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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Sparrowhawk attack

The magnificent sparrowhawk (Accipiter nissus)

Earlier today my usually quiet front garden resembled a scene from Hitchcock’s horror film, The Birds, as dozens upon dozens of rooks and jackdaws circled above my house. The noise was astounding and the sight quite phenomenal, if not a little surreal. I was baffled as to what was going on, until I honed in on a panicked squawking emanating from the ivy…

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On your marks …

Tete-a-tete narcissus

… get set, grow! This month is when I start to get back out in the garden and scare myself silly at how much there is to do. Yes, it’s that time of year when everything starts to get going again – the spring bulbs, the perennials, the weeds! It’s all crying out for a tidy up. Now is the time…

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Happy (soggy) new year!

Views of the North Cornish Coast from Rocky Valley headland

Happy new year everyone, and what a strange start to 2016 it is; certainly a lot wetter, windier and milder than we’re used to. Who thought we’d still be in double figures degrees centigrade in January, with daffodils and irises already in flower?! Today I travelled back from my Christmas break in North Cornwall on flooded but passable debris-strewn roads…

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“Will flower until frost”

With the wind and rain and noticeable drop in temperature, the garden has started to take on a rather dishevelled, limp-around-the-edges persona. The last of the summer-flowering perennials have all but shrivelled and the dampness of heavy dews lingers late into seemingly endless grey, overcast mornings. So thank goodness for those autumnal gems that “will flower until frost”. Yes, there are still plenty of perennials…

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Blue Moon Microadventure

More microadventures please!

Coming up with inspired birthday presents for my husband is a challenge. I started with books, music and toiletries, moved on to sports kit and gadgets, and graduated to ‘experiences’. You name it, he’s done it – truck driving, zorbing, sand-yachting, hovercraft racing, indoor sky diving, segway rallying, flyboarding. I had drained the ideas well of dry. I needed a hefty dose of inspiration…

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Marigold mania

Blooming marigolds, ready to plant out

This year I opted for the work-intensive option of growing my own annuals: marigolds, salvia, nasturtiums and cosmos. On the up side, I ended up with plenty of bedding plants, which is good news for the bees and butterflies … and the slugs have enjoyed them too! On the other hand, it involved a lot of extra effort. For the…

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Hanging tomatoes

Tumbling Tom tomato planted in hanging basket

I’m still cramming the vegetables and annuals into the garden. As I haven’t got a greenhouse, and I’m rapidly running out of space – and pots – on the patio, some of the tomatoes have gone into hanging baskets. There are plenty of bush-type varieties with shallow root systems that do well in hanging baskets. I’m trying Tumbling Tom (yellow)…

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