Are you looking out of the window at the gloomy sky and the cold, wet weather and wondering what to do? Really? This is no time for lounging around there is work to be done people! OK, things do start to become a bit challenging but November is a really great time (when dodging the showers) to invest a bit of your time that will pay dividends next year.
Right it is Autumn and that means… lots of superb colour, long walks, wet grass and knowing that as nature starts to shut up shop for the year, there are still so many joys to find and that the wonders of winter are just around the corner before that new year starts again.
Every garden should be re-visited to see how it changes but the gardens at Broughton Grange in North Oxfordshire should be visited again and again and again. It has that feeling that no matter whenever you turn up, you just know there is going to be something really quite different to see and that is what makes it special. It was our first visit but it definitely won’t be our last… this is my postcard from Broughton Grange…
September is my favourite month – the summer still lingers but clearly Autumn is on its way. The leaves are starting to fall and the sun rises later but after your month off in August now is a good time plan any Autumn work (paths, edges, new borders). In other words… plenty to be doing and plenty to be enjoying.
With the heat of mid-summer hopefully behind us, August is a time to enjoy those longer warmer evenings in your garden or at the allotment. Whether it is a session tackling those pesky weeds or just sitting down with a glass of wine and watching nature go by whilst the sun goes down, the only thing you really need to do is enjoy this time.
I kept coming across patches of fine brown stuff around the base of plants in some of the gardens and the owners told me they are coffee grounds – they help to “improve” their plants. Now I had heard about the wonders of coffee grounds before but I had also come across a few notes of caution so I wanted to find out whether or not used coffee grounds were good or bad for your plants. And the answer is, they are bad. So why are used coffee grounds bad for your plants?
It was going to be a seriously hot day and a quick spin around the allotment to sort the watering resulted in a neighbour offering us a lovely cauliflower because… they had lots spare… as you do… in July. Ask most people what they would do with a cauli at anytime and I am sure it is going to involve cheese or being boiled to within an inch of its life as a side veg. So in the height summer this might be a challenge, fortunately there is a wonderful charred cauliflower, lemon, caper and orzo recipe that might make you think differently.
In the blink of an eye, June has given way to July which means summer is in full swing. Whilst it is important to take the time to enjoy your garden, there are plenty of small things to do to keep it looking great over the next few months.
It is too easy to reach for a power tool (in this case the strimmer) and attempt to blast your way through a job when in reality a much better tool that is cheaper, easier and far more effective may be just around the corner. So when faced with keeping some overgrown field margins tidy I decided to put the strimmer to one side and try my hand at using a scythe (whilst keeping my top on).
Some things you rightly have to wait for and every 3 years a wonderful group of people open up their gardens in East Hagbourne as part of the National Garden Scheme Open Gardens and today was that day! So we enjoyed a lovely few hours wandering around their gardens big and small and all offered a very warm welcome and so here is my postcard from East Hagbourne’s National Garden Scheme Open Gardens day.
Wytham Woods is an ancient semi-natural woodland, which has been owned and maintained by the University of Oxford since 1942 and we spent a lovely few hours wandering around the woods. You will need to apply for the free permit should you want to visit but a visit is well worth it as there are plenty of long trails through the woods to enjoy. You can also do your bit to help document how the woods are changing by taking photos at designated “Chronolog” points.
Summer has arrived at last and with it comes the prospect (in theory of course) of warmer drier weather which gives you the chance to get out there and do a bit of work but also take a moment or two (but no more!) to enjoy the fruits of your labours from earlier in the year. Keep an eye on the watering and the weeds both of which will need plenty of attention at this month.
Here’s the deal – you don’t mow your lawn this month, you let it and any flowers grow merrily away and in return at the end of the month bask in the glory when you find out how many bees your wild lawn will feed and at the same time help others learn more about the nation’s lawns. Interested?
At last May is here which is one of my favourite months for gardening – flowers starting to burst and there is the lush green of new leaves everywhere. Oh and two bank holidays of course! There is plenty to do around the garden and a little work now will pay dividends in spadefuls when summer arrives.
This year’s National Gardening Week starts on 26 April with theme of “Vitamin G” and is on a mission to promote the positive links between gardening and wellbeing. Oh and G is for green and no matter where you live, you can always add a healthy dose of Vitamin G to your life. You can join in via social media and also visit the RHS Wellbeing Hub.
A patch of daffodils never fails to cheer us up but when they are starting to fade, oh such a sorry sight. So, should you deadhead daffodils? Given that patches in the verges do not get deadheaded and yet return year on year in a blaze of glory the answer should surely be no. This was the question put to the Gardener’s Question Time panel recently and so I thought I would explore this further and see what the consensus is.
Yey it is April again and you now need to be shifting yourself up a gear as spring starts to find its stride. The frosts are few and far between, the temperatures are slowly rising and the ground is nice and soft – perfect for weeds so time to get ahead of the little rascals and set out your stall for the season.
Spring has sprung – well sort of. March is the early spring month and whilst there is still more cold and wet weather to come, the daffodils are up and about and telling everyone else to wake up and that includes you – there is plenty to do!
Ah February, the last month of winter, and whilst there are signs here and there that plants are stirring from their slumber the weather is going to be cold for quite a while yet but don’t worry, there are still plenty of things you can be doing!
As wonderful as the Internet is, just flicking through a magazine is often a far more useful way of finding out stuff when something just catches your eye. So here are 7 things I came across in the December 2020 issue of Gardener’s World.