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...

Too early to sow seeds

January is over, early Daffodils are in flower and tradition has it that birds start to nest on February 14th so many gardeners may be tempted to think that we are nearing Spring.  But remember that there are two full months to go where the night time temperature can fall below freezing and it is common to have frost...

Prune to an outward facing bud

Pruning is done in winter for many trees, particularly fruit trees, and the instructions frequently use the phrase “prune to an outward facing bud”.  I always feel that this is something of an oversimplification and it helps for gardeners to understand why this advice is given to help make the best decisions about where exactly to make those pruning cuts. Pruning...

Winter Pruning

Pruning is one of those ‘hardy perennial’ topics that I am asked about all year round.  Many people are aware that winter is a key time but are not exactly sure what you prune in winter or how.  In fact the most important thing to understand about pruning is Why?  This is because not all pruning is done for...