It's been a great week here in Chippenham for finding a few bargains, so I thought I'd pass these on to you.
I've just discovered Gardens Illustrated magazine. Of late I've become a bit frustrated with seeing the same old articles across most of the genre and had previously dismissed Gardens Illustrated as being a bit toffee nosed. But a couple of months ago, I bought a copy and found most of the articles to be a much more satisfying read. It's not perfect - I suspect I'll never find a gardening magazine to be perfect again after having the pick of so many gardening blogs to read every day. But sometimes I do hanker after the printed word (much easier on the eye than a computer screen) and this one fits my mood and needs for the moment. I was delighted this month to find their subscription offer includes a free book I've been meaning to buy for a while, the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials. The cost of the book in the shops is almost as much as the subscription itself, so I've treated myself. If you already have this book, they offer the recently updated RHS Encyclopedia of Planting Combinations as an alternative. I've met the author and my copy of the older version is very well thumbed indeed, so it's another worthwhile book to own if you don't already. The offer closes on September 28th.
Some of you are already familiar with the story of Victoria opening her garden under the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) late last month. The NGS also operate a 'Friends' scheme - it's £10 and includes a copy of the famous Yellow Book, plus special NGS events, discounts on entry to some of the gardens and a regular newsletter. For £10 this has got to be another bargain. Membership is closed at the moment as most of the season's events have been completed. However, by contacting them now, they will put you on the early mailing list for when the scheme starts up again in the New Year.
On a more local front, Franks Plants has started up again for the autumn season - 6 pots of Cyclamen for £5 and packs of bedding plants for £1.50. Shrubs start at £4.50. It's at Frogwell School this Saturday/Sunday. Also, Whitehall Garden Centre have a free bag of daffodils for Garden Club members, plus a half price plant offer for any plant you care to choose, no matter the price. Would you believe I went round the place yesterday and couldn't find one plant to buy. I'd set my heart on a golden Irish yew to partner my other one. There weren't any and my brain just couldn't get into the groove of selecting something else. I'm hoping a quick tour round the RHS Inner Temple show today will cure me of such ills and I can return to the fray refreshed and ready to grab my bargain!
However, I've saved the best til last. Today sees the start ot the annual Heritage Open Days (HOD) weekend. Hundreds of properties will be open to the public for free. Many of them usually aren't open to the public, so if you're nebby like me, it's a great opportunity to have a good old nose around an unusual building. On Saturday 300 National Trust properties also open their doors under this scheme, so it's a great way to see some of our best heritage for absolute nowt, including some of the best gardens in Engand. Sunday's taken up with Sing for Water in London, but I'm looking to use the HOD link above to find something open locally on Saturday - see you there?