gardening

  • Five award winning garden designs to be inspired by

    For many trade and professional bodies, a high-profile bash that hands out a dazzling array of trophies is a fixture of the festive season, and is essentially seen as a good marketing ploy for the profession (or trade) and the individuals who win. The Society of Garden Designers (SGD) is no exception and has established its own annual shindig – this year saw the ninth such awards. It was heartening to see how they have matured and come into their own, with impressive winners across all categorie

  • Why now is the best time to work on your indoor plants

    Central heating can cause fluctuating temperatures which houseplants hate, often resulting in leaf drop. If your plants were near radiators during the summer, move them away for the winter. Provide as much light as you can and remember that the biggest killer of houseplants is overwatering. Growth rates are very low during the winter so plants don’t require much water – often just enough to keep them alive. It is easy to revive a plant if it’s too dry but almost impossible to resurrect a waterlo

  • Why winter is the best time to experiment in the garden

    November was full of revelations for me. I had not realised there is a fantastic glass substitute out there – ETFE (short for Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) film – it is the same price as horticultural glass, is far more durable and allows the full spectrum of natural light through. Now, excitingly, it is just becoming available for gardeners, rather than just commercial growers.

  • How to stop a squirrel invasion in your garden

    At the start of 2021, I met a cat that made an impression on me. His name is Bellamy, and his owner told me that over the previous autumn and winter he had killed 110 grey squirrels, catching them and whisking them upstairs where, under a chair of shame and/or privacy, he proceeded to devour them.

  • Six gardening jobs to complete before the weather gets extreme

    On a wet and windy day, find a dry spot and make time to sit down with a cuppa and clean your bird boxes to make sure that they’re sound and ready for next spring. Hygiene is very important for young birds as they hatch, and all of that detritus can harbour pests and disease.

  • Six gardening chores to complete before the weather gets extreme

    On a wet and windy day, find a dry spot and make time to sit down with a cuppa and clean your bird boxes to make sure that they’re sound and ready for next spring. Hygiene is very important for young birds as they hatch, and all of that detritus can harbour pests and disease.

  • November gardening checklist: what to plant and tidy in your garden this month

    In November, the short days of autumn feel longer, colder, and frost seems mere days away.

  • Gardening in November: what to do in your garden this month

    In November, the short days of autumn feel longer, colder, and frost seems mere days away.

  • How to downsize your garden for less stress and just as much pleasure

    Moving to a new garden in later life gives you a chance to ask different things from your outdoor space than perhaps you did when you and your family were younger.

  • How to transform your garden with this cheap and useful material

    ‘That’s a bit niche, isn’t it?” was the reply of Ben Raskin’s publisher when he pitched the idea of a book about woodchip. But niche is very “now”, and it’s not just specialist topics such as woodchips that are, well… coming out of the woodwork. Unless you’ve been in outer space with the Bezoses, you’ll know that the Netflix hit The Queen’s Gambit is about chess. Chess! But despite the silent, glacial-paced theme, it’s a series full of sass and insight.

  • How to protect your plants from winter weather and nibbling animals

    For gardeners across the UK, the arrival of late autumn and winter brings with it it's own set of challenges. In particular, it is a time to be wary of high winds and foraging animals that can decimate young saplings and shrubs in any outdoor space.

  • How to help your plants survive winter gales and protect young trees from nibbling animals

    Severe weather is becoming more common all year round, but autumn and winter are notorious for high winds, which can damage plants. The danger is that plants can be rocked back and forth which damages their root systems and, in severe cases, can topple them. To prevent that sail effect, it is a good idea to reduce the canopy of vulnerable, fast-growing plants such as buddleia and hybrid tea roses. Simply reduce their height by 50 per cent to make them better able to stand up to gales. Next sprin

  • A beginner's guide to making garden compost

    Autumn and early winter sees an abundance of green waste being generated from tree pruning, fallen leaves and so on. Finding ways to use or dispose of this debris can be a horticultural headache. Home-made garden compost is the answer: a gardener’s secret weapon, this black gold is the key to a thriving garden, increasing biological activity in the soil and improving its structure and texture.

  • How to grow prickly pears at home – the cacti for houseplant lovers

    It is said, supposedly by the great father of taxonomy Carl Linnaeus, that flat-leaf parsley originated in Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. There, among the many indigenous umbelliferous herbs sustained by Sardinia’s diverse range of environments – giant fennels, scrubland rues, coastal samphires – the comparatively diminutive yet sumptuous parsley quietly flourished, poised for culinary stardom.

  • How to make the most of your winter greenhouse

    Greenhouses ain’t what they used to be. Nowadays they’re as likely to double up as a home office or yoga studio: and as gardens shrink, the traditional six-by-eight is yielding ground to mini greenhouses small enough to slot onto a balcony. Ikea’s tiny cabinet greenhouse is just 18in wide – small enough to perch on a windowsill.

  • Things to do in your greenhouse this winter

    Greenhouses ain’t what they used to be. Nowadays they’re as likely to double up as a home office or yoga studio: and as gardens shrink, the traditional six-by-eight is yielding ground to mini greenhouses small enough to slot onto a balcony. Ikea’s tiny cabinet greenhouse is just 18in wide – small enough to perch on a windowsill.

  • How to grow squash and pumpkins in small spaces

    ‘Throughout the pandemic the fragility of our global food system became clear, and it is local farms and our own gardens that have often provided security,” writes Anna Greenland in the introduction to her debut book, Grow Easy: Organic Crops for Pots and Small Plots (see below). “Learning the basic skills to feed ourselves feels pertinent. And practicalities aside, growing your own food feels good.”

  • How to grow healthy squash from seed

    Have you been experiencing pumpkin envy? If this year’s crop of squash has inspired you to grow your own delicious, decorative gourds, help is at hand.

  • 12 of the best bird baths to buy now – and how to make your own

    A shallow pool of water in which birds can drink, bathe and cool themselves – functional yet decorative, the bird bath as we know it today doubles up as a garden ornament or outdoor sculpture. Now, the ultimate man-made avian spa is enjoying a renaissance, as the nation seeks to create more wildlife-friendly gardens.

  • 'Anyone can bring more magic into their lives, and anyone can become a green-fingered witch'

    In the kitchen of her perfectly ordinary modern house in rural Cambridgeshire, practising “green witch” Dr Hannah Sanders is explaining to me how best to ward off evil spirits come October 31.

  • Give your garden an autumn reset – here’s how

    This week, refresh tired-looking herbs, prepare cabbage for harvest, and add a splash of colour to your plot for autumn

  • How to autumn-proof your garden

    When maple-coloured leaves are scattered on the ground, it's a sign that chillier, crisper times are ahead.

  • The ultimate guide to protecting your garden from the cold and best seeds to plant

    As I have just moved from the tropical climes of central London to a windy hilltop farm in West Yorkshire, it will come as no surprise to hear that my mind has turned to hardy plants. And by hardy I mean able to withstand 4in of snow in late April, while simultaneously taking a battering from fierce winds. No more foliage begonias for me.

  • The best hardy plants that will survive in exposed garden plots

    After I moved from the tropical climes of central London to a windy hilltop farm in West Yorkshire, it will come as no surprise to hear that my mind turned to hardy plants. And by hardy I mean able to withstand 4 inches of snow in late April, while simultaneously taking a battering from fierce winds. No more foliage begonias for me.

  • Made for the shade: plants for north-facing walls

    Climbers to cover a north-facing wall are a challenge, but I am wondering if, with warmer summers, we can get away with some plants that are not technically regarded as lovers of full shade. On a visit to Ninfa, the celebrated garden south of Rome, I remember noticing all sorts of plants – ceanothus, irises and several roses – thriving in dark places because of the warmth. Years of received wisdom tell us what we can and can’t do, but occasionally it is worth pushing the boundaries. If you don’t

  • Why you will get garden envy after vising the Japanese gardens at Kew

    Stepping into Kew’s soaring Temperate House, it seems as if a flock of doves has flown in, and is circling the centre aisle of the glasshouse. Closer inspection reveals thousands of sheets of paper, each bearing a haiku in elegant Japanese calligraphy, suspended on a slender red thread.