In my last pond update, I showed you the shape of our wildlife pond after it was dug out and explained my thinking behind the design for the contours of my new wildlife pond. With the pond now all ready to set up, the next phase of our wildlife pond project is to prepare and install the equipment needed to make it all work!
Back in June I shared the first stage of my project to build a wildlife pond in our new garden. We hoped to have our pond up and running this summer, but due to the cost of buying the liner, plants, and other equipment, plus the sheer monumental task of shifting so much concrete and the need to repeatedly dig up reappearing bamboo suckers, it has taken us longer to get everything in place.
June bestows blessings upon us – a final opportunity to grow incredibly productive and delicious vegetables this summer! Savvy gardeners who sow cucumber and courgette seeds directly in the soil now avoid the hassle of washing up pots, the time needed to pot up seedlings, and the expense of buying compost.
All risk of frost has passed so you don’t need a greenhouse.
I enjoy running horticultural trials; I spend much of my time searching for the most gorgeous plants that will produce a profusion of flowers and attract bees and pollinating insects. I love to share the most successful plants from my trials with you to help you find top quality plants to enhance your garden. The plants I recommend in this column need to be grown in a bright and sunny location, in well-drained soil or containers filled with peat-free compost.
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.
I adore mint and relish this herb’s energy. Freshly harvested mint leaves can be used to make enticing cocktails, herbal teas, and an array of delicious savoury and dessert recipes. Most people are familiar with peppermint or spearmint, but have you tried any other varieties?
A whole world of different flavoured mints is available to those who grow their own plants.
Whether you garden in sunshine or shade, there are plants that will be perfectly suited to growing in your garden – it’s just a case of finding them! In 2019, my Vegepod was moved from a sunny spot, to a new enclosed, deeply shaded area of my garden. I am not exaggerating when I say that in its new position my Vegepod truly was shaded – my Vegepod was sandwiched in a tight space, wedged between a tall conifer hedge, a two storey high wall, a tall fence, and an 8ft tall pergola that was smothered with climbing plants – the plants growing in my Vegepod did not receive any direct sunshine whatsoever.
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!
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.
Happy new year! I want to help you create a positive and uplifting garden where you can relax, grow your favourite plants, and make real connections with nature.
Do you have a compost heap in your garden? How about in your college or office garden? Composting is such a wonderful thing to do; it’s great for the environment, good for wildlife, produces amazing compost, and saves money!
I’ve taken pictures of a few of my miniature orchids to show you the plants that I’ve been focusing my attention on this week. Currently, my main preoccupation has been to be poised and ready to pollinate my Aerangis macrocentra plants, in the hope that the last remaining flower of my first plant to bloom survived long enough for my second plant’s first flower to open.
I attended the ‘Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods’ conference, hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. I fully support the Kew Declaration on Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods. I am just one of the 3000 global experts and concerned citizens from 114 countries that signed this declaration which aims to promote the long-term protection and restoration of natural forest ecosystems worldwide.
Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond at the end of August. I find peace and solace in nature and I love spending time by our wildlife pond. Usually my visits are fleeting, lasting just a few minutes, but these short burst of connection with plants and wildlife revitalise and recharge me, instantly eliminating all the stresses of life.
Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond in midsummer. I’ve got so much to show you, as this area of my garden is currently full of plants at all stages of growth. I can’t wait for you to see the flowers, but what you can’t see is the scent. I’ve only grown a few plants with perfumed flowers in this area, but they produce strongly scented flowers that fill this part of my garden with fragrance.
At this time of year, foxglove flowers pulsate with the relaxing, soothing sound of summer, as bees hum happily whilst they disappear in and out of the tubular flowers.
Foxgloves are superb plants for bees; they’re fantastic plants for gardeners, too! These obliging plants are self-supporting and rarely need any assistance. Water your seedlings in dry weather until they’ve settled in; once they’re established, foxgloves are fairly drought tolerant and slug resistant.
Summer has finally arrived! Hello and welcome to my wildlife pond in summertime. It’s so lovely to be able to share my wildlife pond with you through these updates; I am looking forward to taking you on a tour of the aquatic and herbaceous plants growing in this area of my garden.
I remember heading out on a sunny day in May, some years ago now. My new raised bed was completed, so I was heading over to my allotment, filled with excitement and armed with an open packet of Hesperis matronalis var. albiflora seeds. Somewhat comically, I tripped up en route, throwing myself and the entire contents of my seed packet down onto my neighbour, Caroline’s allotment.