Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Christmas Plants & Composting Leaves

December began with strong winds and heavy rain, setting the tone for the start of another potentially mild, wet winter. It blew all of the remaining leaves from the ‘Silver Birch’ in my garden and has concentrated them all to one side of the garden, alongside those that have already fallen, making them easier to […]

Selecting Vegetable Seeds & Creating a Manageable Apple Orchard

Over the past few years there has been a major resurgence of interest in vegetable growing on as people discover the joys and health benefits of home grown food for the table but you can add more interest to your ‘five portions a day’ by growing apples or pears. Forget any ideas of giant unmanageable […]

Asters, Dahlias and Ventilating your Greenhouse

At the beginning of the month, I was privileged to give the annual Percy Picton Memorial lecture at Colwall gardening club, the timing was perfect for a visit to the Old Court Nursery and Picton Gardens, home to the National Collection of Asters. Ernest Ballard of Colwall near Malvern, a chemist in the family cider […]

Lawn Maintenance and Overwintering in the Greenhouse

Ambushed by recent tomato blight I’m going to clear some of my summer greenhouse crops and start my autumn tidy up earlier than planned. Returning from holiday to find my tomato plants browned and collapsed was no surprise, it had rained incessantly and even with adequate ventilation, the combined humidity indoors and out provided perfect […]

Pruning Wisteria, Cropping Strawberries and Storing Fresh Herbs

Now is the time to prune Wisteria to ensure you have plenty of flowers next spring. First, tie in any new shoots to extend the existing network of branches or to fill in gaps, then using sharp secateurs, shorten this years growth to about 30cm. This restricts growth and improves circulation allowing any sun we […]

Rainfall Levels and Tuber Infection

Looking at the rainfall levels it seems that the prediction that this summer would be hotter than the last, might have been a little optimistic. All of that wonderful rainwater is free and it’s too good to waste so I’ve been buying water butts to put around the house, garage and greenhouse. There’s a range […]

Environmentally Friendly Weed Control with Hoes

When it’s a sunny day, you’ll often find me out in the garden, pushing a hoe. It’s an environmentally friendly form of weed control that I find relaxing and therapeutic. There are three types of hoes, the Dutch or push hoe that cuts the weeds like a blade, the draw hoe with a blade at […]

How to deal with Mildew on Plants

The warmest April on record has provided ideal conditions for one garden fungus – powdery mildew, to thrive so be on your guard for early infections on vulnerable plants. It’s a dry whitish powder that coats the tops of the leaves but soon spreads to the undersides, shoot tips and flowers stunting and distorting foliage […]

Bicentenary of RHS Garden at Wisley

Many great gardens have an iconic greenhouse as a centerpiece and the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley is no exception. The Society is celebrating its Bicentenary with the creation of a stunning new Glasshouse which will be opened in mid-June 2007 (see www.rhs.org.uk for details) and I was fortunate enough to be one of […]

Veg Plots at Chateau de Villandry and Eden Project

Although traditionalists may argue that there is nothing more attractive than a vegetable plot planted in straight rows like a production line, they are much more versatile than that, all you have to do is to change your perception and think of them as both ornamental and practical and your vegetable garden will be transformed! […]