Lots of lettuce

Before I discuss lettuce I would like to thank everyone who came to the talks at Betchworth Centre last Thursday and Nags Hall on Friday evening. These were the first evening talks at the centres, with optional meals freshly cooked in the restaurant. It was great to meet you all and it was a lovely,…

Lots of lilies

When I started to garden in a real way, some of the first groups of plants that fascinated me were orchids and lilies. Both groups of plants were rare and expensive – we are talking about the late 1970s and I was a teenager. Both groups are now commonplace and easier to find and grow….

Begonias

With so many flowers to fill our gardens in summer it can be difficult to know what to pick. Twenty years ago the most popular choice for patio pots and small garden beds was the ubiquitous busy Lizzie. But then downy mildew struck and they became almost impossible to grow. Although there are now resistant…

Buckets of beans

When it comes to grow some veg at home, I think that beans are among the best. Apart from the fact that they are nutritious and packed with good things, I like them because they are easy to prepare for the kitchen. There is little washing and trimming needed and they can be from plot…

Grow your onions

Two weeks ago I addressed how to grow potatoes. This week I am going to tackle onions. Why? Well they are the vegetable I use more than any other, probably more than potatoes. They are also quite easy to grow, give a good crop in a small area and there are several ways to start. …

Hedges for health

Most gardeners want to add privacy and shelter to their gardens and divide their plots for design reasons. The gardener is faced with a number of choices to do this. Walls, trellis and fences all offer quick options. Planting a hedge does not offer a quick solution – they take many years to mature and…

Starting with veg: Potatoes

I predict that even more of us will be growing some crops this year, to save money and to add to a healthy diet. So I am beginning a series on growing crops at home. And what better way to start than with potatoes. I plan to make things simple but also comprehensive so bear…

Growing under plastic

After what has probably been the wettest winter for many years, I am especially appreciative of my polytunnel. It allows me to grow crops all year, to grow crops that need more warmth than our summers usually provide and to keep busy, doing something useful in wet weather.  Polytunnels are not things of great beauty…

Festive pot plant care

Happy New Year If you bought pot plants for Christmas or if you received one as a gift, I hope they are still going strong!  To help you keep your plants looking good for as long as possible, here are some useful guidelines.  Poinsettias The classic Christmas houseplant, the poinsettia is easy to look after…

Plant some Christmas cheer

Merry Christmas! May your holiday be peaceful, happy and memorable. Few of us are thinking much about our gardens in these busy days, though if you have a greenhouse or have houseplants there will be things to check. But there are always a few plants in the garden that offer some colour and fragrance and…