I have never been a great collector of things or of plants – some people have the attention to detail and the tenacity and some do not, and I fall squarely into the latter category. But it struck me recently that I have made a collection of pelargoniums. To proper plant aficionados that may seem […]
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You need a warm greenhouse or conservatory to grow Wax plants successfully. Not surprisingly as these originate in the tropical Far East. The first, Hoya carnosa, was introduced to the UK from Java in 1802 and proved an immediate success. In the next fifty years another two dozen species were collected but none ever challenged […]
Sow Fennel, oriental vegetables like mizuna greens and Pak Choi, rocket, coriander dill, spinach, claytonia and land cress, in modules as soon as you can in August. These will germinate quickly and can be planted out by mid-August for an Autumn harvest. Blossom End Rot, where the end of tomatoes becomes circular, black and flattened, […]
As I walk my neighborhood in summer, I wonder: Why don’t I see more lilies? They have so much to offer a garden—color, elegance, fragrance. And yet mine is the only yard on my block with visible lilies, and I’m too sun-deprived to have many. Maybe people think that because lilies are elegant, they must […]
Keeping records of what goes on in a greenhouse can be an enormous help. It’s how I’ve learned precisely when to start my vegetable and flower seeds, as well as which potting medium and lighting conditions will give optimal germination and growth. From looking at my records, for example, I know that I get the […]
Iris is my middle name and I hated the name when I was a child. It was chosen, along with the dreaded Valerie, by my elder brother to compensate for my mother denying him the privilege of being an only child. You see he is about eight years older than I am, so he was […]
A green energy byproduct that allows compost to be revitalised and reused offers a potential pathway to a future beyond peat. Out of all the new stuff that’s appeared on the gardening block in the last few years, plant-derived digestate – the fibrous, chopped-up remains of forage maize and other grasses that have been fed […]
Optimal use of a greenhouse depends upon a careful balance of temperature, water, and light to maintain the ambient gases that keep the plants living within healthy, productive and happy. At this point in the proceedings I’ll climb up on my soapbox, so you’re excused if you don’t wish to hear about how we’re all, […]
Each year, at some moment in the gardening season, I’m overwhelmed by what needs to be done. The weeds are burgeoning, the midday heat limits my garden time, and every border or bed demands attention. But I have a work-around for overwhelm. The secret? I think small. I choose one area, one tiny area, and […]
I always have a bit of a conundrum at this time of year in the greenhouse. The plants are really growing away strongly now and tomatoes and aubergines are forming (no melons yet though…). But holidays hove into view. Holidays and greenhouses really don’t mix particularly well. At this time of year greenhouse plants want […]
Caterpillars get a bad press, especially with gardeners. But if you placed a butterfly in front of a gardener and told them to kill it, would they or could they? Well …. I hope not It’s time to fall in love with caterpillars. But first you need to understand a bit about them. Caterpillars are […]
Tapping into the interconnected mycological web beneath our feet lets us make allies of the myriad fungi in our gardens. Not many books – a mere third of the way through reading them – have me dashing excitedly out into my garden. But that’s exactly the effect that Finding the Mother Tree: Uncovering the Wisdom and […]