Book Review: Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan

I usually enjoy writing a book review, but occasionally I am sent a book that leaves me totally uninspired.  This is not because it isn’t a good book, it is, if you are into DIY it will be just what you are looking for.    The Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan is published by Cool Springs Press in 2016 with an imprint by Quarto Publishing Group Inc.  


Thinking it would be packed with information and ideas about growing things in raised beds, I quickly discovered it was far more of a build your own DIY guide and I was disappointed,  it was just not my sort of book.   However, if you are adept at wielding a saw, screwdriver and electric drill, you will find it a book to motivate you with great ideas into building your own raised beds.   It might be that you are the gardener and your partner is happy making things, or the other way around,  in which case the book would suit you both.   With detailed shopping lists of the items required to make a variety of beds, it comes with clear pictorial instructions. 

 Growing edibles or flowers in a raised bed has countless advantages, such as economy of space, water conservation, portability, and accessibility. Raised Bed Revolution offers complete reference information on how to get started, covering subjects such as growing-medium options, rooftop gardening, cost-effective gardening solutions, planting tips, watering strategies.


There are lots of interesting ideas, including a wooden potato growing box, recycling an old table into a lettuce box and a laddered herb planter, which I particularly liked, but I would have to find someone to make it for me.  There are informative pieces within the chapters on the do’s and dont’s of gardening with raised beds, but the Raised Bed Revolution still struck me as being predominantly a ‘How to Build your Raised Bed’ book.


Tara Nolan is a freelance writer and writes gardening articles in Toronta Star and Canadian Living magazine.   A few years ago, along with three members of the Garden Writers Association, Tara co-founded a gardening website at http://www.Savvygardening.com.  If you are a Facebook user you can find her on FB – Facebook.com/raisedbedrevolution. 

In a Vase on Monday – It’s Hot! Hot! Hot!

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Following on from last week’s In a Vase on Monday I have used another mug from the kitchen cupboard.  In the past few posts I’ve found a container and then picked the flowers.  This time I knew I wanted to use the last of the hot flowers in the garden.  Once I had my selection I searched for the best way to display and compliment them and found this cheerful mug at the back of the mug cupboard.
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The crocosmia is almost over but I was able to retrieve a few sprigs with flowers at the top of stems.
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The Calendula is also slowly coming to an end, and sadly it is falling foul of mildew.  Now is the time for the nasturtiums to start taking over the flowerbed and is winding its way around every thing at the moment!

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For a little bit of greenery I have used Cosmos leaves.

Here is my list of my Hot! Hot! Hot! In a Vase on Monday:

  • nasturtiums
  • calendula
  •  crocosmia
  • cosmos leaves

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Thank you Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme, which ensures I do regularly pick flowers from the garden to enjoy indoors.

Parham House and Garden – Glasshouse

At the beginning of July we bought a season ticket for Parham Garden we only have one more visit and it’s paid for itself, then we can continue to visit for free!

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We went again yesterday and having written several blog posts about  Parham I decided to go with a specific theme for this post.

Initially I was going to photograph unusual plants or plants that we may not use in a smaller garden due to their size.   The one above is an Eupatorium  which can grow to almost 7ft, far too big and overpowering for my small garden.

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However, after walking into the glasshouse full to bursting with Pelargoniums, Plectranthus, Begonias and Heliotrope, a virtual bee heaven, I decided to concentrate on this part of the garden.  The temperature inside here was comfortable, and not that sticky humid heat you often meet in a greenhouse.   I did look up if there was any difference between a greenhouse and a glasshouse and apparently the only difference is in the name.

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There was an interesting scent wafting about which, like a bloodhound, made me sniff around to locate where it was coming from.   I honed in eventually to the flower above.  We hunted under the leaves to see if there was a label but with no luck.  Maybe you can name it.image

This interesting, unusual plant is Brilliantasia Owariensis.  We continued in our dig around for the hope that some plants were labelled and luckily this one was.   I Googled it for a bit more information and was puzzled when searching using the full name only Spanish pages came up,  but when changing the search criteria, dropping the Owariensis part, lots of information on Brilliantasia Subulugurica, a plant from Zimbabwe, came up. It certainly was different.

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Another pretty bluish/purple flower is Tibouchina urvilleana from Brazil.  This was the only glasshouse plant we could find for sale in the plant nursery.  That is how we know what it was called.

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There are many fascinating fuchsias, one in particular is the above Fuchsia Boliviana ‘Alba’ from Peru.

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This bright red flower is Begonia Fuchsioides it was such a bright red that the camera on my iPhone, usually great for photos, only managed to produce a slightly blurred pic.

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As I leave the glasshouse, this is a photograph from the other end, with a very pretty salmon pink fuchsia in the foreground.

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I couldn’t resist the temptation to continuing taking photographs after we left the glasshouse.   Rather than stray away from the sole purpose of blogging about the glasshouse, I am ending with just one pic of the garden.   The array of sunflowers was a sight to behold, from little bright yellow ones to the tallest bronze flowers you could hope to see.

OPENING TIMES
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holidays until the end of September. In October Parham is open on Sundays only.

House | 14:00 – 17:00
Gardens | 12:00 – 17:00
Big Kitchen Restaurant | 12:00 – 17:00
Last Admission | 16:30

Parham Plant & Garden Shop is open to visitors free of charge from 10:30am – 12noon on standard open days (excluding event days) and from 12noon to 5pm for paying Garden visitors.

The next event at Parham is the HARVEST FAIR on 24th and 25th September from 10:30 to 17:00

Live cookery demonstrations, deer walks, gun dog displays, fungi talks, working horse cart rides in the Parkland, falconry displays, Tudor cooking demonstrations and Tudor dancing in the House. Wide array of stalls selling food, drink and country wares.

In a Vase on Monday – Cheerful Cosmos

 

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” – Oscar Wilde

One of the greatest things about blogs and Instagram is that it is full of ideas which sets the mind racing, well it does mine anyway.   You can see something and think wow, I could do that, and this is exactly what happened when I saw my blogger friend Elizabeth Musgrave from Welsh Hills Again had posted  a pretty photo of flowers in a mug on Instagram.    I ask her forgiveness for taking her idea and posting my version for In a Vase on Monday.

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After a considerable amount of heavy rain, and an unseasonable wind,  there is a lot in the garden lying flat, including the Ladies Mantle Achemilla Mollis which is now almost past its prime.   I find if I use it for arrangements when it gets to this stage, it just sheds seeds and makes a bit of a mess.   Fortunately I managed to cut a few sprigs that were still a lovely lime green before it changed to a manky khaki.

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The one lesson I still need to grasp is that anything will make a vessel for flowers.  I am still in the mindset that a flower arrangement equals the need for a purpose made vase.  This, of course, is total rubbish!  The above mug is a very pretty shape and from Laura Ashley.  I chose it because the colours match the shades of the Cosmos from the garden and is an ideal height for a small posy.

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This is an ‘aerial’ view of today’s posy.  I have grown from seed a large and varied selection of Cosmos this year, some have single petals and others have the interesting double petals known as Sea Shells.  I have added some Verbena Bonariensis, which is always good for colour without taking up space.

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You see, I am beginning to learn a few things about making an In a Vase on Monday. Pop over to Cathy’s blog In a Vase on Monday.