Showing posts with label gifts for gardeners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gifts for gardeners. Show all posts

Monday, April 17, 2023

Reviewing Single-Tube Wind Chimes Known as Windbells

 I love wind chimes. All types of wind chimes; metal, wood, agate, polished glass, shell, tuned, and every type you can imagine. Having moved to an area that experiences high winds on a frequent basis, I'm concerned about putting my traditional, multi-tube, chimes outdoors out of fear that they will tangle. I miss hearing my wind chimes. Especially, my tuned wind chimes. But I've learned there is a wonderful compromise. They are called Windbells. Windbells are a single-tube wind chime. A single-tube eliminates the risk of tangling while creating the sound I love. 

Heroic Windbell (large) by Woodstock Chimes

I have a friend who fabricated her own single-tube windbells. They are made of very large metal tubes, the height of a small adult, with an inner diameter the approximate size of a fist. They hang from her carport and they sound amazing. I knew I had to figure out how to buy or fabricate my own single-tube chimes.

On a visit to a Hobby Lobby, I found a windbell in the shape of a metal bottle. I had to have it. It emits a metallic sound that reminds me of sitting at the marina and listening to the sounds from the sail boats as they rock on the waves and shift in the wind. I love the sound. But it is not quite the same deep, meditative sound created by larger windbells.

Rustic Metal Bottle Wind Chime from Hobby Lobby

The sound I'm looking for, in addition to my metal bottle windbell, is the sound that is created by the Heroic Windbell (Large) made by Woodstock Chimes. 

The Heroic Windbell by Woodstock Chimes

In looking for a quality, long-lasting, windbell with a pleasing, deep sound I found the Woodstock Chimes company. They have a good reputation that seems to stem from their love for windchimes. 

"In 1979, Grammy award-winning musician and instrument designer Garry Kvistad created the first Woodstock Chime from an aluminum lawn chair he found in a landfill; Garry and his wife Diane founded Woodstock Chimes in 1979 And still develop the chimes today." - Woodstock Chimes

Woodstock chimes offer a huge variety of chimes, bells, crystal light catchers, and gongs. I have a long wish-list of their items but I am trying to stay focused on the windbells here.

The Heroic Windbell comes in medium and large. The large is 40" in length and is offered in "antique copper", "harbor gray", and green colors. They are created to sound like distant harbor bells. The Heroic Windbell is meant to be hung in a breezy spot. It is designed to sound like a bell and has an internal hollow section that "sounds like an organ pipe". The two sounds combine to create a deep and beautiful tone.

What Are Tuned Wind Chimes?

I mentioned tuned wind chimes and being concerned about hanging my tuned wind chime out here and have it tangle in the winds.  Tuned wind chimes are musically tuned to play the familiar notes of songs. Of course, the wind chimes move in a random manner but the notes of the song are easy to recognize. The Amazing Grace tuned wind chime by Woodstock Chimes is a good example of a tuned wind chime.

If you are shopping for wind chimes, I recommend checking the Woodstock Chimes store. They are highly recommended with consistent 5 star ratings on the chimes they offer. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

A Personal Review Of The Inspirational Gardener Geoff Hamilton

Geoff Hamilton Statue

This article is a personal review of the late great Geoff Hamilton and how he inspired my lifelong love of gardening.

I grew up watching the TV programme Gardeners World. My parents always watched it and so as a young child when I was around and not playing outside, I watched it too. 

I remember watching Gardeners World on TV before Geoff Hamilton presented it but it was Geoff Hamilton when I was a little older who completely captured my gardening heart and imagination and inspired me to love plants and try to be a gardener. 

Yellow Tulips

As a child my parents always gave me a small plot of land to grow easy plants and quick growing vegetables and I think that was a great thing to do and gave me as a young child the joy of gardening with quick results!

As I grew older I wanted to know more and pre-internet my main sources to learn about gardening were books and gardening programmes on TV. 

Geoff Hamilton seemed so approachable, and accessible and appeared to be talking to me directly. He had a natural easy way about him and clearly a passion for gardening and plants in all his TV appearances and books. He was that rare combination of a talented presenter and expert gardener who could teach in an accessible and relaxed manner. 

Greenhouse Barnsdale Gardens

In fact, unlike some presenters of TV shows, I don't think he saw it as about him at all but rather about teaching us how to look after plants and flowers, vegetables and trees, how to design and make, build and tend and I loved him for it. I could really relate to his honest, rational and logical approach to gardening.

I also really related to his ideals around organic gardening and his approach to gardening in a wildlife-friendly manner. Both these ideals were quite new and radical at the time when he started his TV shows and wrote his books and they completely resounded with me.  

Garden Barnsdale

Without a doubt, Geoff Hamilton was a person I would really have loved to have met in person and is one of my regrets in life that I did not. However, He does live on in Barnsdale gardens, now run by his son Nick Hamilton. You can feel Geoff's presence there and his books are wonderful to read and learn from.

For many years as a young adult gardening had to take a back seat to my life. I was at University and then working in a city, renting different places and I had no garden. I had to make do with a window box or a few pots, or the windowsill. 

Of course, I always wanted my own garden and would help my parents with theirs whenever I went back home, but I wanted my own. It was not until we got married and then bought our own home that I got to flex my own gardening muscles both figuratively and practically! 

So then I returned to Geoff Hamilton and read and re-read his books and watched his videos to learn and understand all I could, He truly was my gardening inspiration and teacher. 

Orangery flowers pink and purples

When he left Gardeners World with health issues I was very sad and then his subsequent death really affected me. I do now like to watch Monty Don, Alan Titchmarch and others who I still learn a lot from, but I have to say it was Geoff Hamilton who was my original inspiration, who along with my parents made me into a person who has a deep love of plants, wildlife, nature and gardens. 

I was so lucky a couple of years ago to visit Geoff Hamiltons gardens where he filmed all of Gardeners World and other programmes at Barnsdale in Rutland in UK. 

dark red tulips

I was beyond excited to visit this wonderful place I had watched for years on TV!! I was not disappointed, quite the opposite. I have to admit for me this was an emotional visit and I experienced a full range of emotions from joy to sadness, awe and amazement, tears and laughter.

The first thing to greet you when you enter the garden is Geoff Hamilton's gardening jeans!! I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this place of my gardening hero. 

Geoff Hamiltons Jeans

My husband and I spent two whole days walking around, taking notes and photographs. we absolutely loved it. We originally intended a day visit only but we just had to go back again within the same weeks holiday. 

I recall watching how Geoff built each garden and how gardens evolve over time. I loved that he often gave different options for a garden a more expensive one and a less expensive version to achieve a similar effect. In this way he made gardening financially accessible for most people whatever the budget and size of the garden. 

He also showed us how to make and build much of the hard landscaping, fencing, ponds and brickwork and for me always seemed to explain it in a manner I felt "I could give that a go".

Even within the same week there were new things to see and things we did not notice the first time around. I wish I had visited years ago and I hope I make it back again.

Herb garden

The whole site is divided up into smaller gardens you can walk around and into each beautiful individual garden. There are many gardens to explore including ones Geoff built from scratch and filmed from the beginning. 

Some of the gardens include the Ornamental kitchen garden, The Gentlemans cottage garden, Artisan cottage garden, Wildflower border, A Rock Feature, Bog garden, Courtyard gardens, a Children's garden, a Japanese garden and Herb garden plus many more. Many of these were designed and built by Geoff. 

Japanese garden

In this way with individual gardens of a manageable size, it is quite easy to walk around and appreciate each garden on its own and it does not become overwhelming. There is a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. You feel that you could take planting ideas,  features or make similar designs in your own garden. 

We went in late May and I do think it would be worth visiting these gardens at least 4 times a year in each season to fully appreciate all the planting and care taken throughout the seasons.  


Our own garden is quite established and it would be a mammoth task to change it now. However, we have decided when we move house that we will base our new design on one of Geoff's gardens.

We will of course adapt the design to the space we have and add our own particular nuances and special or favourite plants and we so look forward to building and growing it. 

Kitchen garden flowers and vegetables

 Geoff Hamilton has written a number of wonderful books and I think I have most of them. I will write reviews on them in time to come but wanted to list just a couple of them here so you can start to discover the down to earth brilliance of this most humble, gentle and wonderful gardener. 


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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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