Thursday, 3 May 2012

Creating a buzz

Hi all, whilst Will, my partner, has introduced our ‘blooming’ business and said a little about himself , I thought I would introduce myself and tell you all a little about me! I’m Lauren and I am currently working as a primate carer at Monkey World. My passion lies with animals and I have a BSc (Hons) in Animal Management and, like Will, obtained my qualification at Sparsholt College. I did some volunteering with animals in various places such as Woburn Safari Park, the National Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall and more recently South Africa! I then went on to work at Longleat Safari Park as a hoof-stock keeper, working primarily with giraffe and zebra. My job currently is fantastic and very rewarding as, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Monkey World, I work with rescued primates. I work mostly with chimpanzees that have been subjected to the laboratory industry, pet trade, entertainment industry and most frequently ones that have been kept and used as photographer’s props on tourist beaches. These chimps were mistreated and led a very unnatural lifestyle and Monkey World aims to take them in and rehabilitate them into natural groups. I love my job!

 It’s becoming more and more common to see programmes on TV about the destruction of our natural world and all of the species that inhabit it (or are trying to!). The focus is mostly on primates, marine mammals, many large African species and other fascinating creatures, but when I say ‘the species that inhabit it’ I also mean flora as well as fauna. There are thousand of plant species already lost due to deforestation and human impact. Fortunately we still have a huge amount left that needs to be protected and better understood. These plant species are vital for our world and its ecosystems and they not only support animal species but also millions of insect species. This is where, I believe, Blooming Wild will lend a helping hand. We aim to produce plants, in an environmentally friendly way, that provide a food source for our native insect species that are struggling.

A species that is particularly struggling is our native honey bee, the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera. One major threat our honey bees face are the introduction of other non-native species which are causing the loss of genetic diversity of our own native species. Another problem that our honey bees are facing is the more recent problem of Varroa jacobsoni, a mite that attack larvae, pupae and adults. As if these problems aren’t enough of a struggle, our honey bees are running out of places to collect nectar and pollen, such as wild flower meadows (which can house 20 or more different plant species per square metre!). Wild flower meadows were once abundant across Great Britain,  but now due to intensive agriculture and monoculture there are less and less of these wildlife havens.

At Blooming Wild we will aim to provide plants that bees, as well as butterflies and other insects, are attracted to and essentially rely on for survival. By providing these plants we hope to encourage more people to adopt a more ‘naturalistic’ way of gardening, if we all do our bit we may start to see an increase of wildlife in our gardens and you may be lucky enough to have a wildlife haven of your own!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

27 and not counting!

Birthdays are great when your a gardener. Not only do you get lots of lovely gardening presents but the loved ones that have spent their hard earned money can rest safe in the knowledge that every day for years to come you will be making good use of them whilst fondly thinking of them.

Amongst the presents this year, was a proper wheelbarrow. Thank god! I can now stop using my cheap mickey mouse wheelbarrow that has plagued my daily slogging of muck for many weeks! Thanks mum and dad.

A friend also gave me the best cake ever!

After marvelling at the skill it must have taken to make, it almost seemed a shame to eat! Needless to say it was very tasty...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Savouring spring foliage

I love this time of year! The winter skeletons of our trees are becoming greener by the day. Everything looks so fresh, bright and full of promise for the year ahead.

Its easy to only think of perennials in terms of flowers and colour but this amazing group of plants have much more to offer. Its a case of looking at plants in a different light and appreciating their foliage and form in life and in death.

I thought I would share a few shots of some lovely foliage from the garden.

I always look forward to the pleated bright green sword like leaves of crocosmia emerging in spring.

Sedums are great plants, they have all year round interest starting with their large suculent like fleshy leaves. They have lots of different foliage colours from blue greys through to dark purples. Pictured above is Sedum 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy) and Sedum 'Matrona'. They have beautiful large flat heads of flowers through summer, loved by bees and long lasting seed heads through winter providing great structure.

Grasses provide great spring foliage and instantly add a naturalistic feel to a planting giving it movement and grace. This is Hackonechloa macra my favourite Hakone grass coming from Japan's Honshu Island.
It looks great in pots and is very easy to blend with other plants. I think this species grass is much easier on the eye than many of the different cultivars of this grass. Simple is often best!

How exciting! The first crimson thistle's are emerging on Cirsium rivulare'Atropurpureum'. This great plant is perfect for naturalistic planting and associates well with grasses. Preferring a moist soil in full sun it will start to flower from early summer. Keep deadheading the spent flowers and you will be rewarded with fresh new ones.

Monday, 23 April 2012

In the beginning...

Today marks a new chapter of my life. Not that I have decided to join the 21st century and start a blog! But setting out on a new journey to start our plant nursery.

It has been in the pipeline for a good few years now. I started out in horticulture 6 years ago at the tender age of 21 after gaining an apprenticeship with a local landscaping company. My horticultural journey has evolved in many ways since then. I went to Sparsholt College to gain a qualification in horticulture which was a good start from which to progress and develop.

After working for different gardening company's all over the south of England my passion for plants was developing and I knew I had to follow my dream of starting a nursery.
I gained a keen interest in naturalistic planting styles and observing plants in their natural habitats. Influenced by the work of great plantsman like Piet Oudolf, Noel Kingsbury and Neil Lucas I knew I was on the right track.

After months of searching we found a perfect site for Blooming Wild nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of North Dorset. We are renting a plot of land in an existing plant nursery, which has the added bonus of having two natural water sources.

We have done a lot of clearing work already and are looking forward to carrying on. This is our year to set up the nursery so we can have a full growing season next year.

This blog will be a place for us to share our experiences of setting up our business. We are expecting many highs and lows! Watch this space........

Here is a few pics to show you what we have been up to.

After a lot of elbow grease we got the site cleared.

Much more work to be done!