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.
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.