I’m still here!

You may possibly have been wondering what’s happened to A Parrot’s Nest, the truth is I’ve been letting it lie dormant for a little while.  I will return to blogging soon – and I have a stockpile of interesting photos and deep/frivolous thoughts on gardening and other loosely related topics to share with you –  but at the moment all my sitting-down-at-a-desk time is being used up in other ways.

walled garden,cotswold wildlife park,summer planting

The Walled Garden at the Cotswold Wildlife Park in late summer

I’m currently collaborating with Tim Miles, Head Gardener of the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens on a book celebrating those remarkable gardens. Tim has been the Head Gardener there for twenty years and asked me to help him write the book he has been meaning to write for about ten of those years.

container planting,cotswold wildlife park,summer

Barrels at the Cotswold Wildlife Park – I help with these but I also get to work in other parts of the 160 acre site

I have been working at CWP part time on and off for about the last four years as I could not bear to stop being a hands-on gardener just yet. It is such an interesting garden, not just because of the special task of gardening around exotic animals (trust me, you don’t want meerkats or ring-tailed lemurs loose in your garden…) but because there is a vast collection of unusual plants there and an extremely wide range of creative horticultural approaches. I have been taking photographs and questioning Tim and the rest of the team and deadlines are approaching so the blog has had to wait.

Whichford Pottery,garden,Harriet Rycroft

I spent nearly 14 years immersed in this

Drawing on my fourteen years gardening at Whichford Pottery and the hundreds of containers I still plant at home, I have continued to give talks on container planting to Horticultural Societies, Garden Clubs and Floral Clubs. I don’t do huge numbers of talks each year but it is fun to meet fellow gardening enthusiasts and to help to demystify container planting. This year I have been asked to do a few bigger events as well, so here’s a quick round-up of those:-

Saturday 7 April East Anglian Garden Group  Bildeston, Suffolk. “Summer Splendour in Your Pots” – This group is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Visitors welcome. It’s always a treat for me to have the excuse to head Out East. Details HERE

spring bulbs in containers,Whichford Pottery,Harriet Rycroft

Some of my spring planting at Whichford

Well-known plantsman and writer Noel Kingsbury and garden designer Annie Guilfoyle of Gardenmasterclass.org, in association with Gardens Illustrated Magazine, have asked me to do the following couple of events in May:

Saturday 12 May (I’m told that by then spring WILL be occurring) I will be speaking with slides at beautiful Forde Abbey in Somerset “Spring to Spring – how to make the most of your containers all year round”, the other speakers included in that day will be Keith Wiley and Anna Pavord – exalted company! Tickets available HERE

On Tuesday 15 May I will be leading a whole day of getting to grips with “The Secrets of Successful Summer Containers” at The Generous Gardener near Cirencester. I will show slides to inspire you, and demonstrate the construction of a large mixed planting, I will talk about all those tricky places, the hot spots, deep shade and so on, giving tips for creating a thriving container display in any of them, including plants to look out for and to propagate yourself. I will talk about building groups and displays of pots, and we will walk around the gorgeous gardens together with the owner, Mel Tanner, looking at the way containers are used in her garden and using those as a springboard for ideas and discussion about the use of containers to enhance any garden. The timing of this day means that participants will have time to put new ideas into practice this summer. Tickets available HERE

summer,container planting,Harriet Rycroft

Summer in the pots at my house

I’ll be speaking about “Summer Splendour in Your Pots” on Saturday 19th May, with slides and a demonstration for the Hardy Plant Society, Worcestershire. Details HERE.

On 17 June I’ll be helping multi-award-winning Fibrex Nurseries to celebrate their 60th birthday, they hold the National Collections of Pelargonium and Hedera (ivy), they also have an enormous range of ferns, plus begonias and many other tender plants – I’ll be there on the Sunday to do a planting demonstration and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on their lovely plants! Tickets available HERE

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, another multi-award-winning nursery in Hampshire, have asked me back again – so I’ll be there on 24 July to talk about “Hots Spots and Shady Characters”, with slides and a planting demo – last time I was there to talk about planting bulbs and perennials in autumn but this time I get to play with their exciting range of summery plants! Tickets available HERE

Pershore College in Worcestershire, where I first studied horticulture as a career-changer has invited me to give a talk and demonstration on “Planting pots for Winter Interest and Spring Joy” on Tuesday 11th September. It’ll be an honour to go back to the place where I learned so much.  Details HERE

flowerpots,shade planting,cat,Harriet Rycroft

Shady characters by my back door

If by chance any of you are based in Portugal I’ll be leading a container gardening workshop for the Mediterranean Garden Society of the Algarve on Tuesday October 9 – my first trip to Portugal, it’s going to be interesting to look at things from a more southerly angle. I’ll put up more details when their website has been updated.

All this, still teaching at LearningwithExperts.com and trying to keep my pots and the rest of my garden ticking over, is filling quite a lot of time – so thank you for your patience – I’ll get blogging again eventually. Meanwhile I still put pictures and other snippets on Instagram and Twitter (@harrietrycroft). Bye for now!

spring bulbs in pots,Harriet Rycroft

Looking forward to warmer days

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. Lovely to have Parrot back.


  2. Sounds like a lot of interesting and fun things Harriet, and hopefully you have a bit of time to just sit in your garden amongst your lovely pots with a drink and a gardening magazine (or even without the magazine).


  3. Have only just discovered your blog, but your pots look gorgeous! The book sounds like a very exciting project.


  4. That reads like a busy summer to me. Sadly I cannot mane the HPS meeting. I have put the Pershore Collage one in the calendar.


  5. If you are ever up north do make sure you come and visit. Lots of lovely gardens and nurseries up here. 🙂


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