London’s Top 5 Festive Events for Garden Lovers

The days may be short and the nights chilly, but plant lovers can still get their fix of horticulture thanks to the plethora of festive events happening in gardens across the capital over the next few weeks. Here’s our pick of them:

1.Christmas at Kew

Launching tonight and running until 2nd January, the magical Christmas at Kew includes a mile-long walking trail through the illuminated botanic gardens along with festivities, food and fairground rides.

2. Festive Floristry at The Garden Museum

If festive floristry is more your thing, The Garden Museum is offering masterclasses on Monday 7th December. Based at Lambeth Palace, experts Rosemary Campbell-Preston and Jane Macfarlane-Duckworth will share their botanic knowledge, enabling you to make your own Christmas wreaths and table decorations.

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 3. Christmas Fair at Chelsea Physic Garden

This coming weekend, Chelsea Physic Garden will host a Christmas fair with stalls selling plants, unusual gifts and artisan food and drink. Proceeds from the event will go towards future garden projects.

4. Horniman Christmas Fair

The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill will host a Christmas Fair on the weekend of 5th/6th December.  Along with a festive market visitors can look forward to a seasonal trail through the gardens plus craft workshops.

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5. Forty Hall’s Magical Christmas

Saturday 28th November will see this Jacobean Manor House in Enfield transformed into a winter wonderland. Along with the festive stalls and workshops, visitors can take a horse-drawn cart ride around the lake.

Let me know what’s going on where you are.

Have fun! 🙂

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And We’re Off!

Working with the RHS at Regent’s Park last Thursday, it was clear that spring was now upon us. I was greeted with an oasis of yellow trumpets all heralding in the new season!B_6yN6AWMAA-gGZ

And when I arrived at the plot this weekend, there were two things I was immediately delighted to see: 1) The polytunnel was still standing, and 2) the daffodil bulbs I planted last autumn were now rewarding me with their beauty. Being the old romantic that I am (that’s right folks, inside this withered and battered old gardener beats a young, foolish heart), I saw the opportunity to cut several blooms and present them to Soph.  With the windowsill episode firmly behind us, this was a chance to earn myself some brownie points… and boy did they work! That very evening, the love of my life (not now, Monty) took me out to dinner.  But we’re getting a little off topic with talk of springtime ardour.bra 3

Flowers look wonderful in their natural state, growing happily in borders, woodland or on your allotment. However, with so many daffodils bursting through, I’m sure Mother Nature didn’t mind me cutting several to take home with the excuse of romance.

Flowers cut, I was all too aware that the jobs on the plot are growing week by week. After a freshly made coffee from the stove in my shed and another cheeky treat from the local baker, the daffodils gave me inspiration to do something rash: create a new flower bed. Not only for extra colour and to coax in the wildlife, but those bursting buds could cover up a makeshift windbreaker I erected several weeks ago out of corrugated iron, as although it’s doing it’s job, it’s not the prettiest of things.

Excited by this ‘Eureka’ moment, I made haste and sacrificed one of my bedding paths that runs adjacent to the windbreaker.  Removing the weeds, turning the soil and adding some well rotted organic matter, I got things going and planted thirty plus gladioli bulbs with a little top dressing to finish off. This should do wonders for the late summer season, but I need to think about what to plant for spring and early summer… hmmm, I’ll let you know on that.

Moving on, I turned to the main job: planting my early brassicas – broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. They’re the first thing I’ve planted on the plot this year, and it was a long time coming. I removed the weeds, carried out secondary cultivation and consolidation, added some fertiliser and began planting.  A fresh bed is always pleasing to the eye, but seeing all my early brassicas out on parade wearing their brassica collars and standing to attention filled me with great pride!bra4However, the final lashings of winter aren’t quite done and I’m expecting a few more cold spells, and although brassicas are hardy, they’re always grateful for that extra protection.  As I sit and write my weekend instalment on Plot 23d, there’s a bed full of brassicas tucking down for the night under the cover of their fleecy cloches.

Agents of Field are off and running, let the 2015 growing adventure commence!! AdeSignature