Open Garden in Spain

On my recent visit to Spain, I visited Cortijo Opazo which is part of the Open Garden programme in the Alpujarras – a lovely unspoiled area in southern Spain where we’ve been going for over 20 years.  It is purported to have the cleanest air in Europe and fantastic walking.   A British couple bought the derelict property about 15 years ago and run it as a holiday rental.  Over the years they have converted the ancient terraces into garden rooms each with a different theme – local plants, English garden, vegetables (including the broadbeans below which were very much in season!), chickens, etc.  A lovely visit!  Photos below.


John Little’s Home

Those of you who came to the meeting in May will remember John Little, who kindly invited the Club to visit his home in Essex.  Four of us went yesterday and were  blown away by his eco-friendly garden filled with amazing ideas.  He and his partner also entertained us royally with a two hour tour of the garden which is filled with wildflower meadows, bug hotels, natural hedges, ponds and green roof bicycle sheds and shelters which he makes on site. His principle is not to remove rubble, rubbish or building materials but to use them to create the garden.  He also uses inexpensive building materials such as the mesh that goes in concrete and perforated sheet metal.   He is a mine of information on wildflowers and insects.  They then gave us a lovely lunch.    Here are some of the highlights.

Plant pots from wire mesh, sand (for sand nesting insects) and piping on the inside.
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Bike Sheds John Little makes on-site with green roofs and insect havens. Many have gone to council estates in Wales.


Wildflower drifts.
The mounds were constructed out of concrete rubble.
John Little shows us how he constructed hedges out of twigs and garden rubbish to create insect and bird havens with trees and bramble starting to grow on the inside.


Back view of John Little’s house with a green roof.
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A green roof pergola


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An office/classroom constructed from two shipping containers wood clad with green roof.


Coach Trip Sunday 21st June 2015

This year, the coach trip will be to Borde Hill Gardens and to 4 Ben’s Acre, both in Sussex.  In between we will stop off at Hiller’s Garden Centre.  Our usual PROMPT start from St Peter’s at 9.00am.

Borde Hill is one of the great gardens of southern England.  It has 200 acres surrounding an Elizabethean manor.  There are nine distinct gardens within.   The main garden is 17 acres of formal garden and contains Azaleas, an Italian Garden,  mid-summer border,  a rose garden and various others – check their website for more details. (   We will have our lunch here;  you may bring your own but there is also a restaurant and a cafe.  And a shop.  Coffee will not be laid on for our arrival but if you want, you can hit the cafe.

Next Hillier’s  garden  Centre.  You will have an hour but not more.  You can do a lot of damage in one hour.  This is part of a chain of garden centres and they have a bit of everything.

Our final stop is 4 Ben’s Acre, a small garden owned by Pauline and Brian Clark.  The garden is part of the National Garden Scheme but is being shown exclusively to us on this day.  It is on the edge of St Leonards Forest and has arbours, a summerhouse, ponds with waterfall, topiary and much more – the owners are members of the Hardy Plant Society so be prepared for an unusual and diverse range of plants.  Tea and cake will be available.

The cost for members of DBG will be £14  and  for non-members £24 (to include part payment of the coach).

If you would like to attend, email the club


Sky Garden

We managed to get some of the free tickets to the Sky Garden at the top of the Walki Talkie.  It is an indoor roof garden with lovely spaces and a green wall outside.  You can book a free visit here   but if you book a table for coffee/breakfast etc. at the Sky Pod bar you are right in the middle of it.  Coffee was good and very reasonably priced.  There are also other restaurants on the same level.  There is a lift up to the coffee area so you can see much of it without walking and stair climbing.  In the summer there is an open area.    DSCF0242 DSCF0241 DSCF0231 DSCF0234 DSCF0235 Sky Garden 1   IMG_0294 IMG_0297

Olympic Park Tour

On Tuesday about 25 of us ranging in age from  6 months to nearly 90 went on a tour of the Olympic Park Gardens.  It was a trial as they hope to offer horticultural tours to clubs around the country to support the gardens and community involvement.  I have attached some photos.  If you are interested in knowing more about the gardens or better still volunteering, see the links below.

The following website explains in detail the gardens and plants (can also download an app!):

See here for information on signing up as a volunteer (across all roles).

As you can see they have a Mobility Service if anyone wants to plan a visit is here:


2014 Coach Trip

The coach trip this year took place on 22nd June and visited Spencer’s Garden, Snares Hill Cottage and Langthorne’s Plantery. Thanks to Roger Till for the photographs, it is almost like being there.




Gardeners Question Time

There was a lively discussion on Tuesday night.  Thanks to our panel of  Louise Alhadeff, from North One and West Six Garden Centres;  Miranda Janatka, an apprentice a Kew, and our own Chris Preston, longstanding member and vegetable growing expert.

Miranda enquired about the prunus disease.  She says ‘I asked at Gardeners World about that Prunus this morning, and was told yes it is fungal, Systhane can be bought and sprayed every 7-10 days on reachable part of the tree, it will get into the plant and get all over. Keep it clean and tidy, clear away fallen leaves. Wet time of year fungal will be bad obviously.’   She said if anyone else has questions she will enquire.  She will try to find out about hazel and the catkins, and tulips.  If you have others, post a comment.  Prunus disease