Archive | Practical gardening

What’s wrong with Rhododendrons?

Towards the end of May I spent two consecutive days garden visiting and there could hardly have been a greater contrast.  Firstly I was one of thousands at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the following day I attended a preview of Leonardslee Gardens in West Sussex currently undergoing restoration.  Apart from the weather – […]

The New Shrubbery

By using the term New Shrubbery I do not just mean adding in a few more shrubs but thinking about how much this useful and sometimes maligned group of plans can add to your garden.    I often talk and write about  Less Effort Gardening and the benefits of permanent planting to create a year […]

Maximising your veg harvest

Succession sowing and inter-cropping The month of May sees the height of sowing and planting for the summer vegetables  and succession sowing and inter-cropping are two different ways to get the maximum vegetable harvest from your space and delivering a steady flow of produce to the kitchen through the summer. Succession sowing simply means that […]

Saving water and Garden irrigation

There are two strands to the use of water in the garden – and I am talking watering plants here, not choosing water features.  These are reducing the need for watering and efficient irrigation in a domestic garden. Saving water Mulching is a good way of reducing water loss by evaporation from the soil surface. […]

How to buy plants

Spring is a good time to buy plants to fill up spaces in your ornamental borders to be sure of a wonderful display in the summer.  But before you can plant, you need to buy and there are few things that a gardener likes more than the chance to acquire more plants. For herbaceous plants […]

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 […]