November 2014

November 29th, 2014

Putting the garden to bed for winter

If you’re a bit of a dreamer like me the mild weather may have lulled you into a false sense of security – or more accurately a false sense that the garden will stay looking like it’s late summer for the next 6 months! Clearly, and as certain as death and taxes, winter will come, so it’s worth getting ready for it. As much as anything else a bit of planning and toil now will not only get your garden looking tidier, but it can also make sure you have a good show next year. Read More...

October 2014

October 1st, 2014

Winter scent

Now the days are getting shorter, time in the garden is more precious, especially if you are out at work all day. Sitting among the flowers or under a tree in a favourite spot is a lovely, relaxing way to end the day so it’s worth doing a bit of planning. Scent is a big consideration. A waft of something nice and smelly in the evening is fabulous with a glass or a cup of something recuperative. It’s easy in the spring and summer when there are roses, honeysuckle and stocks; we are spoilt for choice, but what about the colder months? Here’s a few suggestions: Several of the Virburnums have gorgeous scents. There is a winter flowering one V. bonantense with little pink flowers that smell of almonds. In spring V. judii comes into its own, one of the best perfumes of all in my humble opinion, fills the whole garden. Read More...

August 2014

August 3rd, 2014

Structural plants for drama

How do you like your flower borders – cottagey, neat, blousy, colour themed, bold as brass? We all have our own preferred style, apart from those of us who just buy a plant, dig a hole and enjoy it. Who is to say which of us is right? In the end it’s your garden so do what you want and have fun. (barring illegal and antisocial stuff I hasten to add). Read More...

July 2014

July 23rd, 2014

The Chelsea chop, getting the hang of astrantias, and fab ferns

Have you heard of the ‘Chelsea chop’? If not, it’s nothing to do with what you may be having for dinner. It refers to the practice of cutting back your perennials early this month (or bit earlier, hence the nod to Chelsea flower Show at the end of May) to make them shorter so less likely to flop and flower a little later. It works well with plants such as the bigger sedums, phlox and helenium. It does look a bit drastic, so what I do is cut some back and leave the rest. That way you get a longer flowering season. Of course if you have wonderfull y staked, sturdy plants there is no need. Read More...

June 2014

June 3rd, 2014

Roses rule in June

The June garden speaks to me in roses. I know some are out earlier in the year, but walking through the sight and smell of their gorgeous blooms gladdens my poor old gardeners’ heart right now. Talking of earlies, if you passed our front gate late April/early May you will have seen a single, yellow flowering rose covering our front gate. That is R. ‘Canary Bird’. It is really easy shrub rose so not fussy about pruning, with lovely ferny leaves. Apart from the odd smattering of flowers later on it tends to only flower once but it is a really good show when it does. R. Glauca flowers mid spring; good for more natural settings as it is a small, species rose with small pink flowers. We have it as underplanting in an area shaded by silver birches. It copes well and has big, showy hips later on. Read More...

May 2014

May 1st, 2014

The joys of compost making

Now the mowing season is underway, what are you doing with your grass clippings? How about turning them into compost? No, it’s not that hard work, and if you always put them in the green bin, shame on you and please read on…. Read More...

April 2014

April 30th, 2014

Messy gardens rule

It’s the middle of March as I write this and I have just had a smashing day pottering in my very messy garden. Why messy I hear you say? I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had chance to spend time in it, and, on the odd occasion when I have, the weather has been awful. Fortunately I’m not an obsessively neat gardener, quite the contrary. So now I have got around to it, I have found some lovely little surprises under all the dead and manky stuff. A few self seeded crocus, honesty seedlings (most weeded out); violets in abundance, both white and purple and some lovely hellebores whose old leaves I have now cut off so I can see them at their best. The endless wet weather doesn’t seem to have harmed anything in the garden as far as I can tell so far and the spring bulbs have been fabulous. You can lift and divide snowdrops clumps now they have finished flowering. Read More...

March 2014

March 1st, 2014

Interesting Spring flowering shrubs

Shrubs are often seen as the rather boring mainstay of the garden and can look quite uninspiring for much of the year. But in Spring and early summer they really come into their own and can be real stars both in flower and scent. If you plant them in a mixed border you can situate other plants around them that will provide interest at other seasons; most shrubs combine really well with bulbs and perennials. One more unusual planting suggestion: I have a viticella clematis next to a Cotinus so it can scramble over it and provide a bit more interest. I prune the clematis hard in late winter. Read More...

February 2014

February 1st, 2014

How to love your garden in February

It’s hard to love your garden in February, isn’t it unless you are blessed with lots of early Spring bulbs? Earliest here are snowdrops and winter aconites. The latter are especially cherished as they are a cheery bright yellow and it took me ages to get them established on our heavy soil. I love crocus, but they tend to be mouse food here, or fatally pecked over by birds. I get round it a bit by planting some in pots and keeping them covered, but it’s hard to get a good annual show by that method without a lot of work and expense. Read More...

December 2013

December 26th, 2013

Of all the trees that are in the wood the holly bears the crown

All together now The holly and the ivy, now are both well grown, Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown. Read More...

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