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Gardening Tips

And a final word on clematis

Don’t you just adore those small and medium-flowered summer clematis – they will enchant for weeks and weeks from mid-summer onwards, if you have a good hack at them now. All that mass of tangled brown top-growth can be cut off entirely now, right down to about 1ft off the ground. I know it’s scary…

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Gardening Tips

Jolly jobs for January

While the world hunts desperately for snippets of good news amongst all the awful stuff, we gardeners still have the little buzz of feeling that spring is not hopelessly far off now. The snowdrops are pushing through, and we can begin preparing our plots for the coming season. Let’s get going on tasks like pruning…

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Gardening Tips

Let’s start preparing! Growhow tips for January

Back to ‘normal’ apparently but no doubt still very challenging days ahead for us all. We lucky, lucky gardeners at least have an interest that can sustain us. There are early seeds to sow, plans to make, tools to sharpen…………..let’s get going! Early seed-sowing Before we start, I must just share with you part of…

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Gardening Tips

Let’s help our plants in winter

So. 2020 is just about done, all bar the shouting. Not a year anyone in the world is ever going to forget in a hurry. But Glory Be! At LEAST it’s meant that millions more people love and appreciate plants and gardens now. Let’s escape the knotty and stressful confusion of who’s allowed to go…

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Gardening Tips

Best foot forward to winter

So, we’ve arrived at December in the strangest year most of us have ever known! We’ve needed our plants and gardens to help us stay sane, in a million different ways, and now we need them to get us through a very difficult winter as well…… A bright spark for us has been the publication…

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Gardening Tips

Looking forward to brighter days – Growhow tips for November

As the world teeters on the brink of a wild hope that an effective vaccine is on the horizon, it reminds me that Hope is one thing we gardeners are pretty good at. Actually Hope and Patience are the two things we need in abundance, to enjoy our wonderful hobby. To illustrate these admirable qualities,…

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Horticulture at Halloween – Grow-How tips for early November

Halloween is upon us! I don’t know about you but 2020 has been so full of grim foreboding and even grislier realities, I’m not as much in the mood for clanking skeletons and spooky shenanigans as usual. Might still be tempted to wear my big witch’s hat, though, as I trim up the rose bushes,…

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Gardening Tips

Into autumn with a firm jaw – GrowHow tips for October

Right, so our gardens and outdoor spaces have comforted us through March, April, May, June, July, August and September of this ghastly year, and now they HAVE to help us through the cold, damp months as well. Stop watching the news for a while and immerse yourself in tasks like compost-turning, planting garlic or taking…

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Gardening Tips

Lose yourself in plants – GrowHow tips for early October

We’ve reached October 2020, and it has to be true that most of us, if not all, stand amazed and appalled each day at how the human world has changed for the worse in nine short months. Even as we move towards late autumn and winter, let’s turn with pleasure and thankfulness to our plants…

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Gardening Tips

Thinking ahead – Grow-how tips for September

For most of this year, thinking about horticulture has been a blessed relief from the miserable news headlines, and this September is as crowded with grim stories as ever, so let’s turn with a sense of release and solace to some tasks like pruning shrubs, sowing hardy annual seeds, and planting bulbs amongst other things………………….…

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Gardening Tips

Autumn beckons – Grow-how tips for early September

The year has tipped into September, and the light feels softer, the evenings are chillier….A keen gardener knows that these changes signal a return to action after the less frenetic high summer months, so let’s get busy with the herb garden, harvesting veg and trimming hedges………….. Helping the herbs Many herbs are so easy to…

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Gardening Tips

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.…

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Gardening Tips

Sizzling ideas! – Grow-How tips for early August

Early August means the highest of high summer! The deeply troubling events of this year can’t halt the corn reaching as high as an elephant’s eye, or the fruit ripening on the branches. Let’s be thankful for that at least, and get on with some tasks like sowing winter salads, make some new sempervivums, and…

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Gardening Tips

High summer’s here! – Grow-How tips for late July

As we move into high summer, most of the country’s gardens, pots and window-boxes are burgeoning with flowers, fruit and veg, proving that no matter how weird and frightening this year has been so far for us all, our gardens will just keep on giving, with a bit of love and encouragement from us.  So let’s…

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Gardening Tips Summer

Clematis ‘Venosa Violacea’ AGM

It all began on a very windy day in February when I noticed that our aged Chimonanthus praecox was being blown sideways under the weight of a winter flowering clematis and a honeysuckle. So, I did a bit of emergency topping there and then and made a note to finish off the job in the spring when the clematis had finished…

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Gardening Tips

Sorting out the flowery chaos – Grow-how tips for July

By mid-July, the spring freshness has usually left the garden, but we can start to enjoy the fullness and scents of the true summer flowers like lilies, salvias and verbena, and begin to harvest the fruit and veg we sowed and tended so hopefully early in the year. Let’s get on with a bit of…

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Gardening Tips

Squash bottles and old tights – Grow-How tips for late June

We’re past the longest day and the nights are drawing in…, but not before we have a glorious summer to follow the lovely weather of spring, we hope! Jobs and tips to get on with this week include drying off the tulip bulbs, utilising some household things in the garden and sowing some poppies, so…

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Gardening Tips

Geranium joy – Grow-how tips for June

It’s all going pretty well up till now, as far as the garden goes. A spectacularly hot May, at least here in the south, has brought flowers a-plenty, and Caroline tells me that northern gardens are shaping up nicely too. Welcome rain is now wetting parched soil here, so with less stressed plants, we can…

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Gardening Tips

The heat is on! Grow-how tips for early June

June here already with the longest day looming! The year is flying on, and there are gardening jobs a’plenty to keep us from dwelling on all the strange difficulties of the past three months. Let’s tackle things like dealing with whitefly, planting out the tender perennials, and removing excess weed from the pond. (If you…

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Gardening Tips

Grow-how tips for mid May

After some really lovely weather through April and early May, much of the garden is shooting up all over the place, and the jobs are piling up! Let’s get on with a bit of border-titivating for the main event, harvesting rhubarb, and choosing some plants for our insect-friends…………… Before we get stuck in, welcome to…

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Gardening Tips

May mayhem! Grow-how tips for late spring

A great many aspects of our normal lives have stalled during these strange and difficult Covid times, but the garden certainly hasn’t! Lots of glorious spring sunshine and now some much-needed rain have brought the plants on with wild abandon and there is much to be done. Let’s get going with trimming some some perennials,…

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The wonderful world of ….weeding! – GrowHow tips for April

As we battle on through these challenging Covid-times, anyone with an outside patch to tend has been very grateful for the distraction, therapy and pleasure that it offers during national lockdown. And there is SO MUCH to do at this time of year! Let’s get on with a few jobs, including tackling the weeds and…

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Gardening Tips

It’s all kicking off in the garden: Grow-How tips for early April

Many people have turned to their gardens and gardening to help them through the last year. Calming, absorbing yet exciting – growing plants offers it all! So let’s get on with some jobs – looking after your seedlings, dividing primroses and pruning shrubs are among the items on the agenda today……… Putting a Damper on…

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Gardening Tips

Therapy for Troubled Times – Grow How Tips for Late March

If ever there was a time to feel glad that we have a mutual interest in gardening, this is it. Not being able to share our hobby physically at the moment, we can still get on with the myriad jobs of spring, like seed-sowing, herb-growing and fern-titivation……… Calm in the Chaos Last year’s angst about…

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Gardening Tips

Seed-sowing, staking and sacred bamboo – Grow-How Tips for March

First up: We’re reviewing a great new gardening book ‘Diary of a Modern Country Gardener’ today – do have a look at the bottom of this post. Even if some of us are still trudging through snow, the lengthening days lure us into the garden in March. There is much to be done – staking…

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Slug-proof plants and winter jasmine: Grow-How tips for late February

The named storms have been coursing through the UK, but spring is on its way regardless and there are jobs to do, like pruning winter-flowering jasmine, choosing some slug-proof plants, and dividing snowdrops…… Jazzing up Jasmine It’s usually a cinch to grow Jasminum nudiflorum, and it’s a bright and pretty thing to see when covered…

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Gardening Tips

Feeding Early Bees and Prepping Veg Beds – Growhow Tips for February

Are your fingers itching, as mine are, to get going in the garden? While we are waiting for the busy-ness of March to begin, how about helping the early insects, beautifying garden trees or preparing the veg beds for the coming season……. Catering for Critters Unexpectedly mild winter weather in the south has been worryingly…

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Gardening Tips

Sorting Spades and Pruning Late Clematis – Grow-How Tips for early February

With the lengthening days and snowdrops making their entrance, thoughts are definitely turning to the glorious gardening year ahead. So let’s get cracking on some handy tasks to set the scene like top-dressing plants in pots, taking some root-cuttings, and cleaning up the tools ready for the great Spring Push……. TOP-DRESSING FOR TOP SHRUBS Many, many…

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Gardening Tips

Sowing seeds and gorgeous scents… Grow-How Tips for January

Mid-January in the UK and I don’t know about you, but I find it a little less tempting to venture into the garden. But there are lots of tasks like early seed-sowing, scrubbing down patios and paths, and planning for winter scent etc. that will take our minds off the chill and put a gloss…

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Gardening Tips

Out with the old….Grow-How Tips for January

New year, new beginnings – hurray! And even in the deepest days of winter, you can get on with some tasks that will make you feel that spring is on the way – clearing things up ready for the early bulbs, pruning the shaggy shrubs, ordering seeds………. Sprucing up for early spring There are plenty of…

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Gardening Tips

Feeding the birds and going green indoors – Christmas GrowHow Tips

Ooh, it’s nearly here now! But before we lose ourselves utterly in the chaos and magic of Christmas, let’s get a few jobs done like feeding the birds, tending to the houseplants, and sowing some alpines…… Don’t forget the birds! Everyone getting excited about the delicious food and drink we are going to consume over…

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Gardening Tips

Scent and flowers for the festive season – Grow-How Tips for December

What with the weather being very regularly…..meh in December, some of my tips this week have a somewhat ‘indoorsy’ feel – herbs in window-sill pots, and bringing in bulbs to flower for Christmas, for instance, amongst such hardier pursuits as compost-heaps and mulching the Agapanthus………And don’t forget to click on to our Shop Page at the bottom…

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Gardening Tips

Tucking in the Tulips – Grow-How Tips for November

Now every shop on the High Street has stocked up its Christmas aisle, and you’ve been panicked into buying your first gifts for nearest and dearest, get some little gardening jobs done before the mayhem really kicks in. Planting tulips, pruning vines and cleaning labels can all be on your to-do list this month……. TIME…

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Gardening Tips

Winter pots – Growhow tips for early November

Brrrr! It can be hard to feel keen about wading into the garden in November– too much cold, too much wind and rain or worse…….but there are still jobs to do including some cleaning and tidying, planting a pot for winter colour, refreshing the rhubarb patch…… A GOOD WASH AND BRUSH-UP Now the main season of…

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Gardening Tips

Preparing for the Chilly Season – Grow-How Tips for Early October

A real change in the air now as the garden takes on its autumn colours. There’s plenty to do as you pack away the outdoor furniture and make sure that your plants are ready to face the winter. Here are some ideas for tasks such as sowing Hardy Annuals and broad beans, laying a soil…

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Gardening Tips

Create something new? Grow-How Tips for September

It’s a little sad when you can’t help but notice there isn’t enough evening light to finish the list of gardening tasks you’d planned,isn’t it! But here are a few to get started on anyhow, like constructing new planting areas, cutting out dead wood in shrubs and trees, and making plans for next year……. MAKING…