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.

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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.

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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:
http://www.suttons.co.uk/Shop/Hanging+Circle+Bird+Feeder+X10156.htm
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:
http://www.suttons.co.uk/Shop/Bug+Box+X10152.htm

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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:

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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).

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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:

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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.

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May 2010

May 18th, 2010

Keeping the colour going, planning for succession

Keeping the garden looking pretty throughout the year is a difficult task and needs a bit of planning and preparation. Many books and articles have been written on the subject of succession planning, but it’s not really that hard. For example planting a few spring bulbs under a shrub or perennial is one easy way of providing a longer period of interest. You can still lift and divide your snowdrops if you are quick, they prefer to be moved ‘in the green’ and will spread more quickly if you give them a helping hand. They grow well in grass as well as borders.

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April 2010

April 18th, 2010

Growing your own veg

Kates cuttings
You don’t need me to tell you that growing your own vegetables is very trendy at the moment as well as a good idea. My son had a balcony in his small flat groaning under the weight of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and strawberries last year. I have to admit, he put me to shame as growing things to eat is not really my passion, unless it’s in the form of a lovely old fruit tree I can grow a rose or clematis up. It seems a lot of hard work and, unlike perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees, at the end of the growing season, you have to start all over again. You also have to try and remember your crop rotation, when to sow the seeds and plant them out and which particular nasty insect or animal to guard against. (I know I will get taken to task now by you keen allotment holders!).

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March 2010

March 31st, 2010

Perennial vegetables

You don’t need me to tell you that growing your own vegetables is very trendy at the moment as well as a good idea. My son had a balcony in his small flat groaning under the weight of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and strawberries last year. I have to admit, he put me to shame as growing things to eat is not really my passion, unless it’s in the form of a lovely old fruit tree I can grow a rose or clematis up. It seems a lot of hard work and, unlike perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees, at the end of the growing season, you have to start all over again. You also have to try and remember your crop rotation, when to sow the seeds and plant them out and which particular nasty insect or animal to guard against. (I know I will get taken to task now by you keen allotment holders!).

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