Win tickets to the Woburn Abbey Garden Show!

roses in a basket

We’ve got a brilliant giveaway for you! If you’d like a chance to grab one of three pairs of tickets to the Woburn Abbey Garden Show in Bedfordshire on 23-24 June – headlined by the BBC’s Adam Frost and Pippa Greenwood – simply tell me in the comments what you’d most look forward to seeing at the show. Winners picked this Saturday!

Alternatively you can head to my smallest smallholding instagram account, twitter or smallest smallholding facebook page to enter.

Garden Show highlights include:

  • Informative talks and Q&A sessions with BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Adam Frost, BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time panellist Pippa Greenwood and Woburn Estates Gardens Manger and show organiser Martin Towsey
  • Tips and advice from Woburn gardeners and rare access to see the Private Gardens of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford (not normally open to the public)
  • Free garden tours with RHS qualified gardeners to learn more about the management and creation of Woburn’s Humphry Repton landscaped gardens
  • A fabulous line up of RHS Medal winning nurseries, offering a diverse array of plants in our Plant Village. Nurseries are tasked with creating a plant display for which awards are given over the weekend – Adam Frost is part of the assessment panel
  • New for 2018 – A field kitchen, set up in the kitchen garden with live cooking demonstration by Celebrity Chef, Rachel Green.
  • Plenty of retail therapy including a luxury gifts hall and quality stands offering a plethora of garden furniture, sculpture, tools and horticultural hardware
  • Independent and unique food and drink providers in Woburn’s Artisan Food Hall
  • Live entertainment and musical performances from the Bedford Town Band to the backdrop of stunning views over the Woburn Abbey Gardens.

To find out more about the Woburn Abbey Garden Show, visit http://www.woburnabbey.co.uk/events/gardening/wwwwoburnabbeycoukgardenshow/

Good luck!

Please provide your contact email in the relevant field in the comments. By providing your email address, you are giving us permission to contact you via this email address. We will only use winners’ email address for contact and will pass them on to the event organisers so that your tickets can be held and you can be instructed by the even organisers on how to access the garden show. Your email addresses will not be used for any other purposes. 

 

Strawberries for Summer

About three years ago I planted in four little Cambridge Favourite strawberry plants in a freshly-prepared no-dig bed (as above). 

Cambridge Favourite strawberries

The strawberry plants were tiny, and priced at something like £1.49 each. I just hoped that I’d be able enjoy tending to a mini strawberry patch and maybe a bowl or two of strawberries to enjoy at home. 

Cambridge Favourite strawberry plants

Fast forward to 2018, and my strawberry patch has gone wild! Those four little plants sent out runners, which meant the following year I had a few more plants to tend to. Within 24 months the patch has thrived, so much so that we’re mowing strawberries runners in the lawn to keep them under control. 

With no late frosts this year to kill the strawberry flowers, there are probably a couple of hundred (at the very least) strawberries growing. Some are starting to ripen, and if temperatures pick up a little more, then we could be looking at our first strawberry harvest in time for Wimbledon, the pinnacle of strawberry season here in the UK.

I’m proud of my little strawberry patch (even though they’re threatening to take over the Valentina raspberries that they share a growing space with), and I’m hoping to be able to share my strawberries between eating fresh, freezing, making jam, sharing with friends and family, and maybe even selling a few punnets from the garden gate for a little extra spare change. 

Cambridge Favourite strawberry crop

Jobs for June – Summer in Swing

I’m crossing my fingers for a run of dry, sunny days in June, as I have a number of jobs that really need completing by the end of the month. The aim is to have some major tasks finished in time for E’s second birthday in August (how the hell did that happen, two years old!), when we’re hoping to invite friends and family over for a relaxed day of food, fun and sun.

We’ve really gained some momentum this year with our little Smallest Smallholding. Of course, there are tonnes of improvements and ideas we have floating about, and time isn’t on our side right now, but it’s great to feel as if we’re going somewhere with making our ideas a reality. So here are a few things that are on my To Do List, for June, to keep that momentum rolling.:

Paint the Tool Shed
There will be more on this in a later blog post, but we now have a compact and very useful little tool shed, which has freed up space in the “big” (medium-small) shed. It’s currently a bit naked, and I’m hoping to put a few pennies and pounds aside to give it a lick of paint. Maybe country cream or with some willow green It’s just been far too damp recently to even consider it, but I’m keeping an eye on the forecasts…

Sow All Seeds
I still have quite a few packets of flower seeds that need sowing directly, but firstly I need to get the beds prepared with compost. There’s plenty of the homemade stuff in our old leaf bin. It’s just a case of emptying it, carting it over to the vegetable garden and getting it in situ. Simple!

Plant Up Hanging Baskets
There’s nothing like the splash of colour and vibrancy that a brimming summer hanging basket can bring. We’ve left our baskets and containers around the back of the house empty for far too long. It’s time to get them planted up, and bring back some summer cheer. 

Update Gardening Bag
I’m currently using an old tent peg bag as my garden bag, but it’s just not doing the job, other than being water resistant. I’d like to have compartments for garden labels, pens, a stake and string for straight edges, and maybe even space for my kneeling mat. Maybe a gardening bag like this. Budgets are always tight, but if I’m going to be spending more time on our mini flower farm field, I need to be better equipped and more organised.

Stop Raiding My Wardrobe for Workwear
Recently, I lost a load of baby weight that had been hanging on, and have managed to fit back into lots of my old clothes. Unfortunately, they’re also the only clothes I have to garden in, and I’ve got a knack of wrecking things that I shouldn’t be wearing when tackling the likes of monster brambles. I can’t tell you how many clothes I’ve ripped, jumpers I’ve wrecked and trousers I’ve rendered useless for daily wear. I’ve been thinking of investing in some practical trousers and came across these outdoor ladies workwear jeans from Engelbert Strauss. They actually have long pockets in a useful place, on the thigh, rather than at the hip where I’m always bending and compressing when in the garden. I’m thinking I could keep my secateurs to hand in those long pockets, and as they’re stretchy fabric, they’ll be comfortable too.

Plant Squash
This one is very specific; I find any kind of squash immensely useful in the kind of cooking I like to do – soups, stews, curries and chillies (let’s just call them one pot wonders). I’m aiming to grow a few butternut squash, and, if time and space allows, some kind of acorn squash or something a little ornamental. I’ve had great success in the past, but if I’d learned anything, it’s that I can’t be late planting in squash, and I need to regularly feed them to keep the plants healthy and flush with fruit.

There’s always more to do, but I’m trying to keep my to do list achievable this month! What’s on yours?

This is a sponsored post. 

Knucklehead pumpkin growing in September

Knucklehead pumpkin