When midsummer passes us by, rhubarb production naturally slows down.  Unless you’re growing a late summer and autumn cropping rhubarb (like ‘Livingstone’), stop picking rhubarb now to allow your plants to build up their strength for next year’s harvests.  Rhubarb thrives in wet summers.  After heavy rain (or a thorough watering), spread a mulch of well-rotted manure or homemade garden compost over the soil around your plants.

Summer’s golden sunshine warms our gardens and gladdens our hearts, it’s sublime!  Make time to sow seeds now to enjoy stunning flowers next spring and delicious vegetables over the coming months.

Cornflowers (also known by their botanical name, Centaurea cyanus) attract a wide range of bees and butterflies; these rosette shaped blooms make great cut flowers, too. If you’re not a fan of the traditional blue cornflower, take your pick from the white, pink, cerise, lilac, purple, and (almost) black flowered forms available.

2020 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts.  I know from my own experience, that it’s not always easy to find a good quality peat-free growing media.  I understand that gardeners who have used peat-based composts all their lives might be hesitant to switch to a peat-free compost and gardeners who have purchased a poor performing peat-free compost could naturally be reluctant to try peat-free growing media again. 

I first grew Chinese Kale ‘Kailaan’ (also known as Gai lan or ‘Kai laan’) in about 2006; I was really impressed by this vegetable’s speedy growth and the bounteous harvest my plants produced.  ‘Kai lan’ leaves, flower buds, and stems are all edible, but it’s the stems that provide the main harvest.  Try it raw, stir-fried, steamed, or boiled; ‘Kai lan’ is a little like broccoli.   

What am I growing inside my Vegepod?

Since I first told you about my Vegepod much has changed.  Back in 2018, my Vegepod was set up in an area of my garden that enjoyed partial shade, but after trialling the Vegepod in this fairly beneficial position (vegetables thrive when they’re grown in sunny and partially shaded sites), I decided to move my Vegepod to a more shaded area of my garden, to see what I could grow successfully inside my Vegepod with more challenging growing conditions.

Peat free Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

Dalefoot Composts have produced the top performing peat free composts in all of the Compost Trials that I’ve run over the past seven years.  Rather than just continually highlighting every year that Dalefoot Composts are the best peat free composts to use, I designed this Compost Trial to demonstrate methods you could use to get the best results from one of their products, namely Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost.

Vegepod Raised Garden Beds

I love growing vegetables, it’s a truly wonderful, soul enriching experience to grow your own food!  Sadly an increasing number of us are without the luxury of a garden or allotment and have nowhere to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, or flowers; while a great many others struggle to garden in small, often paved spaces, without any access to the soil.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden

At this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show I couldn’t wait to visit the Welcome to Yorkshire show garden, which was designed by Mark Gregory and built by Mark and Landform Consultants.  This show garden took a picturesque, heart-warming view of the Yorkshire countryside to the centre of London, where I was there, ready to welcome this garden with open arms! 

The Chris Evans Taste Garden is one of five Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Radio 2.  The Chris Evans Taste Garden has been designed by Jon Wheatley.  Jon has taken inspiration from Mary Berry, in his design for an edible garden, which reflects the most delicious edible plants grown in gardens and allotments across the UK.

Gardening on a Budget

Gardening can be as expensive an activity as you’d like.  Whatever your budget it’s important to spend your money wisely on items you’ll find useful, indispensable or wonderful!

Specialist Plant Fairs, Seed and Plant Swaps

Village Fetes, Open Gardens, Gardening Society Plant Sales, Seed and Plant Swaps are all great places to buy plants at fantastic prices. 

This time of year is so exciting, with Christmas coming and lots of celebrations on the horizon!  Make the most of any bright, sunny days, wrap up warmly and get out in the garden!

Mycorrhizal fungi are a species of fungi that occur naturally in the soil.  Mycorrhizal fungi have a special growing relationship with some plants, they effectively work together to create a stronger, wider reaching root system for the plant; helping the plant to withstand drought and stress.  

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 exuberant and joyous month with Roses, Clematis, Peonies and Philadelphus flowers blooming, the garden feels decadent and luxurious.  I hope you can enjoy time in your garden or at your allotment this month, there’s so much to do, see and enjoy!

If you are wishing you could brighten your garden with some containers, but you’re away a lot, or you find watering difficult, don’t despair you have plenty of options: Lavender, Pelargoniums, and Verbena all cope well without a regimented watering regime, and Sedums and Sempervivums look beautiful and don’t require any additional watering.  

Featured

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.  

The end of summer is often a magical time bathed in golden light and sunshine.  Here’s hoping the month ahead is a lovely time, there’s certainly a lot to do to keep you busy!

It’s the perfect time to prepare and sow new lawns.  It’s important to remove all weeds, particularly perennial weeds, before you start your lawn preparation.  It’s the perfect time to evaluate your lawn and sow grass seed in any bare patches or lay turf if needed.  

The abundance of flowers, fruit, and scent makes this time of year feel rather decadent.  Make time to savour the sights and sounds of summer, and enjoy the fruits of your labour in the garden, this month.

Prune Wisteria.  After flowering, cut back the long, whippy green shoots – the current year’s growth – to five or six leaf joints.  

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 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:

It’s the ideal time to sow French beans and runner beans outside.  

The abundance of flowers, fruit and scent in the garden makes this time of year feel rather decadent.  Take in the sights and sounds of summer, and enjoy the fruits of your labour in the garden, or at your allotment this month.

It’s important to prune figs now, to let in more light and allow for a better harvest of delicious figs next year.  

The end of summer is often a magical time, bathed in golden light and sunshine.  There’s certainly a lots of lovely things you could do in the garden, or at your allotment during the month ahead!

Vine weevils are a real pain, especially if you’ve got lots of container grown plants.  The adult vine weevils damage plant leaves, leaving a notch-shaped, irregular edge to the leaves, resulting in a rather ragged looking, tatty plant.  

This time of year is so evocative and reflective, with morning mist and an array of autumn colour only adding to the beauty of the garden.  With shorter days, time is of the essence: there is much to do, and enjoy in your garden this month!

If your fences are rather tatty or wobbly, have you considered planting a hedge?  Hedges can be a very attractive feature of the garden, they also provide a much needed home for wildlife, and are more able to survive the perils of the winter storms than a fence.