Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


It’s time to compost!

Tue, 13/11/2018 - 09:57 Post author: Aidan Gill

A new campaign, launched at the ideal time to start composting, is encouraging smaller households to create their own mini compost.

A new autumn campaign is under way to encourage homeowners to create their own mini compost.

The campaign, which follows on from a Government report about the growing pressure on UK landfill sites, is aimed at smaller households who haven’t in the past thought about composting waste material.

Although it’s easy to start a compost heap at any point throughout the year, late summer to early winter is the peak time for composting.

Radishes - the unsung heroes

Tue, 13/11/2018 - 09:50 Post author: Aidan Gill

Elizabeth McCorquodale enthuses about one of the most underrated of garden vegetables - and one worthy of more of your time and attention.

Radishes are probably one of the most underrated of common vegetables, even to the extent that we tend not to consider them as vegetables at all and this is probably because they are so extraordinarily quick and easy to grow.

Preparing your garden for winter

Tue, 13/11/2018 - 09:44 Post author: Aidan Gill

It won’t be too long now before winter comes in with a rattle, so the moment of ‘putting the garden to bed’ is coming. The metaphorical tucking in moment approaches.

Gardeners are again being urged to spend the first weeks of October giving their gardens some urgent attention to prepare for autumn and the colder months.

We are very lucky in the South West that when preparing the garden for winter we do not have to put the garden totally ‘to bed’ as many others. Often plants in mild winters will continue to grow well into December.

Planning your orchard for a longer season

Tue, 13/11/2018 - 09:38 Post author: Aidan Gill

Picking apples from your own tree is one of life’s simple pleasures and choosing the right varieties can prolong the pleasure says Tom Nancarrow from Honiton based Adam’s Apples.

The home-grown British apple season can be a long one if a few judicious choices are made when choosing your varieties. We can categorise the seasons into roughly three periods; early, mid and late and this allows you to plan your orchard in a sensible manner for harvesting.

Small is beautiful

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 15:37 Post author: Aidan Gill

Miniaturisation is not a trend which is limited to the world of electronics. It is increasingly relevant to plants and as in the case of mini hostas shows cult status soon follows.

If you think of hostas you probably immediately picture lush, leafy plants forming clumps of bold dramatically coloured leaves.

But that is only part of the story.

What to give plants to drink

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 15:32 Post author: Aidan Gill

Liquid plant feeding is now thought to be essential but with many different types of fertilisers available, all with different nutrient values, it’s not easy to know which is the best buy.

July in the garden is typically a time to kick back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour, dead heading and harvesting is really the order of the day.

Taming the beast!

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 15:19 Post author: Aidan Gill

Lots of gardeners don’t trust bamboo - they worry about rampant growth, indestructible roots and invasion of gardens – but there are ways of growing bamboo safely.

Some people call them ‘demon spreaders’, others just don’t trust them but thankfully bamboos are starting to get a much better profile.

Bamboos are woody grasses and there are about a thousand species found across the world either in moist tropical areas, or in warm temperate countries.

Jobs in the July garden

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 10:30 Post author: Aidan Gill

The garden is having its fi rst peak in July and it is a brilliant time for your garden or allotment. Roses will never look better, the vegetable garden is becoming fruitful again, and we pray for warm, dry weather for the strawberry harvest.

Smells interesting!

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 10:18 Post author: Aidan Gill

Gill Heavens appreciates the sheer joys of planting for scent in the garden and the joy they bring to the senses.

This is a subject I do not claim to be an expert on. My sense of smell is on occasion non-existent, seldom efficient. I have often felt bereft as others have coo-ed and swooned whilst burying their faces into peonies and rhododendron flowers.

However in this perfume desert there have been noticeable oases, times when I could appreciate the joys and occasional horrors of scent in the garden.

Beware birds nesting!

Mon, 14/05/2018 - 13:03 Post author: Aidan Gill

The nesting season for birds is in full swing so that calls for common sense and precautions from gardeners when it comes to cutting back hedges.

We are all very passionate about protecting wildlife and one of the big themes every spring is cutting back hedges and trees while birds are nesting.

The main nesting season is from March to August inclusive. However, nesting does happen outside of this period, so if as a gardener you are looking for exact dates when it’s safe to cut back hedges then you might have a problem.


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