Jim Carter – all artists welcome
Boredo m b u st e rs Feathered friends With Mandy Morriso Morrison
The garden ready to start, in spring 2013
Art of flowers
First veg boxes roll oﬀ the Apley production line
Ian Edwards/AWG Photos
udding amateur and professional artists are being invited to enter a horticulturallythemed competition in aid of sick children. The Flower Power Art Challenge, launched last week by charity Greenfingers, wants entrants to imaginatively interpret the ‘Flower Power’ theme in whichever way they wish. Launching the competition was actor Jim Carter, perhaps best known as Downton Abbey’s Mr Carson, a patron of the charity, which creates magical gardens for children in hospices. Entrants have until Sunday January 31, 2016, to submit their entry for either the amateur or professional category online, submitting a £5 fee with each entry, which will go directly towards the Greenfingers A Million Moments Appeal, which aims to raise £1 million over three years. The public will vote for their favourites, and shortlisted entries will be exhibited in London in April. Three artworks from each category will be selected for cash prizes, with winners taking away £1,000. The winning amateur artist will also appear as a guest artist on website www. upandcomingart.co.uk for a year, providing a further opportunity to advance their artistic career. ● Visit www.greenfingerscharity.org.uk
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s the days Recycle bo les shorten, to make hometemperatures made feeders drop and half-term is upon us, it’s very tempting for children to turn to a screen as their main form of entertainment. But statistics are worrying, and predict a future where our children lose their connection with the environment we live in. So why not swap screen noise for birdsong, tablets for seeds and nuts, and take to the outdoors to help our beloved feathered friends? Ask children to imagine they are a bird – which one would in the fridge before cutting they be and what might they away the pot. find to eat in the garden at this You can explain to children time of year? If they’re lucky that, as it gets colder, birds there are a few berries left on need more energy to flap their the trees and bushes, and the odd insect still scuttling about. wings, so food that has lots of fat in it is great! Some of our But once those tasty morsels are gone and it gets birds will be getting really cold, they’ll ready to migrate need a different to warmer source of food places, so to see them they will through need some winter. good meals Why not before they recycle an head south. As well old plastic bottle and as offering turn it into a bird some great Make bird feeder? With some seed mixes, masks! carefully cut holes and Peckish Bird Food has lots of great half-term a few sticks, you can create activity suggestions, along and personalise your feeders! with bird-spotter guides. It’s Or how about having a go at even running events at some making fat balls? Kids love garden centres – check the this messy activity – instead of list on its website at www. holding a gaming controller, peckishbirdfood.com to see they can get hands on in a if there’s one local to you. completely different way! Finally, give the kids some Mix some lard with bird seed binoculars and head outside and anything else children to spot birds – it could spark a think the birds would like to new-found love of our native eat (not Haribo – more nuts birdlife in your children, and and raisins!). Stick it all in an they just might choose the old yoghurt pot with string garden over the sofa in future. threaded through and chill
October 31 2015 / Garden News 7
WHAT TO DO Meet the tea m
Horticulturist Clare’s 50m (165ft) garden is home to fruit and cut ﬂowers.
A Kew-trained horticulturist, Ian is also a garden designer.
Keen fruit, veg and container gardener, Karen also loves wildlife.
Having previously worked at the National Trust’s Bodnant Garden, Melissa has RHS qualiﬁcations.
If y o u d o ju st o n e jo b...
F ill your feeders right to the top now, using high-energ y, fatty foods
Feed the birds!
Providing now means they’ll know where to go in harsher weather, says Ian
for most, whereas tray feeders are perfect for accommodating larger, more cumbersome birds. Scattering some feed on the ground, or in a traditional bird table, too, covers all bases, but be prepared for squirrels to get in on the action! It’s difficult to deter squirrels, as they can be rather determined little animals, but squirrel-proof feeders are also available to buy. Keep it in mind, though, that squirrels are just as in need of food as other wildlife, a nuisance though they can be. Giving your local birds lots of high-energy feed at this time of year prepares them for a healthier winter, so lots of fat balls, which you can make easily with lard or suet mixed with cheese, oats, seeds and raisins, as well as nuts and oily seeds are great. Plus you could fill a log’s natural crevices or drilled holes with peanut butter – what a treat!
hile your feathered friends will be enjoying the season’s usual feast of berries and flower seed heads, don’t assume they have all the food they need right now, as they’ll need a good amount to get strong and healthy to cope with cold times ahead. Filling up your feeders now means they’ll get to know your garden as a good source of tasty treats over the next few months. Plus, a regular feeding routine – every day, ideally – ensures they aren’t stuck for a meal, and won’t come to think of your garden as unreliable for a good feed! There are many different kinds of bird feeder that are easily available at garden centres or home and garden shops now, so it’s a good idea to have a range of different types, to suit all the birds you may encounter. Hanging feeders are accessible
Garden News RECOMMENDS Best bird foods to put out
Black ones are better, as they’re more oily and easier to eat. Sunflower hearts are a great substitute, with no mess to clean up, because they’re shelled.
The ultimate high fat content, fat balls give birds the calories they need during cold spells. Always remove the outer net, as birds may get caught in it.
Unsalted nuts are rich in fat and oils, and are favoured by tits, sparrows and greenfinches. Crushed peanuts attract small birds such as robins or wrens.
Not strictly a food, but vital to provide! This could be in the shape of a pond or water bath. Be sure to clean baths often, because they can spread disease.
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October 31 2015 / Garden News 27
Jim Thompson, right, and Dave Thomas, left
Winner of 11 Chelsea golds and awarded an MBE!
Spellbinding displays at the RHS show
he standard of vegetables in the Malvern Show harvest pavilion was sheer quality. Our family had a great weekend, winning a gold medal and Best Exhibit in Show for our 20ft-long vegetable display, which included a rugby ball made from tomatoes. It was made in the Welsh rugby team colours and went viral online! Marcus Powell staged some stunning exhibits this year and his five-vegetable collection of ‘Pendle’ leeks, ‘Evening Star’
Ronnie Jackson, left, and Simon Smith, with their top-rate roots
34 Garden News / October 31 2015
celery, ‘New Red Ian Neale struggles Intermediate’ with his carrot, ‘Amour’ giant swede potatoes and ‘Victor’ parsnip was strong all round, with every vegetable 45-gallon 5-gallon of superb quality. barrels arrels filled Taking second with th sand. place was Jim Hee sowed five Thompson who did, in boreholes however, win the tomato with F2S and 4oz class with ‘Meccano’. He only ground calcified seaweed added had six plants that were grown in to each bag on April 7. bottomless buckets on top of soil with added blood, fish and bone. Go large! Plants were initially fed with Regular giant vegetable winner nitrogen to boost growth. Ian Neale was successful with Simon Smith won the parsnip a giant swede weighing 36.2kg class with new F1 variety ‘Victor’, (79.8lb). As big as it was, it was which I introduced last year and small compared to Ian’s World has proved itself at shows across Record-holder of 54kg (119.05lb). the country this season. Simon Ian sowed seed (reselected seed grew them in 45-gallon drums of is available from Medwyn’s of sand on a raised bed to give him Anglesey) around mid-January, a 5ft 6in root run. He sowed the chitted parsnip seed mid-March in boreholes for the September shows. To chit the seeds he laid them between layers of damp kitchen roll to break down seed dormancy, until the radicle protruded from the seed case. Ronnie Jackson grew Paul his winning ‘New Red Rochester’s Intermediate’ long carrots perfect leek inside his polytunnel in
with ith artificial lights for two wo hours either side of the day to give a total of 14 hours of light. He potted on the young plants regularly up to an 18cm (7in) pot before planting lanting into soil inside hiss cold polytunnel. The bed was worked with a heavy base dressing of blood, fish and bone. In the growing season, plants were liquid fed regularly with a balanced drench feed and regular foliar sprays of Medwyn’s Liquid Gold. The world record for heaviest cucumber was broken by Dave Thomas, with a monster of 12.9kg (28.44lb). Seeds were sown on May 15, with plants grown on inside his polytunnel in soil enriched with well-rotted farmyard manure. Plants were liquid fed daily through a drip-line, with each receiving a constant supply of 12:12:36 nutrients at the roots. Such an enormous cucumber could easily have torn itself from the vine, so Dave tied fleece around the he centre and neck end of the fruit, ruit, attached to a rope above. Another world record was broken by Paul Rochester for heaviest leek with a magnificent pot leek. The best-conditioned leek eek I’ve seen at a competition by far, ar, with bright green foliage, no pest or disease and, apart from a split button at the back, it would have done well at any quality show with a matching one.
Photos: Medwyn Williams
Marcus Powell and his stunning ﬁve-veg display
My family’s enormous Best Exhibit-winning vegetable display
Garden News October 31