Here comes Winter

Today marks the start of meteorological winter, and there’s certainly a chill in the air. In fact, the Met Office has forecast widespread frost and fog across the UK this week, even snow (in Scotland!). To be fair, we have had ‘above average’ autumnal temperatures for a while now, and my garden appears to be a tad confused. For example,…

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Lofty pruning

Tree topping, Abbey Meadows, November 2014

  Walking along the Thames path in Abingdon, heading from Abingdon bridge towards Abingdon lock,  you can’t help but notice the striking lines of lofty poplars in Abbey Meadows park. But this week, some of them were going topless! The distinct sound of a chain saw, a shout and a crash, and the tree surgeons’ work in progress became apparent. All trees need…

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From pot to plate

November carrots from a pot

The vegetable patch is still providing some tasty morsels even in late November. Given the dreary weather yesterday, a roast lamb dinner was just the thing to lift the spirits. So, I dug up baby carrots and parsnips from their pots… … and searched deep into the last of my potato sacks for the remaining main crop potatoes (Cara variety…

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Bulb lasagne

Bulb lasagne, layer 3, dwarf irises

England would not be the ‘green and pleasant land’ that it is without the rain, but this weekend someone somewhere forgot to turn off the tap! My garden was not so much ‘green and pleasant’ as ‘soaked and soggy’, so I turned to my list of wet weather jobs and retreated to the garage to make some bulb lasagnes – no…

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Barn owl encounter

Barn owl, Pagham harbour nature reserve

Down at Selsey, we made the most of the bracing sea air and local fish and chips, as well as the neighbouring nature reserves: Pagham Harbour nature reserve From the car park at Church Norton, we took a late-afternoon stroll around the edge of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve, a peaceful sheltered inlet where all the usual suspects – namely red…

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Gardening by the sea

Selsey-Fasciculari- bicolor

If I thought my clay soil made gardening a challenge, it is nothing compared to the unique set of challenges faced by friends of mine who have a house right on the sea front in Selsey. Although this pebbly garden is probably not prone to frost and snow, it is constantly exposed to high winds and huge amounts of sea spray heavy with…

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Planting wood anemones

Anemone nemorosa produces carpets of blooms in spring

Today I’m planting wood anemones, a first for my garden. Wood anemones provide beautiful carpets of early-spring blooms and, provided there is access to sun, are ideal for planting in semi-shade under trees and shrubs. Many woodland plants have bulbs or tubers that store food until it is needed to produce new growth. The two varieties of Anemone nemorosa that I’m planting (the…

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Compost composition

compost corner

Today, in between the rain showers, I dug out some compost to add to the flower beds. I found quite a decent amount of composted material at the bottom of the bin, but to be honest it is more slimy than crumbly. I’ve done some research, and discovered I’m being too green! ‘Greens’ and ‘browns’ Ideally, compost should be a 50:50…

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Fleet Pond

Fleet Pond, Hampshire

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Last Sunday dawned crisp and sunny, so we decided to take a walk around Fleet Pond. I guess, because of its name, I’ve always envisaged this local green space to be a large ‘pond’ covered in duck weed, bordered by a few weeping willows and home to numerous bread-scavenging mallards.  How wrong could I be! Fleet Pond is actually Hampshire’s largest…

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Simply …

Wendy the wren

It’s been a challenging week. I’ve not felt well, work has been hectic, and the rain and wind have been battering the garden in equal measure. But this morning ‘the sun came out and dried up all the rain, and incy wincy spider’ … well, there are plenty of those about. So my 15 minutes of green today didn’t involve weeding…

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First-time leaf cuttings

Argyranthemum leaf cutting - select a strong shoot

According to those in the know, the best time to take leaf cuttings from marguerites (argyranthemum) is mid-spring to summer … so, I’m a bit late! But seeing as there are still some decent-looking shoots on my one patio specimen I thought I’d give it a go before the first frosts hit. Here’s how I got on … The cuttings are now residing…

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Mahonia on the move

This weekend we moved our Mahonia japonica. Established trees and shrubs should only be moved if absolutely necessary, as there will undoubtedly be some degree of stress when the plant is uprooted. Unfortunately, this beautiful specimen (currently in full bloom and providing some much-needed late pollen for the bees) had started to grow out at an angle away from the large…

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