A garden festival in May and June
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Let's all squeal with delight for Levenshulme and Burnage Open Gardens, which is just around the corner; this is the 4th for the area, and this year it's a weekender! Also this year, there are events before and after Open Gardens: yes, a small gardening festival has sprung up. The majority of the newsletter is taken up with info about the festival - but I've managed to slip in a paragraph about herbs - so I really hope you can find something to pique your interest. Hard copies of the festival programme are available from Bud.

Best wishes,



I found a new peat free herb supplier at a trade show last year, and having had a handful of deliveries in 2017, I can confirm that the plants are top notch. This nursery grows a wide range, which means there's more choice (hmm, choice!?) for me, and for you. We currently have small pots of Marsh Samphire (trendy), Stevia rebaudiana (grow your own sugar!) and a mint called 'Jessica's Sweet Pear', said to be more upright and less invasive than the usual mints. I haven't forgotten the culinary staples, and we have a good selection of the usual Mediterranean herbs, in addition to dill, sweet cicely and fennel. I love Thymus pseudolanuginosus - Woolly Thyme - it's nice to stroke, and great for growing in cracks, between paving stones, or in the rockery. It has grey-green creeping foliage and pink flowers.

How to grow Marsh Samphire (Salicornia europaea)
A low growing plant reaching approximately 30cm tall, and seemingly very straight forward to cultivate, though I haven't grown it myself. Plant in a light sandy soil in a sunny position, or grow in a large pot if your soil is heavy. Water with a saline solution made with 1 teaspoon of sea salt in 500ml of water. Cut and eat from June-August. Samphire will self-seed so leave it to flower later in the year, and offer some protection to the new seedlings if it's very cold and wet. Serve with fish, or add to a salad. I've heard it is nice pickled.
The garden festival was made possible by Manchester City Council's Neighbourhood Investment Fund, and with the help of Incredible Edible Levenshulme and Acorn Close Allotment Society.

How to book and pay is included on each graphic, but to make it a bit easier I've made a list, with links where applicable. You will need to book for some events in advance, and using old-skool methods. Please come to the garden centre to book and pay for the following:
Levenshulme and Burnage Open Gardens - programmes also available from The Buttery
50 Shades of Green - limited tickets
Propagation Workshop - limited tickets
Habitat Building Workshop - limited tickets

Some can be booked via Eventbrite and Ticket Source:
Garden Feast: Eventbrite - Little Italy Kitchen
Poetry Patch: Eventbrite - Poetry Patch
A History of Manchester in 10 Plants: Eventbrite - Manchester in 10 Plants
Demain: Ticket Source - Demain
If you'd like to pay cash for any of the above, please get in touch.

Some events are free, and you can just turn up.

Read on and enjoy.
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