Monday, 30 July 2012

Home baked bread

My wife's delicious homebaked bread, I think I'll have some..


Monday, 23 July 2012

Gardening Mentors-Harry Dodson

Harry Dodson, who has died 85, became a household name in 1987 when the 13-part series The Victorian Kitchen Garden was first shown on BBC 2.

Chronicling a year in a restored walled garden in Berkshire, Dodson, with his soft Hampshire burr and affable demeanour, and his co-presenter, the horticultural lecturer Peter Thoday, explained the techniques practised in the heyday of country house kitchen gardens.

Although not a Victorian himself, Dodson remembered working with those who were; and he had been trained in the rigorous tradition of "private service" which survived until after the Second World War.

Harry J Dodson was born at Byfleet, Surrey, on September 11 1919, the son of a gardener. His father died when he was six, and he moved with his mother and brother to the Selborne estate at Blackmoor, Hampshire, where his grandparents lived and where his uncle, Fred Norris, was head gardener. Even before he left the local school at 14, young Harry could thin a bunch of grapes and tie a peach tree. He began work as a "garden boy" under his uncle, earning 7s 9d (39p) a week, moving on regularly to better himself. He was an "improver journeyman" in the kitchen garden at Stansted Park, Hampshire, seat of the Earl of Bessborough, where he lived in a bothy with other unmarried gardeners. When war broke out, he was at Ashburnham Place, Sussex, where he enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment; he saw service in France.

With the return of peace, Dodson went to work as general foreman for Lord Harcourt at Nuneham Park, Oxfordshire, where he met his future wife. In 1947, he advertised for a job as head gardener, "to be married when suited", and was taken on at Chilton Foliat, a house near Hungerford belonging to the Ward family. At 27, he was one of the youngest head gardeners in the country.

Chilton's kitchen garden boasted four peach houses, three vineries, a rose house, flowering block, carnation house, tropical house, four melon houses, hotpits, cold frames and nearly 500 cloches.

Dodson became well known in horticultural circles, winning 10 Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medals for displays of vegetables. In 1956, he was asked to join the RHS's Fruit and Vegetable Committee, and served on it on it for almost 50 years. In 1961, he was made an Associate of Honour of the RHS. He was also a member of the Council of the Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society from 1961 to 2003.

Eventually, the cold hand of economics clutched Chilton, and "things began to wind down", as he put it. Rocketing oil prices made heating such extensive glass unviable, and the owners allowed Dodson to use the walled garden rent free for his lifetime as a commercial nursery.

His life changed in 1984 when Jennifer Davies, a researcher for BBC Bristol who was planning a television series on Victorian gardening, found both the walled garden and the gardener she wanted to talk about it. Dodson's enthusiasm for the project was immediate and, with the blessing of the Wards, the gardens were restored and planted with period cultivars; a student "apprentice" was provided, and filming began.

The programme's attraction lay partly in Keith Sheather's masterly direction, partly in the authenticity of the techniques shown, and partly in the soft-focus nostalgia they evoked for an age most viewers never knew, when every task was done with practised care.

Dodson was a product of a long, exhaustive, hierarchical apprenticeship, the like of which had completely disappeared by the 1980s. Modest and charming, respectful yet with a proper self-confidence, friendly and generous with his knowledge, and neatly dressed in collar and tie, he was a "natural" on television.

The Victorian Kitchen Garden was followed by The Victorian Kitchen (when Dodson joined forces with a cook of the old school, Ruth Mott), as well as The Victorian Flower Garden and The Wartime Kitchen Garden.

All were accompanied by books written by Jennifer Davies, which have undoubtedly contributed to the contemporary interest in "heritage" fruit and vegetables.

Harry Dodson remained at Chilton Foliat, living in the head gardener's house, until his death on July 25. He is survived by his wife Jane.
book image top of page  :

Gardening Mentors-Roger Swain

Gardening Mentors-Ross Traverse

Well known Newfoundland gardening expert, Ross Traverse.

Cover of Ross Traverse's first gardening book: 
Ask Ross Traverse About Gardening: Practical Advice for Gardeners in a Cool Climate

TORBAY, NL, September 18, 2006 – Ross Traverse launched his first book entitled Ask Ross Traverse About Gardening: Practical Advice for Gardeners in a Cool Climate. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our province has a very unique climate within North America and, recognizing the need for practical advice, Ross Traverse has written and published this book about gardening in cool climates.

“For forty years I have been answering questions about gardening in Newfoundland and Labrador. Now many of these questions and answers are presented in a reference book. You will also find consumer tips, landscape ideas, humourous illustrations, and anecdotes,” says Mr. Traverse.

Dr. Wilf Nicholls, director of Memorial University Botanical Garden, in his foreword to the book writes, “Ross’s advice comes from decades of experience working with growers and growing plants himself. The oft-used cliche of ‘those that can, do; and those that can’t, teach’ doesn’t apply to Ross for Mr. Traverse has done it all and knows of what he speaks.”

Ask Ross Traverse About Gardening (ISBN 0-9739609-0-6) is available from Traverse Gardens in Torbay. The book retails for $24.95.

To order a copy, please contact Traverse Gardens by phone (709) 437-5539 or e-mail

Sunday, 22 July 2012

David Tarrant

David Tarrant

Public Relations and Programs Coordinator (Retired)


David Tarrant
I apprenticed and received my diploma in horticulture in England before immigrating to Canada in 1967. During the summers of 1968 and 1969, I was employed as Head Gardener at Chateau Lake Louise. In November 1969, I joined the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden staff, and was the Education Coordinator there from 1974 to 2001.
I have been appearing on television since 1974, most recently as the host of CBC-TV's Canadian Gardener. I have written four books and many articles for horticultural publications including Gardens West and Gardening Life. I was also the garden columnist for theVancouver Sun for eleven years. I've also recently received a Fellow of the Year award from the Garden Writers Association of America.

Associations and Memberships
The "dreaded "cutworm I dug up while weeding a row of carrots..

Mystery insects.

Name this insect pic here on my parsnip plant..


Bad news in the garden, my parsnip plants have been infested by these pests...I've hand picked and sprayed with soapy water but still not rid of them.If you can help save these plants please comment... what to spray with ect.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Planting Cabbages

I've been delaying planting my cabbage plants outside because i've been trying to grow without using pesticides and i'm afraid they'll be eaten by the insects but it's time for them to do some serious growing.
I planted them in tires that I turned inside out and painted my favorite outdoor color, Battleship Grey. I hope they don't go into transplant shock like my turnips did.
Now begins the battle with the bugs. Grrr. 



Sunday, 1 July 2012

Rhubarb and turnip greens

I hadn't been paying attention to my rhubarb and they became over grown. The leaves were getting so big that a few of the stalks were breaking at the base so today i decided to cut the bigger stalks and let the smaller ones grow. My wife makes a delicious jam from our rhubarb.

The greens are coming along fairly well. I think I should have started them earlier but I was afraid of the frost.  
They are usually the first produce from the garden and I usually plant them two or three times in the season. We love them with our traditional Newfoundland jiggs dinner. 

My parsnip plants

These two plants grew from parsnips that were left in the ground all winter. One was blown over from a wind storm we had last week. I'm hoping to save some seed but i haven't done that before with vegetables, though i've done it with flowers. Anyone with any tips on how to do it, please comment.