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Product news: nature in the city

by Drucilla James

These products may not be in the shops yet, but are worth looking out for, if you want to put fun and funkiness into city gardening and do your bit for nature too.

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Make a Bulb Lasagne

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As summer and early autumn blooms begin to fade, Thomas Broom, Petersham Nurseries’ Horticultural Manager, shows us how to refresh our pots and planters to give interest through till spring.

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Largest roof garden for London announced

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Lookouts, a sunbathing lawn and a forest form part of the plans for the largest roof garden in London, unveiled for the latest phase of the Battersea Power Station Development.

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First public natural swimming pool to open at King’s Cross

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Work has begun on the UK’s first ever public natural swimming pond, as part of an art project within the King’s Cross Development. The outdoor, chemical-free pool will be completed by the end of the year, when it will be given time to develop naturally, before its scheduled opening in spring 2015.

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Community growers get Big Lottery award

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A project led by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens has won £800,000 of Big Lottery funding to help community growers become successful and proactive money-raisers to compensate for falling grants and declining local authority financial support.

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Chelsea gardens relocated

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Two medal-winning Chelsea gardens, now relocated, had their official openings on 26th September. The ‘RBC Waterscape Garden’ by Hugo Bugg and the ‘Hope on the Horizon’ garden by Matthew Keightley will now serve the purposes originally intended by their designers.

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The Tree Council invites us to gather ye tree seeds

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At a time when our trees are being hit by pests and diseases, The Tree Council is encouraging local communities to collect and plant the ripening seed crop from our parks, hedgerows and streets to grow new trees to replace them.

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London Wildlife Trust to open new nature reserve

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Offering an opportunity to enjoy nature in the heart of north-east London, a reservoir closed to the public for nearly 200 years will open as a new nature reserve next year.

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Regency garden restoration gets go ahead

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The National Botanic Garden of Wales has been given the green light to proceed with ambitious plans for the restoration of the historic Regency landscape in which it is situated.

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Pocket wetlands installed on Regent’s Canal

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If you go down to the woods today in Camley Street Natural Park, in the rather unexpected setting of King’s Cross, then you will be able to see the floating islands newly installed on the Regent’s Canal, creating pockets of urban wetland habitat for London’s wildlife.

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Inspiring Kew

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An exhibition showing how Kew Gardens has inspired creative artists from its ‘physic’ garden beginnings in 1759 to the present day will open later this month.

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Young and old join plant charity’s community initiatives

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Plant Heritage is leading the way in involving communities both young and old in gardening through its National Plant Collection and Plant Guardian schemes designed to protect rare and threatened garden plants from disappearing.

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Gardening events this week

by Drucilla James

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas this week, with festive fairs and walks, and the opening of a dazzling light display at Kew. There are real stars to be seen too and opportunities to plan/plant for the New Year with National Tree Week and a bargain plant sale.

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From Grey to Green: Adventures in Radical Urban Gardening

by Drucilla James

For many of us gardening may be a hobby or a chore, but for the speakers at this autumn’s greening the city conference in Sheffield, it is a life-saving necessity. From Professor Nigel Dunnett ‘s aesthetic ecology transforming urban drabness to Ron Finley’s horticultural antidote to the deadly fast food habits of the developed world, this event full of ideas to make our towns and cities more uplifting, healthier and communal places to live.

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Student Eats – bringing the Good Life to university campuses

by Alice Wright

Vegetable patches and herb gardens are springing up on university campuses across the UK as students get involved with a food project aimed at sparking a passion for growing and eating sustainable, local produce.

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The Yeo Valley Organic Garden

by Abigail Willis

As the UK’s only Soil Association accredited ornamental garden, the Yeo Valley Garden is a standard bearer for organic gardening. But if the adjective ‘organic’ attached to the word ‘garden’ conjures worthy images of over-abundant weeds, undernourished plants and lacklustre design think again. Set in the Mendip Hills, overlooking the valley that gave its name to the eponymous organic dairy brand, this 6.5 acre garden is proof that organic cultivation need not preclude ambitious design, a diverse and thriving plantscape, or a sense of humour.

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Guerrilla Gardening: Cultivating Concrete

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J G Ballard wrote that the “suburbs dream of violence”, describing town and city dwellers counting down the days until the “nightmares that will wake them into a more passionate world”. While poets, artists and storytellers have long been fascinated by this dynamic of stultifying yet addictive city life, guerrilla gardeners, Lucy Purdy discovers, are turning to the soil to grapple with ecological and social disintegration.

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Avondale Nursery:Plants for city gardens

by Drucilla James

Avondale Nursery specialises in unusual perennials and grasses together with ferns and bamboos, and features The Library Garden alongside its plant sales area. As you would expect with a library, the garden’s collection is meticulously labelled and catalogued, but beyond that, the colours of these living leaves are mixed and graduated with a painter’s eye – unsurprising when you find that, before they created this nursery, Brian Ellis and his wife Steph worked in art and printed textiles.