• Spring Newsletter

    I love this time of year! The temperature is rising, the days are getting longer and every day a seed germinates, a flower opens or a bud appears. Finally, the plans made during the winter for the nursery and the designs drawn up for gardens can be realised.

    At the nursery the display beds have survived the winter largely unscathed. We’ve been busy developing the site, increasing the space for displaying plants and improving both signage and information resources.

    This year we’ll be facilitating a range of courses and fundraising events. Kate Stevens will be visiting the Island in May (20th & 21st) to run two Willow Plant Support making workshops. In April our popular Coastal Gardening course will be featured in Coast Magazine and we’ll be running the course again on 24th June. Further details of all our 2017 activities and events can be found at www.thecoastalgardener.co.uk/events

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    I do hope that you will be able to join me on Sunday 2nd July for Forget-Me-Not, a day to raise funds for and awareness of Dementia UK and the IOW Admiral Nurse Appeal. The event will celebrate plants associated with memory and will include the chance to sample teas & tisanes made from herbs that apparently aid memory. We will also have a preloved cookery and gardening book stall. If you have any books looking for a new home please do drop them off at the nursery.

    Last year my dream of running a nursery came true. The reality has been better than the dream. I love being there and hope that you will call in to say hello during the weeks and months ahead. As last year, we will be open from 10am – 4pm, Thursday to Sunday. This year we will have an even wider range of plants on offer with plenty of inspiration and advice too.

    I almost forgot to mention that every Thursday afternoon at 2pm, starting on 6th April, I’ll be giving a short topical talk/demonstration at the nursery. These free talks are about sharing information and making gardening accessible to everyone. I’ll publicise the theme of week on Facebook (thecoastalgardeneriow) and on our website.

    Hope to see you soon.

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  • Autumn Newsletter

    Oh what fun we’ve had!

    It’s been a wonderful summer. The sun has shone, temperatures have soared and our plants have loved it. We’ve been delighted to welcome so many visitors to the nursery and have been overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and kind words. The display beds have been a big hit and customers appreciate the quality of our plants and our labelling. We’ve been thrilled that so many of them appreciate the fact that we grow almost all the plants we sell from our own seed and cuttings. Propagation is our passion and we’re proud that our plants really are Isle of Wight plants.

    As well as selling plants we’ve handed out lots of free advice and welcomed gardening groups, celebrities, journalists, photographers, garden designers and Beavers (small Scouts, not the animals!) We’ve written articles, given talks and judged garden competitions.

    We’ve designed gardens for private and public clients, including a garden at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport. We’ve been delighted with the results, and most importantly, so have our clients. During the autumn we’ll be creating gardens in Bembridge and East Cowes as well as planting a dune with native coastal plants in Sandown. We’re also looking forward to working with pupils from St Helens Primary School as part of their Arts week, helping them to design their own coastal garden.

    The nursery will close at the end of October, but until then we’ll be there Thursday to Sunday from 10am until 4pm. Now is a great time to visit, the display beds are looking wonderful and perennials planted now, whilst the soil is still warm and temperatures mild, will establish quickly.

    If you feel a bit out of your comfort zone when it comes to gardening then perhaps you’d like to join us for our Gardening Made Easy course on Saturday 17th September? You’re bound to leave feeling more knowledgeable and more confident. In October we’re running a Paper Making course, during which participants will explore the creative potential of making their own paper. In November we’ll be running our popular Make It Christmas course. Details of all the courses can be found at www.thecoastalgardener.co.uk/events.

    As the gardening year comes to an end it’s time to reflect on what has happened this year and to plan for the next. Thanks to everyone who has helped make it such a special and successful year. Special thanks to Jenni Minns for all her help at the nursery. During the winter we’ll be improving our signage, making sculptures for the display beds, expanding the sales area, planting containers, improving the web site and devising new events and courses for next year. If you use social media please do keep in touch via Facebook (thecoastalgardeneriow) and Twitter (thecoastalgardener@GerryPrice3).

    What a year it’s been! I’m already looking forward to reopening in March 2017!

    Wishing you a mellow and fruitful autumn,

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  • A dream comes true!

    Several years ago when trying to source plants for my own coastal garden I dreamt about the nursery I’d like to visit. I wanted it to have attractive displays of the plants I love and to introduce me to new and unusual ones. I wanted it to be beautiful and interesting; the kind of place I’d tell friends about and look forward to visiting again and again. The plants would have to be well labelled so that I’d know what they were and how to grow them and it would really help if mature specimens were growing nearby. I wanted to be able to speak to someone who would know about the plants, offer advice and ideas.

    I planted my garden, opened it for the National Gardens Scheme, started to propagate lots of plants and sold a few from a bench in front of the house. Gradually the driveway became home to more and more plants and I started to think about the nursery I’d dreamt of.

    After a long search I found the perfect location; a small field with the most stunning view of the Solent at Fakenham Farm on Eddington Road, St Helens. Six months later my dream has become a reality and The Coastal Gardener nursery is ready to open! I can now visit the nursery I always wanted to go to – albeit as owner rather than visitor!

    The nursery will open on Saturday 30th April at 10am and be open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday until the end of October. Over the bank holiday weekend we will also be open on Monday 2nd May. Our opening weekend will be an opportunity for us to raise money for Sophie’s Fund.

    We hope you’ll call in to say hello, buy a plant or two and consider making a donation.

    Hope to see you soon!

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  • Spring is almost here...

    As I write this on a cold, damp and dull day it’s hard to believe that spring will soon be here. There are some signs of its arrival in the garden with plants like the Daisy Bush (Olearia scilloniensis) and Pride of Madera (Echium candicans), flowering unseasonably early. March is always a busy time of year as seed sowing reaches a crescendo and I rush to take the hardwood cuttings before it’s too late. And this year there’s also been the challenge and excitement of getting the new nursery ready at Fakenham Farm in St Helens!

    When the weather has allowed we’ve been distributing literally tonnes of gravel, building the plant sales area and putting in another raised display bed. We’ve still got a lot to do but are hoping, weather permitting, to open the gate for the first time over the Easter weekend.

    I’ve also been busy designing and planting public and private gardens. I’m looking forward to realising plans for two more gardens in April. I love the creative challenge and the opportunity to collaborate with clients. There are some exciting projects on the horizon which I’m looking forward to developing during the summer. Having my own nursery means that I have instant access to some great plants which are often difficult to find on the Island, and sometimes on the mainland too!

    If you’re feeling inspired to make more of your garden this year you might be interested in a couple of courses we’ve planned.

    On Saturday 2nd April there’s a day devoted to sowing seeds, not just any seeds but the ones we sow and grow at the nursery. You’ll have access not only to our collection of annual, biennial and perennial seeds, (all suited to coastal and drought tolerant gardens) but also to our seed trays, compost, labels, sieves and anything else you might need. This day is for everyone, from those who have never sown a seed before through to experienced gardeners who would like to devote a day to sowing a wide range of seeds. I’ll be your guide for the day, sharing the methods and materials I use to ensure the highest possible germination rates. The day costs £50.00, which includes everything and you’ll go home with seed trays of plants worth at least 3 times the cost of the day. (To reserve your place please call/text 07977 550050 or email thecoastalgardener@icloud.com).

    On Saturday 18th June we’ve got an exciting day planned to inspire you to design and plant your own coastal garden. If you have a garden near the sea you’ll know that the wind and salt spray can be challenging to say the least! Spend the day with me at the nursery in St Helens and find out about plants that thrive in coastal conditions and learn how to create the best possible environment for your plants to flourish. I’ll share with you my ideas on designing and planting coastal gardens and offer advice about your own garden (please do bring along plans and/or photographs of your garden). We’ll also visit my coastal garden in Bembridge and take a short walk along the coast to see what's thriving on the cliff edge and beach. We’ve had interest from a national magazine who will be sending a reporter so who knows, you might even make the front page! Do let me know if you’d like to reserve a place. The cost for the day is £45.00.

    If you’re passing Fakenham Farm on Eddington Rd in St Helens please do call in and say hello!

    Best wishes

    Gerry

    PS. If you use Facebook or Twitter we’re thecoastalgardeneriow on Facebook and tweet as The Coastal Gardener@GerryPrice3.

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  • New Year, New Nursery!

    I hope that 2016 has started well for you and that you had a good Yuletide. We had a wonderful time in New Zealand. The landscape is beautiful and the plant life rich and varied. I visited several inspirational gardens and returned home with a camera full of photographs, lots of ideas and several packets of seeds! Look out for the NZ influence in the nursery this year….

    The relocation of the nursery from our home in Bembridge to Fakenham Farm on Eddington Rd in St Helens is going well. After the previous occupants, a herd of pigs, were rehomed elsewhere on the farm, the site was levelled and covered with a weed supressing membrane. Then we built timber framed raised beds, filled them with soil and grit and planted then with our favourite coastal plants. Last week the sheds arrived, one as a potting shed and the other as a venue for courses and as an onsite office. It might sound like a lot of hard work, and it has been, but it’s also been a lot of fun. Thanks to my friends at Tackt-Isle Adventures for moving tonnes of soil and to my husband Steve and son Alfie for their help too.

    There’s still a great deal to do before we’ll be ready to open in March, but if you’re passing by please do pop in and take a look. There’s plenty of parking and The View Café, also on the site, cooks up a great breakfast and serves delicious homemade cakes.

    Running the nursery from home was convenient but it simply outgrew the space available. For several years I searched the local area for land, literally knocking on doors next to fields and chasing tractors to ascertain who owned land. Calls were made, emails sent, but all to no avail. A lovely friend offered me her field in St Helens but access issues ruled it out. I started to think that my dream of running a “proper” nursery would never come true. Then one day last summer I happened to call in at The View Café, at Fakenham Farm in St Helens and realised that the farm would be the perfect location. After all the disappointments in my quest for land I hardly dared to ask if I might lease some land. But ask I did and the answer was yes, and so the adventure began.

    The new nursery will have the same coastal vibe and friendly atmosphere as it had at home, but with more room and less dog barking! We will continue to sow and grow all the plants we sell, minimise our environmental impact as much as we can and take a creative approach to everything we do. We will increase the range of plants we sell, all suited to coastal conditions and trial new plants. There will sculptures planted in the beds, pallets planted to make vertical gardens and our own range of metal plant supports. We will still run courses and events and hope to welcome groups to both the nursery and our garden at Blue Haze. We won’t be opening the garden for the National Gardens Scheme this year but hope to do so again in 2017.

    I’m in the process of updating the Coastal Gardener web site and have just listed the courses for 2016. These include Sow Your Own on April 2nd (an opportunity to sow some of our seeds to grow your own coastal plants) a Coastal Gardening course (June 18th) and a day devoted to creating your own vertical garden planted in a pallet (July 9th). In the autumn there’ll be a Paper Making workshop (October 8th) and a repeat of the very successful Make it Christmas event on November 26th.

    It’s going to be a busy couple of months but I can’t begin to explain how exciting it all is for me. I’ve even fulfilled a long held ambition by becoming the proud owner of a labelling machine! The nursery will be open from 10am – 4pm Thursday to Sunday, with the rest of the week devoted to our garden at Blue Haze and to creating coastal gardens for clients across the Island. I’ll be in touch to let you know when we’re ready to open the gate to the nursery and with details of a special opening event.

    Hope to see you at the farm!

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The Coastal Gardener

Free talk/demo at the nursery every Thursday from 14.00 - 14.45

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