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”

Late summer flowering perennials

Pep up borders with flowers until the first frosts

Echinacea Rudbeckia
Colour blast – Rudbeckia Goldsturm and Echinacea SunSeekers Pink for late summer colour

Have your borders run out of steam? It’s only August 1 and there are at least two months of display left – don’t let your garden fade into the background too soon.

The long border in my garden suffers every year. It’s at its peak from early May to the end of June, with Chaenomeles japonica Jet Trail, Rheum palmatum (ornamental rhubarb), foxgloves, sweet rocket, Welsh poppies, early lilies in pots, late tulips, the huge Weigela variegata all in bloom and the freshness of new foliage. Continue reading “Late summer flowering perennials”

Big Butterfly Count 2017

Count finishes on August 6 – hurry!

Sir David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough and the Big Butterfly Count 2017 identification chart. Picture; Butterfly Conservation

There seems to have been a marked drop in the number and types of butterflies this year and according to other gardeners around the country on Twitter, my garden is not alone.

It’s a worrying trend and it’s vital that we keep account of numbers every year – that’s why taking part in the Big Butterfly Count is so important. Continue reading “Big Butterfly Count 2017”

Should you keep cats indoors to save wildlife?

Does it have to be cat lovers v wildlife lovers?

George greenhouse
George – more interested in snoozing in the greenhouse – or is it all a front?

Do you, or would you, keep your cat indoors permanently to save garden animals? According to animal charity South Essex Wildlife Hospital, we should be doing so – I have a feeling many owners like me don’t want to think about the ‘true’ nature of our pets.

Judging by this Facebook post, they have a point (sic): “Todays hoard of sacrifices to the cat gods. 37 birds didn’t survive, another 22 along with a baby rabbit, a frog 2 slow worms, and a lizard are still fighting for their lives. Continue reading “Should you keep cats indoors to save wildlife?”

Potted plants to the rescue!

Let container plants give your garden colour and style

Lily geranium echium
Bouquet lily, zonal and scented geraniums and an Echium liven up a corner

The greatest gardening sin is a bare patch of soil in my opinion – it will only get colonised by weeds unless you do something about it.

Obviously, it can’t be helped when beds are newly planted or you’re in the middle of a revamp – that’s where a collection of container plants comes in handy.

Potted plants can slip into gaps in the border, bulking it out and giving much-needed colour. If you’re using plants at the front, black pots blend in more easily. Continue reading “Potted plants to the rescue!”

Hampton Court: new roses & top bloom tips

Four new roses unveiled at RHS Hampton Court

Lovestruck Rose of the Year 2018
Lovestruck Rose of the Year 2018. Picture; RHS Media Image Collection

Everyone loves the first flush of roses, even in these days of perpetual flowering plants that don’t have to rest before giving another display – and there is always excitement when new varieties are released at Hampton Court and Chelsea.

It’s simple to get the best out of your roses and a little work done earlier in the year means you can be reaping the benefits now – but first, here are seven new roses to pique your interest, including Rose of the Year 2018. Continue reading “Hampton Court: new roses & top bloom tips”