A Garden Paradise

I have to admit, I love gardens and gardening. I love pretty, country cottage front gardens with rose bushes decorating fences to sprawling back gardens with perfect, immaculate lawns and a summer house perfect for spending lazy afternoons in.

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My own experience with gardening however, has been somewhat limited. I have had several, small gardens which were quite sheltered leading to some very miserable looking plants, which like me, were in desperate need of some sunshine and perhaps a holiday to the Med for a couple of weeks! This was followed by a patio space of the extreme opposite. This space was south facing, leading to sweltering Summers, and sunshine all day long. Whilst my tomatoes (and I!) absolutely thrived in the sunny weather, the lack of shelter ensured not much else would grow!

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One garden I really admire is my mum’s garden, located in Whitstable, Kent. She has always had a passion for gardening and it shows through her beautiful garden designs and flourishing plants.

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I asked her a few questions about her garden and her passion for gardening.

How would you describe the design of your garden?

I have designed the garden by imagining separate rooms. The top garden, furthest away from the house, is the most formal. It has a Summer house, accompanied by a newly built oval pond on an oval lawn.

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The middle garden, is home to the fruit trees and also a vegetable patch with a greenhouse (along with resident frog, who I’m sure will be delighted once the pond is finished!)

The lower garden, closest to the house, is for pots to enable easy movement and an ever changing view from the conservatory. There is also a small patio area with lawn. It has a seating area, with a table and chairs for family BBQs and a vine covered pergola for when it gets a little bit too warm in the Summer. It’s lovely and cool in the shade under the vines.

What are your top 3 favourite plants and why?

  1. Fruit Trees – Beautiful blossom in the spring, shelter in the Summer and fruit in the Autumn.
  2. Cistus – Papery flowers that open in the sunshine. An evergreen plant, they remind me of a south facing garden that I came across whilst walking by the Thames.
  3. Roses – I tend to choose roses that are repeat flowerers with a beautiful scent to make the garden smell wonderful.

What garden project are you currently working on?

The pond! After putting in a Summer house towards the rear of the garden, I have decided to build a pond opposite. I often sit out there in the evenings as this is when the sun is in that part of the garden – it’s lovely and warm!

If you could have a garden anywhere in the world where would it be?

I would love to have a Mediterranean garden. Mediterranean plants remind me of the wonderful holidays I have had and are some of my favourite plants to grow in the garden.

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A garden should be somewhere you can enjoy every day, somewhere that you can spot changes every day. It should cover all the senses – from the smell of the herbs, to the beautiful sight of the roses, the tweeting to be heard from the birds, the taste of the delicious fruit being grown and the plants with the most unexpected textures to feel.

For those with their first garden, where do you recommend they start? Do you have any tips?

Always start with a plan! Shape the garden to your own style. Always include a tree for height – preferably a fruit tree.

Starve plants so that they can develop their root systems.

Encourage wildlife – I have birds regularly visiting my garden to have a wash in the bird bath and to feast on my fruit trees! I have a resident frog in the greenhouse – who I hope will hop into the pond once finished! I also would love to encourage some hedgehogs into the garden.

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Water regularly and feed plants once a week throughout the growing season.

Ensure you walk around your garden to keep a check on things!

Dig in plenty of blood and bone! (*I have been assured that these come in pellet form from garden centres after enquiring what on earth it was!!!)

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For some more garden hacks and tips on how not to kill your plants make sure you check out this amazing article from Pocketful of Rye, so useful for first time gardeners!

Get ready for Summer 2016 in your garden with fantastic discounts with My Voucher Codes – perfect for adding furniture to your garden, or for purchasing some new tools for your shed!

All images are my own taken of my mum’s garden.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

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Garden Paradise

Yesterday we visited Quex Park in Birchington, Kent. Covering over 250 acres the park is home to a museum of natural history, a house and gardens. We started off by having a look round the Powell-Cotton Museum, a museum that has a Natural History theme and has some incredible exhibits originating from Africa and Asia. They have to be seen to be believed but I won’t spoil the surprise! It was a wonderful museum and we really enjoyed the fact that it was so child orientated – there was lots of things to see and do including a safari trail and learning about different ways of research through drawing, handling objects and working on the computer. There were lots of amazing interactive elements to the museum which were particularly enjoyable.

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As it was such a beautiful, sunny day we went for a walk round the gardens at the back of the house. There was a pretty woodland walk with bluebells and peacocks sheltering under the trees and a large pond to the back of the main lawn. We then walked over to the walled garden (accompanied by the resident cat!) and walked around viewing the different flowers and plants. There was Wisteria over the walls giving it that Secret Garden effect. We walked over to some huge greenhouses which were filled with hundreds of cacti plus lovely smelling Jasmine.

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Quex Park is truly a wonderful place to hold weddings and special events. It’s so peaceful and there’s lots of space for little ones to run around. There is something for everyone, including a craft village, Jungle Jims for the little ones and a beautiful garden centre. To find out more and to plan your visit click here.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2014 (13th - 14th June 2014)

If you’re feeling inspired by this post for your own garden then BBC Gardeners’ World Live is coming to Birmingham NEC on 11th-14th June 2015 with special guests including Monty Don, Carol Klein and Mary Berry. Visit the beautiful Show Gardens which will be reflecting current trends, visit one of the largest floral marquees in the UK and learn more about growing your own fruit and vegetables in the Grow&Eat zone. Click here to book your tickets and use discount code: GPR15 to get an additional 15% off!

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Becky at Pretty & Petit