Poinsettia Bakker-w850

Know your Christmas blooms!

Interesting facts about our two favourite Christmas beauties

Poinsettias are the UK’s number one Christmas plant, with the most being bought during the six weeks prior to the 25th of December each year.

______

Amaryllis, means “to sparkle” in Greek.

______

The coloured parts of Poinsettias are not actually flowers, but bracts (modified leaves).

______

Amaryllis are considered an easy to grow bulb and can last for many years, if well cared for.

______

Aztecs used Poinsettias for many …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

Tayberry Superfood / Superfoods

Grow Your Own…………. Superfoods

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

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

Dwarf-Cherry

To Pot Or Not To Pot?

“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

Taraxacum-officinale

Beat the weeds, eat the weeds…….

Ah April… the days suddenly stretch out, the sun gets stronger and stronger and everywhere you look, green shoots burst forth from the rapidly-warming soil. But among the hostas, the primulas and the tulips, something sinister lurks…
Just as our precious garden plants stir into life, so unfortunately do the weeds. In the vegetable garden, so the old adage goes, only sow outdoors once the weeds have started to grow. And they’re definitely growing! Ground …Read More

eucomisWEB

Light Up Your Garden With Summer Bulbs

Where would we be in spring without bulbs? No daffodils, tulips or hyacinths… it just wouldn’t be the same. But don’t forget, you can plant bulbs now too for quick and easy summer flowers.
Summer bulbs are one of the most sure-fire ways to inject a splash of colour into your garden. The reason they’re a good bet is that someone else has done a year or two’s work looking after …Read More

Muck & Magic

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