Archive by Author

Community, learning & gardening: a winning combination

At the end of February 2018 I was delighted to be part of a ‘delegation’ from Kent Adult Education to the Tes Further Education Awards dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.  A wonderful evening and a welcome opportunity for this gardening tutor to scrub up and wear a frock. We were shortlisted in […]

What is Soil and what is Soil Improvement?

You already know that the soil in your garden is key to growing great plants. But exactly what soil is made of, why this matters and what is meant by soil improvement might warrant a bit more explanation to turn the frustration of plants that struggle into the success of blooming borders. Soil Type There […]

Pruning in Spring

Many ornamental shrubs are pruned in Spring but there are two different reasons for doing so and it helps to understand how different plants grow before you reach for the sharp tools. Shrubs that flower in winter such as Witch Hazel or early spring like Forsythia need to be pruned just after flowering if you […]

Win my ‘Box of Tricks’ video gardening tutorials

GREAT NEWS: during February 2018 you can win my Gardening by Design ‘Box of Tricks’ video gardening tutorials absolutely FREE in an Amateur Gardening Magazine competition.  There are ten copies of the videos on offer.  The competition is run online by the magazine and their terms and conditions apply. click here to go to the […]

Grow Your Own : Crop Rotation

Grow Your Own rotating vegetables If you grow vegetables, whether in a small veg plot at home or on a larger scale on an allotment, you will have come across the term ‘crop rotation’.  There are good reasons for moving your veggies around each year and it need not be complicated once you understand the […]

Winter flowering bulbs

Winter flowering bulbs If you have been given winter flowering bulbs for Christmas or are growing your own to cheer up a dull January, here are a few tips to keep them tip-top. Compost dries out quickly in centrally heated rooms so check twice a week. Water from the bottom by standing the pot in […]

Garden design – the practicalities

Winter is a time to think about any changes you may want to make to your garden layout for next summer and there are some key practical questions to be answered before you get onto the creative, artistic part of the project. I always advise people to look at gardens, large and small, for inspiration […]

Doubly good Christmas presents for gardeners

What to buy a gardener when they have enough gloves and string?  How about membership of a charitable organisation or making a gift donation on their behalf?  Christmas is a time when we are not short of charity appeals and here are a few suggestions if you are interested in gardening and the environment.   […]

Houseplants and gardening indoors

There is good news for gardeners who miss their gardening fix when the winter weather prevents outside work. Indoor gardening with houseplants is back in fashion and some of the stalwart plants of our childhood homes are now right on trend instead of being “so last century”. You should be seeing an increase in the number […]

Autumn pruning to prevent winter damage

I am often asked what pruning should be done in autumn and the answer is “very little”.  The main aim of autumn pruning is to prevent damage to tall shrubs during winter storms and wind rock.  This falls into the category of Housekeeping pruning.  It applies to late flowering shrubs that have produced tall, whippy […]