Ok, I’ll admit it straightaway – this is probably a bit of a cheat, but in my defence this week I have either been ill, or working and today I am off on a trip. So here is something that is gardening related, but not directly about my garden. My Six on Saturday is about what have been some of my best gardening learning experiences to date. Lets hope the meme leader, The Propagator, doesn’t think this is going too far off the gardening path.
Even when I was working all hours and family was full on and I had an uncontrolled garden and a weed filled allotment as well as an undeveloped plot , I still found time to sneak off somewhere now and again to learn how to garden better. Sometimes that might be just upstairs with a book and other times it would be 200 odd miles away to a course or a garden visit.
1.In my early days of gardening it was Sarah Raven’s Perch Hill that I was drawn to again and again. First to morning courses on growing vegetables or cooking them or growing flowers for cutting and often for Open Days and once or twice (because then I could afford it) for the indulgence of a whole day’s course. Getting there takes over two hours, but I always found it worth it. As a teacher, I am probably more than usually critical about people who are teaching me, (though I realise this isn’t a particularly positive trait). Sarah Raven, as I found out straightaway, is a brilliant teacher and, as with all excellent teachers, it is hard to exactly pin down exactly what she does to be so completely engaging.
2. Equally and consistently excellent are the workshops and classes at, the more local to me, Green and Gorgeous. A flower farm with all the flowers I love grown expertly, it is also a wonderful place to learn about propagating, growing and arranging flowers with Rachel Seigfried a generous and inspiring teacher.
3.Sometimes, just visiting a place can give you inspiration and if you live near Worton Farm in Oxfordshire, just a few minutes walking around will give you a bag full of ideas about growing.
4. My absolutely favourite book on propagation is Carol Klein’s ‘Grow Your Own Garden’ which is reassuring, clear and authoritative.
5. A very different and still completely wonderful book is ‘The Morville Hours’ by Katherine Swift which in graceful prose taught me that gardening as an obsessive delight is not quite as unusual as I thought.
6. And last of all is, not a book nor a blog, but my very lively and loyal gardening buddy who, unlike me, has lots of RHS qualifications to their name. Gardening therapy is the term we have taken to giving to our (at least) weekly, intense discussions over wine or coffee.
Next week, even if it still feels too cold to go outside, there will be a six very firmly grounded in the garden.