Gardening Advice

  1. Assessing Your Garden Post Summer

    Assessing Your Garden Post Summer

    Take Stock of Your Garden Successes and Failures

    I know that New Year is the traditional time to stop and re-evaluate everything in your life but I reckon now, as summer ends, is also an ideal time to stop all that weeding, watering and worrying so you can look at your garden and decide what to do better next year. After all, you don’t need to rely on your memory if all your faults and successes are there, straight in front of your eyes.

    Here are my own garden assessments for this summer:

    Parsnip leavesNo more parsnips

    Keen followers of these blogs know the injuries that I’ve sustained in growing some pre

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  2. 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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  3. Garden Surival Tips After a Heatwave and High Winds

    Garden Surival Tips After a Heatwave and High Winds

    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.

    Dead conifer branchDead Branches

    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

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  4. Weeds - Nature's Opportunists

    Weeds - Nature's Opportunists

    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.

    white clover lawn weedLawn 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

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  5. CuCon18 - We're Talking Cucumbers and Plant Care in a Heatwave

    CuCon18 - We're Talking Cucumbers and Plant Care in a Heatwave

    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.

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  6. Watering in a Heatwave

    Watering in a Heatwave

    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.

    Slugs and Watering:

    slug on lawnSlugs prefer a slightly cooler and damper environment. They quickly d

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  7. Top 10 Hardy Annuals

    Top 10 Hardy Annuals

    In this Top Ten List, our garden expert - Phil McCann - has compiled his favourite Hardy Annuals.

    What is a hardy annual? An annual is a plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seeds, within one year, and then dies. These tend to be your bedding plants. A hardy plant is one that will tolerate light frosts - so they are particularly good spring plants where we can still be caught out be the frosts.

    1. Poached egg plants

    (limanthes douglasii)

    Loved by the bess, the fattened flower heads are a soft buttery yellow and white. Simple to grow and a real boon in the wildlife garden.

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  8. Quality Time with Children in the Garden

    Family Time in the GardenMost school children are off school for a week or two and your garden is waking up from its long, enforced cold slumbers. What a perfect opportunity to get into gardening.

    Child Watering in the GardenGardening is fantastic for children to get involved in.

    Think of all that exercise, f

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  9. Caring for Plants in the Cold - Seedlings, Shrubs and More

    The recent cold weather has taken its toll on some plants.

    I was worried for my own fresh young shoots on lupins but they seemed to have come through unscathed. I have however spotted some phormiums and yuccas that have been knocked about a bit. Time for action.

    A yucca in the snow

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  10. Has the Cold Taken Its Toll on Your Plants?

    Has the Cold Taken Its Toll on Your Plants?

    The recent cold weather has taken its toll on some plants. I was worried for my own fresh, young shoots of lupins but they seem to have come through unscathed. I have, however, spotted some phormiums and yuccas that have been knocked about a bit. Time for action.

    Lupins - Coming through the cold unscathed

    Seedlings are vulnerable and you may have noticed curled leaves, or even brown patches, on some leaves. I’m thinking of seedlings in greenhouses. This may be due to the cold or the combination of cold and damp. It may seem counterint

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