Garden Adventures

  1. Garden Show Exhibits – How can we encourage children to take part?

    Garden Show Exhibits – How can we encourage children to take part?

    Changing Trends at our Local Horticultural Garden Show

    I am privileged to be a member of our local horticultural society committee and the last meeting included a line on the agenda saying ‘review the autumn show.’ So, we did just that.

    It would be interesting to see how the following stark figures compare to your own show. At our autumn show, held on the day the Tour of Britain raced through the village, the actual numbers of exhibits were up but the number of exhibitors was down.

    Less people doing more.

    cupcakesWe had less people baking the cakes for refreshments but they took more money for the society.

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  2. How Not to be an Annoying Neighbour

    How Not to be an Annoying Neighbour

    Neighbours who get on your nerves

    A recent survey revealed (revealed!) we are all annoyed by our neighbours.

    The reasons are varied, but the most common is spending too much time in the garden and this constituting an invasion of privacy. And having thought about it, maybe this survey is right.

    ostrich looking over fenceGarden I-Spy

    I spend a lot of time in the garden and quite rightly, my neighbours pop out into theirs to potter. The problem is my garden is higher than next door so I naturally look down on their plot. I can’t help it. I might be there picking beans, cu

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  3. Goodbye, Summer; Hello, Autumn!

    Goodbye, Summer; Hello, Autumn!

    Our garden expert, Phil McCann, is feeling reflective as we begin the transition between the seasons. Here he explores how he feels as the seasons turn, what he will miss and what he is looking forward to. How are you feeling about the onset of autumn?

    Goodbye, Summer

    Sunflowers and sunshine in summerYep, summer was a fantastic one with ice cream sales going through the roof, watering cans becoming the must-have accessory and my aching joints eased by the warm temperatures.

    Hello, Autumn

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  4. Death of the Pumpkin

    Death of the Pumpkin

    The pumpkin has gone.

    Not stolen or misplaced (no one could accidently lose that beast) but ...died.

    Everything was going well until two days ago.

    Phil's pumpkin growing on top of his shedThe discovery

    It was early morning and I did the usual round of watering - leaving the hosepipe dripping into the compost heap, home to the roots - followed by a quick check of the leaves and developing fruit. The fruit had been visibly swelling each day for the last few weeks. But two days ago, it hadn’t grown any bigger. This coincided with a drop in temperature so I wasn't too bothered. I reported back to the family.


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  5. A Nasty Allergen Every Veg Grower Needs to Know About

    A Nasty Allergen Every Veg Grower Needs to Know About

    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.

    Phil's garden including his parsnip cropHere goes:

    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

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  6. Growing a Pumpkin - A Tale of Obsession

    Growing a Pumpkin - A Tale of Obsession

    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. (

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  7. The Birds and the Bees... in the Garden

    The Birds and the Bees... in the Garden

    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):

    • Blackbirds
    • Bees
    • 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

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  8. What Do Wasps Do? (other than ruin my shed!)

    What Do Wasps Do? (other than ruin my shed!)

    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.

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  9. Live in the Moment, Not in the Screen

    Live in the Moment, Not in the Screen

    A lament to viewing the world through a camera phone

    using camera phone to take an image of a cityI 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.’

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  10. Phil's Garden Show Survival Guide

    Phil's Garden Show Survival Guide

    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.

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