Category Archives: Sunday Best

This Weeks Top Ten ………



Top Ten Gardening Tips for the week ahead……………..

  1. Time to buy your summer bedding plants.
  2. Apply a mulch to bare areas of earth to hold in moisture and suppress weeds.
  3. Apply a liquid feed to bulb foliage to give them a boost for next year.
  4. Sow radish and spring onions.
  5. If you have a glasshouse time to put on some shading.
  6. Feed houseplants weekly till the autumn.
  7. Pick off the dead flowers on rhododendrons and camellias.
  8. Cut the lawn at least weekly.
  9. Weeds are growing as fast as the grass. Keep under control.
  10. Chelsea done so plan your next garden show trip.


Have a great week and see you next week.




Blooming Frames!

Last Saturday I had some free time (which is unusual!) and I thought, “I know, a visit to a garden!” However the power of Facebook and a message form Steve Roach (or “Roachy” as he apparently known to certain friends!)

He was advocating a trip to the Brentwood Garden show and to a stand called “Blooming Frames”! Well it takes a lot for me to be impressed by anything horticultural, unless it is very unusual! So my afternoon was sealed to a trip to the Garden show! As I walked in the first tent there they were “Blooming Frames in” all their glory and was I impressed, hell yes!

Basically the idea is that you have plants growing in a frame that you hang up like a picture frame! No bending down to weed and a perfect display at eye level that can be changed as quickly as any pot plant.

Bedding plants, succulents, moss, the skies the limit in what you can grow in these frames!

If you want to know more you can find Blooming Frames on Facebook at /Blooming Frames or on Twitter@BloomingFrames

I interviewed them on my show last Sunday. A link on how you can hear this again will be here shortly.






Planting Lilies in Pots

Planting Lilies in Pots

This is the time of the year to plant Lilies in containers. Almost all Lilies grow well in containers, and a really good way to display them if you don’t have a garden. Choose your bulbs for the space you have available. If you have a lot of space you could choose the giant varieties or tight for space choose the dwarfer types!

Preparing the container:

Containers can be anything from plastic to earthenware pots. Planting Lilies in plastic pots means you can add them to a spare place in a border. Earthenware pots clearly are more permanent.

Clay pots need drainage so add an inch of crocks (broken pots) or shingle to the bottom of the pot. Plastic pots usually have enough drainage holes.


Planting density & depth:

Plant three to four smaller bulbs 2-3in diameter into 9-10in diameter containers. Allow 2in between bulbs and use only deep containers. Half fill the pot with a good compost. John Innes No3 being the best (in my opinion!) Lilies are hungry so always add a slow release fertilizer to the compost.

Planting Lillies

Finally fill up the container but leave an inch from the rim of the container to allow for enough water. Don’t forget to add a label.

Add label


Make sure the compost is moist at all times, but not wet. Feed with a high potassium liquid fertiliser such as tomato feed every fortnight during summer.

Lilies can be grown on in the same pot for years providing that they are well fed and watered.

In the south of England Lilies can be left outside in their pots.

After a few years though they will need re-potting. This can be done just after flowering in the autumn or in the spring but be careful to avoid knocking off the new shoots.


Lily Beetle is a major problem. Squash the beetles as soon as they are seen!

Lily Beetle close up

50 Sheds of Grey!



Well it is the week after Valentines Day and there has been a lot about “that” Film!!

The novel Fifty Shades Of Grey has seduced women – and baffled blokes. I’m sure the film will be exactly the same! Now a spoof, Fifty Sheds Of Grey, offers a treat for the men. The book has author Colin Grey recounting his love encounters at the bottom of the garden. Here are some extracts, but if you are sensitive person don’t read on…


We tried various positions – round the back, on the side, up against a wall… but in the end we came to the conclusion the bottom of the garden was the only place for a good shed.


We stood alone on the idyllic white beach. She shed her clothes. I shed my inhibitions. At that moment I knew it would always be about sheds.


She stood before me, trembling and naked in my shed. “I’m yours for the night,” she gasped, “You can do whatever you want with me.” So I took her to Nando’s.


She knelt before me on the shed floor and tugged gently at first, then harder until finally it came. I moaned with pleasure. Now for the other boot.


Ever since she read THAT book, I’ve had to buy all kinds of ropes, chains and shackles. She still manages to get into the shed, though.


“Put on this rubber suit and mask,” I instructed, calmly. “Mmmm, kinky!” she purred. “Yes,” I said, “You can’t be too careful with all that asbestos in the shed roof.”


“Harder!” she cried, gripping the potting bench tightly. “Harder!” “Okay,” I said. “What’s the gross national product of Nicaragua?”


I lay back exhausted, gazing happily out of the shed window. Despite my concerns about my inexperience, my rhubarb had come up a treat.


If you want more you can buy the trilogy of 50 Sheds of Grey at your local bookshop or follow them on twitter: @50ShedsofGrey or on Facebook /50ShedsofGrey.


More “real”  gardening next week!




What do you get if you cross a Brussels Sprout & Kale?

Answer = A Kalette


Kalettes, the product of a marriage between Brussels sprouts and kale, are an exciting new vegetable — the first to be introduced in about two decades.

Most people don’t eat enough vegetables. Kalettes are a new way for consumers to help make veggies exciting, new or different for themselves and their families. The variety helps us all eat more healthfully.


Kalettes are extremely easy to prepare and versatile. They cook faster than Brussels sprouts with less prep work than kale. Find recipes for Kalettes at


• Roast Kalettes in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet, coated with olive oil in the oven at 475 F for 10 minutes.

• Sauté them in a large pan for 5-7 minutes, covering for increased tenderness.

• Grill whole Kalettes in a grill basket and place on medium heat for 10 minutes or until slightly charred.

• Leave them raw and maintain their nutty flavor by slicing Kalettes from stem to tip or slicing off the bottom for small salad leaves.


Kalettes get their great taste by combining the best flavours from the Brussels sprouts and kale, resulting in a fresh fusion of sweet and nutty.

Kalettes are a Brussels sprout-like plant with a tall stem and rosettes forming all the way up to a frilly-leaved top. Their leaves are purple and green.

Tozer Seeds, the largest family-owned vegetable seed breeding company in England, hybridized the Kalette by cross pollinating Brussels Sprouts with kale using traditional methods.

The Brussels sprout and kale are both members of the cabbage family (Brassica oleracea), which are rich in essential nutrients like Vitamin C and Vitamin K.



Eranthus hyemalis

Eranthus hyemalis

Its common name is “Winter Aconite” almost the first yellow flower out in the winter. The flowers are sensitive to warmth, so at temperatures over 50 F they will fully open, however still look good in the closed stage! Flowering in February/March and only 13cm tall they make a good winter ground cover.

Plant in open sunny positions or under deciduous tres or shrubs in a fertile soil.

Eranthus are one a few bulbs that do not like to be dried out for replanting. Instead when finished flowering dig up the bulbs and replant imediately. This is known as “planting in the green”

Apparently these do well as cut flowers floating in water.

Eranthus hyemalis


Spring has Sprung!



Bring Snowdrops in from outside


Hardy bulbs bursting through the cold soil in January is a sure sign that spring is on its way. Snowdrops or “Galanthus” its Latin name are amazing. Just as you think that nothing has survived the winter snowdrops appear! The common snowdrop Galanthus nivalis can do no wrong but if you want something more unusual why don’t you go for a double flowered snowdrop. You could also visit the RHS and see the best 10 snowdrops!

The best time to buy snowdrops s just when the flowers have faded and they still have leave. This is called buying snowdrops “In the Green” Plant them straight away in a shady part of the garden and wait till next spring!

And if you want to visit a garden famous for Snowdrops why don’t you visit Nymans in Sussex or Walsingham Abbey in Norfolk.

If you are interedted in buying snowdrops why not visit the “Ultimate Snowdrop Sale” at Myddleton House Garden on 24th January where nurseries will be selling both coommon and rare varieties of snowdrops.



Frosty Weather

Frosty Weather
Over the holiday period us gardeners if we had any sense stayed inside but whilst we were inside the garden was still growing.  Even the frost is good for the garden! It kills off the bugs but unfortunately only the foreign ones!
Our British pests can usually survive even fairly cold winters.
I have heard a rumour that you can freeze slugs and when you thaw them they can still be alive! I can’t prove it and she that must be obeyed has banned me from putting slugs in the freezer to find out!

Frost has some other benifits, it can break up soil and especially if you dig  clay  soils and leave the clods for the frost to do its work! It works by freezing the water in the soil and expanding and breaking the soil up.
This very  action can cause a problem called “frost heave ” where newly planted plants get lifted by the frost. When the frost is gone all you need to do is firm the place back in its place with the heel of your boot.
Anyway, stay warm.

What To Do in the Garden on a Frosty Day

Birch Trees in WinterWhat To Do in the Garden on a Frosty Day


You can do lots of things in the garden on a frosty day, but there are lots of things you must not do! Dress for the occasion to keep warm.


  • Don’t walk on frosted grass
  • Don’t dig the soil if frosted
  • Don’t be tempted to top dress if ground is frozen
  • Don’t be tempted to plant anything in frosty weather

What you can do:-

  • Sharpen tools including hoes and spades
  • Wipe tools with an oily rag
  • Treat fences with a preservative
  • Prune overgrown deciduous shrubs to keep them in shape
  • Make sure your pots and seed trays are ready for the spring by washing
  • Get the latest seed catalogues and browse
  • Move tender container plants close to a house wall
  • Don’t forget the birds, top up feeders and provide water

And finally if you want to visit a winter garden why not go to Anglsey Abbey a National Trust garden in Cambridgshire. The photo above is from that garden.

Happy Gardening