Tuesday, 27 April 2010

they're off...

There will be a small pause in posts from the ecospot, as we are all heading up to the beautiful Malvern (very early tomorrow morning) to complete the build of our latest show garden project - the huge, 25th Anniversary Garden for the Three Counties Agricultural Society, in readiness for the opening of the Malvern Spring Gardening Show.

If I get a chance, I will try and stick a little update up here, otherwise you will have to content yourselves with my Twitters, which should get more frequent when I am on site.

And you never know, I might even say something interesting. You can follow me here.

See you all soon...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

time for tea...?

Just a really quick post - a huge congratulations to Gaynor Witchard who produced a beautiful garden at the recent RHS Cardiff show and was awarded a Silver-Gilt and Best in Show.

With a gentle, cottagey feel, the garden was wonderfully delicate, and I have been assured that the vintage china teacup birdfeeders we produced for Irene's Garden fitted in perfectly.

Official photos will follow - until then have a look here... (click the tiny 'more images' text in the top left of the picture to see more details!)

Well done again Gaynor!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

road trip...

Those who visit the wonderful Malvern Meet blog cannot fail to have noticed the ticking time bomb counting down the very seconds until the start of the Malvern Spring Gardening Show.

So therefore it will be no surprise that I spent one day last week driving up and across half of the country to go and look at stuff.

The itinerary read as follows:

5.45 - leave Brighton. eat a whole bag of licorice allsorts for breakfast by the time the first service station is reached. fill up with petrol as I realise my petrol gauge is not working.

9.30 - arrive at the Three Counties Agricultural Society in Malvern to see what's occurring on site.

9.31 - find Nina and drink an enormous cup of coffee

9.32 - out onto site....And - the garden is looking amazing. Jim Steed and his guys at Outdoor Living Space are doing a sterling job with the detailing slick and bright.

The amelanchiers are blossoming (which is a bad thing, as they will probably be over by the show), the cherries are not yet (which is good), the turf is lush and the pool is Olympic. My excitement could not be contained as I took a whole load of pics before my short sleeved southern arms froze off in the biting midlands wind.

A couple of hours later and back into the minster to drive across the beautiful countryside to Northamptonshire where a section of polytunnel housed a chunk of planting for the garden.

The drive was lovely and quiet, and we stopped at a tiny pub in the middle of nowhere to have a spot of lunch. A goats cheese panini later and we were back on our way.

2.30 - We arrived somewhat later than we had hoped at Manor Farm Nursery, but we were welcomed by Gordon and the promise of a cup of coffee in ten minutes. We trundled up the track to the polytunnels to see the awaiting plants.

They are looking good - slightly smaller than we had all (including Manor Farm) had expected for the time of year, but we have been lulled into a supreme sense of complacency with the winters of late. The continued bands of snow have only extended the dormancy of the plants, who are really just starting to wake up to spring. We need sun, and we need it now to get the plants to their best for the show.

But Mother Nature will not be told. She will do what she does, and if required, I will source some extras for here daan saaaf where we live in a comparative Mediterranean environment.

3.00 - The promised cup of coffee was drunk (along with a biscuit) and we wound our little way back to the sunny coast.

6.45 - A total of 13 hours later, I sat down and ate chips for tea, exhausted, but content in the knowledge that it is all coming together...

Monday, 12 April 2010

apothecaries and apologies...

Again it seems as though I have abandoned this poooor little blog.

Spring has sprung on the south coast, and the amount of work I am trying to squeeze into the time my eyes are open has expanded beyond the time my eyes want to stay open. Subsequently, the blog has been a little neglected.

But no matter, I am here now, so I thought I would write a true diary post about what I have been up to.

I have attended a wonderful seminar, arranged by the Design Council and South East Design all about Designing for Sustainability, which was held at the truly beautiful Stanmer House. There were other wonderful people there and we spent the afternoon talking about carbon calculations, life cycle analysis and closed loop designing before redesigning an object that one of us had brought with us as an example of bad design.

The main speaker for the event was James from Giraffe, who was fantastic - just like a brilliant lecturer who can get you excited about the strangest of things, like carbon calculations. For example, using carbon calculations, you would have to use a ceramic mug 1000 TIMES before it outweighs the amount of CO2 used in the manufacture, transportation and disposal of the traditionally eco baddie that is the expanded polystyrene cup. Interesting eh?

But do not despair. Do not rush out and fill your kitchen cupboards with disposable cups (unlike our local hospital....). Just continue with your mugs and use them till they bust. Then continue to use them as plant pots or crocks.

I also trawled around Lewes looking at fantastic antiques that I cannot afford. Including these AMAZING apothecary drawers, which one day I will have an entire wall of, or I will find a lovely lovely client who will allow me to specify mountains of them for an interior.

We walked around a preserved iron age barrow and settlement and met a dog called Rory and his owner.

I also met a new client, have designed a micro market stall for a local trader using reclaimed timber and done my end of year books. My printer has broken, but the engine of our Morris Minor is being fixed (piston number 4 needs replacing). I have redesigned our website, but have not programmed it yet.

We also created a range of teacup bird feeders for Gaynor Witchard (who will be using them for her show garden at Cardiff at the end of the week), using these lovelies, and started to assemble another batch for a forthcoming showgarden at Malvern.

And of course, Malvern is getting dangerously close. Even though we have been on site since February, the show suddenly seems just around the corner, and the relentless countdown on the Meet at Malvern site is not doing much to calm my nerves. But things are going well, and I have been told that our decorative pool is so large I will be able to do my lengths in it every morning. Sounds good to me. Oh - I have also started to blog for both Meet at Malvern and the Three Counties Agricultural Society website, so take a look for my specific show garden ramblings.

Last but not least, I have been involved in the setting up of a new and (almost) completely unrelated business to my own.

The wares are natural and delicious and more details will follow very very soon...
can you guess what it is yet?