Gardening Blog


Botanical Names – friend or foe?

Latin (more properly called botanical) names can seem like a nightmare invented to put off the new gardener but I encourage you to reconsider and develop a little knowledge about how plants are named.   The practical use is that botanical names identify an individual variety of any given plant uniquely across the world, no matter […]


Exactly what do plant roots do?

Plants need roots and although some plants absorb water and nutrients from the air or host plants, most have their roots firmly embedded in the soil and here we look at what their functions.  Firstly roots (hopefully) anchor the plant securely in the soil against buffeting by winds and passing animals.  Secondly, plants take in […]


Want to grow Figs? Yes you can!

Dried figs are a veritable Christmas treat whether eaten alone or offered to carol singers in ‘Figgy Pudding’.  Personally I would rather be offered chocolate biscuits by satisfied customers when I go carol singing but there is no accounting for taste. Figs are not hard to grow in South East England as long as you […]


Raised vegetable beds – why & how

Winter is an ideal season to plan and build in the kitchen garden as there is little to harvest or plant.   Raised beds have gained popularity recently so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at why you might use them and offer a few practical tips.  If you find that ‘the […]


Awesome Autumn

November sees the final flourish of autumn leaf colour before the usual gales finally strip deciduous trees and shrubs of their old foliage and they descend into dormancy to sit out the cold of winter.  Have you ever stopped to think about why nature provides this colour burst? It is all to do with recycling!  […]


Leaf mould & the self destructing sack

We are now well and truly in the leaf gathering season so ensure that you make the most of nature’s bounty by rotting deciduous leaves into leaf mould for use as a fantastic soil conditioner.  Leaves need plenty of air circulation to decompose and must be fairly wet when stacked to kick off the process.  […]


Playing with perspective in a small garden

Once deciduous trees and shrubs have lost their leaves and hardy perennials have been cut down for the winter, late autumn is a good time to look at the overall layout of your garden and question whether you are making best use of the space – especially in a small enclosed garden.  Using perspective and […]

Mycorrhizal fungi – what are they & do I want them?

Autumn and winter are the key tree and shrub planting seasons in the South East of England and gardeners are hearing a lot of references to ‘Mycorrhiza’ so this seems a good time to explore what it/they do.  Mycorrhizal fungi are present naturally in the soil but can be depleted in soil or growing compost […]

Bulbs, corms & tubers – the same but different

October sees the start of the main bulb planting season with daffodils, crocus, tulips and many more appearing in garden centres and nurseries.   But there is more to bulbs than the common spring flowering selections and understanding a bit about their lifecycle can help you to be more confident and more adventurous in your choices. […]


Welcome to Gardening by Design.

Welcome to the new Gardening by Design website and the first ever post on my gardening Edu-blog. Over the coming weeks & months I will post articles helping you to understand a wide range of gardening topics from design to practical skills and growing fruit and vegetables suited to the season so you can apply […]