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Coffee Beans - Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

Three reasons why are used coffee grounds bad for your plants

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?

I have gone all Poldark and decided to swap the strimmer for a scythe

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).

No Mow May

Dare you join in with No Mow May?

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?

National Gardening Week starts on 26 April

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.

Faded daffodil in need of deadheading

Should you be deadheading your daffodils?

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.

Gardener's World - December 2020

7 things I discovered in December’s Gardeners’ World

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.

Dhalias – Lift or stick?

Having been asked twice in quick succession whether or not Dhalias should be lifted I thought a quick post on this topic might be useful as in many cases you really don’t need to lift them but there some good reasons to do so.

What I learned about Tree ferns from the RHS Podcast

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.

Local Garden Centres & Plant Nurseries to Visit

Looking for a particular plant or just fancy a bit of wander? There are plenty of great garden centres and plant nurseries on your doorstep and here is my list of those I know – hope you find a new one to visit and enjoy.

RHS The Garden Magazine Cover - April 2020

Highlights from April’s RHS Garden Magazine

The Garden, the monthly RHS Magazine is a veritable goldmine of gardening and horticultural information.  Browsing through the April edition, I have picked out a few nuggets of useful information to share.


Understanding shade in an unfamiliar garden

If you are looking to move to a new house it can be a challenge to understand how the shade will play across an unfamiliar garden and so in this second article dealing with shade I am going to explain why south facing gardens are not always the best but also give you a quick and simple way to work which parts of a garden are always going to be in the shade.

Shining a light on shade

Turn over a plant label and amongst other things it will tell you what kind of light the plant needs to do best however what does that really mean? In the first of two articles looking at shade in the garden, I start off by explaining the different kinds of shade.

10 things I learned from the experts at David Austin Roses

Every garden needs roses because they are, well, so wonderful but unfortunately they have a reputation as being “difficult”. The reality is they are really easy to look after.  I enjoyed a day at David Austin Roses along with other gardeners (including those from the National Trust, English Heritage and Sandringham) learning from the rose experts and here are 10 things I think you need to know.

Waterperry Gardens Apple Orchard - January 2020

10 Things I Learned from the Fruit Pruning Workshop

After roses, fruit trees are up there with the plants people are most afraid to prune. Left to their own devices, you will soon have an unwieldy mess and yet they just need a bit of care. I needed to get an experts view so booked myself on the Waterperry Pruning Fruit workshop and here I am sharing my top ten tips from the day.

Miguel Barclay’s Butternut Squash Tagliatelle

Autumn on a plate

This is one of our favourite recipes because it is just so simple, so easy and it ticks all the boxes for food at this time of year.  From Miguel Barclay’s £1 meals, his Butternut Squash Tagliatelle is something you really must try – you won’t be disappointed.

The Garden without a Journey

Sometimes we spend too much time stuffing the garden with plants rather than thinking about the people and so making the garden an experience to be enjoyed. One of my first jobs as a gardener was to help a busy professional couple find their garden again and really all that was needed was to give them a journey to enjoy together and the rest would fall into place.

Me maximising the green waste bin capacity

What I have learned from my first year as a gardener

I am one year old. A couple of years ago I decided to give up one profession and do something which, on paper, looked like a really smart thing to do. Looking back, on my first year I thought I might share ten of things I have found out.

South Stoke Open Gardens 2019

South Stoke Open Gardens

With the last bank holiday almost upon us you might want to spend a pleasant afternoon doing what all gardeners love doing – mooching around other peoples gardens!  Many of the gardens in South Stoke (between Goring & Wallingford) will be open to visit and enjoy on Monday 26 August.

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Local Gardening Clubs & Societies

Believe it or not you are surrounded by a multitude of gardening and horticultural clubs and societies all offering talks, visits and the opportunity to swap hints, tips and experiences. Here is a selection of those in and around South Oxfordshire.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Open Gardens 2019

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Open Gardens

For every wonderful heritage and historic garden in the immediate vicinity there are many more lovely smaller private gardens that, for much of the year, are closed to the public but now and again open their gates so we can enjoy their hidden delights.  The Thames Valley Air Ambulance provides an opportunity to visit a number of these gardens and should you find yourself with a spare few hours they are well worth your time.