Are you going away on holiday this summer? Have you thought about how your garden will cope without you? Of course your plants can keep on growing by themselves but what if there is a really hot dry spell and there's nobody at home to water anything? It's quite normal even if you're not a gardener to hope it's raining back home all the time you are building sandcastles on a sunny beach somewhere far away, but if summer returns home before you do then you may come back to loads of shrivelled up shrubs and floppy, faded flowers. Not to mention a lawn full of dandelions. And will you have the energy to get the garden back to it's best after taking it easy for a week or two? Here are some simple ways to help your garden cope with being ignored, and leave you less to do when you get back...
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Friday, 14 July 2017
Visiting gardens is a great way to get ideas and be inspired to get the best out of your own garden. Compton Acres, between Poole and Bournemouth in Dorset, is always a pleasure to explore, but there are plenty of ideas you can take home with you. So here are 8 ways of adding some magic to your garden.
Monday, 10 July 2017
Here is my latest update on what's happening in my own garden at the moment. I'm following on from The Propagator, who shared his Six on Saturday. Here are my six...
Friday, 7 July 2017
|All these were free - I just helped myself!|
If you hate weeding, but like getting extra plants for free, look carefully around your garden this weekend and you might find you can turn a bit of weeding into something far more productive.
Saturday, 1 July 2017
Friday, 30 June 2017
|A "Rainbow Bed" of Tulips in April|
Tulips bring a welcome burst of colour to the garden in spring before everything else really gets going. They are a great low maintenance option too because you can just plant them in autumn, leave them and wait for the show to start the following spring. But they do tend to flower less each year which means you have a choice - buy new ones each autumn to add to the existing show, or lift them and store them until it's time to replant them again in October. So is it worth the effort?
Saturday, 24 June 2017
Don't let a lack of space stop you growing your own fruit and veg, There are plenty of edibles you can grow in containers. Even if all you have is a few pots then you can grow something to eat, and it will be the freshest and tastiest that you've ever eaten! So what food can you grow in containers?
Sunday, 18 June 2017
I'm linking up with The Propagator again to share what's going on in the garden right now. Heavy rain has been followed by really hot sun here in Cardiff in the last fortnight so things are really growing well. I've been enjoying the poppies but at this time of year things in the garden tend to move fairly quickly, and they have already been surpassed by the roses. There's plenty to do. Here's what's been keeping me busy...
Saturday, 17 June 2017
If you want to add colour, scent, and a touch of glamour to your garden, then all you need to do is plant some roses. A traditional component of British gardens, there are now hundreds of varieties available with a wide range of colours and fragrance. The best time to buy one is right now, because the best way to buy one is to go out and smell them!
Friday, 9 June 2017
Watercress is a peppery and nutritious addition to summer salads and other recipes, and really easy to grow. However you use it, you wont get a better taste than if you've grown it yourself and just picked it moments before eating, so have a go at growing your own this summer. You can sow it right now. I thought I'd share with you how I'm growing mine this year, in recycled guttering on my garden fence!
Friday, 2 June 2017
For many years I've thought that growing your own fruit and veg was more or less incompatible with having a stylish and beautiful garden. Vegetables just aren't that pretty to look at. But after seeing vegetable gardens at Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire and at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show recently, I think I might be starting to change my mind.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
This extra post was inspired by The Propagator, who is sharing six things going on in his garden every Saturday. It seems like a good idea, so I thought I would respond by sharing six of my own. Here they are:
1) Pyracantha is now in full bloom on the North facing wall outside the back door. It covers the whole height of the wall, and is a mass of tiny white flowers which smell great and attract so many bees it is absolutely humming. Today I have been training the straggly stems by putting screws in the wall and tying them in.
Friday, 26 May 2017
Gardeners have an important role to play in helping bees and other insects survive. There are lots of ways to help them. This half term, why not get your kids to help you make a bug hotel, using whatever is lying around. You don't need to spend any money, and you don't even need to use a hammer, or a single nail. And you'll be helping to protect all sorts of species of bee and other insects by giving them somewhere to live.
|Bug Hotel - cheap and easy to make|
Friday, 19 May 2017
I wrote recently about one battle I had with nature - the unusually late frost that threatened to ruin the developing display of flowers on our wisteria and other plants. Well, (spoiler alert) the wisteria survived, and in fact thrived, but I have another casualty to report, which set me thinking about whether we gardeners can ever truly claim to have nature under control.
|The lavender is dead - long live the lavender|
Friday, 12 May 2017
If you are growing your own on a budget, either in a vegetable patch in your garden, or on an allotment, then here is an example of how to support and protect your crops without spending too much, by recycling whatever you have lying around.
Friday, 5 May 2017
Gardeners, especially anyone with a classical or formal garden or planting scheme, have become steadily more disheartened in recent years by the spread of box blight. Box is growing strongly at the moment, and from June onwards is the time to clip it back into shape, so if there are problems, you are likely to notice them soon, if you haven't already. Box blight can do tremendous damage, but you don't need to worry, because there are things you can do, and if all else fails there are alternatives to box which you can use to give your garden the same look.
Friday, 28 April 2017
It's been a nervous week for gardeners in the southern half of the UK. Weather forecasters predicted unseasonably frosty mornings as a blast of cold air spread across the country from the Arctic. Although late April can often be rather chilly here and can slow plants' development considerably, it is rare to get a seriously cold spell with the potential to cause significant damage.
There is nothing in my garden which isn't hardy to at least -5C, so a bit of frost is unlikely to kill anything, but it can still ruin my day! It's all about timing.
Friday, 21 April 2017
|Betsy the Bee|
What can you do to attract pollinating insects and other wildlife into your garden?
The desire of the RHS to encourage gardeners to help halt the decline of British wildlife was clearly demonstrated at their Cardiff Show in the form of giant willow sculptures like Betsy the Bee here. There were numerous exhibits highlighting the important role us gardeners can play in providing a variety of suitable habitats for a range of creatures. I found several great ideas for simple and inexpensive ways to attract pollinators to your garden.
Monday, 17 April 2017
Looking for a way for the children to have fun in the garden during the Easter holidays? If it's not yet hot enough for swimming costumes, paddling pools or hosepipes, why not try this simple but fun water play feature using guttering. You can make it for only a few quid, and in less than an hour. It can be fixed to any wall or fence, and they'll love pouring the water on and watching it flow down to the bottom. Read on to see how its done...
Friday, 14 April 2017
Here's a fabulous way to get the kids running around the garden this Easter weekend. Children of all ages love chocolate eggs, and most are prepared to search the garden high and low if necessary, to find them! An Easter Egg Hunt in the garden is great fun whether you are taking part, or following them around with the video camera. It's really easy to do. All you need is some chocolate eggs and a pen and paper. I've even written some ready made clues you can use...
Saturday, 8 April 2017
Friday, 7 April 2017
We're used to snipping off spent flower heads in summer and autumn. It's usually because they look dreadful, all brown and crispy or wilted, detracting from the bright colourful blooms filling the rest of the garden. But do you do the same to the spent flowers of daffodils, tulips and alliums? Well if you don't, you should.
Sunday, 2 April 2017
|My yellow brick road, straight down the middle!|
The plan for your allotment or veg patch needs to include some paths, so that you can get around the plot to tend your crops. There are several options, but which is best? Here are some ideas:
Friday, 31 March 2017
|Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens - The Rope Bridge|
If you long to create a tropical paradise in your garden then Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Dorset has lots of examples of what to plant and how. There are plenty of plants that look exotic but that are hardy enough to be grown in most places in the UK, so whether you're in urban Birmingham, suburban Surrey or rural North Yorkshire, read on to find out how you can turn your garden into a jungle - or a post-apocalyptic vision!
Saturday, 25 March 2017
Having fresh herbs outside the back door is easy and convenient. Mint dies down in winter but is now growing strongly again. But if you grew some in a pot last year you will almost certainly see that it is now growing mainly around the rim of the pot, not in the middle where you planted it. This seems strange but gives you the chance to propagate extra plants, and it only takes a few minutes.
Friday, 24 March 2017
|A boardwalk is great fun for small children|
You can give your children an unusual and fun feature to use when playing in the garden by building a boardwalk. It's fun to play on, easy to build and will give your garden a real sense of adventure. You can make it whatever size suits your space, and it doesn't have to cost a lot either. Now is the perfect time to add this fantastic home made play area to your garden.
Friday, 17 March 2017
If you've just decided to create a veg garden, taken on a new allotment plot, or are just getting your existing plot started again after winter, the better your preparation the better the results will be. So what do you need to do to get your vegetable garden or allotment going?
Friday, 10 March 2017
|There are hundreds of varieties of sweet pea|
Sweet peas are a must for your garden. Easy to grow, they bring colour and fragrance to the garden in summer, and make great cut flowers, so you can enjoy that fragrance indoors too. In fact the more you cut them, the more flowers they produce. But there are so many varieties, how do you choose which ones to grow?
Saturday, 4 March 2017
What's happening in your garden right now? Take a picture and share it on twitter using #mygardenrightnow. Let the world see your garden as it is today, and see how it compares to everyone else's.
Friday, 3 March 2017
If the cold, rain, wind, or all three, keep you indoors this weekend, then it's time to focus on houseplants. The humble spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum, is a popular but underrated houseplant. It's easy to look after, difficult to kill, and very simple to propagate. You will soon have dozens of baby spider plants to fill your house or office, or give away to friends. All you need is a happy spider plant, some pots of compost, and some paper clips!
Friday, 24 February 2017
Saturday, 18 February 2017
We all love a bargain, so when you spot a section of reduced price plants in the garden centre, as I did this week, you might think you are saving money by snapping them up, or you might shun them through fear of wasting your hard earned cash on the gardening equivalent of a clapped out second hand car that lets you down a week after you get it home. So are they worth the risk? How do you know you won't regret it later? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself...
Monday, 6 February 2017
1. Go outside.
2. Find a perennial plant (like this Sedum).
3. Look at the base of it.
Thursday, 12 January 2017
Thursday, 5 January 2017
One of the things I love about gardens is that there is always something to enjoy no matter how cold and dark the days, and I certainly want my garden to offer something throughout all four seasons. February doesn't have to be dark, dingy and depressing in the garden.
Here are five winter flowering shrubs that are easy to get hold of, easy to grow, and will provide beautiful colour and amazing fragrance at this time of year. Please share your own favourites using the comments section below this post.