Turning a client’s ideas into reality

Turning a client’s ideas into reality

Talking snails with Phil Bradley

Many keen gardeners across Cumbria will have come across willow weaver, Phil Bradley’s work, either buying wigwams for their sweet peas or commissioning a living willow sculpture or learning to weave willow for themselves at one of his workshops.

Phil is based near Cockermouth where he has a large garden of his own, mainly given over to growing willow and vegetables. In January 2012, Phil and partner, Cath, decided to revive the former vegetable garden in front of their cottage. They approached Phil and Liz Newport of Buzy Lizzie and Wildroof Landscapes to discuss ideas and Liz came up with a structure and planting designs before the spring sowing and planting season started.

“I’ve always grown vegetables but we wanted to make things easier and thought raised beds would be a good idea,” says Phil. “The garden has been a great success – wet areas of the garden are now drier due to the raised beds and the paths have been so easy to manage. It’s been great to spend our gardening time on the vegetables rather than weeding the paths!”

Liz Newport continues: “I have worked with Phil on a number of willow projects as well as helping him to redesign and build his own back garden. When he called us to talk about his front garden, he already had a good idea of how he wanted to use the space. After a discussion of options, I quickly sketched out his vision for the garden and then made it happen.”

Liz has tips for anyone wanting to prepare their garden for a tasty harvest in 2013 and beyond:

  • If you’ve not tried vegetable gardening before, start small and with something easy that always gives good results, such as lettuce and other salad leaves, spring onions and radish. Runner beans are also easy and and herbs can add a lot to a garden as well as to your cooking.
  • Vegetables are hungry plants, so make sure you dig in plenty of manure or well-rotted garden compost every year and especially as you start out.
  • If you find it hard working down at ground level, try planting your vegetables in raised beds. This is also a good idea if your garden gets water logged.
  • If you haven’t got a garden, you can grow fruit and vegetables successfully in grow bags and containers in a sunny spot in your yard. Just make sure you water them regularly.