Archive | Garden

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Plant health – Part 1

Why we need to recognise plants as sovereign beings. A few weeks ago I was asked by someone starting out in horticulture if I could tell them the main diseases that I have come across whilst gardening. This came as a surprise to me and I had to think hard before answering. This was partly […]

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Weeding Reconsidered

“To the merry man, every weed is a flower; to the afflicted man, every flower is a weed.” – Finnish proverb. 40 years ago, when I first trained as a gardener in the Parks Department of Southampton City Council, weeding was a really important part of my day’s work. Shrub beds were regularly treated with […]

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Rose Pruning – No Pain, No Gain

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, (The Little Prince). The rose, with its tender and beautiful flowers, but surrounded by sharp, harsh thorns appear in accounts from all of the world’s major cultures and religions as a symbol of love at […]

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The Garden in February – the Light Returns

As we move into the month of February with its often bitter and cold weather gardeners might ask the questions: will Winter ever end? will our gardens ever be green again? will it ever change or will it stay dark forever? However, if we look closely at nature, the signs of awakening are all around: […]

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Winter pruning of apple and pear trees

Now that the busy days of autumn tidying are behind us, the month of January is a good time for winter pruning of fruit trees. Without their leaves, the trees in their stark beauty allow us a chance to look closely at their structural form and prune accordingly. This article will concentrate on apple and […]

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Leaves: Summer’s gift, Winter’s hope

During the autumn months leading up to Christmas, one of the main gardening tasks is dealing with leaves. Most of us have appreciated the wonderful colours this year, particularly from the native trees around us – the Birch, the Beech and the Oak. If we are lucky enough to have a large tree in or […]

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Hedges: pruning, planting and making new friends?

Pruning. I generally prune hedges twice a year, once in June very lightly, and again in October/November a little harder. The June cut is light because there are still birds nesting at this time, and any disturbance should be as minimal as possible. A quick light cut with a good, quiet hedge cutter will cause […]

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The Garden as a Place of Contemplation

At this time of year in late summer, gardeners have the chance to rest a little, watch the vegetables ripen and generally take it a little easier. Autumn is coming but it is not yet upon us. Many of us will be on holiday or have a little more time to enjoy the gentle mellow […]

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Compost – the heart of the garden

Last month I wrote about changing our attitude to garden ‘rubbish’ and mentioned that the best place to put weeds, grass and leaves is the compost heap. This month I would like to go into this subject in a little more detail: it is no exaggeration to say that the compost heap is the heart […]

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How green is your grass?- lawn mowing and climate change

Many of us have grown up with the ideal lawn as a bright green, weed-free and low-growing area of grass; in some instances, this is aesthetically or practically appropriate – perhaps in a country house where the lawn shows off the architecture or in a sport where turf quality is important, however from the point […]

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