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?
If you want productive apple and pear trees then winter is a key time in the gardening calendar – what you do now will be heavily reflected in the fruits you harvest later in the year. One topic that has come up recently is winter washing and in particular should “wash”, when to do it and whether that is before or after pruning. Estate and Orchard Gardeners rarely offer up their expertise on these kind of topics so I needed to come up with my own view.
Another year hurtles by and so, this year, I am 4 and a bit and I thought it would be interesting to look back over one year of my work and some of the numbers that have been totted up. Obviously, this being Christmas, it is going to be a bit light-hearted because hey people we survived another rock and roll year (drought, downpours, freezing etc.). However, what follow are, as accurate as I can get them, and for those that are “estimated”, they are done so with… well stories in mind.
I come across this often – the assumption that once the clocks go back or the winter weather is in full flow that your gardener will shut up shop until they emerge once more from the cocoon of winter into the warmth of spring. The reality is rather different, for a gardener, whilst it is not quite as manic as the May’s and September’s of the year, winter is a seriously busy time. So with my Santa hat on I have booked myself on a disability in garden design course as well as an emergency first aid course. No rest for this mouse.
Sometimes, finding the answer to what seems a simple question is very difficult (whether it is gardening or really any other aspect of life). So my simple question was, why did I keep finding metal watering cans with bowed out, distorted bottoms? The answer it seems is equally simple and logical when you think about it… ice.
Should you be looking for a Christmas gift for a garden loving person or ideas for others who might be stuck then I would thoroughly recommend “The Sceptical Gardener” by Ken Thompson. It is a no-nonsense approach to gardening and various associated topics. The articles are short and thoroughly researched, well written and with the quite a lot off-beat facts and figures (5,000 people each year are injured by flowerpots apparently) as well as debunking many gardening myths. Definitely one to have to hand.
I came across a draft of a post I had obviously put together after a particularly traumatic hedge trimming session but hadn’t posted (always wait). Anyway, after a bit of tweaking on reflection and with Autumn fast approaching, here are some of the things I have learnt about hedge trimming.
I looked high and low but couldn’t find a anything short and simple on deadheading for common garden flowers and if I am doing something for my clients I want to be doing it in the best possible way. So having consulted various sources, including professional growers on how to deadhead common garden flowers I have compiled this short and simple guide – I hope you find it useful.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
The first time you ever see a Tree fern I guarantee you will stop in your tracks and be utterly captivated as you try to comprehend what is in front of you. Tree ferns are a pre-historic plant but put them in a modern contemporary garden and they always look superb. So a recent and wonderful RHS podcast was enthusing about ferns of all kinds and when it came to Tree ferns this I what I learned.