Heucheras for autumn

It is a Bank Holiday weekend and the sun is shining. So there is reason to celebrate and a garden centre visit is a welcome treat. The benches are full of tempting plants to make autumn more colourful and my favourites for patio pots are heucheras and heucherellas. There is plenty of time to plant…

Time for lawn care

A little work in autumn works wonders when it comes to a healthy green lawn. Lawns are rather contentious these days. When I started gardening it was perfectly acceptable to spray chemicals against weeds and to spend Sundays devoted to maintaining immaculate turf. Thoughts today often recommend leaving lawns long for wildlife and pollinators. It…

Apple pruning

It may seem a strange thing to do but the few weeks following mid August into September are the perfect time to prune apples. When I first mention this the reaction is usually that I am mad and I will be cutting off all the fruits. But summer pruning never cuts off any fruit. And…

Keep your plants fed

Our gardens are full of plants, all growing well. Plants in containers are different to those in our borders because they rely on us to supply all their nutrients and water. So although you can expect the plants in your beds to find their own and the roots to search out water, your patio pots…

Instant summer colour

Midsummer can be a time when the garden begins to look a bit tired. Sumptuous peony flowers are but a distant memory and delphiniums and lupins are just bare stems, usually spotted with mildew. This month is the most difficult of all to keep the garden looking good. Without annuals and other bedding plants it…

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…

Roses are red, violets are blue…

But hydrangeas can be red or blue! I think that, via various means, I get more questions on hydrangeas than any other plants, closely followed by camellias and clematis. A contributory factor is undoubtedly their popularity but there are also lots of things to understand about hydrangeas. When I built and manned a display at…

Orchids for everyone

When I was working at Nags Hall, for some of the time I was in charge of buying the houseplants. It was something I enjoyed but my judgement was sometimes clouded by my training at Kew Gardens. Unfamiliar plants that no one wanted to buy were like old friends to me after working in the…