Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A PPP Product Review : Sophie Conran Architectural Cloche

Some of you who have been blogging for a while will have received the odd request to review a product – and I do mean 'odd'! Up until now I have declined all such requests, not because I disagree with reviews on blogs but because the products were not something I would buy (pink gardening tools, noxious insecticides, etc). However the other week I received a request to take a look at Sophie Conran's new web shop, my comments on the gardening products, produced in collaboration with Burgeon and Ball, would be most welcome.

Of course I'd heard of Sophie Conran (and her lovely blog) and Burgeon and Ball, so I had a look and found lots of very nice things – the sort of thing you might buy as a present for a friend who really likes gardening. I thought the gardening tools looked very practical but I really liked the wire cloche – now that would have been very useful to stop a certain hen named Holly from trashing the new shoots of my beautiful pink and white tulips earlier this Spring! 

'Would you like to write a review of the cloche if we send you one?' Well, I thought, that would be nice – so here's the first PPP Product Review . . .


The Sophie Conran Architectural Cloche

The web site and the very smart printed catalogue that I also received, picture the cloche over a perfect, blemish-free lettuce, of course you could grow a single lettuce under a single cloche but I'd need a truck-load of cloches for my veg plot. So I've taken photos to demonstrate practical ways the cloche could be used in our garden.

This is a Cat Mint plant that I've transplanted from where it had self-seeded. It would have no chance of survival if left unprotected, the tabby and ginger studio assistants would sniff out the bruised leaves and totally destroy it before it had any chance of settling in and getting larger. I would normally use and upturned wire hanging basket – but the wire cloche is even better, it has longer prongs to peg it into the soil and it's taller so the plant can grow more before leaves poke through the mesh and get nibbled off.
This also applies to precious plants that the hens might trample on, or peck, in the early stages of growth - such as the Snake's Head Fritillary or the lovely bronze leaved Celandine.


It was in a pot just like this that the tulips met their sad end – newly planted up pots are very tempting to hens - it's just the sort of place they like to have a good dig! Once the plants are well rooted in and larger the hens won't be as tempted to trash them – but you could leave the cloche in place and let the plants grow through it. 


My third use for the cloche is quite probably not one for which it was intended – but it works really well. I was inspired by some fabulously loose and exuberant flower arrangements at Het Loo, the Dutch royal palace that I visited last summer. When I got home I tried to copy the style on a small scale, but by using this cloche and a basket with a round plastic bowl inside I could attempt a larger arrangement.


In the photo above you can just see the plastic bowl and a tall glass jar standing in the centre, both are filled with water and the cloche put over the top.


Then you simply poke the stems through the wire and down into the water – the tall jar in the centre is for the longer stems and shorter stemmed flowers and foliage go around the edge with their stalks in the bowl.


It doesn't matter that the wire cloche is still visible because it's a really pretty shape.



I've use some Golden Oats (Stipa gigantica) and ferny Sweet Cicely leaves, the flowers are Alliums that had fallen over in the rain last week and the first pickings from my new cut flower border – those beautiful Black Ball Cornflowers and Indian Prince Calendulas are from Higgledy Garden seeds that I sowed last September.


Hope you enjoyed reading my first PPP Product Review as much as my Ginger Studio Assistant and the Garden Supervisor enjoyed helping me take the photos.

Celia
xx


By the way, I haven't been paid anything or told to say nice things about the product, I just got a nice wire cloche to play with and to keep. 


23 comments:

  1. That's a very creative use of the cloche Celia, and we love your colourful and tasteful arrangement!

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    1. Thank you guys! Just think how useful it will be at Christmas :-)

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  2. I was tempted by that cloche too Celia, but was put off because I would need so many. I wish I'd thought of the possibility of protecting some catmint like you have. Our 2 cats just love it to death!

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    1. After the mild winter we have so many young Cat Mint plants - the Ginger and Tabby assistants are in a constant state of intoxication!

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    2. Do they dig them up Celia and roll in the roots - that's what one of ours did!!!

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    3. No, they don't do that... but they tug at the stalks to tear off the leaves and roll of the crushed remains.

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  3. I do the odd review item and yes sometimes the things I am asked to review are really odd!

    I decline most but yes sometimes there are really nice things offered.

    I think your review was excellent and I am tempted to get one of these :)

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    1. Thank you, it's good to know others are discerning x

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  4. A lovely review! Your arrangement is beautiful and the cloche adds to the country informality. I think the garden supervisor approves!

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  5. Celia, I enjoyed seeing every single use you found for this clever wire cloche. Every single use seemed a solution to either a care for fragile plants or a way to enhance the design possibilities for some gorgeous flowers.

    Fun to see that your various garden assistants and supervisors also seem to give the cloche their approval.

    A wire cloche seems to have more potential than those glass versions...at this time of the gardening year.

    xo

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    1. Thank you Frances - I was pleased my assistants were in a helpful mood :-)))

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  6. Beautiful photos Celia! Your flower arrangement is gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks Lisa - the arrangements at Het Loo were so inspiring xx

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  7. Really loved the flower arrangement Celia. Must look at Sophie Conran's website. Yes promotion does work!

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    1. Thank you Philippa - the cloche creates the shape so you can't go wrong. I think it will be very useful to make a Christmas decoration.

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  8. I think this cloche would be really useful in the garden, but I particularly love how you've used it for your flower arrangement. As you say, it doesn't matter that you can still see it, it's pretty enough to be part of the arrangement.

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  9. I love things that are both pretty and practical, I think I will have to peruse that catalogue when I am looking for birthday presents for my gardening obsessed UK family!
    The flower arrangement is gorgeous, the cloche is a great backdrop, and those black cornflowers are to die for. I am putting them on my "want" list!
    Carole

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  10. Well done for finding different uses, love the flower arrangement and obviously your assistants approve!

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  11. Ooh, you have pargeting on your cottage, it's lovely!

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