Beech Seedling

Seed Gathering Season 2017

The Tree Council’s bid to grow trees of the future, Sept 23-Oct 23

This autumn, The Tree Council is aiming to inspire everyone, particularly schoolchildren and families, to gather seeds, fruits, and nuts and grow the trees of the future in Seed Gathering Season.

Old apple tree
Grown from a pip when I was eight in my back yard and transported to my garden

The festival started on the autumn equinox, September 23 and continues until October 23, giving everyone plenty of time to hold events and get involved.

During the next month, most trees will produce seeds and fruit that can be gathered, potted up, sown and, with care, grown into a tree.

There are coordinated events and informal activities, or just go out for a walk and reflect on the importance of trees in your own neighbourhood.

It’s not hard to grow a tree from seed – I managed it at the age of eight and still have the mature apple tree, 42 years later!

Pauline Buchanan-Black, director-general of The Tree Council said: “Anyone who values the trees in their street, park or fields can play their own part in passing it forward by collecting healthy seeds with a view to growing a young tree.

“In the right place, that seed will become not only a visual asset but also, a living, breathing part of the ecosystem that is the bedrock of life as we understand it.

“For too long, the value of trees in both economic and environmental terms has been understated and Seed Gathering Season is the time to turn that around. Everyone with a place to plant can grow a seedling of their own and watch it develop into a tree for the next generation.”

For expert advice, there are planned events, run by The Tree Council’s member organisations, its volunteer tree wardens, and other supporters. Further information and a free poster to download can be found on

For events near you, visit

September 2017 bumper berry harvest

Autumn-fruiting berries are plentiful says RHS

Blackberry Loch Maree
Blackberry Loch Maree – very early and lots of them

I’m sure you’ve noticed this if you have autumn-fruiting berries in your garden and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has predicted to a bumper harvest this month.

Raspberries, blackberries, and dotberries are performing very well in my garden, due to a warm and dry start to the year followed by a wet July and August.

Other berry-yielding plants for wildlife doing well are spindle bushes (Euonymus) and firethorn (Pyracantha).
Continue reading “September 2017 bumper berry harvest”

Native plants and ‘lazy’ gardening best for wildlife

RHS study backs the sloppy gardener!

Mandy's garden August 2017
Stuff your garden full of plants and let them grow – my garden, August 2017

I’m always banging on about not being so controlling in the garden and it seems the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is agreeing with me (for once). Continue reading “Native plants and ‘lazy’ gardening best for wildlife”

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”