At this time of year, as temperatures plummet and frosts highlight winter foliage with sparkles that glisten in the morning sunlight, gardeners are blessed with a seasonal window of opportunity to plant bare root plants. Be sure to capitalise on this moment, as bare root plants are only available during the winter months This is a chance to purchase top-quality plants, whilst making a substantial saving on usual retail prices.
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).
In case you missed it, last week I posted my latest Compost Trial Report. The top-performing composts in this trial were Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost, Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost, and Bathgate Horticulture Peat-free Multi-Purpose Compost; these are all peat-free growing medias. I’d urge everyone to use peat-free compost. Peatlands are unique wetland nature reserves and habitats for rare plants and wildlife.
Raspberries are one of our most delicious but expensive fruits. The good news is that raspberries are also incredibly productive, easy to grow, and they don’t take up much room. We can make huge savings by growing raspberries in our gardens and allotments.
I adore growing raspberries! For over 25 years, I’ve grown a vast selection of raspberry cultivars in various sized gardens and allotments; I’m excited to share my knowledge and help you grow an abundance of raspberries.
This month I am celebrating some of our succulent, soft fruit superstars: plums, damsons, and greengages! This closely related group of fruits require less pruning than apples and pears and offer a contrasting range of flavours: from deliciously sharp and tart damsons, sweet-tasting plums, and syrupy, honey-flavoured gages. Greengages, damsons, and plums all have different flavours, but tastes also vary from one named variety to another.
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.
We urgently need our leaders to take responsibility and introduce laws and treaties that will protect our environment. There is so much to be done that could help our planet and not enough action being taken. Many of the messages and promises that were shared at COP26 are statements that have been shared many times before but are yet to be acted upon.
Happy new year! I want to help you create a positive and uplifting garden where you can relax, grow your favourite plants, and make real connections with nature.
Do you have a compost heap in your garden? How about in your college or office garden? Composting is such a wonderful thing to do; it’s great for the environment, good for wildlife, produces amazing compost, and saves money!
Winter provides us with a wonderful opportunity to plant trees. What could be a better Christmas gift than planting a tree with your family? I’m a particular fan of planting bare-root trees: trees that are grown in the ground (not containers) and then lifted, dispatched, and planted while they’re dormant. Bare-root trees are grown in the soil, they’re naturally peat-free, require less watering at the nursery, and can be grown plastic-free – as there’s no need for containers.
I attended the ‘Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods’ conference, hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. I fully support the Kew Declaration on Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods. I am just one of the 3000 global experts and concerned citizens from 114 countries that signed this declaration which aims to promote the long-term protection and restoration of natural forest ecosystems worldwide.
I absolutely adore roses, their flowers can be everything I want in a bloom; roses can be sumptuous, glamorous, and luxurious, yet also relaxing and comforting. I find the scents of my favourite roses feel uplifting and reviving. Every year, I look forward with great anticipation to meeting the winner of the Rose of the Year Competition.
October offers us many opportunities in the garden. The soil is still warm, so it’s a great time for planting or moving plants that aren’t yet in their ideal position. It’s worth taking time out to consider how your garden works for you. Did you sustain any losses over the dry spring and summer? Has this opened up any new planting opportunities?
November is an exciting month, full of opportunities in the garden. Take time out to enjoy the fleetingly beautiful glory of the moment, as leaves of burnished gold and crimson light up the landscape. At this time of year, it’s important to plan ahead and to plant trees and bee friendly flowers, for future generations to enjoy.
Over the past few years, we’ve all become more aware of the dangers of our over use of plastic and the damage that this material can do to us, our environment, and to creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the rivers, oceans, and in the landscape around us. For the most part, the horticultural sector has taken their time to address the horticultural industry’s use of plastic.
May is a wonderful month, enhanced by the uplifting serene, perfect green of all the wonderful new leaves, as they open on trees and shrubs, and the expectation and hope of the arrival of rose and peony flowers. I love to see the first rose buds of the year developing on my favourite roses.
I relish the opportunities that each season offers us. January provides the chance to pause and rest, take stock of our plants and introduce new plants to delight us over the years ahead!
This is the perfect time to plant trees, hedging plants, roses, and soft fruit: plants that are lifted during the dormant season and sold bare root; the plants’ roots are coated in wax or wrapped, to prevent desiccation.
Teaming with Fungi: The organic grower’s guide to mycorrhizae
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
Through his book Teaming with Fungi, author Jeff Lowenfels, aims to dispel the myths associated with fungi; this book informs and educates readers about fungi and their fascinating relationship with plants. 80-95% of all plants form symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi. These relationships are incredibly beneficial to plants, so it makes sense for gardeners, horticulturists, and those working in forestry, agriculture, plant propagation, or indeed any career or hobby based around plants, to learn and understand more about mycorrhizal fungi species and the true nature of their relationship with plants.
I love our planet, I love plants and nature. I want to protect our environment. I want to live more sustainably. Sustainability is not a new desire for me, it is something that I have always aspired to. Firstly though I must tell you that I am far from perfect, I make mistakes and I am always learning. I want to improve, I want to make changes to live more sustainably and to live ethically.
As autumn turns to winter, days shorten and the prospect of warming ourselves by the fire may be more enticing than being outdoors, take time to warm your heart with thoughts of elegantly perfumed roses. This is the perfect opportunity to order roses as bare root plants to plant during the winter time, while the plants are dormant, to deliver charming, beautiful rose blooms and delectable fragrance to your garden or allotment next summer.
I received this beautiful holly as a gift from a group of very special friends this autumn. This Ilex ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ specimen was purchased from Squire’s Garden Centre in Milford, Surrey, where it was described as an ‘Instant Impact’ plant. This standard holly cost £99.99, the plant is guaranteed by Squire’s for three years from the date of purchase.