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DSC01876Bottom barers beware there are plants out there who are out to get you ..big time in Bhutan!

In this case we are Talking about Girardiana diversifolia – the Bhutanese equivalent of our common stinging nettle only this one is giant sized with a lethal  sting which both Paul and I encountered on a bush loo stop on the switchback road from Samdrup Jongkar to Trashiyangtse.

DSC01989You see there is little choice in a pee stop perfect place…either brave the positively virtiginous slopes plummeting down the impenetrable wooded seventy degree pitches or skulk into the roadside under the crumbling cliff faces (rockfalls very much an added option)…sites which often bear the imprint of human use previously…with papery abandon…DSC01964

 

And of course then there are the thundering trucks blustering by from time to time with a squeal of brakes and leering truck drivers …..

DSC01770 Whilst scrabbling in for a roadside relief we both brushed our face and hands against our deadly foe ..a bristly monster of a nettle bearing pale yellow flowers and looking in all innocence alike another roadside rambler but indeed it was more cunning in its sting and came out all guns blazing..no Bhutan Dock plants nearby to assuage its sting either.(although we were to find this plant at a later date)

 

027not any old poo .. dog poo .

It is a rare garden that happily invites dogs and their owners into the garden together to share the space and an afternoon. I know this because I have a dog too. Vigo. Here he is above with our nephew ,Alastair.

And it is tricky to find attractions taking dogs and happy to do so. These gardens are rare because there are those that are creating wars and those that have to fight them. I am talking about Poo Wars and the victims are revolting.

 

IMG_8273There are a few issues involved in having a garden that welcomes dogs and does all it can to make this a good experience for one and all .And when we thought about doing this,  I thought -hold on- let’s provide dog waste bins for owners to dispose of the poop and for once, lets also provide the bags in which the aforementioned waste  can be collected.Simples ! which is exactly what we did.

IMG_8275It wasn’t difficult to do and now we have five bins spaced around the garden at suitable points allowing at any point in time for (a) a big dollop of poo to be picked up in a bag (supplied by us ) and (b) the squidgy package of poo to be deposited in the bin (c) jobby sorted. And you can simply walk away – with your dog !

So one would think that all our responsible dog owners would be able to cope with this . Sadly this seems not to be the case. Now … lets look at the facts ..

1. We ask for  dogs to be kept on a short  lead. You surely cannot miss your dog having a smelly moment near you -unless you are in a world apart, enjoying the view , talking about particle physics ,very short sighted or an idiot ,so what is so difficult about picking the shit up ?

2. it got me thinking .. why is it difficult to do this ? well it’s not the happiest of tasks of course .. picking up someone else’s shit is not the best thing in the world , smelly – yes,disgusting – could be – depends on the consistency of course.But it is YOUR dog and by implication YOUR shit

3.. if you were in your own garden would you leave all the shit  around for someone to stand in ? yes ? love the odour of fresh dog poo on the parquet ? crisp dog poo on the doormat ? killer shit on the kelim ? so why do it here ?

Come on folks ! shit happens so please deal with it !

 

Size matters

 

009Big is definitely more beautiful – of course it is .. especially when the big grasses are part of the picture. In our Sussex Prairies garden  only twenty five percent of the garden is grasses but at this time of year the grasses definitely take front of stage with their impressive stature, dominating presence and architectural splendour.

002Is it the metallic sheen on the grass flower heads that gives that ethereal quality to the whole, or is it the heady wispiness and romance of the flowers that creates such a spectacle ? is it the arching fronds that brush and tickle you as you pass by ?or is it the firey flashes of brilliance in the leaves or seedheads ? it is all of that and more and set in dream partnerships with the later perennials they are crackers !

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High Five !

Here at our top five  grasses for this year-

1. Miscanthus Malepartus

big bold and dark purple flowers  .. towers in at a heady 8 ft tall

2. Miscanthus Zwerg Elefant (dwarf elephant)

flowers unfurl like a curled elefants trunk and then  emerge like crinkle cut chips

3. Sporobolis heterolepsis

grass with presence and fragrance .. imagine freshly cut coriander on a summers day

4. Panicum Frosted Explosion

a real firework of an annual grass but misty and moving at the same time.. a perfect grass as a dream partner in the garden

5. Miscanthus Ghana

feels like a bonfire burning…with all the the firey colours of autumn and the zest and zing of gunpowder.

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We are getting very excited about our upcoming Unusual Plant and Art Fair this year as we have a wealth of great exhibitors coming to spoil you with their incredible selection of plants and art works.

Here they all are listed below . If you would like to read more about any of them please do go to our website ,under the Event Plant & Art Fair ,where all the exhibitors are listed with links to their websites.

NEW ! Plant & Art Creche !
This year the local scouts group will be providing a Plant & Art Creche for all your purchases, as well as a handy run to car service for a small donation !

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FOOD
We shall be offering a great range of homemade food with the ever popular Shetland Lamb Burgers featuring on the menu, homemade soup and filled ploughman’s rolls. Delicious homemade cakes, scones ,teas ,coffees and Ice creams will of course be there for you to enjoy as normal !

Entrance to the Fair and the garden on that day is £6 adult, £3 child. RHS members are kindly asked to pay £4.80 for entrance to the Fair that day , Season Ticket holders can use their season tickets to come in for free !

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Plants: The ABC of

Great Nurseries
B :Beth Chattos nursery,Blue leaf Plants, Borde Hill,Bulls Green nursery,
C :Charleshurst Farm Nursery,Chris Ghyselen,Camolin Potting Shed, Copton Ash Nursery
D: Daisy Roots, Decoy Nursery,Diane Cole Hardy Plants,Dysons Nurseries
E: Eastcroft Roses, Essex carnivorous Plants, Evolution Plants
F:Forget me Not Plants
H:Hardys Cottage Garden Plants, Herbal Haven
K:Kevin Hughes Plants, Kings Barn Trees
L:Little Omenden Farm Nursery,Longacre Nursery
M:Madrona Nursery
N:Nymans Nursery
P:Penny’s Plants,Philip Johnson, Phoenix Perennial Plants, Pineview Plants , Plantbase,Plants from Venus, Plant heritage
R:Rapkyns Nursery,Rose Cottage Plants, Rotherview Nursery
S:Special Plants, Swallowfields Nursery,Sweetbriar Nursery.
T:The Garden House Brighton, The Plant Specialist
U: Usual and Unusual Plants
W: Wildflower Lawns & meadows

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Art and Crafts :The ABC of Art & Craft
A:Adele Scantlebury,Alison Chesman, Angela Evans,Anne Kelly Textiles, Annie McMullan
B:Bev Burt Ceramics
C:Ceramic Gardens, Chris Burchell Collins,Coalshed Pottery
D:Dave Unsted, David Meed,Debbie Siniska
F:Fibreactive, Fibrefrenzi
G :Garden Art & Sculpture,Gillian Hills, Glass Follies, Grenville Allen,
H :Handmade in Surrey,Hot Metal Works
J:Janine Creaye,James pilston Decorative Arts, Jill Stringer,Jola Spytkowska, Jose Heasman
K:Keith Windsor
M:Michele Carnie
P:Paul Cox, Pumpkin Palace pots and Slow Sew
R:Rachel Swift
S:Sue Samways Mosaics,Sarah Design,Sharon Norman,Studio 28 Mosiacs, Studio Shards, Sue Petty
T:Terry Guile, the Luddite, Tom Critchley,True Fair Trading CIC
W:Woven Oak

we shall also be joined by some super charities too – Sussex Gardens Trust, the RSPB , Sussex Wildlife Trust and HART

Loomy Tunes

IMG_0324A craze that has so nearly passed me by has suddenly come to my aid … Loom bands .. an inspired cats cradle of twisted rubber bands is slightly bonkers and batty but the ultimate throwaway jewellery solution. So if someone randomly relieves you of the burden of your heirloom jewellery collection (this happened in real life folks ),you can quickly fabricate an entire couture collection of rubber seamlessly.

In fact you don’t even need to weave and twist the bands either – rather just assemble a whole collection of bands on a piece of elastic and you are whizz- bang- a jeweller extraordinaire.

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Want to make friends, then why not share a pot of beautiful fresh herb tea ! We have a range of fresh grown herbal teas to tantalise the palate and perk up the dulled senses .

Growing on our teashop terrace ,we can nip out and pick the freshest of tips for your pot of delight. Now you read before about the steamy sweaty camels and bedazzled camel drovers …so time for a new tale…

Run your fingers through the glossy stems of our fresh mints …what about the luscious chocolate peppermint ? Smooth  ,seductive and sensual.Rolls into your mouth like a melted After Eight.. The type of After Eight eaten in bed with a wanton lover..and melted on your pillow . The type of After Eight forgotten after a late dinner party but found lurking secretly in the box and eaten with subterfuge and secret glee.The type of After Eight slipped into a leather glove and carried away to a smugglers den where general carousing and making merry may be happening with riotous abandon.You know the type of scene- buxom,garralous serving wench,handsome highwayman with a swagger and a lascivious smile,all tight leather pants and a glint in his eye,and an accommodating dry cleaner.What about the charming rustic , all corduroy and sweaty singlet and a can of coke in his pocket ? Just ready for that advertising break.Or the handsome man of mystery, floral chemise,cravat and oh so  creased linen suit -dragged through a haystack with the boys and then took a ride on the hay wagon .

So we  too can be  the wild rovers of taste, the robin hoods  of  flavour and the buccaneers of  balm .We are the prairie tea queens !

 

We are delighted that this year we have a textile artist in residence bringing a world of wonderful textile beauty to our garden room exhibition space.

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Anne Kelly – about me

“I collect recycled fabric, paper and ephemera using collage, stitch, photographic and print processes to create a range of work, most of which is framed. My inspirations are travel, memory and vintage imagery from a variety of sources. These have been described as ‘small worlds’ and my current layered mixed media work started life as mainly botanical in subject matter before developing into larger more narrative works. I assemble and reassemble the components of each piece using sketchbooks and digital imagery. Often it can be a small scrap or remnant of fabric that inspires a whole piece.  I am inspired by natural history and gardens. Collaborations are an important aspect of my work and I enjoy working with other artists and teaching. I also produce commissions for private and public individuals  – examples of these ‘collages in cloth’, based on special places, people and spaces can be found on my website. I have co written a book for Batsford/Anova press  which was published in 2013 called ‘Connected Cloth’

A Natural History of the Garden At Sussex Prairies-

Anne has brought an amazing textile exhibition of her latest garden related work and is working on a wonderful collaborative wall piece called A Natural History of the Garden which is helping to raise funds for the RSPB Southeast. Anne will be coming to the garden regularly during the summer to work on the project and to lead drop in sessions of creative stitching on a garden theme with a range of glorious textiles.

Make

Why not come and try your hand at making a small piece for our wall..we have all the materials you need and even a whole load of inspiration from books and printed materials as well as the big garden of course.

Take Anne’s easy step by step guide to creating your own piece. What better way to spend an afternoon sewing and chatting with friends over a piece of  homemade cake and a cup of tea.

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and if you would like to learn from Anne why not come and join us for one of Anne’s workshops  here on the Prairies-

 A series of Workshops by Anne Inspired by the garden -

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‘Illustrating Garden Poetry’ saturday 28th June 2014

–Looking at the work of some contemporary poets, we will discuss ways to combine stitch and words in a special piece which you will start on the day and finish afterwards. You will create a unique record of your garden, one that you’ve visited or a special plant/flower that you like. Full day workshop.

 

‘Prairie Paper and Stitch’ saturday 26th July 2014

– combining paper and cloth extends your options when working in textiles. In this one-day course, tutor Anne Kelly will demonstrate some basic bonding techniques and help you to make a small folding book form celebrating a favourite green space.

Full day workshop .

 

‘Planting in Cloth’ –Saturday 6th September 2014

Surrounded by the lovely setting of the Prairie Gardens, we will use them as the basis to record plant and flower drawings and paintings on cloth. These will then be stitched using a variety of techniques and can be finished as solo pieces or incorporated into a larger piece. Full day workshop .

 

 

‘Little House on the Prairie’ – Sunday 28th September 2014

A joint parent and child course – using a variety of simple stitch and bonding techniques, create a unique record of your house and garden with a member of your family. You will make the basis of this piece during the one-day workshop and can continue to embellish and add to it at home. Full day workshop .

read more abut Anne on her website http://www.annekellytextiles.com

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