Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


Winter jobs in the garden

Thu, 27/11/2014 - 11:44 Post author: Aidan Gill

This time of year is still much more than just raking the leaves and making sure that spring bulbs are planted. 

You can do so much in these weeks before the really cold weather arrives in the garden to make sure next spring gets off to a flying start.

Winter pruning of your fruit trees will ensure a healthier crop next summer and autumn. If there’s any sort of drier spell then it’s a perfect chance to dig over soil ahead of the winter frosts.

Waiting for the snowdrops!

Tue, 25/11/2014 - 14:58 Post author: Aidan Gill

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean there aren’t some great opportunities to get out and about in the fresh air. More gardens than ever before open up for winter walks. We look at what’s on offer for this very seasonal approach to visiting gardens, including the best snowdrop displays this coming spring.

The first snowdrops are something really to yearn for.

The scientific name for Galanthus means milk flower and these lovely flowers are among the first to raise their heads in the New Year.

What did the Romans ever do for us?

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 12:54 Post author: Aidan Gill

Mark Hinsley’s visit to Fishbourne near Chichester triggers the thought that the Romans left us quite a legacy when it comes to gardening, landscaping, horticulture and arboriculture.

Well, gardeners – we’ve been to ‘Mecca’!

Last weekend we visited what is reckoned to be the first ornamental garden ever laid out in Britain; it is the partially restored formal courtyard garden at the 1st century AD Roman Palace at Fishbourne near Chichester. 

How much does an allotment save you?

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 12:50 Post author: Aidan Gill

Two West Country couples were keen to work out how much they saved by growing their own produce on their allotment.

Ian and Pam Murdock worked out that between them they spend about five hours a week on their Okehampton allotment. It’s not a large plot, no greenhouse, a rough shed, no water – but a lot of hard but mostly enjoyable work.

But how much did they save when it comes to growing their own?

“We decided to work it out comparing what we harvested from the plot against what it would have cost in the supermarket,” said Ian.

Light up the outdoors

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 12:42 Post author: Aidan Gill

We all know about recessed deck and ground lights which can make entertaining spaces more versatile during the night-time but the world of solar lighting is much more dramatic and romantic than perhaps you thought.

If you’re one of the country’s passionate gardeners, you probably spend hours breaking your back keeping your garden looking its absolute best. Whether it’s the constant battle against weeds, tackling the mysteries of pruning or simply mowing the lawn, a huge amount of thought and effort goes into creating a garden to be proud of.

‘Christmas Pippin’ - a Somerset apple discovery

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 12:33 Post author: Aidan Gill

Our October issue feature on local apple varieties has sparked off a huge response from readers who have their own stories of how apple varieties were discovered.

Retired horticulturist Geoffrey Rowson was driving down the M5 when he spotted some spectacular looking apples hanging from a small tree on the pubic side of the motorway fence.

It was an easy matter to pick a good sample of the fruit.

We still need more orchards

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 12:28 Post author: Aidan Gill

The huge decline in the number of orchards has finally been stopped but a new initiative aims to provide long-term answers to the problems of the past 50 years.

Gardening clubs and communities throughout the south west are being encouraged to help increase the number of community orchards in the county over the next 12 months. 

While the decline in the number of orchards has been stopped over the past few years, more traditional orchards are still needed.

Christmas time berries!

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 12:09 Post author: Aidan Gill

Gill Heavens helps to get gardeners’ juices flowing by looking at the colourful and increasingly popular options for ornamental fruits that can bring sensational colour right through to Christmas.

As another year approaches its end a new player comes to the fore in the garden, the often under-appreciated ornamental fruit. 

These laden plants can provide vital colour, texture and welcome food for wildlife and can extend the season by several months.

Willow and working with nature

Tue, 23/09/2014 - 09:28 Post author: Aidan Gill

by Susie Hunt

It’s hard not to be impressed by Anne Coate.  Meeting her at the Willows and Wetlands Centre in Stoke St Gregory on an unseasonably dreary August day, her enthusiasm for the 200 year old business and her family’s determination to make it succeed is, quite simply, inspirational.

Five ways to ease knee pain for gardeners

Wed, 17/09/2014 - 12:13 Post author: Aidan Gill

John Hardy, Bristol based Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon has some advice for gardeners when it comes to looking after their knees.

Whether you’re pulling weeds or planting seeds, gardeners can spend a great deal of time on their knees, so the last thing you want is knee pain which can ruin quality time in the garden.

Knee pain can start from an injury to even the smallest part of your knee and can arise from overuse in childhood or adulthood.


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