Choosing trees for a small garden

Trees can add instant height, structure and several seasons of interest to a garden but choosing a tree for a small garden takes careful consideration.  July is not the best month for planting if you can avoid it because the soil is dry and temperatures higher and these add to the stress of the plant when the roots are...

Climbing Combinations

Most gardens contain a smattering of climbing plants decorating house walls or reducing the impact of metres of wooden fencing. But there are plenty of imaginative ways to use climbers to provide more colour for a longer time if you use plants in combination. In this blog I explore a few different ways of getting more colour and joy...

Gardening by Design Box of Tricks

If you want to build up your gardening knowledge and leave behind costly mistakes, then the Gardening by Design ‘Box of Tricks’ is for you, free of charge. My most popular talks and teaching topics are available as video tutorials containing practical, implementable advice, with photographs, diagrams, examples and summaries to help you get to grips with the topic and...

Seed sowing Success

With Spring in sight many gardeners’ thoughts turn to sowing seeds for this summer’s annual flower and vegetable crops and very little beats the excitement of seeing those tiny green shoots emerge.  Here are my tips for success:I recommend that you make a list of what you need and have space for before shopping for seeds whether online or...

Get your garden soil ready for summer

Soil is the greatest asset we have in our gardens but it is easy to overlook the importance of maintaining good soil quality and just let borders grow year after year.  The rain this winter seems to have been endless and apart from obvious problems of waterlogging in heavy soil, there is a hidden problem of plant nutrients being...

Hedge your bets

There have been plenty of horror stories about monster Leyland Cypress hedges but what are the other choices of hedging plant for a domestic garden? I should point out here that Leylandii can be used perfectly well as long as the hedge is trimmed regularly (annually) from the start.  However there are many alternatives to consider on aesthetic, wildlife...

The Mindful Planter

There are many ways in which gardening can be your everyday mindful activity and not just in summer, as my blog from November shows.  Contact me if you want to find your own route to Gardening for the Mind.November is not the most exciting month in the garden but I am always cheered to come home to a planter...

What is No Dig gardening

October is a month when we see the last of the summer flowers and vegetable harvests and start to think about preparing the garden for next year.  This is particularly true of a vegetable plot or allotment where the traditional autumn activity is to dig over the empty ground.  Older gardening books will even recommend double digging - which...

Gardening with ornamental grasses

As the midsummer blaze of flowers in our borders starts to fade, a whole group of plants is coming into its own to take us through autumn and winter with colour and texture: the ornamental Grasses.  The range of grasses and grass-like plants on offer has increased hugely in recent years and the first step to choosing and using...

Dividing perennial plants

Herbaceous perennials are those plants where the top growth dies off in the autumn leaving roots and the crown of the plant to survive the winter and throw up new stems the following spring.  Many are easily divided to provide extra plants and rejuvenate an old clump where flowering is poor and spring is a good time as the...