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Daphne Ledward

Welcome to the page of Daphne Ledward. Gardener, author and broadcaster, the lady who has helped, through her books and advice, many green-fingered novices.

Daphne began her gardening life in 1972 as a freelance designer and contractor. Her broadcasting career started in 1980 on BBC Radio Lincolnshire making her the first woman gardener on radio. She later joined Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, followed by appearances on BBC1 North’s Gardeners Direct Line. ‘Garden Hopping’ for UK Style took Daphne and husband John all around Britain in search of gardens.

For many years she was the gardening expert on the Jimmy Young Show – Radio 2. Daphne still has a regular gardening slot on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. Over the years she has written 16 gardening books, she also writes for gardening and general interest magazines and gives gardening talks and lectures around the country. Daphne has a small garden around her thatched cottage. Nearby she has a five-acre plot where she grows vegetables. This is where she also has a small arboretum and wildflower meadow, orchard and a young 4 acre wood of native British hardwoods.

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Gardening with Daphne Ledward

Spring TLC for houseplants - Gardening with Daphne Ledward

Spring TLC for houseplants – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

You can tell that spring is on its way without even going out of the house if you have houseplants.   Suddenly they seem to shake off their tired, dusty demeanour and show new promise, and if you’ve been longing for weeks to give them some attention, now is the time.
Houseplants are no different from those grown in the garden – they start into new life in spring, grow during the …Read More


Cherish your bulbs – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

March is when spring bulbs really come into their own.   At the beginning of the month, late snowdrops and early crocuses herald the start of spring, and from then onwards there is a cascade of beauty right through until the alliums remind us that summer has arrived.
It is all too easy to forget spring bulbs after their performance is over, but to get the best from these invaluable plants, they …Read More


Top Tips for March – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

This is the Year of the Sweet Pea, so if you didn’t sow the seed in the autumn, now is the time to do it. Early in the month, sow in a greenhouse, conservatory, cold frame, or cool, light windowsill.   Later on, if the weather has been mild, you can sow directly into the ground as you would with edible peas.   If giving the plants an early start by starting …Read More


Make an early start with summer bedding – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

Are you intending to save money and grow your own bedding plants from seed this year? While many can be sown up to the middle of April and still give a good show, some types are fairly slow to germinate and grow on, and should be sown as soon as possible so they are ready for planting out in late May and early June. Pelargoniums (bedding geraniums), begonias and lobelia are …Read More

Garden tidy up - Gardening with Daphne Ledward

Garden tidy up – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

After a mere three days of unseasonably spring-like weather, suddenly everything in the garden is no longer lovely, but scruffy and screaming out for attention. The midwinter look is no longer fashionable.
So, what do I do first? Clear up the old stems of the Jerusalem and globe artichokes and asparagus, untwine the dead stems from the hop supports and rake up – again – last winter’s leaves that blow out …Read More


Pretty-up your patio – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

We spend a lot of time (and money) landscaping the garden, but when it comes to the patio, it can be a pretty bleak and utilitarian feature.   Attractive furniture helps a lot to improve its appearance, but, above all, some decent containers of plants will lift it from the mundane to the stylish. Bedding plants are a quick and easy option, but if you haven’t time for a twice-yearly re-plant, …Read More

Soil - garden

Look after your soil – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

February fill-dyke – either black or white, so the saying goes, and it’s true that this month can be a very wet one. But with winter rains already well above average, and last summer being one of the wettest on record, any more rain will only contribute to the already saturated condition of soils in most areas so it’s a good idea to start taking steps now to improve drainage …Read More


Seed Potatoe – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

I confess I always heave a sigh of relief when the prolonged disruptions of Christmas are safely behind us for another ten months or so, and I don’t make New Resolutions as such, but this year there is going to be one change to my gardening practices.
For years I have convinced myself that, where we live, at any rate, with potatoes at around £4 – £5 for a 25kg bag, …Read More


Midwinter fragrance – Gardening with Daphen Ledward

You are unlikely to find too many brightly-coloured, showy blooms at this time of year, but there are still plenty of shrubs to cheer up the season with more delicate flowers, and amazingly, so many of them have a sweet fragrance that can take you by surprise as you walk round the garden.
The pink-blossomed Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ often starts flowering before the leaves turn yellow and fall in November, …Read More

Garden Daphne

My garden – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

I’m beginning to sound like my mother in assuring everyone that after the 21st of this month, everything will be on the up – the days are drawing out, and all that. This morning it wasn’t raining, so I had a wander round the garden, and, to be honest, even I with a long gardening history behind me, was surprised at just how much is going on.
Daffodil leaves are already …Read More


December fruit tree shape- up – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

This time of year is the best for pruning fruit trees such as apples and pears as, with the leaves off, you can see the form of the branches and what needs to be done to keep them shapely.   Remember plums, cherries and other members of the Prunus family should not be pruned during the cold winter months to avoid introducing diseases like silver leaf, and are best done in …Read More


The pond in December – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

December’s the month for getting your pond into tip-top condition for the spring. By now, most of the marginal plants and bog plants will have started to die down; to prevent these falling into the water, rotting and polluting it, they should be cut back and all the debris removed and composted.   Also, remove dead water lily leaves completely, and those of other aquatic plants, and skim off regularly any …Read More


Five tips for December – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

Five tips for December

Check all structures for wind damage.   The last few weeks have been exceptional in many parts of the country, and structures such as fences, stakes, pergolas and arches, particularly wooden ones, may have suffered.   Try to replace fences before they fall over completely and do more damage to the garden.   Knock in tree stakes that have worked loose and check all ties to make sure they …Read More

November Garden Chores

November Garden Chores – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

I may be odd, but I like late autumn. I love the smell of leaf bonfires (although I do other things, more environmentally friendly, with mine). I really appreciate the opportunity to have a good clear-out in the garden, which otherwise would disappear in an overgrown tangle of neglected shrubs and roses. November was created, I’m sure, to remind me to get my bulbs, which have been spread in packets …Read More

Daphne - Pruning

Pruning – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

With Christmas galloping towards us, I am beginning my usual panic of what to buy for Christmas presents. Keen gardeners aren’t usually a problem, as we are generally thinking along the same lines, but this year my brother-in-law has presented me with a problem.
He is very keen on his trusty pair anvil secateurs (the ones all real gardeners could be seen using at one time).   I think he might even have …Read More

Olive Tree in the garden

Timber to the Olive tree – Gardening with Expert Gardener Daphne Lewdward

Two years ago, I lost my standard olive tree. It was my own fault; it had grown rather two big for its position in the middle of a small island bed, so I pruned it – in the autumn, before the longest and coldest winter in many a decade.
The following summer, to give it a chance of recovery, I cut it back again to leave just the stumps of the …Read More

Daphne Gardening Tips

Update from Daphne – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

Our spring hanging baskets came down later than usual this year because of the deplorable weather.  I hung them, intending to empty them later, on an obelisk that used to support a golden hop until the dogs ate it, where they have remained ever since, waiting for me to empty the contents out.
I bought the plants from my favourite discount supermarket last October; they were advertised as ‘Autumn Collections’, comprising …Read More

Naturalising Bulbs - Gardening with Daphne Ledward

Naturalising Bulbs – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

It looks as though we’re going to have a late autumn this year. The roses are blooming better than they’ve done all summer, the Victoria plums are hanging on, while the Marjorie’s Seedlings aren’t still quite ripe, prolonging the fruit season nicely. Last Sunday the temperature here hit 76°C, making our village fete and charity dog show the best ever, and the trees and shrubs I pruned earlier are spurting …Read More

The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Spalding Plant & Bulb Company.