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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.

Things to do in December

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.

Malus - Red Sentinel

Things to do in November

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.

October - Lovely!

Things to do in October

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.

Postcard from West Dean Gardens

With a week off we decided to visit West Dean Gardens near Chichester in West Sussex and it was well worth the trek the Sat Nav took us on.  The walled garden with its glass houses and multitude of fruit trees is magnificent as is the 100m Edwardian pergola which is host to many varieties of magnolia, clematis, rose and honeysuckle. 

Geranium robertianum - Herb robert

Weed of the Month – Herb robert

A type of geranium, Herb robert, has pretty small pink flowers however it will spread quickly – fortunately it is an easy weed to deal with and in this short post I explain a bit more about this fascinating little plant.

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.

Postcard from Rousham Gardens

Rousham is… just a wonderful place to be – it is food for the soul. If you haven’t been go, if you haven’t been for a while go. This is a place that always gives you the space to decide which of the many inviting paths to take and rewards you whichever way you go.  It is one of my favourites, it never disappoints and always delights.

Gooseberry and Elderflower Muffins

Gooseberry and Elderflower Muffins

That sharp sour crunch of the first gooseberries of the year from the allotment is now a distant memory (ah, a shame) however as the gooseberry season starts to draw to a close there is still time to do something just a bit different, thanks to Delia Smith, with the last of the fruits and you won’t be disappointed.

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.

Hagbourne Garden Club – Plant Sale

You can’t keep a good garden club down and even though they can’t hold their wonderful monthly talks it doesn’t mean everything has to stop and so from the 18th May until 1st June, The Hagbourne Garden Club will be offering plants for sale at various locations around the village (socially distanced of course!).

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.

Hagbourne Garden Club - Growing Vegetables in a Small Garden

Hagbourne Garden Club – Growing Vegetables in a Small Garden

There are few things that taste quite as good as vegetables harvested from your own garden but getting started can seem a bit of a challenge especially if you only have a small patch.  Robert Longstaff will be talking about this very topic at the Hagbourne Garden Club on Thursday 27 February from 7pm.

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.

St. Timothee (Jan 2020)

Postcard from St. Timothee

Gardening is a passion and being responsible for a garden however big or small shouldn’t be anything less than a pleasure.  I was lucky enough to be able to visit the garden at St. Timothee today and apart from the wonderful garden, it was the passion of the owner and the pleasure it clearly gave them that shone through above all – that is what really makes garden a great garden.  Here is my post card from St. Timothee.

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.

Hamamelis mollis - Chinese witch hazel

Postcard from Harcourt Arboretum

Looking out of the window, the world doesn’t seem very inviting at this time of year but get your boots on, wrap up warm, head out and there are many winter delights to be found at almost every turn.  We had a lovely walk around Harcourt Arboretum a few days ago and enjoyed the flowering witch hazels, the wonderful bark that shines in the winter gloom and signs all around that far from sleeping, the plants were busy doing their thing.

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.