Persevering with snowdrops: planting in the green

A few years ago there weren’t any snowdrops in my garden. I started by planting some dry bulbs in autumn, but when they failed to emerge the following year I did my research and began to plant snowdrops ‘in the green’ in the hope that one day I would have a dazzling display, the envy of every galanthophile.

I’ve planted a few clumps every year for about 5 years now and, to be honest, it’s still a battle to get them to grow. They certainly haven’t spread into the carpets of snowdrops that I long for.

Carpet of snowdrops in churchyard
The vision: a carpet of snowdrops (but without the headstones)

Although the individual clumps have got bigger.

A decent-sized clump of snowdrops
A decent-sized clump of snowdrops

Drying out

I expect this is because the foundation of my soil is clay. Despite all the organic material I add, it has a tendency to dry out in dry summers – and we’ve certainly had a few dry summers! Unlike daffodils and tulips, snowdrop bulbs do not have a water-retaining skin, so they dry out very quickly. And a dry snowdrop bulb is a dead snowdrop bulb. So, thinking about, I should just be grateful I’ve got any snowdrops after last summer’s soaring temperatures.

But I keep persevering, as nothing else in the garden puts a smile on my face in January and February quite like a bunch of snowdrops does. And I have a few decent clumps dotted around the garden now.

I'll keep planting snowdrops in the green, because every clump that surfaces the following year is so worth it
I’ll keep planting snowdrops in the green, because every clump that surfaces the following year is so worth it

Curbside snowdrops

This week, I handed over another tenner at my local garden centre for 3 more bunches of snowdrops in the green.

You can buy snowdrops in the green from garden centres, or order them online
You can buy snowdrops in the green from garden centres, or order them online

I split each clump down into three smaller clumps…

Planting snowdrops in the green

And dotted them under the hedge along the curbside in the front garden.

Plant snowdrops in the green and water well
Plant snowdrops in the green and water well

They’ve got quite a few buds on them, so I might even get a few flowers this year.

So, I will keep persevering with snowdrops. How can I resist?!

Clump of snowdrops
Guaranteed to put a smile on my face

Are you having success with snowdrops? If so, I’d welcome any tips!

How to chase the January gardening blues away

It’s raining – again! I know I shouldn’t complain, especially after the hot dry summer we had last year, but there are jobs in the garden that are starting to get a bit desperate (I’ve still got spring bulbs to plant!) and I can’t get near them without creating a big muddy mess.

Rainy day in January
Stuck inside on another wet and windy day

So, what can we do on the days when the weather completely stops us from stepping outside? For me, it’s all about the dreaming and planning – places to go, people to see, and how I would like this year’s garden to look.

‘Wish list’ plants

If you’re a plantaholic like me, you’ve probably got a long list of botanical beauties you would like to introduce to your garden. My wish list has a tendency to grow a little longer each time a plant catalogue drops through the door and after every episode of Gardener’s World! But I’ve also got to be realistic – there’s only so much room out there, so if I’m going to buy something new I need to know where I’m going to put it.

Packed garden borders
There’s always room for one more plant, right? Erm, maybe.

Top of my wish list for a while now has been a crab apple tree. They are often cited as ideal compact trees for small gardens, providing year-round interest with their colourful blossom, fruits and foliage. Nevertheless, I haven’t had the space…until now. At the end of last year we removed a large conifer hedge from one side of the garden, which may have opened up a potential spot.

It means I can now start researching crab apples again. There’s a terrific review on Gardens Illustrated of the best crab apple trees for colour and form by plant expert Graham Rice. I’ll let you know if I manage to squeeze one in!

Sowing and growing

Wet and windy days provide a great opportunity for sorting through those seed packets and working out what you’re going to grow this year. Make a plan of what you would like to grow from seed, what month you need to sow it, and where you are going to grow it. There’s oodles of advice online to help with this.

Organized seed packets
Check what seeds you’ve already got before buying more

I always tend to get sidetracked with my herbaceous borders, but I’m hoping to try to focus more on the vegetable plot this year and widen my veg-growing horizons beyond tomatoes, courgettes and potatoes. Watch this space!

Places to visit

Some of the best inspiration comes from visiting other gardens. Last year, I visited two gardens in West Sussex: Nymans and the Sussex Prairie Garden. It was a fabulous day out, and the awesome summer borders in both gardens gave me lots of ideas for planting combinations.

So, while I’m stuck indoors I’m making a list of gardens close to home to nurture my botanical soul in 2023. I’ve already found a few gems that I wasn’t previously aware of. Check out the Great British Gardens website for some inspiration near you!

Adapting plans from lessons learned

It’s all very well making plans for the rest of the year, but it’s also good to reflect on what did and didn’t work last year. Given the incredibly dry summer we had, I am seriously considering not planting hanging baskets this year. They needed constant watering, which was unfair on my kind neighbour when I was away.

I am also considering swapping growbags for larger pots to grow my tomatoes in this year. Growbags have worked wonderfully up to now, but they often needed watering twice a day through July and August last summer, and if hot summers become a trend then that’s not sustainable.

Keep dreaming

Whatever you are dreaming of, or planning for, this year, enjoy the process. I’ve just noticed the rain has stopped…so I’m heading out into the garden to see what I can tick off my January checklist.

2022 End of year review

The weather in the UK is always unpredictable – that’s why talking about it is a national pastime – but this year it has given us gardeners a rollercoaster of issues to contend with. My village in the South of England made the news twice in 2022 with some of the driest and wettest days on record.


It started with the warmest New Year’s Day since records began, with warm air from the Azores raising temperatures to a high of 16.3oC in central London. It was also the sunniest January on record in England, with the Met Office recording 80.7 hours of sunshine.

As we all (should) know by now, this general increase in temperature is concerning, but on the plus side it meant that my snowdrops, aconites and crocuses were all in bloom by the end of the month.


February was mild too, but brought a cluster of three named storms – Dudley, Eunice and Franklin – which wreaked havoc across the UK. Storm Eunice had the biggest impact in the south of England, bringing down trees, greenhouses and fences, and leaving lots of homes without power.

It brought down part of the conifer hedge that runs the length of my garden, as well as most of the mistletoe in the local cemetery. A lot of the lovely cherry blossom that had started to emerge didn’t hang around for long either, unable to to withstand the gusty weather.


In early March, landmarks across the world were illuminated in yellow and blue to reflect our solidarity with the people of Ukraine who were, and still are, in an unimaginable situation. Ablaze with daffodils and irises, the garden seemed to echo this sentiment.

After all the wind and rain, I managed to start a Spring tidy up, revealing a colourful collection of hellebores.


The borders slowly started to take shape this month, but it was an ongoing battle between me and the weeds, particularly with ground elder. I will keep digging it out, and eventually I will be victorious!

By the end of the month, the garden was looking pretty good, with tulips taking centre stage.


First broods of robins and blue tits both fledged successfully this month, we started to see evidence of hedgehogs, and we were visited by a host of butterflies and bees enjoying the pollinator-friendly planting.

I continued to do battle with the weeds though.

The sowing and growing continued.

Meanwhile, the shrubbery at the bottom of the garden started to get leafy and lush (there’s a husband in there somewhere!).


I managed to get most of the plants that I had grown from seed, plug plants or cuttings planted out this month.

With longer days and warmer evenings we started to sit outside later into the evening, enjoying some al fresco meals, so I gave the ‘dining area’ a bit of a makeover, and added some new lights.

It was a month of celebration, with an extra bank holiday and street parties to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.


The warm dry spell became a hot dry spell, and we were soon making headlines as the driest village in Britain, with no rainfall at all in July.

The garden was at its flowering peak, and watering became a full-time occupation.


As temperatures continued to soar, parts of southern, central and Eastern England officially moved to drought status, and hosepipe bans were introduced in some regions. The watering marathon continued.

On the up side, I started to harvest my tomatoes 4–6 weeks earlier than usual, and began enjoying meals of home-grown deliciousness.

There were also plenty of early, albeit smaller than usual, blackberries to forage in the hedgerows.


This month was a sombre one, with the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. A constant in so many of our lives, it hit a lot of us harder than we thought it would, and the nation went into an extended period of respectful mourning.

Life in the garden went on though, with some of my favourite plants starting to go to seed, ready for collection.


The hot dry weather had taken its toll on some of the shrubs and hedges. We’d been talking about it all year, and finally decided to remove the stressed and straggly conifer hedge bordering our neighbours’ garden, leaving us with some exciting planning for that area in 2023.

I harvested the last of the summer vegetables (peppers, chillis and aubergines), and picked the last of the tomatoes – red and green – to make chutneys and soups.

And the first frost arrived.


In November, we made the news again; this time, as the wettest village in Britain with the most rainfall in England falling in one night.

With some decent rainfall, many of the perennials that had struggled during the hot summer had a second flush of flowers.

But the lawn and borders soon became sodden, and mushrooms flourished.


December ended a long run of above-average temperatures, with a prolonged period of freezing conditions.

Even the cobwebs froze and, on several days, we experienced a beautiful hoar frost (crystalline deposits of water vapour).

The Met Office has confirmed that 2022 has been the warmest year in the UK since records began, with every month except December being warmer than average. As gardeners we are the first to see how earlier springs, warmer summers and extreme weather events are affecting plants and wildlife, and there is no doubt that we will have to adapt how we garden in the future.

For now, let’s watch this space and keep talking about what we can each do at a garden level.

All that remains of 2022 is for me to wish you all a very Happy New Year!


How to use your autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

With all the wet and windy weather we’ve been having lately, the autumn leaves have been falling thick and fast, gathering in slick clumps on my patio, lawn and borders. It’s tempting to leave them be. After all, it’s the natural cycle of things, right? But there are good reasons to rake them up and recycle them in a different way.

First, they definitely need sweeping up from any hard landscaping, like paths or patios, mostly to prevent them from becoming slippy and dangerous, but also to stop them from blocking drains, which can cause flooding.

But what about the leaves on your lawn and borders?

Reasons to get raking

Too many leaves in one place will:

  • block sunlight and air from getting to your plants
  • trap moisture, enabling mould or disease to develop and/or causing the plants underneath to rot.

So, I rake them up and turn them into my own (free) soil improver that I can use when and where I want.

I’m not a big fan of leaf blowers. They’re noisy and use fuel. But fair enough if you’ve got a huge area and lots of leaves to clear. Given the size of my garden, my tool of choice is a sprung flat-tined garden rake. It does the job quietly and efficiently, plus raking is a fabulous way of burning calories. If I’m feeling a bit chilly, 5 minutes of raking is guaranteed to warm me up!

Raking leaves
A sprung flat-tined garden rake is my tool of choice


Most of the leaves that I collect end up in the compost bin. They are a terrific source of ‘brown material’ for the bin. If you don’t know what I mean by this, have a read of my blog post on Compost composition to get the the right ratio of ‘greens’ to ‘browns’.

Add leaves to your compost heap
Leaves are a great type of ‘brown’ material to add to your compost heap

Making leaf mulch

Another option is to make leaf mulch, which is really easy.

  1. Place the leaves in a black plastic bag.
  2. Give them a good soak (if not already wet).
  3. Puncture the bottom of the bag with a few holes for drainage.
  4. Tie the bag up and leave in a hidden corner of the garden.

The leaves will rot down into a nutritious mulch, ready for use in your borders next spring. IMPORTANT NOTE: make sure the leaves are wet before sequestering them away. I made the mistake of bagging up dry leaves the first time I tried this and nothing happened!

Dry leaves don't break down
Don’t bag up dry leaves – nothing will happen!!

The leaves are likely to break down quicker if you chop them up into smaller pieces before bagging them. You can do this by running a mower over them first, but only do this if they are dry or they will clog up your mower!

Wildlife-friendly leaf piles

Finally, leaf piles are fabulous for attracting wildlife to your garden. They provide shelter for all sorts of animals, such as small mammals, frogs and insects, and provide a good site or materials for hibernating hedgehogs. They are also a great source of food for birds, which will flick the leaves everywhere in search of grubs and insects.

Rake the leaves into a sheltered, quiet area of the garden, so that the leaves stay dry and don’t blow around everywhere, and you won’t disturb the residents.

Happy raking!

When is the best time to tidy the spring garden?

When I was younger I remember my mum ‘putting the garden to bed’ at the end of each Autumn, clearing and chopping everything into neat low-cut order before the start of winter. We now know how beneficial it is to leave ‘winter structure’ in place throughout the coldest months.

Winter structure in the garden
The winter ‘structure’ has become a bit of a tangled mess!

Protective debris

Leaving the dead stems in place protects the crowns of perennials from severe frost damage and provides an important habitat for hibernating insects. Birds will feed on old seed heads and will use some of the winter debris as nesting material in early Spring, while hedgehogs will snuggle under large piles of leaves.

Restoring order

It’s great to leave that protective canopy in place for as long as possible, particularly while we continue to get regular frosts. But, let’s be honest, frosts or no frosts, there comes a time when we’ve had enough of the dishevelled look and want to restore some order to our borders. For me, that’s about now, in mid-March, when temperatures start to hover around double digits, and daffodils and hellebores are trying to find their way through the confusion.

So, I’ve started to chop down the old stems and seed heads…

Time to clear wintry debris

To reveal the fresh spring growth beneath…

Spring garden revealed

Early spring colour

Having cut down all the old stems (which will be shredded and added to the compost bin) in the border nearest the patio, I can now enjoy the daffodils and hellebores that are the stars of the show at this time of year.

Early spring plants
Newly revealed daffodils and hellebores

Cutting down the old stems is only the first step towards complete springtime transformation. Next, the border will need weeding (15 minutes at a time, of course), and in a few weeks time I will be able to start dividing plants and filling in any gaps.

Choosing the right time to tidy your garden

The right time to start tidying your garden this spring will depend on several factors, including:

  • where you live
  • the weather
  • the type of soil
  • when you have time to do it.

I live in the south of England, so mid-March is normally about the right time. Temperatures are starting to climb and although we still get frosts as late as May, they become less frequent. If you live further north you may prefer to wait until early to mid-April. Keep an eye on the weather forecast for your area and that will guide you. It’s looking promising here over the next few days!!

Wet clay soil is easily damaged when walked on, so I will have to wait a few more days before cutting back the perennials in the border that runs down the right-hand side of the garden. We have just had some very heavy rain and, as it can only be accessed by walking over the lawn, I would do more damage than good by repeatedly walking over, and compacting, the clay-based soil. I will have to be patient.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other jobs to do in the garden this month.

How to prune autumn-fruiting raspberries

Despite the appalling weather, I managed to get out in the garden this week for one of my favourite 15-minute gardening tasks – chopping my Autumn Bliss autumn-fruiting raspberries down to the ground.

It’s hard to imagine that February is the perfect time of year for many gardening tasks, but this is definitely one of them. The plants are dormant at the moment, so a hard prune back to the ground during cold weather won’t damage them. Within a few weeks though they will be ready to shoot back into action, so now is the time to give them the chop.

Simply chop!

Autumn-fruiting raspberries are ‘primocanes’, which means they produce fruit on new wood. I have six Autumn bliss raspberry plants in a small bed near the bottom of the garden. When in leaf they provide a perfect screen in front of the shed.

All you need to do at this time of year is remove last year’s old growth.

Raspberry canes ready for cutting down
Last year’s autumn raspberry canes

Cut the old canes as close to the ground as you can, making sure your secateurs are sharp for a clean cut.

Chop autumn raspberries canes to the ground
Chop autumn raspberries canes to the ground

Bonus leftovers

And the great thing is that the old raspberry canes can be put to use in the rest of the garden. I trim off the twiggy side branches and flimsier tips to make sturdy stakes that I then use to prop up my perennials.

Raspberry cane stakes
Raspberry cane stakes

And the twiggy bits can be shredded and used as a mulch, so nothing goes to waste.

Twigs for shredding
Twigs for shredding

Autumn- vs summer-fruiting raspberries

Summer-fruiting raspberries are slightly more complicated in that they are ‘floricanes’, which means they fruit on the previous year’s wood. The old canes need to be removed after they have fruited to encourage new growth, as that’s what next year’s raspberries grow on.

Autumn harvest

Unlike their summer counterparts, autumn-fruiting raspberries are pretty much self-supporting, although I find they need a bit of string around them to stop them flopping forward over the bed. They start to ripen in late summer and, from just six plants, I get a good harvest that usually lasts all the way into October.

Autumn raspberries
Harvest the raspberries from late summer to first frosts

So, if you are new to raspberry growing, I highly recommend giving autumn-fruiting raspberries a go. It couldn’t be simpler.

February in the garden: prepare, plant and prune

February can be a frustrating month. I’m itching to clear away the winter debris but even here, in the South of England, heavy frosts and downpours (and even snow) are likely to prevent a major tidy-up for another month. My borders need their protective winter duvet of last year’s growth for just a little bit longer.

The Beast from the East in 2018 was a reminder to expect the unexpected in February

Yet, as the earliest signs of Spring begin to emerge, there are lots of things I can do to prepare my happy place for the gardening year ahead. Having been out of action for a little while, I’m excited. Here we go again!

Plan and prep

I love planning what flowers I want to surround myself with, what veg I want to eat and where it’s all going to grow.

It’s hard to imagine this…

Pretidy winter garden
February 2022

Becoming this…

June flower border 2021
June 2021

But last year it did!

The garden may not end up looking anything like the vision in my head right now, but it’s a lot of fun imagining what it could look like.

Get organized

On a more pragmatic note, it’s also worth being prepared for the frenzy of sowing and growing that is but a few weeks away. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check your seed packets and order in what you haven’t got, tidy your shed and wash your pots.

Organized seed packets
Check what seeds you’ve already got

You can also prepare your veg beds now by removing weeds and applying an organic mulch.

Vegetable bed mulched with garden compost
A well-mulched vegetable bed


Many plants need to be pruned in winter when they are dormant. In my garden, this applies to the few roses that I have in pots and my apple and pear trees, and this year I’m going to have a go at some (hopefully) restorative winter pruning of honeysuckles that have become very woody.

Prune apple trees in winter while they are dormant

Early sowings

February is also a good month to start sowing indoors. I’ll be getting tomatoes and aubergines started from seed this month, as well as the first of some successional sowings of lettuce, as I want to stop buying so much of it from the supermarket (it always comes wrapped in plastic!).

Indoor sowings
Last year’s indoor sowings of tomatoes, aubergines, chillis and lettuce

Bare-root planting

Winter is also the best time to plant bare-root trees and shrubs, so that they can get established before expending the energy they’ll need to produce leaves and flowers. Roses, fruit bushes and canes, hedging and dogwoods (Cornus) can all be started as bare-root plants. Last year I planted two bare-root climbing roses, which are now well established.

February checklist

It may all sound a bit daunting, but if you break it down into 15-minute tasks you’ll be surprised how much you can get done. I get a great sense of achievement from ticking things off a list, so I make a monthly checklist to help me stay on track. Take a look at my February checklist of gardening jobs, which can all be achieved 15 minutes at a time.

February #15greenmins checklist: you can do anything for 15 minutes, including gardening!

Preparing raised vegetable beds in 2 easy steps

I don’t have a huge garden but, despite my passion for perennials, I have made room to grow a few vegetables. After all, there is nothing more satisfying than eating your own produce.

Vegetables in raised beds and pots
The vegetable patch

I have two raised vegetable beds, each about 1.2m x 1.2m, and the rest I grow in grow bags, pots and sacks. This means I can tend to my veggies without ever having to walk on the soil, which reduces the amount of digging I have to do (anything for an easy life!).

Growing veggies in raised beds, pots and sacks
Vegetable growing in raised beds, pots and sacks

Two-step veg bed preparation

To prepare the beds for this year’s veggies I have done two things:

  1. Removed the weeds
  2. Added organic matter

Remove weeds

The raised beds had got a bit weedy over the last couple of months.

Weedy raised bed

So, I removed the weeds manually with my trusty trowel – in two 15-minute sessions – making sure to remove all the roots.

I left the fennel and foxgloves that had seeded in there, as I never say no to free plants that can be put somewhere else in the garden.

Weeded vegetable bed

Add an organic mulch

I then spread a couple of buckets of garden compost over the top, a great mulch that will suppress any more weeds from coming through. It should break down under the inevitable blanket of frost and/or snow that will arrive over the next few weeks, and the worms will work their magic, putting nutrients back into the bed and improving the soil structure.

Vegetable bed mulched with garden compost
Well-mulched vegetable beds

Now I just have to wait for the temperatures to improve.

In the meantime, I am sorting my seeds and making plans in the hope of a bumper harvest of my own produce later in the year.

Vegetable harvest

Important tidying for plant health in winter

After a week of rain it’s no surprise that the garden is a bit soggy. My lawn is squelchy and the clay-based soil in my borders is heavy and sticky. So, I’m doing my best to keep to the hard surfaces around the garden, like the paths and patio, to avoid turning lawn edges and beds into a quagmire.

But there is one task that I can’t put off, and that’s the clearance of collapsed stems and soggy foliage.

Soggy foliage in winter
The old leaves of this Crocosmia have got very soggy and collapsed.

Not too tidy

I leave most old stems and seed heads in place over the winter because they provide homes and food for wildlife, and they add structure and interest to the borders during the bleakest months.

Old stems and seed heads
Old stems and seed heads add structure and interest to winter borders

They also provide protection from frost and snow for the crown of the plant and any new growth that is emerging.

Old Sedum stems protect the crown of the plant
Old stems and seed heads protect new growth emerging from the crown in winter

Clearing soggy foliage

But collapsed stems and pulpy leaves need to be cut back and removed. Leaving wet decaying material in your borders is practically inviting fungi and diseases to move in.

The decaying wet leaves of this day lily had collapsed over the crown of the plant.

Soggy leaves of a day lily

It only took a few minutes to pull the wet leaves away.

Soggy leaves cleared from crown of plant

Future compost

And it can all be recycled. The old leaves (no matter how soggy) are great ‘brown material’ to add to the compost bin. And the old stems, which also pulled away easily, can be shredded or used as stakes when they dry.

Cleared leaves and stems
The cleared leaves and stems can be composted and shredded

It was a quick and easy task that will benefit the plant. Meanwhile, there is still plenty of ‘mess’ in the garden to keep the wildlife happy.

30 bulbs in 15 minutes

Starting back at work this week, albeit at home, was a bit of a shock to the system after a relaxing Christmas break. It’s been full on, but I’ve still managed to get away from my desk for several bursts of #15greenmins.

I was particularly chuffed to get some Tulip bulbs planted in a new trough overlooking my patio. They are Tulipa ‘Purissima’ (White Emperor), an elegant cultivar with large creamy white petals and a short (35 cm) sturdy stem – ideal for pots.

First, I positioned the bulbs where I wanted to plant them.

30 Tulip bulbs planted in 15 minutes
30 Tulipa ‘Purissima’ bulbs, ready to plant

Right tool for the job

Then, rather than dig out a trench or holes with a trowel, I used a bulb planter to make 30 individual holes. I highly recommend getting a bulb planter, as they make the job a lot easier. They come in different sizes, depending on what bulbs you are planting. I have found that this one works well for daffodils, tulips and alliums.

Bulb planter
A bulb planter is a very handy gadget

The sharp metal head of the planter cuts through the soil to just the right depth (4 inches) and extracts a large neat plug of earth.

Bulb planter in action
Bulb planter in action

Then, all I had to do was pop the bulbs into the base of the holes, pointy end up, and cover them with soil.

Planting tulip bulbs
Pop the bulb in the base of the hole, pointy end up

If the soil is heavy, it’s a good idea to add some grit or compost to the base of the hole before planting the bulb.

It really did only take 15 minutes to plant 30 bulbs, so I was able to get back to my desk before my toes went numb with the cold!

New year’s resolution: new daily habit

15 minutes of green author Sharon de Botte

Those of us fortunate enough to have our own gardens know the benefits. Last year, more than ever before, we found out how much we valued our green spaces.

In a survey of 2000 people, commissioned by the RHS after the first 2020 Lockdown:

  • 70% said that having a garden helped their mental health
  • 60% felt that gardening had helped their physical activity
  • over 50% said they would value their garden more in future.

So it’s a no-brainer – let’s get out in our gardens this year!

Bend your knees when you are weeding


… you also have kids, elderly relations, a job, a house … there are meals to cook, rooms to tidy, a boss to keep happy, a dog to walk, a gym membership to use … the list is endless.

I know, I know …. there aren’t enough hours in the day. In fact, no matter how much you love gardening and/or love being in your garden, it always seems to end up at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. A few weeks pass and before you know it the weeds have taken over the borders, the unpruned shrubs are becoming unrecognisable and the untended lawn is more moss than grass.

It seems overwhelming and suddenly you stop loving your garden quite so much.

I get it. I’ve been there.



the ethos of this website is to turn the chore of gardening into a pleasure, 15 minutes at a time.

15 minutes of gardening a day adds up to more than 90 hours of gardening a year. Just imagine how 90 hours of weeding, digging, planting and pruning will transform your garden.


15 minutes of green … every day

You can do anything for 15 minutes, so make 15 minutes of gardening your new daily habit in 2021 and enjoy your green space, be it well tended, dishevelled or completely out of control. Believe me, mine fluctuates between all three.

It doesn’t matter how many jobs there are to do or what your garden looks like. Pick a task from the monthly checklist, grab your tools and get out there. Feel the sun, wind or rain on your face and savour the fresh air, relish the changing colours of the seasons and enjoy the wildlife that shares your space.

Your garden will flourish … and so will you!

Author of - Sharon de Botte
Happy New Year!

Deadheading daffodils

As your host of golden daffodils makes way for a throng of radiant tulips, there is one easy job that you can do right now – grab your garden scissors or secateurs and snip the scruffy fading heads off your daffodils, or pinch them off with your fingers.

Scruffy end-of-bloom daffodils
Daffodils start to look at bit scruffy as the blooms fade and shrivel

Remove the faded blooms just below the swelling at the back of the flower. This stops the plant from expending energy making a seed pod.

Remove spent daffodil blooms
Cut off spent daffodil blooms where shown (arrow)
Daffodil seed pod
If you don’t remove the heads the plant will waste energy creating seeds

There’s no need to remove the rest of the foliage; let it die back naturally over the next 4–6 weeks. In theory, the plant will put all the goodness back into the bulb instead, so that it will produce more gorgeous flowers next year.

I say ‘in theory’, as there is some debate as to whether deadheading daffodils makes any difference at all to the following year’s flowering. Even if it doesn’t, it will make your garden look a little bit tidier, and you can add the spent flower heads to the compost.

Add deadheaded daffodils to the compost
Add deadheaded daffodils to the compost, so nothing goes to waste

When the foliage has turned completely limp and yellow, you can cut it back to ground level.

Deadheading daffodils is an easy 15-minute job – the perfect opportunity to get up from your work-from-home desk or escape the rest of the family for a walk around the garden and a little quiet ‘me’ time.

Happy snipping!