June 2011

June 13th, 2011

Filling the gaps in June

What a confusing year for plants and gardeners! A horrid, long and cold winter followed by a warm and sunny Spring, lulling plants into thinking summer has come early and then getting nipped by the frost. If you are concerned that, come July, all will be over, I suggest you plant now for some late summer and autumn colour.


May 2011

May 13th, 2011

How did your garden fare last winter?

The current preoccupation with gardeners still seems to be whether or not the winter killed our precious plants. Last month I urged caution – plants may still start to shoot from the base and could do so well into the summer so patience may reward you. Having said that, the 2010/11 winter was the coldest for 100 years. So with global warming being the hot topic (no pun intended) it’s not surprising if we were lulled into a false sense of security and so planted out that hibiscus, phormium, myrtle or agapanthus last autumn. So what can we do to avoid the same thing happening next winter? You could try:


April 2011

April 10th, 2011

April 2011

Hurrah! The natural order of The Universe has been restored. Monty Don is back on Gardeners’ World. No more of Toby Buckland’s ’30 minute fixes’, endless clichés and pointless jobs. I know he meant well, and he is actually a well respected and successful garden designer. He just didn’t seem to cut it on the TV, as the huge drop in viewing figures demonstrated.


March 2011

March 19th, 2011

March Prune and Tidy

March is the month to get the growing season off to a good start. Hardy perennials can be cut back to the ground and the vegetable patch cleared. I also do three pruning jobs this month: I tidy and cut back clematis, prune the shrubby dogwoods and do a serious job on the bamboo before it creeps up in the night and strangles us in our bed.


February 2011

February 4th, 2011

Busting garden myths

What a winter we’ve had, and it’s not over yet! Several plants on the margins of hardiness are looking a bit sad here, but I’m waiting until Spring before I do anything drastic like digging them up as they may yet recover. If it happens to you, try looking on the bright side – if you’ve lost a plant, you now have a brand new opportunity to put something else lovely in its place. Just make sure that, if you chose something a bit borderline hardy, wait a couple of months at least before you plant and cover in fleece if frost is forecast. Keep it well watered as well.


December 2010

December 26th, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas is upon us. I have done my usual trawl round the internet, here are a few ideas for presents for the gardener.
Ideas for wildlife friendly presents:

A stylish hanging bird feeder from Suttons:
or a bug box for our little pals to snuggle into during the winter months. They will thank us by emerging in spring and eating all our aphids:


October 2010

October 26th, 2010

AGM plants

A mild spell in Autumn is a good time for planting many things. If you are struggling to choose which variety of plant, tree, shrub or even vegetable to go for, one way of dividing the good from the indifferent is to pick a variety that has earned the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. To (roughly) quote the RHS website at http://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/Plant-trials-and-awards/Plant-awards/Award-...(AGM):
The AGM is intended to be of practical value to the home gardener. It is awarded therefore only to a plant that meets the following criteria:


August 2010

August 30th, 2010

Vivienne Westwood

After several weeks of dry, hot weather it is raining at last, and doesn’t the garden love it? The fresh, spring look is now gone. We have, for the later summer season, an overgrown, rather blousy, voluptuous look; the garden equivalent of a Vivienne Westwood frock. Out right now in mid July are clematis, tobacco plants, dahlias, blue, red and pink salvia (including a red and white one called ‘hot lips’), helenium, a huge, rangy yellow inula that must stand over 5 feet tall, tall and short phlox, sweet peas (annual and perennial) roses, penstemons, macleaya (see picture) , day lilies, the huge golden oat (Stipa) and last, but not least, the huge tissue paper-like white flowers of the Californian Tree Poppy (Romneyi).


July 2010

July 18th, 2010

Creating a meadow

A bout 3 years ago we decided to have a go at creating a small meadow in the garden. I love wildflowers, and the thought of a colourful tapestry of grasses and native plants swaying in the breeze on a sunny day seemed just a few months away. Just stop mowing and wait. Wrong, as usual!

Recently I visited Great Dixter, Christopher Lloyds garden on the Surrey/Sussex border. Christo died a while back, but his head gardener, Fergus Garrett has carried on the good work and the garden is looking as lovely as ever. As part of the visit, Fergus explained to us how they created a meadow. I wish I heard it before I went down what seemed like a fairly quick and easy path! This is how to create that fabulous meadow:


June 2010

June 1st, 2010

Open Garden - April 2010

Last week a kind friend gave me some cutting of some Mrs Simpkins, a lovely, fragrant member of the Dianthus family usually referred to as ‘Pinks’. Mrs S is a white pink – confusing, I know. I did read somewhere that the common name ‘pink’ refers to the shaggy edges to the flowers – they look as if they have been cut with a pair of pinking shears – rather than their colour. True or not, they are lovely, fragrant flowers. Whenever I smell their scent, it takes me back to my childhood where our next door neighbour had pinks edging her paths. Their perfume was just gorgeous.