Jun 052013
 
Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park

As part of Out of my Shed‘s street party for the Chelsea Fringe, I was asked to judge eight tree pits that had been planted up in the local area. It’s the second time that I’ve been given this job, and it isn’t easy. Any tree pit that is planted up is infinitely prettier than one that isn’t, and who am I to judge one community-minded gardener’s plot against another? This year, I roped in gardener and fellow blogger Colin to help me.

Boy, was Colin a hard taskmaster. I was inclined to take each pit at face value – ie. what it was looking like on that particular day. But Colin’s assessments went much futher than that. He was looking for great structure, appropriate plant associations, good use of colour and more than one season of interest. All from a couple of square feet at the base of a tree!

Luckily Mr Mian’s tree pit looked great on the day AND met most of Colin’s exacting criteria, so we were unanimous in voting it the winner. The scheme was simple – mostly hardy geraniums – but there were also other perennials and lemon balm. The billowy plants were spilling over the pavement and could be seen from several metres away. We saw some other lovely ideas, too – one pit was planted with wildflowers, and another with yellow wallflowers that matched the front door of a house.

All of the ideas for the tree pits were infinitely better than those suggested on a recent Chelsea Fringe edition of Gardeners’ Question Time – Eric Robson suggested planting ground elder. The residents of N4 could show the panel a thing or two.

Apr 272011
 


Norfolk

When I first went to East Ruston a few years ago I was amazed by its flamboyant spring pots – and they were looking just as exuberant this time around, stuffed to the gills with tulips and hyaciths in every colour imaginable.

Co-owner Alan Gray was on Gardeners’ Question Time last summer, talking about how he keeps looking his pots so good, and I seem to remember that the summer ones at least involve copious amounts of manure and feeding. But I think the lessons I’d take away from these pots are: 1) Use the biggest pot imaginable 2) Use twice the number of bulbs you think you’ll need and 3) Go mad with colour.