Moth orchids for Mother’s day

I love to receive plants as gifts and I like to give them too. My only reservation is that I am aware that when I give someone a plant they then live in dread of my next visit in case I ask how it is! But I never do. When I give a plant as…

Give your lawn a little love

Although this winter it has not been particularly cold, it has been wet since a dry January. Lawns are in need of a little TLC to get them ready for summer and March is the ideal time to get your grass match fit. There is a lot to consider when it comes to lawns these…

Spring pruning

Spring is the time to do some pruning. The shrubs that need pruning in March include all those that flower in summer and autumn on new shoots that are produced in summer. This includes buddleias, summer-flowering spiraeas, late-flowering ceanothus, caryopteris, shrubby potentillas, Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea arborescens and most roses. Do not prune spring-flowering spiraeas (mostly…

Primroses great and small

We all understand the importance of protecting our wildflowers but one flower that we are all aware of, at this time of year, is the native primrose (Primula vulgaris). This delightful plant has entranced gardeners for centuries and was welcomed into our gardens. It was crossed with cowslips to make polyanthus and with European species…

Super spuds

Whether you think potatoes should be planted on Good Friday or, as in Ireland, St Patrick’s Day, it is time to get potatoes in the ground. Few of us have enough room to grow all the potatoes we need. They take up a lot of room and they are also a lot of work –…

Daffodil envy

There can be few gardens that do not contain at least a few daffodils – they must be our favourite flowers. And no wonder; they are long-lived and provide the first real splash of colour in spring. When I started this new garden it contained nothing but grass – not a tree, shrub or flower…

Camellias for Mothers’ Day

Despite the date moving, it being tied to Easter, Mothers’ Day always seems like the start of spring. Traditionally linked with picking bunches of primroses and daffodils, it is inextricably linked with flowers. In the 70s, when I worked at Nag’s Hall, the ubiquitous pot chrysanth was a popular gift choice and cinerarias were cheap…

Primroses

With gentler weather we have all been getting out and about more and any walk in the countryside will be enlivened by jewel-like clusters of primrose flowers under hedges. Primroses (Primula vulgaris) is one of our earliest wild flowers – the name means ‘first rose’ from ‘prime’. The pale yellow flowers are delicately scented and…

A knife, a piece of string and a shilling

One of the many characters I remember from the old days at Knights was Bert. I don’t know if I ever knew his surname and I certainly can’t remember it now – perhaps one of you know. I was endlessly fascinated by his tales of life ‘in service’ when he worked in a private estate….

Rotovating in a tight spot

One of the first jobs I did when I started at Knights was rotovating. There was an old Howard Gem rotavator, a big orange beast with rotating blades at the front and two big wheels at the back. It seemed huge to me at the time but not impossible to manoeuvre, after all it had…