Columns

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,

Continue reading

Review: The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

I’m going to kick off this monthly book review with what has become (so far!) my crime novel of the year – The Birdwatcher by William Shaw. They say: Police Sergeant William South has a reason for not wanting to be on the murder investigation. He is a murderer himself. But the victim was his

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Divide and conquer

Last month I talked about creating new plants for free via cuttings. Division is another very popular method and is one of the easiest forms of propagation of eligible plants. Most perennials should be divided every few years as a matter of routine as old, matted clumps tend to die out in the middle or

Continue reading

New plants from old

One topic that readers have asked me about recently is propagation or producing new plants from old. Raising your own new plants from existing stock provides a free source of young healthy plants with a supply that can be infinite, as each year’s growth provides new material. You know just what you are getting too, since propagation from cuttings, division or layering produces

Continue reading

Bedswapping in the hen house

At the time of writing this the list above is not quite accurate as Henry, George’s brother, has come to visit us for a week or so. His owners are on holiday prior to moving to Mill Street and it seemed a real shame for the dogs to miss out on their walks if Henry

Continue reading