Archive for April, 2011
Thursday, April 21st, 2011
On a recent supermarket trip we noticed a slight change in the produce on the shelves, we were delighted to see gin produced in Hammersmith and sausages made in Romford; it was almost possible to fill the trolley with food and drink produced within the M25 borders. Sustainability and localism are the current buzz words; yet surely both are used in conjunction with rural farming and remote villages? It would seem not; within London there is a popular movement of businesses, activist groups, local communities, amateur gardeners keen to promote home-grown food and drink. Currently, 80 percent of what Londoners eat comes from abroad - we rely heavily on foreign supply lines; however if we wanted to look for locally produced food and drink we could easily find it.
Underneath the train arches of Tower Bridge Evin O’Riordain brews ales and beers at his Kernel Brewery. It’s a a small batch plant producing local London beer; O’Riordain bottles and labels everything by hand and is open for customers on a Saturday. Further North in Stoke Newington, Ole-Martin Hansen smokes salmon in his own smokery. Using the traditional methods he inherited from his Norweggian grandfather Hansen smokes salmon to supply to Shoreditch restaurants including Viajante, The Rivington and Homa. For five years Toby Mason has been keeping bees in Regents Park and selling their honey, due to the diversity of the flowers and plants in the park Toby claims the honey is much more interesting than country honey. The taste, colour and texture change with the flowers that the bees get from the nectar throughout the season. If you live in London and suffer from hayfever, Toby’s honey may be a good remedy to try; as the honey contains traces of local pollen, the allergen, it strengthens the immune system.
Whilst not everyone may have their own smokery or beehives to hand, and the ability to bottle their own beer there are other simpler ways to promote localism. We have always been keen advocates of the “grow-your-own” movement, and it’s getting easier and easier to grow your own edible produce in your small, urban outdoor space. Using our seeds and wooden crates you can create easy to maintain vegetable patches. Beyond this there are a sleuth of local groups and businesses to support. Hubbub is an online order company delivering locally sourced food and drink to homes in North London. The Guerrilla Gardening organisation strives to plant seeds in obscure urban areas; they have planted orange tulips on Blackfriars’ triangle and beautiful crocuses around bollards on Westminster Bridge Road. On May 5th they are encouraging guerrilla gardeners to plant sunflowers in urban neighbourhood patches that you feel needs brightening up.
Monday, April 18th, 2011
Sonny’s (aged 4) carrots
A new gardening survey has been published confirming a third of all adults in Britain will grow their own fruit and vegetables at home over the summer. Over 37 percent of the adults interviewed answered that they were planning to grow at least half of their produce in their own gardens, allotments or window boxes. Interestingly, 72 percent also answered that they had fallen in love with gardening by the age of thirty. It seems the gardening bug is being planted at a much earlier age, with more children and young people growing up green fingered surrounded by home-grown produce.
Children love getting their hands dirty and mucking around in the garden, there are many ways to get them excited about planting and learning about the great outdoors. If you have the space you can allocate them their own gardening area so they can dig freely; if your space is limited why not find a suitable planter or container they can call their own? You could even recycle an old wooden box, a bath, wheel barrow – and paint it brightly coloured. Girls are often drawn into the garden by tales of butterflies whilst boys love nothing more than digging for worms. Our butterfly garden seeds are a lovely way to attract butterflies into your green space, whilst worms are a vital part of creating your own compost. If you’re having problems encouraging your little ones to finish off their fruit and vegetables, what could be a better incentive than seeing the vegetables they carefully planted and watered on their plate?
Sonny’s peas and aubergines seedlings
There are plenty of fun outdoorsy trips to explore with the kids during the Easter break. Our first tip is the newly re-opened Butterfly World close to St Albans – the biggest butterfly experience in the world complete with a biome shaped like a butterfly’s head to house the different varieties. Within the Biome there will be underworld caves with insects, spiders and scorpions, canopy walkways and intermittent thunderstorms and a lost world. If you’re in London during the holidays then we would suggest a trip to the Natural History Museum to their new Sensational Butterflies exhibition containing 5 sensory zones to experience and a newly built Butterfly House. If you’re staying at home then we would recommend the family friendly website gardening with children with great tips and projects for children to explore in the garden.
Monday, April 18th, 2011
We’re pleased to announce the winners of our competition book giveaway: Maxi freeman and Philip Attwood. Both will win their own copy of Alex Mitchell’s latest gardening book “The Edible Balcony.”
“The Edible Balcony” is a great read, Alex mixes inspirational ideas with practical advice on how to achieve beautiful and productive outdoor areas, no matter how many floors up you may be and however small your space.
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Saturday, April 9th, 2011
The May issue of Period Homes & Interiors featured our Kew planters.