All about Roses

June is surely the month for Roses above all else. Roses sometimes carry a reputation for being difficult, all the different types, pruning and feeding. But a few key pieces of information will help you to understand how to choose a rose for each situation and get the best display all summer long. Roses are hungry shrubs: most are strong...

There is more to Christmas than Holly

Whether December is mild and wet or freezing cold it is a month when not much time is spent in the garden. So prepare to bring the garden indoors as you decorate for Christmas. There are plenty of evergreens to choose from to supplement the traditional holly, ivy and conifer foliage.   The berries in this garland are from a Skimmia,...

The first frost of winter 2014

Last night's #WoolliesAskAlison tweetorial was all about coping with frost in the garden. I thought that you might like to see it altogether again here with a fab frosty photo. We had 1st frost of the winter in Kent this week so I’m moving half-hardies into the greenhouse pretty quick. Cold air flows downhill & collects at base of walls &...

Photosynthesis – turning sunlight into food

Most people have heard of photosynthesis, if only for use as an answer on quiz programmes.   For gardeners though it is interesting to know a little of the science behind the only process that enables us to store and use energy from the sun. No photosynthesis, no food, no fossil fuel, not even carbon neutral bio-mass. Photosynthesis also takes...

Composting – why, what & how

Compost bin Autumn is a time when gardeners start to cut back and clear away and we should not lose the chance to recycle some of nature’s bounty. Composting often attracts a ‘muck & magic’ mystique but a few scientific facts explain & simplify the process. The value of composting your own garden waste and uncooked vegetables is in returning nutrients...

Make yours a wildlife friendly garden

Gardens are vital in providing habitats & corridors for wildlife to live and travel esp in urban areas.  Here are some simple tips on how to make your garden more friendly to wildlife without  sacrificing the atractive, family garden that you really do deserve. Wildlife needs what gardeners like too: long season of flowers, plenty autumn berries & some evergreen...

Lawns – the good, the bad & the easy

A  few tips on lawns as the summer progresses from my WoolliesAskAlison twitter tweetorial: Established, healthy lawn withstands dry summer without watering. Top may go brown but will recover when it rains. Spring & summer lawn feeds high Nitrogen for lush green growth, autumn higher potassium for tougher leaves pre winter. Newly turfed or sown lawns need to be watered in dry...

The tropic of West Kent

If you don't get a free copy of the Town Crier magazine - here is my June article It is easier to create a tropical-looking garden in our temperate climate than you might think and does not require without a greenhouse to protect all the plants in winter.  Choose plants with a strong architectural shape or big leaves but survive...

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 Geotropism.  The shoot always grows away...

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 explanation: ericaceous plants cannot...