Many ornamental grasses hold onto their foliage overwinter; this provides a delightful structural softness, texture, and delicacy for our winter gardens.  Grasses will be producing new growth soon; therefore, this is the ideal moment to pop on some gardening gloves and use your fingers to comb through deciduous grasses, removing all the old stems ready for the arrival of fresh new growth.

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

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. 

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.

  • Group One Clematis produce their flowering stems in the summer before flowering and bloom early in the year (in autumn, winter, and springtime).
  • Grow your own figs and grapes

    Holidaymakers buying plants or collecting plant material as holiday souvenirs often bring home more than they bargained for and unwittingly transport pests, diseases, or invasive species into the UK; causing lasting, and sometimes irreversible, problems for themselves and UK horticulture as a whole.

    Instead, make your holiday excitement last all summer, every year, with UK grown plants that will flourish inside your conservatory or glasshouse, at your garden or allotment. 

    Sweetly scented summer flowering shrubs

    I relish plants that produce fragrant flowers.  Philadelphus aren’t the most memorable group of plants for ten or eleven months of the year, but while they’re in flower, these shrubs perfume the garden with their intoxicating and deliciously sweet scent.

    Philadelphus

    Philadelphus aren’t fussy plants, they’re fully hardy and flower reliably every year.  Plant in full sun or partial shade, in any well drained soil. 

    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. 

    Gifts for Gardeners

    I feel such an uplifting, happy sensation when I find the perfect gift.  I have been busy testing out products, searching for special gifts for gardeners.  Here are my recommendations:

    Horticultural Society Membership

    Membership of a horticultural society would make a super present.  There are many local gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey, where you can learn about gardening and make new friends.  

    I so enjoy using my Felco model No.12 Compact Deluxe secateurs.  Felco is a premium brand.  I aspired to own a pair of Felco secateurs, for what felt like an eternity, before I finally got my own pair of secateurs.  I am so grateful for my Felco secateurs.

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

    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.  

    I love the excitement of the garden at this time of year, with colourful, cheery spring flowers emerging and the promise of so much more to come.  This is such an invigorating and inspiring time, with so much to see and do in the garden!

    Prune Figs. The latex that figs readily emit when you prune is an irritant, so it’s advisable to wear gloves whilst pruning or tending to your plants, and then wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve finished.  

    Grow A Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph
    Publisher: Storey Publishing
    ISBN: 978-1-61212-054-6

    ‘Grow A Little Fruit Tree’ extols the virtues of growing smaller fruit trees, advocating the use of pruning, rather than relying on rootstocks, to keep fruit trees small. The author recommends growing fruit trees that are a manageable height and size, around the height of the tree’s owner or guardian, so that all parts of the tree are within reach and the tree is accessible for both pruning and harvesting without the need for a stepladder.

    I enjoy the quiet romance of February in the garden.  Here are some jobs you can be getting on with this month:

    To enjoy the best flowering display from your Wisteria you need to prune it; you’ll enjoy more flowers of better quality, and it will look tidier.  At this time of year the structure of the plant is clear of foliage, so it’s easy to see where to prune. 

    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!  

    This time of year is so exciting, with Christmas coming and lots of celebrations on the horizon!  Make the most of any bright, sunny days, wrap up warmly and get out in the garden!

    Mycorrhizal fungi are a species of fungi that occur naturally in the soil.  Mycorrhizal fungi have a special growing relationship with some plants, they effectively work together to create a stronger, wider reaching root system for the plant; helping the plant to withstand drought and stress.  

    It’s an exciting time and romantic time in the garden, with lots to do this month and so much to look forward to!  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 rejuvenate it now by removing any old dead wood and cutting it back hard.  

    Although it’s still jolly chilly outside, the daylight hours are lengthening each day, which means there’s more time to be outside enjoying the garden!

    There are so many beautiful plants and flowers to be enjoyed at this time of year, many of them scented to attract pollinating insects.  As there aren’t as many insects around in winter, the scent plants produce is often incredibly powerful as well as sweet.  

    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.