Gardening Heroes – it takes all types

Can you remember the exact moment when you realised gardening wasn’t boring? I ask the question as I have watched young adults recently realise that politics isn’t boring when their country’s parliament is apparently an asylum run by lunatics. Nor is gardening – for me it was a comment in an obscure book that the world would be a better place if every Weigela bush was piled high on a bonfire and burnt that made me sit up. Now I personally have nothing against Weigelas and actually grow a good one in my garden now called ‘Bristol Ruby’ but it...

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Keep calm and allium on!

Strong and stable: for the many not the few; politicians seem to have drawn on alliums for a number of national campaigns. There aren’t many gardens which don’t have these wonderfully architectural plants dominating their beds in June. It’s a funny thing about alliums – we use the Latin name for all the decorative ones, and common names – onion, garlic, chives etc – for the edible ones.  The pretty ones are the kings of the June garden. I love Allium christophii with its hundreds of violet metallic stars. The seedheads of this one will keep their shape all winter...

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The Growbags award their own Chelsea Golds

Our Chelsea Flower Show Review 2017: If Chelsea Flower Show didn’t exist, we would have to invent it – otherwise we wouldn’t have a ceiling for our artistic gardening ambition to hurl itself against.   Much of what you see there is near-impossible to re-create, misguided or just barking-mad – but witnessing the misguided or the barking-mad is actually quite exciting, like watching Diane Abbott calculate the Treasury Budget. You will already have had it ‘up to here’ about good and bad Chelsea gardens (in a nutshell, garden plants didn’t get big medals this year – I’m sure they will...

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Will they check out if not hardened off?

A few years ago the English wine industry was at serious risk of losing 75% of its multi-million pound harvest this year because a -6 frost in the south of England in the last week of April destroyed the buds.  The ones above, snapped by Laura’s husband Tim, certainly took a direct hit. It was quite a sight to see acres of hillside vineyard lit by hundreds of burners that particular night in a desperate attempt to try and raise the temperature a degree or two and save the crop. That late deep frost damaged a lot of new growth...

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