Ten Things To Do In The Garden in January

January is a unique month in the year when plants, on the whole, demand very little from gardeners. House plants are an exception, but even these have minimal needs when light levels are low and days are short. January is the perfect month for gardeners to take stock, plan ahead, or simply take a break […]

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My Top Tips for Buying a Real Christmas Tree

Part of my day job is buying Christmas trees for British department store John Lewis & Partners. It’s a task I particularly enjoy since I can apply a modicum of horticultural expertise to my decision-making. Over the years, artificial Christmas trees have become increasingly realistic, to the extent that many models now have ‘tips’ that […]

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Autumn Spice

The problem with owning a garden dominated by evergreens and tropicals is that I don’t really get to experience autumn colour at home. My garden morphs quickly from fabulous full summer to winter green, pretty much when I get around making it happen. This year, during one of many moments of impulse, I purchased a […]

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My Top 10 Indoor / Outdoor Foliage Plants

  So I forgot. Today’s the day that the London Evening Standard publishes a feature on neon-coloured foliage and I am not even in London to pick up a copy. They say that if you want a job doing, give it to a busy person, but it you want something remembering, definitely don’t. I have […]

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In Search of the Surreal

No visit to Cornwall is complete without a spot of plant shopping. The nurseries in the county I consider home are among the best in the country, particularly for the kinds of plants I am interested in. As a rule, the further south west you go, the more gem-like the nurseries become: there’s Penberth Plants […]

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How to Grow Ornamental Gingers in UK Gardens

  Ornamental gingers – we’ve admired them whilst on holiday in tropical countries, or seen them curated in the glasshouses of botanical gardens, but how many of us have considered growing them in our own gardens? Surely gingers need more heat and sunlight than the British climate can offer? Aren’t they going to be hopelessly […]

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My 10 Top Tips For Writing a Gardening Blog

Earlier this week I was invited by a work colleague whom I had never met to have a coffee and talk about my blog. I was flattered. We had a lively conversation and at the end of it I was glad to have met someone else with an interest in plants and gardening. My colleague […]

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When The Wind Blows

I am not a cold person, temperature or temperament wise, but when the wind blows from the north, as it did this weekend, I want to be indoors, with a jumper on and a fire blazing. A penetrating wind blew down from the Arctic on Sunday morning, building to a crescendo by evening. Sitting in […]

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Why Good Gardening is a Risky Business

  Whilst you won’t find it on a list of extreme pursuits, gardening is all about taking risks. Tending a garden is one of the most thrilling things one can do in life and is not for the faint hearted. Forget those images of grand ladies tiptoeing along their herbaceous borders with a trug over […]

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How to Persuade Agapanthus to Flower

  It’s a good year for agapanthus here at The Watch House. A rough count of the flower heads produced by Agapanthus africanus tops 60, which is not the most I’ve ever enjoyed, but is the best in recent years. An increased amount of shade in the garden has not helped – more on which […]

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