May ‘GARDEN WOW’ list
Firstly and most importantly we are really hoping that you and your loved ones are keeping well. We hope that whatever green space you have available to you is bringing you solace in these uncertain times. Whether it’s a garden, a balcony, a rural landscape or a city park, it certainly feels that connection to and re-discovery of nature is taking a central role in many people’s coping strategies. We wanted to do something proactive and positive for our lovely followers and those new to this blog. We’ve developed a monthly ‘GARDEN WOW’ list – a curated list of all the things we find fascinating, helpful and which make us go WOW from the Garden Design and Landscaping Industries. We hope you enjoy.
Things that made us go ‘WOW’ this month
We are landscapers who work with Garden Designers to build their gardens. Our Instagram account @gardentastic is certainly eclectic! It jumps from garden focused shots, to family snaps and most recently has had a few broken spoon shots, casualties of vigorous support of the Thursday clap for our carers.
What we find Instagram particularly brilliant for is the community it has developed amongst Landscapers, Garden Designers and Plant nurseries. The Instagram accounts of Designers are full of new design ideas, interesting materials and beautiful plants. During lockdown restrictions some Garden Designers have been using Instagram as a tool to share some brilliant garden top tips. We are definitely WOWED by the effort and generosity of people who take the time to share their expertise and knowledge in this way.
Ann-Marie Powell, a Garden Designer who runs Ann-Marie Powell Gardens has set up the fantastic Instagram account @myrealgarden. Everyday at 12.30 Ann-Marie does a garden ‘LIVE’. If you can’t get to the ‘LIVE’, there is often a video sum up of what has been discussed. Highlights for us have been top tips relating to planting choices for shady borders, a video tutorial on how to take soft cuttings and get plants for free and planting with grasses. An informative, supportive and supremely positive Instagram feed that will make you smile and want to get gardening immediately.
Sprout up is a garden design practice based in South London. Their project Believe in Tomorrow is all about getting school children to connect with nature. Their Instagram feed @sprout.up reflects this and has, during lockdown focused on posting little videos which give gardening tips that are really accessible and encourage more children to get planting. Do also check out their Believe in Tomorrow film if you can, it’s beautiful.
Matthew Childs, a Garden Designer who runs Matthew Childs Design has also been out in his garden, his hash tag #sharingthegardenlove sums up his approach. Check out his lovely Instagram feed @mattiechilds where he shares some great ideas and top tips, often accompanied by his dog Syd, sometimes with a pop song and always with a smile. Lots of videos for you to check out, including a run through of some rabbit resistant plants. I know some of our clients will be very interested in this post.
If you are inspired by these lovely instagram accounts to start growing, remember there are still lots of plants you can grow by seed in May. Amongst others you can plant Sunflower, Cosmos, Cornflowers, Calendula and French marigold seeds and so much more. All are great to grow with children too. The RHS has also provided a fantastic veg planner pdf for everyone to download to use, this highlights vegetables you can start growing in May.
No Mow May WOW:
This month we were introduced to the organisation Plant life. WOW! What they do is definitely a force for good. As they state, every flower counts when it comes to providing vital nectar for bees and butterflies and many other pollinating insects. It is encouraging people not to mow their lawns during May and let the flowers grow!
I’ve seen the hashtag #nomowmay everywhere already so looks like their No Mow May awareness campaign is working well. Check out their lovely video which explains how you can find out your personal nectar score at the end of this month. Check out ‘Every Flower Counts’ to find out how you too can take part in a brand new citizen science action from 23rd-31st May. The film taught us how much nectar five daisies, two dandelions and six buttercups provide for a very important insect over a very short amount of time. Certainly makes the point that wild flowers play such as vital role in the eco system process.
Many of you would have noticed the beautiful road verges blossoming during lockdown full of flora and fauna. They have been able to flourish because they have been without the interference of mowers. Plantlife have been running a road verge campaign since 2013 to nurture and protect these incredible wild flower spaces. There campaign focuses on getting those who make the decisions to ‘cut less, cut later’ and they encouraging everyone to sign a letter in support of this here.
Low Mow Lawn WOW
We regularly build gardens for lovely Bo from Bo Cook Garden and Landscape Design. Bo has been experimenting with a low mow lawn mix (perennials only) in her own garden in Lewes. Rather than just embracing #nomowmay you could go one step further and invest in a low mow lawn. Bo’s low mow lawn is soft under foot, has a lovely variety of textures and shades of green and is full of beautiful small perennial flowers. In our opinion it is a beautiful addition to any garden and you will be providing such a rich source of nectar to your very grateful insect guests. You will also of course be dramatically reducing the amount of times you need to mow the lawn. Check out Bo’s Blog where she talks you through her low mow lawn experiment and also recommends and links to a local Sussex based supplier of her low mow lawn seed mix.
Corona Wildlife Diary from The Sussex Wildlife Trust WOW:
This diary written by Michael Blencowe from The Sussex Wildlife Trust is really wonderful, do take time to read it and to dip in and out of the archived daily entries. It is funny, quirky and informative and full of nature’s secrets. We are in awe of Michael’s incredible knowledge, this is a definite WOW for us. Michael highlights the uplifting role that wildlife plays in our lives (especially in these unusual times). We hope you enjoy, this was a gift of a discovery for us.
We particularly loved discovering day forty five, where we learn all about Hawthorn and the real significance of the May-Tree which at the moment it is blooming all over Lewes in East Sussex where we live. We had no idea about the superstitions relating to misfortune if you bring Hawthorn inside the house and why the flowers have such an unpleasant smell, we know much more about it now! Day forty four celebrates the Earthworm, so much great information here, amongst others the fact that Cleopatra declared them to be sacred (we love this!). Day fifty nine celebrates May Bugs, so we couldn’t resist sharing Michael’s brilliant image of a May Bug above. Do check out the May Bug Movie he created of them taking flight, it certainly lifted our spirits.
May your May be a safe one.
Sophie and Simon