And the gardening year gets underway! Grow-how tips

Here we are, right at the start of a super new gardening year! So let’s get some early seed-sowing done, as well as some tree-pruning and a bit of veg planning, to satisfy our urge to be ‘up and doing’ after the excesses of Christmas: CHILLIES IN THE CHILLY SEASON You have to give chillies a good long run at it, if you want fabulous fruit at the end of the summer. They are frustratingly slow initially to germinate and then to start motoring, so get some going now with the aim of having some plumptious leafy well-rooted plants by midsummer,...

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How to keep your festive houseplants happy! Tips for early January

Do you have flowering plants in the house this Christmas? They add a bit of glamour at this time of year, don’t you think? But how do you get poinsettias and amaryllis to stay alive, so they do the same next year? I’m well-known for not having much patience with houseplants, preferring to do my gardening out of doors, but most of them are not difficult to look after, if you follow these tips: A general rule first – practically all commonly-grown houseplants HATE standing permanently in water. Dunk the pot in a bucket of water almost up to its rim and...

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Lilies, tree-shaping and tool-sharpening – tips for December

How to plant lily bulbs and how to crown-lift evergreen trees, as well as get some soul-improving tool maintenance done – these are the tasks I’m covering this week.  So take a break from the hectic Christmas shopping and menu-planning, and escape into the garden for a bit….   LOVELY LILIES FOR YOU If the ground isn’t frozen, now is a good time to plant some lilies in a sunny place (though it’s even better if their roots are in shade, and their heads are in the sun), to bring beauty and scent next year. First of all, don’t buy...

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Hardwood cuttings and hellebores – Grow-how Tips For December

There are some easy and calming garden tasks such as taking hardwood cuttings, tidying hellebores and pruning apple-trees that will provide a short escape from the mad and panicky festive fray that is now upon us,  and this is how to do them: HARDWOOD CUTTINGS Here is a very satisfying and simple way to make more of your favourite shrubs. You do need a bit of patience because these cuttings are unlikely to create a decent root system in less than a year, but honestly, it’s a doddle. Oh my goodness, there are SO many candidates for your attention: for example,...

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