Roger Protz

Down to Earth

Take a look at what is happening in the world of gardening, and specifically gardens in the local area.

Columnist Deborah Catchpole will be visiting the main gardening shows, and looking for ideas which can be transferred into your gardens at home.

She has a big passion for plants, and flowers in particular, and will be highlighting things that should be happening in your gardens at home in the coming months.

 

Latest Posts

Monday, March 13, 2017
Gardening

Bid farewell to snowdrops and say hello to daffodils and crocuses as a new season makes its presence felt outdoors.

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It’s very easy to preach about buying local when it comes to produce from farm shops, or supporting small businesses in your local area.

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Deborah Catchpole takes a monthly look at gardening, flowers, and the outside world in and around Hertfordshire.

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions lavender? Five or so years ago, most people would have told you that they associated lavender with old ladies. It was a plant which seemed to be synonymous with the idea of all things old fashioned.

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I pulled into the library carpark in Berkhamsted on Monday evening, where I was due to be meeting Trevor - it has been lashing down with rain all day, and I hadn’t been sure whether I’d still be able to meet with him and his wife Bettina.

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Gardening

If you’re lucky enough to be attending the Chelsea Flower Show this week, or you’re watching it on the television coverage - you’ll see that as well as the large show gardens, which continue to be just as impressive every year; this year there are some really different concepts, which have really caught my eye.

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A sea of bluebells. As far as the eye can see. A heady scent which is totally intoxicating, and yet gentle at the same time – wrapping around my head and overpowering my senses.

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As the days are getting longer, and the hours of daylight are making a real change to the gardens, I start to get itchy fingers.

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As I write this, the sun is streaming through the window, and I can see clusters of yellow daffodils; bowing their heads in the wind.

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It is the 16th of January. I keep hearing the promise of snow, and I’ve been over to my mum and dad’s house to pick up the sledges just in case.

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This weekend I went for a walk in my beloved Ashridge. Some 20 minutes from St Albans, and about 15 from Harpenden, you can be right in the heart of the Ashridge estate. In my humble opinion; there are few places more beautiful on the planet, but then I am slightly biased.

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True to form, the Bank Holiday weather was terrible. If you listen to most people - that’s what they’ll be saying. For the majority, rain spells bad news - the majority - but not for me. Not only is rain my favourite type of weather, it does untold good for our gardens. The changing of the seasons has well and truly started.

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Gardening

Back to a purple paradise

Friday, August 7, 2015

When we were children, growing up in a quintessential Hertfordshire village, we had neighbours who would look in on the house when we were on holiday.

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Gardening: A rose by any other name...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sitting in the garden, it’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here for a year. So much has changed in the garden since I moved in, and yet the aspects of the garden that I fell in love with when I moved in are still integral.

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Gardening

When I was invited to visit Holland on a press trip, you can imagine that it didn’t take me long to give my answer! Having never been to Holland before, I was really excited to see the country so closely linked to one of my favourite flowers.

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Gardening

As I sit in the warmth of my sitting room, at my writing desk, I am looking out of the window at the garden.

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Gardening

Deck the halls...

Friday, December 12, 2014

By the time this is printed, there is no doubt that most people will have their Christmas decorations up! I have to confess that mine have been up for a while now… and at the earliest possible opportunity; once the calendar has flipped over to December.. I’m up in the loft (or more likely sending my dad up there) to get down my decorations. I’ve been collecting a very eclectic mix of Christmas decorations for the last ten years – ever since having my own first tree, and they rate from the ridiculous to the sublime.. my sister has, for several years, given me what I can only imagine, are the most horrible decorations she can find – as a child I was scared of frogs – so most of them are frog related… (who knew they make frog based Christmas decorations?!). Anyhow… I love them all as much as the beautiful antique baubles passed down from family, or the crystal drops, which sparkle in the fairy lights – because they make me think of my sister. All of these things are pointless without the tree though – the Christmas tree, which forms the heart of most people’s Christmas decorations, has been a fixture in our homes in this country since they became popular in Victorian times.

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At this time of year, the leaves are all falling from the trees, and although I love the myriad of colours that carpet the floor, the colour that I most associate with November is red.

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I’ve only left one garden before. I’ve moved house lots of times, but only left one garden. My parents have lived in the same house since they got married, and my aunt lives in the house once owned by my grandparents, and their parents before them... so the gardens of my childhood memory are still there – they still look virtually exactly as they did then – or as I remember them to have looked.

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Gardening inspiration is everywhere at this time of year. If you are lucky enough to be able to visit one of the RHS Gardening Shows, you won’t need to look far to see some incredible feats of gardening imagination and skill.

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