Amateur Gardening 8-May-2021

Every week, Amateur Gardening is the first choice for both beginners and knowledgeable gardeners looking for advice and easy-to-follow practical features on growing flowers, trees, shrubs as well as fruit and vegetables. Be inspired, by our beautifully illustrated features covering plant and flower groups, both home grown and exotic, and take a sneak peek into some of the most beautiful private gardens around the country. Plus, every week we feature expert opinion and tips from some of gardening’s most influential exponents including Toby Buckland, Bob Flowerdew, Anne Swithinbank, Peter Seabrook and Jo Whittingham.

United Kingdom
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51 Números

en este número

1 min.
editor’s note

“By the time you read this we’ll probably be in the middle of a heatwave, but as I write I’m watching snow fall on my garden in the South of England! Unexpected cold snaps and no rain have added an extra dimension this spring, and having put many of my young plants out I found myself bringing the most vulnerable back in again… and then out, and so on, as the weather went from one extreme to the other. It was like doing the hokey cokey without the shaking it about bit! Initially I found this frustrating, but then I realised that dealing with nature is a core part of what we all do. There will always be challenges, and we need to embrace and enjoy the experiences as there…

3 min.
it’s time to water

AT the time of writing (mid-April), this spring has been a tough one for the garden. Not only has it been unseasonably cold even here on the south coast, it has been worryingly dry with no rainfall of substance for several weeks. We have already emptied one water butt and are starting to save grey water and recycle not-too-contaminated washing up water, which is unprecedented at this time of year. The last few springs have been very dry, though not as cold as this one, and if this pattern continues we will need to start thinking more carefully about how we save and store water, and how carefully we use it. Millions of gallons are already lost each year through cracked and leaking pipes. On these pages I’m going to look at ways…

3 min.
check your priorities

IF spring stays dry and there is little rain through summer, gardeners will have to start prioritising where they use their water. If you are growing fruit and vegetables, they need plenty of water for healthy growth, flowering and to swell the developing fruits. A thorough soaking once or twice a week is better than regular sprinkles that don’t penetrate deeply, and grey water is fine for fruit and veg as long as it isn’t full of food debris that could encourage germs and vermin. The greenhouse is another flashpoint, as growbags are shallow and if you have two or three tomato, aubergine, squash or cucumber plants in each one, they will soon drink up all the remaining moisture. When it is very hot, you may even find yourself watering twice a day, which…

2 min.
divide a globe artichoke

GLOBE artichokes are the giants of the garden. Like their cousin the cardoon, they tower over everything else, architectural members of the thistle family with tough grey-green leaves and, if you don’t eat their buds, beautiful, huge purple flowers that are loved by bees. We have one large globe artichoke growing happily in a raised bed. I have never yet harvested the flower buds for cooking (every year it’s always a case of ‘I’ll leave them for the bees this summer’) but I would like to try it one year. The plant has been growing for several years now and needs to be divided to keep it productive, and spring is a good time to do it. It is easily done, as artichokes throw out divisions that can be separated from the parent…

2 min.
it’s all go in the greenhouse

The wonders of windowsills There’s so much you can do indoors NOT everyone has room for a greenhouse, mini greenhouse or cold frame, but most of us have windowsills or a warm, light spot indoors where plants can be started. This year our sills have been groaning under the weight of seedlings, everything from tomatoes and chillies to nicotiana, squash, courgettes and marigold. Potted on half-hardy seedlings are growing away all over the house, and I have started off begonia tubers and several varieties of herbs there too. In fact most mornings I have to remind myself they are there, or risk the calamity of sending them to the floor when I draw back the curtains! Windowsills that avoid direct sunlight are the best as hot sun will frazzle little seedlings. Too little light and…

2 min.
pruning early bloomers

THANKS to the unseasonably cold, dry spring, our early-flowering forsythia bloomed later than usual, but when it did eventually get going, it put on an eye-poppingly yellow, cheerful show. Now the petals have fallen so it is safe to give it its annual trim without jeopardising its blooming potential. Forsythia flowers on stems grown the previous year, so it is cut back after flowering to give the plant the best part of a year to renew itself to bloom the following spring. If we pruned it in autumn like most other deciduous shrubs, we would simply remove or reduce its chance of flowering well. Other shrubs included in this category are flowering currant, mock orange (philadelphus) and weigela. Pruning immediately after they have flowered also helps keep them neat, healthy and robust. If you have…