Bees are rapidly losing their natural habitat all around the world due to intensive monoculture-based farming practices, pristine green (but flower-barren) lawns and from the destruction of native landscapes.
You can help!!
By just planting flowers in your garden, on your patio, or in a window box, you will help provide bees with forage. When selecting plants for your garden, always remember that simple, old-fashioned varieties are better than highly cultivated ones. …Read More
Back in the summer, a friend of mine served me some delicious pink elderflower cordial. When I asked what she’d put in it, she replied “nothing – it’s from my red elder!” I could scarcely believe my eyes until she showed me a beautiful shrub in her garden, 6ft tall and covered in rich purply-red leaves. I put the red-leafed elderberry on my wish list and promptly forgot about it.
Digging …Read More
Years ago, working on a programme about superfoods for BBC Gardeners’ World, I was shocked to learn just how deeply our notion of which foods are best for us is shaped by the food industry, rather than scientists. Blackberries, for example are hugely good for us, packed full of vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre – yet we routinely overlook them for blueberries, which have been more heavily marketed.
Whatever the rights …Read More
“Can I grow it in a pot?” is possibly the gardening question I get asked most frequently of all. As gardens get ever-smaller and people get ever more keen to do a bit of grow-your-own, patio plots become ever more popular.
There are plenty of reasons why growing vegetables and fruit in pots makes sense. Not only can you fit more in to a tiny space, but growing in pots …Read More
I have a confession to make. As a ‘professional gardener’ I haven’t used good old-fashioned farmyard manure in years. No trailers of stinky muck have been deposited on the driveway, there have been no sorties to stables with a shovel.
Now, if you read old gardening books this would be something of a heresy. After all, I love growing vegetables and roses. Victorian gardeners used to order manure not by the …Read More
February may seem like a strange time to be thinking about growing fruit, but it’s actually the ideal moment to get going if you fancy a summer full of luscious juicy berries.
There are lots of reasons to grow your own fruit. First and foremost (for me, anyway) it’s about taste. Nothing, repeat, nothing prepares you for the first home-grown strawberry you taste, properly ripe and still warm from the sun. …Read More
This is the month of clearing and planting. In all parts of the garden, move spent plantings and crops and compost or burn. Cut-down dead perennials and shred the prunings. Sweep up and collect leaves.
Many gardeners prefer to do the bulk of their rose pruning this month and in all but the very coldest parts of the country, if you want to leave the garden as tidy as possible for …Read More
Pruning is the main regular job, and the tress should be sprayed as a matter of course against pests and diseases. Check stakes and ties when you prune and at intervals in between. The golden rule is never prune more than is necessary to form a well-shaped tree and encourage the production of fruiting spurs. Under-pruning is better than over pruning.
Young trees require a lot of water in the early …Read More
The two most often encountered fruits which do not fit the general categories are figs and grapes. Figs are hardy but need shelter and warmth if the fruit is to ripen. They are best trained fanwise against a wall, and pruning consists of removing unwanted, badly placed, diseased and dying wood in March. The embryo fruit is produced at the tips of well ripened growths made the previous summer, and it …Read More
Apples and pears need an open position, well prepared, well drained soil (pears will stand slightly wetter ground) and a slightly acid soil (pH 5.5-6.5). Plums like similar conditions, but do not appreciate a very acid soil.
Peaches, nectarines and apricots prefer a slightly alkaline, but not chalky position. Bushes should be planted in the warmest, most sheltered part of the garden, but the best position in most places in Britain …Read More