The season for chrysanthemums

As nights lengthen and get cooler, thoughts turn to chrysanthemums. In fact, you may have had them in bloom for many weeks in your garden because they are a varied and quite confusing bunch of plants. But most people can recognise them and, if they are in doubt, a squeeze and sniff of the leaves…

How deep should you plant bulbs?

Bulb-planting season is in full swing. Now is the perfect time to plant as many bulbs as you can, to be sure of a bright spring. All the small bulbs should be put in as quickly as possible but tulips can be left until November before planting. But how deep and how close should you…

Foxtail lilies

Among the many spring-flowering bulbs offered in autumn, foxtail lilies are the most intriguing and, like some lagers, reassuringly expensive! It is wrong to call them bulbs since they are not bulbs at all but fleshy roots. They certainly look weird, with a growing bud and spokes of thick roots radiating from the centre. Variously…

A star of the season

Michaelmas daisies (yes, this Tuesday is Michaelmas) are in my thoughts at the moment and may be in yours if the gales of the past week did not flatten them. These hardy perennials are invaluable for bringing colour to the garden in autumn but their late blooming works against them as much as for them….

Planting daffs in grass

One of the most effective ways to plant daffodils, and other bulbs, is in grass. Daffodils have an informal look about them and I always think they look best when planted in grass. Of course this is not essential and they can be planted in borders and pots too. I like them everywhere! And the…

Daffs for everyone

As we slide into the middle of September we need to think seriously about spring-flowering bulbs. Yes I know that the weather is doing its best to make us think about petunias and barbecues, for a few days at least, but if it is summer, autumn cannot be far behind! There are lots of bulbs…

Lovely but impossible to live with

If dandelions were difficult to grow I am sure we would all have pots of them. And if common bindweed (calystegia) were killed by frost I am equally sure we would value it as an ornamental. But, as it is, I would rank it as the worst of all weeds we have to tackle. Ground…

Time to think about spring

It may only be the Bank Holiday weekend but with a sharp drop in temperatures it might feel a bit more like autumn and that means, to many of us at least, time for spring bulbs. I mentioned the autumn-flowering bulbs last week, which have to be bought and planted as soon as possible –…

The perils of weather

It has been an odd year for weather. I know that gardeners, like farmers, are never happy with the weather, whatever it is like, but this year seems to have been especially trying. Hot, dry weather, just when we needed some moisture, in spring, made planting tricky. Then extreme hot weather was an issue. But…

Flowers for cutting

One of the joys of having a garden is being able to cut flowers for the home. I know that not everyone likes to take flowers from the garden but I don’t see an issue, especially if you grow a few plants specially for the purpose. A lot of these are annuals, plants that need…