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Originally posted on Janaline's world journey:

The Beautiful Babylonstoren Garden

The Beautiful Babylonstoren Garden

Babylonstoren is a Cape Dutch farm with vineyards and orchards surrounded by the dramatic mountains of the Drakenstein Valley. It is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the Western Cape. It has a fruit and vegetable garden of beauty and diversity, unique accommodation, fine food and a sense of wellbeing.

The Beautiful Babylonstoren Garden

Olive walk to the Greenhouse and Spa

Guests staying at an exclusive farm hotel enjoy access to the entire farm, plus facilities like a spa and gym. The aim is to have guests feel more comfortable, more alive among warm smiles and the simple daily rhythm of the farm.

The Beautiful Babylonstoren Garden

The perfect place for a stroll

You can stroll out onto the farm of 200 hectares and see fruit being picked in the orchards or vines being pruned – depending on the season, or enjoy a walk in the remarkable fruit and…

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Originally posted on Shine A Light Project:

By Sophie Towne

Something a little festive for you. Have you ever wondered what real jingle bells sound like on Santa’s sleigh? Of course you have! And if you haven’t I bet you’re wondering right now! Well today you have the answer. Click on the link below to hear what sleigh bells from the 1800s sound like:

The bells in the video are known as a triple sleigh bell set which were donated to the Museum of Norwich in 1931. The bells date from approximately 1800. They would have attached to the harness of a horse (or reindeer) pulling a carriage (or sleigh) and would alert people and animals that there was a horse coming.

royal chest 022

These kinds of bells are also known as conestoga or hame bells. Hame bells relate to the hame or harness of a horse where the bells would be attached. Conestoga refers to the type of horse…

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Australia and Singapore 2014 533Guest Post by Nick Taylor

I’m grateful to my old friend Nick for sharing these wonderful pics from his recent trip to Singapore. I’ve featured some of these gardens/ spaces/buildings before, but these pictures make a revisit a must. Here’s Nick’s commentary….

‘Seeing your recent blog with a picture of the hotel in Singapore reminded me that I said I would provide some photos of the Gardens by the Bay, with the artificial trees, which gather rain water and generate solar power…. Some of the trees – there are many – have climate domes (a bit like the Eden Project).

Twice each evening, a sound and light show takes place at the main group of trees. Being close to Christmas, there were familiar tunes! There are also currently additional Christmas lights, which detracted somewhat from the effect of the trees themselves. A ‘German’ style Christmas market was being erected at the time. The whole effect was, as with much of Singapore, rather unrestrained, but good fun and a free show.’

‘Here is the hotel at the Gardens By The Bay, with the linking bridge featuring infinity pool and roof garden, another view of one of the climate zone domes and a view of the Park Royal Hotel you featured, with the hanging gardens…’

‘The next pic is of highly colourful water lilies at the Arts and Sciences Museum. The building itself is shaped like the opening petals of a waterlily. In the background is the Shoppe (sic) at Marina Bay shopping centre, which has four levels, each the size of a large airport terminal, with a canal with gondolas (see photo) on the basement level. Shopping is one of Singapore’s main pastimes and a major economic driver. There are huge, modern malls all over the city, but mostly concentrated in Orchard Road, which at the time of WW2 was lined with – orchards.’

‘Finally, here are the gardens of Raffles Hotel, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the official of the British East India Company who took a flyer and established the colony in the face of Dutch resistance. We performed the ritual of ordering Singapore Slings in the Long Bar, as countless Brits have done over the last 100 years or so. It’s a very sickly, sweet cocktail and not particularly nice!’

Old School Gardener

It’s been while since I posted pictures of recycling projects for the garden, so here’s a batch, newly culled from the site 1001 pallets.

Old School Gardener

Originally posted on Municipal Dreams:

Most people probably think of Lancaster as very much a county town but in the nineteenth century it emerged as a major industrial centre and one with typical problems of slum housing and the new imperatives to decently house its working-class.  Though the industry has gone, that legacy remains in large council estates – some excellent of their kind, some not so good – bearing the common scars of communities hard-hit by de-industrialisation.

Lord Ashton and his Lune Mills in their heyday

Lord Ashton and his Lune Mills in their heyday

It was a Liberal town (it became a city in 1937), firmly led in that direction by its major employer, Lord Ashton of Williamsons’ linoleum works.  He was a benevolent employer and generous benefactor of the town – until crossed.  When an Independent Labour Party candidate almost won a seat on the borough council in 1911, Ashton sacked 30 employees who had backed the socialist candidate and rescinded wage agreements.  He…

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vineMy fifth extract from the book ‘Noah’s Children’ by Sara Stein challenges some notions of what education should be about for young children. She compares the needs of these ‘tinies’ with those of wandering vines…

‘Most vines…germinate, grow tendrils, and wave about (clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on the species) until they engage support. Then…they climb upward toward the light, where, in sunlit maturity, they are able to bloom and fruit….Random exploration is essential to fulfillment of the vine’s biological program. So are the wanderings of children….

…you have experienced the wanderings of a child, and how it feels when what you have come upon suddenly makes sense. First, you wander the kames and kettles, kick sand and sink in mud, climb up and down the abruptly steep terrain, find fringed gentians, suffer poison ivy: then you reach for the fabulous coherence of glacial geography. Nothing is wrong with formal education except that we have got it backward. Children need experiences to make sense of before what we teach them can make sense. In this view, education is not something imposed from outside, but arises in children’s need for adults to arrange coherently the chaos of their perceptions.’

snow sledgingI’d love to hear your thoughts on this and the wider issues raised…

Old School Gardener

Park royal hotel singapore

Park Royal Hotel, Singapore

Old School Gardener

I visited Edinburgh recently and a highlight was visiting the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art…

Old School Gardener

Now is the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs. Recently, I’ve had a question from Charles Windsor, who lives near London:

“We have a small garden with little space, but would like a tree

to emphasise the vertical dimension. What would you suggest?”

It’s amazing what putting strong verticals into small spaces does- somehow it defines the space and it looks bigger! Trees that have a narrow profile- otherwise known as fastigiate- would be best in your garden, Charles. Some possibilites include:

  • Prunus serrula ‘Amanogawa’- a flowering cherry with double pink flowers and good autumn colour

  • the ‘Maidenhair Tree’ (Ginkgo biloba), in its fastigiate form, the leaves of which are larger versions of those of the maidenhair fern and which turn yellow in autumn

  • Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Alumii’- a blue-grey form of of the Lawson Cypress

  • Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’- a narrowly growing Yew

If you have a garden which is a little bigger (it can take trees with a wider spread), for trees with good all year round interest, try:

  • Arbutus unedo- the ‘Strawberry Tree’- shining evergreen folioage, clusters of white flowers in autumn and early winter, and red fruits which change colour slowly through the year until they mature the following autumn. It grows to around 4 metres tall and needs a mild climate, though it can withstand gales.

  • Ornamental Crab apples (Malus) grow to between 3.5m and 6m tall, are hardy, easy to grow and attractive for most of the year, with crimson, red, pink or white spring flowers, yellow or red fruit and good autumn colour, wiht purple leave sin sowem varieties.

  • Amelanchier lamarckii (‘Snowy Mespilus’)- white spring flowers followed by black berries and wonderful autumn leaf colour, this and other species/cultivars (we have Amelanchier canadensis here at Old School Garden) grow to a mature height of between 6 and 10 metres.

Further information:

Trees for smaller gardens- RHS

10 Best trees for smaller gardens- The Guardian

Trees for Small Gardens- Gardeners’ World

Old School Gardener

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