The Lovely Garden Blog

Perfect carrots

Posted on 23/02/11, filed under Home Farm | No Comments


March is the time to start off your own vegetables. So many clients request vegetable patches now. It used to be a herb bed in a sunny spot by the back door, but now many clients wish to grow a good selection of vegetables. It’s not really about the cost saving, but more about the flavour and the real pleasure that goes with digging up your own spuds. The clocks will go forward in just a few weeks, bringing lighter days. March winds will dry out the wet soil making a crumbly texture that’s perfect for seed-sowing. Try to warm up your soil a little before sowing by covering with a long polythene cloche, or tunnel or even black bin liners weighted down over the sowing area. After a couple of days – and if the sun shines – the soil will begin to warm underneath. The first seeds that I sow are parsnips as they need a really long growing season. It’s hard to believe that anything will germinate in February weather, but getting them in early will give you a great crop this winter. Parsnips take ages to show, so mark the row well and don’t despair. They’re in there somewhere. I’m also going to start off my carrots – Early Nantes – into raised beds with a good depth of top soil for lovely long straight roots. If a carrot encounters a stone in the way of it’s growth path, it will fork and go off in different directions. Don’t give it that choice. Sow carrots fairly thinly because they do have a good germination rate. I want some small, bunched carrots so I’m also growing a baby carrot variety and these will be sown much closer together. I do try to be organic in the vegetable patch, so there won’t be any pesticides, herbicides or articificial feeds used, but I dug in lots of good organic matter last year which is now all crumbly and lovely. I remember Sarah Raven saying not to feed the flower beds, or they’ll be all leaves, but feed your vegetables for abundant crops. The vegetables will really be underway over the next few weeks so check the blog for tips and sowings.

Country Estates

Posted on 19/02/11, filed under Latest News | No Comments

woodlandIt’s been a very busy week for design appointments and we are pleased to have so much work going forward for the rest of the year. I visited the most wonderful house – in the middle of nowhere and with 47 acres. I always think that owning woodland and fields is a very special responsibility. You’re looking after something for posterity and future generations. I love to see people taking those responsibilities seriously. This will be a lovely garden design as the house is all Arts and Crafts. Having a research project, along with the design, is always enjoyable when it’s so important to make sure the garden matches the style of the house. The internet is a great place for research but you really can’t beat old books and the reference library. Listen please Mr. Cameron!

SGD 30th Anniversary

Posted on 16/02/11, filed under Latest News | No Comments


 Last night I attended the 30th birthday anniversary of the Society of Garden Designers in London. It was held at the Royal Horticultural Societies’ Exhibition Halls and was a lovely event. Garden designers rarely get the chance to meet up and exchange ideas and news. Ours can be a lonely occupation at times – sitting at our drawing boards and computers with just the Boden delivery man to say Hello! It was great to see the displays of work and realize what a talented bunch we all are. I was talking to another designer and we were musing about the number of trees that we must have all planted over the years throughout the country – and probably the world too! As designers, we tend to plant mature trees and I think it’s great that the country is a greener place because of us!