Monday, 2 February 2015

Planning a garden in bloom

We have visited a few garden centres over the weekend as our plans for the areas of the garden are now starting to take shape.  I was excited to find Sarah Raven seeds for sale in local garden centres. Has anyone else seen them too? I am planning on hijacking at least one raised border for a cutting garden.


I had one previously when we had our allotment, sorry the photo is dreadful, but you do get the idea of the colours. It was wonderful to come home with bunches of flowers. It's not the same as picking flowers from mixed borders, as I always want to leave some behind.

Cutting patch in the allotment in 2008 (mobile phone pictures weren't so good then!)
Raised borders Jan 2015




The cuttings we bought with us are still looking very small at the moment. I also always enjoying buying plants from fellow gardeners, we were lucky to have discovered this plant stall and have already been back twice to buy some gems!


Our local garden centre Groves Nurseries holds the national collection of Viola odorata and parma violets.  As my Granny was called Violet they have always been special flowers for me.

The parma violets are not hardy- the smell as I entered the greenhouse took me straight back to my childhood and those parma violet sweets I used to have! Did you eat them too ? I'm not sure I would like them now as they are quite perfumed.   I have eaten viola and pansy flowers, but didn't realise you can also eat the leaves.The viola leaves are tart. Has anyone tasted them or used violets in cooking?


The parma violets have glossy leaves, double flowers and a different fragrance. 





There were so many  violets it was difficult to choose. I finally picked this one "Fred Morey" to take home with us. This violet was named after one of the seedmen that once worked for Groves nursery. I hope it will do well under the hazels in the garden.

Fred Morey Violet


It has been Tavi proof too, as you can see he doesn't understand that borders shouldn't be walked on! With his identification disk he looks like medallion man!


What is happening in your garden at the moment? 

Sarah x

54 comments:

  1. Violets are lovely, aren't they. Your garden is rather wonderful too! So neat. My garden is rather a mess at the moment. x

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  2. Lovely photos and it looks as if your garden plans are well underway. There's not a lot happening in my small garden at the moment, I'm sure the ground has permafrost! Only landed here at our present abode last year and started turning the barron rear patch into hopefully what will become a wildlife haven...fingers crossed.

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    1. A lovely idea creating a wildlife haven. I used to volunteer at a wildlife garden and it was wonderful seeing all the insects,birds and mammals it attracted. Sarah x

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  3. Those ears, he's utterly adorable. Your garden is looking fantastic, absolutely immaculate, well done you. The violets are lovely and I shall enjoy watching your cuttings patch take shape. I'm going to try and squeeze in some flowers again this year as well, I did so like them last year and I particularly loved seeing the bees as well. CJ xx

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  4. Good luck with your cutting garden - how lovely to be able to cut your own flowers. The violas are beautiful.

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  5. I can't even think about gardening here! There is still snow on the ground and 36F degrees outside with a high wind which makes it below freezing. I see that Tavi is still all ears! So cute! We do not have the selection of violets that you have. They only grow well in the Spring and Fall only.

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  6. What a well laid out selection of raised beds! It will be lovely to compare later this year if you post photos of them then. yes, I liked Parma Violet sweets too, and my favorite brand of green tea ice cream has a taste of Parma violets which makes it the very best - in my opinion that is.

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  7. Beautiful photos - Tavi's ears are so alert!

    What's happening in my garden - well hopefully weeding soon. My garden house is complete and I need to do some planting around it.

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  8. I started a cut flower patch on the allotment last year and had flowers to cut all through the summer. It's much better than growing them in the garden borders as you say because you don't want to spoil the display. Good luck with your plans

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  9. My garden is still under snow! But it is so inspiring to hear your plans - a cutting patch is a joy isn't it. I have had one since I first got Sarah Raven's book in 1996 (heavens - THAT long ago?) I wouldn't be without it. As for that gorgeous little Tavi...

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    1. I must have bought the book at the same time too! I also went on a course with Sarah Raven on growing flowers for a cutting garden,and that is what inspired my patch at the allotment. It is frightening how time flies! Sarah x

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  10. Sarah! Oh thank you for posting this HOPE; I am sitting here trying to type with frozen fingers (and I even have the heat on in the house!) - we are so far from planting anything, but it's wonderful to see you and Tavi too, out and about planting. BRING ON SPRING! Anita

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  11. I've not touched my raised beds yet as the weather has been so cold lately. I had violet for my first herbal ally about four years ago so I have several articles about her on my blog if you care to search. I usually make my apprentices and anyone else attending the March workshop eat a violet leaf to discover the meaning of mucilage. I make a cough syrup for children from the flowers, eat the leaves in spring and make a wonderful oil from the leaves in summer. I remember the parma violet sweets my grandmother had when I was small - didn't like them very much, much prepferred the blackcurrant pastiles she had!

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    1. Thanks for all the information about violets. I shall have to take a look. Sarah x

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  12. Oh Sarah, how I wish something were happening in my garden right now! I'll have to live through you at the moment. The plants and cuttings I brought with me to this house are finally beginning to look like mature plants, so hopefully this year my landscape will really take shape! Meanwhile I wait for Spring to arrive... I do have wild violets growing all over my yard though, that makes me happy!

    xo

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  13. It's going to be a wonderful garden! You have a lot more space for plants than I do ... I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it :o)

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  14. I shall look forward to seeing more of your cutting patch later in the year, Sarah. I was thrilled when I found Sarah Raven seeds at my local garden centre. I bought some Zinnias last year and they did very well. My garden looks rather bare at the moment, when viewed from the conservatory. But on closer inspection, there is an awful lot pushing up through the soil. You are obviously meticulous planners, something that I lack in the garden I'm afraid!
    Leanne xx

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    1. All the plans go out the window when I suddenly see a plant I fall in love with! Sarah x

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  15. Dear Sarah,

    How really exciting to be getting your new garden in place and love the raised beds - look forward to seeing all the flowers blooming in your garden. I love violets too and have the Viola Odorata growing.
    We badly need rain here :( sadly one of my camellia bushes which we had to shift to another position is not going to make it and I have been watering and putting mulch around it.
    Hope you are enjoying the week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  16. Your garden looks wonderful ane I am looking forward to see your new flowers bloom!
    Tavi is, I guess , a big helper in the Garden ;O)
    Have a lovely week,
    Hugs, Claudia

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  17. Oh the dog is sooo beautiful! Your garden looks perfect, you are good gardener, I think. How bad that you live so far, I have cuttings from black elder and hydranea.

    Sigrun

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  18. The violets are so lovely they seed themselves around our garden but they are the tiny woodland type and soon get lost amongst everything else. I used to grow flowers for cutting when I had my allotment but now have to make room to squeeze a patch in. I haven't decided what I will be growing yet this year but they always bring joy. Your garden is looking very organised it will be fun to see how it progresses. Love the picture of the church - beautiful.

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  19. Your garden is looking really good Sarah and it's always exciting making new plans. I remember those Parma violet sweets too and can almost taste them as we speak! Have a good week.
    Patricia x

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  20. I'm looking forward to seeing how your plans progress. I have a pile of seed catalogues to start some veggies later this spring, but I need to be careful when I start as we're pretty far north! Juliex

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  21. Wow! It looks like a garden show around here! Looking forward to the growth.
    Amalia
    xo

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  22. You are going to have so much fun planning and planting your new garden, Sarah! I fear Tavi's plans for what to do in all that lovely dirt might be a bit different than yours. :-)

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  23. I've never eaten violet candy, it sounds really interesting. Purple is my favorite color so I always like to have purple flowers around. Your garden is sure to be beautiful with that assortment of seeds. I'm looking forward to watching it grow.

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  24. Absolutely nothing happening in our garden at the moment!! Due to 'can't be bothered' and snow!!!! But the pictures of your rather well-kept new garden has given my conscience a little bit of a prick!! I love Groves!! I am hoping they take National Garden vouchers, I have saved my birthday ones for a spending spree next month!! (Oh! I can't believe I can say 'next month' at last!!!) I love Violets, especially the bottled perfume of Devon Violets, it transports me back to when I was very small and we holidayed in Paignton, my Mum always bought me a tiny bottle of perfume!! Shall look forward to seeing your garden progress!! Don't wait to see mine though!!!!! X

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    1. Groves show the national Garden Vouchers on their website so it shouldn't be a problem using them. Sarah x

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  25. Your raised beds are fantastic. Did you build them or were you lucky enough to inherit them? It'll be great fun planting them up.

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    1. We were lucky enough to inherit the raised beds! Our garden looks so easy compared with your challenges! Sarah x

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  26. Hello Sarah, you have a fabulous garden especially the raised beds. I'm loking forward to seeing
    your flowers in bloom.

    Tavi is just adorable.

    luv
    irene

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  27. Hello Sarah,

    You have obviously been working very hard to get the structure of your garden in shape and soon will come the fun part of filling all those beautifully prepared borders.

    It is so tempting to have a wide variety of flowers in the garden, especially when one is lured by the glossy pictures on seed packets, but we found that a few varieties planted en masse gave a far more satisfactory look to the borders. There is always then something to cut and something to leave behind.

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    1. That's exactly what my husband is always telling me! With your previous experience in gardening I shall try and follow this advice! Sarah x

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  28. I thought Parma Violets were a type of sweet!

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  29. Tavi looks to me as though he is very surprised to be caught on camera! Dogs are so funny aren't they. Your garden preparations look fabulous! If you feel the need for some more digging after doing all that lot I can always oblige... No..!! You have done masses of work I can tell, I hope that the plants all get on and do their thing as it is going to be beautiful! xx

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  30. Oh I really looking forward seeing your garden in the springtime! Lovely pictures and the violets are just beautiful (even the violet candy!)
    Have a great week, take care.
    Best wishes from a snowy island and Titti

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  31. Dear Sarah,

    What a lovely garden you have and what a joy it is to plan, buy and put down in soil. And Tavi looks just a excited about the garden as well. :) And violets...I can never get enough of them. So sweet. It looks like spring is well on it's way over there with you. Here our garden is still covered with snow and the garden work just have to wait a little longer.

    Thank you sweet, sweet Sarah for all your kindness and concern. Your words mean so much, especially now when life is tough. Thank you for being there.♥

    Take care and enjoy your beautiful garden.

    Charlie
    xx

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  32. I love that his ears haven't plopped over yet- he will look quite different when they do. I remember Teddy's looking like that when he was a small :o) Very exciting to have a new garden to plan- it all looks so neat and tidy, I bet you can't wait for warmer days to start! xx

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    1. His ears gallop down every evening when he is tired! Sarah x

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  33. Oh those colours are lovely, especially on a cold grey day.

    All the best Jan

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  34. Not very much is happening although the bulbs are coming above the ground and the helleborusplants have lots of beginning flowers. I love violets or pansies. Every year i buy some for i the post during winter and spring. Do you know my name means pansy in Greece? Lovely greetings

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  35. Exciting plans.....I love the idea of a cutting garden, think I might have just the right patch too! :) xxx

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  36. It's the pictures on the packets of Sarah Raven Seeds - they tempt me every time! My local garden centre stocks them too but I'm determined to resist until I have a proper plan for the garden this year. I like the idea of planting flowers en masse - both colour and excess for cutting. Picking the flowers should encourage more growth so you could have a win:win situation! Looking forward to seeing how it turns out, I'm sure it will be just gorgeous. PS. I grow viola odorata as part of my edible flowers for salads. Caro x

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  37. It amazes me that flowers are blooming at all in my garden where is frost on the ground and a bitter wind blowing. But snowdrops are out and blossom emerging on branches. I, however, am tucked up inside! It's a good time of year for planning/dreaming about the growing season ahead. I've never grown a dedicated cutting patch but gather freely from beds and borders and find something to bring into the house all through the year. Do find out if there is a seed swap event in your area, it is a great way of enlarging your stock and also a good way of meeting like-minded people.

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    1. Thank you for your suggestion. I have discovered there is a seed swap next weekend! Sarah x
      i

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  38. Your new space looks amazing! I love violets and pansy plants. Yes to a cutting garden. I purchased wild flower seeds today at the local hardware store, alas it will be many months until it is warm enough to think about getting in the garden. Something I am looking forward to for sure. Thanks for sharing your plans. Best, Kim

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  39. I would love a cutting garden, I had an allotment for about a nano second and the flowers were the only things that grew lol!

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  40. Your garden is so well organised Sarah, I can tell that it is going to be a riot of colour this coming summer. It will be exciting for you to watch it in its first year. Little Tavi is looking full of mischief.

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  41. Tavi looks like he was caught in the act of something naughty...
    I envy you living so close to the sea and those cold and blustery, yet fresh and invigorating, walks on the beach.
    Stay warm.
    Frances
    X

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  42. I bet your garden will be lovely this spring. I like violets very much but have never had them in my garden. At work I used to have many different types of African violets on a bookshelf, but they don’t have any scent.

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  43. I have violets here but they aren't very fragrant. :( As for my garden, it is almost completely dormant and will be for at least another month. I would much rather be surrounded by violets!

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  44. Oh I love having a peek in your garden. And no, I didn't know I could eat the leaves as well as the flowers. Thank you!! I have never seen the violet candies here in Nova Scotia but now I want to try some!! Also, the seed packets with the little bee sign on them from Sarah Raven will likely do very well for you. One of the first books I bought that she wrote was The Cutting Garden. I love it. Enjoy your spring, so far ahead of us here, buried in snow ;-)

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  45. Nasturtium flowers and leaves and some rose petals I have eaten and I have tasted a cookie flavored with violets, I think, but I did not realize one can eat both violet blossoms and leaves. I have some daffodils in bloom in the yard, but my garden area is for the most part just dirt. You inspire me to dream it could be more :) xx

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