Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Testing Times


Here's some of the items I've been lucky enough to receive for testing this year. These all need a bit of time to evaluate, so this post forms a taster of things to come over the next few months in my regular review slot.

I'm nearing the end of my evaluation of Fiskars' secateurs and loppers, so you can expect my review shortly. The universal rake component of their interchangeable tools has been used up at the allotment lately, though as you can see, the hoe is yet to make itself felt up there.

I also have a new hosereel courtesy of Hozelock*. This is a most timely replacement as my current one developed into a porous pipe over the winter months. It just needs to be connected and we'll be evaluating away pretty soon :)

Inside the plastic bag is an innovative grow bag frame courtesy of Fuel my Blog and Crown. The past few years I've used pots for my tomato growing, so it'll be interesting to see how this fares in comparison.

The plant is a globe artichoke 'Imperial Star': the latest (and final) delivery I've had from Victoriana as part of their product evaluation I'm doing over at Fennel and Fern.

And whilst I've received lots of goodies to try, rest assured my reviews will be honest and let you know both the good and the bad where necessary.

* = warning: this link has noisy TV-style adverts on it, so best avoided if that kind of thing irritates you as much as it does me

Update: I've been in touch with Hozelock this morning, suggesting an off button for the advert sound and have had this response:

I have passed your audio comment on to Hozelock - but in their defence, the sound plays for only 10 seconds and then stops. And it isn't repeated on other pages.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Chippenham's Royal Wedding


London isn't the only place for a royal wedding, oh no. In 853 Chippenham was the place to be when King Alfred's sister Aethelwithsa married Burgred, King of Mercia. Unlike today's royal event, which is modern and for love, Chippenham's royal wedding was a strategic alliance between 2 kingdoms.

The wedding didn't take place in the pictured St Andrews church as this is a much younger building dating from Norman times. However, it is believed this is the site of an older, wooden built Saxon church which would have housed the happy event.

Chippenham also has a more contemporary association with royal weddings too. When it was announced that Prince Charles would marry Camilla Parker-Bowles, she lived in nearby Reybridge. As Chippenham has the nearest registry office to there, it posted the official paperwork for the forthcoming nuptials. I was most amused to see that she is older than he, and his occupation listed as 'Prince of the United Kingdom'! 

Enjoy today's events (or just your day off) wherever you are :)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

ABC of Chippenham: The Olympiad

I've spent quite a bit of time delving into Chippenham's ancient past, but today I'm looking at something much more recent: The Olympiad sports centre.

When we moved to Chippenham in 1984, this place was yet to come into existence. Instead we had a wonderful 55 yard long outdoor pool in Monkton Park to lounge around in the centre of Chippenham. Around this time NAH also took up competitive swimming again - initially swimming for nearby Corsham - but then switching his allegiance to Chippenham soon afterwards*.

I quite often joined him on training sessions too (we did meet in a swimming pool after all) and in the summer some of these were held at the outdoor pool. This was fine most of the time, but backstroke was always a little tricky. Following a cloud isn't quite the same as following the lines usually found on the ceilings of indoor pools and I usually ended up in tangled mess with a lane rope ;)

However, in the mid 1980s it was announced the outdoor pool would close and be replaced by a sparkly new indoor leisure pool and sports centre. This didn't go down well with lots of Chippenham's residents at all, including NAH and there was an active campaign to save the pool. The closure still went ahead as the council said it wasn't economically viable to repair and keep the pool open. Ironically when The Olympiad opened in 1989 it had gone massively over budget. If I remember rightly it cost £6 million rather than the £4 million originally proposed and considerably more than the projected costs to repair the old pool.

Most of the sports centre you can see in the picture wasn't built over the site of the outdoor pool, though the basketball court alongside is. You can still see the grass banks which rose up from the poolside when you walk past there today. It makes me hanker for those times when sunny weather like we've had recently meant a long lazy afternoon with my towel parked on one of those banks and devouring an ice cream before taking yet another cooling dip.

However, my niece and nephew rather like the waterslides of the new pool ;)

This is for ABC Wednesday and is the fifteenth in my series of themed posts about Chippenham.

* = his allegiance switched around pretty regularly depending on the quality of the coaching available at the time. He also founded his own swimming club Wessex Walrus for Masters swimmers, based in Melksham, as there was nothing locally catering for the needs of ancients still swimming competitively.

We both competed at the World Championships in Indianapolis**  for Wessex Walrus in 1992. NAH fared much better than I as he managed a top 8 placing in the 200m butterfly. I was last in the world*** in the 100m, 400m and 800m freestyle, but at least it meant I got to meet Dawn Fraser. She's one of my all time heroes and she was next to me in the line up awaiting our turn for our respective heats for the 100m. I retired from the swimming scene on our return to the UK, but NAH's still training and competing.

** = where Mark Spitz trained in the 1970s and the US Olympic swimming trials had just been held for the 1992 games in Barcelona

*** = the best I've ever managed is a silver in the south west for 400m freestyle and a bronze for 50m butterfly in Wiltshire, plus a fair few relay medals - all at Masters level.

Monday, 25 April 2011

And the Winners Are...


The winners in my bird care competition are:

Bilbo Waggins - first prize: deluxe bird table, bird feed and 2 nest boxes
Juliet and Paul & Melanie - runner's up prize: 2 nest boxes

Congratulations! I'll be in touch with Argos as soon as I have your address details to sort out getting your prizes to you :)

My thanks to everyone who entered - there were loads of top tips on how to look after our feathered friends.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Garden to Kitchen Expert: A Fab Easter Giveaway


To celebrate Easter in a much healthier way than eating loads of chocolate* I have three copies of The Garden to Kitchen Expert book to giveaway :)

We're about to enter that wonderful time of the year when our plots and gardens really start to produce big time and we look towards our cookbooks for inspiration for getting the most out of our crops, particularly those gluts. Whilst this book is a little more unusual to its companions in the Expert stable, the style and layout are in the same tradition and is designed to be a companion to the Vegetable & Herb, Fruit and Greenhouse Expert volumes.

There's over 680 recipes to tempt you, arranged broadly into Vegetable and Fruit sections with a brief nod towards Herbs, Ornamentals and Weeds too. There's advice on storage, preserving and good basic recipes for jams, chutneys and other preserves. None of the recipes are complicated, so it's ideal for someone in the Can't Cook Won't Cook mould, especially as there's also No Cooking Required and Basic Cooking information for each vegetable and fruit featured. It reminds me of the first cookbooks I acquired when I first left home, but is much more comprehensive.

All you need to do is tell me in the comments below your favourite recipe you turn to when dealing with a glut. If you don't grow your own, then do tell me about your favourite seasonal recipe instead. Make sure you leave me enough information so that I can get in touch with you in the event I pull your name out of my magic terracotta pot. If  I can't contact you, then someone else gets it! The closing date is midnight BST, 2 weeks from today i.e. 8th May.

Sorry, this one's open to UK readers only as postage costs are too expensive for elsewhere.

Don't forget that today's the last day to enter my Bird Care competition and there's still a little time to treat yourself and grab a 20% discount on Bath Gardening School courses (as featured by Countryfile no less), or to win a very Posh Cloche :)

* = something I most certainly will be indulging in later ;)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Goosegrass


Goosegrass may be a common weed, but it's the first time its shown up on my plot and it's making up for lost time. Here it is trying to consume one of my larger compost bins. I'm always amazed at how much of the stuff can be traced back to one tiny stem in the soil. Thankfully it's doing a good job of suppressing most of the other weeds around it and is relatively easy to clear.

It's well known for it's velcro-like properties as the leaves and stems are full of tiny teeth-like hooks which stick to anything they touch. No wonder one of its other common names is sticky weed. When my niece comes to visit, she loves to find pieces of it to cling on the backs of our clothes. She then goes around giggling a lot until we twig what's happening and tear it off in disgust. This makes her giggle even more!

Other names for Galium aparine include cleavers, catchweed, everlasting friendship, grip grass, loveman, sweethearts, clivers, stickywilly, stickyjack, stickyleaf, robin-run-the-hedge and coachweed. Its seed is rather tenacious too and adapted to cling to e.g. fur to aid its dispersal. I often find one or two of them in my daily porridge as it's a common weed of arable fields and difficult to separate out for grain storage or during food packaging.

I'm beginning to have a rethink about weeds, especially as I seem to manage to get them to crop quite well up at the plot. Our ancestors thought much more broadly about what the land has to offer and made a much wider use of the plants they found. As goosegrass is such a rough textured plant, I thought it wouldn't be that useful, but I'm surprised to learn the seeds can be dried and roasted as a perfectly acceptable coffee substitute (it's related to Coffea arabica, the Arabian coffee tree, though lacks the caffeine of its cousin) and the plant can be used to make a tea if gathered just before flowering. The stalk has been used to strain milk and the plant also has quite a few herbal uses.

I've even found some recipes for a spicy chicken dish, plus a version of kedgeree. The link recommends that only the leaves are used as the stalks 'are like chewing on a doormat'. The Wiggly Wigglers blog extols the virtues of  Goosegrass Soup, though to be fair plenty of other weeds, plus lots of herbs are included in the recipe.

I nibbled on a leaf the last time I was up at the plot just to see what it was like. It was fairly bland in taste, but had a very different sensation to most foods I've tried. I managed to drag the leaf over my bottom lip and it felt very similar to a cat licking you if you've ever experienced their rasp-like tongue. Like nettles, this is definitely a foodstuff which requires some cooking ;)

Have you found a 'new' weed on your plot this year, or are you just battling with the usual suspects? Tell all in the comments below...

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

ABC of Chippenham: Nestlé

Nestlé is no more in Chippenham, but here's its old factory by the side of the River Avon in the centre of town. It's called Avonbridge House these days and was converted into offices in 1985. If you ever ate condensed milk before 1962 here in the UK (and elsewhere in the world if you bought the Milkmaid or Carnation brand), then it would have been made and canned in this very building. It was the oldest milk condensery in the world and the building dates back to 1873.

Chippenham is often thought of as an old woollen, market or railway town, but until recently it was also a major player in food production. Besides providing the condensed milk for our Saturday night teatime treats, Oxo cubes also hailed from Chippenham until 1975 and if you remember all the furore over whether ham imported from Parma and sliced in this country could be called Parma ham, well it was the former Hygrade factory just over the road which was at the centre of that particular storm.

Putting Parma ham to one side, North Wiltshire is also famous for its bacon and ham products and dry cure Wiltshire Ham is one of the few named cures available at most supermarkets and delicatessens. Harris's of Calne is the name most associated with this product, but Chippenham had the rival The Royal Wiltshire Bacon Company Ltd, at one time the largest of its kind in England. Its factory used to be alongside the railway station where the Hathaway Retail Park is today. I can remember waiting for my regular commuter train to Bristol in the mid 1980s watching the enormous building being demolished after it finally closed.

This is for ABC Wednesday and is the fourteenth in my themed posts about Chippenham.

Monday, 18 April 2011

OOTS: Planting for the Senses


Since I took this picture of the planting outside the council offices in Bristol a couple of weeks ago, I've been musing about public planting for the senses. It struck me forcefully back then how often our planting focuses on just one aspect: seeing. There's no harm in our displays being as cheerful and eye catching as possible, after all research has shown people are drawn to colour and it's a good way to ensure most people enjoy what's on offer. 

However, we usually take care to ensure all our senses are well catered for in our own gardens. Plants with delicious scents such as lavender are employed close to where we sit or enter our garden; textural and strokeable plants like grasses are used for touch and hearing; and we all love our herbs and other edibles. So why aren't these aspects catered for in most of our public planting?

And why did this strike me when walking past this particular scene? It wasn't just the unusual use of hyacinths in the display, but also their scent which lingered long after I'd passed by. I usually find it rather overpowering at home, but was just right in this more open aspect.

I can think of dozens of displays I've featured in my Out on the Streets and Public Planting strands which cater well for our sight, but only a few which stimulate some or all of our other senses. Perhaps it's because we move quickly past many of these plantings on our way to somewhere else, so the designs emphasise the visual side of things more. Using plants to stimulate our other senses would invite us to linger, though that might not be a bad thing.

How about you? Is the public planting in your neighbourhood strictly visual, or can it be enjoyed by more than one of your senses? Do share your experiences in the comments below, or better still make a contribution to OOTS! Click on the link to find out how...

Friday, 15 April 2011

GBBD: Rhubarb and Custard

I thought it was time to turn away from the garden and show you what's happening on the allotment flower-wise. Here is my rhubarb plant (variety = Victoria), complete with flowers whose colours remind me of rhubarb and custard. We've had several delicious bowls of the stuff lately, so the comparison's foremost in my mind ;)

Just after I took this photo, I cut the flower stems off at the base. Rhubarb flowers are said to weaken the plant, so I don't want to put mine at risk. However, apparently the seeds can be ground into a flour which makes very good pancakes if you don't mind sacrificing a plant or two.

I'm not sure if flowering rhubarb means it's mature and happy or stressed. This is the third year mine has flowered and there's been plenty of discussion on the internet in previous years on why this might be. Overfeeding with nitrogen (forgot to manure mine last winter); a damp summer (last summer was dry, though the two previous ones were very damp); the plant needs dividing (it's over 5 years old so this could be true); the result of a decent cold period (which rhubarb needs to do well and we've certainly had the last three winters) have all been given as possible reasons.

No matter what the reason may be, I've found that cutting the flowers ASAP does the plant no harm and it continues to crop well. So there's lots more bowls of rhubarb and custard to come :)

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

ABC of Chippeham: Maud Heath's Causeway

I've stepped out of Chippenham today to take you to nearby Kellaways to show you the most dramatic feature of Maud Heath's Causeway as it crosses over the River Avon. The causeway links Wick Hill to Chippenham and was a philanthropic gesture made by Maud Heath in 1474.

The story goes that she was rather fed up of getting her feet wet when travelling to Chippenham Market to sell her eggs. She bequeathed funds upon her death to build and maintain a footpath from her home into town just over three miles away so that future travellers to market might arrive dry shod.

As you can see the raised pathway is much longer than the width of the river at this point, but takes winter flooding into account. The trees in the centre of the main picture are screening a monument erected in Maud Heath's honour in 1698.  It has a sundial on each side and Chippenham Clift and Wick Hill are inscribed on the 2 sides facing each destination. The side to the right of the picture is the Wick Hill direction.

The main inscription on the front side (to the left in the picture) reads:

In the year of grace 1474, for the good of travellers did bestow in land and houses the sum of eight pounds a year foreer to be laid out on a causeway leading from Wick Hill to Chippenham Clift.

And beneath this a further inscription reads:

Injure me not

The bequest still maintains the path to this day and it can be followed into Chippenham to the top of New Road, where I took the picture of St Paul's church for the letter C. From Kellaways to Langley Burrell, the tarmac sometimes gives way to cobblestones, showing how the path must have looked when it was first laid.

If you'd like to walk the length of the Causeway, I've found this website with full details :)

The Causeway is also a listed building which I photographed for English Heritage's Images of England Millennium project.

This is for ABC Wednesday and marks the half way point in my themed posts about Chippenham.

Monday, 11 April 2011

OOTS: A Host of Golden Dandelions


The roadsides around here are notable for their masses of wild flowers at the moment. Here's the A350 near home with its host of golden dandelions. The roundabouts nearby have lots of tiny white daisies and elsewhere there are banks of primroses on the way to the allotment and cowslips on the way home just after turning into our estate.

I've also ventured further afield lately and have enjoyed the wonderful blackthorn lining the M5 motorway and sheets of cowslips on the A417 on the way there through Gloucestershire. Later on there'll be ox-eye daisies to enjoy and much later the motorway will have lots of red apples on display, presumably resulting from the many cores discarded by drivers.

It's funny how something so hated in our gardens such as the dandelion can look so wonderful like it does on the pictured verge. I suspect this is nature's own planting, but some of the others such as the cowslips and ox-eye daisies were planted by the Highways Agency as part of their environmental design. Whether they're there by accident or design, it makes for a much more pleasant journey when I see them.

This is for this month's Out on the Streets (OOTS). What in the way of public planting do you have in your neighbourhood at the moment? Details of how you can take part are here.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

RSPB Garden Birdwatch and a Competition


This year’s RSPB Garden Birdwatch results were announced last week and makes interesting reading as usual.

Over 600,000 took part and the sparrow took the top spot for the eighth year in a row. Surprisingly the harsh winter hasn't seemed to have affected sightings of the smallest, most vulnerable birds as expected. Coal tit, goldcrest and long-tailed tit sightings were all up on the previous year and it's thought they bounced back over last year's summer with an above average breeding season. This is quite different to what I found (scroll down to the end to see my results) in my garden!

Whilst this is indeed good news, the record dry weather we’ve experienced over the past month or so demonstrates how important it still is to look after our feathered friends. I’ve seen plenty of birds in my garden recently foraging for food without much success in my dried out clay soil. So I’ve continued with the supplementary feeding, especially now I can hear hungry mouths cheeping for food in the conifers not far from our patio doors.

With this in mind, I’m delighted I’m holding a bird care competition so that the winners can keep the birds in their garden happy in the years to come. The prizes have been supplied courtesy of Argos, who provide a wide range of sheds for your garden including metal and wooden sheds as well as a fantastic range of Garden Furniture.

All you need to do is leave me a comment below giving me your top tip for attracting birds to your garden or allotment plot. That way we’ll also get a useful list of tips together for everyone to use as a future resource.

Competition details
  1. The competition is open to UK readers only (sorry, but postage costs abroad will be too much for me!). However, it would be great if non-UK readers take part by leaving your top tips, so we get a good reference list together for later
  2. First prize comprises: a. 1 deluxe bird table
    b. 2 tubs of bird seed
    c. Bird nest box set
  3. There are 2 runners up prizes of bird box sets
  4. You enter by leaving a comment with your top tip for attracting birds to your garden or plot. 1 entry only per person
  5. If you are leaving a comment with no means of me contacting you via a link, you will also need to leave contact details e.g. your email address (with the @ and . in words, so you don't get the attentions of any spam bots e.g. vegplotting at gmail dot com) or TwitterId. Failure to do so will invalidate your entry
  6. The closing date is midnight BST on Sunday, 24th April
  7. Names of the winners will be drawn from my magic terracotta pot on April 25th (the day after the closing date) and the lucky winners will be notified immediately ;)
  8. Argos will deliver your prize, therefore you will need to be happy for me to pass on your contact details to them. I will do this for the prize winners only. Competition prizes will be delivered within 28 days of the competition closing and may vary from the prizes described.
Good luck and don't forget it's International Dawn Chorus Day on May 1st!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

VP Now Available in Wiltshire Magazine


I'm rather chuffed to have my first article in this month's Wiltshire magazine. It's all about Bradford on Avon's river and canal heritage and is called Wool, Tennis Balls and Boats. It all came about in response to a tweet from the editor last December and a fun trip on the Kennet and Avon canal with her plus some of the magazine's other writers in early February.

It's been a fantastic opportunity to write for the magazine and I'll be following up in future months with articles on Wiltshire's villages. This piece was a lot of fun to research and write and is just the kind of thing I'd have on Veg Plotting, though this time I've had to step out from behind VP and write as the real me. It is quite different writing to someone else's brief - no matter how closely it matches your own - and to keep to a word limit though!

The picture is of Abbey Mill, one of the photos which didn't make it into the magazine. The mill was used at first for producing woollen cloth, which was then converted to producing rubber items for the railway industry in the late 1800s when the cloth industry started to decline. It's now been converted into retirement flats after the mill finally closed in the 1990s.

You can read the full article here. You take the link on the left hand side for the online edition and then go to page 48 for a full 3 pages complete with photos :)

Friday, 8 April 2011

April is Go!

I always feel that March is the prelude and April's the full blown symphony as far as my seed activities go.

I don't have a greenhouse and the coldframes are stuffed with overwintering pretties, so April's my main month for sowing. I hadn't quite realised quite how much there is to do this month until I decided to put all of April's packets into one box, so I can just pick it up and go whenever I need them. The main reasons why there's so many are:
  • I use lots of different leaves for salads and have a large wodge there at the back ready for successional sowing
  • I've gathered quite a few different packets of various native flowers together during the clear out of my main seed tins ready for some light guerrilla gardening
  • I've decided to grow my own Nigella seeds for curries and bread making, plus lots of different Basils for pesto and pasta sauces
  • I always have too many different seeds anyway
As well as the massive salad and guerrilla gardening stashes, there's the cucurbit stash of cucumbers, courgettes, squashes and melon seed which will be sown much later this month, when my window sill's cleared of the current germinating batches and the weather's warmer. This week will see the seed potatoes planted and I'm in the process of chitting my peas and parsnips as usual, plus starting off the saved chilli seed from last Autumn.

It looks like little and often is the only way I'm going get through that lot. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

ABC of Chippenham: Locally Sourced

I was really pleased to see this sign outside the station cafe last week. I believe Chippenham to be slightly slower on the uptake re locally sourced produce and food miles than some of the other towns nearby.

There are a few notable exceptions: the farm shop close to where I live for one, plus the greengrocer in town sells produce from our local market gardeners in Bromham whenever possible. Sheldon School has had a March food festival as a pupil led fund raiser the past couple of years.

The Revolutions restaurant uses fresh, seasonal local produce, as does the recently opened Bridge Brasserie across the road. In fact they cheekily tweeted they'd take any spare garlic of mine when I said I had an excess of it recently ;)

Steamers shows just why station cafes should be independent. Thank goodness Chippenham station is too small to have received the attentions of the chains found elsewhere. I love the play on words with the cafe's name; the regularly changed art displays on the walls by local artists; and the fact that it doubles up as an internet cafe as well as serving the town's daily commuters. It also serves great coffee and bacon baps!

This is for ABC Wednesday and is the twelfth in my themed round of posts about Chippenham.

Monday, 4 April 2011

OOTS: Almond Blossom with Bees



If the above YouTube video isn't working you can watch it here.

March 'roared out like a lion' so I'm really pleased I was able to capture the glorious almond blossom hanging over the pavement round the corner from our house before it was turned into confetti. The air was alive with the hum of honey and bumble bees all crowding in to drink their fill of the available nectar. I was happily just standing under there taking it all in when I realised I had my camera with me to capture it to share with you :)

It's also a great way to introduce this month's Out on the Streets, where I invite you to share the plants and flowers which can be seen publicly in your neighbourhood. I'm planning on telling you about the Green Flag scheme for our public parks and perhaps showing you a little of the public planting I found on College Green in Bristol last Saturday. You can choose to share whatever you like, as long as it's in the public domain.

If you'd like to join in but are unsure of what to contribute, you might like to look at the Out on the Streets and the Public Planting labels for inspiration. I'm particularly looking for good planting ideas whatever the season and/or planting using edibles. Those of you in the UK you might like to tell us how the spending cuts are affecting what the council is planning for your neighbourhood this year.

Mr Linky is set up below ready for your contributions. Do please remember to paste in the link to your specific post rather than your blog's URL, so we can still get to see your contribution after you've gone on to writing about other things :)

I'll also be using Mr Linky to post in any news items I find instead of my usual roundup post. I'm just about to start on my Census work, so I'll be pushed for time to write posts containing lots of links. I've found quite a few items to share with you the past couple of weeks, which are worth a look at.

So, see you soon, Out on the Streets!


Sunday, 3 April 2011

A Very Special Offer


I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Emma Bond of The Orchard Studio - one of my featured Local Vocals on the right - to bring you a very special offer today :)

Emma has been working mega hard to set up the sparkly new The Bath Gardening School and has a fantastic range of courses starting later this month. We've put our heads together and come up with a fab offer to celebrate Mothers' Day: 20% off all bookings taken by 30th April. If you've forgotten to buy your mum something special for today, then this is a perfect way to make it up to her. However, the discount isn't just for your mum, it's available to all Veg Plotting readers - yippee!

If you want to brush up on your garden photography skills, find out more about growing your own, or to learn about garden design, then Emma has the perfect day for you. Or perhaps you're thinking about keeping bees? That's taken care of too.

There's a superb line up of experts as your day's tutors, including Mark Diacono from River Cottage/Otter Farm; Anne Wareham being more thinking about gardens than her Bad Tempered Gardener tag might suggest; Charles Dowding will show you how to grow the freshest of salads the no-dig way; and Emma herself will be doing a spot of tutoring too. You can read more about all the spring/summer courses available here.

All courses take place on Saturdays at Bath's Botanical Gardens, one of the less well-known gems of Bath and a scrummy lunch is included too. The usual price for your day is £99.05, but to you guv it's £79.37 :)

To save you fiddling around with entering offer codes and stuff, Tom - Emma's husband and king of all things web - has set up some special Veg Plotting booking pages with the offer already applied. Just click on the link(s) below for the course you want to book on. Note, these open in a new window (as does the link to the further course information above), so you can have a good look around without losing your link to the exclusive special offer deal. You'll find that the special price is NOT applied if you book via The Bath Gardening School's usual website.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Royal Flower-Monic Orchestra


I don't usually go with press releases, but I received one last week for the re-launch of a certain garden shopping channel which made me giggle and I feel is more suited for today. Here's the Royal Flower Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mozart's 40th Symphony to an audience of flowers, plants and bulbs ;)

If you don't mind looking at an advert (thankfully it's not too much in your face), then here's the full version in sight and sound. Or if you'd prefer just to hear the music without the explanation of what was going on, then you can do that here.

And there's a summary of the research re plants responding to music including the work by Dorothy Retallack referred to in the advert. Keep an open mind if you take the link as the article opens with talking to plants before going on to summarise some of the research on this subject. Is it the carbon dioxide in our breath or the frequency of our voice (or indeed both) which is having the beneficial effect when we talk to them? And how valid is the research re plants responding to music anyway?

Valid enough to make a quirky advert more suited to today's date that's for sure!
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