Easy edibles with children

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At North Leeds Garden Design we’re frequently asked to include some space for edibles within the borders we design. ‘Growing your own’ is especially popular with families, keen to introduce the kids to the enjoyment of digging and planting – and the excitement of picking and eating! 

There are educational benefits for the children too – learning effortlessly about the cycle of growth and decay, and the way sunshine and rain are both needed to get a good crop. 

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Natures’ winter pick-me-ups

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At this time of year we get a lot of pretty gloomy advice in the media - supposedly to help us deal with the after–effects of the Christmas period; the weight we’ve added to our hips… and lost from our wallets!  Added to that there’s the dark evenings, the mountain of work to do, and the 6 months to wait before our next chance of some time off.  It can all feel rather depressing.

So today I am going to cheer us up by reminding you of some of the good things nature has on offer to help us get rid of the winter blues.   Here are three of my favourite seasonal pick-me-ups you might like to try:

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To be or not to be...

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Did you know that Shakespeare knew all about compost? In Hamlet Act 3 he has Hamlet pleading with Gertrude not to ‘spread compost upon the weeds, to make them ranker’…. sounds erious stuff! While you can, of course, spread your compost on weeds if you really want to, compost is actually brilliant for the garden and we’d recommend saving it for using with the plants you really want to cherish.

First of all, compost is a great growing medium. When added to our plants before planting it helps them to thrive by improving the environment for their roots.

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Enjoy your outside – inside!

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Some ideas for winter decorations from the garden Many of us like the idea that we can enjoy our garden all year round. In the winter months this often means just the bit of our garden we see as we trudge up the garden path from the car on the way home from work, or the immediate view from our sitting room window.

I wrote in my last blog about the importance of siting winter shrubs so they can be seen from these viewpoints. But there is another way to bring the garden closer to us in winter; to bring some of our plants indoors - or at least onto the patio or by the front door.

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Design is all around us...

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I’ve just returned from a short trip to Switzerland. Whilst most England football fans were sitting in the sun, I went to the Vitra Design Museum. You had to take the bus across the border to Germany which was interesting, it is so easy to travel around now, you don’t even realise you are in a different country apart from, in this case, the currency.

The Vitra Design Museum is a collection of buildings designed by international architects including Frank Gehry and Zara Hadid. I was especially interested in the Vitra haus which is a four floor showroom of all the products they make/sell laid out in room settings. This is not IKEA however, there are some well known design classics such as the Charles & Ray Eames Lounge Chair.

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Wonderful Winter Plants

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At North Leeds Garden Design we’re often asked to design a garden with year-round appeal from the planting. Many of our customers obviously think it’s quite a challenging ask to have plants of interest in the garden in winter as well as summer. But I have to say that what’s difficult about this is often more about the amount of choice available – and how to narrow it down! So today I thought I’d share with you my current top five favourites.

Garden-making in the UK, with our temperate -if increasingly unpredictable- climate means there is a huge range of plants with which to beguile us in the winter months.

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Friendly Advice...

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I’ve just returned from visiting a friend in London and whilst I was there she wanted some advice for her garden – not an uncommon request!

She has lived there for three years and now has two young children. They lead busy lives and want a green oasis in their corner of South West London. A couple of years ago she had some work done; mainly removing some shrubs from the jungle at the end of the garden, taking down a Willow which cast too much shade and had overgrown its site and then laying new turf where these had been. Visually it is much improved and it is a bigger and more usable space because of it.

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