The Growbags make some cutting remarks……….

You know you’re a proper gardener when you start propagating plants, and generously giving them away to others. My own garden is full of plant gifts from Elaine and Louise, – none yet from Caroline but one lives in hope. Indeed one of the pleasures of a walk around your garden is the memories of the person who gave you each plant so it’s lovely to be able to reciprocate with some home made plants of your own, and now is the perfect time to give some cuttings a go. The best plant presents are usually something a little...

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Stone trough

Peaks and troughs

When our old Belfast sink finally became too chipped and stained for kitchen use, out it went by the back door, and my ever-resourceful husband had it turned into a vintage garden trough in no time. No sink, trough or container specifically dedicated to growing alpines, sempervivums and other succulents is by any means low maintenance; this is probably because one has to use such a gritty, free-draining potting mix that it becomes a magnet for self-seeders – and seldom the ones you’d welcome. Life is just too short to sterilise this quantity of compost, so I tend to use plants that are robust enough to see off the interlopers. Making this miniature alpine landscape is all a matter of trial and error, but...

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Pelargonium

Bargain plants and parsley pickings – Grow-How tips for August

Here in the parched south, our gardens were greatly revived by the recent welcome rain – just what was needed! We’ve got lots of treats for you this week including a new Veg Update from Laura, and two reviews of products we have been trialling – see the links at the end of this post. Tasks for late August include taking pelargonium cuttings, watering camellias and picking up cut-price plants…………… Pelargonium cuttings Do you like the bright displays of pelargoniums (our feature picture this week) that blaze at this time of year? There’s such a hot-weather exuberance about them,...

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Barn owls

Surplus veg, mushroom gratin and barn owls

I hope you’ve all had some successes in your veg plots this summer, especially those of you who are new to growing your own. But you may now have the rather pleasant conundrum of ‘what the heck do I do with all the surplus?’ Here are my suggestions: 1. Give it away to friends or donate it to a food bank. This is a really good option for both you and the recipient because an act of kindness (particularly to a stranger) is very good for your mental health. It’s an especially good thing to do with salad crops,...

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