Back in January I moved house. It was a nerve wracking and anxious time, made more difficult because I grow a lot of plants inside terrariums, bottle gardens, and orchidariums, which I can’t bear to be parted from. These enclosures all needed to be emptied and washed up, and the plants and glassware required careful packaging and wrapping.
I was both excited and incredibly relieved when I heard that the National Trust had purchased Munstead Wood, the Surrey home and eleven-acre garden of the legendary horticulturist, designer, writer, artist, photographer, and craftswoman, Gertrude Jekyll.
Gertrude lived at Munstead Wood in Busbridge, Godalming, from the 1890s until her death in 1932. Having met the renowned architect Edwin Lutyens early in his career, long before he achieved fame and was knighted, Gertrude invited Edwin to design her an Arts and Crafts house to complement the garden.
Butterfly Conservation report that in the UK, long-term trends show that 80% of our butterfly species have decreased in abundance or distribution – or both – since the 1970s. Do you see many butterflies and moths in your garden? I hope to inspire everyone to help butterflies and moths. Please don’t allow any pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides to be used on your garden, allotment, or indeed on any area in your locality, as these products obliterate our bees, butterflies, and moths.
Every year I wait in anticipation to discover the newest winner of The Rose of the Year Competition. I adore growing roses and I particularly enjoy trialling plants and finding new, naturally healthy roses I can recommend. In February 2023, Roses UK sent me a new bare root rose to trial – the winner of the Rose of the Year 2023 Competition – Rosa ‘Peach Melba®’ (KORmelpea).
I enjoy running horticultural trials; I spend much of my time searching for the most gorgeous plants that will produce a profusion of flowers and attract bees and pollinating insects. I love to share the most successful plants from my trials with you to help you find top quality plants to enhance your garden. The plants I recommend in this column need to be grown in a bright and sunny location, in well-drained soil or containers filled with peat-free compost.
Whether you garden in sunshine or shade, there are plants that will be perfectly suited to growing in your garden – it’s just a case of finding them! In 2019, my Vegepod was moved from a sunny spot, to a new enclosed, deeply shaded area of my garden. I am not exaggerating when I say that in its new position my Vegepod truly was shaded – my Vegepod was sandwiched in a tight space, wedged between a tall conifer hedge, a two storey high wall, a tall fence, and an 8ft tall pergola that was smothered with climbing plants – the plants growing in my Vegepod did not receive any direct sunshine whatsoever.
Many ornamental grasses hold onto their foliage overwinter; this provides a delightful structural softness, texture, and delicacy for our winter gardens. Grasses will be producing new growth soon; therefore, this is the ideal moment to pop on some gardening gloves and use your fingers to comb through deciduous grasses, removing all the old stems ready for the arrival of fresh new growth.
Over the past ten years, we’ve experienced an increasing number of droughts in spring and summertime. Applying a mulch now, while the ground is still moist from the autumn and winter rains will protect and enhance your soil, adding nutrients that will support soil microorganisims and feed your plants. Mulching will suppress weeds, and help the soil retain moisture. Early spring is the perfect time to apply an organic mulch of homemade garden compost, Strulch®, woodchip, well-rotted manure, or peat-free compost.
This year, Mothers Day is on Sunday 19th March 2023. The best things in life are free – spending time together is a priceless gift that means more than anything. If you’re looking for gift ideas for Mother’s Day 2023, I have some fantastic ideas!Make the Promise of a Day Out Together and Visit a Beautiful Garden
Love and friendship are priceless gifts.
Going peat-free is a positive action that each of us can take to protect our peatlands, safeguard nature, and protect our planet. When you are buying plants, before you make a purchase ask if the plants were raised in peat-free compost. When buying compost, check the packaging to see whether the growing media contains any peat – look to buy growing media and composts that are 100% peat-free.
Spring and summer weather often leaves plants and gardeners wilting during punishing droughts and intense heatwaves. Raising plants in containers requires far more water than growing plants in the ground. If you’ve got a penchant for container gardening, I’d like to introduce you to self-watering containers: literal lifesavers for plants and gardeners!
I’m feeling so grateful today. I’m grateful to the special people and plants that I share my life with. I relish sharing information about stunning houseplants that are easy to grow and will happily bloom through the autumn and winter months. This is when the nights are longer, the days are shorter, and we spend more time indoors – when flowering houseplants can brighten up our days and evenings!
Houseplants are almost magical; they can make a dull room look and feel inviting and transform a dreary room into a luxurious and relaxing space. In this article, I’ll reveal some of the secrets that will ensure your houseplants retain their magic!
First of all, always grow houseplants in containers with holes at their base that allow water to run through the pot and enable air to reach the plant’s roots.
I’m a peat-free gardener and a passionate advocate for peat-free gardening. I want to help you be a successful gardener, so every year I run independent Compost Trials and share the results on my website.
I’ve included organic and vegan, peat-free composts in this Compost Trial. All of the composts in this Compost Trial are 100% peat-free.
Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond during the heatwave and drought of 2022. I’ve been anxiously watching the water level in my pond as it recedes. I’ve invested in another water tank and I’ve been busy scouring the local area for any second-hand water butts and water tanks for sale.
Last year, Roses UK and Dickson Roses kindly sent me a ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose; I was particularly excited to receive this plant, as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was the winner of the Rose of the Year Competition 2022. A year has passed since my plant arrived and I can now tell you just how wonderful this rose really is!
One of the things I look forward to most at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show is the opportunity to meet the new rose introductions face to face and discover their fragrances. I was sorry to miss visiting the Chelsea this year. David Austin Roses launched two brand-new roses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022.
I adore orchids and houseplants. I get so much enjoyment from being surrounded by foliage and flowers and I simply love growing orchids and houseplants. Since Brexit, the range of orchid nurseries open to UK customers has dramatically reduced. Thankfully, we still have a number of UK nurseries who are growing orchids in Britain. Love Orchids are a small family-run, British company, based in Southern England.
Runner beans are miraculous vegetables that will comfortably fulfil any gardener’s lofty ambitions to grow stunning plants that look attractive, flower freely, and produce an abundant harvest of delicious beans within a small space!
I am a self-confessed runner bean fan. For years, I’ve been running Runner Bean Trials searching for the best tasting and most productive runner bean varieties and the optimum growing methods to cultivate these vegetables.
Hello and welcome to my wildlife pond in springtime. Over the past few weeks, our weather has been so very summery; my Marsh Marigold flowers have simply sparkled in the sunshine! I’m having an amazing time by my wildlife pond. I’ve got some really exciting news to share with you about the wildlife I’ve seen by my pond; I’ve even got a homemade video for you – so you can share in the excitement, but first of all, let me tell you about the water in my pond and show you how my aquatic plants have developed since my last update…Water Levels
I took this picture not long after my last pond update.