There are many flowers and shrubs which the British gardener likes to grow in Crawley, both for their colour and scent, but the common reason is for the appearance of them. Just looking at these beautiful plants can make the garden look better whether it’s in the height of summer or depths of winter. Admitted during the winter there are fewer flowers about but this can make them stand out even more that normal. Daphne, hellebores, witch hazel, begonias and, of course snow drops can provide some colour during the colder months.
The most important thing is to ensure that the flowers in the garden are available to view from the house certainly in winter otherwise you can miss out to a certain degree. If you have a garden shed, which normally is down the bottom of the garden looking up towards the house, then this is a good place for flowers to be planted in your garden.
The shed, or summerhouse, will shade the flowers from the wind and provide a degree of warmth with the heat of the sun radiating off the garden shed wall. Also the backdrop of the garden shed can provide a contrast for the flowers to stand out. Alternatively flowers planted along the garden fence will prosper just as much.
If you don’t have space for flowers, often due to the small gardens associated with the modern house and don’t have space for a garden shed, then you may consider a visit to one of the many botanical gardens around the country. The most famous one is Kew Gardens on the outskirts of London where there are over 120 acres of gardens to explore. Kew houses the largest collection of living plants and has over 600 staff including many scientists.
At Kew you can see four grade one listed buildings, including the famous Palm House. A surprising fact is that Capability Brown once applied to be master gardener at Kew Gardens and was turned down. Luckily he found fame and fortune elsewhere and he was rated as one of the best landscape gardeners in the UK.
During the summer there are many other flowers and plants showing the lovely colours and the purpose behind this is to attract bees to pollinate them. An special display of flowers can normally be seen at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) at their nature reserve, Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, near Millom. Visitors from Crawley can view orchids, including the Bee orchid, and the best time for this is normally during early summer when these flowers will be at their best.
This Bee orchid is one of the more well know in Britain and takes on the appearance off a fat bumble bee. I would assume the reason for this is to attract bees. They have three pink sepals, standing upright, and on each sepal there are markings of three green veins. There are over 270 species of plants which are grown on this site, which used to be an iron-ore mine which closed back in 1968. Rare butterflies are attracted to these special plants in these unique garden settings.
The warden, Dave Blackledge, said that these plants are surprisingly resilient and this old mine is being colonised by many wild animals and plants. The relative seclusion encourages recolonisation of these old industrial areas. The RSPB permit access and visitors can see terns and warblers in full voice during their visits.
The beauty of the garden is that it is quite easy to create a garden using only the very basic garden tools from your shed and to be able to enjoy your efforts. From just tidying the garden and getting rid of rubbish in the garden to getting the lawnmower out and cutting the grass can be all it takes. Even if you want something a little grander down in Crawley it does not take to much. You just need to dig out any weeds and dig over the soil. Ideally do this before the winter and then allow the frost to break the soil down into a fine tilth. You will then be able to plant seeds in the ground and just cover them up. With just a little warmth and a drop of rain before you know it some lovely flowers will be breaking through the ground eager to share their colours and smell with you.
If you want a little more then delve into your garden shed and see what tools you have. With these you should be able to exploit your garden even more by the addition of shrubs, bushes and trees. Decide if you want to grow flowers, fruit or vegetables – to me nothing beats the taste of fresh fruit or vegetables from your own garden – and work out the best place for them to go.
Fruit including tomatoes like an area away from winds and in a sun trap so this is where your garden shed can help. If you utilise the space in front of your shed then this area of garden is ideal. You will find this area is normally shaded from the winds and the front of the shed acts as a sun reflector and radiates warmth into the area in front of the shed.
You can maybe join the Crawley gardening club where you can share ideas about what can be done in YOUR garden. By talking you can come up with ideas to suit you as well as getting ideas you would never have thought about. It is also very sociable and that in itself is a good reason to join. Another idea is to go and listen to experts of which there are a great deal.
I started a gardening club when I was at school and I charged my school friends for being members. For their subscription they receive a medallion with their name on which I purchased at the local railway station. They had machines there where you turn the wheel with the alphabet on and stamped out each letter. They also were allowed to weed my mum and dad’s garden as well. How I got away with that I don’t know but we did have some good meetings in the brick built garden shed cum workshop – happy days which seem a long time ago.
At a recent BBC Gardeners’ World Live event gardeners were able to mingle among the plants, greenhouse and garden sheds in their interactive garden. They were able to pick up tips, which can be used in their gardens, such as how to grow fruit and vegetable from the Grow Your Own Garden display designed by garden expert, Adam Frost.
The double gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show became a member of the board at the Horticultural Authority back in 2008. The garden designer said he was happy to share his experience with Gardeners’ World Live and to be give the opportunity to reiterate his belief that the garden IS accessible to everyone. You don’t have to be a gardening expert to get the most out of the garden
Other experts sharing their wisdom at these types of events are Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Don and Carol Klein who normally give talks and presentations about the garden to the visitors. Within these garden a large range of delicious produce can be seen such as sweet corn, broccoli, beetroot and courgettes. A wide range of vegetables including beetroot, sweet corn, courgette and broccoli can be seen within the garden.
Gardeners’ World Live with their interactive plot will take place this year from June 12th until 16th at Birmingham’s NEC. Tickets are still available but are selling fast so if you wish to enjoy an educational garden event and get away from your garden shed in Crawley for a while then now is the time to make a decision.