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Mining peat unlocks stored carbon into the atmosphere, and there are far better alternatives to help your garden grow. There has been a huge effort to phase out the use of peat by both amateur and professional gardeners....
Use a hoe only on sunny days when the soil is dry. Otherwise some disturbed weedlings may irritatingly re-root and go on growing. Fine-rooted weeds often snap off in your hand. To ease out the entire plant, grab the top growth with one hand and prise up the roots with a fork...
Now is an excellent time to plant a clematis and there should be three distinct types flowering in garden centres. The evergreen Clematis armandii (from central and southern China) produces fragrant white flowers and leathery leaves. This bee-pleaser needs space and a warm south- or west-facing wall to thrive. It can be rampant. Pruning consists of a tidy after flowering, if needed.
Gardeners World Magazine
Ensure bushy growth and masses of flower, by pinching out the tips of fuchsia regularly. This encourages side shoots and strengthens the growth to support the weight of summer flowers. Pinch out three or four times from spring to early summer for best results.
Thin out congested snowdrop clumps just as their flowers are fading. Replant in twos and threes at twice their depth of soil, and apply a liquid feed.
Hugely popular and rightly so is tomato, Gardeners Delight
A cherry variety, the small fruit don’t need as much of a summer to ripen well. Hard to rival for flavour. Japanese 'Black Trifele’ (medium) and 'Costoluto Fiorentino’ (large) make an unbeatable trio.
Diane Kirkness’s request for suggestions for “easy” flowers for primary schoolchildren to grow and sell brought up some very interesting ideas from fellow readers – teachers, parents and (like Diane) press-ganged members of their local communities.
Newborn lambs are bounding around fields, birdsong is getting louder and where did all this sun come from? I'm not the only person to notice that it must be spring again. Although, for the forager March is a little frustrating even down here in the south of England.
Every spring for the last four years, I've taken myself on daily lunchtime walks around the local park, looking for bees. These walks have become a sort of ritual; a mini, personal celebration of spring. The pedant in me ticks off new species that have emerged from winter hibernation, and then I walk back to my air-conditioned office and bore colleagues with my sightings.
If healthy eating and growing your own produce are among your New Year’s resolutions, you can get a head-start with The Daily Mirror’s special…
When I started writing this column on broccoli – or, more correctly, calabrese, for that is what those dense heads of green truly are – it wasn't easy. Not because broccoli is hard to grow – it wants utterly consistent conditions, regular watering, lots of food and no overcrowding – but because it bores me.
The Telegraph | 6 February 2012
Treelike shrubs are great to grow in containers on balconies Balconies are highly coveted spaces, but choosing plants to enhance their elevated charms can be testing.
The Observer | 5 February 2012
The one thing that is reliable about the weather in Britain is its unpredictability. Two hard winters in a row were a reminder that anything was possible – not a sign that we were moving into an ice age. To prove it, the Hamamelis mollis opened on the first day of the year, bristling free from velvety buds, and the warm weather kept the grass growing through January and saw the hellebores and snowdrops flower a month early.
The Telegraph | 3 February 2012
In a new BBC series, Bees, Butterflies and Blooms, Sarah Raven addresses the crisis in our pollinator populations. At the end of winter – at the planning moment in the garden – is the time to set in train ways for making your garden more pollinator-friendly. Here she presents 8 simple ways you can make your garden more friendly for bees, butterflies and other insects.
BBC Gardeners World | 1 November 2011
When visiting large gardens during spring, I always admire the drifts of dwarf flowering bulbs growing up through wide expanses of grass.
The Mirror | 1 November 2011
Normally the time for slippers, cocoa and autumn fires, there’s too much to do in the garden for all that!
The Guardian | 1 November 2011
In November, Mother Nature recycles. The last leaves fall off the trees, plants wither away, insects and other wildlife die and all is returned to the soil to enrich it for the new life next spring.
Following this example, use your old compost to make a warm mulch blanket on the borders and build a new compost heap. Try the latest thinking and chop up everything first to speed up the process.
The Guardian | 30 October 2011
Rake the last of the leaves from the lawns to give the grass air and light, and clear paths and terraces once the magic has gone from fallen foliage. Leave foliage in beds where there is robust planting, as the worms will pull it to earth to complete the cycle.
Remove foliage from herbs, alpines and Mediterranean plants such as lavender, sage and santolina to promote free air movement. Wet and cold can be lethal in combination with plants not designed for our climate.
The Guardian | 17 October 2011
So despite protestations and plans to the contrary, seems I couldn't help but sow onions sets and garlic at the weekend.
The Daily Telegraph | 13 October 2011
Choose a site that gets plenty of light, but is sheltered from strong winds. Avoid shade, particularly in early spring and late winter, and don't put it too close to any trees, as falling leaves will dirty the glass. If you intend to heat the greenhouse with electrical heaters, the closer it is to the house, the cheaper it will be to install
The Daily Telegraph | 12 October 2011
While I feel I can boast modest success growing plants outside in the garden, I seem to be the kiss of death to indoor plants. I always end up mistreating those sad desiccated sprigs; maybe it's their total reliance on me that I resent. Now, happy in their new home (a well-lit south-facing porch), the sole survivors of a once flourishing conservatory — my succulents are my horticultural guilty pleasure.
The Telegraph | 13 September 2011
Pick from the sunny side of the tree first. Lift apple, twist half a turn, if ready the fruit should come off.
Only store best fruit, leave damaged fruit for juicing or jamming. Store in a frost-free cellar or shed with good ventilation and low temperature.
The Telegraph | 8 September
It's been a bumper year for plums. All summer, the paving outside my house has been sticky with juice and squished fruit. In the orchards too, the trees have been laden....
The Guardian | 12 September
Have become a bit obsessed of late with 'found food' (see recent summerhouse posts), wandering around staring at trees wishing I had a ladder. Over the past couple weeks I have scavenged (sorry, foraged) ceps, sorrel, fennel, hips, hazels, plums, blackberries, beech, elder and walnuts. I have even drunk red pine aquavit.
The Guardian | 14 September
With the huge increase in poultry keeping there has been an equally big rise in the range of poultry paraphernalia on sale. Poultry housing is a case in point. It's also a classic example of the good old bandwagon being jumped on.....
The Telegraph | 14 September
We show you how to achieve an exciting burst of new spring colour with perennial flowering tulips.....
The Sun | 14 September
AUTUMN is around the corner, so it's time to prepare your garden paradise for the onslaught of plummeting temperatures and typical torrential downpours of our beautiful British climate.
Daily Mirror | 12 August
A good hour of every day should be spent in the garden fast asleep, then another gazing at the plants, then another socializing with friends – almost anything but work – but there are jobs to be done, even in August.
One of the easiest jobs in the garden is simply to look with a critical eye.
The Telegraph | 9 August
Remove lower leaves from plants once they have set their fruit. Irregular watering causes skins to split so be consistent with the watering can
The Guardian | 5 August
Now is the moment to start taking cuttings of tender plants such as geraniums and half-hardy salvias, if you have found favourites that you want to see again next summer.
The Guardian | 5 August
Grow your own strawberries are short-lived plants, so if you want your patch to stay productive, you need replacements every few years. Luckily the plants make their own. Have a hunt around in the soil of your strawberry patch and you will find that each plant has sent out long "runners".
The Telegraph | 3 August
Thanks to the phenomenally dry April, gardeners haven't had much of a problem with slugs this year. It's only now, with the wet weather of July, that numbers are on the rise.
Daily Mirror | 14 July 2011
There is a difference between the peak of the July garden and the maturity of August.
Sometime in July the garden will look at its best, a fleeting hour when all is well; but it will not be mature. There are plants growing, striving for the sun, there are still more blooms to be had and there are yet one or two babies around the borders that have yet to show themselves.
The Telegraph | 14 July 2011
What I love about organic vegetable gardens at this time of year, is that their abundance makes you feel inspired and creative just walking around them.
The Telegraph | 13 July 2011
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (July 20-24) is a great chance to shop, see top-class gardens, attend the first Ladies' Day (July 21) and judge for yourself the RHS Young Designer of the Year. For tickets call 0844 581 0814 or visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows.
The Telegraph | 13 July 2011
'A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly" but that's when we got our bees. As a gardener, I would argue it is worth getting them whenever you can.
Granted, we had almost a year to wait until we had a stack of honey in the larder, but the sound of bees on a good summer's day
The Guardian | 10 July 2011
Creating a wild-flower meadow gives you the chance to witness the wildlife that thrives where the mower blades stop
The Independent | 12 June 2011
Too many people are abandoning their green credentials when they step outside their front door, ministers will warn this week as they unveil a blueprint to encourage more recycling on the go.
Progress has been made in encouraging domestic recycling, but while diligently separating glass, plastics and tins at home, people on the move.
The Independent | 11 June 2011
Music fans planning to attend this year's Glastonbury music festival are being encouraged to travel in a greener manner as part of a new environmentally friendly scheme.
This year the organizers of the Glastonbury Festival, which runs June 22-26, are promoting the environmentally friendly Glastonbury Festival Green Traveller package.
The Telegraph | 11 June 2011
The oven-like spring, allegedly the warmest since records began in 1659, looks set to turn into a furnace of a summer, with forecasters predicting highs of 91F (33C) by the end of the month.
This may be good news for sunbathers and fruit-growers, but it's bad news for hosepipes, and what's bad for hosepipes is very bad for lawns. Keeping prized grass green in a drought is a test for any gardener
The Guardian | 10 June 2011
Last week, an entry in my gardening diary read: "First strawberry of the season. While the strawberry bed wintered under straw some of the runners, snipped and potted, weathered the frigid season in the relative warmth of the greenhouse. Spring came earlier for them and they rewarded us with a single early piece of fruit.
That one berry in hand is so much more precious than the white blossoms and unripe berries that might also come to fruition."
The Guardian | 9 June 2011
This time of year always reminds me of childhood visits to Pick Your Own farms. Spending hours eating raspberries and strawberries, and maybe and picking the occasional one, too. But there was always a price to pay for all this abandon – helping mum pick fruit for her beloved gooseberry wine. I can still feel the painful scratches that formed as my hands dived for the bigger, juicer berries.
I could never understand why you'd go through such pain for a fruit inferior to the painless strawberry. As an adult, with a more sophisticated palate, I can now understand the bittersweet flavours of this fruit. I can also understand these trips were more about the wine than keeping us happy. Sipping gooseberry wine on a lazy summer afternoon is one of life's simple pleasures.
The Telegraph | 8 June 2011
Everything to which the caveat "don't plant out until all danger of frost is past" applied can now be planted out.
The Daily Mail | 6th May 2011
Was there ever a better time of year to be out in the garden? This year’s unseasonably warm April has seen the British outdoors transformed into a riot of colour. There are rhododendrons, irises, azalea and wisteria, flowering in all their glory.
The Guardian | 6th May 2011
It said many of the 100 pairs that nest in small colonies in the southern Pennines might be affected. The bird used to occur much more widely.
The Guardian | 5th May 2011
I have vine weevils in my garden. I can tell by the wilting pot plants and fat, maggoty grubs. This is why I think pessimism is sensible. Even if the sun is shining, the garden vibrant and perfumed, my bananas have survived the winter, the cherries, nectarines and grapes.
The Telegraph | 4th May 2011
It’s the driest Lincolnshire has ever been at this time of year. In recent weeks, most of the country has been fabulously warm but – for gardeners – scarily dry. If you’re concerned about your plot, think of gardeners in far hotter places who battle regularly with drought.
The Telegraph | 2nd May 2011
It’s fun taking foreign guests to Chelsea Flower Show, especially if they have never been before. Visitors from overseas confess to a sense of awe at the scale of it, especially when confronted by the flower displays in the marquee – most gratifying for the patriotic British gardener.
The Telegraph | 29th April 2011
Now (and up to early summer), is an excellent time to sow seeds of sweet William (Dianthus barbatus), and also wallflowers.
Sweet William may evoke the royal wedding, but the common name refers to Prince William, Duke of Cumberland (d. 1765), who put down the Jacobite risings.
The Guardian | 1st April 2011
The arrival of this year's fleeting bluebells is the perfect excuse to grab your camera and spend time in a nearby wood.
The Telegraph | 1st April 2011
Helen Yemm on which jobs to get done in the garden for the week ahead.
The Guardian | 26th February 2011
Sow lettuce for fresh spring salads, plus start dahlias into growth.
The Guardian | 26th February 2011
The no-dig way to beautiful, dark, crumbling soil that's a joy to look at.
The Observer | 24th February 2011
All you'll ever need to know about growing blueberries and making delicious preserves from the fruit.
The Telegraph | 24th February 2011
A 3in or 4in mulch of home-made compost, commercially produced, recycled organic waste, well-rotted manure or (particularly in woodland gardens and around acid-loving plants) leaf mould is generally recommended as a spring tonic.
The Telegraph | 19th February 2011
It’s still far too early to think about sowing runner beans. These frost-tender plants need warmth and they should not be sown or planted outdoors until mid-May.
The Mirror | February 2011
Thought much about your shed roof recently? Felt-clad, algae-covered, a single shoe perched rotting in the gutter. Not all that thrilling.
So why not transform yours into a trendy “living” roof? It makes use of a boring surface and adds an interesting element to your garden – especially if you’re short on space. Your neighbours will be green with envy.
The Telegraph | 03 January 2011
Jean Vernon uses leaves and wood for her garden fires. Here, she looks at eco fuel that can be used to reduce your carbon footprint.
The Telegraph | 01January 2011
The honeybee is in peril, but every gardener can help by planting pollinator friendly plants in their gardens and allotments during 2011.