The Great Little Garden Blog

  1. A Letter to Summer

    A Letter to Summer

    Dear Summer,

    It is upsetting to have to put my thoughts down in words, but I haven’t see you face-to-face to talk things through. If only.

    1976Over the years you have been a bright light in my life. How things sizzled in 76 when you were all I thought of. Did we really fry eggs on the pavement? Did railway lines really buckle? How we enjoyed drinking those reservoirs dry. Stand by those pipes boys and girls. Did Tizer really taste that

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  2. Nightmare Weeds

    Nightmare Weeds

    If a plant can colonise the flanks of a volcano it sure is going to love growing in an average back garden or near a gentle stream. For a plant to shove its root into just-cooled magma then, let's face it, a clay soil or tarmac drive is going to be a cinch. A plant that creates such havoc and terror surely deserves its own tracking-app. Japanese knotweed is that plant.

    Now I’m lucky in that the worse weed I have to endure is bindweed. Or maybe the ground elder that pops up in a border and one corner of the lawn. Or actually it could be the ever-present bittercress - but that’s my fault because it flowers and sets seeds before I get to it, reinforcing the ‘one year seed = seven years weed’ gardening saying. Japanese knotweed is at the moment miles away. Actually, five miles away. But how do I know? Do I scour the

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  3. That Elusive Scarlet Pimpernel

    That Elusive Scarlet Pimpernel

    Actually, 'Scarlet Pimpernel' isn't exactly accurate.

    auberginesIn the novel and play written by Baroness Orczy, the Scarlet Pimpernel is a mysterious and hard to catch hero. My personal Pimpernel is no hero. I don't even know if it is scarlet. What I do know is it's eating my aubergines. It has to be a slug or a snail.

    Outside in the garden, there are many ways to control slugs and snails. Pellets, both chemical and those approved for organic use, are effective. As are biological controls and physical methods of deterrent. But in the greenhouse things get trickier. There are so many ways to get onto

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  4. Mistakes...I've Made a Few

    Mistakes...I've Made a Few

    This is the best time of year to analyse your garden and see where things can be improved. It’s when gaps appear in beds and borders, crops tussle with each other for space and the panes in the greenhouse crack under the ever-burgeoning force of foliage, flowers and fruit.

    Of course, I would like to say that my own plot is perfect. I’d like to say that but I would be lying. This is, after all, gardening and we all must realise that nothing is ever perfect nor is it complete. We are only curators easing and coaxing our plots towards an untouchable end game. So, in the interests of progress, here are my own improvement notes on my own plot, as it stands in midsummer:


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  5. Guilty? Your Honour

    Guilty? Your Honour

    You’d expect that a peaceful stroll around an open garden to be just that - placid, tranquil and relaxing. Well, it was - until I spotted something, or to be more precise, someone pilfering. Let me explain.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now just in case you missed it… I like visiting other people's gardens for a horticultural rummage and generally eat cake, drink tea and chat gardening. The simple things in life keep me happy. So, as I was idly meandering around a lovey 2 acre garden crammed with luscious herbaceous plants, having just been satisfied by a noggin of moist lemon drizzle cake and a top class brew, I was somewhat bemused by the sight of a fellow visitor taking cuttings from a penstemon.

    ‘Afternoon,’ I said.
    ‘Afternoon,’ came the reply.

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  6. Kids' Garden Game Bundle Giveaway!

    Kids' Garden Game Bundle Giveaway!

    Win a Kids’ Garden Games Holiday Bundle, perfect for keeping the kids busy and away from their screens this summer holiday. Get them out in the sunshine with these garden games including outdoor versions of chess/draughts and noughts & crosses plus garden favourites croquet and quoits. Perfect for hours of outdoor fun and family time.

    All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this great prize is LIKE our Great Little Garden Facebook Page then LIKE and SHARE this post. Easy!
    Deadline for the entry is midnight on Thursday 10th August 2017. The winner will be announced the followi

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  7. Is it Really Worth it?

    Is it Really Worth it?

    Is it Really Worth it?

    A little bit philosophical but obviously I’m referring to celery.

    celery watering

    celery collar

    The thing is I hate the stuff. The taste repels, the smell revolts and the texture rebuffs any approach I make to the vegetable. However, I adore growing it.

    The thing about celery is it needs a lot of attention. From the moment you sow the seed or pot up the

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  8. School's Out for Summer

    School's Out for Summer

    School is indeed out for summer and the holidays stretch for weeks ahead for families.

    There are the obvious candidates for filling in time and keeping the children's attention - expensive days out to theme parks and sitting in traffic queues on the M5 trying to get to the South West coast being two of many - but the answer could well be closer to home, in your own back garden.

    child wateringI feel that I’ve done my bit for gardening legacy by helping my own two boys check for pests in the veg patch, edge the lawn and clear that pesky grass growth between the bricks on the path. Oh, what fun we had. Didn’t we? I’ve lectured them on the virtues of correct watering and not simply spraying it around

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  9. Superstitious?


    Superstitious? I’m not. Not in the least. So, when a recently fledged blackbird flew into the lounge and started bashing itself against the window, trying to get out, I wasn't fazed.

    After all, those Old Wives’ tales of birds in the house bringing bad news (actually, terrible news) came about when people in the olden days – the 1980s, according to my 12 year old son - made stuff up to try and explain natural occurrences.

    blackbird windowMy incident happened during the recent hot weather when the patio doors were open to get some air moving in the house. I popped my head into the lounge to see what a slight noise was all about and there it was - a vulture sized blackbird viciously attacki

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  10. TOTAF is the new BOGOF

    TOTAF is the new BOGOF

    Gardening is great – obviously, or you and I wouldn't be here now - but sometimes a day away is also nice. However, the garden is never far away even when trundling down the M1 towards the home of cricket (for what would eventually result in a rather historic game).  A rather urgent comfort break included a much-needed coffee.

    And that’s where I realised that I will never get away from the garden, even early on a Saturday morning on the motorway.

    One of the big coffee shop chains situated at the service station was giving away their old coffee grounds for use in the garden. That’s giving away; free; 100% discount; gratis; on the house; take one take another free (TOTAF).  So, I did. After all it was free and worth a second whirl.

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