Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west

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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.

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.

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