Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


Early spring jobs in the garden

Wed, 07/02/2018 - 11:42 Post author: Aidan Gill

The next few weeks will see the beginning of the busy season, the job list lengthening with the daylight. It can be a month of contrasts, too, with wind and frost set to challenge the first of spring growth. So it may still be a time for planning, but there’s winter work to do to make way for the tasks that are targeted at the growing season.

Golden oldies

Wed, 07/02/2018 - 10:53 Post author: Aidan Gill

The delicate beauty of older variants of narcissus, long overlooked, is back in fashion as more gardeners celebrate spring with heritage daffodils.

They are a symbol of spring and perhaps the best flower to sum up our love of gardening. For some, daffodils are all about big and bold strong varieties but increasingly we have developed a love affair with the more beguiling and delicate heritage varieties where no two flowers are the same, with a looser form as their slightly twisted petals sway in the breeze.

Winter wildlife watch

Wed, 03/01/2018 - 13:41 Post author: gemmastringer

by Elizabeth McCorquodale

Winter is a tough time for wildlife in the garden, both for species that we gardeners rely on to tackle pests and pollinate our crops, and for those garden inhabitants who simply give us pleasure

Four house plants to savour this winter

Mon, 04/12/2017 - 13:39 Post author: Aidan Gill

It’s the time of year when understandably house plants come into their own. Not only do they increase the feel-good factory by having some greenery around, they also purify the air we breathe and keep green fingered skills alive.

It’s the time of year when understandably house plants come into their own. Not only do they increase the feel-good factory by having some greenery around, they also purify the air we breathe and keep green fingered skills alive.

Here’s a quartet of easy to grown and intriguing plants for indoors.

How to grow potatoes in bags

Mon, 04/12/2017 - 13:33 Post author: Aidan Gill

It’s become a trend to grow potatoes in bags or sacks. The benefits are less disease, better use of space in the garden for more ‘valuable vegetables’ and often larger crops.

Guess which was one of the top three trends in vegetable growing over the last two years?

It may be surprising but it’s growing potatoes in bags which has caught the imagination and appeal of gardeners.

If you’re lucky enough to have space on your vegetable plot you can grow your potatoes in the ground. If you only have limited space then this is where the trend really flourishes.

Country Gardener Advice

Mon, 04/12/2017 - 12:52 Post author: Aidan Gill

When to call it a day on your lawn

There will be occasions when you’ve tried all the usual ways to improve your lawn and you are still left with measures that haven’t worked. So when should you just give up trying top improve and decide that the lawn needs to be replaced and not renovated.

It’s worth applying a number of tests.

Is the surface of your lawn made up of more than a quarter to a third of either moss or weeds?

Are there large numbers of bare patches which you are struggling to deal with?

Winter flowering daphnes

Mon, 04/12/2017 - 11:57 Post author: Aidan Gill

Sometime sensitive, sometimes short-lived Gill Heavens says that daphnes with their wonderful scent, foliage and fabulous flowers are worth persevering with.

From Europe to Asia and into northern Africa are found between 50-95 species of daphne, members of the family Thymelaceaceae. Many have fine foliage and fabulous flowers, but this is not the reason many choose to grow them in their gardens. 

For most, the primary purpose for desiring a daphne is to appreciate their incredible, head-swaying scent. 

Caring for roses in winter

Mon, 04/12/2017 - 11:48 Post author: Aidan Gill

Their show might be over, but if you give your roses some care in November they will get safely through the winter, coming back healthy, vigorous and full of flowers next year. Autumn is also a good time to plant a rose.

Even though it is a tough thing to do, in many areas we need to let our rose bushes take their winter nap.

To make sure they go through the winter well and come back strong the following spring, there are a few things to do and keep in mind.

Strengthen and diversify - or die

Wed, 29/11/2017 - 09:59 Post author: Aidan Gill

Mark Hinsley suggests we need to understand that trees are complex organisms and we need to learn how to look after them – or else!

I recently spent an exhausting three days at the Annual Conference of the Arboricultural Association in Exeter. It was a truly excellent event with an interesting array of speakers. I therefore have much to report.

Firstly, I can report that the demon drink is still demon, so you are going to have to lay off it for another year until I can check again!

The humble woodlouse

Tue, 28/11/2017 - 10:20 Post author: Aidan Gill

Not the most exciting of creatures, woodlice creep about the garden, but they are a useful part of the local ecosystem.

Chances are that if you turn over a log or two or a heavy plant container, you’ll find a little tribe of woodlice beneath, scattering away in the light. Harmless, not very exciting, with their dark grey backs looking like armour, they’re just a part of the garden all year through.


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