Give wasps a break

Wasps on rotting pear

Wasps get a bad rep at this time of year, because at the end of August they become obsessed with what we’re eating and drinking. Unfortunately, the resulting human–wasp encounters often end up in (human) tears and/or a squashed wasp. But I say, be kind to wasps, because although they might be a bit annoying right now, most of the…

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Hungry hedgehogs

Hedgehogs feeding

Ironic that it was Hedgehog Awareness Week last week, because here in our small back garden in Hampshire we have been becoming increasingly hedgehog aware. It started as a bit of a mystery. Every morning we would find the cage on top of our bird ground feeder knocked askew, and the remains of the birds’ mealworms and suet devoured. A ratty visitor perhaps?…

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Chop, shred, mulch!

A mulched flower bed

  It’s good to leave the ‘skeletons’ of some herbaceous plants standing over winter. The natural scaffolding and seed heads of Sedum spectabile (ice plant), Eryngium (sea holly) and ornamental grasses help to protect the tender crowns from the sharpest frosts, provide a cosy home for insects and add general winter interest to the garden. But now that things are…

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Snowdrops

William Wordsworth, To a Snowdrop

You don’t have to be a galanthophile to admire the simple beauty of a compact bunch of nodding snowdrops. Although these delicate drooping gems don’t quite herald the start of spring, they definitely raise a smile on dreary winter days and exude the promise of better things to come in another glorious year of gardening. Enough sofa slothing, they say….

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Courgette crisis

Courgette crisis

Today I came downstairs to the kitchen to find a note from my husband (we communicate by note during the week!). It read: “Crisis! Courgette and broccoli shortage across Europe. Oh Noooo …!” Okay, so I could feel the sarcasm oozing off the page, as he’s not a huge fan of courgettes, or broccoli for that matter, despite my best efforts to force…

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A touch of frost

Frost-capped sedum

It’s been a chilly new year so far, with frequent frosts and even a sprinkling of snow. All in all, a bit of a shock to the system for this southern softie. What is frost? When temperatures outside start to plummet, water vapour in the atmosphere turns to liquid. This is called the ‘dew point’. When outside surfaces (car, shed…

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To tidy or not to tidy?

Don't tidy up autumn herbaceous borders

That is the question at this time of year! And I’ve decided, NOT (too much). OK, so the lack of daylight hours has a lot to do with my decision. I work full time, so there’s little opportunity to get out amongst the flagging perennials Monday to Friday, and the idea of gardening by (super)moonlight this week has been hampered…

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Autumn cuttings

The vibrant black-eyed susan vine (Thunbergia alata)

Is it too late to take cuttings of plants that are unlikely to survive the winter? Most of the research I’ve done online suggests that I should have got my cuttings act together earlier in the year, but I’m not convinced. This eye-catching black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) is a low-maintenance rapid-growing climber that has brought a touch of the exotic…

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Pear rust

Pear rust on leaves, but the fruit is unaffected

Take my advice: if you see signs of disease on a plant, act on it straight away before it gets worse. Last month I noticed individual bright orange spots on several leaves on my conference pear tree … and I ignored them. One month later, I realised that almost a third of all the leaves on the tree were sporting this…

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How to avoid gardener’s back pain

Example #15greenmins timetable

What do you have planned this bank holiday weekend? If, like me, you are revelling in the thought of 3 days pottering in the garden then, also like me, you may be concerned that by Tuesday morning you will be reaching for the painkillers, booking a session with an osteopath and shuffling into work like an 80 year old. A…

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Garden therapy

Stress busting amongst the tulips earlier this year

Hello visitors. My apologies; it’s been a while! A hectic work schedule and family commitments haven’t kept me away from my ’15 minutes of green’ completely this year, but they have stopped me from blogging about it. But I’m back, and pleased to report that, despite my best efforts, my garden continues to flourish, providing me with the perfect therapy for…

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