A WEST Dorset woman with a wealth of horticultural experience is passing on her tips in a new book.
Marilyn Norvell’s A Garden Centre Calendar is a step-by-step, month-by-month guide for gardeners.
Mrs Norvell, from West Bexington, is well placed to give horticultural advice, with a wealth of experience and she also comes from a family that has been immersed in the vocation for centuries.
Her ancestors on her mother’s side grew and sold asparagus and strawberries at Covent Garden in the 19th century and were among those who were responsible for bringing over the first oranges from Spain.
She trained at Plumpton College in East Sussex and went on to have a varied career from potting up carnation cuttings by their thousands, tending African violets at Rochfords Nurseries, looking after chrysanthemums in the Jacobean gardens of the Queen Mother’s cousin and monitoring tomato experiments in the Lee Valley Experimental Horticultural Station, where she got to know BBC gardener Geoff Hamilton.
Her marriage to her husband, who was trained at the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley, took the couple to America where they planted roses at the White House and helped landscape a new city.
She has worked in stately homes too, on the isle of Skye, Norfolk and in garden centres.
It was the latter that led to the book, after customers’ questions made it clear there was a need for simple and clear guidance on what to plant when, and in what type of spoil and in what kind of garden.
Mrs Norvell said: “If you are interested in turning your lawn into a productive vegetable patch or growing plants to attract wildlife, the book can help.
“A bonus will be enchanting visits from butterflies, bees, hoverflies, moths, beetles and ladybirds to add a delicate beauty to your garden and assist the pollination of important food crops.
“The purpose of this book is to help customers at the garden centre make informed choices, when faced with rows and rows of plants and seasonal delights.”
The book, published by Brimstone Press, is for sale at £7.99.