There must be something odd about me, because autumn is my favourite season. Ask most people and they will say spring, or summer – or even around Christmastime, but autumn is definitely the season of my choice.
There is so much going for autumn. The misty mornings that overnight have highlighted every spider’s web with moist diamonds, or that typical smell of leaves just starting to fall. This year there has …Read More
Q: Valerie Glover-Hackett – Although I’m a seasoned – and usually successful – gardener, I have two bet noirs. No matter how I try, I cannot seem to grow cucumbers and Buddleias. The former seems to contract all sorts of virus’ and other pests, usually resulting in their destruction. The Buddleias are a different matter – I’ve always planted and pruned according to my books on the subject. I’ve tried …Read More
I’d more or less made up my mind I would stop growing my own vegetables at the end of this year. Our vegetable garden is getting increasingly overhung by the trees we planted twenty-odd years ago as a shelter from the arctic winds that seem to come from all directions, regardless of the time of year, and although this shelterbelt has been successful and we now have a suntrap at …Read More
I think there must be something seriously wrong with me, because when I wake up to the sound of rain on the plants beneath the open bedroom window, it gives me far greater joy than the sun streaming in the same east-facing casement. Maybe it’s because I know the garden will receive adequate moisture today and the rainwater butts will be full once more, but it’s more likely the smell …Read More
Q: Mary Savva wrote – I have peonies – when do I get rid of the foliage as they have finished flowering?
A: I would leave the foliage intact. Peonies have fleshy roots that benefit from being fed by their leaves throughout the summer. Also, the foliage colours up attractively in the autumn, adding interest to the border. Once this has faded you can cut the leaves down nearly to ground …Read More
With all the talk about this year’s being another 1976, those of us who actually remember as far back as that can’t help but compare the two summers – as far as this one’s gone, anyway.
There are ways in which the two years don’t compare. For a start, after a wet and miserable spring in 1976 (some likenesses there, then) the long, hot summer started at the beginning of June, …Read More
Those of us who are old enough will always remember 1976 as the year of the long, hot summer. Similarly, we will no doubt remember 2013 as the summer that never was. The temperature in our garden this morning (Midsummer’s Day) is a mere 16°C, well below the average, but we must at least be thankful for the fact that yesterday’s icy, howling gale has died down, so it feels …Read More
We waste an awful lot of perfectly useful plants in the name of bedding. This thought occurred to me as I started taking down my winter/spring baskets and looked for something suitable in the greenhouse to replace them with.
First of all, tuberous begonias. These are now often obtained as plug plants; they grow rapidly to make a magnificent summer display, then are put on the compost heap like most of …Read More
Q: Judith Cooper wrote: “We have an area of our garden that is shady and quite dry. At the moment we have bluebells, forget me nots and sweet woodruff there but want something that will flower later in the year, also what plants will thrive under our native hedgerow?”
A: This is a difficult area for colour later in the season. I have a similar spot, and I find day lilies …Read More
Q: Sharon Jane Culliford – When is the best time to plant out tulips and daffodils?
A: The ideal time for planting daffodils is as soon as they come on sale from late August onwards, and ideally should be in the ground by Christmas. However, daffodils are very forgiving bulbs, and I have planted them in the garden in late March – they flower the first year with no leaves, or …Read More