Well, last week I went and visited the Eden Project which was amazing and I will post more about soon but first I thought I should write about my visit to Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens earlier last month.
I went with middle-younger-sister when they were open to the public for free as part of Heritage Open Days and we both agreed that we were glad we hadn’t paid to get in which sounds like a very negative way to start as we did enjoy the day.
The site is split into lots of different garden areas my favourite being the Biodynamic Garden, it is their newest garden and already they are seeing a difference in the crop yields from it. The garden is enclosed with a wall that looks like it could be made of straw bales which makes it feel warmer than the other areas, not that it was a cold day.
I have known about Biodynamics for a little while now but not really understand what it was until mother had it explained to her on a course “Biodynamics is about waking the soil up and reminding it to look after itself” was a very simple description that has clicked with both of us and we have since been out and bought a ‘Biodynamic Preparation‘ for the garden and I think I will (again) try to stick to a moon sowing and planting calendar for next year – but this time using a biodynamic one.
The other garden that I like was called the ‘All Muck & Magic’ TV Garden. It was the first garden that was made on the site and is the size of an average garden in Coventry, which is about half the size of one of my allotment plots!! And I have three of them!
In spite of this it felt like a nice little space and had everything packed in – vegetables, flowers, a pond, a seating area and even a (very) mini greenhouse. I’m not so sure it would have felt so peaceful if there was someone else’s garden either side and either a road or another garden at the end but I am very used to having plenty of space around me even in a big house full.
The garden was made as part of a TV series, each week they made a different corner of it and the garden was named after the television series.
We got there just in time for one of the guided tours and in one of the gardens (I think it was the compost garden) they showed us an experiment they have been running with leaf mould, green manures and a control bed. Each year they have added more leaf mould to the leaf mould bed, green manure to the green manure bed and nothing to the control bed. The leaf mould bed has out done the other beds year after year and with a rotation of different crops. Very interesting stuff, especially given where we live and that we seem to have a valuable resource each year that goes completely unused. I think this autumn we shall be making some leaf litter bins and gathering up what leaves the goats and sheep don’t eat ready for next year.
Another area was the “Low Maintenance Landscape” which is a form of gardening they use in public places in Germany and is now starting to be used in the UK.
Plants are picked that are hardy, offer different levels of cover, flower for long periods and have attractive seed heads. Only one day a year of care is needed and that day is spent cutting everything down in winter ready for regrowth in the spring, no watering or feeding is needed throughout the year.
Garden Organic also run the Heritage Seed Library and there is an interesting looking seed saving room inside and some information about the law around selling seeds. In the 1970s legislation was passed making it illegal to sell seed from plants or varieties that were not registered on either the National List or the European Common Catalogue. Seed companies are charged for registering seeds on these lists and it is thought, although exact figures are not known, that over 2000 varieties have been lost in just the 40 years since the legislation was passed.