New Dobies seed catalogue

More than 70 new varieties

Pumpkin Rouge Vif d’Etampes

Dobies launches its 2017 seed catalogue on September 15 with a new look and more than 70 new varieties.

Here’s the pick of the crop…

Pumpkin Rouge Vif d’Etampes: A reddish-orange flat pumpkin which yields two to four 9kg fruits per plant. As well as making a tasty addition to winter meals, they’re great for Halloween carving. Moderate resistance to powdery mildew.
15 seeds, £2.99. Continue reading “New Dobies seed catalogue”

RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show 2016

Iconic late season show

Wisley fuchsia
Lily Evans, four, carries home a fuchsia from last year’s show. Picture courtesy of RHS/Luke MacGregor

RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show (6-11 September) will be opened this year by Dame Penelope Keith.

There’s a record 55 nurseries and 21 trade stands this year, the National Dahlia Society Show, floral displays by the Surrey area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS), expert advice and more.

Browse and buy from RHS medal winners (including Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries from County Durham), along with other specialist nurseries and garden trade stands. Continue reading “RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show 2016”

Top 5 thornless roses

More blooms, less thorns

Rose Kew Gardens
Rose Kew Gardens

One of the things that puts people off growing roses is their thorns – but here’s five beauties bred by David Austin that are thornless, so no problem planting them near to paths, etc.

Kew Gardens: an award-winning English shrub rose, which flowers almost continuously, with small, single white flowers with golden stamens, held in large heads. It’s bushy, healthy and completely thornless. It will cope with poor soil and is ideal for hedging. Continue reading “Top 5 thornless roses”

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2016

Monster veg and show gardens

world record onion grown by Tony Glover
The world record onion grown by Tony Glover, at 18lb 11.5oz, at Harrogate Autumn Show 2014. Picture; Sue Welford

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show (September 16-18) is my favourite of the year – who could not love monster vegetables?

Prize dahlias at the 2015 show

Some of the main attractions are the show gardens, which are actually doable on ordinary plots and often fun, like Harrogate-based charity Horticap’s Friend or Foe? exhibit.

The plot features giant, hand-made sculptures exploring the naughty and the nice things you can find in the garden.

Snails, aphids and moles will be among the creatures to be found lurking among the plants, along with a living bee hive. Continue reading “Harrogate Autumn Flower Show 2016”

Beat mosquitoes with citronella candles

STV will keep you bite free this bank holiday

The Buzz Citronella LED Colour-Change Candle
The Buzz Citronella LED Colour-Change Candle

It’s the run-up to the bank holiday weekend and with a bit of luck, we’ll have some decent weather. Unfortunately, if you’re enjoying a glass of wine with friends after dusk, there the threat of midgies, mosquitoes, etc to deal with.

Don’t let them spoil your late summer evenings – citronella candles and tea lights are an ideal way to keep insect pests at bay and keep you bite-free.

STV has a pretty and practical range of citronella-based candles and holders which do their job and enhance your outdoor tables. Continue reading “Beat mosquitoes with citronella candles”

Win a copy of Fermented Foods at Every Meal

… and discount/free P&P if you don’t win

Fermented Foods at Every MealWant to eat healthier food but not sure how? Adding fermented foods to your diet can be daunting but Hayley Barisa Ryczek’s new book, Fermented Foods At Every Meal can help – and you can win a copy in this week’s competition.

In the book, published by Fair Winds, Hayley uses the top 10 live-culture foods to make quick and easy recipes.

Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha nourish our bodies with probiotics. Although we should be incorporating fermented foods into our diet, many people are not sure how to eat them on a daily basis. Continue reading “Win a copy of Fermented Foods at Every Meal”

Online gardening course with Piet Oudolf

Influential designer joins MyGardenSchool

Piet Oudolf
Influential garden and landscape designer Piet Oudolf

Piet Oudolf, one of the most influential garden designers of the past 25 years, has launched an online course with co-author and acclaimed horticulturist Dr Noel Kingsbury.

The pair have teamed up to teach students worldwide through the first online horticulture and design school – MyGardenSchool.

If you’re not familiar with Piet’s name, you’ll recognise his influence – a leading figure of the ‘New Perennial’ or ‘New Wave Planting’ movement, using bold blends of perennials and grasses. Continue reading “Online gardening course with Piet Oudolf”

Gardening quick fixes: hiding disaster areas

Mandy, stop being so bloody melodramatic

Always a drama queen…

Once we get into the second half of August, I always develop a wistful air that summer’s on the way out. There’s something bittersweet about watching the landscape change.

With our house perched halfway up the hill in Gateshead looking west, I can see over the Team Valley to the fields and woods of the Ravensworth Estate beyond, watching the fields get progressively yellower as harvest approaches.

Every year, after these thoughts, I give myself an almighty rhetorical slap. It’s as if the gardening journey’s more important to me than sitting looking at the end result. Continue reading “Gardening quick fixes: hiding disaster areas”

Chelsea pensioners name sweet pea

Scarlet Tunic to raise cash for the Royal Hospital Chelsea

Chelsea pensioners
Chelsea pensioners at Mr Fothergill’s trial ground

Chelsea Pensioners have named a blend of sweet peas Scarlet Tunic at Mr Fothergill’s trial ground in Kentford, Suffolk.

The flowers, in shades of red, will raise funds for the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The name was chosen after a ballot of residents and a public online vote.

Mr Fothergill’s will donate 25p to the Royal Hospital Chelsea for every £2.19 packet of 20 seeds sold, which will be on sale at garden centres and other retailers this autumn. Continue reading “Chelsea pensioners name sweet pea”

Choosing the right apple

A tree for all with Lubera’s unusual varieties

Greenlight apple
Greenlight apple

Watching your neighbour’s apples ripen and feeling a bit envious? Don’t be – plan for the future and start your own mini orchard with Lubera’s wide range of unusual trees.

Varieties are bred and grown by the Swiss fruit experts and only go on the market after extensive testing.

Take a look at the apple ‘families’ below and take your pick of the crop.

Redlove family (red fleshed and skinned): Grown for flavour, great for Christmas (Odysso and Calypso), full of antioxidants, dark pink flowers, dwarf root stock.
Varieties: Era, Circe, Calypso, Odysso. Continue reading “Choosing the right apple”