Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


Taking care of plants in your conservatory this winter

Thu, 21/11/2013 - 15:55 Post author: Aidan Gill

With some care, conservatories can become a winter indoor garden.

Conservatories not only add another room to your house, they can become indoor gardens in the winter, when tender outdoor plants are taken into the warmth until the spring, probably adding to the conservatory plants you already have growing there.

In frost-prone areas a conservatory is the ideal place for overwintering tender perennials and marginally hardy plants from the garden. Cold-sensitive plants in need of good light levels and dry, frost-free conditions will also benefit. Tropical plants and exotics can be moved inside during autumn after a spell in the garden through the summer months.

Preparing for winter – some of us like that idea!

Thu, 21/11/2013 - 14:56 Post author: Aidan Gill

It’s not all doom and gloom in the late autumn. Gardeners are a sturdy lot and the belief of being able to do better next year is a strong motivation.

People used to talk about ‘putting the garden to bed'. Some of us still like that idea. Trim and tidy it, put the tools away and retreat indoors. But increasingly we are being urged to do something different – just what, precisely?

Tidying up borders and beds for the onslaught of winter weather is a good thing, but it can be overdone. Too tidy a garden is not good for wildlife, and we gardeners have to think of the creatures who share our garden, as well as ourselves.

Slippery paths become a real autumn threat

Fri, 25/10/2013 - 15:18 Post author: Aidan Gill

The recent torrential rain has encouraged a buildup of algae on the hard surfaces around gardens making many paths slippery and treacherous. They can become dangerous throughout wet and damp weather and need dealing with. 

It is certainly common to find growths such as algae, lichens, liverworts and moss growing on garden surfaces. Contrary to popular belief, they do not damage what they are growing on, but can cause patios, drives, paths and steps to become slippery.

Most gardeners want a quick fix solution.

Ornamental berries for autumn

Fri, 25/10/2013 - 14:55 Post author: Aidan Gill

Ornamental berry plants are beautiful additions to any garden or home. They add colour and ornament to a winter garden and much needed food for birds. 

For some reason berried plants seem to be out of favour among gardeners. They certainly don’t seem to have the popularity enjoyed ten years ago.

It’s a shame for such garden character plants such as cotoneaster, hollies, sorbus and malus add so much to the autumn garden.

Why you should welcome wildlife into your veg patch

Mon, 21/10/2013 - 11:06 Post author: Aidan Gill

The vegetable garden might seem to be the last place to encourage wildlife but simple planting tricks and ways of encouraging biodiversity will ensure sure you have the right sort of predators around.

With the constant threat of slugs and snails eating your lettuces, caterpillars munching your cabbages and aphids attacking your broad beans, your vegetable patch may seem like the last place you would want to encourage wildlife.

Yet, by making your plot a home for the right sort of creatures, you can ensure there are always predators to keep pests under control.

Finding economies in the joy of feeding the birds

Mon, 21/10/2013 - 10:53 Post author: Aidan Gill

Feeding garden birds through the winter is almost a national hobby. It can get very expensive but knowing what to give the birds and how to feed them might help keep the costs down this winter.

Garden birds seek the shelter and protection our gardens give them, especially in winter – and they need more food from us as well. Over half of adults in the UK now feed birds in their garden, so it’s certainly a national hobby.

That's a lot of extra help for the birds!

Wildlife doesn’t want you to be too tidy!

Mon, 21/10/2013 - 10:40 Post author: Aidan Gill

Leaving dead wood, logs piles or fallen trees around in corners of your garden will make it a wonderful haven for wildlife so don’t be in too much of a hurry to tidy up.

If you are interested in helping the wildlife around your garden, don’t be too tidy.

Dead wood makes a wonderful habitat in the garden, providing food and shelter for huge numbers of invertebrates including wood-boring beetles, solitary bees and woodlice. It can come in many forms: a tree stump left to rot can provide a home for the larvae of Eristalis hoverflies; a pile of sticks can offer shelter to passing beetles, dead twigs left on trees may be colonised by lichens and moss.

Carry on gardening...

Tue, 08/10/2013 - 13:47 Post author: Aidan Gill

Too many gardeners turn their backs on allotments or vegetable plots over the autumn and  winter months when in fact it’s a time where a lot can be growing and thriving.

Don’t abandon your vegetable garden over the winter months. It may be getting colder but keeping your vegetable garden going throughout the winter is one of the most satisfying things imaginable.

For the second year running, the Horticultural Trade Association has launched its ‘Plan it Plant It’ campaign to encourage amateur and seasoned gardeners alike to ‘carry on gardening’ during the autumn season through planning their autumn planting.


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