Gardens to visit this summer

Liz Nicholls

Home & Garden

Kate Harrison of the National Open Garden Scheme invites us to enjoy some pockets of paradise in West Sussex.

Whitehanger

Marley Lane, Haslemere, GU27 3PY

National Open Garden Scheme_Whitehanger

Thanks to The National Garden Scheme, last year garden-lovers helped raise more than £3 million for charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Carers Trust & Parkinson’s UK.

Whitehanger is just one of the beautiful gardens open this month. Set in six acres on the edge of the South Downs National Park and surrounded by NT woodland, this rural garden was started in 2012 when a new Huf house was built on a derelict site. There are now lawned areas with beds of perennials, a serenity pool with koi carp, a wildflower meadow, a Japanese garden, a sculpture garden, a woodland walk, a large rockery and an exotic walled garden.

Plan your visit

Whitehanger is open on Sunday 7th & Sunday 21st August, 10.30am-3.30pm. Entry is £6.50 and you need to book here. Groups of between five and thirty can also visit by arrangement throughout August, September and October.

Details of all the gardens open in West Sussex can be found on the National Garden Scheme Website or in the National Garden Scheme yellow booklet.

54 Elmleigh

Midhurst, Sussex, GU29 9HA

National Open Garden Scheme_54 Elmleigh

Another lovely local garden opening is at 54 Elmleigh, this property has a terraced front garden leading to a heavily planted rear garden with majestic 120-year-old black pines, shrubs and perennials, packed with interest around every corner, providing all-season colours. There are many raised beds, sculptures, vegetables in boxes, a greenhouse, pond and hedgehogs in residence as well as a large collection of tree lilies, growing 8-10ft.

Plan your visit

Open on Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th August, 11am-5pm. Entry is £4 (children free) and you’ll find homemade teas: It’s also open by arrangement throughout August; click here.

Fittleworth House

Bedham Lane, Pulborough, RH20 1JH

National Open Garden Scheme_Fittleworth House

This three-acre, tranquil, romantic, country garden also a walled kitchen garden growing a wide range of fruit, vegetables and flowers, a large glasshouse and old potting shed, mixed flower borders, roses, rhododendrons and lawns. There’s a magnificent 115ft tall cedar overlooking a wisteria-covered Grade II listed Georgian house (not open), wild garden, long grass areas and pond, stream and rock garden.

Plan your visit

Fittleworth is open on Wednesday, 10th August, 2-5pm. Entry is £5 (children free) and you’ll find homemade teas: Pre-book or pay on the day. It’s also open by arrangement: book here.

Details of all the gardens open in West Sussex can be found on the National Garden Scheme Website or in the National Garden Scheme yellow booklet.

Plans for homes at Valley Park

Round & About

Home & Garden

Taylor Wimpey is inviting Didcot and Harwell residents to see the latest plans for the first phase of new homes at Valley Park during a public exhibition in November.

Valley Park will comprise up to 4,254 new homes, south of the A4130 and west of Great Western Park. The development will include 1,489 affordable homes as well as community facilities including two new primary schools, a Special Education Needs school, shops, sports facilities, playing fields, allotments and open spaces.

Outline planning permission for Valley Park was granted by the Vale of White Horse District Council in July 2021. The first phase, to be known as Primrose at Valley Park, will comprise 293 homes, of which 103 will be classed as affordable housing.

Taylor Wimpey is holding a public exhibition at the District Community Centre at Great Western Park from 12.30pm to 7.30pm on Friday, 12th November. People will be able to see the latest plans for Primrose ahead of the submission of a reserved matters planning application in the new year.

Gary Needham, Land and Planning Manager for Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire, said: “Valley Park is a major development for the Didcot and Harwell area and we are excited to be able to show off our detailed plans for the first phase of new homes, which will be known as Primrose.

“We’ve seen through our neighbouring Great Western Park development, which is almost sold out, that having a range of great facilities on the doorstep creates a brilliant community, and we know that Valley Park will be no different. We’re eager to meet people in person, talk them through our designs for Primrose and give a real feel for what this new development will be like to live on.”

The public exhibition for Primrose at Valley Park will take place in the Apple Room at the District Community Centre, 1 Gentian Mews, Great Western Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 6GR, between 2pm and 7pm on Friday 12th November 2021. People can also visit www.taylorwimpey.co.uk/new-homes/didcot/valley-park to find out more about the plans and register their interest in a new home.

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Local photography competition

Liz Nicholls

Home & Garden

Berkeley Invites Community to Take Part in Photo Competition Celebrating Nature:

Award-winning local housebuilder Berkeley Homes has launched a photography and drawing competition open to all residents local to the Woodhurst Park development in Warfield for a chance to win a Polaroid instant camera.

The competition aims to celebrate landscapes and nature as the season changes, encouraging families to explore local nature trails and capture what they see.

The winners of the competition will win an Instax or Polaroid instant camera, which will be handed over at a prize ceremony at the Woodhurst Park Sales and Marketing Suite, where the best pictures will be on display for the public to see. Two runners up of each of the three age categories (11 years and under, 12 to 17 years and 18 years and over) will receive a £25 Amazon voucher.

Entries will remain open until Tuesday 16th November and should be submitted to . Entries can also be submitted in person to the sales and marketing suite at Woodhurst Park, or on Instagram with the hashtag #StepIntoWHP and by tagging @berkeley_group.

Submissions will be judged by local photographer Karen Bennett and the Berkeley Homes Sales and Marketing Director.

Please note competition terms and conditions below:

  1. The competition is only open to residents of the United Kingdom.
  2. There is no entry fee or purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  3. All entrants under 18 must have permission of a responsible adult over 18.
  4. Only one entry will be accepted per person.
  5. Closing date is the 16th November 2021, after this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for reasons out of our control.
  7. Berkeley Homes reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice, but any changes to the competition/offer will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
  8. Berkeley Homes is not responsible for inaccurate prize/offer details supplied to entrants by any third party.
  9. The prize is as stated no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and Berkeley Homes reserves the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
  10. Prizes are not transferable and cannot be resold.
  11. Competition winners will be selected by Berkeley Homes from all entries received.
  12. All entrants must be willing to provide full name, contact details and address and to have these details passed to the suppliers of the prizes.
  13. Any competition winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, including on the Berkeley Homes website and social media. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
  14. Entry into the competition gives Berkeley Homes permission to use submitted entries in any future promotional materials, on their website and on social media.
  15. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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Build your dream home

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Home & Garden

A visit to Build It Live this month will help you create a home as individual as you

Are you planning an extension to your home? Or perhaps you even have aspirations to build a new home from scratch? Whatever your plan for a dream home, make sure you pay a visit to the Build It Live show coming soon to Bicester on October 2nd and 3rd.

The exhibition aims to provide a stress-free route to creating a truly individual home with the opportunity to meet a wide range of suppliers plus a host of independent experts who can provide invaluable (free!) advice and top tips on your own self-build or home renovation project.

Architects and other experts will be offering one-to-one advice on how to turn a project into reality including how to find land, what is possible with and without planning permission and how to ensure you have the right design.

At the show there will be a number of specialist areas including a Heating Advice Clinic, glazing manufacturers displaying a huge range of bifold and sliding doors, French doors, windows, contemporary and traditional front doors, and rooflights – plus a Build Cost Clinic to help you understand how much it will cost to build the home of your dreams.

We have 100 pairs of free tickets worth £24 to giveaway.
Simply visit www.builditlive.co.uk and use promo code ROUND100.

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Instil Design runs for award

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Home & Garden

Martina Landhed, from Oxford business InStil Design Ltd, has been nominated as a finalist for the prestigious kbbreview Retail & Design Awards for the third time.

This time in the category; Bathroom Designer of the Year, projects costing over £25,000 category. The kbbreview Retail & Design Awards are a celebration of the very best retailers, designers and manufacturers in the kitchen and bathroom industry nationwide, celebrating their 27th year in 2021.

InStil Design Ltd Managing Director Martina said: “Being announced as a finalist among several hundreds of national designers is fantastic news, and I am delighted to be down to the final four.

“My desire is to always inspire and help my clients to realise the potential in their bathrooms. I aim to take their dreams and turn them into reality, whilst offering as personal service as possible.”

Martina has previously won the kbbreview Award Bathroom Designer of the year 2013, project costing up to £10k, and in 2017 Bathroom Designer of the year project cost £10 to £25k. She’s been running InStil Design with her knowledgeable and service-minded team from a boutique style showroom just outside Oxford since 2013.

The next stage of the 2021 competition sees the finalists present their designs via video presentation to the KBB panel of judges who will then determine who has best met the competition brief. The criteria include aesthetics, problem solving, product and material choice, uniqueness of idea, design initiative, and value for money.

The winner will be announced at the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2021 event that this year will take place on September 15th at Liverpool’s St Georges Hall, and promises to be the biggest industry post-lockdown party of the year.


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Interview with local artist Catherine Cook

Liz Nicholls

Home & Garden

“From an early age growing up on the family farm, inspiration was never far away, whether it be our rescue dog asleep in the chair, my dad’s herd of Charolais cattle, to the farm buildings around me, I would be sketching.”

Catherine Cook’s desire to draw and create has taken her down several paths since she studied decorative crafts at art college and university, but drawing has always been her starting point whichever medium she is aiming for – glass, digital graphic or paint.

Having gained her degree she worked for a number of years in an auctioneers office but says “the yearning to create was always there” and so she returned to the pursuit of developing her glass artwork.

With the arrival of her two boys, family life took over and creativity was on hold briefly until the creation of a family birthday gift involving a collection of watercolour dog portraits took Catherine back to her paints and pencils and she has been drawing pet portraits continually ever since, working in watercolour, oil paint and pen and ink.

“When I paint a pet portrait for a client, I feel there is a great responsibility to capture the special character, which is achieved through seeing those fine details accurately,” Catherine explained.

“The power of a portrait and the emotional response from clients, when presented with the final artwork can be very moving and rewarding.”

“The process of drawing and observing your subject is a discipline which makes you stop and really look; this is an aspect I especially enjoy. You can become completely absorbed in the process of drawing, it is therapeutic, it is a form of escaping all other busy thoughts. During lockdown weeks, anytime I could find to draw was valued.

”Living in the Hampshire countryside she never tires of watching the seasons change and enjoys having an “endless list of plants, wildlife and breeds of animals to draw”. And her work can be enjoyed through everyday objects such as greeting cards, tea towels and coasters.

Catherine added: “I love constantly seeing new ideas around me on every country walk and during these lockdown months, there have been many!

“I take photos when out and about and use the images to build compositions. Capturing those magical countryside moments of a Robin chirping on a branch or a squirrel busy in the garden, greatly inspires my artwork style.”

While in-person events have not been possible – and much missed – you can discover Catherine’s work at thecatherinegallery.co.uk and shop on Etsy.com


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Coffee delivery to perk us up!

Liz Nicholls

Home & Garden

Roots and Rose is a brother and sister duo, want to take the hassle out of finding great-tasting coffee, by doing the hard work for you.

They both know the coffee industry having worked in it for over 13 years. They also understand many people working from home may need that pick me up.

Set up from their homes in Frimley and Woking during the first lockdown, Chris and Catherine Rose. They both know that now, more than ever, it’s important to sit and chat over a great cup of coffee (via Zoom!). Ranging from individual bags to gift boxes, there’s something for everyone.

Their gift boxes, named after the family dogs, consist of The Arnie, The Henry and The Tilly, ranging in size and amount. The Arnie includes three x 127g cafetiere coffee; The Henry offers three x 227g cafetiere coffee and The Tilly, 2 x 227g cafetiere coffee and a cafetiere. Due to the popular demand for beans, they have added the Jack’s Beans to their website with the Surrey Beans soon to be released.

The R&R subscription service is the best of Roots and Rose, direct to your door, every month. Each month you’ll receive a 127g or 227g bag of one of their three coffees (on a three-month cycle), with no minimum commitment.

All the coffee is ethically sourced, hand-roasted, and hand-packed in the UK. R&R roast to order which means it holds its taste and is super fresh.

To find out more and try for yourself, visit rootsandrose.co.uk


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Book a plant clinic appointment

Round & About

Home & Garden

Plant or garden dilemma? Grab a free Gardeners’ Question Time Plant Clinic slot with garden guru & Miracle-Gro this week.

999: WHAT’S YOUR PLANT EMERGENCY? From black spot to drooping leaves, now you can self-refer your plant for a live diagnosis at the Miracle-Gro Plant Clinic

Being a plant parent isn’t always easy! Despite our best efforts, our plants aren’t always in their best shape, and there’s always lots to learn about how to care for them – but now Miracle-Gro (www.lovethegarden.com) is offering free virtual Plant Clinic appointments with gardening guru Kate Turner to help bring your plants back to life.

Kate has years of gardening knowledge at her (green) fingertips, with experience on ITV’s Love Your Garden, BBC’s Garden Rescue, as a horticultural tutor at The Therapy Garden and as head gardener at Charterhouse School in Godalming.

Each day of the Plant Clinic will have its own plant-specialism to suit whatever questions you may have.

Plant Parenthood, Monday 29th March:

Whether it’s your first-time gardening and you’re not sure where to start, or you’re going to grow your fruit and veg crop from seed this year, Kate can answer all your questions and give you lots of tips.

Nutritious Growing, Tuesday 30th March:

The second day of the plant clinic is dedicated to all of your grow-your-own needs. Kate will be able to give advice on the best ways to grow your own fruit and veg and diagnose problems that you might have encountered. If your tomatoes caught blight last year or your courgettes didn’t flower, make sure they thrive this year by booking in with Kate.

Showstoppers, Wednesday 31st March:

Some plants are just for show, so get yours looking their absolute best this season. The Plant Clinic is open for anything from how to grow stunning roses and ornamental flowers, to bold, beautiful houseplants that need a little bit of help. Kate can guide you to enjoy your own flower show.

GP (General Plant) Surgery, Thursday 1st April:

If your needs don’t fit within one of the above, or you’re just looking for general gardening advice, then book a GP appointment with Kate for a check-up.

Plant Clinic bookings are now open for one person and their plant-patient to discuss their growing grievances with plant doctor and gardening expert, Kate Turner. With 20-minute Plant Clinic appointments on offer over the four-day period, which can be booked here.

To find out more, visit www.lovethegarden.com/plantclinic


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Spring has sprung so let’s celebrate!

Liz Nicholls

Home & Garden

Bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining: spring is here!

We’ve teamed up with Wiltshire creative company eatsleepdoodle who are celebrating our springtime burst of wonderful wildlife waiting to be spotted. From butterflies to badgers, wild garlic to woodpeckers, there are so many things to look out for!

Butterfly watch

What wildlife can you spot this time of year? Well, we’ve been in touch with Butterfly Conservation, and they have kindly given us a picture guide as to what butterflies and moths you can expect to see in April and May.

Some have even appeared early this year! You’ll see on Butterfly Conservation’s Instagram account, that an Orange-tip (anthocharis cardamines) was spotted in Kent at the beginning of March!

Orange-tip butterfly photograph by Tim Bates and Joanne Fegan

A common butterfly to see all across Britain, according to the Butterfly Conservation’s research, is the Common Blue (part of the Blues family and similar to the Adonis Blue!). They enjoy sunny, sheltered areas, and some of the most common places to find a Common Blue include grass and woodland clearings, road verges and coastal dunes. The male butterflies are the most colourful; bright with a beautiful light blue upper-wing; whereas the females are more muted and usually have larger areas of brown.

Another common butterfly in Britain is the Peacock. The underside of their wings is camouflaged to be hidden amongst leaves, but their upper-wing has beautiful bright colours, which help confuse and startle any predators. They can be found across the British Isles and are most often found in gardens!

Also keep an eye out for the Large White, the winner of the 2020 Big Butterfly Count, these lovely butterflies enjoy a variety of habitats, but can usually be seen in gardens and allotments.

Common Blue

Peacock

Large White

Butterfly Conservation

Butterfly Conservation is a wonderful organisation, aiming to recover threatened species of moths and butterflies, increase numbers of widespread species, promote international conservation actions, and inspire people to understand and take part in conservation.

Last year’s Big Butterfly Count saw the ‘lowest numbers recorded in 11 years’. The average number of butterflies logged by Butterfly Conservation in 2020 was down by 34% in comparison to 2019. However, last year a record number of people contributed to the count, ‘it seems that, in a very dark and challenging year, the opportunity for getting out into nature and helping as citizen scientists were very welcome to people who were able to participate in the Count this year. Butterfly Conservation is thrilled the event was enjoyed by so many people.’

More information on how to get involved with and contribute to Butterfly Conservation’s work can be found on their website here.

Other wildlife

It’s not just butterflies that Spring brings, soon we’ll see new life popping up everywhere! Badger cubs begin to emerge, mallard ducklings start their adventures and frogspawn can be spotted in ponds across the UK. The dawn chorus will get louder and more persistent as the fledglings take flight and more birds are looking to mate.

Spring birds are ready to be found in gardens and woodland across the UK. Cuckoos are calling, woodpeckers are hard at work (carving a nest hole in a tree trunk!) and blue tits can frequently be seen hopping around the garden in search of snacks.

Woodpecker – photo by Strong Fish

Blue Tit – photo by dfkt

The RSPB have a great article about common garden birds to look out for here – this can also help identify the birds you are seeing in your garden in the coming Spring months.

As well as birds and butterflies, other small wildlife venture out in the Spring, like hedgehogs! Did you know that hedgehogs roam an average of one mile each night looking for food? That’s a long way on little legs! Waking up from their hibernation, hedgehogs love gardens as they provide the perfect habitat.

How can you help wildlife?

Gardens provide them with plenty of food and potential nesting sites. Hedgehogs like to eat creepy crawlies, however, during dry periods these can become sparse. You can create a small home and supplement food for hedgehogs in your garden. A shallow dish of water will benefit them hugely and even meat-based dog or cat food can be left out for them. Springwatch suggests that logs, leaves, twigs and natural garden compost make an ideal home for these small creatures (and bumblebees too), if you keep a pile in your garden – visitors may start to appear!

Hedgehog photo by Alicja Gancarz

Another way you can encourage wildlife at home is by letting your lawn grow and trying to establish a flower-rich lawn. This is a great way to encourage bees. Something as simple as leaving a strip of long grass or planting wildflower seeds or nectar plants can help bees, and butterflies too! Recently, we’ve noticed a lot more places such as churchyards and village greens-leaving large sections of grass or lawns uncut as a safe place for bees and other small wildlife.

Don’t forget that if you see a bee struggling, you can gently pick it up (we recommend using a piece of paper!) and give them a few small drops of water with sugar or honey – this should give them a boost! Another great idea is a bee house – this is a collection of small (usually wooden) tubes that bees can use to lay their eggs in.

Plants & flowers

Spring sees a whole new world of colour from gorgeous plants and flowers! The start of Spring is when we see beautiful blossom and daffodils begin to flower, both of which create an instant atmosphere as they open up quickly in the sun.

Whilst these bold blooms begin the month of March, towards April we begin to see the bright hues of bluebells and smell the strong aroma of wild garlic (yum!). Head to any wooded area for your bluebell fix. Bluebells fill the forest floor with a cool blue tone, an added pop of colour to the regular muted tones. Did you know that over half of the world’s population of the iconic bluebells are grown in the UK? Bees love them and we have ants to thank for helping spreading their seeds!

Wild garlic is not only charming but delicious as well! Spending most of the time as a bulb underground, wild garlic then emerges with gorgeous white flowers that explode onto the green leaves during April and May with an amazing firework-like flower. It is the perfect plant for pollinating insects such as butterflies and hoverflies. You can also make your own pesto with wild garlic – scrumptious!!

What are you most looking forward to this spring? We’re excited to see some brighter days ahead and being able to take in the magical spring delights. And we’ll be making full use of our pond life tablecloth and tote bag and butterfly collection to keep track of what wildlife we can spot this year! With bird seed, butterfly references and a pesto recipe at hand, off we go into another enchanting springtime!

Win a Pond Life Tablecloth

We’ve teamed up with Wiltshire’s eatsleepdoodle to encourage you to notice the wildlife all around you and give you the chance to win a Pond Life Colour and Learn tablecloth. To enter to win, all you have to do is follow eatsleepdoodle on social media and tag eatsleepdoodle & Round & About in your wildlife pics on Instagram before Easter Monday (5th April). We can’t wait to see your creations!

Usual Round & About competition T&C’s apply.

So get outdoors and enjoy the nature around you this Spring!


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Liven your home with green walls

Round & About

Home & Garden

Gardarica offers ‘living walls’ tailor made to the needs of your home, garden or business from design to construction

The last year had us all spending much more time indoors, whether due to lockdown or self-isolating. It is more important than ever to create a living space that is refreshing both aesthetically and to create a better atmosphere to live and work.

Living Walls has been the new thing for interior design and landscape design, and an amazing solution for a quick and easy renovation, breathing life to your home.

Benefits of green walls

Improved mental & physical health

The presence of living walls reduce bacteria, mould and dust, ensuring that your environment is healthier. People in spaces with green walls experience less headaches and tiredness than people in traditional homes. A greener environment will make your home more relaxing and allow for better productivity.

Better air quality & flow

Living walls purify the air converting harmful particles into oxygen. Studies have shown that better air quality leads to a more positive mood. This is a fantastic way to make your property a more positive environment.

Temperature Control

Living walls naturally regulate the temperature in your space, creating a pleasant atmosphere.

They simply look great!

Apart from all the practical benefits, a simple fact remains, a green wall looks fantastic and it will lift your mood!

Did you know?

There are several plants that boost your immune system and limit viruses in the atmosphere

There are plants, like Aloe Vera and many more, that produce oxygen even in night time

You can choose to have a green wall designed and constructed for you, or if you are on a low budget you could even start one yourself

Gardarica uses patented products from recycled oceanic plastics to create a unique design that matches your needs and budget.

Contact Gardarica to find out more at or call 020 398 319 60.

 

For our tips on how to show your home some love, click here