Gardening

A rough guide to winter pruning

January is one of the best months for pruning deciduous trees and shrubs. The grass and perennials below shrubs and trees will be dormant but look out for emerging bulbs. It is a job that can be done during frosty or wet weather, when border work is impossible.

Too many gardens have their shrubs annually ‘blobbed’ in an unthinking sort of way. Small leaved evergreens such as box, yew and osmanthus respond to this well. When done very well pruning is elevated to the art of topiary.

Read more

Gardening

Evergreen plants for all year round

It is during the last week in November that the oaks and beeches finally relinquish their russet leaves, the gingkos and field maples are surrounded by pools of gold and winter is nearly upon us. If you want a view from the kitchen sink that still pleases the eye I would advise having some evergreens in sight.

Read more

Gardening

The best apple trees to plant now

It has always been a dream of mine to plant an orchard of apples. I fantasize about planting and eating unusual and delicious apples on semi-dwarfing rootstocks, so I may be able to prune and pick without resorting to long ladders in my old age.

Read more

Gardening

What to grow for next year?

 

After a long hot dry summer, the drought has been broken by many showers of rain, which have swelled my celeriac nicely. I am happy to face the winter and possible Brexit price rises with kale, leeks, parsnips and celeriac on the allotment

Read more

Gardening

Artichoke heaven

July, of all the months in the garden, should surely give us a feeling that this is it…the pinnacle of the year, full-blown summer. It is properly hot and sunny, and Glastonbury looked amazingly free from mud and packed with shiny happy pink and brown people. I considered going…but who would water my pots?

Read more

Gardening

New potatoes

 

I made enquiries at some Somerset garden centres and nurseries in March, and they all report that sales of seed potatoes, vegetable seeds, onion setts and plants are much higher than last year. Customers have been citing worries about the Brexit deal or no-deal affecting the food supply chain.

Read more

Gardening

Deeper down

 

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the weather has a bit funny lately. What with the hottest summer for years and February’s record temperatures, we can no longer be in denial about climate change and the possibility of another scorching summer.

Read more