Melissa Jolly Garden Design

Melissa Jolly Garden Design
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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Filming for Gardener's World

The BBC team from Gardener's World got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago saying they were interested in covering the background and build up of my show garden.

This was pretty unexpected - I thought there may be some coverage during the show but had no idea that this kind of feature would happen. So we had a ten hour day of filming today which was fun, exciting and exhausting.
I'm fortunate to live close by to my tutor Duncan Heather who is the director at the Oxford College of Garden Design so we were able to do the majority of the filming in his stunning garden. When I initially thought of studying Garden design, I went to meet Duncan at his house, and was so inspired by what he and his wife Carol have created. They have impeccable taste and the garden is truly awe inspiring. It has been beautifully thought out and is a very relaxing space to be in. Sculpture is planted discretely amongst the trees, plants and woods, there's an exquisite formal pond, picture perfect walled kitchen garden and a wilder beech wood.
We then moved onto my rather underdeveloped (as yet) garden to film all the plants I'm growing for the show and on to my carpenter's workshop to see my bar unit. Then back to catch the evening light at Duncan's, a few more walking shots around the garden, a glass of Rose, and home again - back to reality and still lots to do with 2 days left until the build starts.
I'm looking forward to seeing the film crew again up at the show with the finished article - it's got to look good now...

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I need bees....

I had some great advice recently - I need to self pollinate my strawberries as they are in a polytunnel and the cold weather means bees are scarce....Great - as if I didn't have enough to do. So out I went with a little paint brush to brush pollen from flower to flower. Easier said than done - pollen may be small but I was expecting my paint brush to come away from each flower bulging with pollen as the bees legs didn't happen - evolution did a good job at making bees legs magnificent pollen catchers.

Shortly after I spotted a bee in the garden and thought maybe I could catch it so I could place it gently on a flower in the polytunnel - I failed in this first attempt but will keep on trying otherwise I run the risk of irregular shaped starwberries... heaven forbid...I've heard the RHS are hard task masters - I need perfect berries.

I spent some of my University days studying honey bees in Portugal looking at their tendencies to be right or left handed - I can't quite remember the results but I have fond memories of lying in fields of lavender watching bees and have had a soft spot for them ever since. I have just bought a 'bee box' for the garden - got to look out for these important little creatures. See the Plight of the Honey Bee.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Gotta love Facebook - a friend just posted an update that he's bringing in his veg as there is going to be a frost tonight. A quick look at the weather revealed a prediction of -3's MAY....this is not supposed to happen. I just googled all my vegetables that are not in the polytunnels and it looks like they're all frost hardy so they will have to stay put - besides I really just want to go to bed....fingers crossed.

Monday, 10 May 2010


I went to see my wall and bar last week that my lovely carpenter, Gene Walters of Phoenix Carpentry, has been creating for me. It was a slightly nervous moment before I saw what he'd done as you never quite know if it will look like it does in your head and on plan as it does in the flesh. I was thrilled with what I saw - his attention to detail is superb.

It threw up the odd problem here and there as the seed tray I had designed to fit into the worktop was too big - so another meeting with my metal worker Richard Heron from Heron Metal Crafts was called to make a few amendments. He will be making a curved aluminium door to enclose the stogare area. Still a work in progress but looking good.

The large curved wall is a pretty bold statement and will be even more so when painted with matt black 'blackboard' paint. If time permits - only 2 weeks to go so may be pushing my luck - I've asked my sister to come up with some artwork for the wall to temper the large block of black. Having seen these 2 major components of the garden has made the whole show garden experience suddenly seem very real.