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Helen Gazeley
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Who doesn't love a sneak peek? One of the most exciting reveals during a visit to Mr Fothergill's trial grounds near Newmarket last week has to be Optigrow, their new primed seed for the amateur grower. Mr Fothergill's Optigrow range includes 20 vegetable varieties What is primed seed? Primed seed is used commercially, especially for lettuces. In an interesting article on Seed Dynamics Incorporated's website, H J Hill explains: Priming is a water-based process that... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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A reassessment is in order, not so much of the garden, as the gardener. If you'd asked...ooh, a year ago, "Are you a person who welcomes hanging baskets?" you'd have seen a flinch of pain and a headshake. How twee! How surburban! How very...not Proper Gardening! Now I have an inkling of Sean Connery's probable sense of abashment when he ended up in Never Say Never Again, because, well, You Never Know. Begonia Apricot Illumination... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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Who among us doesn't love our garden shed? I'll spend time arranging shelves there that I just wouldn't think of spending in the house. [Pace, Husband.] Here's the chance to upgrade/add to your outdoor storage with a 5' x 3' Overlap Wooden Garden Mower Store in Walton's 'I love my shed' competition. Win a Garden Mower Store from Waltons, worth £149.95. Please enter your photo here; if you win, I get a small prize too.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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A large, floppy picture hat, trug on one arm, and the bedewed sunniness of a summer morning. That's the image of a cutting garden for me. And due to remain only an image. Hah! I'm pleased to have colour in the beds, without stealing it for the indoors. Not to mention the hard work. If you want an idea of the complications arising from trying to produce cut flowers regularly, then you can catch up... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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Chelsea had a relaxed feel this year. Much has been made of the small number of Show Gardens - eight in all, but I think it benefited. There was more space; it felt less crowded; we weren't having to rush down the Main Avenue to ensure everything got seen before we were booted out pre-Majesty arrival at the end of Press Day. Speaking of the Main Avenue, though, I was surprised at how some of... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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With Press Day at Chelsea on Monday, this is the moment for some frenzied exploration of all the gardens and plants I want to check up on during the all-too-brief time allowed (and yes, 7.30 am to 3.30 pm just isn't enough - assuming you want to leave upright and not on a stretcher). First up the new Edelweiss Leontopodium alpinum ‘Berghman’ Blossom of Snow, developed by Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries and marketed by Suttons... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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What is the thing that I am least likely to do at this time of year, and yet have already done twice? Well, if you look at the picture below, you'll get the idea. This was June last year. A path had been cut in the grass, but otherwise? Yup, it was all pretty much the length of the grass on the right. For several years now, I've given the 'lawn' its head. Laziness, mainly.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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After giving the scent accolade to Winter Honeysuckle last month, I have a new scent hero taking the crown for flooding the garden with heady sweetness. The daphne that Husband put in the shady bed in his father's garden has been pumping out insect attractors for all its worth. It works with humans too. Pulls me to it every time I'm there. Planted around five years ago,the daphne is around four feet high and making... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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A friend told me recently that, when she finally comes to rest, she wants her ashes to power the rose bed. "There'll be a little bit of me springing up in the garden every year," she said. Though, I couldn't help thinking she's hoping her thorns will get to pay off some old scores. Programmable, personal cremation service from CremMate. It's something that Funeralbooker surely has an eye on, as they launch the country's first... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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Art inspires art. Pictures have been inspired by music, sculpture by dance, poems by gardens, and at RHS Chelsea this year, there'll be an Artisan garden inspired by Samuel Coleridge's poem This Lime Tree Bower my Prison. The Poetry Lover's Garden by Fiona Cadwallader will be one of the Artisan gardens at RHS Chelsea 2017 Today is World Poetry Day, so what better moment to mention that visitors to the show will be encouraged to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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With barely anything blooming in the garden yet (apart from bulbs) I think I can say that we've already had one of the best performers of the year. For at least a month, the winter honeysuckle has been glorious. My first brimstone butterfly of the year, drawn in by the winter honeysuckle. I last wrote about it, Lonicera fragrantissima, in 2014, when it had been in three years and, it seems, I was keeping it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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We don't need cookery books. All we have to do is look at the Internet. At least, that's what people tell me but it'll never be a modus operandi that I'll be happy with. Cookbooks through the years Books are here to stay in my kitchen, especially as more, perhaps, than any other books, they tell a story. There's the Good Housekeeping my grandmother gave my mother when she got married, now held together by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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If you've ever fancied growing a giant pumpkin, Thompson and Morgan not only provide seed taken from last year's record-breaking winner of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth's annual event, but this year have set the date to sow for you: 12th April. Paul Hansord, T&M’s Commercial Director, who likes growing pumpkins himself apparently, revealed: We get so many enquiries at the giant pumpkin weigh-in and around Halloween, when people are seeing pumpkins in the shops, asking... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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What's your favourite way to peel garlic? Chances are, either you cut the root end off and then cut the papery husk away - which can be extremely fiddly - or you crush it under the blade of a knife in a chef-y manner, which not only hurts, but results lots of finger-flicking as you try to dislodge the wispy bits of husk that stick like glue while you try to separate them from the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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One of the members' trials for Which? Gardening this year involves yellow cosmos. Later in the year they'll be reporting on participants' experiences with the variety 'Lemonade', but yellow cosmos has already caused a stir, with the promotion of Cosmos 'Xanthos' last year. Short and compact, its main "ooh" factor was that it comes into flower early, offering blooms potentially from May to October, making it the first yellow-flowering cosmos that suited UK weather. Previous... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2017 at Weeding the Web
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"It's really pathetic," said a friend, "that a 5p charge should make the difference." He was lamenting the fact that, despite being a sailor, despite spending his time on the ocean, despite knowing the terrible pollution caused by plastic bags etc, it was only when the paltry tax came in that he began to remember to take a bag to the supermarket. I was reminded of this while reading the recently published second book of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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How much does your personality interfere with your enjoyment of life? This is a question I ask myself occasionally, mostly after I've roundly condemned as cheating something that other people welcome as a step to enjoyment. Such as buying a trained fruit bush. Redcurrant Rubera Lisette from Lubera. Large berries on compact strings. I've long had a yen for a standard berry or a cordon - redcurrant or gooseberry. Yet I refuse to buy it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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Some plants are just made to raise a sceptical eyebrow, and this year it was Egg and Chips from Thompson and Morgan that furrowed the brow. An aubergine grafted onto a potato? What's promised is an average of 4 aubergines per plant and up to 2kg of potatoes. Egg and Chips is also supposed to be so easy to grow that you barely need instructions. "More than just a novelty," say T&M. Thompson and Morgan's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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Given the complex nature of many of the conditions treated here, parents can often spend months on end at the hospital. And for some of our smallest patients, the hospital is the only home they’ve ever known. Dr Vin Diwakar, Medical Director at Great Ormond Street Hospital "Fallen Deodar" by Jilly Sutton, carved from a fallen Himalaya Cedar (Cedrus deodara). Known for carving large heads, Sutton sandblasts and limes them to create their textured finish.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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You only have to look at the various autumn planting combinations I've featured so far to realise that pinks and purples predominate in autumn (not to mention dahlias - what did we do before they were back in fashion?). In fact,most of the flowers featured tone rather than contrast with each other. This definitely works best where the plants have very distinctive shapes. Amaranth and Dahlia 'Hot Chocolate' in the Savill Gardens. The above picture... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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If you want to be driven mad by a tomato, I'd say plant the Red and Yellow Currants I mentioned a few weeks ago. With further experience and even though they taste good, I can categorically say I find them Very Annoying, being so fiddly to pick. However, I do have one other variety on the go, thanks to Thompson and Morgan who supplied three plants of Mountain Magic. This F1, cordon-trained tom promises freedom... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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If you're an inveterate photographer you surely have oodles of pictures with a certain merit. Maybe prize-winning? That's what crossed my mind when I saw the number of flower categories for Thompson and Morgan's current competition and thought I'd have a go. Then I read the terms and conditions and now I'm boiling mad. What's wrong with this picture...? This is what they say: All photos that are entered will become, by default, the copyright... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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It was somewhere in the middle of June when I began to wonder about my peppers. After the massive success of my tea-fertilised plants last year, there was no way I wasn't going to grow them like that again, so I eagerly snapped up two plants from the annual sale by the local horticultural society. I was rather proud of myself. You can't hang around at the sale - the tables are pretty much cleared... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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What would you do if a company who had given you equipment for honest review asked you to take that review down? This has recently happened to me. It's such an unusual request (I've certainly never had one like it before) that I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about it, and I'd be really interested to hear what you think, whether you blog or research potential purchases online. In the email, the writer... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at Weeding the Web
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Does your heart sink when you realise that it's pretty much dark by 8pm? Mine does. This year has been particularly good at the extreme ends of the day and I'm missing the extra light. I've woken to bright sunshine at 5.30, and even got up then to sit in the garden! Now it's definitely still dark at 5 am, and dusk is settling early. Still, this time of year can provide some of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at Weeding the Web