Quick Gardeners Tips


Lettuce seed only germinates below 20 ° C ( 68° F) so avoid a position that is in full sun. Drying out can cause lettuce to bolt.

Sow some Oriental vegetables to use as cut and come again. They will be ready to harvest in a few weeks and good in salads or stir frys.

If growing salad crops in a container box or grow bag make sure it is deep enough to keep the compost moist at all times. If needs be, shade or insulate the container so it doesn’t dry out too quickly

Beetroot leaves look good and can be eaten as well as the roots.  Try a few in a deep pot if you are short of space.

Onions shredded onto a salad are one of my favourites. You can pull young sets as spring onions so plant them close and eat as you start thinning out.

General Tips

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Seasonal Fuchsia Tips Pink Fantasia


At the Early Spring Show

Your Fuchsias should be coming along quite nicely now.They won’t be in the condition this exhibition variety ‘Pink Fantasia’ was last month for the Spring show but soon you can be winning prizes.

Seasonal Tips for Growing Fuchsias

  • The upright bush Fuchsias still need pinching out to encourage the development of extra branches.
  • Bigger pots may be necessary for those that have roots showing out of the bottom of the pot.
  • In the North of England I find it is still too early to be hardening off the Fuchsias but during the day they get plenty of fresh air and some liquid feed at the end of the day in the drying breeze. I will increase this by moving them outside during the day so they can get used to buffeting by our climate.
  • Hardy Fuchsias have been a little slow this year but they are now beginning to show some leaf.
  • Fuchsias should be kept moist not sodden to avoid flower drop – a good mulch will help.
  • It is not too late to buy Fuchsias from your garden center. The larger the plant the more they will charge and there is still time for you to grow the plants and get a great flowering display in September without paying for big plants right now.

Chrysanthemums to be Enjoyed


The National Chrysanthemum Society displayed this Yellow Orinoco Early Spray Chrysanthemum at the Harrogate flower show last month. It only begins to hints at the great variety of Chrysanthemums that can be grown with it’s vibrant colour combination of Yellow on Red.

Personal Top Tips

  • As a beginner grow only a limited number of types and varieties. The Cushion varieties or pot mums grow well in pots and borders and can be bought in rooted plants of 6 in May for growing on.
  • Spray chrysanthemum give a good return for the effort.
  • Look after the plants by watering and feeding regularly. Chrysanthemums, like me, do not thrive on neglect.
  • Give taller growing plants lots of support. The stalks can be easily broken and you can loose a lot of flowers from damage.
  • Follow a diary of action so you know when you plan to ‘stop’ (pinch out) or ‘pot up’ your cuttings and plants.
  • Grow for picking and floral arrangements Chrysanthemums last well in a vase and demonstrate your gardening skills.

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Bummble Bee Seed Mix

  • antirrhinum

What seeds would you buy and plant to encourage Bumble Bees into your garden?

Here is a quick seed list as a reminder

  • Borage,  Red Clover, Phacelia,
  • Verbena Bonariensis,  Nigella, Agastache anisata,
  • Larkspur , Cornflower,  Rudbeckia Cherokee Sunset,
  • Antirrhinum Royal Bride,Thyme,
  • Corn Poppy,  Marigold and  Chamomile.

Thompson Morgan have a 3 for 2 offer on some seeds at the moment.


Upside Down Tulip Tree

I was sitting in the University Botanic Gardens when some people passed by this tree and said it was called an upside down tulip tree. Well, I don’t think they really knew because I can’t find any reference to an upside down tulip tree. I wish I had looked at label now. It can be so frustrating when you can’t remember the name of plants!

Anyway it looks nice whatever its name


Bedding Plants Online


Now, is the peak time for bedding plants. Even supermarkets and petrol stations will have a selection of bedding plants for your garden. If you want to buy a lot then you can get some discounts from buying direct such as Jersey Direct Bedding plants

Tips for Bedding Plants

Keep an Eye on Weather. In the south of England the risk of frost is all but gone by this time of the year. In the north keep an eye on the weather forecast and be ready with some fleece should a cold night be forecast. Remember a sudden drop in temperatures can affect plants even if it doesn’t goto zero

Protect from Slugs. Other than the ubiquitous slug pellets, you could try egg shells around plants, beer traps, even nemotodes watered into the garden.

Get Right Planting Space. There’s often a temptation to squash bedding plants up forgetting how much they can grow during the next few months. When planting out Fuchsias imagine you are planting full grown Fuchsias. It will mean a bit more weeding until they are fully grown, but, it will give better value in long run.

Be Bold. Don’t just plant the many different varieties in small numbers. A good swathe of one or two colours / plants looks good. Especially, when it is contrasted with one or two other plants. Take inspiration from local public gardens, but be willing to go beyond their formulaic designs. e.g. mix Tall flowing plants amidst a bed of low growing petunias. e.t.c

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Best Ground Cover Plants


When I moved into my new house in 2004, I dug up a lot of grass to increase the size of the borders. However, having done that I found I had less time for gardening than I expected. This meant it has felt hardwork keeping on top of the weeding. Therefore I have come to really appreciate the role of ground cover plants. The best thing about ground cover plants is that they reduce the time of weeding and prevent weeds from seeding. When you are ready to plant specific plants these ground cover plants are easy to cut down and replace. But, it is much better to have these ground cover plants than leaving blank soil. Blank soil is an invitation to nature to send some weeds along!

  1. Comfrey. The plant pictured here is comfrey. It really is an excellent plant and worth growing for its own sake. It has nice delicate flowers which attract bees. It also helps to make excellent compost, you can regularly cut down its leaves to add as accelerator layer to your compost and it will quickly grow back. As you can see from its dense coverage, it is also an excellent weed suppressor.
  2. Geraniums. Great at low growing ground cover. Just cut back after flowering
  3. Pulmonaria officinalis: Lungwort
  4. Mahonia aquifolium: (oregon Grape) shrub
  5. Hosta species as long as they don’t provide cover for slugs..
  6. Campanulas
  7. Strawberries
  8. Peltaria alliacea: Garlic cress
  9. Sedums
  10. Lamiums
  11. Winter heathers
  12. Ivy – though can become invasive

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Flowers in Salads

An interesting article at the Independent – Is Gardening the New Cooking?

Many top class restaurants are using a variety of flowers to spice up their menus. It has led the public to remember old fashioned methods of collecting flowers to add to salads or meals. A free and colourful way to add a little extra to your meals.

Whilst many flowers are edible, it is always important to remember a  child could become very ill if they were not educated about the dangers of plants such as foxgloves and laburnums.

Which Flowers can go in Salads?

  • borage,
  • pansies,
  • violas,
  • honeysuckle,
  • garlic chives,
  • nasturtiums,(all parts are edible)
  • beans and peas (including their black and white flowers)
  • Rose Petals
  • Herbs from Basil to Rocket

Garden Water Features

A pond makes a great addition to any garden creating new interest and providing a foil for the plants and flower.

Tulips next to fountain

A pond also helps create a greater sense of life and vibrancy attracting more insects, frogs and birds to the garden.

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