Honing your honeysuckle – tips for spring gardening

There’s SO much to do now it’s early spring! Let’s all make a plan not to feel so overwhelmed that we give up before we’ve begun, and just try to make a start SOMEWHERE! How about pruning the honeysuckle, thinning out your seedlings, and trying some layering of a shrub or two. Here’s how: HELPING THE HONEYSUCKLE  The pretty honeysuckles we grow to achieve a soft cottage-garden look, have some rampant and very invasive cousins on the loose! and even the ones we can buy at a garden centre have some pretty rampageous qualities – I once planted one in my...

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Ten veg worth growing

Which veg are worth growing because they are so much tastier than anything you can ever buy?  I asked myself this as I am about to set up a garden veg club at work and need some star performers to wow my colleagues. My two sisters will be horrified that I have been put in charge of this project; true, I have never actually grown a vegetable in my life (that’s what Tim is for) but if E and C can make a decent fist of it – how hard can it be?’ Radish. We need some early success...

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Iris lazica

This is not to be confused with Iris unguicularis which I wrote about in this column in February 2017. Although closely related, their needs differ in many respects, and for that reason it is well worth giving today’s plant a plug! Iris lazica is native to coastal areas of the Black Sea in Turkey and Georgia, and unlike the Algerian iris (which needs a hot, dry spot in poor soil), this one positively thrives in semi-shade, even full shade, and preferably a little damp. It also flowers later, in March, so if you grow both species, you will have a...

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Loads of gardening tips for a mad, mad March!

March – what a lot of gardening jobs there are to do this month!  I love March – it’s so exciting and full of promise. How about tidying up the borders, planting some gladioli and taking some easy cuttings, as well as dividing herbs, checking some plant supports and planting shallots? Let’s get going: TIDY-UP TIME Did you leave the seedheads and brown foliage on many of your perennials over the winter, for the wildlife?  Well done! But now it’s time to cut all of that away to make room for the new shoots.  If you leave it on...

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