Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


Go Wild Save Bees

Mon, 23/03/2015 - 13:30 Post author: treegray

Let your lawns become wilder this spring and summer and provide a haven for bees and other insects.

Gardeners should put away their lawn mowers and allow their gardens to become wilder to help save Britain’s dwindling bee population.

Scientists warn that British bees are in serious decline with 71 of our wild bee species under threat and more than 20 already extinct. Loss of habitat and forage are the main problems facing wild bees.

It’s action time in the garden

Thu, 12/03/2015 - 13:51 Post author: Aidan Gill

The days are really getting longer so the work in the garden really starts to crank up. It’s still however important to time certain jobs in the garden as sudden frosts and bursts of cold weather can delay and damage plants and crops. But it’s an exciting month with indoor sown seeds well into growth and time to start sowing outdoors. Just watch out for frosts.

Ready steady grow!

Tue, 10/03/2015 - 16:01 Post author: Aidan Gill

Grow Your Own has become one of the keys to 'The Good Life'! We tap into our readers’ enthusiasm and profile products to help - from raised beds to improving the soil, what to grow, vegetable seeds and, garden clothing and equipment.

Every gardener is convinced their home grown produce is better in flavour than shop bought fruit and vegetables. And they all take pride in that fact.

Getting tasty, fresh crops from the allotment, garden or even a balcony to the kitchen table is one of the great pleasures of gardening.

Hidcote - a never ending project

Thu, 27/11/2014 - 12:18 Post author: Aidan Gill

Susie Hunt visits Hidcote Manor Gardens to see the inspiration and toil which went into the creation of one of Britain’s best loved Arts and Crafts gardens.

It’s a name that many of us will never have heard of, but Lawrence Johnston is the man behind one of the most famous gardens in the world. Known as the quiet American, Major Lawrence Johnston spent almost forty years transforming a field of trees in Gloucestershire into one of the country’s best loved Arts and Crafts gardens. 

Aftercare for your trees

Thu, 27/11/2014 - 12:07 Post author: Aidan Gill

Trees are planted for the long term but many gardeners make the mistake of failing to give them enough attention in the early years to ensure a healthy, trouble free addition to your garden.

So you’ve invested in a new tree for the garden. It’s just a case of planting it properly and letting it get on with the task of growing – right?

Wrong. Providing good aftercare for a tree in the first two or three years of its life is just as important as the initial planting – arguably more important.

Sounds of the night

Thu, 27/11/2014 - 11:54 Post author: Aidan Gill

Can you identify the different animal sounds in the countryside on a winter’s evening? Here are some to listen out for.

Stand in a country garden or lane on a calm winter’s evening, and you’ll hear all sorts of animal sounds, from the hoot of an owl to the bark of a fox. Would you be able to recognise what species of owl you’re hearing, or if the barking is by a fox and not one of the local dogs?

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.


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