One of the gardens that I was most excited to visit at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, was the RHS Kitchen Garden.

The Royal Horticultural Society commissioned Garden Designer Juliet Sargeant to design this special Feature Garden, to demonstrate the many interesting methods that gardeners can use to grow vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers.  The RHS Kitchen Garden has been designed to showcase the extensive variety of beautiful, edible plants that are available for us to grow and eat.  

I use strips of material cut from stockings and twine to secure many of my plants in place.  A variety of different plant ties are now available, some plant ties, like these reusable VELCRO® Brand One-Wrap Plant Ties, make life easier for gardeners as they don’t require tying in, and can also be reused many times.

I felt that these VELCRO® Brand plant ties would be ideal for everyone, but perhaps they are especially useful, for those of us who have difficulty in tying knots, or have difficulty reaching up, or down, to tie in and secure their plants.  

Eric Wall Ltd is a family owned business.  Eric Wall established the company with his business partner Hugh Stevenson, in 1977.  Eric and Hugh started out together with one hectare of glass in 1977.  Fast-forward to 2016, and Eric Wall Ltd currently operate just less than ten and a half hectares of glass in Barnham, which is near Chichester, in West Sussex; they also operate a small site of just over one hectare of glass, which can be found just outside Deal, in Kent.  

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.  

Epic Tomatoes, how to select and grow the best varieties of all time by Craig LeHoullier
Storey Publishing
ISBN 978-1-61212-208-3

The author of this book, Craig LeHoullier, is a tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, an American non profit organisation, established to save and share the seeds of heritage varieties of seed with the aim of conserving and promoting America’s culturally diverse, but often endangered, garden and food crop heritage through future generations.

Gardening can be as expensive an activity as you’d like.  Whatever your budget it’s important to spend your money wisely on items you’ll find useful, indispensable or wonderful!

Village fetes, open garden days and gardening society plant sales are all great places to buy plants at fantastic prices.  At the Compton fete I have sold everything from full size flowering cherry trees, fruit trees and rhododendrons, to vegetable plants, bedding, herbaceous perennials, seeds, tools, and preserves. 

This is such an exuberant and joyous month with Roses, Clematis, Peonies and Philadelphus flowers blooming, the garden feels decadent and luxurious.  I hope you can enjoy time in your garden or at your allotment this month, there’s so much to do, see and enjoy!

If you are wishing you could brighten your garden with some containers, but are away a lot, or find watering difficult, don’t despair you have plenty of options: Lavender, Pelargoniums and Verbena cope well without a regimented watering regime, and Sedums and Sempervivums look beautiful and don’t require any additional watering.  

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 abundance of flowers, fruit and scent makes this time of year feel rather decadent.  Make time to enjoy the sights and sounds of summer, as well as enjoying 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.  

With April sunshine and showers, let’s hope we see lots of rainbows this month!

Sowing seeds is a wonderfully cost-effective way of gardening and a quick and easy way to provide a valuable source of nectar, pollen and food for insects.  If you would like to grow more plants beneficial to bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects then now is a good time to sow the following seeds under cover: Cosmos bipinnatus and Verbena bonariensis.

The abundance of flowers, fruit and scent in the garden makes this time of year feel rather decadent.  Take in the sights and sounds of summer, and enjoy the fruits of your labour in the garden, or at your allotment this month.

It’s important to prune figs now, to let in more light and allow for a better harvest of delicious figs next year.  

With April sunshine and showers, let’s hope we see lots of rainbows this month!

Sowing seeds is a wonderfully cost-effective way of gardening, and a quick and easy way to provide a valuable source of nectar, pollen, and food for insects.  If you would like to grow more plants beneficial to bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, then now is a good time to sow Cosmos bipinnatus and Verbena bonariensis seeds under cover.