Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


Science fiction or the new normal?

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:12 Post author: treegray

Hand grafted plants, which provide tomatoes and potatoes in one plant, black tomatoes, yellow beetroot and white carrots - are you ready to delve into the new era of unconventional vegetables?

Are you someone who likes your potatoes white, your tomatoes red, your beetroot purple and your carrots orange?

Or are you prepared to be more unconventional and opt for what some gardeners called a fad but others see as a trend towards new generations of different coloured vegetables with new tastes and whole new experiences.

Top of the charts

Wed, 24/02/2016 - 07:25 Post author: treegray

Leeks are cheap and easy to grow and expensive to buy - that’s why again they have come out on top in the vegetable cost versus value surveys

Leeks are a must grow in the vegetable patch this season.

A new survey of what pays off when it comes to growing your own vegetables has revealed that leeks top the ‘cost versus value’ charts - ahead of even asparagus.

Crusading courgettes!

Wed, 24/02/2016 - 07:19 Post author: treegray

Maybe it’s time to be a little more adventurous in terms of colours and shapes when it comes to growing courgettes this summer

Courgettes are so easy to grow – and you get so many courgettes from each plant – three or four a week if you grow your own!

They are such a ‘must grow’ in many vegetable plots and allotments that it’s about time to perhaps grow something a little different.

Celebrating the great designer

Tue, 16/02/2016 - 06:58 Post author: treegray

This year, the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown gives us a special reason to seek out his work on the English landscape garden with lakes, gentle slopes and classic buildings some of the great design achievements of the 18th century

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown changed the face of eighteenth century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and making flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, a magical world of green

Caring for spring bulbs

Tue, 16/02/2016 - 06:50 Post author: treegray

Spring bulbs are great value and can be a real sign of spring and new life and vigour in the garden. They are also almost idiot proof and will flower and increase year on year with little attention. But with just a little more care they can flourish even more than the average gardener believes. Feeding, deadheading and watering at the right times helps to prevent flower ‘blindness’ - refusing to flower.

Conifers with attitude

Thu, 11/02/2016 - 07:48 Post author: treegray

Many conifers make superb garden plants – they have style, colour, shape and elegance even for gardens with small plots

You could argue that conifers have been having a bad press amongst gardeners for a while now with the word dredging up recollections of overgrown leylandii hedges and dwarf conifers which have been allowed to become giants.

The reality is many conifers make superb garden plants, offering a tapestry of texture and colours and they are wonderfully diverse with so much to offer gardens – even those with small plots.

The best trees for your garden

Mon, 01/02/2016 - 06:38 Post author: treegray

Winter is a perfect time to plant trees in your garden, here Claire Greenslade, head gardener at Hestercombe, explains the best trees to plant.

"Even in a small garden a tree can add height, structure and seasonal interest. They can provide shelter and food for wildlife. Some trees stay quite small making them ideal for a pot, so even if you only have a patio or a balcony there are still options."

Increase your shrub stocks by taking cuttings

Mon, 01/02/2016 - 06:24 Post author: treegray



Taking cuttings in December and through January is a great way to increase your stocks of deciduous shrubs in the garden, says Claire Greenslade, head gardener at Hestercombe.

We take hardwood cuttings of dogwoods, winter flowering honeysuckles and philadelphus but you can also propagate abelias, deutzias, viburnum and fruit bushes such as gooseberries and currants, and it’s really simple.


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