Garden Titbits
New Zealand plants: bring a touch of the exotic to your garden
08.30.2015
Plants you'll meet in New Zealand are interesting relatives of well known families, and many will thrive on British soil
How to get rid of black slime on lawn
08.29.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm gives her advice on getting rid of black slime on lawns
How to get rid of black flies on house plants
08.29.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm gives her advice on irritating little black flies
How to get rid of leaf miner fly and red-leafed oxalis
08.29.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm gives her advice on leaf miner fly and red-leafed oxails
The caterpillar wreaking havoc across the UK
08.28.2015
The box hedge caterpillar has made it out of London and could prove disastrous for gardens across the UK
Gardening can turn the biggest weed into a blooming athlete
08.27.2015
Turning the potatoes can change a couch potato into a finely honed machine
How do I make a good compost?
08.21.2015
From compost mixes to pop-up poppies, Helen Yemm answers your gardening questions
Weeds in your paving? There's no need to use chemicals
08.21.2015
Research shows you don't need to resort to chemicals to give those annoying path weeds the brush-off
Agapanthus attacker: the pest killing one of UK's favourite flowers
08.19.2015
The RHS is calling upon any UK gardeners who can offer some insight into the new pest which is attacking one of the UK's favourite flowers
How to grow apple trees: everything you need to know
08.16.2015
From where to buy seedlings to when and how to prune branches, we present key tips about growing bountiful apple trees for your garden
What can I plant in woodland?
08.15.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm gives her advice on planting in a shady woodland area
Why won't my clematis flower?
08.14.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm gives her advice on a struggling clematis
What plants are best to grow in clay soil?
08.14.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm gives her advice for what thrives in tricky clay soil
An allotment is hard work - so should you really take one on?
08.09.2015
Lia Leendertz likes Monty Don's thoughts on allotments but has a warning for those looking to garden in a community
Indoor allotments and cocktail gardens: urban gardening trends
08.09.2015
City dwellers are becoming inventive with the way they garden according to new research from Amazon
How can I camouflage my unsightly hot tub?
08.08.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm tackles your gardening bugbears. This week: how to hide your hot tub
An alternative to plastic pots
08.08.2015
In Helen Yemm's Pick of the Week, she gives a prettier alternative to the ubiquitous plastic pot
How do I grow orlaya?
08.08.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm tackles your gardening bugbears. This week: how to encourage lacklustre orlaya
What can I use on my aphid-damaged laurel hedge?
08.08.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm tackles your gardening bugbears. This week: controlling aphids on laurel hedges
How to become an ethical gardener
08.08.2015
Ethical clothing, ethical food, what about ethical gardening? Do you think you could make it as an ethical gardener?
The stately home garden where you can pick-and-eat all summer
08.29.2015
The walled garden at Parham House produces cut flowers and vegetables from May to October. Sarah Raven finds out how it's done
Play areas aren't just for kids
08.24.2015
From elaborate treehouses to 'sunken' trampolines, play equipment can make a design statement in any family garden. Let the fun and games commence
Norwich's Plantation Garden: a tycoon's folly for all to see
08.24.2015
A secluded Victorian paradise in Norwich is back to its eccentric best, says Sandra Lawrence
The joy of local flower shows: how one teenager triumphed
08.21.2015
A proud father charts his daughter's rise from flower show novice to winner - and says 'growing for showing' is an ideal way to get children into gardening
What plants are best to grow in clay soil?
08.14.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm gives her advice for what thrives in tricky clay soil
Black adds a striking dimension to summer planting
08.14.2015
Highlight the beauty of your late summer garden by adding subtle tones of black, whether flower, bud or stem
An allotment is hard work - so should you really take one on?
08.09.2015
Lia Leendertz likes Monty Don's thoughts on allotments but has a warning for those looking to garden in a community
How can I camouflage my unsightly hot tub?
08.08.2015
In her weekly column, Thorny Problems, Helen Yemm tackles your gardening bugbears. This week: how to hide your hot tub
How to become an ethical gardener
08.08.2015
Ethical clothing, ethical food, what about ethical gardening? Do you think you could make it as an ethical gardener?
Garden inspiration: wonderful water features
08.07.2015
Ever thought of including water in your garden? Look no further for ideas
A beginner's guide to foraging from Alys Fowler
08.07.2015
A walk around the neighbourhood can turn up all sort of wild, delicious - and most importantly free - goodies, if you know where to look
International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015
07.31.2015
In pics: The world?s premier competition specialising in botanical photography
The science of a colourful and successful garden
07.21.2015
Photographer Andrew Lawson is also a talented gardener who knows a thing or two about plants...
Watering plants: how much and how often?
07.21.2015
Bunny Guinness explains how to keep the water flowing all year round, even in times of drought
Gallery: beautiful butterfly-friendly plants
07.21.2015
Explore a selection of plants that butterflies adore and be sure to get some new ideas with not a buddleia or lavender plant in sight
Wild American gardening comes to south-west England
07.17.2015
Sheer American spirit and a load of gravel have transformed a windy plot on a Wiltshire escarpment into a haven for exotic plants
Top tips for a cat-friendly garden
07.15.2015
A guide to creating a haven for your feline friends, with advice on what to plant and what to avoid
Natural swimming ponds: should you build one in your garden?
07.14.2015
With the King's Cross swimming pond proving incredibly popular, a look at the case for and against installing a natural pool in your garden
The trouble with lilies: fabulous but fickle
07.11.2015
Easy to grow but hard to keep - these delicate plants don't always stick around, says Noel Kingsbury
The trouble with lillies: fabulous but fickle
07.11.2015
Easy to grow but hard to keep - these delicate plants don't always stick around, says Noel Kingsbury
Watch the building of The Telegraph's Chelsea Flower Show garden from start to finish
05.22.2015
The Telegraph's entry for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 is complete - observe its progress from start to finish in this timelapse video
Chelsea Flower Show 2015: Telegraph Garden wins gold
05.22.2015
Designer Marcus Barnett describes his "complete joy" after winning the prestigious medal for his De Stijl movement-inspired garden
Chelsea Flower Show 2015: celebrities visit the Telegraph Garden
05.22.2015
Alan Titchmarsh, Kirstie Allsopp, Bianca Jagger and more brave the rain for the biggest gardening event of the year
How to sow a wildflower meadow
05.15.2015
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shares her top tips in this useful step by step guide for sowing wildflowers this spring
Chelsea Flower Show: six perennially popular plants
05.15.2015
Ahead of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015, Crocus nursery plant expert Helen Derrin reveals the six plants that capture gardeners' imaginations year after year
RHS Chelsea 2015: Laurent-Perrier's Derbyshire trout stream
05.14.2015
In the third part of this RHS Chelsea 2015 video series, Dan Pearson and Crocus discuss the trout stream at Chatsworth House and how it has been replicated in the Laurent-Perrier garden
What to expect from the Telegraph's Chelsea Flower Show garden
05.12.2015
Designer Marcus Barnett reveals the key influences behind his design for the Telegraph's show garden for RHS Chelsea 2015, before it opens to the public
Chelsea Flower Show 2015: 300 tonnes of rock for Chelsea 2015 garden
05.11.2015
In this video Crocus creates a full scale mock up of the the rocks for The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Dan Pearson finds the missing link between Chatsworth and Chelsea
05.07.2015
In this video the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 designer dicusses the intimate trout stream and other influences for the Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden
How to grow asparagus
04.16.2015
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows the best way to plant asparagus
Watch: World record mistletoe-kissing attempt
12.18.2014
Shoppers in London's Borough Market enjoyed a record-breaking 1,000 kisses to try and generate enough energy to switch on the Christmas lights
National Trust makes traditional Christmas garland
12.09.2014
Watch the team at stately home Cotehele making an elaborate Christmas swag using flowers from the garden
Glamorous gardens: Jardin Marjorelle
10.24.2014
Madison Cox explains why he has chosen to feature Jardin Majorelle in his new book, The Gardener's Garden
UK pensioner unwittingly grows a five-foot-tall cannabis plant
09.24.2014
Patricia Hewitson from Exmouth grew a mystery weed in her garden for months before finding out it was a cannabis plant
Shed of the Year 2014: allotment roof shed wins title
08.07.2014
Amazing Spaces presenter George Clarke uncovers some of the UK's weirdest and wackiest sheds competing for the title of Shed of the Year
Urban jungle: how to grow fresh produce in city confines
07.31.2014
New York City-based urban farm company Gotham Greens explain their green-fingered business
How to cut back herbs
07.22.2014
90-second gardener: It's time to give your perennials herbs a haircut, says Sarah Raven
How to thin fruit trees
07.20.2014
90-second gardener: Sarah Raven shows you how to thin your fruit trees
How to prune clematis
07.19.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows how to give your clematis a trim
How to pinch out annuals
06.25.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shares her tips on pinching out flowering annual plants
Can gardening be beneficial to cancer patients?
06.22.2015
Judith Potts looks at the garden at this year's Chelsea Flower Show that was dedicated to Macmillan Cancer Support
Is big business cashing in on the fashion for community gardens?
06.04.2015
Community gardens can be a source of inspiration, as London Road, a new film, shows. But the plot thickens when corporate backers become involved, says Tim Richardson
Why was Dan Pearson's Chelsea Flower Show garden such a hit?
05.29.2015
The Chatsworth-inspired garden took this year's Chelsea Flower Show by storm - because it had a quality that lasts beyond the show, says Mary Keen
Chelsea Flower Show draws to a close
05.23.2015
The gardening gloves were off as visitors flocked for the end of show sale at the close of the Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show: what did the public think of it?
05.23.2015
Never mind the celebrities, judges and the RHS, what did ordinary visitors to Chelsea 2015 really think of this year's show? We accosted them to find out - and encountered some strong opinions
The best of the Chelsea Flower Show 2015
05.23.2015
From colourful irises to a moveable shed, we reveal our favourite gardens and features at RHS Chelsea 2015
Bouldergate and long-johns: behind-the-scenes gossip from Chelsea
05.23.2015
Tim Richardson dishes the dirt on the gardens, designers and what they're whispering about 'bouldergate' at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015
Dan Pearson: 'We knew that ours was a risky strategy'
05.22.2015
The Best in Show winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, Dan Pearson, speaks to Judith Woods about his win, home-life at Chatsworth and horticulture
8 things we learned from the Chelsea Flower Show
05.22.2015
With the return of Dan Pearson, the appearance of Joanna Lumley and a myriad of flowers, there was a lot to learn at the Chelsea Flower Show 2015
Watch the building of The Telegraph's Chelsea Flower Show garden from start to finish
05.22.2015
The Telegraph's entry for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 is complete - observe its progress from start to finish in this timelapse video
Chelsea Flower Show 2015: Telegraph Garden wins gold
05.22.2015
Designer Marcus Barnett describes his "complete joy" after winning the prestigious medal for his De Stijl movement-inspired garden
Chelsea Flower Show 2015: celebrities visit the Telegraph Garden
05.22.2015
Alan Titchmarsh, Kirstie Allsopp, Bianca Jagger and more brave the rain for the biggest gardening event of the year
Chelsea shopping list: products we love at this year's show
05.22.2015
The trade stands at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show can be just as exciting as the gardens with stunning outdoor furniture and the innovative gardening tools
10 hot garden trends from the Chelsea Flower Show
05.22.2015
Get the Chelsea look with our list of the most popular plants, garden features and outdoor clothing
Chelsea Flower Show 2015: the funniest sights
05.22.2015
From marauding Vikings to flowery hats and celebrities in desperate search of photo opportunities: the moments that raised a chuckle at RHS Chelsea 2015
Chelsea Flower Show stars: the pick of the plants and flowers
05.21.2015
Our favourite plants and flowers from the gardens and Great Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015
I've finally discovered my green fingers!
05.20.2015
At last, I understand why people get excited by the Chelsea Flower Show, writes Allison Pearson
Chelsea Flower Show: 68 gold medals awarded in the Great Pavilion
05.20.2015
Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres secured a record 70th gold medal cementing its status as the most successful exhibitor in the history of the 102-year-old show
Chelsea Flower Show: highlights from the gardens
05.20.2015
Stephen Lacey tours the grounds and speaks to the Duke of Devonshire about Dan Pearson's recreation of Chatsworth at RHS Chelsea 2015
Full plant list for the Telegraph's Chelsea Flower Show garden
05.20.2015
Planting for our RHS Chelsea 2015 show garden is inspired by the primary colour palette of Mondrian
Gorgeous late summer wildflowers: in pictures
08.24.2015
Even though the weather might be getting a little bit cooler, the countryside is still offering beautiful late-flowering wild flowers
Botanical art at the Chelsea Physic Garden
08.18.2015
Botanical artists celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society in this exhibition of stunning flowers
10 best summer climbers and trailers
08.14.2015
Climbers and trailers are the perfect flowers to bring colour to any garden and cover up dull walls
Beautiful border plants
08.09.2015
A selection of gorgeous border plants suitable for any garden
Garden inspiration: wonderful water features
08.07.2015
Ever thought of including water in your garden? Look no further for ideas
Amazing sheds: clever ideas for your favourite garden room
08.02.2015
As more women buy into the she-shed, we look at some of the best examples around
International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015
07.31.2015
In pics: The world?s premier competition specialising in botanical photography
The best gardens from the RHS Tatton Park Show
07.23.2015
The best of Tatton Park's show gardens 2015 in pictures
Gorgeous garden seating ideas
07.21.2015
A gallery of beautiful places to give you inspiration for your own garden
Gallery: beautiful butterfly-friendly plants
07.21.2015
Explore a selection of plants that butterflies adore and be sure to get some new ideas with not a buddleia or lavender plant in sight
RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2015: The Gardens
07.17.2015
A selection of the gardens featured in this year's RHS Tatton Park Flower Show
Self watering devices for busy gardeners
07.15.2015
Ten of the top self-watering devices for busy gardeners
The UK's best water gardens
07.14.2015
Planning a day trip this summer? Eleanor Doughty recommends the best water gardens in the UK
Spectacular striped tulip fields from above, in pictures
07.13.2015
In pics: Photographer has shot series of aerial photographs of tulip fields in the Netherlands
Beautiful summer borders
07.09.2015
A selection of Britain's most beautiful borders by photographer Jonathan Buckley
A selection of your striped lawns
07.08.2015
A gallery of entries to win an Alletts lawnmower
Drought-tolerant and sun-loving plants
07.03.2015
Garden looking a little dry? Why not sow plants that adore the sunshine?
Poisonous plants to look out for in your garden
07.02.2015
We round up of the potentially poisonous plants lurking in your garden
10 best hedge mazes in Britain
06.28.2015
From Leeds Castle to Hampton Court Palace, we offer our favourite hedge mazes in the UK. By Eleanor Doughty
The stately home garden where you can pick-and-eat all summer
08.29.2015
The walled garden at Parham House produces cut flowers and vegetables from May to October. Sarah Raven finds out how it's done
The turbulent history of the mulberry
08.28.2015
Brought to the UK as an accident, the humble mulberry tree still made a rather big impression
Banksy's Dismaland: mean - and a little bit green
08.28.2015
Jean Vernon reviews the horticultural horrors on offer at Dismaland, Banksy's twisted theme park in Weston-Super-Mare
Norwich's Plantation Garden: a tycoon's folly for all to see
08.24.2015
A secluded Victorian paradise in Norwich is back to its eccentric best, says Sandra Lawrence
Beautiful gardens to visit with the family this weekend
08.23.2015
From Devon to Warwickshire, enjoy these gorgeous gardens this weekend, 29th August
The Sussex farm that gardens by the light of the moon
08.14.2015
At Tablehurst Farm, the lunar cycle dictates sowing, planting and harvesting times. Sarah Raven couldn't fault the results
Magical walled gardens come back to life
08.13.2015
Centuries-old walled gardens are being cultivated around Britain and inspiring gardeners in their own homes
Watch out, Alan Titchmarsh! Meet James Horner, the rising star of gardening
08.11.2015
James Horner has worked on a gold-medal garden at Chelsea and has won a Christopher Lloyd scholarship at Great Dixter, East Sussex
Is this Britain's classiest allotment?
08.09.2015
A listed shed, tended by professors, manured by pandas. . . Ambra Edwards discovers the charms of The Dean Gallery Allotments
Gnomes, paintings, dried flowers: this museum has everything a gardener loves
08.07.2015
Garden Museum's new exhibition in London celebrates the quirky details and essential objects of everyday gardening
Gnomes, paintings, dried flowers: this museum has everything a gardener loves
08.07.2015
Garden Museum's new exhibition in London celebrates the quirky details and essential objects of everyday gardening
A French tour for a charitable cause
08.05.2015
Helen Yemm visits gardens supported by the charity Perennial, in Herefordshire and France
Meet the man who just spent £1.6m on roses
07.31.2015
Sir John Hall, property developer and saviour of Newcastle United, is about to open 'Britain's biggest rose garden' at Wynyard Hall
The UK's most beautiful bee-friendly gardens
07.24.2015
A garden designed to attract the butterflies and bees needn't be messy, says Kate Bradbury
Gardens to visit this weekend
07.24.2015
From fields of lavendar to romantic country castles, George Plumptre tells us the best gardens to visit this weekend, 8th and 9th August
Kirklinton Hall's garden: a paradise lost and found
07.21.2015
Christopher Boyle's passion for 17th century life has found a perfect garden project in the crumbling ruin that is Kirklinton Hall, says Ambra Edwards
Young garden designers at Tatton Park
07.21.2015
Meet the three finalists in the RHS Tatton Park Young Designer of the Year 2015 awards
Expert's guide to trimming topiary and hedges
07.18.2015
Power tools or secateurs? Rounded tops or flat? Follow the advice of Andrew Tolman, hedge-cutter extraordinaire, says Bunny Guinness
Plant-hunter's passion for orchids led to a Columbian kidnapping
07.18.2015
Orchids are the star of the planting scheme at Lullingstone Castle - but they that started life as a survival plan for Tom Hart Dyke
Behind the scenes at Derek Jarman's favourite nursery
07.17.2015
After nearly 30 years and a change of site, Madrona still has the charm that won over the garden-loving film-maker
Best garden buys at Hampton Court Flower Show
07.01.2015
A selection of the best shopping ideas from the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show's Best Show Garden
06.30.2015
The story behind this year's winning show garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015
A taste of this year's RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show
06.30.2015
A glimpse of some top attractions at the RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show 2015
Hampton Court Flower Show: the winning gardens revealed
06.30.2015
A garden inspired by a regenerated mine in Kent has won best in show
RHS Hampton Court flower show gold winners
06.29.2015
The gold medal winners at this year's RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show
Hampton Court Flower Show: how to get there
06.29.2015
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015 runs from June 30th to 5th July. Here's how to get to the showground
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show: A guide to weather and what to wear
06.27.2015
We've put together a survival guide for this year's RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
Top roses and tiny hostas: Hampton Court Flower Show's highlights
06.26.2015
Horticultural highlights and plant-centric exhibits from this year's Hampton Court Flower Show, chosen by Val Bourne
Hampton Court Flower Show: inside the conceptual gardens
06.25.2015
Every year the normally sedate Hampton Court Palace becomes a hotbed of provocative design. Bring on those conceptual gardens, says Naomi Slade
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show: Conceptual and World Gardens
06.24.2015
Explore RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show's 2015 Conceptual and World Garden sketches
RHS Hampton Court Palace 2015: Show Garden sketches revealed
06.03.2015
Artists' impressions of this year's Show Gardens at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show have just been released; explore the gallery to find your favourite
Hampton Court Palace 2015: Show Garden sketches revealed
06.03.2015
Artists' impressions of this year's Show Gardens at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show have just been released; explore the gallery to find your favourite
Outdoor seating ideas from the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
07.09.2014
The gardens at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year are full of inspiring ideas for eating and relaxing al fresco
Grow easy vegetables for gardening bliss
07.07.2014
Cultivating edible produce at home needn't be a struggle, as a garden at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show reveals. You just have to know what to plant
Australian garden wins best in show at Hampton Court Palace
07.07.2014
An Australian garden has triumphed at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, just a year after another Down Under-themed garden won at Chelsea
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show: fewer medals, more verve
07.07.2014
Going for gold makes garden design dull. Why not have a break from constant competition?
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2014: the gardens
07.07.2014
Take a first peek at the glorious gardens at this year's Hampton Court Flower Show
My space: Jeni Cairns, artist and garden designer
07.05.2014
Jeni Cairns, who has designed a garden for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, shows us her studio
Hedgehogs at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
07.03.2014
Britain's favourite mammal the hedgehog has a royal invitation to next week's palace garden show, says Kate Bradbury
Hampton Court Flower Show 2014: gorgeous gardens to inspire you
07.02.2014
The 29 gardens at the Hampton Court Flower Show, which opens next Tuesday, offer a wealth of creativity, says Annie Gatti
Farewell but not for long!
10.01.2010
Hello all It's been some time since we last updated this blog but it was for a good reason. We have pooled all the best of BBC gardening into one new blog! The BBC Gardening Blog launched at the beginning of October 2010. We hope you'll be as pleased as us to know that our regular bloggers will include Alys Fowler from Gardeners' World, Jim McColl from the Beechgrove Garden, and Bob Flowerdew from Gardeners' Question Time. The time has come to bid farewell to the Gardeners' World blog. Why not head on over to the new gardening blog? We hope to see you there! Saima
January 2010
01.12.2010
As a new gardening year arrives along with the most snow we've seen for 30 years, I've begun to realize that the challenges of being Greenacre's new garden manager are more than simply juggling camera crews and compost.As with all gardens in this weather, Greenacre has been very quiet, in fact there are more fox tracks than human tracks in the snow - though it's nice to be reminded of the life in the garden when all of the plants are hidden by a huge frozen blanket. I am beginning to associate Greenacre with snow as when we started here (11 months ago) it snowed for the first 10 days! Here's hoping it starts to clear soon so we can get back out there working the ground ready for the coming seasons! There's always work to be done here - even in these conditions: cleaning around the greenhouses; tidying the shed; checking over the condition of all the tools as well as, crucially, knocking the snow from laden branches of trees, hedges and other plants. At Greenacre the Chusan palm looked a lot happier once he had been unloaded of snow! Badly affected plants are usually evergreens such as conifers; especially those grown for their column-like shape such as Irish yew, but most plants appreciate having heavy snow shaken off. This is, of course, our first full winter at Greenacre and we are still getting to know our new home and neighbours. We have a resident fox who digs his way in under the fence and in the warmer months spends his nights sitting in different plants (particular favourites were the cosmos and the dahlias); there is also a badger sett not far away and of course the rooks, who most nights circle over the garden when the sun begins to set. Gardeners' World will be back on the 5th March. In the meantime, I'll be busy with the new polytunnel, propagating as many plants as possible from seed to stock the beds and borders here at Greenacre. From fruit and vegetables to perennials and bedding plants hopefully we'll have room for them all!
Decisions, decisions
12.09.2009
Decisions, decisions. At the moment I'm in rather a quandary. I'm contemplating digging up half of my now nicely matured garden and turning it over to a few choice edibles. By choice I mean ones that are right there when you need them, outside the back door that you can pick and as eat fresh as you like. I'm thinking herbs, salads, dwarf beans, carrots, perpetual spinach, tomatoes and then maybe use the fences for some climbing peas and the like. Possibly some fruit in containers such as blueberries and strawberries? So what's the dilemma you may ask? Well I've spent the last seven years pretty much sticking to my master plan and getting this garden looking good. The problem is that the allotment is great for larger crops, but I can't just nip up there for a handful of herbs and salads on an evening can I? It's ten bloomin' miles away. To make my 'new initiative' productive and practical, I know I have to lose many of my much loved plants. There's no real space and I can't pussy foot around in between them, sowing seed here and there. The soil's great, the garden is south facing, but can I bring myself to actually do it? I know gardens never sit still. I have the winter to decide. I have the fear. Watch this space and I'll let you know once I know!
It's time to get a polytunnel
11.30.2009
Although the show is off-air for the winter it's business as usual here. I'm still going up to Greenacre every week marking out the new gardens and getting new plants going for next year. My autumn-sown broad beans are looking good and I potted up the spares that weren't planted out into buckets for forcing in the greenhouse which should give us crops by early May. Truth is though, we don't have enough space in there for everything so I've decided it's time to get a polytunnel. I know that they look like simple structures to put up, at least compared to a greenhouse but believe me they're not. Ned, the location manager at Greenacre didn't believe it, but he does now! There are so many parts - each similar but not interchangeable and really confusing instructions. My only advice is get help, and expect to need it for some time. Anyway, after much dismantling, adjusting, swearing and general fiddling about our tunnel is up. The big advantage of a tunnel over a greenhouse is that size is cheap to buy. Once the cost of the hoops and doors have been covered, you can go as large as you like for very little more. And let's face it, who has ever had a greenhouse or polytunnel that isn't brim-full in its first season? There are a few extras worth putting your hand in your pocket for when buying. Thick polythene with good insulation qualities and a four-year guarantee for starters. Ours is 180 microns thick and what's called 'luminescent' so looks opaque from the outside but the light that passes through bounces around making for better growth. Other extras include double doors at both ends - essential to allow air to blow through the tunnel to cool the insides in summer and stop fungal spores settling on plants in winter. Insulation tape to keep the plastic clear of the metal hoops (without it the heat causes the cover to crack) is a must and (a personal preference for me) an anti-drip coating on the plastic so condensation doesn't fall down the back of your neck while potting up plants. At Greenacre, we're using it for all our cuttings and to house tender pots through winter but I've got big plans for spring, starting off all our summer bedding and annual veg in it. If you're thinking of getting one now, I say go for it. It'll bring spring to your plot six weeks early, guarantee crops of salads right through winter and make growing tender veg like peppers, aubergines and toms a breeze. Just make sure you get an extra pair of hands or two to help you put it up!
Bloggy hell
11.16.2009
I can hardly believe that on my birthday I was harvesting Mexican ground cherries. This wonderful warm autumn brought all sorts of surprise extra harvests. Chillies got a chance to turn properly red, seed collecting has been heaven and I have had plenty of autumn lettuces, far beyond their usual quality. But I know that the minute my birthday comes, the temperature will drop. Many lettuces will make it through to December before botrytis or frost gets them as will the hardier stuff such as oriental mustards, Swiss chard, kales and cabbages. However, as they soldier on their flavour will become more intense as the days become colder. By February many of the oriental mustards, such as Giant Red Mustard, becomes so hot that they blow your head off if you eat them raw. At this point it's best to flash cook them; 60 seconds in boiling water or swirl them round a wok of hot oil, just enough to wilt them. Then off the heat as the chemicals that make them hot quickly become bitter if cooked for too long. Drizzle on some groundnut oil and a little soy, perhaps add a little friendly garlic, some toasted sesame seeds, a handful of noodles and you have lunch! Anyhow, I shouldn't be thinking about noodles as I have a small mountain of ground cherries to de-husk and do something with. These are cousins to the larger more common and slightly more sour-tasting tomatillos which definitely need to be cooked. Ground cherries are good enough to eat raw, but their delicious pineapple taste is almost better in a pie or crumble. You can tell when a ground cherry is ripe because the inside is a lovely pale golden orange and the husks are papery. If the inside is still green it will be very sour. I've been experimenting making clafoutis, which is a kind of egg-cooked custard dish where you can use any fruit you like. It's basically eggs, sugar, milk and a little flour. You line the dish with whatever fruit, in my case ground cherries, and pour over the batter and bake in a hot oven for about 20mins. When it puffs up take it out, pour on a little more sugar and place under the grill. You're aiming for a soufflé consistency which is kind of eggy, so if that's not your thing, stick to crumbles. I have to say I was entirely neglectful of the ground cherries. I planted them out towards the end of May and did little all summer other than bemoan the fact that I had misunderstood what ground cherries were, thinking they were just a synonym of tomatillos. They're not, they are a different species, tomatillos are Physalis ixocarpa and Mexican Ground Cherry is Physalis prunosa. They have furrier leaves and smaller fruit, and I think they probably like slightly warmer weather - not that I didn't get a good harvest, they just seem very small.
Design made easy
11.10.2009
My Design Made Easy programme went out on Friday. It was a compilation of my Gardeners' World strand helping Mark and Suzanne redesign and build their already mature garden by breaking it down into manageable pieces and ending up with something that is ultimately greater than the sum of its parts.That's what I think good design is all about. It was interesting to see all of my visits put together into a single programme. It certainly had a makeover feel to it, but as it was executed over a five month period, it was a realistic and achievable thing to do. And it certainly wasn't all about throwing money into a project for a quick solution. I think that a gardens success is down to knowing where you're heading and making sure it works for whoever ultimately lives with it and maintains it. Call it planning, call it looking ahead, call it design, call it practicality, call it whatever you want, but without it I know that creating a garden can become frustrating. I've always been passionate about design and tried to get across that this planning stage is so important in gardening in order to avoid wasted effort and expense, which in turn can lead to a sense of failure. Playing around with ideas on paper is free, but as soon as you start to buy materials and plants it starts to get a little more serious. I hope that I showed how simple and accessible this process can be whether you're thinking of designing a garden from scratch or simply tweaking one you already have.
Autumn is truly here
11.02.2009
November already! I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering where the summer went. I think that late burst of heat fooled me into thinking we'd rewound the clock back to July. But Halloween arrived this weekend and with it, the first autumn storm that stripped the leaves from the trees so there's no denying that autumn is truly here. In my garden in Devon the dahlias and zinnia are starting to look bedraggled but the nerines, which I planted as bulbs back in March are still holding strong. They're Cadillac-pink when they open, about 18in tall and brilliant planted on top of raised beds or next to a warm wall where the drainage is good. N. bowdenii is the hardiest but the larger 'Zeal Giant' has been a revelation. It's usually grown in a greenhouse but I thought I'd take a chance with it outdoors, in the gravelly sun-soaked border next to my greenhouse. Since September, it's been in flower with larger, taller trumpets than the species, up to 60cm high. I love the colour - a stronger cerise-pink which really glows even amongst the serious competition of tangerine coloured zinnia and the raspberry cactus dahlia 'Matilda Huston'. The key to keeping them through the winter is to keep the bulbs on the dry side, so my plan is to cover the died-down clump with a heavy glass cloche to shed the rain and ensure these floral fireworks make a return next autumn.
Tonight's finale and more to come
10.23.2009
Hi All On tonight's action packed finale Toby will be clearing out the summer bedding, transplanting wallflowers and potting up plants for winter. Earlier this year we visited Dean Peckett at RHS Harlow Carr who had planted a fantastic display of tulips and, despite the rainy day, the wonderful varieties cannot fail to inspire you to get planting your own! Hugh Macalister has a particular passion for the native Rowan or Mountain Ash and, last autumn, we went to see him at Ness Botanics where he showed us the wealth of berry colours available in this wonderful tree. Alys will be joined by Colin Crosbie from the RHS and they'll both be giving the low down on the latest tree and shrub planting techniques and Joe will be demonstrating the best methods for sharpening your garden tools. We'll also be revealing the winner of this year's BBC Gardener of the Year. Now even though the main run of Gardeners' World comes to an end tonight we have some exciting shows coming your way over the coming months. Two to watch out for are Women in Gardening, due to air on 27th November and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, due to be aired on 4th December. Women in Gardening with Carol Klein will be looking back at those special women who defied convention in order to follow their passion for horticulture. Her journey includes interviews with some of our most influential gardening figures of the past 50 years including: Beth Chatto, garden writer and designer, Marina Christopher, pioneering nursery woman, Mary Spiller, the first female presenter on Gardeners' World and Inga Grimsby, who was the first woman to be appointed head of the Royal Horticultural Society between 2006 and 2009. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tells the story of seven disparate gentlemen, brought together for the first time in 1804 above a bookshop in Piccadilly to form a society dedicated to the one and only thing they all agreed on - a love of horticulture. They were all extreme personalities; a domineering aristocrat, a womanising MP and an accused fraudster to name but a few. As individuals they were far more likely to fall out than collaborate but their love of gardening was so strong that together, against all the odds, they formed a society which was to become the most celebrated in the gardening world - The Royal Horticultural Society. That's all from me for this run, enjoy your winter gardening.
Winter prep
10.16.2009
Hi All On tonight's show Toby will be continuing the winter garden preparations at Greenacre and making an underground subterranean vegetable store. He will also be forward planning and creating an ad hoc winter screen for the apricot he planted last week - this is to protect the flowers from frost when it starts to flower in February/March next year.Joe will be providing tips on how to protect tender tropical plants over the winter and we'll be visiting Carol at Glebe Cottage where she'll be showing off the autumnal glow from the foliage of trees and shrubs. Tonight we'll also be showing a clip of the late pumpkin growing enthusiast, Ralph Upton. Ralph had been growing pumpkins for 45 years and had perfected his gourd and squash growing skills into an art form. He was once nick-named The Pumpkin King - a title that I'm sure you'll agree he truly deserved. We'll be visiting a couple who have transformed their Devonshire plot into a grass and restio plantation and we'll be heading to Audley End in Essex for some more traditional tips on fruit and veg storage over the winter. If you'd like a full list of all the techniques and plants featured on tonight's show, please visit our episode guide and if you're looking to start the winter prep in your garden this weekend, here are several tasks that will help you get ahead of yourself for the fast approaching winter months: Clean greenhouse glass to make sure as much light gets in as possible for all overwintering plants. Shorten long growth on any shrubs which might be blasted by autumn/winter gales (shrub roses are the usual victims). Give the lawn a final cut, not too short, then clean and drain the lawnmower before putting it away. Buy all the materials that you are likely to need for winter protection tasks (fleece, wire, vine eyes, pegs etc.) and keep them on standby. Move doubtfully hardy plants, in pots, near to a frost-free greenhouse, porch or light windowsill so that they can be brought in as soon as frost is forecast. Check that all greenhouse supplementary heating is in working order before you have to use it. Invest in a max/min thermometer if you don't have one already. That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend.
I am on the hunt for a pumpkin
10.15.2009
My garden is too small for pumpkins, or put another way, they've fallen off the most desirable vegetables to eat list. I went for everything but reasoning that the best spot for pumpkins would be the loss of globe artichokes, cucumbers, Mexican ground cherries, parsnips, kales, sprouting broccolis . . . I think you begin to get the picture. I do love pumpkins and winter squash and now that I am A PROUD OWNER of an allotment they will dutifully be back on the menu (mainly Crown Prince and Uchi Kuri squash), but this year I hankered after greens more. Still I married an American and last year I ambitiously took on Thanksgiving for far too many people (and the list seems to have grown). This means I must find a pumpkin and a good tasty one at that. The latter is really important as I used a very large pumpkin last year and it was so watery that it took two days to strain to the required consistency for pie (I use the recipe from Sophie Grigson 'Eat your Greens'). I might take a controversial route this year and not make pumpkin pie. Partly because although it's good, I don't think it has anything on a good tarte tatin or for that matter a great chocolate tart. No, pumpkin pie is fun and a good excuse for too much whipped cream but the recipe that has stolen my heart this month can be found here. It stole my heart for two reasons: the writing and the wonderful varied recipes... I love this blog and have to admit that I have spent too many hours lost in this tale. I've brought you in near to the beginning of this story with a suitably (if loosely) garden related entry to wet your appetite. If you are easily won over by fantastic photography, butter dripping recipes and a great yarn of love story block out - it is truly all consuming. As for the actual recipe, well it is perfect with a good strong coffee, better still I've found on the allotment between bouts of digging out couch grass (I made it with winter squash first time round). I would dispute that this is a recipe for bread; it's a cake (a cake that is equally as good with some chocolate chips thrown in). It's very easy to make (hence why it's going into this years thanksgiving menu). If it gets a little stale, cook it like toast and slather butter on it. You can also substitute the hazelnuts for walnuts particularly if you're lucky enough to have fresh ones that the squirrels haven't stolen. Oh for those that came here looking for gardening... Most pumpkins and squashes will need to be brought in farily soon, you don't want them to become frosted. You want to leave them on for as long as possible so that the skins can harden naturally. You can tell when the skin is ready as you won't be able to leave an impression with your thumb nail. Cut the fruit with a piece of stem attached either side to the stalk. You do this because it is very easy to damage the stalk and rot set in quickly. Many winter squash and some pumpkins do better for a period of curing. You need to bring them into a warm (20-25 °C) room for two weeks to concentrate the sugars and then store them somewhere cool (7-10 °C), dry and airy. The smaller witner squash such as Uchi Kuri or Hunter will store for three months or more.
A Fruitful Autumn
10.09.2009
On tonight's show Toby will be recommending his top five soft fruits to plant and, for branches laden with fruit next summer, now is the perfect time to start planting. During late autumn and on into the winter you can also buy and plant fruit trees and bushes bare root which is a cheaper option. Toby will also be planting a blackcurrant bush, making it the first addition to the fruit garden at Greenacre. Carol will be sharing her berry bonanza in the garden and hedgerows at Glebe Cottage and Alys will be planting a winter extravaganza in a pot that will thrive throughout the winter months. For Alys's full recipe, as well as detailed information about growing blackcurrants, a plant list, and all the techniques featured on tonight's show, please visit our episode guide. We'll also be meeting the fifth and final finalist for BBC Gardener of the Year 2009 and you will be able to vote for your favourite when the phone lines open at 9pm tonight. If you'd like to watch extended versions of clips of your favourite finalist and their garden, and would like full details of how to vote, please visit our Gardener of the Year pages. Finally, this weekend why not start preparing for the winter months before the first frost sets in. Here are a few gardening jobs that we'd recommend: Start collecting fallen leaves to make leaf mould. If you can wait a couple of years then store them in a compost bin and they will rot down slowly. For speedier leaf mould, shred them first and then store the leaves in perforated black plastic bags. Empty out summer pots of tender bedding and put the spent plants on the compost heap. There's still time to plant spring bulbs and the recent rainfall will have softened the ground enough for the perfect planting conditions. Finish harvesting tender vegetables before the first frosts arrive. That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend.
RHS Autumn Harvest Show
10.08.2009
I have to tell you that I'm currently feeling a little nervous. In spring I made a rash decision and decided that I was going to 'grow to show' for a bit of fun and chose to enter some veggies into the RHS Autumn Harvest show in London.Looking back it was a rather crazy idea and unfortunately for me that time has come round far sooner than expected! The show starts next Tuesday.....HELP ME!!! As long as my mentor, the legendary vegetable ninja Charlie Macey thinks mine aren't too embarrassingly bad I shall be showing my onions, dwarf French beans and stump carrots. They have been lovingly tended in my garden all summer long. Over the summer I visited a few vegetable shows and now know just how stiff the competition is. As well as being great characters my competitors are only what can be termed as obsessive perfectionists. Most of them haven't had a summer holiday for years as they wouldn't leave their plants for more than a day. However I can now see how one can get hooked on this life as there is something magical and beautiful about perfect vegetables - not that I can say I've grown any yet, but I have certainly seen some. It's all being filmed as part of my one hour special which will be aired next year I believe, so please wish me luck - I can assure you I'm going to need every single ounce of it!
A touch of the orient and autumn grasses
10.02.2009
On tonight's show Toby is busy bringing colour to the woodland garden at Greenacre, while Alys is looking at bringing colour and spice indoors this winter, by planting up amaryllis bulbs and chop suey greens. You can find details of the techniques and the inspirational gardens visited, featured in this week's episode guide.Meanwhile fresh from Carol's latest plant review at Glebe Cottage here's a list of some of the top autumn grasses: Anemanthele lessoniana Hakonechloa macra 'Japanese forest grass' Miscanthus sinensis 'Chinese silver grass' Miscanthus sinensis 'Flamingo' Miscanthus sinensis 'Malepartus' Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea 'Transparent' Molinia caerulea subsp. caerulea 'Edith Dudszus' Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Redhead' Tonight we'll be revealing the fourth finalist for BBC Gardener of the Year. Next week, after the final finalist is revealed you'll all be able to start voting for your favourite gardener. That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend.
Acers and Azaleas
10.02.2009
There's something so lovely about the scent and feel of the soil at this time of year. It's noticeably warmer than the crisp autumn air - no wonder newly planted trees are so keen to root now. After planting 'Osakazuki' in the new woodland garden at Greenacre I feel as though I have what Oprah Winfrey might call 'some closure'. Years ago, I sowed a tray of seeds collected from the maple with the most fiery autumn colour of all; Acer 'Osakazuki'. After a winter out in the cold they sprouted and the following year I potted up the one with the best colour for turning into a bonsai. I even made my own shallow pot drilling holes in the base of a terracotta drip tray, collected moss to cover the roots to create a Japanese woodland floor-look and spent the next five years pruning, training and preening. But no matter how much I mollycoddled, the tips of the leaves always turned an ugly brown. What could possibly be going wrong? I watered with collected rain and misted regularly - I did everything by the book. After the tree gave up the ghost I interviewed a bonsai grower who said that all acers were brilliant for bonsai. When I told him how difficult my 'Osakazuki' seedling was he said "yes - all acers except that one"! Both the newly planted Azaleas and Acers will produce fiery autumn tints at Greenacre. The foliage colour alone will look wonderful but tumbling amongst late season flowers it will look magnificent. So, to keep with the Oriental theme, Japanese anemones will fill out the soil around their roots. To do this I'll need quite a few, but they are the easiest plant to propagate. We don't even need to take cuttings. The pots of plants brought up from Berryfields have rooted into the soil in our nursery beds and the roots if left undisturbed will sprout into new plants in the spring. Brilliant!
Alliums
09.25.2009
My first week filming in the garden, and my first production blog! Claire Johnson, or Dr. Claire as she is affectionately known, is on a course this week, and so I have been parachuted in to fill her rather large wellies. I normally work on the shows, having researched RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton for the last two years, and the VT inserts. While it's quite daunting and exciting to work on such a high profile and prestigious show as the Chelsea Flower Show, it is also daunting and exciting to work on the main Gardeners' World programme. Daunting because of its history and pedigree, and exciting because it's the grand-daddy of all gardening television.One of the best things about working on the show this week is that we will be planting one of my favourite genus of flowering bulbs; the ornamental onion or Allium. What superb group they are, giving us such fantastic colour and form from May through to June. Who could imagine Chelsea week without the striking purple globes of Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' or the fireworks of A. shubertii. Planting alliums in the Prairie border this week at Greenacre, however, required a more modest, almost shy species; Allium cernuum. While it is readily available, it is not as well known as others in its genus, but it is worth growing for its loose nodding umbels of pinky purple flowers. Its native to the North America and grows well in most soils and aspects, and will naturalise when it finds a spot it likes. With its relaxed manner, it will fit nicely into the prairie border, flowering into July. Toby will be planting it alongside Nectaroscordum siculum, which flowers slightly earlier. Closely related to Alliums, Nectaroscordum also have an open head of subtle creamy pink flowers that hang gracefully when open. Toby will be planting them in drifts, following the specific planting theme of the border, for some June interest. For some spring colour and to provide some early Bee grub, Toby will be planting a succession of Alliums in the Bee Border also; A. 'Purple Sensation': appear in summer, showing off rounded heads full of deep violet flowers. These alliums are perfect for a sunny border. It is best to remove the immature seed-heads as the seedlings tend to have paler flowers. (AGM) A. schubertii: real stunner with round flower-heads measuring 30cm (1ft) wide, which resemble the starburst of a firework. The stems that pop out of the inner globe are thought to aid propagation by propelling the seed-heads. Allium cristophii: blockbuster with large purple heads measuring 20cm (8in) wide. These make superb cut flowers and have an almost metallic sheen on the stout stems, which reach knee height. Best placed in the spaces between border perennials to disguise its dying foliage. (AGM). A. sphaerocephalon: small, 2.5cm (1in) wide, pink to reddish-brown drumstick on long wiry stems. The flowers are densely packed and remain in bloom for many weeks. Tonight's programme will also see Joe bringing back some mad colour combinations inspired by Trentham Gardens. Carol enthuses about the gorgeous Rudbeckias and Asters currently filling her Devon garden with colour. And we have a look at contestant number 3 in our Gardener of the year competition. We even have 2 seasonal culinary suggestions to add a little sweetness to your weekend! Growing tips Site and soil preferences Alliums add impact to early summer borders and can be dried for winter decoration. They come in a wonderful range of colours including purple, buttercup yellow, pinks, white and shades of cornflower blue. Alliums are extremely easy to grow, invariably needing a place in full sun right at the front of a border. In the wild, alliums often grow in poor, stony ground and they don't need pampering in the garden. Average soil is fine, but it must be free-draining. Alliums in pots Even gardeners with tiny gardens can grow alliums in containers. Always use a reasonably deep container, especially for larger varieties. Plant at three times the depth of the bulb in well-drained compost (this also applies when planting in the open ground). The container plants will need repotting into fresh compost every year, but you don't need to do any more than this. They shouldn't require extra feeding, either, as long as their foliage is left to die back naturally. This enables them to build up energy for the following year. Like some other bulbs, they're naturally long-lived and survive for years if left undisturbed. With large drumstick alliums, the dying foliage can be disguised behind a few pots of bushy annuals or a clipped box for a more formal look.
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