Garden Titbits
I blame the ancients for today's gardening mumbo jumbo
04.23.2014
As the old habit of placing 'crocks' in patio pots to protect plants is revealed to be harmful, Val Bourne reflects on a long tradition of gardening myth
I blame the ancients for today's gardening mumbo jumbo
04.23.2014
As the old habit of placing 'crocks' in patio pots to protect plants is revealed to be harmful, Val Bourne reflects on a long tradition of gardening myth
Placing 'crocks' in patio pots is a load of crock, say experts
04.23.2014
Experts claim that placing 'crocks' in patio pots to protect plants may be harmful
Gardening calendar: pick tulips and start slug control
04.23.2014
This week's top gardening tasks, from top-dressing your agapanthus to greenhouse watering
How to top-dress agapanthus
04.23.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows how to get the most from your agapanthus, one of the very best pot plants
How to arrange your own wedding flowers
04.22.2014
With her wedding costs mounting, bride-to-be Sarah Rainey turns to one of London's top florists for advice on a homemade approach
Thorny problems: how can I avoid butterflies in my greenhouse?
04.21.2014
Our green-fingered guru answers your garden questions. This week: making flower food and topsoil trouble
Alan Titchmarsh: 'The countryside is the beating heart of Britain - you neglect it at your peril'
04.20.2014
Alan Titchmarsh, chat-show host and romantic author, talks to Bryony Gordon about being labelled a 'muppet' by a minister, his sex appeal and what makes for the best garden
Tried and tested: the best tractor lawnmowers
04.19.2014
Jean Vernon puts seven tractor lawnmowers through their paces on the lawns of Montacute House in slightly soggy Somerset
Easter: top tasks in the veg garden this weekend
04.16.2014
With Easter upon us, garden specialist Liz Dobbs takes a look at the tasks we could do this weekend and advises on the seeds, plants and accessories that can help make this a special year
Gardening calendar: plant hanging baskets and feed lawn
04.16.2014
This week's top gardening tasks, from sowing zinnias to getting your grass in tip-top shape for summer
How to grow asparagus
04.16.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows the best way to plant asparagus
Gardening is not just for hardy perennials
04.12.2014
Telegraph View: Alan Titchmarsh deserves praise for pointing out that gardening is a joy for all ages
Garden, decorate and cook your way to the perfect Easter
04.12.2014
Time to pick the first produce, collect the first eggs and bring in posies of spring flowers
Vertical gardens: the height of good taste
04.10.2014
To make the most of a small space, send vegetables and flowers skywards together to guarantee a double harvest of flowers and flavours
Top 10 gardens to see wisteria in bloom
04.09.2014
Beautiful wisteria will soon be filling gardens with its sweet scent and colourful blooms. But where are the best places to see it?
Gardening calendar: plant out potatoes and deadhead daffodils
04.09.2014
Sarah Raven shares her top 10 garden tasks for early April, from planting vegetables to sowing flower seeds
How to grow dahlias
04.09.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows you three ways to plant dahlia tubers this spring
Thorny problems: how can I revive a forsythia hedge?
04.07.2014
Our gardening agony aunt answers your questions. This week: help for a hedge and attracting hedgehogs to the garden
Indoor gardening: quirky ways to bring nature inside
04.07.2014
Not got much outdoor space? Never fear, says Isabelle Palmer - become a house gardener instead with these seven eye-catching projects
Indoor gardening: six quirky ways to bring nature inside
04.07.2014
Not got much outdoor space? Never fear, says Isabelle Palmer - become a house gardener instead with these six eye-catching projects
Growing lilac: make way for heavenly scents
04.06.2014
Lilacs are often overlooked until their fragrant May flowers put on a show, but they are a worthy addition at any time of year
The best trees for spring blossom, nature's own confetti
04.05.2014
The first flowering of ornamental trees is the promise of months of blossom to come if you plant the right mix
Fritillaries: don't forget these lilies of the field
04.05.2014
Make a pilgrimage to one of Britain's few fritillary meadows this season, says Naomi Slade
April garden masterclass: how to grow Mediterranean plants
04.04.2014
Experts from the Royal Horticultural Society share tips for what to do, see and buy in the garden in April
How to arrange your own wedding flowers
04.22.2014
With her wedding costs mounting, bride-to-be Sarah Rainey turns to one of London's top florists for advice on a homemade approach
Vertical gardens: the height of good taste
04.10.2014
To make the most of a small space, send vegetables and flowers skywards together to guarantee a double harvest of flowers and flavours
Indoor gardening: quirky ways to bring nature inside
04.07.2014
Not got much outdoor space? Never fear, says Isabelle Palmer - become a house gardener instead with these seven eye-catching projects
Indoor gardening: six quirky ways to bring nature inside
04.07.2014
Not got much outdoor space? Never fear, says Isabella Palmer - become a house gardener instead with these six eye-catching projects
In pictures: Shed of the Year 2014
03.31.2014
Weird and wonderful nominations for the 2014 Shed of the Year Competition
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: introducing the Telegraph garden
03.15.2014
Stephen Lacey meets the design duo who promise to blend two distinct components into the Telegraph's garden at Chelsea
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: Alan Titchmarsh to design garden
03.12.2014
Veteran gardener and television presenter Alan Titchmarsh to design garden for this year's Chelsea Flower Show
The art of indoor gardens
03.09.2014
The recent garden-unfriendly weather has sparked a new interest in interior horticulture
Trentham: the garden makeover of the decade?
03.08.2014
Ten years ago, the gardens at Trentham were raised from the dead by an imaginative and daring masterplan
Urban gardening: how to go green in the city
03.05.2014
Even the smallest of urban nooks and crannies can become a productive green patch
A more eco-friendly way of life
02.27.2014
This week: 'greening urban areas' with inspiring rooftop allotments
How to design the perfect conservatory
02.20.2014
People who would like a glass house should ask themselves 10 questions about conservatories before they begin, says Ann-Marie Powell
Woman pays £1,602 to name snowdrop
02.19.2014
A woman has paid £1,602 at auction to name a snowdrop in tribute to her grandfather
How to create a Japanese garden in Britain
02.18.2014
Japanese gardens are calming, considered and almost impossible to replicate. Instead, draw inspiration from the vital principles of reflection and restraint
South West gardens in bloom despite floods
02.14.2014
Despite the major flooding, spring has come early to many of the National Trust's gardens in the South West
Want a Vivienne Westwood nestbox? Fashion designers support RSPB
02.14.2014
Famous fashion designers including Dame Vivienne Westwood have created unique nestboxes to raise money for the RSPB
International Garden Photographer of the Year: winning pictures 2014
02.12.2014
The stunning winning pictures of this year's International Garden Photographer of the Year competition
French potatoes: you say spud, I say pomme de terre
02.10.2014
A chance meeting with a French gardener expanded Mark Diacono's plans for his own potato patch
Gardens and fashion: a story of frocks, fads and flowers
02.10.2014
A new exhibition at the Garden Museum explores the links between fashion and gardens
How to test your garden's soil
02.08.2014
Soil is a key ingredient in successful gardening, so get to know it better
Natural cosmetics, fresh from a winter garden
01.28.2014
Sof McVeigh shares the recipes for all-natural cosmetics you can make using ingredients from your garden this winter
The prairie gardener's lament
01.27.2014
New perennials might be all the rage but they hate a mild winter
How to help our most threatened garden birds
01.25.2014
House sparrows, starlings and song thrushes are disappearing rapidly. Leave these foods in the garden to help them
Big Garden Birdwatch: spend an hour with the birds this weekend
01.25.2014
The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your winged visitors
SGD garden design awards 2014: the winners
01.25.2014
Known as the 'horticultural Oscars', the SGD awards celebrate the very best in garden design
How to top-dress agapanthus
04.23.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows how to get the most from your agapanthus, one of the very best pot plants
How to grow asparagus
04.16.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows the best way to plant asparagus
Gardening is not just for hardy perennials
04.12.2014
Telegraph View: Alan Titchmarsh deserves praise for pointing out that gardening is a joy for all ages
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: the Kindergarten
04.11.2014
Paul Gazerwitz, one of the designers behind this year's Telegraph garden, explains how the lime trees being used are grown
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: introducing the Telegraph garden
04.09.2014
Designers Tommaso del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz explain their plans for The Telegraph's Chelsea show garden
How to grow dahlias
04.09.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows you three ways to plant dahlia tubers this spring
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: visiting a German nursery
04.08.2014
Del Buono Gaserwitz, the firm designing the Telegraph's Chelsea garden, have gone to Germany to source the best plants
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: choosing trees in Germany
04.08.2014
Paul Gazerwitz, one half of the duo behind this year's Telegraph Chelsea Flower Show garden, visits Germany to select the perfect trees
How to grow hollyhocks
04.02.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows her preferred method of sowing hollyhocks and other flower seeds
How to pick and arrange hellebores
03.26.2014
Our 90-second gardener Sarah Raven shows how to turn hellebores into a spring flower arrangement
William Kent, garden designer, at Stowe
03.23.2014
Barry Smith of Stowe explains the impact the designer William Kent had on the famous gardens
How to grow snowdrops
03.20.2014
Sarah Raven shows how to lift and divide snowdrops to ensure a beautiful display next year
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: meet the Telegraph garden designers
03.15.2014
Tommaso del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz are designing an Italian-inspired garden for the Telegraph at this year's Chelsea Flower Show
How to sow and grow tomatoes
03.14.2014
In her second '90-second gardener' video, Sarah Raven shows how to get this year's tomato crop started from seed
90-second gardener: potato chitting
03.07.2014
In the first of a new series, Sarah Raven demonstrates how to start off your potato crop
90-second gardener: potato chitting
03.07.2014
In the first of a new series, Sarah Raven demonstrates how to start off your potato crop
3D printing gives new life to garden design
03.05.2014
The first ever exhibition of 3D printed gardens will go on display at The Strand Gallery, in London
Top tips for arranging flowers at home
02.25.2014
Florists Mark Welford and Stephen Wicks advise on how to keep flowers in tip-top condition
How to make a simple hand-tied flower bouquet
02.25.2014
Florists Mark Welford and Stephen Wicks show how to arrange a bunch of hand-tied flowers
National Trust: Slugs are like daleks
12.27.2013
The National Trust's Matthew Oates reviews how British wildlife was affected by the hot summer this year - and warns that gardeners cannot rely on a fall in slug numbers
September gardening tips
09.10.2013
September gardening tips from Catherine Cutler of the Eden Project.
Tallest hedge in UK trimmed using cherrypicker
08.07.2013
Cutting the hedge for most people is a chore that takes a few hours at the weekend. But when you own the tallest yew hedge in the country the job is a much bigger challenge.
Tallest hedge in UK trimmed using cherrypicker
08.07.2013
Cutting the hedge for most people is a chore that takes a few hours at the weekend. But when you own the tallest yew hedge in the country the job is a much bigger challenge.
August gardening tips from the Eden Project
07.30.2013
Tips for gardening in August from Catherine Cutler of the Eden Project.
Beekeeping flourishes in Afghanistan
07.25.2013
In Afghanistan, where 80 per cent of the population make their living from the land, only 12 per cent of which is arable, bees are not just important, they're vital.
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: race is on to create Telegraph garden
04.17.2014
Designers Tommaso del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz are limbering up for the mad dash to finalise the Telegraph garden in time for Chelsea
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: the Kindergarten
04.11.2014
Paul Gazerwitz, one of the designers behind this year's Telegraph garden, explains how the lime trees being used are grown
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: introducing the Telegraph garden
04.09.2014
Designers Tommaso del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz explain their plans for The Telegraph's Chelsea show garden
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: visiting a German nursery
04.08.2014
Del Buono Gaserwitz, the firm designing the Telegraph's Chelsea garden, have gone to Germany to source the best plants
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: choosing trees in Germany
04.08.2014
Paul Gazerwitz, one half of the duo behind this year's Telegraph Chelsea Flower Show garden, visits Germany to select the perfect trees
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: meet the Telegraph garden designers
03.15.2014
Tommaso del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz are designing an Italian-inspired garden for the Telegraph at this year's Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: introducing the Telegraph garden
03.15.2014
Stephen Lacey meets the design duo who promise to blend two distinct components into the Telegraph's garden at Chelsea
Alan Titchmarsh: 'Wish me luck with my Chelsea Flower Show garden'
03.12.2014
Alan Titchmarsh explains the inspiration behind his garden for this year's Chelsea Flower Show, his first for nearly 30 years
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: Alan Titchmarsh to design garden
03.12.2014
Veteran gardener and television presenter Alan Titchmarsh to design garden for this year's Chelsea Flower Show
Three plants that will be the superstars of 2014
01.19.2014
Remembrance poppies, sunflowers and begonias are all expected to make a splash this year
What will 2014 bring for gardeners?
12.24.2013
Between the anniversary of the Great War, new plant diseases and the changing face of garden centres, 2014 promises plenty of interesting garden trends
Not all is rosy in the garden as Alan Titchmarsh throws in the trowel
11.15.2013
Why has the veteran BBC presenter bowed out after 30 years, asks Tom Rowley
Alan Titchmarsh steps down from Chelsea Flower Show after 'extensive' BBC coverage offered to rival
11.14.2013
Alan Titchmarsh claims he stepped aside from BBC Chelsea Flower Show coverage after being offered only a "limited" role, with prime slots being given to a rival
Alan Titchmarsh 'squeezed out' of Chelsea Flower Show role
11.13.2013
Exclusive: Alan Titchmarsh, the gardening expert and TV presenter, reveals why he stepped down from the BBC's coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show 2014: First World War is remembered
11.13.2013
The centenary of the First World War and an influx of first-time designers are emerging themes for Chelsea Flower Show 2014
Alan Titchmarsh leaves BBC Chelsea Flower Show coverage
11.12.2013
The presenter Alan Titchmarsh is to step down from hosting the BBC Chelsea Flower Show coverage after 30 years
South Africa's Chelsea Flower Show team leader 'sacked for being drunk on the job'
09.12.2013
The official in charge of South Africa's award-winning team at the Chelsea Flower Show has been sacked for being drunk during this year's event.
Chelsea Flower Show 2013: a world of change
06.03.2013
100 years of Chelsea and so much has changed for the post-war gardener, not least saving native species.
Ben Fogle's country travels: inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show
05.28.2013
Ben Fogle was swept away by a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. If only his garden didn't look so shabby now...
Chelsea Flower Show 2013: Geranium found at bottom of garden named Plant of the Centenary
05.25.2013
A blue-violet coloured Geranium voted the Chelsea Flower Show's Plant of the Centenary.
Chelsea Flower Show 2013: review of the Chelsea Fringe
05.25.2013
The Chelsea Fringe is a sprawling, chaotic alternative to the Chelsea Flower Show. Ben Dark spent a day sampling its wares.
Chelsea Flower Show 2013: 'I made a garden in a toilet'
05.24.2013
Garden designer Anna Rose Hughes describes how she made a woodland garden in a derelict gents toilet for the Chelsea Fringe, a growing alternative to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Chelsea Flower Show 2013: top 10 picks
05.24.2013
Francine Raymond picks her highlights at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.
Chelsea Flower Show 2013: It's far from rosy at Chelsea, says judge over threat to resign
05.24.2013
Chelsea Flower Show thrown into further disarray after chief judge tendered his resignation in frustration at behaviour of fellow judges.
Chelsea Flower Show 2013: It's not sour grapes says judge Andrew Wilson over threat to resign
05.24.2013
The Chelsea Flower Show has been thrown into further disarray after the chief judge tendered his resignation in frustration at the "unacceptable" behaviour of fellow judges.
In pictures: blossom at Westonbirt
04.17.2014
Spring has sprung at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. We take a peek at the glorious scenes
In pictures: Shed of the Year 2014
03.31.2014
Weird and wonderful nominations for the 2014 Shed of the Year Competition
Spring finally blossoms: in pics
03.29.2014
Colourful magnolias, crocuses and tulips are making an appearance all across Britain as the weather warms up
Creepy crawlies: Extreme macro photos of insects by Yudy Sauw
03.21.2014
Extreme macro photos of insects by Yudy Sauw
Creepy crawlies: Amazing SEM pictures of insects
03.21.2014
Electron microscope pictures of insects
Britain's best walled gardens
03.18.2014
Our gardening columnist Bunny Guinness picks her favourite walled gardens to visit around the country
In pictures: Garden cities - A brief history
03.17.2014
From Ebbsfleet in Kent to Cape Town: a brief history of the garden city.
Vibrant daffodils in bloom: in pics
03.06.2014
Bright yellow daffodils are starting to appear in gardens and parks all over Britain and Ireland
Garden Photographer of the Year: the best wildlife pictures
02.18.2014
Amazing wildlife photographs from the past four years of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition
Beautiful snowdrops in bloom: in pics
02.16.2014
Despite the bad weather, delicate white snowdrops are now carpeting gardens and roadsides all across the country
Top 10 plants for a rainy day
02.14.2014
Some plants love wet, soggy conditions - just as well, given the floods sweeping Britain. Nursery manager Mandie Potter, from Cotswold Garden Flowers, picks the best
International Garden Photographer of the Year: winning pictures 2014
02.12.2014
The stunning winning pictures of this year's International Garden Photographer of the Year competition
Best-value roses for Valentine's Day
02.10.2014
Sweep your beloved off their feet with one of these romantic rose bouquets on Valentine's Day
10 beautiful double snowdrops to try
02.09.2014
We pick 10 of the best double snowdrops to grow in your garden
Beautiful Japanese Zen gardens: in pics
02.03.2014
A new book by Yoko Kawaguchi explores Japan's stunning and tranquil Zen gardens
SGD garden design awards 2014: the winners
01.25.2014
Known as the 'horticultural Oscars', the SGD awards celebrate the very best in garden design
RHS Photographer of the Year: the winning images
01.21.2014
The winning pictures of the RHS's Photographer of the Year competition have been announced
Britain's best garden water features
01.17.2014
Cascades, lakes and fountains: what watery delights can be found in famous British gardens?
The great indoors: the National Trust's best glasshouses
01.11.2014
Beautiful conservatories, orangeries and glasshouses of the National Trust in pictures
Floods, storms and tornadoes: gardens at the mercy of nature
01.07.2014
From the Great Storm of 1987 to this year's floods: pictures of British gardens turned upside down by Mother Nature
Beautiful winter frost patterns
01.05.2014
Amazing and elaborate frost patterns formed on windows in chilly weather
Britain's best conservatories to visit
01.05.2014
Too rainy to go outside? Spend a day in one of Britain's beautiful glasshouses instead.
Garden wildlife in winter: in pics
01.02.2014
Picturesque images of robins, squirrels and hedgehogs amid ice and snow
Christmas robins in winter gardens: in pics
12.24.2013
No festive scene would be complete without a cheerful Robin redbreast
10 traditional Christmas plants: in pics
12.23.2013
From poinsettias to mistletoe: 10 plants and trees that are part of our festive traditions
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: does it live up to expectations?
04.22.2014
Tim Richardson pays a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which opened to the public earlier this month
'Prince Charles's personality is stamped all over Highgrove'
04.19.2014
Guests love Highgrove's informality and its highly original elements, says Bunny Guinness in her second article on the Prince of Wales's garden
Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West's lavish approach to gardening
04.17.2014
For a decade Sarah Raven lived at Sissinghurst with her family, surrounded by the work of Vita Sackville-West. In a new book, she celebrates the designer's vision and enduring prose
Prince Charles on his Highgrove garden
04.12.2014
Prince of Wales talks about his extraordinary garden, which he began creating 34 years ago
Top 10 gardens to see wisteria in bloom
04.09.2014
Beautiful wisteria will soon be filling gardens with its sweet scent and colourful blooms. But where are the best places to see it?
Bolsover Castle: a 17th century garden reimagined
04.02.2014
The restoration of Bolsover Castle's forgotten garden has presented a historical conundrum, says Tim Richardson
YoungHort: meet the young gardeners doing it for themselves
04.01.2014
A group of enterprising young gardeners has started a new forum, YoungHort, to share their ideas. Paula McWaters attended their first conference and saw a very green future
Burghley House: restoring the vision of Capability Brown
03.30.2014
The dedicated team at Burghley House is working hard to restore the natural, stripped-back look Capability Brown designed for the gardens
Are you a Young or Trad gardener?
03.29.2014
In the wake of the first YoungHort conference this month, traditional gardeners have hit back online. But which kind are you?
Britain's best walled gardens
03.18.2014
Our gardening columnist Bunny Guinness picks her favourite walled gardens to visit around the country
The magic of Britain's walled gardens
03.18.2014
There's plenty of life left in our great walled gardens, even if they have outgrown the original purpose of their heyday
Spring has sprung in Cornwall
03.16.2014
Champion magnolia trees kick off the season in style in Cornwall
Why William Kent was one of the great garden designers
03.14.2014
Designer William Kent's greatest talent is sidelined in a new V&A exhibition, finds Tim Richardson
Alan Titchmarsh: 'Wish me luck with my Chelsea Flower Show garden'
03.12.2014
Alan Titchmarsh explains the inspiration behind his garden for this year's Chelsea Flower Show, his first for nearly 30 years
Trentham: the garden makeover of the decade?
03.08.2014
Ten years ago, the gardens at Trentham were raised from the dead by an imaginative and daring masterplan
Vibrant daffodils in bloom: in pics
03.06.2014
Bright yellow daffodils are starting to appear in gardens and parks all over Britain and Ireland
Yellow fever: the enduring appeal of daffodils
02.27.2014
Despite the similarity of many of its cultivars, daffodils retain an enduring grip on the imagination at this time of year - but why?
Wet weather? Make a rain garden
02.24.2014
With no signs of the wet weather relenting, try to capture and reuse run-off in an eye-catching, creative rain garden
Escape the wet weather at Britain's best conservatories
02.23.2014
We pick six of the best gardens under glass across the UK
Snowdrop events around the UK
02.18.2014
Some of the best snowdrop days and weekends taking place in February and March
How to create a Japanese garden in Britain
02.18.2014
Japanese gardens are calming, considered and almost impossible to replicate. Instead, draw inspiration from the vital principles of reflection and restraint
Beautiful Japanese Zen gardens: in pics
02.03.2014
A new book by Yoko Kawaguchi explores Japan's stunning and tranquil Zen gardens
Japanese gardens: mysterious or kitsch?
02.03.2014
Why is it so hard to capture the spirit of Japanese gardens?
The mad world of snowdrop collectors
01.28.2014
The craze for snowdrops is in full bloom, with fanatics criss-crossing the country in search of plants to look at, buy, and - in some cases - steal
A restaurant where the flowers are as great as the food
01.26.2014
The exuberant planting at Michelin-starred restaurant Locanda Locatelli whets the appetite for window boxes
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: celebrity henhouses auction
07.10.2013
Henhouses designed by celebrities from Kate Humble to Sophie Conrad are on display at the Hampton Court Flower Show this week.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: the gardens in pics
07.09.2013
Vibrant and thought-provoking gardens on display at this year's Hampton Court Flower Show.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: 'I've never liked the concept gardens'
07.09.2013
Helen Yemm has always dismissed the concept gardens at Hampton Court - but this year, she was pleasantly surprised by the imaginative offerings.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: gold medal winners
07.09.2013
Best in show and other gold medal winners at this year's Hampton Court Flower Show.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: highlights to look out for
07.05.2013
From a tropical butterfly display to literature-inspired gardens: highlights at this year's Hampton Court Flower Show.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: 20 best garden products for sale
07.04.2013
Harriot Lane Fox picks a top crop of gardening gear for sale at the Hampton Court Flower Show next week.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: how to get there
07.04.2013
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012 runs from July 9 to 14. Here's how to get to the showground.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: inspirational celebrity planters
06.30.2013
Eight gardening celebrities have teamed up with Ecover UK to design these colourful planters for the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show this month.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: The gardens in pictures
07.05.2012
A look at the efforts in the Show Gardens, World of Gardens, Low Cost High Impact Gardens and Conceptual Gardens categories at Hampton Court Flower Show 2012.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: The Summer Gardens
07.05.2012
The Summer Garden category at Hampton Court Flower Show 2012.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: Meet the designers
07.03.2012
Whether inspired by austerity, exotic lands or the July 7 bombings, Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 designers are creating gardens to provoke and enthral.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012 in pictures
07.02.2012
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012 in pictures.
London 2012 events: this week's best things to do in London, from Greenwich comedy to Traction Festival
07.02.2012
John O' Ceallaigh selects the best lifestyle, culture and free events taking place in London this week.
London 2012 events: this week's best things to do in London
07.02.2012
John O' Ceallaigh selects the best lifestyle, culture and free events taking place in London this week.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: shop 'til you drop with Jean Vernon
07.02.2012
Jean Vernon lifts the gloom with some garden retail therapy at Hampton Court Flower Show 2012.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: shop 'til you drop
07.02.2012
Jean Vernon lifts the gloom with some garden retail therapy at Hampton Court Flower Show 2012.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: Highlights for plant-hunters
06.30.2012
Val Bourne previews the nurseries and the plants she'll be checking out at this year's show.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: New arrivals in the rose hall of fame
06.28.2012
Don't miss this year's stunners in the Rose Marquee at Hampton Court Flower Show.
How to get to Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: travel info and site map
06.28.2012
Plan your visit to Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 with our round-up of travel information, a site map and ticket prices.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: it's heaven for children
06.28.2012
Unlike Chelsea, its seriously grown-up sister, the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show keeps children happy too, with funky gardens, fairies and face painting.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2011 in pictures
07.08.2011
We look at pictures from the winning gardens at the Hampton Court Flower Show 2011
Hampton Court Flower Show 2011: Find your way around
07.06.2011
How to find your way and make the most of your day beside the Thames at Hampton Court Flower Show 2011
Hampton Court Flower Show 2011: The best roses
07.05.2011
Val Bourne sniffs out the choicest new roses and other plants making their debut at the show
Hampton Court Flower Show: Bargains to take home
07.04.2011
Jean Vernon finds the must-haves at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011
Three great buys from the Hampton Court Flower Show 2011
07.04.2011
We suggest three must-have buys for your garden from this year's Hampton Court Flower Show
Farewell but not for long!
10.01.2010
Hello all It's been some time since we last updated this blog but it was for a good reason. We have pooled all the best of BBC gardening into one new blog! The BBC Gardening Blog launched at the beginning of October 2010. We hope you'll be as pleased as us to know that our regular bloggers will include Alys Fowler from Gardeners' World, Jim McColl from the Beechgrove Garden, and Bob Flowerdew from Gardeners' Question Time. The time has come to bid farewell to the Gardeners' World blog. Why not head on over to the new gardening blog? We hope to see you there! Saima
January 2010
01.12.2010
As a new gardening year arrives along with the most snow we've seen for 30 years, I've begun to realize that the challenges of being Greenacre's new garden manager are more than simply juggling camera crews and compost.As with all gardens in this weather, Greenacre has been very quiet, in fact there are more fox tracks than human tracks in the snow - though it's nice to be reminded of the life in the garden when all of the plants are hidden by a huge frozen blanket. I am beginning to associate Greenacre with snow as when we started here (11 months ago) it snowed for the first 10 days! Here's hoping it starts to clear soon so we can get back out there working the ground ready for the coming seasons! There's always work to be done here - even in these conditions: cleaning around the greenhouses; tidying the shed; checking over the condition of all the tools as well as, crucially, knocking the snow from laden branches of trees, hedges and other plants. At Greenacre the Chusan palm looked a lot happier once he had been unloaded of snow! Badly affected plants are usually evergreens such as conifers; especially those grown for their column-like shape such as Irish yew, but most plants appreciate having heavy snow shaken off. This is, of course, our first full winter at Greenacre and we are still getting to know our new home and neighbours. We have a resident fox who digs his way in under the fence and in the warmer months spends his nights sitting in different plants (particular favourites were the cosmos and the dahlias); there is also a badger sett not far away and of course the rooks, who most nights circle over the garden when the sun begins to set. Gardeners' World will be back on the 5th March. In the meantime, I'll be busy with the new polytunnel, propagating as many plants as possible from seed to stock the beds and borders here at Greenacre. From fruit and vegetables to perennials and bedding plants hopefully we'll have room for them all!
Decisions, decisions
12.09.2009
Decisions, decisions. At the moment I'm in rather a quandary. I'm contemplating digging up half of my now nicely matured garden and turning it over to a few choice edibles. By choice I mean ones that are right there when you need them, outside the back door that you can pick and as eat fresh as you like. I'm thinking herbs, salads, dwarf beans, carrots, perpetual spinach, tomatoes and then maybe use the fences for some climbing peas and the like. Possibly some fruit in containers such as blueberries and strawberries? So what's the dilemma you may ask? Well I've spent the last seven years pretty much sticking to my master plan and getting this garden looking good. The problem is that the allotment is great for larger crops, but I can't just nip up there for a handful of herbs and salads on an evening can I? It's ten bloomin' miles away. To make my 'new initiative' productive and practical, I know I have to lose many of my much loved plants. There's no real space and I can't pussy foot around in between them, sowing seed here and there. The soil's great, the garden is south facing, but can I bring myself to actually do it? I know gardens never sit still. I have the winter to decide. I have the fear. Watch this space and I'll let you know once I know!
It's time to get a polytunnel
11.30.2009
Although the show is off-air for the winter it's business as usual here. I'm still going up to Greenacre every week marking out the new gardens and getting new plants going for next year. My autumn-sown broad beans are looking good and I potted up the spares that weren't planted out into buckets for forcing in the greenhouse which should give us crops by early May. Truth is though, we don't have enough space in there for everything so I've decided it's time to get a polytunnel. I know that they look like simple structures to put up, at least compared to a greenhouse but believe me they're not. Ned, the location manager at Greenacre didn't believe it, but he does now! There are so many parts - each similar but not interchangeable and really confusing instructions. My only advice is get help, and expect to need it for some time. Anyway, after much dismantling, adjusting, swearing and general fiddling about our tunnel is up. The big advantage of a tunnel over a greenhouse is that size is cheap to buy. Once the cost of the hoops and doors have been covered, you can go as large as you like for very little more. And let's face it, who has ever had a greenhouse or polytunnel that isn't brim-full in its first season? There are a few extras worth putting your hand in your pocket for when buying. Thick polythene with good insulation qualities and a four-year guarantee for starters. Ours is 180 microns thick and what's called 'luminescent' so looks opaque from the outside but the light that passes through bounces around making for better growth. Other extras include double doors at both ends - essential to allow air to blow through the tunnel to cool the insides in summer and stop fungal spores settling on plants in winter. Insulation tape to keep the plastic clear of the metal hoops (without it the heat causes the cover to crack) is a must and (a personal preference for me) an anti-drip coating on the plastic so condensation doesn't fall down the back of your neck while potting up plants. At Greenacre, we're using it for all our cuttings and to house tender pots through winter but I've got big plans for spring, starting off all our summer bedding and annual veg in it. If you're thinking of getting one now, I say go for it. It'll bring spring to your plot six weeks early, guarantee crops of salads right through winter and make growing tender veg like peppers, aubergines and toms a breeze. Just make sure you get an extra pair of hands or two to help you put it up!
Bloggy hell
11.16.2009
I can hardly believe that on my birthday I was harvesting Mexican ground cherries. This wonderful warm autumn brought all sorts of surprise extra harvests. Chillies got a chance to turn properly red, seed collecting has been heaven and I have had plenty of autumn lettuces, far beyond their usual quality. But I know that the minute my birthday comes, the temperature will drop. Many lettuces will make it through to December before botrytis or frost gets them as will the hardier stuff such as oriental mustards, Swiss chard, kales and cabbages. However, as they soldier on their flavour will become more intense as the days become colder. By February many of the oriental mustards, such as Giant Red Mustard, becomes so hot that they blow your head off if you eat them raw. At this point it's best to flash cook them; 60 seconds in boiling water or swirl them round a wok of hot oil, just enough to wilt them. Then off the heat as the chemicals that make them hot quickly become bitter if cooked for too long. Drizzle on some groundnut oil and a little soy, perhaps add a little friendly garlic, some toasted sesame seeds, a handful of noodles and you have lunch! Anyhow, I shouldn't be thinking about noodles as I have a small mountain of ground cherries to de-husk and do something with. These are cousins to the larger more common and slightly more sour-tasting tomatillos which definitely need to be cooked. Ground cherries are good enough to eat raw, but their delicious pineapple taste is almost better in a pie or crumble. You can tell when a ground cherry is ripe because the inside is a lovely pale golden orange and the husks are papery. If the inside is still green it will be very sour. I've been experimenting making clafoutis, which is a kind of egg-cooked custard dish where you can use any fruit you like. It's basically eggs, sugar, milk and a little flour. You line the dish with whatever fruit, in my case ground cherries, and pour over the batter and bake in a hot oven for about 20mins. When it puffs up take it out, pour on a little more sugar and place under the grill. You're aiming for a soufflé consistency which is kind of eggy, so if that's not your thing, stick to crumbles. I have to say I was entirely neglectful of the ground cherries. I planted them out towards the end of May and did little all summer other than bemoan the fact that I had misunderstood what ground cherries were, thinking they were just a synonym of tomatillos. They're not, they are a different species, tomatillos are Physalis ixocarpa and Mexican Ground Cherry is Physalis prunosa. They have furrier leaves and smaller fruit, and I think they probably like slightly warmer weather - not that I didn't get a good harvest, they just seem very small.
Design made easy
11.10.2009
My Design Made Easy programme went out on Friday. It was a compilation of my Gardeners' World strand helping Mark and Suzanne redesign and build their already mature garden by breaking it down into manageable pieces and ending up with something that is ultimately greater than the sum of its parts.That's what I think good design is all about. It was interesting to see all of my visits put together into a single programme. It certainly had a makeover feel to it, but as it was executed over a five month period, it was a realistic and achievable thing to do. And it certainly wasn't all about throwing money into a project for a quick solution. I think that a gardens success is down to knowing where you're heading and making sure it works for whoever ultimately lives with it and maintains it. Call it planning, call it looking ahead, call it design, call it practicality, call it whatever you want, but without it I know that creating a garden can become frustrating. I've always been passionate about design and tried to get across that this planning stage is so important in gardening in order to avoid wasted effort and expense, which in turn can lead to a sense of failure. Playing around with ideas on paper is free, but as soon as you start to buy materials and plants it starts to get a little more serious. I hope that I showed how simple and accessible this process can be whether you're thinking of designing a garden from scratch or simply tweaking one you already have.
Autumn is truly here
11.02.2009
November already! I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering where the summer went. I think that late burst of heat fooled me into thinking we'd rewound the clock back to July. But Halloween arrived this weekend and with it, the first autumn storm that stripped the leaves from the trees so there's no denying that autumn is truly here. In my garden in Devon the dahlias and zinnia are starting to look bedraggled but the nerines, which I planted as bulbs back in March are still holding strong. They're Cadillac-pink when they open, about 18in tall and brilliant planted on top of raised beds or next to a warm wall where the drainage is good. N. bowdenii is the hardiest but the larger 'Zeal Giant' has been a revelation. It's usually grown in a greenhouse but I thought I'd take a chance with it outdoors, in the gravelly sun-soaked border next to my greenhouse. Since September, it's been in flower with larger, taller trumpets than the species, up to 60cm high. I love the colour - a stronger cerise-pink which really glows even amongst the serious competition of tangerine coloured zinnia and the raspberry cactus dahlia 'Matilda Huston'. The key to keeping them through the winter is to keep the bulbs on the dry side, so my plan is to cover the died-down clump with a heavy glass cloche to shed the rain and ensure these floral fireworks make a return next autumn.
Tonight's finale and more to come
10.23.2009
Hi All On tonight's action packed finale Toby will be clearing out the summer bedding, transplanting wallflowers and potting up plants for winter. Earlier this year we visited Dean Peckett at RHS Harlow Carr who had planted a fantastic display of tulips and, despite the rainy day, the wonderful varieties cannot fail to inspire you to get planting your own! Hugh Macalister has a particular passion for the native Rowan or Mountain Ash and, last autumn, we went to see him at Ness Botanics where he showed us the wealth of berry colours available in this wonderful tree. Alys will be joined by Colin Crosbie from the RHS and they'll both be giving the low down on the latest tree and shrub planting techniques and Joe will be demonstrating the best methods for sharpening your garden tools. We'll also be revealing the winner of this year's BBC Gardener of the Year. Now even though the main run of Gardeners' World comes to an end tonight we have some exciting shows coming your way over the coming months. Two to watch out for are Women in Gardening, due to air on 27th November and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, due to be aired on 4th December. Women in Gardening with Carol Klein will be looking back at those special women who defied convention in order to follow their passion for horticulture. Her journey includes interviews with some of our most influential gardening figures of the past 50 years including: Beth Chatto, garden writer and designer, Marina Christopher, pioneering nursery woman, Mary Spiller, the first female presenter on Gardeners' World and Inga Grimsby, who was the first woman to be appointed head of the Royal Horticultural Society between 2006 and 2009. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tells the story of seven disparate gentlemen, brought together for the first time in 1804 above a bookshop in Piccadilly to form a society dedicated to the one and only thing they all agreed on - a love of horticulture. They were all extreme personalities; a domineering aristocrat, a womanising MP and an accused fraudster to name but a few. As individuals they were far more likely to fall out than collaborate but their love of gardening was so strong that together, against all the odds, they formed a society which was to become the most celebrated in the gardening world - The Royal Horticultural Society. That's all from me for this run, enjoy your winter gardening.
Winter prep
10.16.2009
Hi All On tonight's show Toby will be continuing the winter garden preparations at Greenacre and making an underground subterranean vegetable store. He will also be forward planning and creating an ad hoc winter screen for the apricot he planted last week - this is to protect the flowers from frost when it starts to flower in February/March next year.Joe will be providing tips on how to protect tender tropical plants over the winter and we'll be visiting Carol at Glebe Cottage where she'll be showing off the autumnal glow from the foliage of trees and shrubs. Tonight we'll also be showing a clip of the late pumpkin growing enthusiast, Ralph Upton. Ralph had been growing pumpkins for 45 years and had perfected his gourd and squash growing skills into an art form. He was once nick-named The Pumpkin King - a title that I'm sure you'll agree he truly deserved. We'll be visiting a couple who have transformed their Devonshire plot into a grass and restio plantation and we'll be heading to Audley End in Essex for some more traditional tips on fruit and veg storage over the winter. If you'd like a full list of all the techniques and plants featured on tonight's show, please visit our episode guide and if you're looking to start the winter prep in your garden this weekend, here are several tasks that will help you get ahead of yourself for the fast approaching winter months: Clean greenhouse glass to make sure as much light gets in as possible for all overwintering plants. Shorten long growth on any shrubs which might be blasted by autumn/winter gales (shrub roses are the usual victims). Give the lawn a final cut, not too short, then clean and drain the lawnmower before putting it away. Buy all the materials that you are likely to need for winter protection tasks (fleece, wire, vine eyes, pegs etc.) and keep them on standby. Move doubtfully hardy plants, in pots, near to a frost-free greenhouse, porch or light windowsill so that they can be brought in as soon as frost is forecast. Check that all greenhouse supplementary heating is in working order before you have to use it. Invest in a max/min thermometer if you don't have one already. That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend.
I am on the hunt for a pumpkin
10.15.2009
My garden is too small for pumpkins, or put another way, they've fallen off the most desirable vegetables to eat list. I went for everything but reasoning that the best spot for pumpkins would be the loss of globe artichokes, cucumbers, Mexican ground cherries, parsnips, kales, sprouting broccolis . . . I think you begin to get the picture. I do love pumpkins and winter squash and now that I am A PROUD OWNER of an allotment they will dutifully be back on the menu (mainly Crown Prince and Uchi Kuri squash), but this year I hankered after greens more. Still I married an American and last year I ambitiously took on Thanksgiving for far too many people (and the list seems to have grown). This means I must find a pumpkin and a good tasty one at that. The latter is really important as I used a very large pumpkin last year and it was so watery that it took two days to strain to the required consistency for pie (I use the recipe from Sophie Grigson 'Eat your Greens'). I might take a controversial route this year and not make pumpkin pie. Partly because although it's good, I don't think it has anything on a good tarte tatin or for that matter a great chocolate tart. No, pumpkin pie is fun and a good excuse for too much whipped cream but the recipe that has stolen my heart this month can be found here. It stole my heart for two reasons: the writing and the wonderful varied recipes... I love this blog and have to admit that I have spent too many hours lost in this tale. I've brought you in near to the beginning of this story with a suitably (if loosely) garden related entry to wet your appetite. If you are easily won over by fantastic photography, butter dripping recipes and a great yarn of love story block out - it is truly all consuming. As for the actual recipe, well it is perfect with a good strong coffee, better still I've found on the allotment between bouts of digging out couch grass (I made it with winter squash first time round). I would dispute that this is a recipe for bread; it's a cake (a cake that is equally as good with some chocolate chips thrown in). It's very easy to make (hence why it's going into this years thanksgiving menu). If it gets a little stale, cook it like toast and slather butter on it. You can also substitute the hazelnuts for walnuts particularly if you're lucky enough to have fresh ones that the squirrels haven't stolen. Oh for those that came here looking for gardening... Most pumpkins and squashes will need to be brought in farily soon, you don't want them to become frosted. You want to leave them on for as long as possible so that the skins can harden naturally. You can tell when the skin is ready as you won't be able to leave an impression with your thumb nail. Cut the fruit with a piece of stem attached either side to the stalk. You do this because it is very easy to damage the stalk and rot set in quickly. Many winter squash and some pumpkins do better for a period of curing. You need to bring them into a warm (20-25 °C) room for two weeks to concentrate the sugars and then store them somewhere cool (7-10 °C), dry and airy. The smaller witner squash such as Uchi Kuri or Hunter will store for three months or more.
A Fruitful Autumn
10.09.2009
On tonight's show Toby will be recommending his top five soft fruits to plant and, for branches laden with fruit next summer, now is the perfect time to start planting. During late autumn and on into the winter you can also buy and plant fruit trees and bushes bare root which is a cheaper option. Toby will also be planting a blackcurrant bush, making it the first addition to the fruit garden at Greenacre. Carol will be sharing her berry bonanza in the garden and hedgerows at Glebe Cottage and Alys will be planting a winter extravaganza in a pot that will thrive throughout the winter months. For Alys's full recipe, as well as detailed information about growing blackcurrants, a plant list, and all the techniques featured on tonight's show, please visit our episode guide. We'll also be meeting the fifth and final finalist for BBC Gardener of the Year 2009 and you will be able to vote for your favourite when the phone lines open at 9pm tonight. If you'd like to watch extended versions of clips of your favourite finalist and their garden, and would like full details of how to vote, please visit our Gardener of the Year pages. Finally, this weekend why not start preparing for the winter months before the first frost sets in. Here are a few gardening jobs that we'd recommend: Start collecting fallen leaves to make leaf mould. If you can wait a couple of years then store them in a compost bin and they will rot down slowly. For speedier leaf mould, shred them first and then store the leaves in perforated black plastic bags. Empty out summer pots of tender bedding and put the spent plants on the compost heap. There's still time to plant spring bulbs and the recent rainfall will have softened the ground enough for the perfect planting conditions. Finish harvesting tender vegetables before the first frosts arrive. That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend.
RHS Autumn Harvest Show
10.08.2009
I have to tell you that I'm currently feeling a little nervous. In spring I made a rash decision and decided that I was going to 'grow to show' for a bit of fun and chose to enter some veggies into the RHS Autumn Harvest show in London.Looking back it was a rather crazy idea and unfortunately for me that time has come round far sooner than expected! The show starts next Tuesday.....HELP ME!!! As long as my mentor, the legendary vegetable ninja Charlie Macey thinks mine aren't too embarrassingly bad I shall be showing my onions, dwarf French beans and stump carrots. They have been lovingly tended in my garden all summer long. Over the summer I visited a few vegetable shows and now know just how stiff the competition is. As well as being great characters my competitors are only what can be termed as obsessive perfectionists. Most of them haven't had a summer holiday for years as they wouldn't leave their plants for more than a day. However I can now see how one can get hooked on this life as there is something magical and beautiful about perfect vegetables - not that I can say I've grown any yet, but I have certainly seen some. It's all being filmed as part of my one hour special which will be aired next year I believe, so please wish me luck - I can assure you I'm going to need every single ounce of it!
A touch of the orient and autumn grasses
10.02.2009
On tonight's show Toby is busy bringing colour to the woodland garden at Greenacre, while Alys is looking at bringing colour and spice indoors this winter, by planting up amaryllis bulbs and chop suey greens. You can find details of the techniques and the inspirational gardens visited, featured in this week's episode guide.Meanwhile fresh from Carol's latest plant review at Glebe Cottage here's a list of some of the top autumn grasses: Anemanthele lessoniana Hakonechloa macra 'Japanese forest grass' Miscanthus sinensis 'Chinese silver grass' Miscanthus sinensis 'Flamingo' Miscanthus sinensis 'Malepartus' Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea 'Transparent' Molinia caerulea subsp. caerulea 'Edith Dudszus' Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Redhead' Tonight we'll be revealing the fourth finalist for BBC Gardener of the Year. Next week, after the final finalist is revealed you'll all be able to start voting for your favourite gardener. That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend.
Acers and Azaleas
10.02.2009
There's something so lovely about the scent and feel of the soil at this time of year. It's noticeably warmer than the crisp autumn air - no wonder newly planted trees are so keen to root now. After planting 'Osakazuki' in the new woodland garden at Greenacre I feel as though I have what Oprah Winfrey might call 'some closure'. Years ago, I sowed a tray of seeds collected from the maple with the most fiery autumn colour of all; Acer 'Osakazuki'. After a winter out in the cold they sprouted and the following year I potted up the one with the best colour for turning into a bonsai. I even made my own shallow pot drilling holes in the base of a terracotta drip tray, collected moss to cover the roots to create a Japanese woodland floor-look and spent the next five years pruning, training and preening. But no matter how much I mollycoddled, the tips of the leaves always turned an ugly brown. What could possibly be going wrong? I watered with collected rain and misted regularly - I did everything by the book. After the tree gave up the ghost I interviewed a bonsai grower who said that all acers were brilliant for bonsai. When I told him how difficult my 'Osakazuki' seedling was he said "yes - all acers except that one"! Both the newly planted Azaleas and Acers will produce fiery autumn tints at Greenacre. The foliage colour alone will look wonderful but tumbling amongst late season flowers it will look magnificent. So, to keep with the Oriental theme, Japanese anemones will fill out the soil around their roots. To do this I'll need quite a few, but they are the easiest plant to propagate. We don't even need to take cuttings. The pots of plants brought up from Berryfields have rooted into the soil in our nursery beds and the roots if left undisturbed will sprout into new plants in the spring. Brilliant!
Alliums
09.25.2009
My first week filming in the garden, and my first production blog! Claire Johnson, or Dr. Claire as she is affectionately known, is on a course this week, and so I have been parachuted in to fill her rather large wellies. I normally work on the shows, having researched RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton for the last two years, and the VT inserts. While it's quite daunting and exciting to work on such a high profile and prestigious show as the Chelsea Flower Show, it is also daunting and exciting to work on the main Gardeners' World programme. Daunting because of its history and pedigree, and exciting because it's the grand-daddy of all gardening television.One of the best things about working on the show this week is that we will be planting one of my favourite genus of flowering bulbs; the ornamental onion or Allium. What superb group they are, giving us such fantastic colour and form from May through to June. Who could imagine Chelsea week without the striking purple globes of Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' or the fireworks of A. shubertii. Planting alliums in the Prairie border this week at Greenacre, however, required a more modest, almost shy species; Allium cernuum. While it is readily available, it is not as well known as others in its genus, but it is worth growing for its loose nodding umbels of pinky purple flowers. Its native to the North America and grows well in most soils and aspects, and will naturalise when it finds a spot it likes. With its relaxed manner, it will fit nicely into the prairie border, flowering into July. Toby will be planting it alongside Nectaroscordum siculum, which flowers slightly earlier. Closely related to Alliums, Nectaroscordum also have an open head of subtle creamy pink flowers that hang gracefully when open. Toby will be planting them in drifts, following the specific planting theme of the border, for some June interest. For some spring colour and to provide some early Bee grub, Toby will be planting a succession of Alliums in the Bee Border also; A. 'Purple Sensation': appear in summer, showing off rounded heads full of deep violet flowers. These alliums are perfect for a sunny border. It is best to remove the immature seed-heads as the seedlings tend to have paler flowers. (AGM) A. schubertii: real stunner with round flower-heads measuring 30cm (1ft) wide, which resemble the starburst of a firework. The stems that pop out of the inner globe are thought to aid propagation by propelling the seed-heads. Allium cristophii: blockbuster with large purple heads measuring 20cm (8in) wide. These make superb cut flowers and have an almost metallic sheen on the stout stems, which reach knee height. Best placed in the spaces between border perennials to disguise its dying foliage. (AGM). A. sphaerocephalon: small, 2.5cm (1in) wide, pink to reddish-brown drumstick on long wiry stems. The flowers are densely packed and remain in bloom for many weeks. Tonight's programme will also see Joe bringing back some mad colour combinations inspired by Trentham Gardens. Carol enthuses about the gorgeous Rudbeckias and Asters currently filling her Devon garden with colour. And we have a look at contestant number 3 in our Gardener of the year competition. We even have 2 seasonal culinary suggestions to add a little sweetness to your weekend! Growing tips Site and soil preferences Alliums add impact to early summer borders and can be dried for winter decoration. They come in a wonderful range of colours including purple, buttercup yellow, pinks, white and shades of cornflower blue. Alliums are extremely easy to grow, invariably needing a place in full sun right at the front of a border. In the wild, alliums often grow in poor, stony ground and they don't need pampering in the garden. Average soil is fine, but it must be free-draining. Alliums in pots Even gardeners with tiny gardens can grow alliums in containers. Always use a reasonably deep container, especially for larger varieties. Plant at three times the depth of the bulb in well-drained compost (this also applies when planting in the open ground). The container plants will need repotting into fresh compost every year, but you don't need to do any more than this. They shouldn't require extra feeding, either, as long as their foliage is left to die back naturally. This enables them to build up energy for the following year. Like some other bulbs, they're naturally long-lived and survive for years if left undisturbed. With large drumstick alliums, the dying foliage can be disguised behind a few pots of bushy annuals or a clipped box for a more formal look.
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