Grow-How Tips for May

What a wonderful time of year this is! And so much to do!  Let’s get on with repairing arches, tidying the spring clematis and taking some cuttings, amongst other things:  FALLEN ARCHES At the entrances to our cottage garden, we had put three metal arches, and since we had not paid a lot for them, perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised when, under the weight of roses or honeysuckle for the past five years, they started to fall apart.  My husband Nigel, being a very resourceful sort of chap (he very rarely throws any item of hardware away!) had...

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Going native to help our butterflies

We all want to encourage pollinating insects into our garden but how can we achieve this? Butterflies and moths are challenging as they have a two-stage life cycle, caterpillar and winged adult, whereas bees rear their young themselves so we need only to worry about feeding the grown ups. So I am leaving Elaine the simpler task of making recommendations on which are the best nectar plants, whereas I will take on the more intellectually rigourous topic of larval foodplants, (don’t think Caroline has moved on from her childhood obsession with stag beetles so goodness knows what her insect...

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Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’

We originally planted this eye catching and bountiful shrub by default. I had been after an obscure shade loving shrub whose name I have long forgotten, so when this bare rooted, twiggy plant arrived (out of leaf) in late winter, in it went and I didn’t give it further thought. Until that is, I spotted the first pearl-like buds appearing in early spring and followed soon after by an abundance of snowy white flowers which had a very long season. I quickly realised that we had been sent the wrong plant, but I didn’t care; our Exochorda is one...

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Grow-How Tips for April

Things are becoming exciting in the garden now the days are warming up! I have some tips for you on hardening off plants, pruning evergreens, and making a sweetpea wigwam, among other things….. ARE THEY  ‘ARD ENOUGH?! If, like me, you have been madly germinating all sorts of veg and flower seeds inside on windowsills or greenhouses, then watering them, pricking them out, potting them on, pinching them out etc. etc., you’re probably getting fed up with them as well as running out of space! It is dreadfully tempting to think they are big and strong enough to go out...

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