Finding [urban] Nature | RHS Tatton Park’s F[u]N Garden

If you’re the kind of person who smiles to see plants growing in cracks in (someone else’s) walls and pavements, puzzles over vines emerging from nowhere and loves the summer weeks when Buddleias with masses of arching, lilac-like flowers cling on to ‘seemingly every derelict building‘, this one’s for you.

Community garden on a brownfield site with deckchairs and bunting

I spoke to Roy Lancaster (a lovely fellow) at the Chelsea Flower Show years ago. Identifying me as a fellow Lancastrian by my accent, he told me how a local quarry’s unusual and diverse range of plants were brought to light when a schoolchild took a bunch of flowers to school for a nature project.

An abandoned area of disturbed land where people rarely tread is as good a home, if you happen to be a rare orchid, as anywhere else. Nature doesn’t have any concept of location, location, location – or at least not in the human way, where a house is worth ten times more in one place than in another.

Plants poking through layer of broken bricks and concrete

Plants flower where the seeds happen to fall, if they can. We’ve all seen a tangling of nature and building debris like this: we just don’t expect to see it faithfully recreated and offered up for our consideration at a flower show. Eds Higgins’ Finding [urban] Nature garden (hereafter, the F[u]N garden, following the designer’s styling) imagined a brownfield community garden as part of the RHS Young Designer Competition. Continue reading

Food For Dreams: Reclaimed Terracotta Pots

An assortment of recycled plant pots

If you live in one of the places where trees and most plants are shutting up shop for the winter, and your gardening thoughts have turned to plant catalogues, here’s food for dreams.

An interior designer might see these reclaimed pots from Yew Tree Barn as the perfect accessories for a cottage-style home, but when a gardener looks at them, they see a range of plant possibilities. It all depends on your personal plant fascinations: you might plant fancy auriculas or culinary herbs in the medium sized pots and mother-in-laws-tongue, Christmas cactus or cyclamen in the larger ones.

Those tiny clay pots with saucers intrigue me. Too small for most plants, they would dry out so quickly to need assiduous watering for anything other than miniature succulents. I’m not sure I’d want to trust seedlings to them, but wouldn’t they look cute with green, variegated and silver thyme spilling out, artfully staged for one of those impractical but bewitching Instagram shots?  Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Phoenix From The Ashes

Gnome waiting to be rehomed

This week’s photo challenge is Repurpose. It’s difficult to know where to start with that one. My sweetheart has trashed out his house and garden – I could say ‘enhanced’, if wearing my marketing hat – in countless ways, egged on by architect friend Rick Griffin and Jim Kapernick. Jim is proprietor of Old House Depot, a 20,000 sq ft cornucopia of architectural salvage in Jackson, MS.

Together, they are the most purposeful repurposers you could imagine.

Broken concrete? That would be perfect for a path. Old wood? Old wood has more uses than I care to list. Tyres? My sweetheart’s garden boasts colourful tyre planters, tyre chairs, and even some tyre-planter-spare-bits arranged to form wall decor and a small tree. Well, you have to do something with the spare bits.  Continue reading