Garden centres’ pledge on neonicotinoids

Nine out of top 10 retailers working to prevent use – but not Homebase

Honey bees
Pressure is being put on Homebase to end the use of neonicotinoids

Environmental campaigners have welcomed pledges by leading garden centres to stop the flowering plants they sell being grown with pesticides linked to declines in bees.

Friends of the Earth (FotE) said its survey of 10 top garden retailers found nine did not want the plants they sold to be grown using three neonicotinoid pesticides restricted in the EU, and were working with suppliers to prevent their use. Continue reading “Garden centres’ pledge on neonicotinoids”

Cool Gardens: Helmsley Walled Garden

North Yorkshire garden saved from the brink

In my series, Cool Gardens, I aim to highlight inspiring and unusual growing places, both near and far. This time, I’m a bit closer to home in North Yorkshire.

If you’re looking for somewhere to spark your gardening enthusiasm or a place to reflect in glorious surroundings, Helmsley Walled Garden is for you. Continue reading “Cool Gardens: Helmsley Walled Garden”

New veg seeds from Johnsons

Trio of healthy, colourful and disease-resistant crops

Kale Sympatic
Kale Sympatic. Picture; Johnsons

It’s new seed time again and Johnsons is introducing three exclusive varieties for the 2017/18 season.

Kale Sympatic (£1.79 for 250 seeds) offers a 10-month harvest when grown as a mature plant and a baby leaf variety. The baby leaves can be picked from June to December, while mature plants can be harvested from September to March.

Sow from March to September for a near constant supply – by sowing next month, you’ll have baby leaves until December.

It is extremely hardy (down to -18C) and vigorous roots provide resistance to wind rock. The attractive tightly curled leaves are Continue reading “New veg seeds from Johnsons”

WI centenary celebrations at Beamish

It’s not all jam and Jerusalem in Co. Durham, August 19-20

Beamish Museum
Proudly displaying the Beamish WI banner. Picture; Beamish Museum

Women’s Institute members from County Durham will celebrate 100 years of the regional organisation at Beamish Museum this weekend.

Durham County Federation of Women’s Institutes, with hundreds of members, will be carrying banners and wearing sashes in a grand parade at 2.30pm each day from The Town to The Pit Village, accompanied by vintage vehicles and the Off Key Big Band.

The women will then take part in singing the WI anthem, Jerusalem, in The Colliery Yard.

The museum has its own WI branch and you can watch a 1917 WI meeting, hear Suffragette songs and stories, make flags to wave in the parade, have a go at flower arranging, learn about the WI through the Continue reading “WI centenary celebrations at Beamish”

Growing giant vegetables

Champion gardener’s secrets revealed at Harrogate Autumn Flower Show

Kevin Fortey marrow
Giant veg grower Kevin Fortey, who will be at this year’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show. Picture; NOEHS/Harrogate Flower Show

The world of giant veg growing is one of closely guarded secrets and rituals… until now.

British record holder and author Kevin Fortey will reveal the tricks of the trade at Harrogate Autumn Flower Show (September 15-17), with talks to mark the launch of three new classes for novice growers.

Aimed at gardeners who have never won a prize for super-sized specimens, the beginner classes will invite entries for marrows, tomatoes, and runner beans. Continue reading “Growing giant vegetables”

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2017

Countdown to the giant veg show – September 15-17

Far from winding down in early autumn, Harrogate Autumn Flower Show is a great place for inspiration and buying end-of-season bargains – and my favourite show.

Plant nursery displays, live expert demonstrations and Continue reading “Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2017”

Best multi-branching sunflowers

Size isn’t everything – go for multiple flowerers

Solar Flash
Sunflower Solar Flash is seen through pale lavender

In late summer, you reap the rewards of growing sunflowers, with the traditional huge yellow heads nodding over the garden.

However, it’s not all about size – popular big ‘uns like Russian Giant (3m), Mongolian Giant (3.6- Continue reading “Best multi-branching sunflowers”