Essential Pruning Techniques for Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers
Authors: George E. Brown and Tony Kirkham
Photographs: Andrea Jones
Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN: 978-1-60469-288-4

The first edition of the reference book, Essential Pruning Techniques was written by George E. Brown (1917-1980).  George was the assistant curator at Kew and a founding member of the Arboricultural Association.  The original book was published in 1972; for over forty years this book was the go-to reference for pruning. 

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.

Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails

I don’t like slug pellets.  Slug pellets have had a disastrous effect on the wild food chain – as well as killing slugs and snails, slug pellets harm hedgehogs, song thrushes, and other creatures.  Slug pellets kill these dear animals in the most cruel, drawn out, and painful manner.  Nothing could induce me to use slug pellets in my garden, allotment, or anywhere for that matter – however large the slug or snail population had become, and however many of my precious plants had been eaten. 

April is such a magical time of year!  It’s quite simply awe inspiring to see the landscape being painted by mother nature in every beautiful shade of green, as more leaves unfurl and the view becomes ever greener each day.  I love to be outside, surrounded by the birds singing and bees buzzing.  On warm days you may see butterflies flying: look out for the green toned Brimstone butterfly this month. 

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. 

I used to have a large glasshouse.  I felt so fortunate to be able to enjoy the use of my glasshouse, every day I appreciated the exciting range of crops I could grow inside, and the extended growing season and bountiful harvest that my glasshouse helped to provide me with.  I was so grateful, excited, and so inspired by the vast array of glorious fruit and vegetables that I grew inside the glasshouse. 

One of the gardens that I was most excited to visit at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, was the RHS Kitchen Garden.

The Royal Horticultural Society commissioned Garden Designer Juliet Sargeant to design this special Feature Garden, to demonstrate the many interesting methods that gardeners can use to grow vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers.  The RHS Kitchen Garden has been designed to showcase the extensive variety of beautiful, edible plants that are available for us to grow and eat.  

Protecting your plants from Slugs and Snails

For many gardeners, the slug and snail population seemed to explode in 2016, with many fraught and distressed gardeners asking for my advice on the best way to protect their plants from slugs and snails.  I am strongly opposed to slug pellets.  I wouldn’t wish to kill any of the slugs or snails in my garden, as I believe a healthy eco system is important.

I so enjoy using my Felco model No. 12 Compact Deluxe secateurs.  Felco is a premium brand of secateurs, I aspired to own a pair of Felco secateurs, for many, many years before I finally got my own pair of secateurs.

My hands are very small, I require a small size of gloves, and even these small sized gloves can at times be a little too large.  

I use strips of material cut from stockings and twine to secure many of my plants in place.  A variety of different plant ties are now available, some plant ties, like these reusable VELCRO® Brand One-Wrap Plant Ties, make life easier for gardeners as they don’t require tying in, and can also be reused many times.

I felt that these VELCRO® Brand plant ties would be ideal for everyone, but perhaps they are especially useful, for those of us who have difficulty in tying knots, or have difficulty reaching up, or down, to tie in and secure their plants.  

Each season is so distinct, yet so very special, offering us various gifts and opportunities until the moment has passed and the next season arrives with its offerings.  November might seem like a quiet period in the garden, but this month offers us the valuable chance to move any plants that aren’t growing well, or indeed any that have grown rather too well and have now outgrown their current situation.

Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.  This World Garden was built by Surrey Hills Landscaping and sponsored by Journey Latin America.  The RHS judges awarded the Inca Garden a Silver Medal.

Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has been designed to convey a sense of adventure and travel to its visitors.  

Eric Wall Ltd is a family owned business.  Eric Wall established the company with his business partner Hugh Stevenson, in 1977.  Eric and Hugh started out together with one hectare of glass in 1977.  Fast-forward to 2016, and Eric Wall Ltd currently operate just less than ten and a half hectares of glass in Barnham, which is near Chichester, in West Sussex; they also operate a small site of just over one hectare of glass, which can be found just outside Deal, in Kent.  

To create a really sumptuous and relaxing outdoor area where you can dine and unwind, as well as sun loungers, garden furniture, fire pits and BBQs, you’ll require the perfect blend of aromatic, delicious and attractive plants to enhance your entertaining area.

Gardening With Less Water – Low-Tech, Low-Cost Techniques – Use Up To 90% Less Water In Your Garden
By David A. Bainbridge
ISBN: 978-1-61212-582-4
Published by Storey Publishing

The author of Gardening With Less Water, David A. Bainbridge, has taken inspiration from a number of different irrigation techniques and methods that were used in ancient times; these historic techniques have formed the basis for David’s own research into the irrigation methods which feature in his book.  

I love hedgehogs!  Hedgehogs are so endearing and entertaining, every time I have seen or encountered a hedgehog has been such a special and uplifting moment.  Each hedgehog I have seen shuffling along or snuffling about has touched my heart, lifted my spirits and brightened my day.

Sadly nowadays there are many threats to hedgehogs – they’re in danger as they try to cross our busy roads, but even away from the roads, hedgehogs face many dangers in our own gardens, because of these dangers, hedgehogs are becoming more scarce, and these delightful, charming, and loveable creatures are now endangered.  

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.  

At this time of year, it’s lovely to look through the catalogues and choose seeds, plants and other exciting new products to try out.  While I was looking through The Organic Gardening Catalogue I spotted the EarthBox, a patented container gardening system, developed by commercial farmers, who designed it especially to offer a low maintenance, self-watering, portable method to garden and grow vegetables, even if you don’t have a garden.

This has been a fantastic year for fruit growers, every apple or pear tree I have seen, has been heavily laden with fruit.  If you’re looking for a new method to store your fruit, herbs, mushrooms or vegetables, or if you’re interested in creating a different taste sensation, or to want to make your own healthy snacks, you might be interested to try a specially designed food dehydrator.  

2015 has been a truly amazing year for fruit!  This year it seemed that every apple tree I came across had produced an abundant crop of beautiful apples.  A bountiful harvest is wonderful, yet preparing apples for cooking can sometimes be harder work than you first anticipate, particularly if you have arthritic or over-worked hands, or just if you have a lot of other food preparation to do.