Drought tolerant planting

I have seen quite a few articles in the last few months promoting the idea of UK gardeners changing their borders to include more “drought tolerant plants”.  Although it may seem intuitively as if ‘drought’ goes with ‘global warming’, the reality is not that simple especially in gardening terms.  Whilst the UK may see higher temperatures in summer, the...

Colourful Evergreens

As April is probably the peak plant buying and planting month for many gardeners, I thought that I would give a shout out for a category of garden-worthy plants sometimes overlooked in our quest for flower power – evergreen shrubs.  That label certainly sounds more ‘worthy’ than exciting but, of course, evergreen does not have to mean green. There...

Spring means Daffodils

It seems appropriate to write about Daffodils in March, not just because they are the emblematic flower of St David’s day on March 1st but because we have been enjoying their display through February and will continue right to the end of April.  What other spring bulb is so reliable in giving flowers for such a long period?  Granted...

Pests and diseases in the garden

Pests and diseases in the garden are an evergreen topic of conversation for gardeners and seeing holes munched in leaves or whole plants struggling is equally frustrating whether you grow fruit and vegetables or ornamental plants.  I mentioned last month that gardening is part of the mainstream move towards a more sustainable and nature friendly lifestyle, and we are...

Greening up our gardens

My thoughts for the New Year turn to how we can ensure that as well as being happy and productive green spaces, our gardens are as green as possible in the planetary and sustainability sense too.  This has been a direction of travel since the start of the 21st century across pretty much all aspects of life and gardens...

Grass beyond the Lawn

I often recommend using ornamental grasses in a mixed border along with the more traditional cottage garden perennials for interest right through the winter.  There are many different grasses and grass-like plants to choose from and not all suit every situation so this blog looks at the questions you should ask to make the right choice. The main plant families...

Climbing plants for cover

I am regularly asked for plant suggestions to break up the bulk of a fence or wall, soften the outlook and give colour without spilling out over the lawn or occupying all the space in a border.  That is quite an ask of a plant! The coloured leaves of climber Actinidia kolomikta But happily there is an answer: Climbers.  Plants that can...

Late summer perennials

First things first, what exactly is a perennial?  In the horticultural context it is any plant that lives for more than two years.  In common gardening parlance we use the term for a non-woody plant where the above ground stems die off in autumn but the roots and crown survive the winter to produce new stems, leaves and flowers...

Trees for privacy in the garden

Summer holidays mark a few weeks when we all spend more time outside and especially in the garden.  But few of us live with no near neighbours and a common challenge is to create a garden with a sense of privacy without overwhelming and darkening what might already be a small space. Clearly in most situations a fence or hedge...

The Lawn in Summer

Even with gardens getting smaller, the vast majority of Great British gardens will have a Great British lawn.  But by the end of July many will not be looking quite so great, indeed they will take on a distinctly yellow, crispy look.  So this month, I will talk about why that is not a permanent plant catastrophe and a...