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...

Insects in the Garden

What would your reaction be if I suggested that we should all attract more insects and other invertebrates to our gardens? I am not expecting everyone to welcome all ‘mini beasts’ with open arms – most people appreciate butterflies, bees and ladybirds but spiders, wasps and greenfly usually divide opinion.  However, insects and the like are both vital and...

Supporting Wildlife in a small Garden

Working with small spaces is always challenging whether you are furnishing a room or laying out a garden.  When you cannot fit in everything that you would love to have, it is time to prioritise and that is especially tough when your small garden has to serve both family and wildlife.  An internet search for wildlife gardening quickly yields...

The good, the bad and the Ivy

In my previous blog post I included “a controlled amount of ivy” in my suggestions for a native mixed hedge.  So this time I thought that I would talk more about this evergreen climber that appears in pretty much every garden, usually uninvited. As households try to reduce both fossil fuel consumption and energy bills, research has found that a...

A landscape in your Garden

My favourite local view looks out across a small river valley, framed by a Beech hedge shot through with Ivy and a tall Holly tree.  It is a slice of the quintessential landscape of this corner of the Kent-East Sussex border.  Fields for grazing are divided by hedges and clusters of Silver Birch, Hawthorn, Oak and more Holly.  And...

Gardens and the environment

Sometimes it seems that you can hardly read or listen to the news without hearing statistics about the environment, from the loss of insect populations, destruction of rain forests to the number of species approaching extinction.  But I want you to think about a different statistic and this one is part of the solution not the problem.  However, that...

Bees burrowing into your lawn

I have been asked several times this year about bees apparently swarming over and burrowing into a lawn.  These are Mining Bees and I thought I would pass on some fascinating and reassuring facts from a Bumblebee Conservation Trust officer. Mining Bees are a group of Solitary Bees (240+ species of Solitary Bee are native to the UK!).  They do...

Wildflowers in the Garden

Adding wildflowers to your garden has become something of a trend recently, I suspect prompted by increasing awareness amongst media and public of the dreadful statistics on the loss of 95% of UK wildflower meadows since the 1930s.  So should we all be planting wildflowers? Firstly let me clear up a common confusion: Wildflowers are not the same as Weeds. ...

Gardening trends – where is gardening going?

Predicting the future and fashion trends is something of a mug’s game but I am interested in the general direction of travel for gardening; not the cat walk world of show garden design but the role of gardening in people’s lives and communities.  Over the last few years I have seen three influences develop that can complement and combine...

Christmas in the year of Blue Planet

I do not usually talk about Christmas in November but this year I want to encourage a change in the way we may choose and buy Christmas presents.  I am thinking here about presents for people who fortunately already have the things that they actually need day to day and where the joy is in the sentiment not the...