Monday, 18 December 2017

Winter Giant amazes both children and adults in stunning Tilehurst parade

The lovable 6ft Winter Giant made a visit to Dee Park where hundreds waited to greet him

from getreading - Arts & Culture

Reading drivers warned to go carefully as thick fog descends over Berkshire

Drivers in the Reading area will need fog lights over the next two days, Met Office warns

from getreading - Reading & Berkshire News

Odds on white Christmas in Reading thawing

Forecasters are predicting temperatures will rise over the next week but storms could arrive before the new year

from getreading - Reading & Berkshire News

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Overnight closures on M4 and M3 likely to cause delays this week

There will also be disruptions to journeys as improvement works take place across Berkshire

from getreading - Reading & Berkshire News

CCTV released after armed robbery in Bracknell

Police hunt an armed robber after staff at Co-op were threatened with a long knife

from getreading - Reading & Berkshire News

Saturday, 16 December 2017

The best of 2017 in middlesized gardening…

To wish you ‘happy Christmas’, here is ‘the best of 2017’ – the most popular posts published in 2017 in the Middlesized Garden, plus my favourite photographs.

And there are two last minute gift suggestions – Francine Raymond’s new book, The Garden Farmer, is reviewed at the end of the post. And for that late gift delivery, see Tree2MyDoor’s review, also at the end of the post.

Spring – romance and bulbs

The most popular post published in Spring 2017 was ‘How to Create An Irrestistibly Romantic Garden.’

Romantic garden

Hearts and flowers – the most popular spring post was about creating a romantic garden.

And my favourite photograph of our own garden is this:

Spring in the Middlesized Garden

Taken in April, with the tulips and euphorbia. Something to look forward to.

Summer – the charity shop garden

One of my very favourite posts in summer was 11 charming small garden ideas on a budget. It’s a tiny garden in a newly built estate, and it has bags of character. The owners, Jack and Carolyn Wahlberg, have filled it with charity shop finds, imaginatively displayed.

It was in Faversham Open Gardens last year, and we’re hoping it will be in again in 2018. Make a date in your diary for Faversham Open Garden & Garden Market Day on Sunday 24th June, when 30+ small and middlesized town gardens will be open.

Charity shop garden

This was one of my favourite gardens to visit in 2017. It’s Jack and Caroline Wahlberg’s and is a tiny garden furnished with charity shop buys.

The most popular post published in summer 2017 was The best plants for amazingly low maintenance pots. 

However, I personally also love this one – Which hedge is right for your garden? I got up at 4.30am to go to Doddington Place Gardens to photograph their hedges for the post. I now really understand about getting up early if you want to photograph gardens – there’s a magical quality to photographs taken in that hour after dawn.

The best of 2017 - Doddington Place Gardens

I love the soft dawn light of this photograph, taken at Doddington Place Gardens just after dawn in June.

Doddington Place Gardens is open from April to October, and it also has an excellent garden blog.

Autumn – style your garden and dahlias

The most popular post published between August and October was How to style your garden – smart tips and finishing touches, with advice from the very stylish garden writer, Francine Raymond. Don’t miss her new book, The Garden Farmer, reviewed later on in this post.

Francine Raymond style tips

Francine’s style tips for middlesized gardens

And my favourite photos were of dahlias, of course!

Long-flowering dahlia Henriette

The peach dahlia, Henriette, in the main border from the end of July until the first frosts. From the post ‘Don’t dig up your dahlias for winter – here’s what to do instead.’

Winter – Monty Don’s Down to Earth

Starting ‘winter’ at the beginning of October makes the  review of Monty Don’s new book Down To Earth the most popular post published on the Middlesized Garden, and therefore, ‘the best of 2017’ for the end of the year.

Here he is talking about Down to Earth on video (note: links to Amazon are affiliate links. You can click through to buy, and I may get a small fee, but it won’t affect the price you pay):

Winter in the middle-sized garden:

The best of 2017 in winter

I’m not sure why I love this photograph so much, as it’s nothing special – just frost and shapes, seen from one of our bedroom windows.

Two last-minute presents:

Sunday Telegraph writer, Francine Raymond, has a new book out, published just in time for Christmas. Called The Garden Farmer, it’s about having a beautifully productive garden and would be a good book for anyone considering keeping hens, ducks or even quail. Francine’s own garden is ‘middle-sized’ so the advice is practical and realistic. There are also recipes and general tips about living in and enjoying your garden.

See inside the book and find out more about it in the full review here:

Or send a plant or tree…

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift, then take a look at Tree2MyDoor’s tree and plant delivery service. You can order up until lunchtime (midday) on Thursday 21st December for delivery on Friday 22nd December. Their range and quality is good – Tree2MyDoor sent me a white rose in a pot in the summer. It flowered for a long time, in spite of mild neglect and is now clearly gathering its energies for another burst next year.

There’s a good range of trees on offer, such as holly, bay, olive, native trees, acers and more, or plants in pots, such as amaryllis or rose. For the newly fashionable urban gardener, there are also ‘trees for balconies’ and indoor trees.

Most popular Middlesized Garden video made in 2017

Happy Christmas. This is the last post of 2017, so hope to see you in 2018.

Pin for reference:

The best of 2017

The post The best of 2017 in middlesized gardening… appeared first on The Middle-Sized Garden.

from The Middle-Sized Garden

Podcast: Ghost Orchids and favourite finds

Why would you spend 17 years hunting for a plant you’ve never seen? In the latest episode of the Wild Flower (Half) Hour podcast, Isabel Hardman interviews Sean Cole of the Ghost Orchid Project to find out what drives him to search for Britain’s most elusive plant.

We also hear about some of your favourite wild flower finds from this year, and hear from award-winning botanist Brian Laney about how hitting the ground with a fork helps him save rare plants from extinction.

You can listen to this podcast on iTunes, Acast, and a range of other platforms. If the podcast isn’t on your preferred platform, please let us know so we can sort it out. And please do leave us a review if you like the podcast: it helps spread the wild flower love even further.

from #wildflowerhour