Lawnmower man

Autumn’s colourful cloak diminishes with every chilly gust, sending blazing leaves swirling on the breeze, while down below, diamond lilies sparkle and spring bulbs begin their slow march to glory, sending out roots into the cold earth.
 

It may feel like the year is drawing to a close, but there’s still one or two really worthwhile jobs to be doing in the garden. Those autumn leaves make a wonderful addition to …Read More

Better off Dead? – All about alliums

My cut flower patch has well and truly gone to seed. It has dried up, shriveled and in an unexpected way, it’s looking fantastic. Intricate golden seed heads glisten in the late summer sun and rustle in the breeze.
I grew three kinds of love-in-a-mist, which looked wonderful earlier in the summer and provided me with armfuls of cut flowers to give to friends. The real stars of the show, though, …Read More

1-Autumn-crocus-930x697

Hocus crocus – an autumnal magic trick

As a kid I used to hate the shops who’d put out their ‘Back to School’ ranges in the third week of July (I’m pointing at you, WH Smith)… Yet here I am, 15 years later, urging gardeners to think about autumn in mid-July.
‘This had better be good’ I hear you say. Well, I promise you it is. Autumn crocuses are one of my all-time favourite plants, giving you a …Read More

Squash-and-pumpkin-harvest

Not-so buried treasure

Autumn arrived with a bump last week. On Friday, as I cycled to the allotment to feed the chickens before work I noticed an unfamiliar chill in the air, and a rush of gold infusing the leaves of the ash trees along the railway line. Sure enough, a typical wet and windy October day followed, largely stripping the ashes of their brief flash of colour.
On the plot too, there’s been …Read More

The Late Late Sow

Midsummer’s day came and went, much like England’s world cup dreams. For me the sadness of shortening days is tempered by the joy of much less chat about football. Now we’re in high summer; it’s all about the long drowsy days of Wimbledon (much more civilised) and – even better – most of the season’s hard work is done on the allotment. There’s lots to pick – everything’s growing apace …Read More

war-on-slugs

The War On Slugs – Part 2

Following on from last week’s guide to mollusc-bashing, here are some more ways to banish slugs from your garden.
The War on Slugs has three fronts. The chemical (poisoning with pellets), the physical (barriers and traps) and biological (employing slug-eating animals).
This week it’s the turn of the physical. Physical barrier methods rely on making the surfaces around the plant difficult or unpleasant for the slug to cross. Based on personal experience …Read More

war-on-slugs

The War On Slugs – Part 1

Slugs, the one thing all gardeners can agree on. The bêtes noires of borders from Brighton to Birmingham? Right? Well, no, actually…
Here in the UK we have around 30 native species of slug, of which only four are pests. Who’d have thought these slimy critters came in so much variety? Some such as the almost-pretty leopard slug don’t eat live plants at all, instead preferring to eat other slugs and …Read More

rudbeckia

The Chelsea Chop

“Oh so you’ve done the Chelsea Chop have you?” – accompanied by a knowing nod of approval and a slight air of smugness. It’s one of those gardening rites of passage, a little piece of jargon that makes those in the know feel just a little wiser than the rest.
It’s nothing to do with illicit substances or even anything vaguely highfalutin’ – merely a seasonal shearing of some of May’s …Read More

Herbs

Herbs are the icing on the gardener’s cake. They’re that ‘little extra something’ that you don’t really need, but yet… they’re one of the types of plant that almost everyone tries to grow. After all, what would roast lamb be without mint sauce made from leaves that were growing in the garden not two hours ago? What would roast pork be without sage and onion lending their subtle depths of …Read More