Category Archives: Environment

Wildlife loves a home-made water feature and so will you

  • Nigel says creating a bog area nearby his pond can encourage frogs to breed
  • He says when building a pond it’s important to use a spirit level 
  • He also advises selecting wild marsh plants carefully to create a natural look

Winter is almost here and routine chores are running down. So now is an excellent time to start on new projects. Perhaps you’d like to replace an old fence, construct a coldframe or try something more ambitious? My task is to make a new pond. read more

In 1957 a revolution was about to begin, says Monty Don 

  • Monty Don believes gardens today are better than they were 60 years ago
  • He says in 1957 most gardens looked remarkably similar with bordered lawns 
  • 1.5 million visitors looked for inspiration at the 1957 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibit

My first memory is of standing on my mother’s knees as she knelt to dry me after my bath. I would have been two – which could just squeeze the event into 1957 – or maybe three.  read more

Poppies to remember

  • Nigel Colborn says poppies germinate when given moisture and sunlight
  • He gave an insight into the different varieties of poppies and how to grow them
  • He says seeds are the best way to start a colony of Welsh poppies 

For a century we’ve linked wild poppies with remembrance. But the buttonhole tokens we wear today are no substitute for the real flowers.

Their silky scarlet petals need morning sun to unfurl and they fall after only a day. But new buds open by the score every morning for weeks on end. read more

Berries and hips light up the winter garden

  • Constance Craig Smith advises planting shrubs to add colour in to your garden
  • She says they can also be a good source for providing food to wildlife
  • Roses can also be planted for their autumn hips as much as their summer flowers

As the last of the late summer flowers disappear, it’s easy to feel gloomy about your garden – at this time of year it seems like a long haul until the hellebores, snowdrops and crocuses start to appear.  read more

Get your autumn planting right and you’ll be rewarded 

  • Nigel Colborn advises a ground cover planting system for busy gardeners
  • He says the system requires minimal maintenance and can look magnificent
  • Nigel believes the best plants for ground cover are fully or partially ever green 

Admiring a fine garden is easy. Gorgeous flowers, emerald lawns and bountiful crops are all lovely. But it takes hard labour to achieve and sustain such excellence.

If time is plentiful and you love horticulture, that’s fine. But if you’re hectic with other things and want an effortless garden, go for ground cover. It’s a simple planting system, which demands little but delivers much. read more

Britain’s unsung corner of glorious gardens

  • Barbara Segall dedicates her new book to the gardens of East Anglia  
  • Profiles the region’s most beautiful private gardens many open to the public
  • Secret Gardens Of East Anglia by Barbara Segall and Marcus Harper is published by Frances Lincoln, priced £20 

The British are famously a nation of gardeners, and parts of the country have more than their fair share of great gardens – places like Kent, Sussex, Yorkshire, Herefordshire and the west coast of Scotland. read more

Monty shares how to maximize space when growing pumpkins

  • Monty Don shares how he nurtures the pumpkins and squash in his garden
  • For spacing, he grows them vertically, supported by a tripod of stout posts
  • Monty also gives advice to the specific queries of reader’s gardens

Cucurbits have done well in my garden this year. The family includes cucumbers, courgettes, marrows, gourds, melons, pumpkins and squash. 

While it takes a lot to have a bad year with courgettes, it is a joy to have some squash back in the garden after three dreadfully lean years and now, with Halloween in a few days’ time, is the time to celebrate them. read more

If you don’t have room for an orchard, try a ‘supercolumn’

  • This week Nigel discusses different planting techniques for smaller gardens
  • Even the smallest of gardens have the opportunity to grow fruit trees 
  • The supercolumn  system works with cherries, plums and apples

When I was little we lived in a bungalow. The garden wasn’t considered large, but my parents grew flowers and veg and kept poultry. We also had an orchard with trees big enough to climb. read more

How to create the perfect colour combination by Monty Don

  • Monty advises colours in gardens to be as carefully selected as wardrobes
  • He says too much colour quickly muddies, it’s best to keep it simple
  • Monty also shared how different colours were used for definition in his garden

So often you hear people refer to a ‘riot of colour’ as though that was intrinsically a good thing but in truth, a riot quickly becomes wearying if not downright dangerous. read more

The show must go on: Chrysanthemums

  • Nigel says Garden chrysanthemums thrive on neglect and can last for months
  • He says the latest openers can still look lovely through rain, sleet or snow
  • He advises to plant Garden chrysanthemums in medium soil that drains freely

Travelling in Romania last month I was surprised to see so many chrysanthemums. These were not the tall funereal type, but cheeky little Cushion Mums.

In parks, front gardens and street planters they grew as packed domes of yellow, pink, bronze or white. Dwarf chrysanthemums like these are fine for speedy colour. Garden centres still carry them, but few will last into winter. However, tougher garden varieties are in bloom — or limbering up to make a glorious show from now to December. read more