I’m not sure I had a clue what a sweet pea looked like when I first picked up a gardening book. En masse, they present a spectacle that belies their somewhat humble background as a cottage garden favourite. If you hadn’t already been planning to grown them this year, here are five reasons why I think you should.
Do you ever feel you’re getting buried under the weight of information and conflicting opinions on the internet? It’s as true with gardening as any other subject you might throw at Google. So in this post, I’m recommending you buy a packet of seeds and get on with sowing the contents. Then you can read the advice, contradictory or otherwise – but at least that way you’ll have avoided the procrastination hump.
I’m delighted to welcome Kew’s Miranda Janatka for the first post in a series on A gardener’s tools, in which different gardeners will be writing about the tools which they find invaluable in their labours, as they tend gardens and nurture plants. Having seen a photography of Miranda’s dissecting kit on her Instagram feed, I had to ask her if she’d be happy to go into the background behind the collection and, fortunately for us, she said yes.
Undoubtedly cute in the right place, but a magnificent pain in the backside in the garden – furry critters have been wreaking havoc again. This time the rabbit damage was limited to a fig tree, but its survival is still very much in the balance.
To the uninitiated, hashtags are probably the most confounding aspect to social media. But a little delving reveals them to be a powerful tool for cutting through the online flotsam and plucking related content out from the relentless flow of global chatter. As winter turns to spring, I’m launching a hashtag to encourage Instagram users to share their seasonal images.
Published last September, it seems criminal that it's taken me so long to get around to read this exploration of fourteen head gardeners, written by Ambra Edwards with photographs by Charlie Hopkinson. But the moment I heard about it, I was hooked, and wanted to savour the reading of it in the quiet days between Christmas and New Year. Well, it took me a little longer, but read on to find out what I thought of the book.
It’s new year’s eve, but I’ll leave the annual gardening retrospective for others. For me, that doesn’t feel right till winter’s done and sowing seeds can begin in earnest, and we’re not quite there yet, although the seed catalogues are beginning to look well-thumbed. But I’ve not yet had a chance to look back through November and December in the garden as seen through my Instagram feed, so I hope you’ll join me as I review the past couple of months.
Houseplants are fashionable again. Which only begs the question, how does something as sensible as filling your home with inexpensively beautiful, living, breathing organisms, go out of fashion in the first place? But no time for pondering – first, I need to work out how NOT to kill them.
October has been mild and mainly dry in Kent, many trees still in leaf at the end of the month and no sign of a frost with sufficient bite to blacken the stems of the dahlias, which have flowered right through. There’s even some colour left in the borders, with salvias performing particularly well, and annuals like cosmos continuing to bloom with gusto. How long can it last?
My in-tray is wobbling at me dangerously. I have an article to write, invoices to send and a small pile of books to review. But I’m so excited about this one that it’s jumping the queue. Lia Leendertz’s much anticipated Almanac has arrived, and I’m delighted to have got my hands on a copy.