Consider the global air pollution crisis alongside the desperate need to conserve resources and there’s only one possible conclusion: it’s time to extinguish the tradition of the garden bonfire. As a boy, I was pretty whiffy. Out in the garden until dark, I would eventually come indoors, a noxious plume in my wake. A bath […]
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If you have made good use of your greenhouse for starting off winter vegetables last spring and summer you will be feeling pretty smug about the so-called veg crisis right now. Even me saying ‘so called’ is pretty smug, but as all good gardeners know, this is not really a veg crisis at all but […]
“Why are you growing houseleeks in your greenhouse?” said a friend looking at some Echeverias I had around the base of a Bougainvillea. An easily made mistake for these are a fine example of parallel evolution. Houseleeks are temperate plants designed to survive conditions as harsh and impoverished as crevices of dirt on rock-piles or […]
Stand your potatoes rose end upwards in a bright, frost free spot. From February onwards, it’s time to sprout (or ‘chit’) new potatoes, to me, it is the first big signal that starts the gardening year. Put your potatoes in a tray or egg box with the ‘rose’ end, where all the buds are, at […]
I’ve not grown potatoes in my garden for a while. I’d been keeping my precious veg space for crops that I considered to use the space better. But over this autumn and winter for some reason I’ve struggled to find organic potatoes locally and when I have they have been tasteless. Coupled with some scary […]
If you need to be inspired by the power of composting all over again, just take a look at the figures; the quantity of ‘waste’ that an ordinary bin can divert from landfill is quite remarkable. I stopped, teetering on the bin’s rim, about to make a terrible, albeit colourful, mistake. The first post-Christmas hoovering […]
When everyone else is sowing sweet peas in their greenhouses and cold frames in autumn, I have learnt to hold my nerve and bide my time. I know that an autumn sowing is the accepted way, but it has never really worked for me. Perhaps because my greenhouse is not sited in the ideal sunny […]
Okay of the many tender glasshouse plants Saintpaulias can be one of the trickiest. Yet almost everyone knew an aunt with a massive old African violet enduring on for years blooming almost perpetually. It will have been the original blueish violet flowered Saintpaulia ionantha, and it was probably set on a table in some north […]
Several times over the past few weeks, I have spotted a male Bull Finch among the leafless trees in my garden. It is a beautiful bird with grey, salmon pink and black markings but it can be a pest to gardeners. Normally bullfinches eat grass and weed seeds, but when supplies run low and temperatures […]
There are people who think that writers have an exciting life, full of jollies, junkets and japes. Nothing could be further from the truth. You see we writers write just to escape all that unnecessary razzmatazz. It’s so much easier living life on a written page, than doing it for real, so we hide away […]
2020 has been set as the target for completely peat-free gardening – but we need clear directions if we’re to get there in time. There are four years to go. Sixteen of our increasingly blurring, juddery seasons left. And then we gardeners – and the businesses that profit handsomely from us – will together make […]
There is almost no month in the year when you can’t be sowing something in the greenhouse, if you really put your mind to it. As if to prove this I have found myself heading down the garden these last dreary days with a packet of onion seed, just like the monster veg growers. The […]