The 12 gardening tips of Christmas

Okay, so if you’re wondering what to do in the garden at Christmas, here are our 12 tips to make the festive season special and absolutely none of them involve queueing, alcohol or recipes for vegan sausage meat. 1. Bring your garden birds close up. Hang your bird feeders right up against your kitchen window; your reward will be thrilling close up views of all sorts of tits and finches and maybe even a nuthatch or, on red letter days, a spotted woodpecker. To make them safe from the swooping sparrowhawks place a protective shield of bamboo canes around the...

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Growbags’ must-have Christmas present

So you need to organise that one special horticultural Christmas gift …. and luckily we three Growbags are here to guide you to a choice that will be a lasting monument to your fine taste and thoughtfulness. So, before E wades in with a compost aerator, or C suggests shares in that singing reindeer she spotted at Dobbies last week, let me put forward a much sexier proposition: a lemon tree. Honestly, they have so many beguiling and evocative properties that you are practically giftwrapping your friend/partner/relative their own little piece of  the Mediterranean, guaranteed to be greeted with squeals...

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10 reasons to be cheerful in November

I love November, not just because it’s my birthday on the 29th (sorry but I just needed to make reference to this in public so that C and E officially have no excuses…) but because it’s  about the only month in the year when you can actually RELAX.  OK so Elaine will try and have you out turning the compost or planting bare root hedges, but honestly there’s no need, you CAN just swan around the garden clasping a hot drink inspecting things (Caroline doesn’t even go outside she just looks at things through triple glazed windows). So let’s list the...

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Halloween horrors

The end of October,  and the shops are full of skeletons and pumpkins as Halloween approaches. Don’t think that the horticultural world can’t join in the spooky fun though; there are plenty of botanical nightmares out there worthy of The Little Shop of Horrors. The carnivorous plants hold a special fascination –  monkey cups (Nepenthes), cobra plants (Darlingtonia), Venus fly-traps  (Dionaea) and the like. These lure innocent insects to their doom with their gaudy shapes and colours and scents. Horrified but intrigued, we watch as the fly buzzes nonchalantly towards mortal danger, like a young woman in a skimpy nightie walking through...

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