These blog posts are produced by James Scott, Garden Company MD and Principal Designer:
'Creating beautiful outdoor spaces for people to enjoy is very rewarding. The purpose of this blog is for me to share some reflections on our work and our industry with you. Your comments and views in return are very welcome indeed'.

Growing Apprentices with Capel Manor College

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The Horticulture industry is seriously short of qualified people and would benefit hugely from more people seeing it as a ‘first choice’ in career terms.  We are therefore pleased to announce the launch of our new apprenticeship scheme.  Over the years it has proven difficult to find qualified people to join our team, so this year we took the decision to ‘grow our own’.  We are delivering this scheme in conjunction with Capel Manor College www.capel.ac.uk  the leading Horticultural college in our area. Our apprentices will spend a day a week at the college as well as undertaking comprehensive ongoing in-house training.  We know this will give us a great opportunity to train people in getting things done ‘The Garden Company way’ from the very beginning, to our own high standards of quality and customer satisfaction.  We definitely view this as a long term strategy, continuing our commitment to having the best possible trained workforce to meet our clients’ needs.  At the same time we will be offering people an excellent opportunity to gain real work experience, earn money and train at the same time. All apprentices will undertake a wide range of duties to give them broad range of experience within the company.

Our first apprentice joined us recently and is working in our Maintenance division. For more information about our Maintenance services, see www.thegardenco.co.uk/garden-maintenance/

If you would like to discuss your garden/grounds maintenance requirements with us, please do not hesitate to call Joanna Mège, Maintenance and Small Works Manager on 01442 832666 or email joanna@thegardenco.co.uk.

National Tree Week, 29th November – 7th December

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National Tree Week, 29th November – 7th December

Malus 'Evereste'

Malus ‘Evereste’

Our clients often ask us for advice on tree planting and maintenance. As we approach National Tree Week http://www.treecouncil.org.uk/ I thought I would share some thoughts about trees with you. Firstly, a Greek proverb - ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in’.  It’s vitally important that our trees and woodland areas are kept in good health and can be enjoyed by future generations. With tales of rainforest deforestation coming from so far away, it can be easy to forget that we can make a difference here at home. I strongly believe that being in a woodland has a strong and beneficial emotional effect on people. One of the great joys of my job is being able to plant so many trees. The tree that always seems to be top of my planting list when a smaller tree is required at the moment is Malus Evereste, a lovely variety of ornamental crab apple. I like it because because it has three distinct seasons of interest, lovely flowers, late Summer fruit, Autumn colour and I still like the tracery of the branches in the Winter. It’s also really good for attracting birds to the garden.

And finally, another proverb (this time Chinese) -‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now’.  We offer tree surgery services and specialist advice on choosing the right type of trees for your garden throughout the South East of England, please see www.thegardenco.co.uk

or call 01442 832666 for more information.

UK Fungus Day 12th October 2014

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UK Fungus Day 12th October 2014

Parasol Mushroom

Parasol Mushroom

Autumn brings the opportunity to see the fruiting bodies of Britain’s 12,000 fungi and I am looking forward to taking part in UK Fungus Day on 12th October. Organised by the British Mycological Society, the focus will be on enjoying the beauty and diversity of fungi found in abundance in our woods, pastures and hedges as well as hunting for edibles. I find fungi fascinating. From a work perspective, although we use mycorrhizal fungi additives to help establishment of trees, it is not really possible (or desirable) to transfer them from their natural environment to built landscapes to use as ornamentals. How I would love to be able to use majestic Parasol mushrooms in the meadows we create and of course what fun and culinary delight if only we were able to add Ceps and Chanterelles to our woodland plantings.

What makes fungi so interesting (and important)?

  • Without fungi there would be no …. fertile soil, plant life, herbivores, carnivores and humans.
  • The vast majority of plants and trees have a symbiotic relationship with fungi that grow on their roots
  • Certain fungi are highly nutritious and are a major food for many soil animals and small mammals.
  • Fungi are natural ‘waste disposal’ agents, breaking down dead plants and animals and releasing nutrients to be used by other organisms.
  • Cultivated mushrooms are the most valuable horticultural crop sold in the UK.
  • Fungi are hugely important in human food production, including yeast (think bread, beer, wine); soy sauce; some meat substitutes; ‘blue cheese’ and Camembert; chocolate flavouring; the acidity regulator citric acid.
  • Anaerobic fungi enable herbivores to thrive on the plants they eat; without fungi – no meat, no milk, no wool, no leather.
  • Many life-changing drugs including antibiotics and statins are produced from fungi.

‘Fungal forays’ will take place across the UK on or around the weekend of 11th-12th October  – why not find one near you?

For more info see http://www.ukfungusday.co.uk/events

Written by James Scott, 2nd October 2014

 

The Garden Company at Chenies Manor

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Members of the Garden Company team will be at Chenies Manor Plant and Garden Fair on Sunday 20th July.

Chenies Manor is a Tudor Manor house with award winning gardens set in the estate village of Chenies in Buckinghamshire, overlooking the Chess valley. (www.cheniesmanorhouse.co.uk)

This will be our third consecutive year at this event. We enjoy it because of the beautiful location, the opportunity to meet up with friends and clients and to meet new people too. For visitors, there will be many stalls to visit, refreshments available all day and – for those who love music as well as gardens – a chamber choir!

The Fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have ideas or questions about your garden, we’d love to talk to you – why not drop in and see us on Sunday?

The National Gardens Scheme together with the Society of Garden Designers

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On Sunday, a group of Garden Company personnel (and family and friends) met up for a sunny afternoon at Serge Hill, the beautiful gardens in Hertfordshire created by Tom Stuart-Smith, MSGD.

The gardens were open as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) www.ngs.org.uk which is a wonderful opportunity to see gardens of horticultural interest that are usually closed to visitors. The NGS opens thousands of gardens every year and raises money for nursing and other caring charities by doing so.

We were all inspired on Sunday by the contrast between two very different garden areas at Serge Hill:

  • The Barn – an enclosed courtyard with tanks of water, herbaceous perennials and shrubs and nearby an amazing exotic prairie meadow (planted in 2010), along with a series of different gardens filled with bulbs, more herbaceous perennials and shrubs.
  • Serge Hill house – wonderful views over the ha-ha, a walled vegetable garden which drew much admiration from the Garden Company team, and a long colourful mixed border.

It was also a pleasure to say hello to several friends and colleagues from the SGD who were enjoying the opportunity to visit such a special place in beautiful sunshine.

The NGS operates throughout England and Wales and has a sister organisation in Scotland. Many other members of the SGD (Society of Garden Designers) participate in the scheme and the Society’s website www.sgd.org.uk lists members whose gardens will be opened to visitors during the rest of 2014. For an afternoon combining relaxation with inspiration, it is hard to beat.

The home-made damson ice-cream was excellent too!

Joanna Mège joins The Garden Company

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We are delighted to welcome Joanna Mège to the Garden Company in the role of Maintenance and Small Works Manager. Joanna has a successful track record over nearly a decade of managing high quality garden and grounds maintenance services in the UK. She is passionate about beautiful gardens and Landscapes and will be drawing on her Master’s degree in Horticulture as well as her experience to provide excellent advice to our clients on maintaining and developing their garden or landscape.

Joanna will be working to develop our already successful maintenance division. Please do not hesitate to call Joanna 01442 832666 or email joanna@thegardenco.co.uk to discuss your garden/grounds maintenance requirements.