Sow seeds of something different this spring!

April is the month for seed sowing.  We can sow hardy annuals and half-hardy annuals now, as well as the seeds of fruit and vegetables, but perhaps you’d like to grow something different?  Mistletoe berries are ripe now, so it’s the perfect time to gather berries and raise your own mistletoe plants!

Mistletoe (Viscum album)

Mistletoe doesn’t grow in the soil; it grows up in the branches of trees. 

Heritage Open Days 2023

I’m mindful that my recent article about Gertrude Jekyll may have inspired you to want to learn more about this inspirational gardener and horticulturist, so in this post I’m sharing information on an array of Gertrude Jekyll themed events, as well as gardens, vineyards, and interesting places you can visit during the Heritage Open Days.

Every September, the Heritage Open Days allow visitors to experience local history, culture, and architecture. 

Butterfly Conservation report that in the UK, long-term trends show that 80% of our butterfly species have decreased in abundance or distribution – or both – since the 1970s.  Do you see many butterflies and moths in your garden?  I hope to inspire everyone to help butterflies and moths.  Please don’t allow any pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides to be used on your garden, allotment, or indeed on any area in your locality, as these products obliterate our bees, butterflies, and moths.

Winter provides us with a wonderful opportunity to plant trees.  What could be a better Christmas gift than planting a tree with your family?  I’m a particular fan of planting bare-root trees: trees that are grown in the ground (not containers) and then lifted, dispatched, and planted while they’re dormant.  Bare-root trees are grown in the soil, they’re naturally peat-free, require less watering at the nursery, and can be grown plastic-free – as there’s no need for containers. 

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

For one year only, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show 2021 has moved to September!  How has the change of date affected this event?  Moving from a late spring show to an early autumn spectacle has opened Chelsea’s door to allow new VIP (very important plant) access for late summer flowering perennials, berries, seed heads, dahlias, pumpkins, tomatoes, and vegetables!

Mistletoe is a prized plant at Christmas time, when it’s the custom to decorate our homes with the berries and foliage of holly, ivy, and mistletoe, in celebration of the season.

I’ve always greatly admired the evergreen spherical forms that mature mistletoe specimens hold high up in the treetops.  Mistletoe’s naturally forked growth and branching habit display a symmetrical form that enhances the plant’s beauty, highlighting its simple green leaves and white pearl-like berries.

I relish the opportunities that each season offers us.  January provides the chance to pause and rest, take stock of our plants and introduce new plants to delight us over the years ahead!

This is the perfect time to plant trees, hedging plants, roses, and soft fruit: plants that are lifted during the dormant season and sold bare root; the plants’ roots are coated in wax or wrapped, to prevent desiccation. 

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden: ‘500 years of Covent Garden’ in partnership with Capco, was sponsored by Capco Covent Garden and The Sir Simon Milton Foundation.  This Show Garden was designed by Lee Bestall  and built by Jon Housley, of JPH Landscapes.

Garden designer Lee Bestall, took inspiration from Covent Garden’s rich heritage and this area’s distinctive and alluring, iconic character, for his design for The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden: ‘500 years of Covent Garden’, which was built by Jon Housley, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden:’500 years of Covent Garden’ in partnership with Capco was sponsored by Capco Covent Garden and The Sir Simon Milton Foundation and designed by Lee Bestall.  This Show Garden was built by JPH Landscapes.

Lee Bestall took inspiration from Covent Garden, with its rich floral heritage and charismatic character, for his design for The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden:’500 years of Covent Garden’ in partnership with Capco, which was created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Life can be busy and stressful, it’s not always easy to make time to stop, relax, and appreciate the beauty of nature.  If you’re looking for some time out, a lovely and relaxing activity that you can take part in this month is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 – spending a restful hour watching and counting birds.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is a delightful activity to share.  

2015 has been a truly amazing year for fruit!  This year it seemed that every Malus domestica 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.  

I love this time of year!  I look forward to seeing the beautiful, diamond like sparkle of the first frosts glistening in the morning sunlight.  There are lots of lovely things you can do now, both indoors and out, to ensure that your garden is in tip-top condition, with lots of wonderful new plants that you can look forward to growing next year!  

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 love autumn, the colourful falling leaves, shiny berries, and burnished tones add to the romance and beauty of the garden.  Make the most of the autumn planting opportunities available now, order seed catalogues and create a beautiful garden to enjoy all year round.  There’s still lots to do in the garden, or at your allotment now!

Mycorrhizal fungi are beneficial fungi species that occur naturally in the soil.  

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.