Lunch with Gareth

I hadn’t been to Gareth’s allotment before, it really is like no other! So many wild flowers with an abundance of buzzy wildlife busying themselves around it. Fabulous veg growing in an array of super colours, it truly is a feast for the senses.
Gareth showed us around his idyllic plot delving into green houses and rows of neat veg asking us to taste different morsels to see what we might …Read More


A cool Chelsea

If only May were eight weeks long. If whoever’s in charge could just lop a fortnight off November and another from February wouldn’t that be lovely?
Mind you, some days this May have felt more like November, with cold temperatures, lashing rain and gusty winds. When I bumped into old friends and colleagues from Gardeners’ World at the Chelsea Flower Show earlier this week it was coats and scarves at the ready! …Read More

I’m gonna be (500 miles)

Today, in effect, I moved 80 square feet of my garden to Bordeaux. How wonderful is that? Plentiful sun-ripened tomatoes, succulent melons and armfuls of fresh basil are now within my reach and I’m very excited!*
Of course, I’ve not actually moved anything – I’ve just bought a nice big greenhouse for £100 off eBay. According to the American author and agricultural researcher Eliot Coleman, putting some glass between your plants …Read More


To dig, or not to dig? Part 1

“Yippee” I thought, as the dark, freshly-turned folds of fenland soil presented themselves to me the first time I clapped eyes on my allotment just under two years ago. At first glance, the soil looked like the too-good-to-be-true ‘wonderloam’ my Aunty Jane used to moan about seeing on Gardeners’ World.
However, when I stuck my spade into it, I was in for a shock. This freshly-rotavated ‘wonderloam’ was in fact a …Read More

Wildflower meadow

February Facebook – Question and Answer

Q: from Gillian Anderson‪ Just moved to new garden in west of Scotland, complete with underground springs. Lawn actually water logged. Will anything grow here 

A: Hi Gillian – the short answer is yes! You’ll be able to grow lots of moisture-loving plants that I can only dream about in my sandy, dry East Anglian garden. For ideas and inspiration I’d visit gardens locally to see what does well. Try going …Read More


What rot!

As leaves fall, remnants of Halloween pumpkins rot steadily by the roadsides and mushrooms burst forth under almost every tree, my thoughts turn to death and decay. It’s not a bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder, honest; it’s something magical and weirdly satisfying – the alchemy of compost making.
But how on earth do you turn your manky old bean stems, lawn clippings and swept-up leaves into sweet-smelling crumbly compost like the …Read More


Making savings in the garden

Like all gardeners, I have my hoard of precious plants. Some people collect bonsai, others orchids or rhododendrons. My somewhat nomadic existence over the ten years since I graduated – I’ve travelled and worked in Birmingham, London, Puglia, New Zealand and France – has rather precluded any kind of plant collecting. So my chosen few, unsurprisingly, seem to be mainly annuals , easily transported as seed over any distance.
They include …Read More

Q&A - Question & Answer about gardening

Facebook Q&A with Gareth Richards 18-07-2014

Q: Margaret Deery – Was given some Evening Primrose plants and told the flowers pop open at dusk. Haven’t managed to see this yet but blooms are out in morning. Is this true?
A: Hi Margaret, it depends on the species of evening primrose. If you want one that definitely opens in the evening, try the ‘common evening primrose’ (Oenothera biennis). This species is also the one that’s used to make …Read More

Q&A - Question & Answer about gardening

Facebook Q&A with Gareth Richards – 28-03-14

Q: Samantha Carmichael – Hydrangea that never flowers – help! Where do I clip it and when/is there anything I can do? One is three years old and the other is five. Thanks.
A: Hi Samantha – try giving your hydrangea a feed (universal feed, or a high potash fertiliser such as bonfire ash – have a look at this blog post for more info on feeding plants, and don’t prune it for …Read More