Gardening Blog

Grow Your Own – Exotic Kiwi fruit

Have you seen Kiwi fruit growing over a sunny pergola whilst on holiday in Italy? Or bought them from the exotic fruit counter in a supermarket? Well how about growing your own right here in South East England? Many people have read that kiwi fruit are tricky to grow and needed warmth and a long […]

Germination & growing runner beans

Germination: Runner beans need water to germinate but do not need any other special conditions or treatment; they will germinate in the dark (underground) or in the light. The root always starts to grow first and it always grows downwards.  The plant is sensitive to gravity and the root grows towards gravity.  This is called […]


10 tips for great Planting Plans

My tweetorial on Planting Plans for the Woolly Green #WoolliesAskAlison Q&A on March 6th Work out number of plants needed for space & don’t be tempted to overfill or you’ll be dividing and removing in 2 years General rule plan on 3 large or 5 small perennials per sq. metre. Large shrubs 1 per sq.m, […]


Why has my Camellia gone yellow?

Plants such as Rhododendron, Azalea, Camellia and Acers are often described as ‘ericaceous’, indicating that they thrive in an acid soil.  In fact, it is more accurate to say that these plants do not thrive in an alkaline soil, they are perfectly happy in a neutral soil especially if iron is added.  Here is the […]


Give your Valentine garden inspiration

Longer lasting than cut flowers and less fattening than chocolate, the gift of an hour or two of advice and ideas to enhance your Valentine’s garden is the ideal present for a gardener or ‘would-be gardener’. A Gardening by Design visit can solve problems, supply design ideas, maintenance advice and a realistic plan whether you […]


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!  […]