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.
Tag: full sunshine
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.
Hello and welcome to my wildlife pond in winter. We’ve had a light sprinkling of snow here in Surrey just a few moments ago, which was very exciting!
Since my last update, my wildlife pond has changed considerably as the plants’ foliage has died back and retreated. What once was a lush, leafy sanctuary is still just as important a refuge for wildlife, but this area is now resting until springtime.
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!
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.
Traditionally, parsnips are left growing in the ground over winter to allow time for the frosty winter weather to improve their flavour. However, parsnips tend to develop canker and become less appetising as they reach old age. To achieve the healthiest harvest, lift your parsnips now, before decay sets in and store your parsnips in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
Over 430,000 acres of the UK is segregated into gardens; precious sanctuaries where we indulge our horticultural desires and celebrate nature. We are our gardens’ curators, creating personal oases, but have we included the essential habitats that wildlife need to survive?
After the punishing drought and intense temperatures this summer, many trees are dropping their leaves early. Standard gardening advice recommends removing aquatic plants’ foliage in autumn, to prevent decaying leaves enriching the water.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June blesses us with the truly wonderful convenience of being able to sow seeds outside without any risk of frost culling seedlings or dashing our hopes. Make the most of this wonderful moment: summer can feel endless, but speed is of the essence if you are to provide your courgettes, pumpkins, French beans, and runner bean plants with sufficient time to grow, mature, and produce a decent harvest.
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.
Sunflowers bring such positive energy and welcome cheer to our gardens! If you want to brighten up your garden with pollinator-friendly flowers in summertime, April is the ideal time to sow sunflower seeds. There’s no need for any special equipment; sunflowers are hardy annuals that can be sown outdoors now. Seeds can be started off in containers of peat-free compost and planted out after they have developed their first true leaves.
To celebrate Compost Week, I’m sharing tips to help you make top-quality compost in your garden, allotment, or neighbourhood.Why Compost?
Making a compost heap or setting up a compost bin is such a positive thing to do. Even if you don’t really care about getting fabulous (free) compost delivered straight to your garden, or you’re not interested in improving your garden soil, if you compost your grass cuttings, prunings, and vegetable peelings, you’ll save yourself time and energy, and spare yourself the need to make trips to the tip to get rid of your garden or kitchen waste at weekends.
Spring is such an uplifting time in the garden. As the days lengthen and spring flowers come into bloom, the anticipation of the wealth of flowers we’ll admire in our countryside and gardens over the coming seasons provides me with an abundance of reasons to be thankful. If your garden is looking a little lacklustre at the moment, don’t worry – there are some delightful spring-flowering perennial plants available at nurseries and garden centres, which will brighten up our gardens this spring and in the years that follow.
Clematis are divided into three groups. We assign each clematis to a group based upon the time of year the plant flowers, and when the growth that holds their flowers develops. By evaluating our clematis and assigning our plants to a specific group, we can establish the optimum time to prune our clematis.
Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond in winter! It feels funny saying ‘winter’, as the weather has been so mild this season that it already feels like spring. Many of my aquatic plants are now coming into growth. Last weekend, whilst I was observing all the new leafy growth on our aquatic plants and marvelling at the abundance of duckweed, I spotted a frog!