Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


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.

Any Questions?

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 14:33 Post author: Aidan Gill

Our Country Gardener experts can solve your gardening problems.

Andrew Midgley our popular garden writer tackles our postbag of readers’ questions this month. Andrew worked for the National Trust for 17 years and was recently garden manager  for the National Trust gardens at Coleton Fishacre, Greenway and Compton Castle. He now runs a gardening business near Newton Abbot in Devon.

Jobs in the Autumn garden

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 14:20 Post author: Aidan Gill

The nights will soon start to draw in, and October will see the clocks going back and there’s a real threat to a drop in temperatures. Gardening time might feel curtailed by the shorter sunlight, but the days are often glorious, with the autumn colour a more than adequate compensation for the light slipping away. The main jobs are to start thinking about planting spring bulbs and shrubs and trees for next year and to get the lawns and vegetable plots ready for winter.

It’s all in the timing!

Mon, 09/10/2017 - 13:14 Post author: Aidan Gill

The coming weeks will be taken up with picking, packing, storing and hopefully eating the fruit harvest from the garden. But there are some rules which will make picking easier and when fruit is at its ripest.

You can waste so much of your fruit harvest is you get the timing wrong when it comes to picking. A lot of it is common sense but you need to pick pears early and let them ripen off the tree. You need to check your apples every day to make sure you are picking at the right time and don’t end up with too many on the ground.

The ‘joy of the mountain’ herb

Mon, 09/10/2017 - 13:00 Post author: Aidan Gill

Oregano, or marjoram, is prized for its beautiful flowers and foliage and is a stalwart in the herb garden you shouldn’t be without.

If ever there was a herb which lives up to its name then its probably oregano.

Grown for its strong tasting and pungent leaves, oregano is a perennial herb that thrives in a warm, sunny position. 

It is said to have been derived from the Greek 'oros' meaning mountain and 'ganos' meaning joy – hence ’joy of the mountain’.

The gardening helpline

Fri, 06/10/2017 - 13:52 Post author: Aidan Gill

Care centres in Somerset and the Cotswolds are now part of an expanding programme improving the wellbeing and quality of life for people affected by life-limiting illness, through active and passive gardening.

It isn’t a catchy title but that doesn’t matter - the work of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture is changing lives.  

Put simply, a growing number of carers in hospices are putting their beliefs behind the fact that gardening is a wonderfully flexible medium which can transform lives regardless of age and disabilities.

Autumn - time to keep the garden going

Fri, 06/10/2017 - 13:40 Post author: Aidan Gill

After a series of mild autumn and winters more gardeners are finding autumn sowing a way to keep the garden alive.

It’s likely every year gardeners all over the country start to think that September and October are the times to start ‘putting the garden away’ for the winter.

Yet a series of mild winters would suggest that the much better option is to think of the autumn as the time to decide to keep the garden going through the winter.

Berries provide autumn colours of the rainbow

Mon, 02/10/2017 - 18:45 Post author: gemmastringer

Emma Heard from Bernaville Nurseries near Exeter looks at plants which give extra colour and provide food for hungry birds and wildlife- berry-bearing plants that flourish in autumn, creating colourful displays lasting well into winter.

As we all go in search of ‘berried treasure’ there are a number of ways to fit this collection of wonderful plants into your garden.


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