Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


Top 10 cut flowers to grow at home

Mon, 17/07/2017 - 08:51 Post author: Aidan Gill

A vase of fresh flowers cut straight from the garden can instantly make a house feel more like a home. So it’s surprisingly that more people don’t try growing their own cut flowers. There are plenty of cut flowers that you can grow at home, but if you need some inspiration take a look at our top 10 favourites. 

You don’t need to be a florist to get the best from your cut flowers either. There are lots of handy tips that you can employ to make your blooms last longer. Here are a just a few to get you started.

Colour in the late summer garden

Wed, 12/07/2017 - 09:52 Post author: gemmastringer

Don’t say goodbye to the colour and wonders of your high summer garden. With a bit of planning you can still have vibrant colours right through to early autumn and beyond

How often have you hear gardeners say ‘Oh my garden looks its best in spring’.

Late-summer drabness is often taken for granted and by July we are saying there’s nothing to look forward to.

Which is of course nonsense. Why waste your garden's best performance on the matinee? Hold it back for the main event: August, when it's warm enough to sit out and enjoy it.

Worming your way to great compost!

Thu, 06/07/2017 - 11:08 Post author: gemmastringer

Elizabeth McCorquodale looks at the efficient and hugely popular method of turning kitchen waste into high quality compost with your own wormery

For those of us who don’t generate enough garden waste to feed a compost heap or have no space to put one, a wormery is a very efficient method of dealing with kitchen waste and garden debris and as a bonus it provides a free and renewable source of garden soil conditioner into the bargain.

King of the soft fruits

Tue, 20/06/2017 - 19:14 Post author: Aidan Gill

A single, well established healthy blackcurrant bush will yield 10lbs of fruit every year and will stay productive for 20 years. It is what makes it one of the most popular of all the soft fruits grown in our gardens.

Blackcurrant bushes are very easy to please. And boy do they show their appreciation of being looked after!

Ten pounds of fruit per bush is a very generous supply of blackcurrants from which you can make countless jars of jam from, and the fruits are also ideal for freezing, juicing, adding to yogurts and so on.

When rainfall becomes scarce

Tue, 20/06/2017 - 10:58 Post author: Aidan Gill

Whether you are growing plants in pots or in the ground watering is an essential part of summer gardening. When rainfall dries up you’ll need a strategy on how and when to water.

Watering is an essential and life dependent part of gardening in the summer. Water is vital to hydrate plant cells to aid plant processes including growth yet at the same time water is lost from the leaves. This is called transpiration. This means that plants rely on a good root system to constantly draw water from the soil. 

Choosing which cucumbers to grow

Fri, 19/05/2017 - 11:08 Post author: Aidan Gill

Growing cucumber plants is really quite easy once you understand that there are two main types available, and these need different treatment to produce a good crop.

Greenhouse cucumbers

If you’re lucky enough to own a greenhouse then it’s worth growing cucumbers indoors. Greenhouse cucumber plants produce long, smooth fruits and don’t need pollinating - in fact, you should remove any male flowers to prevent pollination happening as this produces fruits with a bitter flavour. 

To bee or not to bee

Fri, 19/05/2017 - 10:57 Post author: Aidan Gill

Julie Elkin is a member of Devon Beekeepers and a course tutor for the North Devon training courses. Too many people think keeping bees is the only way to help honeybees. ‘Taster days’ gives people the opportunity to handle bees and decide if keeping them is really for them but the emphasis is on how we can do much more in our gardens’ own plots to help all pollinators.

Spring at last, the garden a joy to behold filled with colour and fragrance, the hum of the bumblebee queens preparing to start their nests and my honeybees foraging on hellebores and crocuses as I write this. 


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