Sunday, 31 January 2016

Brooksby Horticulture Award

I love to see young people getting on and doing well in life.  It’s great to see youngsters flourishing- with a little bit of a helping hand.

And the LRGT do just that by providing a grant to a Brooksby College Student each year. The funds for the grant come from our annual autumn lecture at Leicester University.

In the past three years we have had Cleve West, Joe Swift and James Alexander Sinclair. Other speakers have been Bunny Guinness, Chris Beardshaw and Anna Pavord. 
Our 2015 speaker James Alexander Sinclair. 
The grant - awarded for outstanding progress on a horticulture course- last year went to Marcus Chevin.
I asked Marcus to take part in our Five Minute Interview. 
Marcus Chevin
Q: Who inspired you most? 
A: My Dad who started his own landscaping and gardening business and worked hard to make it a        success. 
Q: What did you love best about your course?

A: At College you get to experience a wide range of activities and the subjects allow you to learn a diverse range of skills and gain knowledge. One day we might concentrate on Garden Design and the next we may be learning how to use chainsaws or understanding the ecology of different environments.
Photograph by kind permission of James Alexander Sinclair

Q   In Five years, where do you want to be?

A.I want to be working full time with my Dad’s business doing landscaping and gardening

Q  The LRGT Grant was spent on?

A.      I used it to purchase drawing equipment for Garden Design – compasses, drawing board, drawing pens

Q       Being chosen by the LRGT was great because?

A       It was special because it was nice to know my hard work at college was recognised and it enable me to purchase my own design equipment
Photograph by kind permission of James Alexander Sinclair

Q Favourite hobby?

A. Football!!!

Q Would like to spend the day working with? – you can name three people.

A.      Monty Don, Alan Titchmarsh and my DAD

Marcus, who is 20, studied Btec Level 3 Diploma in horticulture over two years.

Karen Gimson

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Some photos of my garden today

It snowed overnight here.  I always love that moment when you draw back the curtains and the view has been transformed.  Snow has that magic quality of hiding all the defects. 
I’m glad I left the seed heads.  Each one has a bobble hat of snow. 
Quite honestly, it’s been too wet to get out there and do any kind of gardening for weeks.  The hellebore leaves are untrimmed. Weeds and brambles abound. I’ve given up on the idea of dividing the perennials. And the veg plot will be a no-dig garden this year.  Walking on it would do more damage than good.

What’s happening in your garden at the moment?  Please let me know, and share your own garden photos too.   Here is some of mine to start us off.  
Against the sunny house wall there's an Algerian iris which is full of flower all through the winter. I always pick a flower to put on my work desk every morning. Connecting me with the outdoors - which is where I am happiest- to be honest.
The view from the potting shed. The trees  are willow, ash, cherry, hazel, beech and field maple. They look glorious in the autumn. We planted all of them as saplings.
The potting shed window- reflecting today's snowy scene.

I think I love the snow so much because there is nothing that can be done today.  Just stand, stare and enjoy the beauty.
Frozen wildlife pond. Even the arching brambles look pretty in the snow. The "layered" shrub is a viburnum plicatum.
My pergola goes all the way from the back door to the front drive, and there's a " spider's web" where it turns the corner. It's covered with unruly climbing roses, honeysuckle and clematis.


Friday, 8 January 2016

Snowdrop time is upon us

This week I spoke to James Leatherland, who’s been opening his garden for the National Garden Scheme for 23 years- helping to raise £60,000 for charity.
James, who’s 84, is famous for his snowdrop displays, and for raising new varieties.
Mum and I met him four years ago, and I learned that he’d named snowdrops after his wife, Joan May, and his daughter Fiona, and son Nicholas.
Since then, he’s also grown new varieties and named them after his grandchildren Amy Jade and George Benjamin. 
I would love to name one after my Mum, Marion, who’s been such an inspiration to me in so many ways, so I will be having a go at sowing seed and looking out for a new snowdrop variety!
It’s also amazing to see how much money can be raised by simply opening your own garden, and selling plants you’ve grown yourself. It’s given me something to think about, as this year I am determined to help more charities in any way I can.
The NGS Yellow Book scheme last year  donated £2.6 million to charities that mean a lot to me, including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospices UK and Parkinson’s UK.
And so many people have benefited from donations to The Carers Trust, The Queen’s Nursing Institute and the Cavell Nurses Trust.
NGS also supports gardening charities including Perennial, the RHS Trainees, Gardening Museum internship and NT Gardening Careerships.
You can visit James’ half acre garden on March 13 this year. Luckily, many of his snowdrops are late varieties, so should still be in flower.
Here’s the address:
18 Church Hill
For more info go to –

For more snowdrops: The LRGT also has a coach trip planned to Easton Walled Gardens and Little Ponton Hall in Lincs on 13th February. More details from our website
Photo Fred Cholmeley

This blog is written by Karen and Alison and features items we hope our members will find inspiring. These are our own views and opinions.

Please do add a comment, as we would love to hear from you.