Monthly Archives: August 2017

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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