all change – goodbye old blog, hello new

Goodbye dear blog. I’m leaving this little area of cyberspace to go to pastures shiny and new.

You can find me at www.girlwithaspade.com

Thanks for your comments, support, views and readership. Hope to see you at girlwithaspade.com  x

BBC Radio Kent

Hello – I have been away over the summer, moving house, renovating a garden, planting trees and bamboo in Brent. Time goes so quickly, but now I’m back. I was invited to work on the Kent Creative Coast programme in Whitstable yesterday by Catriona Cambell (@escapetocreate) and Southern Water. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day, talking about conserving water, ways to be inventive with mulch and how to create a coastal garden using drought tolerant plants. Photos to come soon.

I had the good luck to speak to Andy Garland and his team on BBC Radio Kent yesterday for their much loved ‘Sunday Gardening’ programme. If you fancy a listen, here is the link. I’m on around 48 minutes into the programme.

‘Container Planting’ Loving these ‘succulent’ spike heels

I just had to share this photo from Kerry Michaels – find her on twitter on @containergarden or at containergardening.about.com

You really can plant pretty much anything in any shape, size and form of planter. It’s ever so ‘wicked witch of the west-esque’ don’t you think? That really appeals to me – reminds me of playing Evileene, the wicked witch in ‘The Wiz’ at school. Hahahahaha….
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Tea is the glue that keeps me together…

My mug of tea

I love tea – really, I do. I worship at the altar of the tea plant, a hot, steaming mug of Yorkshire tea or a delicate vintage china tea cup of Assam will do me nicely thanks. Which leads me onto this quote

“If you are cold, tea will warm you.

If you are too heated, it will cool you.

If you are depressed, it will cheer you.

If you are excited, it will calm you.”  ~ Gladstone, 1865

In a field in Surrey…

Somewhere in the middle of a field in Surrey: (Loseley Park, Guildford), to be precise.

Potting up wine tasting glasses at Seed Pantry/Cono Sur

That is where I found myself today – along with my other half and the smalls. The reason we were there? To investigate what the ‘Grow Your Own Show’ had to offer us. I was intrigued to check it out, as it targeted the expanding ‘grow your own’ community (which I’m very happy to be part of). It will be interesting to see how this event develops (this is its first year). It may even turn into a kind of ‘Glastonbury’ for the grow your own community!

What did we see? Edible snails, pigs, goats, chickens, hen houses, urban gardening initiatives, dog poo composting (don’t ask), bee keeping, wine tasting, the secret seed society, square metre gardening, mini allotment bed building, vertical gardening, heritage seed companies and pop-up poly tunnels.

I was delighted to meet the Secret Seed Society (www.secretseedsociety.com).

The Secret Seed Society

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of them, they’re on a mission to get kids curious about the food they eat. Amy Cooper, the creative director of the company was on her secret seed museum stand, dressed as a carrot and smiling at all the kids, which got my vote of course. This lady is onto something here, she understands enquiring minds and has produced a beautifully illustrated set of secret agent kits. I’m not easily parted with my cash, but was so impressed, that I bought ‘The Mighty Messenger’ a pack containing a story about Mingo Mung, seeds, and props to help propagate). Hooray for ‘Adventures in Vegetables’…

Another favourite company of mine is ‘Seed Pantry,’ (www.seedpantry.co.uk) who specialise in everything for the urban garden (no matter how tiny your outdoor space is).

Seed Pantry

A big draw for me is their design aesthetic: superb graphics printed on eco friendly packaging. (I am now indoctrinated in all things graphic, type and line – having an art director for a husband). As well as selling their wares, (seeds, compost blocks, veg kits, kids growing kits, windowsill boxes etc) they were also planting seeds in wine tasting glasses. From running my own workshops, I have an affinity with any company supporting kids and gardening, so was interested to see them teaming up with ‘Cono Sur’ (an award winning winery), recycling plastic wine glasses and repotting them with radish and sunflower seeds. It really makes a difference when you engage with your customers and do more than just ‘sell’ a product. This is what good branding is about and why I would recommend Seed Pantry and the Secret Seed Society. They know their market, and are passionate about their products and customer base – it makes such a difference to potential consumers. #justsaying… 

Did anyone else go the Grow Your Own Show? What did you see? What caught your eye?  Let me know your thoughts!

Another sunday at the Childrens Gardening Club

VEGETABLE CLUB

We’ve (that is myself and my four year old son) been going to a childrens gardening club for quite a few weeks now. It started in chilly March and now we’re starting to see results!
We have a laugh (the parents enjoy it just as much, if not more… than the kids sometimes) – and occasionally my little boy just wants to run around or dig for worms, but the important thing is, he’s learning about how food is grown. The children are all mortified and excited by the fact they’re  gardening with ‘horse poo.’ Today we learnt that our beans had been attacked by rabbits, so we moved the hazel poles into another spot in a ‘less secluded’ spot! Gardening is always trial and error. Out of all the modules the kids had planted out, the marrows, squash, sweetcorn and courgettes were flourishing – perhaps because the seed is bigger and easier for small fingers to handle.

Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed picking salad, oriental leaves, spinach, radish and then cooking it back at home. Perfect Sunday morning…

Ruby Red Radishes.

Sowing Tomatoes, Tea & Sympathy

Try as I might, I can’t always blog on the day things happen. Life usually gets in the way – but anyhow, THIS is what girlwithaspade and friends got up to last week at Workshop 24, Peel Precinct, South Kilburn.

"The best time of my life"

Twas a bitterly cold, rainy day, so I decided to host a tomato sowing workshop. The photo above is a quote from the guestbook at Workshop 24, courtesy of Adriana age 10, who came along with her friend to plant tomato seeds in peat pots. Makes your heart sing…I am sooo glad that I saw this. This is one of the best times of my life.”


To have an impact like that on someone so young is a real honour to be honest. That’s what makes working on community projects so worthwhile.