I am sorry to say that 2018 was a terrible year for many of the daffodils grown in the UK.  The daffodils that were grown for my 2018 Scented Daffodil Trial experienced snow at the end of March, at a time when many of my trialled daffodil cultivars were grown, some of my daffodils stood poised and ready, just thinking about blossoming and coming into flower. 

Remembering loved ones

When you’ve lost someone you love, it’s natural to want to arrange a fitting memorial and to plan a meaningful tribute in their memory.  Memorials of any kind are such a personal choice, but I want to help you by sharing some information and ideas of ways that you could leave a lasting legacy, one that will beautifully celebrate the life of someone close to your heart, whilst being kind to the environment. 

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. 

Gifts for Gardeners

I treasure the joy I experience when I find the perfect gift for a special person.  I hope to share this joy with you, by sharing the best products that I have tried and tested this year, to help you find superb presents for your loved ones this Christmas.

Gardening Society Membership

There are many great local gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey.   

I discovered Green & Blue Bee Bricks and Green & Blue Bee Blocks earlier this year.  I was so excited to find these specially designed, stand alone bee houses, that can be placed in your garden, or at your allotment, or used in construction as you would a regular brick, to provide homes for solitary bees in walls, houses, offices, sheds, conservatories, and greenhouses!

I love growing sweet peas!  I hope to inspire and encourage you to grow your own sweet pea plants, so that you can experience these wonderful plants for yourself.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are beautifully fragrant, hardy annuals.  Throughout my ongoing Sweet Pea Trials, I work to provide my readers with a wealth of information to help you to learn how to grow the healthiest, most floriferous sweet pea plants, that will produce the earliest flowers, with the tallest flowering stems over the longest flowering period!

Fragrant daffodils deliver an uplifting joy and bring an unadulterated cheer into the spring garden; these scented daffodils can brighten your view and gladden your heart.  Many daffodil cultivars are listed as being scented, but some daffodil cultivars are more perfumed and more pleasing than others.

In 2016, I decided to run a Scented Daffodil Trial, to showcase the most beautifully scented, long flowering daffodils.  

The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden was designed by Sarah Raven for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  This Garden is one of five Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, which have been designed and created to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Radio 2.

Anneka Rice, a television presenter, artist, and broadcaster for Radio 2, who is known for her abundance of energy, cheerful demeanour, and vibrance, is the activation and inspiration for The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden, which has been designed by Sarah Raven for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Containers filled with your favourite coloured flowering plants can bring so much joy to you, and to the bees and butterflies in your garden.

Beautifully scented plants are always top of my list.   The dwarf, compact, lavender cultivars, known as Lavandula angustifolia, are such lovely options for containers in a sunny spot, where their calming, soothing fragrance can be welcomed and enjoyed by all.  

Heralded as the world’s most prestigious horticultural event, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show 2017, opens to the public from Tuesday 23rd May 2017 until Saturday 27th May 2017.  Visitors will be treated to exhibits showcasing the latest new plant introductions, alongside beautiful gardens, which demonstrate the latest ideas in garden and landscape design, many of which feature new, rare, unusual, and interesting plants, grouped together with much loved old favourites.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favourite cut flowers; these beautiful, easy to grow flowers, don’t require any cosseting.  You can sow these flowers from seed this month, directly where they are to flower, so there’s no messing about with potting seedlings on, and no need for a greenhouse or any special kit or equipment.

There are so many fabulous varieties of Nigella available.  

Peat Free Compost

Last summer, I ran a Peat Free Compost Trial to compare the different peat free composts available, and find out how well each of the composts performed growing dwarf French beans under the same conditions.  In my trial, Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads, and Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost were the clear winners producing healthy plants with a great harvest.

Whether you’ve got a garden, patio, balcony, or a windowsill, remembering to choose flowering plants that produce pollen and nectar that bees and other pollinating insects can access when you’re selecting new plants is a wonderful and worthwhile thing to do.

It’s an exciting and romantic time in the garden, with lots to do this month, and so much to look forward to in the garden!  Take time out to relax and enjoy the wonderfully scented flowers of Daphne, Sarcococca, and Hamamelis.

Prune Buddleja davidii now.  If you’ve got an old, and maybe rather neglected, specimen then start to rejuvenate your plant now, by removing any old dead wood and cutting it back hard.  

I love the excitement of the garden at this time of year, with colourful, cheery spring flowers emerging and the promise of so much more to come.  This is such an invigorating and inspiring time, with so much to see and do in the garden!

Prune Figs. The latex that figs readily emit when you prune is an irritant, so it’s advisable to wear gloves whilst pruning or tending to your plants, and then wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve finished.  

It’s an exciting time and romantic time in the garden, with lots to do this month and so much to look forward to!  Take time out to relax and enjoy the wonderfully scented flowers of Daphne, Sarcococca and Hamamelis.

Prune Buddleja davidii now.  If you’ve got an old and maybe rather neglected specimen, then rejuvenate it now by removing any old dead wood and cutting it back hard.  

Although it’s still jolly chilly outside, the daylight hours are lengthening each day, which means there’s more time to be outside enjoying the garden!

There are so many beautiful plants and flowers to be enjoyed at this time of year, many of them scented to attract pollinating insects.  As there aren’t as many insects around in winter, the scent plants produce is often incredibly powerful as well as sweet.  

The garden is fascinating at this time of year.  I love the wonderful sound of the birds singing, and I just relish the scents of honeysuckle, roses and other flowers; even the scent of the grass is so relaxing.

If you get time to put your feet up it’s the ideal time to pre-order bulbs, corms, and tubers from specialist nurseries to plant this autumn.  

This is such an exciting time of year, with so many beautiful colours in the garden to enjoy, and hopefully a bounteous harvest to look forward to!  There are lots of lovely things that you can do now to make the most of your garden this month, and to ensure that your garden will look better than ever next year!

It’s time to move tender plants under cover.  

I just love this time of year when everywhere is developing a beautiful shade of green! Every year it’s like a revelation, as hedgerows, trees, lawns, everywhere, turn the most beautiful shade of fresh, new, positive, wonderful, green.  There are many jobs you can do now to keep your garden or allotment looking beautiful, here are some ideas to get you started:

The Chelsea chop, so called as it’s carried out around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show, is simply a term to describe cutting back herbaceous, perennial plants, reducing the plants’ height by to up to a half, before flowering.