The Monstera Files (Say Cheese) – Part 3

My return to the office after my short break on the South generic levitra canadian healthcare Coast was met with tremendous enthusiasm. Not from my colleagues as you might think (!) but by young Monty the Monstera, who, as you’ll see from the picture below is certainly making progress. If you remember, only a week ago was there the beginning of a new leafy emergence, but look at it now…

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Previous pic for comparison:

Coming Soon – Part 4 of this dazzling portrayal of an epic struggle between man and plant!


The Beautiful South – Doglets go to Abbotsbury Gardens

So… I decided it was time to take a well-earned few days off from work when the opportunity arose to spend some time down in Weymouth with my Sister and her chap. Being a miserable old sod, I tend to shy away from things that involve relaxing and enjoying the company of good friends and family (yeah right!), but on this occasion I decided to dust myself off and travel southward to meet up with them.

Now my sister and her partner have two 4-month old Smooth buy cialis online Collies called Max and Henry, and this was their first holiday. Being so young, they were obviously very excited, and insisted on packing all their favourite toys and doggie kibbles. As you can see below, and as pointed out by friends on Twitter, their suitcases took up a lot of space, which meant that myself and the doglets’ poor old owners had to be content with the one pair of pants each (not orange ones I hasten to add) and a toothbrush.

Once settled at their destination, the Doglets wasted no time in sniffing and trying to play with everything in sight; after all this was their first trip, and at only 4 months old they didn’t know what a rabbit, pigeon, or even cat was. I promise you this is leading to a garden related post, but I had to find an excuse to put the above picture in!

The Doglets decided they wanted to have a sniff round Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, and considering we were staying very close by, duly obliged in this very wise decision. I had never visited Abbotsbury before, and if you haven’t, I (and the Doglets) thoroughly recommend you do. I’ll be talking more about the Gardens themselves when I finish getting the gallery together, but to say it was an exquisite place to visit is something of an understatement. Famous for its Camellias, Hydrangeas and Magnolias, the 20 acres of gardens are also home to some magnificent exotic and tropical plants; and the variety and planting shown throughout the different areas nothing short of breathtaking.

“Abbotsbury doesn’t need to bring anything else to the table where the landscaping and design is concerned, but this is an indication of the detail that is evident, the thought that has penetrated this subtropical paradise.”

While walking through the gardens, you come to stop at a bench to take a little breather. Ah, but why is the bench place where it is? Not by accident I can tell you! As you take in the planting surrounding you, you are drawn to an impeccable example of something I touched upon in an earlier post, the borrowed landscape. Now, Abbotsbury doesn’t need to bring anything else to the table where the landscaping and design is concerned, but this is an indication of the detail that is evident, the thought that has penetrated this subtropical paradise, and i’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a beautiful view. Through a small (but carefully maintained) gap in the trees ahead, you can see St. Catherine’s Chapel perfectly framed like an old oil painting, perched atop a hill.

Unfortunately, the camera I have at the moment doesn’t display this beautiful borrowed landscape in all the glory it should, and i’ve zoomed in a bit, but when you’re sat there, absorbing all the sounds, sights, and smells surrounding you, it’s an incredible experience. Try it for yourselves, and let me know what you think.

Before I sign off, I’d best just tell you that the young Doglets are now available to follow on Twitter, under the name @dogletdiaries. So if you really wanted to follow 2 pups on their holiday, now’s your chance. As if you’d want to ;)


The Monstera Files (Say Cheese) Part 2

A few days after I posted the tale of young Monty the Monstera, let’s see how he’s doing…

Just a quick update; he’s definitely making progress; the little bump that signalled the start of his happier life has got decidedly bumpier, and a new leaf is beginning to emerge. See the comparison below:

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Monty and his ‘bump’

Monty and his emerging leaf!

The West Yorkshire scenery seems to be agreeing with Monty; here’s hoping that one day he’ll be displaying the joyous split-leafiness that his brothers and sisters enjoy!

Hopefully, viagra pfizer buy online his previous owner Martin won’t sabotage him while i’m away…..

Tune in next week for part 3 of the most exciting serial to hit your screens since Paul Daniels created Wizbit!


Borrowed Landscapes – Worldwide

Social Media in the Garden…continued

After thinking more about the idea of a show garden influenced by social media users, I began wondering about the use of boundary space in such an area, and combining that with the original notion of allowing the area to be influenced in real-time via twitter feeds (did I mention that last time?)…

It might help, for the unititiated, to point out that some ‘show’ gardens are just that; a showpiece, or if you like, a microcosm with a parent theme or purpose, often contained in an area only viewable from one or two sides. The integration of media (or even home appliances) into outdoor space is nothing new, but how about the integration of media into the visible area of the garden, as a backdrop to the planting, as the use of a borrowed landscape.

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What I have in mind is not a borrowed landscape in the usual sense, e.g. a way of integrating surrounding views or features into your own garden; but a way of displaying images/landscapes on a boundary wall in one of two ways; either at the discretion of the garden user, or randomly via a twitter feed reacting to certain keywords. It’s an intriguing possibility, but would it work?

Certainly for the average homeowner, (and for myself I might add) suggesting something like this would likely result in a verbal door slamming; but in the realm of a show garden, or more realistically a ‘conceptual’ show garden, hmmm…it can have a place. For the purpose of the Social Media garden idea, the wall, or walls would be comprised of modular LCD screens, in themselves quite monolithic in nature when joined together, an appropriate backdrop perhaps as they are….but then you switch the things on….

How bizarre would it be to be able to select any backdrop you desire to complement your planting scheme; to suit any time of year? I say ‘bizarre’ because I have no idea whether it would work, but then that herbal viagra negates the whole point, this is still a concept. If I took my typical Saltaire backyard as an example; I can imagine it would be an incredibly strange sensation to have a rolling landscape suddenly appear on three sides, but what exactly would that sensation be like?

I’m probably concentrating too much on this particular application; for it to work in the social media garden, it’s got to display a twitter feed; relevant images, and perhaps even text tweets. In a nice way of course. This is where the ‘worldwide’ borrowed landscape comes into play, anyone can play a part as long as it’s relevant, no matter where they are in the world. Somebody posts a pic of their garden, or plants via Twitpic or similar, and it is fed to the social media garden wall; a mosaic of images, a mosaic of contributors…and that is the very essence of what i’m trying to achieve.

In terms of a ‘conceptual’ show garden, what more can be asked for? The feel of the garden is immediately influenced directly by people worldwide, in real-time…continually adapting….now surely that’s worth tweeting about.


The Monstera Files (Say Cheese) Part 1

About 2 years ago, I decided to grow a Monstera Deliciosa from seed, just to see if I could; and see how resilient it would be in the dark, north facing (albeit very nice) apartment in which I was living at the time. To my surprise, and uncontainable joy; I had success with five seeds, four of which grew quite rapidly and found their way into the homes of friends, whether they required/wanted them or not. A beautiful plant is Monstera, a great big cheesy bugger of a split-leaf philodendron, and pretty damn resilient. You can hack leaves off (more of that later) and shove them in a new pot (provided you keep some aerial roots intact), cut it right back to the ground (not that you would really need to in the UK when indoors in a pot)…yet it still comes back fighting, waving it’s big green leafy hands at you in glorious defiance.

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Ah, but what of the fabled fifth seedling you’re all wondering…that was not quite so fortunate. This one, let’s call him Monty, was given to my dear friend and colleague Martin; he’d always wanted a ‘Cheese Plant’ and so I obliged gracefully. Now then, when I handed over baby Monty to Martin, it was supplied in an 8 inch pot, and quite content to stay there a ‘little’ while longer….but I also supplied him with a coir pole for Monty to grow ordering viagra online legal up with, when the time came for his repotting into a larger home.

“A beautiful plant is Monstera, a great big cheesy bugger of a split-leaf philodendron, and pretty damn resilient….it still comes back fighting, waving it’s big green leafy hands at you in glorious defiance.”

So we can jump forward to last week. Young Monty had been living at work with Martin, next to his desk; and yes, he was still in the 8 inch pot he was supplied in, his coir pole still in its wrapper leaned against the wall. Poor Monty had obviously been looking for a new, caring owner, sprawling his aerial roots over various folders and magazines…while the large, split-leaf habit of the Monstera was decidedly non-existent. Martin reluctantly admitted that it was time for Monty to have some care taken of him, and so I retrieved him, took him home, and gave him a bigger home.

I didn’t want to completely deprive Monty of seeing his uncaring owner, so I returned Monty to the office, and placed him on a nice windowsill where he could look out over the workplace grounds. Monty didn’t come through his ordeal completely unscathed though, I did hack half of his leaves off, encourage him to focus his attention, and leaving the beginnings of a sturdier stem from which to recommence his new period of unrestrained growth.

So there Monty has been for the past week, quietly settling in… supported by his coir pole, a solitary aerial root dug into the soil for good measure…and nothing much has really happened to be honest.

But wait! There’s some amazing news, Monty has started to grow again, a small but signifcant bump signalling the beginning of a new era for the little chap, an era which I shall record over the coming weeks. You can see Monty’s bump circled on the image below, in addition to the stump which I left when I hacked the poor bugger’s leaves off.

So I hope you’ll join me in keeping an eye on how little Monty develops!

Ta ta for now


Social Media with a pinch of Salt

So, my friend Ashley and I were partaking in a cool beverage or two (or ten) yesterday evening in Saltaire, and we began discussing my plan for The Chelsea Flower Show.

The original idea for my intended show garden was to promote mobility difficulties, or rather to highlight areas in which an existing garden could be redesigned for persons with limited mobility, and/or other physical impairments. The RHS were keen on this initial idea, but after visiting Chelsea earlier this year, and seeing Jo Thompson’s beautiful ‘Unexpected Gardener’ garden, which approached from a similar theme, I started to think of other possibilities. This original idea has somewhat veered towards a more general theme, reflecting the ethos of the financial sponsor of this garden, a theme based on freedom and strength, a celebration of overcoming difficulties. While still a possibility, and I shall continue to pursue this; I am not at this point one hundred percent certain that this will actually happen…

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“After visiting buy viagra order Chelsea earlier this year, and seeing Jo Thompson’s beautiful ‘Unexpected Gardener’ garden, I started to think of other possibilities.”

Which brings me to the second idea I had, a self-financed smaller show garden reflecting the place I live, Saltaire. A World Heritage site, Saltaire was founded in 1853, by Sir Titus Salt; a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry. Salt built neat stone houses for his workers, and it is in one of these houses that I live. The streets of Saltaire consist of neatly arranged terraces of these houses, with the streets named after members of Salt’s family. All the smaller terraced houses are essentially the same, with similar back yard areas; consisting of a paved area, low surrounding stone walls, and outhouses.

While there are some residents of Saltaire that have transformed their outside areas, the majority remain pretty bare, save for a couple of pots here and there. While there are limitations on what can be achieved in a small space such as this, in a World Heritage Site, I wanted to explore the possibilities of the typical Saltaire back yard, with traditional materials…and bring ‘A Pinch of Salt’ to The Chelsea Flower Show.

“Imagine a social media garden; ‘generated’ and created by Twitter users, their images adorning the garden, for they have brought it to life.”

But I digress! With the beer flowing last night, and proving an incredible catalyst for ideas…up to a point…we began talking about the influence that social networking, in particular Twitter, has had in bringing people together, creating micro-communities, but at the same time creating ‘anti-social’ networking – proved by the fact that myself and others were regularly checking updates via mobile devices!

Twitter has played a large part in the Garden Hero story so far, without it I wouldn’t have the opportunity to partake in everyday banter with people I admire and perhaps may never meet, and where else would I be able to send James Alexander-Sinclair a picture of his garden overrun with birthday camels?

Which brings me to another idea for a show garden, the one i’ve been trying to tell you unsuccessfully about throughout this post! What we came up with was a rather intriguing way of creating a ‘social media’ garden, the purpose being to a) highlight the communication achieved through current social media portals, and b) bring the ironically ‘anti social’ social media portal into a social environment.

I’ll keep it short, can’t tell all right now…but…Imagine a social media garden; ‘generated’ and created by Twitter users, their images adorning the garden, for they have brought it to life. And what better than some tweeting birds letting you know that your next message is waiting; and what about a screen displaying incoming tweets, or latest twitpics?

There’ll be more to come on this, but i’d love to know your thoughts. Together we can create a 21st Century outdoor area through tweeting! Stay tuned…..


Garden Heroes! Not one, not two, but three giant slices of gardening glory!

How do you turn 3 gardening icons into Garden Heroes? Easy!

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So, it’s about time I get organised and start blogging, and what better way to start than with a photograph of not one, not two, but three giant slices of gardening glory! To the uninitiated, that means Joe Swift, Cleve West and James Alexander-Sinclair. I could write a tome or two describing their exploits in the world of gardening, but i’ll introduce you briefly….

Joe Swift is a garden designer and well known TV personality presenting many gardening programmes and writing regularly for the Times and other gardening magazines. He has written books on garden design and his allotment. Joe is canadian non prescription viagra a co-founder of Modular Garden- an award winning garden design and build brand – and is the President of the National Gardens Scheme.

Cleve West has been designing gardens since 1990 and has won a total of five RHS Gold Medals for his show gardens at Chelsea and Hampton Court. He writes regularly for the gardening media and even pops up on the telly from time to time. For all this he still likes to get his hands dirty, mostly at his allotment, growing food, building sheds and cooking the best onion bhajees in West London.

James Alexander-Sinclair has been designing gardens for ages. He began as a landscape contractor in London before moving to Northamptonshire in 1992. Since then he has designed gardens, both large and small, all over the country from the South Coast to the Western Isles. He has had show gardens at both the Chelsea Flower Show and the Westonbirt International Festival of the Garden. He writes regular articles for many garden publications, has presented television programmes for both the BBC and Channel 4 and lectures all over the place. And apparently trod in a poo yesterday.

I would love to admit that I was tracked down by these three fine gentlemen, and begged for a Garden Hero T-Shirt; but…haha… I would like to thank them all for indulging me to an extent, and putting a huge grin on my face by seeing the GH logo displayed by people who I consider to be true ‘Garden Heroes.’ Thanks again guys. And thanks for making orange underpants cool again!

Find out more about these fine chaps at the following places:

Joe Swift www.joeswift.co.uk

Cleve West www.clevewest.com

James Alexander-Sinclair www.blackpitts.co.uk

And see them in a less serious light at:




Welcome to Garden Hero!

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This site is devoted to all things gardening, and especially online drugstore without prescription those people who we all consider to be a ‘Garden Hero’.

I’ll also use this site to keep you all up-to-date with my dream to create a Show Garden for The Chelsea Flower Show 2012, and my progress in making this a reality.

Feel free to comment, suggest, elaborate, and more importantly nurture absolutely anything to do with gardening….

….and cats…and daleks.