The Bumblebee Flies Anyway

Kate Bradbury’s previous book, The Wildlife Gardener, gave us a step-by-step guide to creating an organic garden that placed an emphasis on biodiversity. In her latest title, she describes a year in the life of her own small garden in Brighton. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

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A gardener’s tools: Grandma’s butter knife

Robbie Blackhall-Miles of Fossil Plants wonders what his grandma would make of what he’s been getting up to with her butter knife. This is the third post in the series on A gardener’s tools.

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Weather for weeding

Death and taxes, wrote Benjamin Franklin, are the only certainties in this world. I feel he could quite safely have added “weeds” to the list without the least risk of damage to his reputation. My own cv comes up pretty short in the area of Founding Father, but rather the opposite under the category of Proficient and Joyful Weeder. And this is just the time to indulge in a prolonged bout of that particular activity.

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The Almanac: a seasonal guide to 2019

This year’s Almanac – a seasonal guide by Lia Leendertz quickly became something of an essential and trusted companion, and so the publication of 2019’s version has been greeted with great enthusiasm from all quarters. Is it a worthy successor? Read on to find out.

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Gardening products you need. (And those you don’t.)

Like any industry, the horticultural trade supports many business, jobs, and – let’s not forget – customers. But it also churns out a bewildering amount of *stuff*. It’s good to take a moment to sift out the considered, the well-made, and the necessary from the endless lines of shiny new products demanding our attention while promising gardening nirvana.

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Summer in the garden

I’ve been a little remiss with my Instagram summaries. Nothing since March – it’s almost as though April and May didn’t happen, and now here we are at the end of August, having sighted the outriders of Autumn as the next season makes its way inexorably toward our gardens. But it’s always good to pause and take a look back at where we’ve been, just for long enough to inform the next steps we take on our gardening journey.

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Henchman tripod ladders

I have a new best friend in the garden. He’s eight foot tall, has three legs and seems perfectly happy for me to stand on him for extended periods. I am of course referring to a tripod ladder, but not just any tripod ladder. This is the tripod ladder I’ve had my beady eye on ever since I began gardening as career, and it’s made by the UK company Henchman.

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Dahlias. Beautiful varieties for home and garden.

Flamboyant, fabulous – on occasion demurely restrained – the dahlia is an exquisite conundrum that encapsulates the vibrant energy of the garden as high summer turns towards autumn. In her latest book, Naomi Slade explains her fascination with the flower, and introduces us to over 65 captivating varieties.

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At Great Comp with William Dyson

Seven acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in Kent, boasting award winning perennials and more late summer colour than you can shake a stick at. When an opportunity came up to meet the garden’s curator and the man behind Dyson’s Salvias, I wasn’t about to refuse.

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Five things from Sussex Prairie Gardens

Pauline and Paul McBride know how to do summer perennials, and I’ve been keen for several weeks now to get down to Sussex Prairie Gardens to see how the plants have been coping in the heat. We chose a sweltering day for it. There may also have been cake.

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Posy practice

You may consider the assemblage of flowers and foliage won from the garden into posies an appropriate activity for a big ’airy gardener. You may not. But if it’s good enough for that Dan Pearson, it’s good enough for me.

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A gardener’s tools: the table fork

For this, the second post in the series on A gardener’s tools, we’re introduced to a fork with a difference. Carly Green of the National Botanic Garden of Wales gives us a peek into her tool roll.

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RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018

Monday – press day at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, beneath a sun that shone with almost cruel intensity upon the show ground. So intense was the light that I’ll have to ask you to forgive this year’s photographs for being a little more washed out than usual – golden hour shots would have done the gardens more justice, but I was on site neither early nor late enough to catch the low slanting rays.

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Erigeron – a doughty daisy

Simplicity and delight in a flower, or a weedy menace? As is so often the case, it depends on your approach to gardening. One thing beyond debate is that, once established, this doughty little daisy will flower its socks off all summer long.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

With so much to take in at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, one visit is rarely enough. I was fortunate enough to be able to get there for a second time, this time later in the day, to catch up on those gardens and plants I’d missed on press day, with a change of camera lens and a mind to focus on the details.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

If Chelsea is to be any more than the (admittedly rather fabulous) latte froth upon the upper lip of the horticultural industry, it needs to have something to say, not only to gardeners like you and me, but to homeowners with an emerging interest in their outside space, to indoor gardeners with not so much as a balcony and, I’d venture to suggest, to park bench philosophers.

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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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