The Joy of Geraniums
Perennial geraniums are a fabulous plant. I mentioned ‘perennial’ because the misnomer that pelagoniums are geraniums continues, led by garden centres and nurseries around the country. In fact, both of these plants are perennial. Pelagoniums, though not frost hardy, will quite happily develop into a…
A 'Blooming' Good Reason for Growing Houseleeks
Succulents have, by and large, passed me by for most of my green-fingered life. It was only when I began planning my wedding and looking at more masculine table settings and bouquets, that I began to realise just how wonderful Sempervivum (houseleeks) are. Until then I knew them only for nostalgic r…
Making a Case for Violas
There’s no love lost between Pansies and I. I’m not really a big fan of gaudy flowers, and I’m afraid I normally put pansies in this category. Add the fact there’s a vast amount of deadheading to do throughout the season, not to mention these plants tend to be short-lived and get very straggly, and …
Plant Pick - Growing Hollyhocks
I’m the first to admit I’m not a fan of short-lived plants. I like to plop a plant in and leave it, allowing its perennial nature to keep it growing year after year. All this annual and biennial sowing nonsense; no, I can’t be doing with that. Aside from a few plants, however. And one of these is th…
Plant Pick - Growing Dahlias
‘Tis very much the season for dahlias. I’m a huge fan of these blooms, though I admit, I have a slight love/hate relationship. There are a vast array of varieties in the dahlia collection, from sinewy, single-petalled bloomers to small, clump forming plants with huge, gaudy flowers. It’s the latter …
Plant Pick - Growing Tulips
If you hadn’t heard, it’s September already. That means it’s time to plant bulbs for a spring show in 2015. And, if you’re stocking up, then it’s definitely time to be thinking about tulips.
I often think that tulips are one of the more overlooked bulbs. We all fill our gardens with daffs, crocus…
Plant Pick - Growing Osteospermum (Cape Daisy)
I always feel as if some plants are vastly overlooked for tropical looking species and varieties that are new on the scene. Osteospermum (African Daisy), for example, seems to have a new colour shade coming out every years. However, I still have an extremely strong affection for Osteospermum jucundu…
Plant Pick - Growing Sedum (Herbsfreude)
Okay, hear me out; Yes, Sedum Herbstfreude is an extremely common plant that may seem rather dull to you. BUT, I feel this plant is often overlooked. It has a huge number of positives; it’s wildlife friendly, it’s easy to grow, it has fantastic cover during late summer/early autumn AND it provides s…
Plant Pick - Growing Skimmia
Okay, I know it’s still summer, but winter will be here before you know it. I’m honestly hoping for a cold snap this year – the wet, grey winter of 2013 was horrendous; I don’t think we had even one frost in London. That’s BAD for plants – they need dormancy. And it’s BAD for gardeners – we need a r…
Plant Pick - Growing Thrift (Armeria)
I think I must’ve first come across Thrift (Armeria) when I was a lad holidaying in Scotland. Our family didn’t head abroad, but jumped in the car and journeyed to the stunning landscapes of the Lake District, Scotland and Northumberland. I distinctly remember great swathes of thrift clinging to the…
One of my dreams is to plant a new wood. Trees are SO majestic and beautiful, never mind their essential role in oxygenating OUR world so we can actually live. One of the fields at Brimwood Farm borders a local wood, but I want to extend that woodland into the land a little so there’s some wood to call my own. The pit has trees, there are plenty of mature… Continue reading
It’s a very busy time of year, and there is LOADS going on in the garden. If you’re growing carrots at home (seriously, it’s NOT as hard you think), I’ve got some great tips from Tina Martino on how to maximise your harvest.
Many gardeners put off growing carrots, assuming that these early spring vegetables are for those with more experience. Root vegetables, including potatoes and… Continue reading
It’s the time of year when seedlings are taking over. Conservatory tables, windowsills, and greenhouse shelving is ALL covered in trays of germinating plants or young, tender seedlings. In an attempt to deal with this problem (or just my growing issue in general) I decided it was time to sort out my spinach and lettuce plants and spend some time transplanting veggie seedlings.
This year… Continue reading
If you saw Friday’s video, you’ll know that I have a terrible fence that is in dire need of replacement. But it’s old and traditional, so I can’t simply pull out the old panels and slot new ones in; no, the entire thing needs to come out. Well, I honestly have better things to spend my money on and so I’m looking at hiding it instead. And, though I’m trying… Continue reading
Not only cannot I believe we’ve made it to April, but I’m also staggered by the temperatures today – it’s been a balmy 18/19ºC here in Essex. As a result, my thoughts have been primarily on gardening and, in particular, three seeds to sow in April. Primarily, my focus will be on kale, pumpkin and the beautiful annual Spanish Flag, though I’m sure a few extra seedlings will slip in.… Continue reading
We’re lucky to have blazing sun at the moment, and to be honest, it feels like early summer rather than spring. When those back-doors are flung open again after the bitter, damp winter, the warm, fresh air seems to revitalise everything. Thoughts often then turn to new plants, landscaping works and possibly even the addition or replacement of sheds and garages. Done right, these garden structures can actually add… Continue reading
I’ve never been a huge fan of daffodils. I know they’re an icon of spring, and that many people consider them a bright, gaudy naff-off to winter but I think they’re just that – bright and gaudy. However, in the spirit of planting some spring bulbs and attempting to bring much needed colour to the March/April garden, I popped a few white narcissus into the flowerbeds last autumn. And, I… Continue reading
Well, I’ve just been out in the garden on this wonderfully sunny day sowing seeds, transplanting veggies but also, turning the compost and manure heaps. I have A LOT of the stuff; particularly because the chickens remain in lockdown so I have all of their additional bedding to deal with. So, I was genuinely happy when I discovered some expert advice on just how to get that heap composting down… Continue reading
The Brits have always had a knack for gardening. While it used to be a favourite pastime for the seniors, it’s quite thrilling to see that gardening is now as trending as ever. Many of our celebrities, as well as some worldwide celebs, are fierce advocates of organic living and other eco-minded practices, such as using renewable energy resources and reducing the carbon footprint. From TV hosts to… Continue reading
The weather has been beautifully the warm over the past few days, and that has made the garden burst into life. There seems to be something new to discover every day, from emerging foxtail lillies and alliums, to new life in the chicken coops.
Rather than try to take pictures of EVERYTHING, I thought a little video might suffice! Enjoy!
Spring. Isn’t it marvellous? A hint of warmth and some rain, and the garden comes rushing back to life. It seems as if there’s something new to discover every day. Over the past few weeks, buds and leaves have begun to open and then, today, I discovered cordon tree flowers!
When it comes to fruit trees, I’m a total amateur. I know how to prune only through managing my… Continue reading
There’s only so much you can say about soil, right?! Wrong! ‘Good Soil‘ is PACKED with delightful surprises, from a little science on soil biology through to guides on how to best use all that chicken manure (a topic close to my heart). And then there are the stunning photos and drawings included. This might be about soil, but it’s about beautiful soil.
It feels great that the growing season has already reached a stage where I’m transplanting tomatoes. There’s nothing quite like that smell of tomato leaf; I think I even prefer it to the actual taste of the eventual fruit! I soaked the tray of young plants in water first and gave a little tug – some aren’t quite ready, but eight popped out with great rootballs.
For the past… Continue reading
Bramble clearing is most certainly much easier done in winter, when the leaves have disappeared and you can see exactly what you’re doing. For the most thorniest of thickets, it’s still tough going and you’ve got to be prepared to be assaulted by painful barbs. However, it beats trying to bash your wash through a jungle of spiny leaves and fresh, grasping tendrils in the middle of the summer.… Continue reading
There’s nothing quite like the sight of dahlia shoots to know that the growing season has really begun. The sun has arrived in UK, and regardless of how fleeting it might be, it looks to be staying for at least a week. I checked the dahlias (which have been wrapped in newspaper and left in a bucket in the store room all winter) and – to my amazement… Continue reading