Weeds? or maybe not?
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
7M ago
Pale yellow Tolpis barbata filling what is normally a path last month. Some Melianthus major flowerheads in the background and Pelargonium quercifolium. Part of the zeitgeist is that there seems to be a great evaluation of what weeds are at the moment. The RHS (bending over backwards to be in with nature conservation bodies, and be generally politically correct) is even beginning to frown on the word. More on this later perhaps in a later posting (there is a lot of trendy nonsense to be probed) but for now I'd like to look positively at the annuals in my Portuguese garden. Many people would s ..read more
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No Rain, No Spring, No Garden (the latest from Portugal)
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
10M ago
Iris ‘Lorelei’ , inherited from previous garden with Linaria genistifolia, one of the real drought-resilient successes here. It's raining in Vila Nova de Oliveirinha! According to the weather app anyway (as I'm writing this from Berlin). Such good news, as we had almost given up hope of getting any more this spring. We got lots and lots pre-Christmas but very little since and the soil (when we left last week) was like grey dust. I had been dreading something like this. Lychnis coronaria intermingled with Stachys germanica, the latter a reliable locally-native perennial, like a chunkier versi ..read more
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Enjoying the Mediterranean winter
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
1y ago
It has been nine months since I last did a blog posting. !!!! As I am sure most of you are aware, so much of my energies now go into Garden Masterclass. Winter in the Portuguese garden is a time of lush growth, especially after the plentiful (and indeed above-average) rains we have been having. Most garden and wild plants are in active growth, although at this particular time, it is quite slow. Deciduous trees and shrubs (oaks in the landscape; pomegranates, viburnums, hydrangeas in the garden) seem almost reluctantly deciduous, almost as if they know they are missing out on something. Despite ..read more
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End of the winter in the Portuguese garden
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
2y ago
At the end of the winter here it is difficult to imagine it six months later. When it is wet it is very wet and any uncultivated ground is covered in a thick layer of lush green grass and various weedy annuals, all of which will disappear down to the thinnest lay of straw during the summer. Deciduous trees drop their leaves but that is the only thing that really tells you it is winter. Many of the summer-autumn flowers are still struggling on, for example we have various Salvia which are still in flower, but at the same time, the first spring flowers: the pure white Tazetta daffodils known as ..read more
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Gardens Under Big Skies
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
2y ago
So, a book out on contemporary Dutch gardens. The English edition came out late last year, and the Dutch edition was out first, in mid-summer. This was very much a joint production with photographer Maayke de Ridder, whose has a wealth of experience seeking out and recording the country's gardens. Amsterdam-based publisher Hélène Lesger, Maayke and myself had indeed all been thinking about something along these lines for some time, but when we first approached some British publishers (in 2014 I think), we were firmly told that English-speaking readers would not be interested. Roll on a few ye ..read more
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Summer in the (Portuguese) garden
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
2y ago
Above: the garden in May, fresh, green and flowery It's our second Portuguese summer and the big learning curve about drought tolerance continues. Actually so far, we have been very lucky, only a couple of days in the mid 30s and a lot in the 20s with cool nights, and overcast skies. Which makes life for plants, and us, so much easier. Grey skies can be such a relief sometimes! So how are we getting on? It looks like I last reported on progress back in January, with a resumé of a year on the learning curve. Here’s the next update which I'm going to address things thematically. The ..read more
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A year of garden broadcasting !
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
3y ago
A small fraction of the people we’ve had as guests on our Garden Masterclass public service broadcasting. It is a year ago that Annie Guilfoyle and I launched our online broadcast service, initially called Tea Garden Talk, now Thursday Garden Chat, as a response to the Covid crisis lockdown. We had been a running a business putting on live events up til now, and the lockdown was obviously going to that what a sharp frost will do to a previously healthy tomato plant. So, we decided to go online. Around ninety broadcasts later…. ! …. here we are. A year later is a good time to review an amazing ..read more
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Portuguese Garden Update
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
3y ago
Yes, it's ages since I have done a blog posting. As you most of you may have guessed, it's because I have been so tied with the online adventure of Garden Masterclass. I've been working on a book about contemporary Dutch garden design too. Anyway, desk now partially cleared, and time to work on an update to our new Portuguese garden venture, it being a year since we got started here in central Portugal (near Oliveira do Hospital, or as I keep on exlaining: two-thirds of the way up and halfway across). I should start out by explaining what I am trying to achieve: a minimal irrigation garden whi ..read more
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Facing down the drought - our first Portuguese summer
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
3y ago
The garden at the end of May before it begins to dry out: Rose Cecile Brunner, which is a great local favourite and Lilium candidum. Our first Mediterranean summer, and a real challenge. Whether to water, or try to hang on and not? And if we do, how often, how much? The purists, or at least those down on the Algarve or in Andalucia might object that somewhere that grows such huge camellias as the Beira region of Portugal cannot get that dry. True, it can potentially rain a lot during most months of the year, but three to four months with no rain and high temperatures is pretty testing for pla ..read more
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Lockdown Diary - Garden Masterclass goes online
Noels-garden blog
by Noel Kingsbury
3y ago
You can probably guess why I haven't posted for a long while. I have been busy. In fact this has been one of the most productive and intense periods of my professional life. March 12th A friend, Francisca, comes round for supper. She's involved in a botanical survey in the region (Beira Alta, inland central Portugal). We talk about the increasing worries over the covid disease and about her staying out here rather than going back home to Lisbon. My friend Malgosia is supposed to be flying out from Poland, via friends in Madrid, in a weeks's time to help me plant up several hundred young plants ..read more
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