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How to grow your own flower arrangement

There’s nothing like cutting your own flowers fresh from the garden: they last longer, look more natural and offer the opportunity to bring a little of your plot indoors. Of course you can just cut a few stems, or a bunch, and pop them in a vase of water and…

Flora of Budapest – Spring along the Danube

I’ve just spent a few days in the wonderful city of Budapest, Hungary; my first visit. This very welcoming city on the banks of the Danube has friendly people, magnificent architecture, hearty food, vibrant bars and steaming thermal baths, What I wasn’t expecting were the amount of trees and flowers…

Plant Protection without chemicals

It is possible to control some pests and weeds with traditional barrier methods avoiding the use of chemical methods. Some of these have been used in gardens for many years, however these principles are also employed in more modern plant protection methods. They are welcomed by organic gardeners and those…

Living Walls; A Designer Dream or Ecologist’s Nightmare?

Who can deny the allure of the incredible vertical gardens of Patrick Blanc. If you’ve not come across him, Patrick Blanc is a charismatic green-haired, green-attired French botanist, known as the founding father of the vertical garden. A vertical garden or living wall, also known as “le Mur Végétal” (the…

The Magic of Spring Flowers

Sometimes there are moments in the garden that you just want to share. The spring garden is so full of surprises; something new appears and delights with every weekend. What I love about this time of the year is the detail: a delicate flower, an unfurling leaf, fallen blossoms on…

The New Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs

Hillier Nurseries are known as growers of an unbeatably wide range of trees and shrubs. This reputation was established by the late Sir Harold Hillier, whose private collection of plants hardy in temperate climates became the world renowned Hillier Arboretum, today the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. Sir Harold, one of…

Growing Chillies

If you are going to have success growing chillies in more temperate regions it is important to get a head start. You can either sow seeds early indoors on a windowsill, or in a heated greenhouse or conservatory, or you can buy plants in mid to late spring. Chillies are…

Growing vegetables from seed and plug plants

It is now getting on for three weeks since I set up my VegTrug down on the vegetable plot. The weather has been quite cold, but as spring progresses warmer conditions should speed up growth rate. I’m delighted to say that my beetroot have already germinated. The seedlings are gem…

Planting in shade – partial shade, semi-shade, dappled shade; what do they mean?

What Are The Best Plants for Shade? Most gardens have shaded areas and most gardeners find them challenging situations. Often favourite flowering plants fail to thrive, results are disappointing and failure leads to greater despondency about the shaded areas of the garden. Small gardens in urban areas often have more…

Growing from seed – starting your plants the easy way

Even if you have good soil that’s suitable for sowing seed directly into, very young seedlings are vulnerable. Slugs, snails, birds and rabbits are all looking for a tasty spring snack. Of course you can protect them with netting or mesh, but often they emerge when you are not around…