We’ve recently been sent a copy of “Raised Bed Revolution”, a new book by Tara Nolan all about one of our favourite garden features – the raised beds. We have designed and built a variety of raised beds over the years, using different materials and using different designs and shapes, so we were immediately keen to see what this book had to offer.
The book is immediately appealing, a lovely quality of hard back with a ridged cover. The full title is “Raised Bed Revolution. Build It, Fill It, Plant It. Garden Anywhere” – well that pretty much sums up raised beds. They are a wonderful option for many gardens providing an easily accessible space for those who would maybe struggle to garden at ground level; they can provide an alternative growing medium when the existing soil is poor (or maybe there is none there at all!); they can be attractive features in their own right, often adding height, colour and interest into a garden. So, we are a fan of the raised bed, but were we a fan of the book?
The author has a similar passion to us about raised beds, hence she is starting the #RaisedBedRevolution and encouraging readers to share photographs of their own raised beds on social media using this hashtag.
The author talks about the rise in interest in edible gardening in the US which we very much see here in the UK too. Lots of our clients, even those with few gardening skills, are keen to have even just one raised bed so they can experiment with growing their own, especially if they have a young family. There is lots of advice in this book on what to grow in your raised beds and tips on how to grow them well.
Included in “Raised Bed Revolution” are lots of examples of different types of raised beds. Here are some of our favourites but the book is packed full of many many more:
This raised bed which has been tiled and filled with flowers rather than being used for veg:
We love upcycling and this is a cheap and easy way to create a raised bed out of old bricks:
Making tiers with your raised beds is a great way of adding height and interest:
Dry-stone walls are a passion of ours at Vialii and we just love this one, it might have to be included in a design sometime:
There is also tips on ways to maximise space with raised beds such as installing an archway for your beans to scramble up:
And we think our girls would love making these colourful signs to brighten up our veg patch:
The book provides lots of helpful advice on a wide variety of topics including tips on protecting crops, choosing the size and material, soil, location and much more.
There is a large section showing you how to make your own raised beds and there are lots of different designs to choose from. There are also other associated products which it shows you how to make such as an obelisk and cold frames. Some of our favourite designs that you can learn how to make include:
The upcycled raised bed, using off-cuts of wood:
A raised bed with built in benches:
And our absolute favourite – the upcycled suitcase planter with gas pipe legs:
We also loved that in the sections where it shows you how to make a range of raised beds, there are plenty of photographs of women with power tools #girlpower
We have given this book a Vialii rating of:
4 out of 5 stars, pretty good indeed. The only reason it just missed out on top marks is that we would have liked to have seen a few more inspirational raised beds. A couple that we have designed and built for clients include:
We used traditional timbers for these raised beds but used them vertically allowing us to create these lovely curving shapes and make the garden feel less rectangular:
These raised beds are rendered and painted bright pink. The colour can easily be changed allowing a dramatic change to the feel of the garden at low cost. The raised beds allow for planting around the seating area which includes the lovely fragrant lavender:
We wondered how you could dedicate a whole book to the humbled raised bed but Tara has certainly shown us how. Here’s to the #RaisedBedRevolution!
Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan is published by Cool Springs Press (£20).
All at Vialii
Hey y’all. I am always on the look-out for new ideas for things to do outside in the garden. You may have read my recent blog which had 19 Great Ideas for Summer Fun In The Garden. Well, now I have even more ideas to share with you thanks to a great new book called “The Children’s Garden” by Matthew Appleby.
There are a whopping 52 projects packed into this book and they are done in a very engaging way. There are LOTS of lovely colour photos as well as plenty of tips and facts within each section. The book is split into the different seasons so that there are always plenty of ideas to choose from whatever time of year it may be. Everything is done on a really low budget and most projects use things which you already have lying about the house. Here are a few of my favourites:
Potato stamping is an old favourite and perfect for this time of year as we harvest our home grown tatties. There are always a few potatoes which aren’t quite up to my high standards so what better than to use them to do some potato stamping!
There are lots of water fun ideas in this chapter. One that I loved doing was really simple. Mummy gave me a bowl filled with soapy suds and I set about washing all my dolly’s clothes. My clothes ended up drying on the washing line too but it was great fun!
I have been sent a flower press to try out (I’ll blog all about that soon!) so combining that with this book was the perfect opportunity to try it out. I loved picking lots of pretty flowers then seeing how different they looked once pressed. I then made a pretty bookmark using them.
This was a great project and all we needed was an old water bottle, a couple of pencils and some bird seed. My bird feeder looks great hanging in the garden.
And here are some of the ones which I am desperate to try which I haven’t yet…
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Children’s Garden” and would definitely recommend it for all children.
I give it a Lulu rating of:
Available on hardback, RRP 14.99 *
Hugs & kisses,
*Price correct at time of publication
The summer holidays are stretching hazily out far in front of us. There’s no school (nursery) for weeks and weeks. There will be late nights and long lies. Playing with friends. Days out. Picnics. Now, I don’t want to be hearing any murmurs of “Muuuuuuuuum, I’m bored”. The garden is your oyster and I have loads of cool things for you to do outdoors this summer….
With no school to get up for the next morning you have the perfect excuse to stay up late and look at stars on a clear night. You could maybe persuade an adult to camp in the garden with you one night too…
This is a great game you can ask a grown up to make so that you and your friends can play at being detectives in the garden. They just need to take photos of some plants and features in the garden and print them on some paper so you can see if you can find them. See if you can remember the plant names too.
Try some open air theatre… Drag the dressing up box outside and put on a show. Who knows, next summer you could be putting on a Fringe show at the Edinburgh Festival!
I’m not scared! Well I’m definitely not scared of the cute bears we look for in our bear hunt anyway! Ask a grown up to hide a selection of your toy bears all around the garden so that you and your friends can hunt for them. Watch out for the thick oozy mud!
Make a den from a clothes line, pegs and sheet and set up your own camp site. Make sure you set strict rules as to who can enter your den of course!
You don’t need to have a lawn like a fairway to enjoy some golf at home. Tilda and I love this crazy golf set for hours of fun in the garden! (£24.99*)
So there’s absolutely no excuse to be bored now these school holidays. Now, get outside and build a den…
I had a lovely weekend playing at farm parks with my friends. I had two favourite parts – one was horse-riding for the first time with my friend Georgia; the other was strawberry picking with my BFF Euan. Here’s a little story about it along with some strawberry facts, an awesome tip from my clever Mummy to make your strawbs’ last longer and a strawberry craft idea for the summer holidays…
We visited the wonderful Briarlands Farm on Saturday which is one of my favourite places to hang out. There is always plenty to do there from the bouncy pillows to go-karting, petting the animals to going on tractor rides (and we did ALL of that!) At this time of year Briarlands is extra special as you can pick your own strawberries too. So, Euan, Tilda and I went off to the polytunnels to get picking. All of the strawberries at Briarlands are raised up which makes them easy for us to pick. Tilda and I picked a whole punnet each (and may have popped one or two in our mouths along the way, just to make sure they tasted OK, oh and yes they did! But ssshhh, don’t tell anyone!)
So, I thought that seeing as strawberries are in season, that I would share some amazing strawb’ facts with you. Did you know that…
And one last fact from my super clever mummy. If you are buying LOTS of strawberries like we did at Briarlands, which might take (even strawberry lovers like me and Tilda) a few days to eat, here’s how to make them last longer. Mix 4 cups of water with 1/2 cup of any type of vinegar. Sit the strawberries in the mixture for 2-3 minutes, give them a swirl round then rinse off with some water. Leave them to air dry. Use the vinegar mixture to clean out your punnets so there are no spores left in there. Your strawberries will last longer (if you don’t eat them all first!) and don’t worry, they definitely don’t taste of vinegar.
And one way to make your strawberries last forever is with a lovely craft project for the summer holidays. You just need some pebbles and some paint and you can make your very own strawberry patch!
Happy strawberry picking everyone!