Flowers to make you smile

We all need something to raise our spirits right now and our gardens are ready to do just that. It is not great gardening weather but a few plants are wowing us with winter blooms. I have always been a fan of winter flowers because, no matter how small the blooms may be, each one…

Time to get potatoes started

For a great crop of potatoes it pays to start early Although there is always debate about whether you should chit (sprout) potatoes before you plant them, and I have not done definitive trials, I think it makes sense to do so if you get your seed potatoes early. Nags Hall are open so you…

Raring to grow

After the recent cold weather it looks as though things may be getting a bit warmer this week. I will be glad to be able to do something outside, even though it may still be wet and cold. As I have said before, it is at this time of year that every flower, no matter…

A new start in the garden

The New Year may not have started with the good news we all wanted but our gardens still need our attention, when it is appropriate. The trouble is, that although there is lots I should be getting on with, soil conditions and the weather are not helping much. After all the recent rain the soil…

A Time for reflection

This period between Christmas and the New Year is always an odd one. We seem in a state of limbo, never sure what to do. After the current year we are all desperate for a new start and yet, for gardeners, it is difficult to know quite what to do. I am desperate to catch…

Hellebores for Christmas

What would your desert island plants be? What plants could you not do without in your garden? It is a tricky question to answer and I would hate to not have roses in the summer, or daffodils in spring. But I think that the plants I would miss most are my hellebores. I have grown…

Christmas cyclamen

With the exception of poinsettias, the most popular Christmas potplant is unquestionably the cyclamen. I always think that cyclamen are slightly old-fashioned but that could be because my nan always had one on the table in the bay window of the front room – the one that was only used on special occasions. And in…

‘Tis the season

While this Festive season will not be quite the same as usual, there is reason to celebrate and a few Christmas pot plants are sure to lift the spirits. Like many people, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with poinsettias. Part of me hates the things and dreads the moment they appear in…

Feed the birds

There is a delicious irony in the way that most gardeners love to feed wild birds and then curse them in summer when they polish off all the red currants and peck holes in every one of the strawberries. I am guilty as charged and have planted my fruit bushes in the garden and intend…

Murdannia – a new houseplant

It is not often that a completely new houseplant appears for us to try but last year I was tempted by something I had never seen before, called Murdannia ‘Bright Star’. When I was in charge of buying houseplants at Nags Hall, several decades ago I often let my heart rule my head and bought…