The Great Little Garden Blog
Danger in the Vegetable Plot
The wonderful thing about gardening is that we all learn something new every day. And for your own safety, my current lesson needs to be heard by all.
If you grow celery, parsnips, carrots or celeriac, please read on. Forewarned is forearmed. And you don't want to end up with forearms like mine.
The tale starts with a potential comedic line. ‘I was gardening in my shorts’ which elicits the response ‘strange place to have a garden.’ But seriously, due to the hot weather I was pottering and weeding in the veg garden wearing short
A Tale of Obsession
What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up? Mine is ‘the pumpkin.’ My family have given up on me; they despair at the time I spend simply staring at the developing fruit. They have actually walked away when I’ve been in conversation about the beast with friends. They are appalled at my ability to turn any conversation, any, to pumpkin growing.
‘How are things?’, ‘Keeping well?’ and ‘How’s life treating you?’ are perfect opening questions for me. (My answers: ‘Pumpkin’s growing well’; ‘The pumpkin is’ and ‘Not as good as I am treating that pumpkin.’)
However, ‘‘What do you think about Brexit?’, ‘Do you think Donald Trump should impose sanctions on Iran?’ and ‘What time is it?’ are slightly trickier opening gambits to steer to pumpkin chat, but I can. (
Garden Survival Tips After a Heatwave and High Winds
The heatwave has done it’s worst (for now) and after the weekend’s rain and wind, the garden needs picking up and putting right. But your outdoor space is resilient, especially with some help from you.
Some plants have suffered in the heat and will show signs of damage, Trees and shrubs could well have dead branches. This is their natural mechanism for survival. They shut down and sacrifice a twig here or there to save itself.
Cut such dead branches off where the live growth begins. Trace down a branch, scraping a
Weeds – Nature’s Opportunists
Nature is a wonderful thing. Here we are, at the time of writing, and it’s baking hot, sunny every day and we are all flagging. Plants are getting droopy, hosepipe bans loom large and after-sun sales are out of this world. But some plants are loving it. Weeds.
Lawn weeds still seem to growing when all around them turn beige. But how come? All of the lawn, lovely grass or foe, receives the same pitiful amount of dew and zero rainfall. Yet weeds are green and the grass looks dead. It’s a case of survival vs opportunity. Dandelions have deep roots that go down a
The Birds and the Bees
This is about the birds and the bees – the real birds and bees. The actual flying and buzzing kind. And more specifically the ones in my greenhouse. I haven't opened an aviary or apiary; it’s just the permanently open door of my greenhouse is too tempting for (in order of appearance and frequency):
- And a robin
I reckon there is a recently fledged nest of these charming birds close to the greenhouse. Every time I walk up to the structure there is alarmed scuttling, scampering and scurrying of a wh
The warm weather has seemingly increased the number of wasps in my garden. At the moment, they aren't the ‘buzzing around your head when trying to dine al fresco’ type of wasp - oh no, these are much more industrial than antisocial.
The current wasps are more ‘asking for permission to frack in your back garden’ than ‘a neighbour cooking sausages on an old barbecue to the disco beats of Boney M slap bang in the middle of a peaceful Sunday afternoon in what is turning out to be a scorcher of a summer’. These are serious.
These are testing times my gardening friends. We all endured the long dark winter and spring kind of fizzled out until, pow, we hurtled headlong straight into a proper grown up summer.
Every morning for weeks we have had blue sky and ever strengthening sunshine. And it’s playing havoc with my greenhouse and veg.
Each day I am plying my toms, cue and aubergines with gallons of water. The peppers need less as I’ve found they prefer to be grown on the drier side of moist. And that's a sentence you rarely read. I hope.
But there are steps you can take to minimise the impact of a heatwave on plants.
Watering Your Garden in a Heatwave
It’s hot and getting hotter.
Most people love this hot weather and revel at the thought of at least another fortnight of the stuff as ice cream sales, BBQ charcoal and Prosecco sales go through the roof. But, for me, the decline in slug activity is the main positive from this heatwave. Yep, always the gardener.
A lament to viewing the world through a camera phone
I was out at a pop type concert the other night. Unusual, I know, but my good-time mood turned dark once the singing started. The moment the act came on stage, the bloke in front of me sat bolt upright, got his phone out and started to record the whole thing. And light from a phone is bright. Concentrating on the artist was impossible as I couldn't help but think, ‘Zoom in now. Wide shot there – wider… wider… there. And focus.’
Phil’s Garden Show Survival Guide
Buckle up - It’s Garden Show Time!
We are slap bang in the middle of show season. Not village fete, crushed grass, homemade cakes and bunting type shows (they come later) but glitzy highly advertised shows such as Chelsea, Hampton Court, Gardeners’ World Live and Chatsworth. And Tatton. Something for everyone.
But there’s also an underscore of equally entertaining shows, dripping in superb garden design and quality plants across the whole of the country. The ever so exciting inaugural show at Belvoir, classy Blenheim and suave Henley spring to mind. Add them all up and I reckon you could spend every minute of every weekend from now until the end of summer visiting a garden show. And that means tactics.