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Gardening Mad!

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Wednesday 16th March 2011

I didn't really come from a gardening background.  I had two aunts who were keen gardeners, but my parents weren't bothered about plants just that the garden was neat.

My dad's great passion, however, was his lawn which was ritually mown and clipped, feeded and weeded, pricked and poked until it was an emerald show stopper!  But how boring is grass when there is a whole world of colour in plants.

When I was first married we had a tiny postage stamp of a garden and it was here my interest first began, nurturing tiny seeds and bringing life to brown patches of soil.

And after our son was born I spent an afternoon planting wallflowers while he, I thought, was playing with his ball.  No, he'd followed behind me and had dug up virtually every plant I'd put in!!!

My interest grew steadily and slowly until we moved into our present house where we have much more space to let imagination run riot.  And boy, has it!

As I write this I look onto my front garden which is jammed with hardy perennials mainly, the backbone of my cottage garden.  Just tiny mounds at the moment or tips poking through, but in a month or two - wow!  The riot of colour in summer is what I love, so no formality, just plants anywhere and everywhere, all different sizes and shapes, when I run out of room I just ask my husband to dig up some more grass. 

Of course the mainstay of a cottage garden is scent and what better than lavender and although at this time of year it can look a bit scraggy, just to brush the leaves with your fingertips and the scent of summer is released.

But I am getting a bit ahead of myself here, I set out to explain how gardening can slowly but surely creep up on you and immerse you in a whole new world.

Because it's all such a journey of wonder and amazement, even all the Latin names for the plants come easily, as if they are absorbed rather than learnt.

Its just such an all consuming hobby and now a job too, but each spring I never cease to be amazed by all the tiny green shoots pushing up through the soil and I stroll round the garden and the polytunnels at work 'oohing' and 'aaahing' like a kid in a sweet shop.

Written by Gill Broadbent - Gardener - Yorkshire Lavender

Tackling 'Iris' on the Wibbly Wobbly Way

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Tuesday 8th March 2011

I think it must be around five or six years ago when we planted 80 - 100 bare-rooted Iris Sibirica 'Persimmon' on the east border of the Wibbly Wobbly Way

This border is sheltered from the east by a large old native hawthorn hedge.  The Iris is quite exposed from the south and west, panoramic views of the Vale of York as Yorkshire Lavender sits on top of the Howardian Hills.  A view to die for - I will never tire of this view as each season and climate produces the colours and light which move and highlight areas of interest on the horizon.

Anyway - back to Iris!

I did notice, last year the Iris was not flowering as prolific as they should - on close inspection, the base of each plant had grown full circle and in the centre of each circle had become woody and tangled.  So it was time to lift and divide each plant!

Oh dear! (I thought) this is going to be a job and a half!  As the border is about 45 metres long and 3 metres wide with 7 mounds which are part of the Wibbly Wobbly Way?s design.

We just could not put the job off another year, so today, Jane, Tracey and myself, armed with barrows, forks, spades, clippers, scissors, dressed in warm clothing and over-trousers etc with lots of enthusiasm and trepidation, started to tackle the immense job as this means to lift, weed (couch grass ugh!) divide each circle into 4-5 clumps and re-plant!

Luckily for us, the weather was kind but still pretty hard going (who wants to pay for work outs!) What we have done looks good!

Our friend, the Robin, was busying himself, an eye on the turned, fresh soil, looking for worms we exposed.  Robin came so close to Tracey ? he has a lot of nerve!

I did disturb a sleepy toad which made me jump (but not him) - so disguised amongst the earth.  I covered him up carefully with soil.

We still have a long way to go on the Wibbly Wobbly Way but my it looks good.

Iris Sibirica (Sibirican Iris) - An adaptable group of Iris, suitable for planting near water or any rich soil, prefers full sun.

Iris Sibirica 'Persimmon' - broad blue/purple flowers, height 90cm flowers June/July, attractive knife shape leaves appear in Spring and stay structural until the Autumn.  The leaves start to die back November/December.  Very hardy.

Yorkshire Lavender have bare-rooted Iris Sibirica 'Persimmon' for sale and mail order out £1.95 each health root.


Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Thursday 24th February 2011

At last there is something moving in the garden - in fact quite a few things on close inspection.

This winter has been long and very cold, but it never ceases to amaze me, nature! She never fails us!

It takes something of an effort to force oneself out of the warm, cosy house and step into a cold, windblown, leaf sodden garden.

But we, at Yorkshire Lavender have been noticing lots of movement in our plot!  The lavenders are still asleep - but we do grow and sell a lot more than just lavender.

My boss Nigel yesterday came into the polytunnel with three 4" long freshly grown shoots of chives (Scottish Giant) found popping up in the garden.

The taste was so strong and pungent!

Anyone can grow chives - you do not have to be a gardener, they are so reliable and pop up every year, one of the first herbs to appear after the cold winter. 

I did add the three stems of chives into my egg sandwich for lunch - yummy!!

Chives can grow in pots outside or just in a border amongst flowers, shrubs or perennials or at the edge as an informal low hedge.

Let them flower in June/July (my granddad would be horrified at that!).

The Scottish Giant chives grow to 60cms high and look stunning and to add - an excellent nectar plant - a must to attract bees and butterflies into your garden.

Try eating the flower head too (after a good rinse under the tap).  Add to salads, the leaves too.

But its that thing of picking new grown small shoots of any pungent herb as it is just popping through the cold, dank earth -

That is amazing - The start of a new Season.

We grow the Unusual!

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Thursday 22nd July 2010

Our plant nursery ay Yorkshire Lavender grows a multitude of different plants alongisde the lavender. Some of these plants are firm favourites, over 30 varieties of mint, rosemary & thyme etc. However we also stock a large selection of unusual plants, many of which you will find hard to find elsewhere.

One such plant is Southernwood. Also known as lads love, this plant is a semi-evergreen hardy perennial which grows to around 1m (40in). With a rather unique scent the plant rarely will flower and instead sets seeds. Along with using seeds to propagate, you can also take softwood cuttings from the new growth in the Spring. Southernwood enjoys a light soil with some well-rotted organic material mixed in and placed in a sunny position.

It can be used in a number of ways including in the kitchen with salads (although use sparingly due to its strong flavour!). It is also used in France as a moth repellent. We have yet to try that one out as Lavender does a great job also!

It is one of the Yorkshire Lavender owners favourite plants, due to fact that he has been unable to kill it!

We will be bringing you more of some of our more unusual plants in the coming days.

Drying Lavender

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Tuesday 20th July 2010

It has been awhile since we last did a blog post. We have been very busy throughout the season so far with a number of events taking place at Yorkshire Lavender, but more to come about them soon. At the moment we are currently cutting the lavender for drying. The variety that we use is "Grosso". This is the lavender that is used extensively in Provence, France. "Grosso" is great for drying because it has long stems along with a long spike (the flower head).

We cut the lavender in the morning. This is when the oil is moving up through the stems upto the spikes thus capturing the fragrance. When you are cutting the lavender, you want to cut down to about half an inch above the hard wood, leaving some green growth. This should then encourage new growth from the bottom and stop the lavender plant from going woody.

The weather has been kind to us so far and we have cut hundreds of bunches, all of which have been hung upside down on string lines in some stables.  A pantry or garage at home will do just the job. Drying lavender upside down helps it keep its shape and keeping it in a dark area helps to retain the colour.

Hopefully we will get a few more good days and get the rest cut. Below you can see Jamie & Matthew cutting the lavender into the bunches.

Top Ten Tips for Growing Lavender

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Tuesday 16th March 2010

  1. Plant Lavender in Full Sun or where it will get sunlight for most of the day - remember lavender originates from the Mediterranean.
  2. Lavender likes free-draining soil, so add some grit sand to the hole where you will be planting your lavender.
  3. Water for the first two weeks until the lavender plant is established. After that you can forget about it.
  4. Lavender likes neutral to alkaline soil so if you have acidic soil you can add some lime to help raise the pH.
  5. Looking to plant a lavender hedge? Space the lavender around One ft Six inches to Two foot apart.
  6. Lavender is one of those plants which requires very little attention so will not need manure etc.
  7. Not got a lot of space in the garden? Lavender can be grown well in pots. The smaller lavenders such as Hidcote & Imperial Gem will do very well.
  8. Tender / Half Hardy varieties will also benefit from being planted in a pot. Bring them in over the winter.
  9. For the traditional, Angustifolia Lavender, cut back in late August, early September to around half an inch about the hard wood.
  10. Remember not to over-water! Lavender is a drought-loving plant.

Garden Bloggers we like

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Friday 5th March 2010

There are a lot of garden bloggers out there in the blogosphere. It sometimes hard to seek out the good ones. So we thought we would list some of the blogs that we like to read. Hopefully you will agree.

Clearing Out....

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Thursday 4th March 2010

We are getting ready for the new season here at Yorkshire Lavender and that includes developing new gardens.

The 'Stream Garden' Extension - We put the 'Stream Garden' in last year, previously it had been part of the deer park so consequently it is full of well-manured soil! As per its name, a small stream runs through the garden, but only when it rains! The plants did very well, so this year we have decided to more than double its size. 

The 'Bog Garden' was put in a few ago and every winter it receives large amounts of silt / mud from the nearby road, which needs removing. It is a heavy job as Robin & Dave will testify!

             The 'Stream Garden' Extension                                                    The'Bog Garden'

Very Wet at Yorkshire Lavender

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Friday 26th February 2010

bog garden (1)
The Bog Garden looking particularly boggy today! 

Today is wet and horrible and Julia is potting-up garlic chives - Garlic chives or Chinese chives, as these plants are sometimes called, are a close relative of ordinary chives, but the normal mild onion flavour is replaced by a pleasantly sweet garlic flavour, especially when the leaves are young.  

The other difference being garlic chives have a flat leaf as opposed to ordinary chives which have a round leaf.  There are also 'Scottish Giant' chives which are very hardy.

RHS Prints

Posted in The Compost Heap Blog on Wednesday 24th February 2010

Looking for a present for Mothers day? The RHS are selling these amazing prints.....

We think they look stunning, you can find more info over at the RHS website.