Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


Lovely lobelia

Fri, 15/07/2016 - 14:52 Post author: Aidan Gill

Gill Heavens find a lot more to enjoy and savour from the 370 species of lobelia which offers beauty, diversity and not a little glamour.

What do most people think when they think of lobelia?  

Summer bedding, hanging baskets, edging plants?  

Peony perfection!

Thu, 14/04/2016 - 10:53 Post author: gemmastringer

Gill Heavens delves into the world of peonies, historically revered in the Far East, where they are the flower of spring and whose voluptuous colours can brighten early season beds

Straddling the tail end of spring and the first few weeks of summer, there is something special about peony flowering time.

The name peony comes from the Greek Paeon, a physician to the gods, which alludes to the plant’s medicinal qualities. Zeus turned Paeon into a flower to protect him from his jealous teacher Asclepias.

Jobs in the April garden

Tue, 15/03/2016 - 14:38 Post author: gemmastringer

It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the weather during April.  Frosts are still common, and many plants and flowers may need protection in the form of fleece or cloches.  Hopefully, the ground will not be too wet and so now is a good time to finish off digging over your plot in preparation for all the vegetables you are going to grow.  As the weather gets warmer, the weeds will grow in earnest.  Regular weeding, before they become established, is important.

The arrival of spring can mean fast growth. To keep on top of the garden, plan ahead.

How to save money on gardening this season

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 07:13 Post author: treegray

Gardening can be an expensive hobby but there are ways to cut back, save money and still enjoy the pleasure of being in the garden

Is gardening getting a little expensive for you?

There’s plants, compost, tools, lawn mowers, pots, more compost, feeds, plant food and so on it goes.

In a recent survey of 1,000 people it was found that 26 per cent were saving as much as £200 a year by growing their own fruit and vegetables. Most in the survey said they were doing it more for fun than a way to save money.

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.


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