All posts filed under: Home and Garden

Emmanuel Wildlife Garden

Emmanuel Wildlife Garden in Chalford Road has run into trouble with its restoration work. Two key members of Norwood wildlife team are ill and team leader John Cotter would like new volunteers willing to give up their Saturday afternoons, not just the last Wednesday afternoon of each month. He said: “We have replanted three outlying beds which are now in full flower and giving a lot of pleasure but the main area is only half planted. Besides help we need more plants, wild foxglove would be specially welcome”. Current work is making use of the wood from the dozen trees felled or dug out when they returned to restore the garden created 13 years. ago. The heavier timber is to be made into a gate and an arbour. An orchard of wild fruit trees to feed the birds has been partly restored: there is now a crab apple, wild cherry and wild plum. It is planned to add a wild pear and a bird cherry in the autumn. The team is funding the work in …

Chocolate Strawberry and Cream Centre Piece

It’s that time of year – the sound of tennis balls, the smell of fresh cut grass and the irresistible English strawberry dipped in fresh cream. Spoil your friends and family this month with this indulgent centrepiece. You will need… Strawberries and a pot of double cream Cherries Dark chocolate and a knob of butter Marzipan Fresh mint Kitchen foil and toothpicks An oasis wreath base A dinner plate and a decorative bowl. Sugar flowers and cake sprinkles to decorate Step 1 prepare your base. Cover the oasis with kitchen foil, making it food safe. Now roll out your marzipan and place onto the foil. Step 2 Place your base onto the dinner plate, and pop your bowl in the centre of you base. Pour the cream into the bowl. Step 3 Melt the chocolate and butter in a bon Marie, or a bowl standing in gently boiling water. Be careful not to scold yourself. Do not leave the melting chocolate unattended. Step 4 Dip the strawberries into the chocolate holding them by the stem. …

Great plants that don’t need watering

It may be tempting fate, but on the whole summers are getting hotter. So whether for environmental or practical reasons it makes sense to use plants in the garden that once established need little watering. Drought-tolerant plants tend to originate from hot, dry environments and adapt in different ways to cope: Silver leaves to reflect sun; succulent leaves to store moisture; tiny leaves to reduce evaporation and aromatic leaves that release essential oils to keep cool. These plants often thrive in well-drained poor soil. So in clay soil, add grit or sand to help with drainage. Here’s my pick of sun lovers: 1. Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s ears). This is a useful spreading ground cover plant with silvery woolly leaves. (S.b. ‘Silver Carpet’ has smaller neater leaves than S.b. ‘Big Ears.’ 2. Lavender. This is a classic for a sunny spot. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ is a popular compact variety with dark purple flowers. Or for a change, try Santolina chamaecyparrisus another compact silver leaved shrub with yellow flowers in late summer. 3. Cistus (Rock Rose). Sun …

10 of the best May flowering plants

  Gardens can often lack colour in late spring/early summer when there’s lots of foliage but not enough flowers. Here’s my pick of plants to fill the gap. 1. Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata ‘Black Barlow’ With delicate flowers on long stems, this dark plum variety is equally at home in cottage garden schemes or more contemporary settings with grasses and euphorbias. Aquilegias are short lived but self-seed easily creating a naturalistic feel and are happiest in moist soil in sun or dappled shade. 2. Iris ‘Jane Phillips’ Whether rich velvety purples or this delicate pale blue variety, bearded iris are a spectacular sight in May – and their grey/ blue strappy leaves add texture too. Plant them with the upper part of the rhizome on the soil surface in the sun so they can bake. Another option is the more delicate clump forming Iris sibiricas such as mid blue ‘Silver Edge’, which has narrower leaves and likes more moisture. 3. Papaver orientale ‘Patty’s Plum’ The paper-thin petals of this gorgeous pinky purple perennial poppy are …

Homemade lemon table decorations

Freshen your Lunch or dinner table this May with these unique Lemon table decorations. They can be used as place settings, or grouped as a centrepiece. You will need A bag of lemons Flowers, I used Orange Roses, Alstroemaria, and a selection from the garden. Secateurs and a sharp kitchen knife Craft tags Step1 – cut off the bottom of your lemon, so it sits flat. Then cut the top of, about ¼ so you have a nice little flower holder Step 2 – cut your rose leaving about 3-4 inches of stem, and place in the middle of the lemon. Hold the stalk firmly when pushing into the lemon so as not to break it. Step 3 – work around the centre rose with your assorted flowers and foliage – to make a miniature posy. Step 4 – write your guests names on the craft tags, and tie to the stem of the rose. Step 5 – place on your table, make sure you use a plate or saucer so as not to stain …