Saturday, 27 May 2017

Garden Update - Six things I've been doing in my garden today

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

The cheapest and easiest way to make a bug hotel for your garden


Green Fingered Blog
Bug Hotel - cheap and easy to make
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.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Is gardening a battle against nature - and who is winning?


Green Fingered Blog
The lavender is dead - long live the lavender
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.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Recycle to Protect Your Allotment Crops or Garden Fruit and Veg

Green Fingered BlogIf 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

Why you don't need to worry about box blight in your garden

Green fingered blogGardeners, 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

Wisteria hysteria as late frost causes panic in the garden

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

Cheap and easy ways to help pollinating insects in your garden: ideas from the RHS Cardiff Show

RHS Cardiff Show 2017 -Betsy the Bee
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

Make a fun water play garden feature for children

Easy to make garden water play feature
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

A Garden Easter Egg Hunt - with ready made clues

Garden Easter Egg Hunt
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

A Guest Blog for Tongwynlais.com

Tulip waiting to open
I'm delighted to announce that I have been asked to contribute a guest blog for Tongwynlais.com. It's about how I got into gardening and why I created this blog. You can read it by clicking here.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Dead head daffodils in your garden (and other spring bulbs)

Daffodil Close Up Narcissus
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

Paths for the allotment - Hello yellow(ish) brick road

Allotment path made of bricks
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

Gardens to Visit - Abbotsbury - Five ways to make your garden look tropical

Rope Bridge at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Dorset
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

Green Fingers Tip - What's happened to your garden mint and what to do about it

Garden mint spreads to the rim of the potHaving 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 simple garden project for a fun children's play feature - build a boardwalk!

Garden boardwalk for Children at Picton Castle
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

Getting your allotment or vegetable patch started

Allotment prepared
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

How to choose which sweet peas to grow for your garden

Sweet pea varieties, lathyrus odoratus
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

Join the #mygardenrightnow project

Magnolia flower budWhat'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

Houseplant Help: How to grow your own spider plants, for free!

Spider plant Chlorophytum comosum
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

Fantastic scent right outside your door - Daphne Odora

You can have a sweet, alluring scent drifting up your garden path as you leave on a frosty morning. You can enjoy a whiff of fragrance resembling sherbet on cold spring days just by opening the back door to put the rubbish out.  All you need is a Daphne! 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Plant Sale - Should you buy from the garden centre bargain bin?

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

Things to do now in your garden: cut back perennial plants



Sedum spectabile
If you need convincing that spring is on the way, here's what to do:
1. Go outside.
2. Find a perennial plant (like this Sedum).
3. Look at the base of it.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Look after your plants in the snow


Snow is predicted and although the garden looks like a beautiful iced cake when covered in fresh white snow, some of the plants can suffer underneath their seemingly soft blanket. It's a good idea to have a quick walk round the garden and

Thursday, 5 January 2017

5 scented shrubs to make your winter garden smell amazing

Hamamelis
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.