Over the garden gate

Getting started with vegetables

Recently a reader asked me about growing vegetables as they hadn’t a clue. So here for her and anyone else who might be interested are some very general tips to get started. Ambitious vegetable gardens are seldom achievable in a small garden especially if you are planning on swathes of potatoes and brassicas that are

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The joy of shrubs

March can be a treacherous month weather wise for outdoor planting and propagating as the chances of frost are still high and the ground is usually too cold (below 7 centigrade) to promote germination. But we gardeners are patient by nature so this is a good time to continue our thoughts on the planning front

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Always a work in progress

One of the unsung joys of a garden is that it is never complete and this time of the year presents a perfect opportunity to plan ahead for the coming season. It provides an opportunity introduce elements in tune with our changing lifestyles and play around with new ideas. I cannot recall a single year

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Colourful winter gardens

You could be deceived into thinking the winter is the drab time in the garden but if you are lucky enough to have evergreens or plants with coloured bark or stems along with some winter flowers then you are in for a visual treat. Evergreens too make a wonderful backbone to your garden with an enormous range

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Not quite organic!

I often get asked if I garden organically. To me organic gardening is all about being as environmentally friendly as possible using naturally occurring materials rather than chemical weed killers and pesticides. This of course means using alternative means and techniques. Many of my gardening friends take the organic route extremely seriously but for me,

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Going wild in the garden

There is a very fine dividing line these days between what is a weed and a plant, especially now that natural- style, wildlife friendly gardening is so fashionable – and rightly so, since many of our genuine natural habitats are disappearing. Incorporating wildflowers into our gardens may initially feel a tad uncomfortable to those of

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The war against weeds

The growing season is well underway marked by the reappearance of my old foes; ground elder, bindweed and creeping buttercup that I thought I had previously blitzed to kingdom come. Fat chance. Problem is these weeds are near impossible to deter despite extensive mulching that supposedly suppresses growth, spread like wildfire which in my well cultivated garden

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Thriving in the shade

The arrival of the Spring Equinox and the clocks going forward is a sure sign the coming growing season is fast approaching. This provides me with an opportune moment to answer some of the questions I have received. I shall start this month with plants that thrive in the shade. Most gardens have a shaded

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March – with thoughts of spring

March, and gardeners thoughts turn to spring and the joys of rediscovering what there is in the garden. After our strange winter in which daffodils flowered in December and the plum blossom in our hedge was out in January – who knows what spring will be like! Winter for me is not spent in perusing seed catalogues – I am

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Being adventurous with bulbs and tubers

With the new editions of the gardening catalogues out, it is an ideal time to start planning for next year. The bulb and tuber sections of these enticing publications will be of special interest as I have decided it’s time to be a little more adventurous and forsake my usual choice of new varieties of

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