The RHS Bridgewater welcome building has won a prestigious RIBA architecture award – North West Building of the Year.
This is very well deserved news as it really is a beautiful design, housing a café, gift shop and plant centre. The gardens themselves have been hugely popular as the first RHS garden to be created in an urban area.
I also noticed that there was recent news of the new National Trust ‘skyline’ garden being created on a viaduct in the Castlefield area of Manchester. Work begun in March and the garden bridge is due to open this summer.
Bringing high quality landscape and garden design to formerly industrial cities such as Manchester and Salford is a brilliant way to allow more people to experience contemporary garden design.
Sow some self-seeding plants
Now the soil is warm and we are past the last frost, gardeners have far better chance at direct sowing seeds into the garden, rather than in the greenhouse or taking over your house with multiple pots.
Self-seeding plants are a time-pressed gardeners’ best friend, because they will return year after year with very little work, and they create their own naturalistic planting pattern.
Annuals such as the bright yellow or orange California poppy will happily dance around your garden (and sometimes your driveway). They will self-seed fairly easily so if you see any in a friend or neighbour’s garden, the cheapest way to spread them is to take a seed pod once its dried and sprinkle them across your own garden.
Nasturtium are another one of my favourite self-seeders, as they produce huge amounts of seeds. This is quite a large sprawling plant, giving off masses of brightly coloured flowers. This is a good one to grow next to an outdoor eating space because the leaves and flowers are edible, with a very peppery flavour and can be added to salads. The seeds themselves are also edible, and can be pickled into a ‘poor man’s caper’ or just eaten in salads.
My other favourite self-seeding plant is Borage, which can move its way around a garden if you give it the freedom. The fat hairy leaves are also easy to spot early on, so you can dig them out quickly if they appear somewhere you don’t want them to. Borage is a beautiful tall plant with tiny star-shaped purple flowers, much loved by bees and the traditional addition to a Pimm’s Cup.
What am I reading?
I was doing some research on large-scale sculpture when I came across this striking image of a sea serpent in Nantes. The 130m long sculpture was created by French-Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping.
The aluminium serpent is covered and uncovered with the tide, so is ever-changing in its appearance.