Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Its all a bit harvest festival

... the pumpkins finally succumbed to the mildew so they got picked.

Here they are with some various other squashes from this year's crop sitting pretty in a fabulous multi-purpose basket that I got from
Monstrous, and they weigh a ton.  Also grew some weird gourds again this year, but not so many - I guess something to do with May and June being so dry - they really didn't want to get going.  Last year I used some saved seed for the pumpkins and know now quite how promiscuous the squash  family are.  The plants had a very  pumpkin-like sprawling habit, and the pumpkins (were they pumpkins?) turned orange like pumpkins do, but they were the shape of enormous marrows and very hard inside. We took them to London for the Halloween weekend with Julie and Nick and carved them there.  Here they are spooking up Julie's kitchen..

The kids like the gourds.  Tom says its ninja gardening but I am not entirely sure what that means.  He likes the ones that look like hand grenades. I think its just great when they start heading off at their own will.  Last years took off over the fence in to next door's garden.  They hung like lanterns in the hedges..

Sunday, 26 September 2010

hot from the workshop...

I have started using some of the lovely red hydrangeas collected earlier in the week.   This is on a wire and virginia creeper base.

this one is finished with a Petersham hangar.  I think it sort of works.  Will make some more.. 

Monday, 20 September 2010

See you in the potting shed...

as ours has a new roof.

This is what is says on the door. We inherited this beauty when we took on the allotment and it is now in full working order.  After Steve mended the holes in the roof we emptied it out and took all the years' worth of junk and old DDT/Agent Orange that had accumulated inside to the tip (but first banged hard on the sides with the door open to get the rats out before we ventured in). It was a good day (!)

Its probably about fifty years old.   Its just brilliant.  Just in case you were thinking that this is a very knackered old shed take  a look at this one below which lives nearby.  It may well have been F Pratten and Co's finest hour but I think that  at some point some kids got in and blew it up from the inside.  See - organic gardening IS the way forward.  You couldn't have done that if it was full of beer traps and old eggshells.  
The picture IS straight. This shed is not. 

All it needs now is a nail on the door and I can hang a wreath on it. Something rustic, perhaps..

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wombling free...

Well its been that sort of a day.  Went to Westbury Veg and begged some wooden boxes from Phil.   Then to Redland to prune a hydrangea in return for a bunch of sunflowers from the garden and the promise of a comp.  Here they are (in the boxes drying outside). 
Will also use these boxes to store the heart and hydgrangea wreaths in order that I can transport them around to the markets later on.  

Also trying to dry some Echinops from the garden to use on the hearts.  Not sure whether they will fall apart as they dry so going to try giving them a blast with a old can of Elnett to see if I can fixed them in place. Worth a try...

Saturday, 18 September 2010

this is what you get..

when you soak your vines for longer than you anticipatIed.  Urggg...  However, all well in the end and my little wreathy world has turned heart shaped.  Had a lovely time in the sunshine at the bottom of the garden listening to the squirrels having punchups over the horse chestnuts and made about a dozen of these.  When they are dry I will try to do something nice with them.

I did mean to make these hearts last weekend but it was the Cranleigh Gardens Annual Street Party on Saturday.  I think it went rather well. Unfortunately there was gin, loads of ice and very little tonic.  I felt no pain but had to have a little lie down before sundown.   Couldnt do a lot on Sunday apart from groan so my punishment is fetid decomposing leaves in with the vines. Blurgghh.  I may have given up drinking.  I blame the neighbours.

Friday, 17 September 2010

with love from Inner Mongolia....

Well, it might say that but I am not 100% sure.      Just received this picture from Alison, who is living and working in China.  She has said that this is written in  Mongolian (not Chinese) and I am very impressed that she knows the difference.   Really pleased to be able to include China on greengarland's list of international customers and will be sending wreaths at Christmas from her with love to her family in the UK, France and Norway.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

One for the Koala Bears....

.. made with some lovely Eucalyptus from the tree next door and a bit of string.  No base, nothing.    This tree grows like you would not believe.  It puts on about 6 or 7 metres all over in the course of one summer season.  It wants to be about 25 mtrs tall but is pruned hard about now.   I was around when I heard the loppers at work.  Mark and Linda, who planted the tree many years ago and have been wrestling it under control ever since, have said that I can have some lovely fresh stuff for the workshops at the Zoo and the Botanic Gardens.  Also hoping to do something with roses and herbs with a bit of this too..   

Friday, 10 September 2010

a good day for drying...

...some of the bits and pieces I have grown this year with wreaths in mind.   And the virginia creeper that was cut about 10 days ago has now shed its leaves and has been soaking for a few days in the paddling pool at the bottom of the garden. Later I am going to make some more heart bases and hope to use some of these seed heads and dried flowers in them

Just heard from Wendy in New Jersey who is a long-standing greengarland customer and who I met for the first time this spring.  She is coming over to the UK within the next few weeks to settle another of her boys into University here, and has lots of ideas for different wreaths that she has seen on her travels.  It was Wendy who started the kumquat fetish last year which turned into one of my big sellers...

We are going to spend some time together sharing ideas and techniques with the idea of Wendy starting a greengarland offshoot in New Jersey.  Looking forward to that. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

morning glory....

..okay, so its lunchtime.  This one seeded itself from last year which is pretty amazing.  I think that the really dry spell at the beginning of the summer kept all the slugs out of harm's way.  However, they have made a come back... there was one making its way across the lawn earlier that you could  ride on...

Monday, 6 September 2010

this is what happens....

...when you don't dig your Charlottes until September.  So much for new potatoes.  We planted so many this year at Easter we have been digging them since June.  They started off really small but these are whoppers.  Reallly good tho'  Going to try to store them this year in the shed.  Bill, who has the allotment next to ours, says that we should put them in those cardboard carriers you get from the supermarket for half cases of wine.  Our allotment motto is "do it like Bill".  Bill knows a few things and is happy to share the that's what we are going to try.  In the dark. Away from the mice.. 

  As long as no one wants to ride their bike until about February that should be just fine..  

Sunday, 5 September 2010

my hydrangea obsession...

..and here it is finished.  Edged with some lovely bright raspberry pink hydrangeas from the farmhouse around the corner.  The first one of the year.

As usual for this time of the year I am driving around being very distracted by the hydrangeas in gardens here in Bristol.  Its nearly time to start collecting.  Vanessa, who owns the lovely Periwinkle at Towan Beach on the Roseland Peninsula where we stayed this summer, has very kindly offered to bring up some of the hydrangeas from around their holiday home.  Cant wait to get my hands on some lovely Cornish hydrangeas - they really are the best down there.  Thanks Vanessa...  

Saturday, 4 September 2010

jam today


and a lovely rolling boil to you.  Made some summer fruit jam with blackcurrants, raspberries and tayberries from the garden.    Set first time.  ha.

For the record

1lb blackcurrants, 2lbs mixed raspberries and tayberries. 1 pint water. 4 lbs sugar. No lemon juice. Soften the blackcurrants in the water, simmering for about 45 mins. Then add the other fruit and soften until bursting -then add the sugar,boil, bingo.

Also started the first hydrangea wreath as the first heads I cut are now dry enough to work with.  I think I am going to try to finish this one with some really deep pink heads from last year if they aren't too dry.  Will keep you posted. 

Friday, 3 September 2010

drying in the garden

full of earwigs but nonetheless lovely.  Here are some of the artichokes that we let flower so we can dry them.  Have also cut some in bud and will try to work into one of the heart wreaths.


have also picked a load of these golden hops and brought them in to dry.  Not looking hopeful at the moment (they are beginning to go brown).

I am starting to cut and dry the hydrangeas and took this in the fireplace.  I am also importing lots of snails and spiders into the house with them.  Hmm.. snails on the skirting boards, not a good look...  

Thursday, 2 September 2010

heart shapes...

this one is made from twisted willow and virginia creeper, with some rather nice poppy heads.  Looks good on the back door with the Hand of Fatima, polished for the occasion. 

well here we go......

and why not. Welcome to the greengarland blog. Here's one I made earlier with some hydrangeas from the garden.