Garden Diary

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Winter Colour

We tend to think of Winter as a dead or dormant time, with plant and animal life shutting down and going into hibernation. But that needn't be the case, if you choose your plants with care. Winter flowering heather, viola and primula provide a vivid display, while variegated ivy, Heuchera, and ornamental cabbage give us [...]

November 2014

I was quite late in putting food out for the birds this year - the good spell of weather in September had prolonged the life of many flowers and flowering shrubs, resulting in a healthy insect population for the birds to feast on. Nuts, mixed seed, and Nyger seed (from the African yellow daisy Guizotia [...]

October 2014

Well October has certainly heralded the beginning of Autumn - wind, rain and a ten degree drop in temperature. As I write, a gale is hurling rain at my window, which is very atmospheric, but I can't help worrying about the mess it's making in the garden! We can't really complain though, with one of [...]

Being Closer to Nature Makes Us Happier

Each year the University of Exeter carry out the 'Understanding Society' survey. The published results for last year's survey had some interesting but unsurprising conclusions. Researchers found that those participants who have moved to a greener urban area experienced a significant improvement in mental health: "It doesn't matter whether you live in a bungalow, a [...]

Pond Life

September is a good time to build a pond - you have the whole Winter and Spring to let it fill up naturally with rainwater before adding plants in May the following year. I made the mistake of constructing mine over Easter, when I had a bit of spare time. There followed a dry spell [...]

Party in the Park

Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House hosted a Party in the Park on 23rd August 2014, and the organisers certainly embraced the gardening theme! The gardens are an excellent mix of informal woodland and elaborate parterre. According to the Antrim Borough Council website, 'Antrim Castle Gardens are one of the most unique and historically intact [...]

September 2014

The vibrant autumnal colours of the Nasturtium certainly brighten up dull days. Despite the dreary weather in August, there is a bumper fruit crop. My dwarf pear tree is overwhelmed with the weight of rose-tinted fruit - several enquiries have been made as to whether the crop will be made into pear cider! The Joan [...]

July/August 2014

The beauty of summer is the enjoyment of all the fruits of your hard labour during the previous spring and autumn. It’s time to gorge yourself on your strawberries and raspberries and delight in the colours and wildlife around you. It is also time to visit places to seek inspiration for your next project. I [...]