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Garden siteseeing in Britain

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Every week we go see the sites, visiting gardeners around the world to find out what's happening in their gardens . Today we're headed for England, Scotland, and Wales.

John Curin grows organic vegetables in southeast England, within what he calls "flooding distance of the Thames." He also has an allotment garden (community garden plot to Americans) and tends a monastery's garden.

His blog, Spade Work: From Plot to Plate focuses on flavor -- with taste tests of garlic (but watch out for the morning after!), green peas, and other edibles and discussions of varieties that Americans don't generally grow (Charlotte potatoes, for instance).

I'd love to get some Taiwan peas for my garden, no matter what they taste like (he says they're sweet) -- the large flowers -- in pink, off-white, and white -- are absolutely gorgeous!

Rebsie Fairholm, Daughter of the Soil, is a folk musician in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, who doubles as an amateur plant breeder.

Currently under development are red-podded peas, including one that not only has pods of glowing scarlet, but pink and yellow tendrils. Next comes improving the taste.

There's also a nice group of reviews of heritage vegetables, from climbing beans to Black Plum tomatoes. When I'm deciding what to grow each year, I like to know someone else's experience with a particular variety.

Bird lovers will especially appreciate Shirls gardenwatch in Perthshire, Scotland. She has cameras in nest boxes, so she -- and you -- can see what's happening as blue tits and other birds hatch eggs and raise young families. And she gives links to others with camera nestboxes.

There are plenty of plants in Shirl's garden, but photos usually include wildlife, too -- butterflies, birds, insects. All very interesting.

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In Wales, the Welsh Girls Allotment grows blackcurrants, pumpkins in the compost, and -- this time of year -- plenty of weeds after returning from vacation.

In August 2006,, she decided she'd like to try a "lottie" and jumped right in. With help from her husband, her dad, and a friend, she cleaned up an overgrown plot that hadn't been gardened in three years -- the brambles were the worst! -- and in September, began planting -- onions, garlic, and strawberries.

You want to cheer her on through rain, mud, weeds, plants that don't perform as expected -- and the delightful success stories, too.

It's as though you have a new friend -- and that's one of the delights of seeing the garden sites on the Web.

NOTE: Garden siteseeing is a weekly feature. You can find previous entries in the series here and here. Hope to have a list of all of them ready soon.


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