Apple time

It is the season when we are surrounded by apples and it is a sin to buy imported apples. Of all the fruits we can grow, apples are the most rewarding and probably the easiest. It is true that strawberries will crop more quickly but the plants need replacement after two years and apples are…

Tulips and hyacinths

We should be planting spring-flowering bulbs over the next few months but one type needs planting as soon as possible; prepared hyacinths. It was always exciting when the boxes of prepared hyacinths arrived when I was working at Nags Hall in the 80s. They were always displayed next to hyacinth glasses and I am sure…

Crocus and ‘not’ crocus

As the garden centre shelves start to fill with wonderful spring-flowering bulbs, look out for the autumn-flowering section. Autumn-flowering bulbs are wonderful and bring a real touch of freshness to the autumn garden. But, unlike the daffodils and tulips, which can wait a while for planting, these need planting now. After all, they will be…

Autumn shrubs

It is not a huge challenge to fill your garden with colour and fragrance i summer, but now that autumn is officially with us, it can be more difficult to keep the garden looking fresh and colourful. Of course, bedding plants should still be blooming but autumn-flowering shrubs are not so common. But there are…

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…