Meadows epitomise the picturesque idyllic summer garden that so many of us dream of.  However, creating a successful meadow is often more of a challenging project than we anticipate.  Whether you’re creating a new meadow or fixing a failed meadow, August and September are the months that meadow gardeners must spring into action!

Preparation is the key to success.  It’s easy to rush soil preparations, giddy with the excitement of sowing seeds – this is where most people fail. 

Since we moved house we’ve been so busy with life, work, and fixing things.  Our heating broke the day after we moved in and temperatures inside our home plummeted for a week during a particularly cold snap this winter; this wiped out a lot of my orchids and houseplants.  Since then I’ve been busy trying to revive and propagate the plants that survived.

I never purchase supermarket watermelons; I dislike their lack of flavour and irritating hard seeds.  However, after years of growing melons for Melon Trials, I hope I always spend spring and summertime growing watermelons!  The best watermelon I’ve grown so far is ‘Little Darling’.  I adore this watermelon’s sensationally sweet flavour and refreshingly crisp texture.  ‘Little Darling’ produces hardly any seeds, the few seeds that do materialise are soft and not noticeable. 

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

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.

Planting bulbs is rather like giving yourself a wonderful promise of future flowers and happiness.  What could be lovelier?  If you want to enjoy spring flowers, such as daffodils and crocus, and early summer-flowering bulbs, like alliums, then it’s time to start planting bulbs!

When purchasing bulbs, wherever possible choose top-sized bulbs, as larger bulbs are more floriferous than smaller bulbs. 

Grasses form a fundamental part of many gardens.  The seed heads of ornamental grasses take on a magical quality as they shine in September’s golden sunlight.  September is a superb time to plant ornamental grasses, like: Deschampsia, Festuca, Heliotrichon, and Stipa.

Has your garden been hosting family sports tournaments this summer?  If your grass is worn through in places, it’s the perfect time to fill in those bare patches. 

Making Meadows

Meadows present a natural, seemingly effortless beauty, with an undeniable allure.  For the most part, meadow guardians save much of the energy that gardeners spend repeatedly mowing and maintaining traditional lawns.  Nevertheless, meadows are not an easy option; creating a meadow requires endeavour, careful planning, and time, to ensure success.

Perennial meadow plants

Our native British, perennial meadow plants flourish in poor soils, where they grow contentedly alongside sedately-growing, fine-leaved grasses. 

Autumn leaves

Autumn is such a magical season.  Each year, I’m utterly enchanted by autumn; I watch in delight, as the leaves on trees and shrubs turn from green to gold, burnished amber, and a stunning array of fiery autumnal hues.  Autumn leaves twirl and dance, as they make their descent, gliding and tumbling through the air, whispering softly as they flutter, before gently landing on the ground below. 

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. 

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Urban Connections Garden was sponsored by the Victoria Business Improvement District.  This Fresh Garden was designed by Lee Bestall & Paul Robinson, and built by Jon Housley from JPH Landscapes.  The RHS judges awarded The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Urban Connections Garden a Silver Medal, at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

I love hedgehogs!  Hedgehogs are so endearing and entertaining.  Every time I have 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 – hedgehogs are 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. 

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.  

Now is the time to move tender plants under cover.  Make sure that you’ve thoroughly checked your plants (and their pots) for pests, before you re-position them in their new home.  Protect your plants from slugs and snails by smearing a ring of petroleum jelly around your pots to act as a barrier.  Make sure it’s wide enough – a couple of inches should do the trick.  

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.  

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.  

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

If your fences are looking rather tatty or wobbly, have you considered planting a hedge?  

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 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.