Holly, but not as you know it

How are your balls? Box balls, that is. If, like many gardeners across the country, your box trees are looking a bit poorly then read on.

Over recent years, three new nasties have started attacking our most beloved of topiary plants. Two kinds of fungus (both known as ‘box blight’) and the box tree caterpillar have begun conspiring to pretty much seal the fate of a plant we’ve been growing in …Read More


Haircuts for herbs

By last weekend my nice little hummocks of herbs were looking decidedly overgrown and shaggy. The thyme, which flowered beautifully in late spring, suddenly looked splayed and tired like someone who’s had too much to drink at a party. The sage had plans for world domination – in just over two years it had grown from barely six inches across to almost four feet wide!
Sage and thyme, along with other …Read More

Everybody loves a freebie

Christmas is coming… and if like me, you feel like all your spare cash is evaporating faster than courgettes turn to marrows in July, then read on. This week’s blog is about the free, quick and easy.
It might seem surprising, but it’s a great time of year to be taking cuttings – and one of the easiest sorts too. ‘Hardwood cuttings’ are simply lengths of stem that you cut from …Read More


A Cut Above

A recent visit to Devon to see my parents provided the ideal opportunity to do a bit of what I call ‘titivating’ – those light garden jobs that aren’t too strenuous. Deadheading being a prime example – a delightful way to spend a summer’s evening, enjoying the garden while doing something to improve it.
Plants such as dahlias and sweet peas benefit enormously from having their spent flowers removed because it …Read More


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


Pruning Roses

Modern HT and floribunda roses produce the best flowers on young bushes. In pruning, you aim to encourage the production of young wood from the base of the plant, which left to itself, would eventually become an unhealthy and untidy tangle of old, diseased and dead wood, shortening its useful life considerably.
In addition, all roses benefit from the removal of very old, woody branches, those badly positioned, and dead tissue …Read More

Daphne - Pruning

Pruning – Gardening with Daphne Ledward

With Christmas galloping towards us, I am beginning my usual panic of what to buy for Christmas presents. Keen gardeners aren’t usually a problem, as we are generally thinking along the same lines, but this year my brother-in-law has presented me with a problem.
He is very keen on his trusty pair anvil secateurs (the ones all real gardeners could be seen using at one time).   I think he might even have …Read More

Gardening with Daphne Ledward – Pruning

I drew back the curtains this morning and what did I find? Sheets of rain pouring off the unguttered thatched roof onto the containers below – as has happened so many times this glorious summer. Well, at least I shan’t have to worry about watering today, I thought. And – thank goodness I got on with some vital pruning work last week when we had a few days that felt like …Read More