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
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
After a week’s holiday I strutted around the garden on Sunday like a horticultural Victor Meldrew. Having said that, the cries of “I don’t BELIEEEEVE IT!” were generally ones of happiness rather than exasperation and despair. Pots of crocus (the sublime ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’) that I thought had come up blind were flowering at full throttle, showing their deep gold and bronze faces to the spring sunshine. Broad beans on the …Read More
February is a cruel month. More often than not (and I have a feeling that this year will be no exception) it taunts us with promise – buds bursting, early bulbs poking through the soil, a few sunny Sundays. We think that spring is finally underway – only to have a week of snow flung in our hopeful faces.
Time then to banish winter blues, retreat to the fireside with a …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
Earlier this week we had what the media love to call ‘Blue Monday’ – the supposedly-most-depressing day of the year. Gardeners could be forgiven getting swept up in the sentiment but in fact, winter has some real gems to share…
The first time I smelt wintersweet I knew I was hooked. It was a dull, damp winter’s day; I was a plant-mad kid dragging my granny around Kew Gardens, both of …Read More