Thursday, February 20, 2020

A touch of frost in the garden

Remember, remember the garden in November! Ed Fuller of Fullers Forestry & Landscaping suggests we still have much to do in the garden this autumn!

With the shorter days and wanting to stay inside more, we can forget about the needs of our garden at this time of year. There are lots of jobs that can still be done this month, including;

Clearing up fallen leaves from lawns, bed, vegetable patches and ponds.

Creating a separate leaf heap rather than simply adding leaves to compost, as leaf mould is a luxury soil improver, especially if you are growing lilies in pots.

Brushing paths regularly with a stiff broom to help stop them getting slippery. You can also use a pressure washer to remove moss and algae.

Raising containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging.

Insulating outdoor containers from frost. Bubblewrap would be a good material to use, and you can also use this inside your greenhouse to keep it snug and warm.

Planting tulip bulbs ready for spring next year.

Pruning roses to prevent wind-rock.

Planting out winter bedding.

In your veg patch you can start harvesting winter brassicas such as sprouts and kale. Your leeks should also be ready.

Covering brassicas with netting if pigeons are proving a problem.

You can sow overwintering broad beans and early peas for crops next May. If your soil is well-draining you can still plant garlic and onion sets in the early part of this month.

Picking ripe apples and pears and lifting and dividing congested clumps of rhubarb.

Cutting the grass short, as tall grasses can become mouldy beneath snow cover.

After the ground freezes, covering perennials with mulch to keep frost-thaw cycles from heaving them out of the ground.

Using a seasonal bonfire – where this is allowed – to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting.

If you are planning on having a bonfire, whether it is on the 5th or not, you need to remember our friendly hedgehogs. It is advisable to burn a bonfire on the same day that it is built otherwise local hedgehogs may see it as a free hotel and decide to hibernate inside it.

Hedgehogs are a gardener’s friend as they eat unwanted bugs and grubs and, as an endangered species, you may want to look at creating them a purpose built bed and breakfast in your garden.

If you want to encourage them then you can leave out plain fresh water and food in shallow bowls. They like to eat minced meat, tinned dog or cat food (but not fish-based), crushed cat biscuits, or chopped boiled eggs. Never feed hedgehogs milk as it can cause them to have upset tummies!

Our other garden friends that need our help are our wild birds. Don’t forget to put out some food to encourage them into your garden and ensure they have a suitable food source. In fact many wild bird food supplies also provide specialist hedgehog food!

If you have time you could also build a bird box. By putting it up now it will ensure the birds have somewhere for the spring and summer next year, and this will soon come round!


A Lincolnshire love story

Dunholme couple Megan and Jack Mitchell recently tied the knot in beautiful Welton, we catch up with them to see how their big day went.

It’s not every week we’re sent such stunning photos of a local wedding, so when Megan and Jack sent theirs in, we had to know the story behind the images.

Megan, from Lincoln and Jack, originally from Manchester, met in a bar on Christmas Eve 2009. Both were having festive drinks with their friends, but exchanged numbers on the night and ended up dating. The couple soon realised that they unknowingly lived around the corner from each other!

Together for just over two years before Jack proposed, the couple were hitched just before their five year anniversary. Jack proposed in New York, as Megan explains: “It was so romantic! He proposed on a horse and cart in Central Park. I was so worried something was wrong with him as he was sweating and really quiet. I didn't expect him to propose and I was over the moon, Jack isn't normally romantic but everything about the trip was magical.

The couple were married at Welton St Mary's Church, as Megan says: “We wanted a traditional ceremony, which is why we chose the church. The choices came down to Welton and Dunholme but we chose Welton as it's had a lot of family history in my family and it looked beautiful, inside and out. We also had our daughter christened there last year.

“We had a year to plan the wedding, which seemed like loads of time but looking back, it flew by! The planning was enjoyable but stressful.”

Megan and Jack opted to have a traditional wedding ceremony at a church and then moved the celebrations after to the White Heather in a beautiful marquee.

Megan says: “My dad walked me down the aisle, while holding my young daughter on his other side. I had two bridesmaids follow me down the aisle along with two flower girls. My childhood friend did a reading for us by Edmund O'Neil ‘Marriage joins two people in the circle of its love’ It was so fitting towards our relationship and how far we've come together. It was a lovely service, filled with lots of laughter and happy tears.”

Megan confesses they used to watch 'Don't Tell the Bride' and discuss what they would do differently or what they liked, but generally the couple seemed to be in synch. Mega n explains: “One time at my parents, my mum and I went onto the internet and found the perfect dress when I was still looking for one. We gave the iPad to Jack and asked him to find the perfect dress for me. He chose one that was almost identical, I couldn't help but cry!

“We know each other inside out, so making decisions on cars, cake, suits and a colour scheme was a breeze. Our biggest stress was deciding on a menu that suited everyone. We chose a package with our venue that included drinks on arrival, canapés and a three-course wedding breakfast. We struggled deciding on the main course as it's hard to please sixty or more people! In the end we chose a carvery that included lots of choices, which meant everyone was happy!”

One of the couple’s favourite parts of the wedding was to hire a photobooth at the last minute. Jack says: “That was fantastic! All the guests loved it and we even got Megan's great Nana involved who's 91! She found it hilarious!”

The couple had their first dance to 'You’re Still The One' by Shania Twain, which Megan followed with an emotional dance with her dad.

Megan says: “We always said our song was 'I Loved Her First' by Heartland. Hearing my Dad tell me how beautiful I looked and that he loved me moved me greatly! Although my dad has always shown us how much he loves us, he doesn't often speak his feelings. In that moment I knew he meant every word.”

“It was without a doubt the best day of our lives. I remember being called to the dance floor for our first dance and just staring into each others’ eyes without a care in the world! It was amazing! We sang the whole song to each other whilst holding one another.”

Jack wasn’t sat on the sidelines during the whole process either, “Although I didn’t play a huge part in planning, Megan did ask me questions about it and I agreed and gave my input. She did a fantastic job andit was the best day of my life.”

Jack also decided to plan a little surprise for the morning of the wedding; “I bought matching jewellery, her favourite perfume and then wrote a little love note on the sole of her wedding shoes!”

The couple aren’t embarking on a honeymoon until next year, as Jack explains: “With Megan having just graduated from university and wanting last minute extras, we wanted more time to save for our honeymoon. We'd love to go to Mexico though!”

With the couple having got through their big day in style, we had to ask them if they had any advice, Megan says: “It sounds silly, but make time for each other, the whole day goes so fast that you’re so busy going around and chatting to your guests!

“Think less about pleasing others and more about why you’re getting married!”

Photography courtesy of www.twin-focus-photography.co.uk


The beauty of design in Billinghay

Janette Merilion is a garden designer by trade, but her garden at home is equally impressive. We pay her a visit in sunny Billinghay to see what wonders she has on show.

Having moved to Lincolnshire after a busy and high-profile job in the south, Janette decided to take her passion for gardening into a professional capacity by training at Riseholme near Lincoln. Taking people through step by step, Janette is not only a passionate horticulturalist, but also a great designer. She takes us through her portfolio, all lovingly hand-drawn and saved from each project. These all vary from projects such as a shaded, long and narrow garden she planted thoughtfully, to a huge, multi-acre haven for birdlife.

On home soil, her cottage in the pleasant climes of Billinghay has a varied and well-planned design which was originally somewhat of a blank canvas. A series of beds with automatic watering systems mean that it’s not only low maintenance, but also filled out and inviting.

As well as several beds Janette uses for showing examples to clients of flowers and plants that work particularly well, there’s a wildlife pond nestled among the riot of colour which attracts frogs, tadpoles and insects.

Elsewhere, there’s lots of fruit, which Janette says means she is pretty much self-sufficient from when combined with the extended vegetable patch at the end of the garden. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are of particular interest, with Janette producing her own passata and chutneys when they come to fruition. Elsewhere wild garlic, peas, lettuce, runner beans growing over an arch and a host of carrots, onions and garlic growing in raised beds all impress.

A fan of trees, Janette’s extensive collection extends to around twenty different types, both decorative and functional, including dogwood, a ‘wedding cake tree’, silver birch, a flowering Japanese apricot and a liquid amber which Janette tells us: “Smells like sweet toffee in the winter.”

As well as hellebores growing in shaded parts, the intermingled nature of the garden is what strikes us. A gorgeous birch grows over the bench at the bottom of the garden, with flowering clematis twisting its way around conifers to great effect too.

We also spot winter-flowering honeysuckle nestled in the garden too, something we’re real fans of here at the magazine.

Janette is full of ideas, but one piece she offers our readers in particular is a belief in bulbs. “Often people dismiss them, but if you plant them between perennials, then they look great and you’ll be rewarded each year.”

Janette’s joy for the job comes from the feedback she gets from clients, her home is full of photo albums depicting the various stages of gardens and one family even made their own hardback-bound book to present to Janette as a thankyou.

“I often go back and visit and maintain gardens and I love seeing them used and people enjoying them, it’s a great way to live and every project is different.”

We’re quite envious Janette, what a super way to spend your time!

Find out more about Janette at www.conceptgardendesign.co.uk


Be the first to drive new Mini 5-door hatch at Soper of Lincoln

Soper of Lincoln is opening its doors and inviting customers to celebrate the launch of the new MINI 5-door Hatch on Friday 24th October, 6pm – 9pm. With games, test-drives and prizes, the weekend promises to be a fun day out for MINI enthusiasts, friends and families.

We will be joined by Lincolnshire’s finest smokehouse Ribs n’ Bibs, who will be serving their legendary pulled pork. Local musician Tom Greenwood will be serenading visitors and there will be a bouncy castle for children.

Visitors will be among the first in the country to get behind the wheel and see the newest MINI model. The car is MINI's first 5-door Hatch, which incorporates iconic features and optional high-end fittings such as innovative driver assistance systems and the very latest ‘Connected’ facilities. However, with the addition of two extra doors, a larger boot area and more legroom in the back, it makes for a much more spacious ride.

Luke Savage, MINI Brand Manager at Soper says; "The MINI 5-door Hatch is a great car and we are certain that all of our customers, both seasoned enthusiasts and those new to the brand, will agree that it upholds MINI’s usual high quality but with the added bonus of more space.

"The evening will be great fun so we encourage everyone to come down and of course test drives will be taking place at the weekend.”

To find out more about the launch visit www.sopermini.co.uk or call 01522 688889.


Gardening in Goulceby: Bring the past alive with The Ragged Robin

Miranda and Jill, also known as The Ragged Robin, have produced not only a source for fresh cut flowers in the Lincolnshire Wolds, but an astonishing garden too. We pay them a visit to see the wonder for ourselves.

Head into the Lincolnshire Wolds and you’ll no doubt come across many villages like Goulceby.

Down various lanes and round tight, twisting corners, Lincolnshire is full of quaint little hamlets and villages that in the summer sing with colour, the sun hitting lovingly tended gardens and neat, pretty churches. Goulceby is no exception, except that it has Pear Tree Cottage.

Miranda and Jill have been at the cottage just a few years, but have completely transformed the site into a garden that surrounds the cottage from three sides. Set in a third of an acre, the first thing you notice about the garden is the sheer amount of colour on display. Both Miranda and Jill are fans of bringing back forgotten flowers from the past that you might not find elsewhere. As well as managing their own impressive garden, the pair also provide a cut flower service for venues, weddings and events, meaning they are somewhat the go-to people for such matters.

This is evidenced by the sheer amount of pretty specimens on display as well as leading to the couple transforming countless gardens across the county with their newly set-up gardening business too.

Back to Pear Tree Cottage and over tea and cake, the pair tell me about the garden in which we are sitting. Having been brought up with gardening parents, Jill says for example that a lot of the borders that grow in this garden are from her mother’s own garden as well as from further afield. Both have completed garden design courses, meaning they know what they are doing when it comes to creating a fantastic garden full of interest.

With their garden design work, they suggest that far from letting the garden look after itself, people they design for are enthused to get on and garden for themselves. In their own garden, planting has taken place that means the beds here are full all year round. As well as a full complement of summer flowers, in spring there’s also tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, bluebells and crocosmia bringing the colour.

As well as flowers, the garden is also host to medicinal herbs such as feverfew and elderflower as well as herbs and varieties of mint that not only smell incredible, but add some much-needed texture to proceedings in the cut flower bouquets that Ragged Robin provide.

With the flowers, there’s old favourites here alongside unusual examples, which provides the garden with a riot of colour. Anemones, clarysage, primula vialii, Indian prince, gorgeous blue echium as well as something that really catches our eye, a black ball cornflower, which really stands out as a deep, dark colour as a contrast to all the bright examples elsewhere in the garden. Also of interest is a patch of sweet Williams, whose two-tone petals make for an excellent display.

One thing which the Ragged Robin have done, not only as a marketing exercise, but also to brighten someone’s day is the ‘Lonely Bouquet’, which is a cut flower display which is left across a town in Lincolnshire, inviting people to take it home and enjoy the display. In a similar way to letting off a balloon into the sky, the couple often get feedback from those that find the bouquets along with a note, often saying they took the flowers home and that it was a lovely gesture.

Overall, that’s the feeling you get from this Goulceby garden, one of delight and having brightened your day. If you’re winding your way their way soon, why not pay them a visit?

You can find out more at www.theraggedrobin.co.uk


Slimmers’ efforts to be rewarded at ceremony

Lincolnshire slimmers will be rewarded for their weight loss success at a ceremony in Horncastle on Friday 3rd October.

Awards will be presented to ten people who have lost weight through the Weight Watchers on-referral scheme, commissioned by public health at Lincolnshire County council.

Three further awards will be presented to GP surgeries in the county whose referrals to the scheme have been most successful.

Cllr Mrs Patricia Bradwell, executive member for Public Health at Lincolnshire County Council, says: “Congratulations to all the winners! Reaching a healthy weight can really improve your quality of life. It benefits your physical health, as well as your confidence and general wellbeing too.

“The county council continues to commission Weight Watchers, exercise-on-referral and health trainers to support people who wish to make healthier choices. Sustaining a healthy weight can improve health in the longer term, lowering the risk of related complications in the future.”

Adults with a Body Mass Index of 30 or over can be referred by their GP into the Weight Watchers scheme, and 4,000 adults per year in Lincolnshire are currently benefitting from a free 12-week programme.

Visit your GP if you are concerned about your weight or to see if you could be referred onto the scheme.


Get close to the BLOODHOUND at Manufacturing Conference

Manufacturers and engineers will be able to get to get close to BLOODHOUND SSC, a supersonic jet and rocket-powered car designed to travel at 1000mph, at a manufacturing conference in Sleaford next month.

Delegates will also hear a talk by Neil Corner, who was made Managing Director of Siemens in Lincoln this week.

And the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership will be updating on the progress of its Manufacturing Sector Plan and will give manufacturing businesses the opportunity to air their views.

Manufacturing Conference Lincolnshire 2014 will take place on Friday 10th October at SHD Composites in Sleaford, official sponsors of land speed record team BLOODHOUND SSC.

Organised and co-hosted by NatWest and Lincolnshire County Council, the event will tell manufacturing businesses about the help and support that’s available and allow them to share best practice, network and make new connections within the sector.

The keynote speaker at the conference will be Tony Parraman, Head of Sponsor Liaison with the BLOODHOUND SSC team, who will talk about the technical and logistical challenges which the project has had to overcome.

The aim is for the car to break the world land speed record in 2015 and pass the 1,000mph milestone in 2016.

“The manufacturing sector in Greater Lincolnshire employs approximately 39,000 people and is worth £1.8 billion per year to our economy,” says David Dexter, Deputy Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

“It’s one of our key priority sectors. Manufacturing is all about creation – and that’s exactly what we want to do in Greater Lincolnshire.

“There have been some very positive developments in the sector recently, such as the creation of the UK’s first new School of Engineering for more than 20 years in Lincoln.

“This month Lincoln’s new University Technical College for science and engineering opened its doors for the first time and the Humber UTC will open to students in September 2015.

“There is terrific potential for growth in this sector and as a LEP we want to do everything we possibly can to help engineering and manufacturing businesses to grow in Greater Lincolnshire.”

The event runs from 8.30am until 1.30pm and includes lunch as well as presentations by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, NatWest a and EEF, the organisation for UK manufacturers.

To book your place at the conference send an email to manufacturingconf@lincolnshire.gov.uk or call 01522 550590.


Lincolnshire: A wedding utopia

When it comes to getting married, there’s one thing that is at the forefront of a couple’s minds.

Apart from the logistical task ahead and juggling priorities alongside real life, where the wedding will take place is often the first hurdle to start the organisational process. That’s not to say it’s an unpleasant task, wandering round grand venues all over the county can be fun, but plumping for the venue that ticks all your boxes is the hard part.

Thankfully, Lincolnshire is full of venues that suit everyone’s tastes. Want a city wedding with the option of plush hotels and fantastic transport links? Then Lincoln’s myriad venues can provide not only the cosmopolitan style you require but also comes with some splendid backdrops. Prefer a more sedate and classical venue out in the country? Then we have that in spades too, from stately homes to riverside venues and much more besides. The choice really is yours and with so much going on, there are great deals to be had. Often hotels and similar venues will allow you to have exclusive use, meaning that you and your party are the only people on site, allowing privacy and an auspicious atmosphere.

Planning your wedding within venues has become somewhat easier over the years too, with venues across the region being keener than ever to ensure your day goes as smoothly as possible. Gone are the awkward charges for linen and customisations and instead an attitude of ‘what can we do for you?’ has taken over. Recent weddings we’ve seen take place have involved laying turf within a hall in order to create an exclusive afternoon tea feel and one couple who decided to give each guest a personalised 7” record to take home after they had used them as place mats at the evening reception. The sky really is the limit, or rather, your level of creativity. Of course, some venues will insist you arrange everything in tandem with a wedding planner or manager, but often these people are only there to help, rather than hinder your big day.

One thing to consider however is your guests, whereas it is your big day, certain considerations must be made, such as:

Food – Are any of your guests allergic to certain kinds of food? Are any guests vegetarian, vegan or need a gluten-free meal providing?

Music – You might dig heavy metal or dubstep, but will your elderly relatives? Think about their reaction if the music grates, it could leave you with an empty venue if it’s too loud or obscure! Try a healthy balance, everyone loves to dance at a wedding!

Travel – If you are planning on a city wedding, there’s not a real issue. Plan a wedding in the countryside and you’ll need to pick a place easily reachable by public transport or car, too remote and you’ll see guests returning RSVPs in the negative. Equally find out if there’s plenty of accommodation nearby.

Space- Don’t book a venue that’s too large, you don’t want to feel like your ceremony is taking up a small corner of a grand location. Equally, don’t try and squeeze too many people into a tight space, you’ll end up tripping over people and formal meals are no fun if you have no elbow room!

Gifts – Don’t presume people will bring what you want, if you have all your home’s accoutrements then state this in the invitation. Asking for kind donations to honeymoon funds is acceptable these days, with some seeing wedding lists going the way of the dodo.

Overall, you should pick a venue you think reflects your personality. It’s your day after all and who’s to tell you where’s suitable or not? We’ve seen weddings in all manner of locations from grand old houses to the couple’s back garden, it’s a day for love, not show. Go with what feels right to you.

Photo: www.dottiephotography.co.uk


Lincolnshire Police introduce bicycle passports after increased thefts

As a hobby biking has taken off across the Lincolnshire region, with more bicycles being sold than in many previous years. Coupled with this boom however is the increased chance of theft, particularly with expensive racing bicycles and road bike...

Pure Light: A night in North Clifton

You may already be aware of Pure Land, a Japanese Meditation Centre and relaxation garden in North Clifton, but have you been on a summer’s evening when it’s lit by lanterns?

Buddha Maitreya has called North Clifton home since the early 1970s, having moved to the county to set up a mediation centre, Maitreya missed the solitude and beauty of Japan and so sought to create a space that not only reminded him of home, but also complemented the mediation aspect of his life.

In 1980, he started putting together the garden despite having no gardening experience. With a lot of help, he created a hilly, winding and contemplative garden on his two acres. Stepping into the place just as dusk is descending over Lincolnshire, we can see why people return here constantly.

The garden is styled in a way that you can’t quite believe you are still in Lincolnshire. The planting is dense and has created walkways and hidden areas that are simultaneously intriguing and peaceful. Ferns, conifers and stone collide in a way that blots out the sky in most places, but this is to its credit. Miniature bridges mean you can navigate over ponds and lead yourself to new areas. There’s several points at which to stop and contemplate and indeed meditate and there’s even a tea house that Maitreya uses for tea meditation practice.

The large rocks, sourced from nearby quarries, were placed where they appear thanks to meditative positioning and therefore the paths reflect this spiritual way of design too. The whole place as a result exudes calm, as Maitreya writes himself: “The essence of the crystal garden is for spiritual inspiration, to bring awareness of the beauty of Life and the miracle of creation. When we are aware of Life, which all creation is, we realize the Truth of our self. Without appreciation there is no respect of Life and we are lead by ignorance, greed and fear, which makes our life frustrating and we feel discontent.

“When we have awareness of Life and its wonder we respect all life, all beings, and our self. When we love our self, we love all.”

As the light falls, Maitreya makes sure the lanterns that dot the garden are glowing and the dozens of spotlights, solar lights and mood lighting mean that it is transformed into a twilight wonderland. The sense of calm is replaced by one of wonder, as you wander round the edges of the ponds, light is reflected off the surface of the water, giving a unique and altogether transcendental experience. At points you could almost mistake it for being another country altogether. Why not make the trip out this summer? We’re glad we did and the atmosphere cannot be beaten.

Pure Land is open for the lantern-lit evenings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout August and September. For more information, visit www.buddhamaitreya.co.uk


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