If you are looking for a gardener in Didcot, Abingdon & Wallingford (or anywhere in between) to help with those small jobs that others are not keen on then I can help. My name is Steven Bradley and I provide a small gardening service in and around where I live. Here you can find out a bit more about me, what I do and other (hopefully) useful and interesting information including how to get in touch!
It is always a pleasure to wander around others well tended gardens on a warm sunny day and if you are regular visitor it may well be worth buying the May 2022 edition of Gardeners’ World Magazine which includes a 2 for 1 pass for adult entrance fees at almost 400 gardens until April 2023.
One of the heralds that spring is on its way are the daffodils and their cheerful chatter but once they have done their bit they do look a sorry lot and so it is time to get dead-heading. It may seem a bit daunting if you have hundreds of the little mites to deal with but there is a quick and easy way to dead-head daffodils and in no time at all you are helping them concentrate on the show for next year.
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!
Snowdrops are one of the first signs that winter is starting to draw to a close and spring is around the corner and one of the best places to see snowdrops at their best is Welford Park near Newbury. It is a lovely place to wander around at this time of the year and the snowdrop woods are fabulous with the winter aconites also putting on a great show. If you miss it this year, you must make a note in your diary for next because you won’t be disappointed. Here is my postcard from the Snowdrop Woods of Welford Park.
As January is the mid-Winter month this means it is likely to be the coldest month of the year so in theory there isn’t a lot to do… or is there?
Now there are many drinks that are associated with Christmas but when all the hullaballoo of bright colours and bubbles have been and gone and you are sitting there just wanting to enjoy a quite moment then you just cannot beat Sloe Gin because… it is Christmas in a bottle. We “foraged” some Sloes last year and now, at long last, we got to enjoy the harvest as Christmas.
There I was digging out a compost bin and the spade hit something rather solid which was a bit unexpected but not necessarily unusual. When emptying a compost bin – you never know what you will find but it seems on this occasion it was going to be a pair of very rough secateurs but what was even better – they were not mine for a change! Anyway, question is can we rescue and restore this gardening artefact to its former glory?
Autumn, I love autumn but sorry, not so keen on the leaves. No sir. However this year, having waited in the hope the price would come down (it didn’t), I invested in a leaf sweeper (which one of my clients described to their other half as looking like a pram). Ignore that – if you have lots of leaves then a leaf sweeper may well be the answer to your prayers because it was to mine.
It might be cold and dark and wet and grey and damp and really not a lot of fun but there are still plenty of things you can be doing in your garden. Others have more detailed suggestions (see end of article) but I have a few to offer.
If you spend a lot of November sweeping up leaves and putting them in your garden waste bin then you are missing out on the best soil conditioner you can get your hands on and what’s more it is free. So last year I made a leafmould cage at a client’s garden and this year it was time to see what the harvest was looking like and I wasn’t disappointed.
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.
Well it was back from the allotment with the last of the sweetcorn which to be honest wasn’t looking its best so what to do with it? After getting out the recipe books and flicking through we hit on Nigella’s Mexican inspired lasagne and wow it is really good and so easy.
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.
We were looking for something different to do with the last of the new potatoes when a recipe that used potatoes as pizza topping floated into vision. Potatoes… on top of pizza… really who on earth would come up with that? Ah, of course those wonderful people who invented pizza! So if you like pizza then you really must try Pizza con Patate.
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?