Stihl cordless hedgetrimmers

Behind every glorious garden, whether the overriding style be neatly formal or wondrously wafty, there’s a machine-wielding gardener keeping the underlying structure in trim. It’s as necessary in a small domestic garden as a large public one, and in this post I’ll be putting machines aimed at both ends of the spectrum through their paces.

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Gardening as a career

Gardening? It’s not the career of choice for most people. Especially when there are so many other ways you could be earning a living. In this post, I explain why I took the choice to make a career of it, and try to gain an understanding of why this decision seems to cause mild discomfort for others.

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March in the garden

March 2018 – what the heck was that? Just as we were beginning to enjoy the first signs of spring, the Beast from the East brought snow and cold weather from Siberia. Twice. Thankfully for us, rumours of its return at the end of the month proved to be groundless, though our friends in the north were less fortunate. We just got very wet instead.

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A day in the life of… Gardens, Weeds & Words

A trip to Hever Castle Gardens with the Garden Media Guild. Daffodils, miles of yew an impressive Italian Garden...and an unexpected encounter with bedding plants.

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A day in the life of… Gardens, Weeds & Words

A day in the life of a garden blogger. Spring rebooted, the vernal equinox. Surely winter's finished with us now?

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Brilliant & Wild. A garden from scratch in a year

With one almighty flounce, Winter departs, and Spring asserts itself upon the outside world with a conviction that grows by the day. It’s the perfect time to be thinking about how you want your garden to be over the next year, and if that’s something you’ve not attempted before, Lucy Bellamy’s *Brilliant & Wild: a garden from scratch in a year* might just be the book for you

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January & February in the garden

From a dull grey start to a bitter, snowy end, winter has been topsy-turvy, and is now in the throes of a tantrum at being asked to go home. We may struggle to keep up; the garden, of course, takes all this in its stride.

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The Virgin Gardener Podcast

There’s a new gardening podcast in town. Co-hosted by yours truly and Sunday Times gardening columnist Laetitia Maklouf,  it’s aimed squarely at newbie garden owners and enthusiastic amateur gardeners, and comes with a no-jargon, no-nonsense approach and take-home tips aplenty from the great and the good of the horticultural world. It’s called The Virgin Gardener Podcast, and you can find the teaser episode on iTunes right now.

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When to sow chillies

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.

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A gardener’s tools: the dissecting kit

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.

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Rabbit damage

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.

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#thatwinterspringthing hashtag project

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.

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Head Gardeners

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.

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Resolution

In which I resolve not to make any news years resolutions. And realize that, without intending to, I’ve been making them all along.

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November & December in the garden

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.

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A day in the life of... Gardens, Weeds & Words

Making the most of Betwixtmas with some garden reading. What additions to your gardening bookshelves did Christmas bring? 

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The unquestionable hipness of houseplants

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.

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October in the garden

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?

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The Almanac

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.

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