Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

We have been lucky with the weather (although today isn’t looking so great), and we have been so fortunate to have a team of fantastic volunteers, who have worked extremely long hours in order to create a stunning garden.  Mike Russell has certainly designed the most amazing show piece and I am so grateful to him for all the time he has given, in order to achieve the finished project.


Fantastic plants and veg fill the garden

We are nearly there now – today will consist of all the finishing touches and fine detail extras.

Yesterday evening the water feature received some TLC and it now looks as though it has been established for years.  The wheel (which can just be seen at the top of the photo below), when turned, regulates the flow of the water – such detail!

Water feature

A well established water feature

The head sculpture, made from old Land Rover parts, has a character all of its own – it made me smile when I saw it – made me think of Wizard of Oz or, as someone suggested, a Tim Burton movie, take a look below.


He looks a real character

And so at 9am tomorrow morning judging will take place.  Results will be out at 11.30am and so I have everything crossed for all those who have spent so much time – most of it on a voluntary basis – to receive the credit and recognition they deserve!  I won’t be able to add to this blog until Sunday, but if you want to find out how we do follow @amanjon on twitter.  Or better still – come and see us at The Shrewsbury Flower Show – Friday 13 and  Saturday 14 August 2010.


Stained glass

The piece of stained glass featuring in the arbour


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Mike Russell and his team of landscapers have been hard at work in The Quarry – venue for Shrewsbury Flower Show, since the end of last week.

On my first trip to see them, the labyrinth was taking shape…..


The labyrinth is laid

At the weekend the most amazing arbour had been installed and the oak had been cut to form the raised beds……


Arbour & oak raised beds

Mike and his team are superb craftsmen, the finishes being applied to the oak sleepers is pure quality.  I don’t really know what I was expecting, but this isn’t just any garden, it really is a masterpiece.

Today the art boards have arrived!  And don’t they look magnificant?


The boards will run across the back of the garden

The water feature is looking good – Chris has made a stunning job of the wood surrounding it.

Any finally, a photo of the team – they have really put in the hours – working most of the weekend.  I am so grateful.


Team Shot!

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Definitely our number one garden journalist – Dawn Humphries lets us have her latest comments.

But before that, she has noticed the wonderful beehive composters which are in residence in one of Lanyon Bowdler’s meeting rooms at the Shrewsbury office and wondiers if they will need a home after the Show!

Beehive Composter

On Loan from Wiggly Wigglers - a Beehive Composter

They are rather amazing pieces of wood – larger than I thought they would be.  The plan is to house the speakers for the Podcasts in them.  People, wandering round the garden – either inside it or on the outside, will be able to listen to how and why the Garden came to be.

Diary entry

“Two weeks to go and things are hotting up and competition is fierce amongst the plan sitters.  I hear whispers on the Lanyon Bowdler grape vine, that replacement plantings have not only been contemplated but already purchased, I name no names…

Julie brought hers in today (all home grown) as an early delivery.  Alas, they are all much bigger than mine, but size isn’t everything!!!!!  Still there is much to be gained… plant food that, will be my weapon of choice.  I must keep my eye on the ball and an intensive watering and feeding programme will follow… (still will not be up to the polytunnel professionals.. of which I have already been shown comparative photographic evidence, of the much superior virtues of the said tunnel…not sure how I can fit one in for next year……).  My little pots, are however, bred on love, encouragement and the odd curse.. I shall carry on gladly watering and feeding look forward to the big day…..   This is all on top of watering Kathryn’s plants, who had gleefully gone on holiday and left me in charge of watering her 94 pots, now should I feed hers too or not?

“I must remind myself it is the taking part that matters (and it has been enormous fun and very worthwhile).”

Thanks Dawn – to you and everyone else who has helped with this project – ‘we couldn’t have done it without you’!!

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The clock is really ticking now, but our band of merry volunteers continue to work in their gardens in order to produce some fantastic produce for our Shrewsbury Flower Show show garden.

PI solicitor Dawn Humphries has been a star at keeping her garden journal, but take a look at this photo – such a stylish gardener!

Dawn Humphries

Dawn Waters the Garden

And here is her latest entry:

“I now realise that gardening, like life, is littered with highs and lows, and sadly the odd fatality.  It is with regret that I inform you of the tragic demise of a courgette, several cabbages, and four purple sprouting broccoli!

“As I write this dispatch, I am threatened by sustained and devastating airborne attack on my beautiful blue brassica’s, who now bear shrapnel wounds … (in remarkably distinct munch shaped detail of the white cabbage butterfly’s caterpillar).  I am having the dental records assessed.

“The after school snipers have been skilful in their stealth like attempts to sabotage my sugar snaps, but have been thwarted by my warlike cries of “bath time” and “homework”.  My leeks stand tall and are unaffected by the casualties of war.

“But, despite such devastation, my pride is the last standing Courgette, which is now in full bloom, and all being well, may be heavily laden by D day (I just wish it wasn’t Friday the 13th).”

Another solicitor has already had to harvest the peas!

Her feedback included “On last count we had 94 pots containing peas, beans, marigolds, another flower, name currently escaping me, lots and lots of brassicas, some parsley, chives and basil.  We had to harvest the peas as they were about to pull the plants over (they were very tasty), the beans are also doing well.  The marigolds and other flowers are thinking of flowering fairly soon. ”

Back at Headway Shropshire, Mike Russell has been along this week to check on progress.  Everything is growing well and looking healthy.  The painted boards apparently are looking even more magnificent than before – is that really possible!  I wonder if there will be interest to buy these – would raise some great funds for the charity.

Art boards

Such colour

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It was apparent that the recent wet weather has been most welcome in the Headway Shropshire garden as the plants seem to have progressed in leaps and bounds!  Suddenly, everything has burst into life and had a growth spurt, from the tomatoes and courgettes, to the marigolds and sunflowers.


Brightly coloured Marigolds

Rachel visited the garden this morning and said she was amazed at how quickly the courgettes had appeared after only being re-potted several weeks ago during the horticultural workshop.  I didn’t know that they produce huge yellow flowers, which look lovely, however Rachel found out the hard way that their leaves are very prickly on the underside!


Flowering Courgettes

Apparently the sweet peas are all a beautiful pink colour and flourishing, the marigolds a vivid orange, and the carrots, sweetcorn and runner beans are all looking healthy and robust! So this is all looking good as Show Day is only 3 weeks away!

The art room is still a hive of activity (there is actually very little visible floor space!), the clients continue to make copper wire butterflies, and are covering them with angeline material.  Rachel took a photo of a book that was open on one desk with beautiful colour pictures of moths and butterflies ready to be copy sketched, so the theme is obviously a popular one!

Open Book

Ready for sketching

It is great to see just how this project has caught the imagination of the clients and staff at Headway Shropshire.  I am delighted that Lanyon Bowdler has been able to offer such a fantastic opportunity.

As we are now on count down to the Shrewsbury Flower Show – I’ve got to the stage where I just can’t wait to see the finished garden.

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The rain clouds didn’t bode well for the horticultural workshop scheduled for this morning at the Headway Shropshire garden, however it didn’t put anyone off!  Rachel and I had gone along to Headway Shropshire to help Mike Russell, our show garden designer, with a horticultural workshop he was holding for the clients of Headway.  The idea of the workshop was to involve the clients in potting on the vegetable produce and companion plants currently being grown at Headway for inclusion in the Shrewsbury Flower Show ‘show garden’.  As gardening is renowned as being very therapeutic, it was also an excellent rehabilitative exercise for the clients.

Setting Up

Ready for the potting to start


Shelter from the rain

The workshop got started at 9.30am, with a gazebo being set up in the garden to shelter us all from the imminent rain, whilst Mike brought along tables and benches for the Headway clients to work at, together with numerous bags of potting compost and spare pots.


Getting stuck in

Several of the Headway clients then joined us and were soon getting their hands dirty re-potting plants, transferring seedlings, and digging the ground.  Rachel made herself useful by transferring marigolds from their seedling trays into large pots to enable them to grow on, she also made sure she seized the opportunity for plenty of photographs.


Planting seedlings

Luckily we managed to get the majority of the planting done before the rain started!

It was clear that the Headway clients thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially as they came back after lunch to carry on with the gardening after the workshop had finished!

Today had also been about finishing off the filming for our Shrewsbury Flower Show commercial.  Howard was back, complete with his camera and all the tricks.  Having spent some time shooting footage in the garden, we went up to the art room to take a look at what was going on there.


Patiently worked on by clients at Headway

Headway Shropshire clients Paul and James were working on a couple of the panels for the backdrop of the garden.  Both are wheelchair bound – James paints by holding his paintbrush in his mouth.  To watch them working on the boards was really moving – it made me realise just how much effort has been put into these amazing pieces of art – Howard filmed James and Paul whilst they painted and I really hope it’ll appear in our finished commercial.

Finally I met Stuart – Stuart had suffered a head injury as a result of a terrible car accident.  Stuart has been the talent behind the copper leaves, he also worked in the garden this morning.  He said to me that the project has been wonderful and how much he has enjoyed getting involved.


Copper leaves created by Stuart

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The Shrewsbury Flower Show is getting closer – just 45 days to go!  Once again this year, there will be a big screen at the Show, broadcasting all the events happening in the main arena – great for those wishing to enjoy a picnic or a drink on the grassy bank, or those viewing from the sponsors and members marquees.

To fill the gaps between events, commercials will run advertising the main sponsors of the Show.  Lanyon Bowdler are sponsoring the Show Jumping and so are able to run an advert.  This is a great opportunity for us to share some of the story about the Show Garden and of course, reinforce the legal services we are able to offer businesses and private individuals.

Last Friday, on a perfect sunny day, Rachel and I met with camera man Howard Dartnall at Headway Shropshire – our task…. to get some video footage of the clients working in the garden to include in the commercial.


Howard Starts Filming

Clients in the Garden

Headway Shropshire Clients Gardening

It was great to see some activity and we were delighted so many of the clients came out to help.  Whilst we are enjoying what appears to be a ‘summer’ (let’s not speak too soon) – it is obvious that a watering rota needs to be implemented as many of the beds are suffering in this dry weather.  Rachel went along at the weekend and I am now find myself hoping for some rain later.  All these plants and vegetables to worry about …..


Edible Nasturtiums

We are due to be back to Headway Shropshire on Thursday, when we will all be getting our hands dirty – that includes me!  Mike Russell – our garden designer is going to be running an informal ‘hands on’ horticultural therapy planting workshop.  He will be giving some hints and tips on successful gardening, whilst working on the produce already being grown in the Headway Shropshire garden – so I’ll be hoping for a dry day!  Howard will be back to take more footage for our video too.

So we have lots of photos, some video – a couple of testimonials and now all we need to agree on is the background music – upbeat and lively or chilled and mellow – I seem to change my mind with my mood – today it is something funky and fun.

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