Hippy Show Garden!

Show garden with a twist!!

This weekend saw our annual September outing to the Penshurst Craft Fair held at Penshurst Place. Ourselves, along with our good friends Chilstone from Tunbridge Wells join forces to create a mini show garden and stand.

Having attended the show for the last five years, twice a year, it’s always difficult to come up with a fresh idea for a garden!

This time round, we gave the garden a bit of a twist and made an old 1972 VW camper van the main centrepiece!

The stunning camper has been fully restored to it’s original glory, with shiny new paint job and re-conditioned engine. The tax exempt classic is not used as  a show vehicle, but for its intended purpose for camping weekends and trips to Devon & Cornwall. With this in mind, we thought we’d put ‘Doona’ the van to work over the weekend.

With some wispy grasses and colourful late season perennials, we put a smile on the show-goers faces. The sun shone down on us and plant sales were great – roll on May for the next show garden! What to do next???”!

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May Day Mayhem!!

How quickly this season seems to be going!! With such good Spring weather and fantastic sales, it’s all been a bit of a blur!! Coupled with us growing for RHS Malvern and Chelsea Flower Shows, there’s never a dull moment here at the nursery!

Throw into the mix this week the Penshurst Craft Fair held within the wonderful grounds at Penshurst Place. The twice-annual event is a showcase for some of the best arts and crafts available to buy, all held under the same (marquee!) roof.

We, in conjunction with our good friends Chilstone of Fordcombe create a mini show garden and can be seen at the entrance to the show. Be inspired with our Spring planting combinations and some of the finest garden ornaments all hand made at their site locally.

An extra twist to our garden this year will be the addition of Nigel Hartfield, who will be demonstrating some stone engraving within the garden!!

The craft show runs for three days over the bank holiday, Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd & Monday 4th May.
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Merry Christmas from all at How Green Nursery!

Wishing all our customers old and new a very merry Christmas and best wishes for the year ahead!

We find ourselves a week away from Christmas day and we’re left wondering, where on earth did that year go?! Here at How Green we are busily beavering away like Santa’s elves to prepare Christmas potted arrangements. We use high quality wicker trugs and a choice of bulbs including Hyacinths and Narcissus, all then lovingly decorated with natural moss and a Christmas tag. (See our plant of the week pictures). We also have a special treat for you! Open our availability lists opposite and you’ll find the How Green Nursery Christmas quiz! 100 green fingered questions to get sunk into over the festive period. Put your brain cells to the test and send us back your answers via email. There will be prizes for those with the most correct answers!

We take a look back at the 2013 season and reflect on what has been a rollercoaster of a year! It started disastrously for us and everyone connected with the industry. A prolonged Winter with snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures made for less than favourable gardening and growing conditions. March and April, which should be two of our busiest months were a right-off . Coming off the back of a very difficult 2012 (where it didn’t stop raining), the situation was bleak.

Spring

Then in April came our first of three public open weekends. Oh how we rejoiced! The weather behaved and gardeners gave us renewed confidence by coming to the nursery in their masses! Plants were sold by the boot full and the tea and cake flowed! This was then followed by a calm spell with sun and warmth. Our stock which at one point was six weeks behind in growth caught up and it was like flicking a light switch! This was extra relief with How Green growing for a major show garden at Chelsea Flower Show for the first time! Our good friend Roger Platt’s M&G sponsored garden deservedly won gold, and we breathed a sigh of relief!

Garden centres and garden designers stepped up through the gears and suddenly the 2013 season was underway!

Summer

The fantastic weather then carried on into early Summer and further open days, both trade and public proved a hit. Our show gardens and plant stand at Penshurst Place were warmly (hotly!) received. The long Summer days continued and got the nation out into their gardens. The smell of BBQ’s hung in the air and pots and borders that had not been tended since the Summer before, were revitalised! Again, we grew for two gardens at Hampton Court Flower Show.

Autumn

Then into Autumn. Late September saw our most successful Trade Open Day to date. Gardeners, designers and garden centres took advantage of our special offers on the day and the networking opportunities were phenominal! Business cards and numbers were exchanged and our cake and biscuit tin took a real battering! Usually a time for us to grow for the following year, but something amazing happened! Our loyal and ever increasing band of garden designers took on the challenge of some major projects. This in turn left considerable holes in our stock leading to our best Autumn sales ever!

Winter

And so to Winter! A time to reflect and do maintenance round the nursery. As you can see from our last post, we are in the throws of constructing a new office and sales area. Also in the pipeline, a new Lavender tunnel. Our 2014 catalogue is being lovingly put together by the amazing Natalie Seal at Ginger & Fig in Tunbridge Wells. She’s a whizzo graphic designer and website designer, specialising in anything horticultural. The catalogue has over 300 new plants on offer to you next season, so our stock of over 4500 plants looks very exciting indeed!

Other plans for the 2014 season include more Public and Trade Open Days (dates TBA – check website for details). We are also in the process of organising some guest speakers here at the nursery. These may be evening/weekend events, or we might tie them in with our open days. We already have talks and nursery tours booked in from numerous gardening clubs and societies. Contact us for further details.

Literally hot off the press, we have been asked to grow for a Chelsea garden again next year! If we say who, we may have to kill you – details nearer the time!!

All that’s left for us to say here at How Green is Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all! We leave you with some scenes from our staff Christmas party last year!

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Autumnal Craft Fair!

Last weekend saw How Green make a rare public outing with our plants! We only attend three shows per year, two of them being at Penshurst Place for their Spring and then Autumn craft fairs.

We have a strong working relationship that goes back nearly thirty years with Penshurst Place, as we stock their plant stand on a weekly basis and hire our topiary for weddings in the great Barons Hall. Coupled with the venue only ten minutes from the nursery, it’s natural for us to make the annual pilgrimage!

We arrived on Thursday in blistering heat, exceeding 30oC, to build a mini show garden in conjunction with Chilstone from Fordcombe. To celebrate Chilstone’s 60th anniversary, we created a diamond shaped garden around one of their fantastic fountains that acted as the centrepiece. A local copper artist also showcased his art with a wonderful contemporary garden chair and…………..a bath! We here at How Green have never been asked to base a show garden around a bath, but there’s a first time for everything!

The planting plan used a variety of grasses and late flowering perennials to create a naturalistic, prairie style of planting. We used plenty of Echinaceas, Agastaches, Salvias and Nepeta. Within minutes of setting up the garden, it was awash with bees, hoverflies and butterflies – a truly magnificent sight! We also attended with our own plant stand, with lots of our new plants for 2014 on sale. Our display looked wonderful with our Heucheras, displaying no less than 46 different varieties!

The old saying ‘ how different one day from the next can be’ couldn’t be more apt at the show! Suffering from sunburn and dehydration from setting up the garden,  Friday slapped us in the face with……Autumn! Rain, wind and only 16oC! thankfully the weather improved on Saturday and sales were great. Sunday was again changeable, but it was great to see so many enthusiastic gardeners out there, eager to get their gardens into shape for Autumn!

This week sees a busy time at the nursery with a trade open day on Friday 13th (hope it’s not a bad omen! – see side bar) and then our last public open weekend of the year. We open our gates on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th and a warm welcome to all to browse our strictly wholesale only nursery. Our nursery is at capacity and full to bursting with plants for the 2014 season. Many new additions on offer. If plant shopping gets all to much for you, relax in our Summer house with an array of tasty home made cakes and teas!

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Heavenly Heucheras!

As Autumn approaches and many plants start to fade, give some time and space for a Heuchera or two! Being evergreen, they are a perfect perennial to plant now to give some colour through the gloomiest of months!

We here at How Green have a thing for a Heuchera and their versatility is second to none. They work very well in pots and containers, either alone or used in a combination with other plants. They are equally at home in the border and are a great contrast with different coloured Heucheras or again with other plants.

As a general rule, they are a shade loving plant, which can be handy for those difficult spots in the garden that need livening up. There are however many varieties that are equally at home in full sun. The main draw is for the plants foliage, which not only come in many different colours, but also different shapes and textures. There are giant, miniature, scalloped as well as serrated edged leaves to give a depth of variety available.

The flowers should never be over-looked. In Spring and early Summer, a mass of foam-like flowers emerge above the foliage again in a range of colours. Most are white, but some have a tinge of pink whilst others are bright red.

This Autumn we are offering 46 different varieties, including some brand spanking new additions, as well as the trusted old favourites. To check out our extensive collection, come visit us at the Penshurst Craft Fair this coming weekend, (Friday 6th, Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th September) held in the grounds of Penshurst Place. We have a plant stand and show garden in conjunction with Chilstone of Fordcombe.

If you can’t make this weekend, why not pay the nursery a visit the following weekend for our last public open weekend of the 2013. We’re open Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th September and our entire stock can be viewed and purchased! Nearly 4000 different plants to choose from and delicious home made tea & cake will be served in our wonderful Summer house!

Top left Heuchera ‘Penelope’, top right ‘Renoir’, bottom left Paprika & bottom right ‘Galaxy’.penelopeRenoirpaprikagalaxy