About us

Welcome to Roots Shoots and Leaves – No workshops for 2017!

I had been running gardening workshops for a few years on an ad-hoc basis, when time allowed away from design work and when I had enough people registered.  I enjoyed it so much I decided to organise something a little more professional and also because living in the countryside can be a tad isolating – it would be a good way of meeting new people.

Walking around a sea of calendulas that we munched on

Walking around a sea of calendulas that we munched on

Notwithstanding that the gardens really did need to be designed after the endless years of renovation on the house – we had no time to devote to it apart from keeping it tidy. So this was a good incentive to get the garden looking nice. I had always grown my own veg and am a bit of a veg and fruit nerd, so I finally got my Potager going.  I also finally got my long awaited greenhouse and potting shed. The stables were meant to house horses obviously – but my husband met me –  a non horsey person!   So I transformed them into a tool shed, a potting shed and a “throw it in and see what happens shed”!

The potager

The potager

The kitchen garden was hard work though, as it is on a slope, so I designed terraces and raised bed as we are on sand. I started in early 2012, it was supposed to take 4 months, it took all year and we’re still tweaking. The weather in 2012  was not our friend, rain, wind and snow – I am sure you experienced it to some degree. It was back breaking work, just myself and my husband. We moved 40 tons of top soil to raised beds some 50m away down a slope – at least it was going downwards! We won’t even talk about the 20 tons of manure and 20 tons of compost. The soil was wet, heavy and when you have a bad back…life was not a bed of roses during that year.

We had the terraces done by one of my landscapers who took to the jungle of bracken and old tin greenhouses and made 2 beautifully level terraces with gentle slopes to plant fruit. The brick footings for the raised bed were done by the brick layer, but from then on it was all us. Wind, rain, toppled trees, floods (and we are on sand), snow, gales, hail….we met them head on, with courage and determination >>> I have to keep telling myself that to keep smiling.

When the snow hit us hard

When the snow hit us hard in winter 2012/2013

Our latest addition has been a modern shed next to the greenhouse to house the machinery – ride-ons, strimmers and what not. A very proud moment for my husband. Built by him to withstand any gales, I am now sure that between us we can build our home and live off the land very easily if we needed to!

We started the workshops  in the Spring of 2013 – our first small groups arrived and we have slowly ramped up to more numerous dates and now feel comfortable with up to 15 people depending on the course. I still have lots to do in the garden, we planted fruit trees on some borders amidst wild flowers and the heeling in area became a Herb garden in 2014.

Be-jewelled beauty. Chard planted last September has given us colourful greens through winter!

Be-jewelled beauty. Chard planted last September has given us colourful greens through winter!

I have learnt that things will get done when they get done. My cutting garden patch was too small to house the Dahlia collection I wanted to plant – so I have had to be inventive and search for other places to plant them in! In any case, we are enjoying it and we are meeting some lovely people along the way – great workshop participants and tutors alike.

And that is

And that is me on the latest little project – getting ready to plant up at the end of winter of 2014 for espaliered fruit trees.

So join us for a fun day of sowing, planting and munching at anything that is edible as well as making beautiful gut-satisfying willow structures, bread ovens, flower perfumes, herbal potions and lotions and anything else I can think of to add to our courses.

Great people, great fun!

Great people, great fun!

Heating up the bees wax to then use with lemon verbena as a balm

Heating up the bees wax to then use with lemon verbena as a balm

There will be no workshops for 2017!

Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced gardener, our workshops and rural skills and craft courses are perfect for all.

We run all our courses, workshops and events right here on our purpose-built premises, in our demonstration kitchen garden and orchard in the beautiful Hampshire countryside.

If you have a large garden or grow plants, fruit and vegetables in pots, we share tips and ideas with you that you can easily implement – giving you a practical, no fuss, stress-free and enjoyable approach to food and ornamental gardening with the latest horticultural know-how, all and based on natural, organic and bio-diverse growing methods.

I believe in seasonal, locally grown food. And since we grow it we also want to share and demonstrate recipes to take advantage of this amazing produce. From Kitchen Garden to Plate – all our courses and pop up food events are geared towards fun, learning, making friends and sharing a passion for growing a beautiful edible garden. In pots or on a small balcony to larger spaces we show you how. We also run craft and rural skills workshops to round off a passion for making things from scratch and with our own hands – so much more enjoyable and so relaxing!

We have many courses and we will be adding more as we go along. We want to share with you artisan skills from basket making and willow sculptures to bee keeping and preserving the harvest. In the crafts we offer, calligraphy, crochet, botanical painting and weaving to Christmas crafts. In the gardening workshops we show you how to plant a living willow hedge, how to maintain a healthy organic garden, composting, designing a herb garden, pruning fruit trees and shrubs and much more.

All our events have a central theme – good food, creating with your hands, simple pleasures and sharing with others. Planting it, growing it, cooking it and eating it, our food days will revolve around jam and preserve making with your bounty, cooking demonstrations, practical cooking, foraging for edible wild weeds, herbs and fruit for our pop-up bistro and much, much more.

So join me in a friendly atmosphere, where we’ll share practical, hands-on activities to suit every level.

  1. Idyllic surroundings
  2. You make them and you take them away : seeds, cuttings, food – whatever you do or make you take it home with you
  3. Purpose-built workshops building with a greenhouse and a demonstration kitchen garden
  4. Raised beds for bad backs or disabled users
  5. Access suitable for wheelchairs and handicapped
  6. Hands on, practical sessions
  7. Full information handout
  8. Seasonal activities and food
  9. Delicious artisan home-grown and locally sourced food as well as items form English artisanal food producers
  10. Cooking demonstrations and teaching
  11. Gift vouchers available
  12. Hen parties workshops available
  13. Ample parking
  14. Easy access from the M27, M3, A272, A31

 

We also have to protect the Potager from the lovely but very dim sheep. And they are VERY big too and partial to pushing over fences!

We need to protect the Potager from the lovely but very dim sheep hence our new deer and cattle-proof fencing.