Trivia (or are they?)

  • Ivy League

    The warmth of September has kept the soil temperatures at a perfect pitch for planting potted perennials and shrubs. Autumn is quite the time to settle in fickle plants that like to bed their roots in before they have to do anything exceptional or enervating like flowering. However there is...
  • Planting trees beyond your lifetime...

    How to make money when you are Dead Mature trees can be worth money. Lots of money. A 50-60 year old walnut or oak tree is worth a good sum of pounds now and will be worth even more in the future. If you have the space to plant a...
  • Is it a Bulb? Is it a Corm? (...and what is the difference?)

    Why do gardeners love flowering bulbs so much? If you think of some of our favourite flowers through the seasons—snowdrops in winter, daffodils in spring, lilies in summer, the Christmas amaryllis and the now so trendy alliums — then bulbs are an integral part of our gardening culture. But what...
  • Stewart's Bee Blog - September 2014

    There’s an autumnal feel today, isn’t there? The prophets of doom will be the first to say it, and indeed, they have already started. What an excellent summer we have had though. It wasn’t as hot as last year and it certainly wasn’t as wet as 2012. It was a...
  • Feed the birds, love your bugs.

    Gatekeeper Butterfly At the height of the recession, a few of years ago, I read that we in the UK spend around £200 million a year feeding our garden birds to supplement the food they find in our hedging, woods and fields. A jaw-dropping figure that speaks volumes to our...
  • Our Top Tips For The Season

      Prune your apples and pears It’s time to prune apples and pears to ensure a good crop of fruit for the following year. The aim is to create a goblet type shape. Here's a video on how to prune your tree: Remove diseased and broken branches from trees and...
  • Urban gardening: Cities with a soft fruit centre

     

    Country hedges have been full of fruit this year,
    but where are the berries in our cities?

    London-based urban gardener, Dan Combes, wonders why there aren't more berries in city centres...

    Towns and cities of Britain, why aren't we cultivating more soft fruits?

    Over the last the two weeks I have planted thousands of bulbs. But why (London, I'm talking to you especially) am I not planting soft fruits? It is the perfect time to put in berries and currants.

    As I write our native flora is abound with fruit. I have never seen our hedgerows so stocked. Clusters of red fruits weigh down hawthorn branches. Rose hips wreath their way through the arms of blackthorn, with their sloes ready to bring the best out of gin.

    And although the elderberries are long gone they deserve a mention. Often slightly sour, this year they were sweet enough to be eaten by the handful.
    Continue reading

  • Trees for a native autumn harvest

     

    Autumn larder

    A native autumn harvest – an extra special
    treat when it's from your own trees

    As the leaves start to colour and fall from the trees and the cooling air is heavy with the smell of wood smoke there is nothing more gratifying than getting wrapped up and going out to gather the season's harvests.

    Autumn is a most plentiful time of year. Along the hedgerows and verges plump ripe fruits hang from wayward trees and nuts crunch underfoot.

    And it's possible to create that natural bounty in your own garden, giving you the benefit of having wonderful ingredients for all manner of culinary delights right on your doorstep – and it's fantastic for wildlife too!

    With a little preparation this stockpile of preserved fruits and nuts will provide throughout the winter when little else is growing in the garden.
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  • Have a horticultural Halloween!

     

    Halloween plants

    When it comes to plants at Halloween, it's about
    much more than pumpkins...

    The origins of Halloween are thought to be rooted in the Celtic celebration of Samhain, a festival to mark the season of bringing in the harvests in preparation for winter.

    It was thought that on this day, the 31 October, the boundaries between the worlds became blurred.

    The dead returned to haunt the living, causing terrible catastrophe and illness.

    Many myths and legends surround this day, with many rituals being performed in order to protect people from wandering evil spirits, as well as to predict fortunes and destinies.
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  • Urban gardening: Introducing the 'False Widow'

     

    The 'False Widow' spider is spreading through
    Southern England – this is a female Steatoda nobilis
    (Image: Wikimedia Creative Commons)

    London-based urban gardener, Dan Combes, tells us of his close encounter of the eight-legged kind...

    Introducing the False Widow! Britain's deadly spider... or is it?

    Recently both London and National media has been littered with articles documenting the rapid rise of the False Widow, labelling it "Britain's most deadly spider."

    The Daily Star reports '...a plague of 10 million False Widow spiders.' Both The Independent and The Guardian discuss the potentially lethal bite of this small yet dangerous looking arachnid.

    As a London gardener the only bite or sting I am likely to endure is that of a nettle or a wasp. Has this all changed?
    Continue reading

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