• 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 last Thursday of the month from 14.00 - 14.45

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