More than just a pretty face

Jen Stuart-Smith explores the multiple uses of some easy-to-grow garden favourites When you grow flowers for their beauty, shape and colour it can be easy to forget all the other qualities they have to offer. Some are edible, others provide...

Roses all the Way

Jo Arnell turns her attention to the English garden’s most beloved blooms Roses are the beauty queens of the summer garden; delicate, fragrant and romantic – and despite stemming from another continent, they seem a quintessentially English plant. Prima donnas,...

Cream of the crop

Jen Stuart-Smith highlights the celebrated South East nurseries who’ll be appearing at this month’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024, from 21-25 May There can be few garden shows that cause as much excitement as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Founded...

Mix it up

Jo Arnell celebrates the joys of myriad colours in the garden I spend a lot of my time adding structure to gardens – trees, shrubs, evergreens and architectural foliage plants. We need these to give our borders cohesion and good...

Go with the Flow

Sue Whigham shares some valuable new-to-gardening advice I’m sure that by now we should be used to the rain but I’m not entirely sure that we are. We had a dry, sunny day the other day and how everybody’s mood...

Farm Fables

Jane Howard gets to the bottom of why so many ponds have disappeared across the High Weald I have a new passion, almost an obsession, it’s about ponds. And there’s a distinct possibility I might become a bit of a...

Hedge Issues

Sue Whigham takes a meander along nature’s verdant and vital corridors Recently the BBC’s Today programme carried a feature about England’s hedgerows which created a lot of interest among listeners. On the strength of that, Martha Kearney interviewed one of...

Retiring Naturally

Jo Arnell speaks to Pegasus Homes CEO Steve Bangs and floral designer Jonathan Moseley about the wellness benefits of interacting with plants, especially as we age As we age, our need to connect with nature and with plants remains a...

A few of my favourite things…

Sue Whigham chooses a few firm plant favourites that have left a lasting impression A girlfriend and I spent a few days in New York a decade ago. It was rather like being in a film set to be honest...

Winter Sparkle

Jo Arnell highlights the seasonal gems primed to light up your garden Not much is actively growing out in the garden – it is the dormant season and our plants are gently ticking over, preparing themselves for the year ahead,...

Honey Fungus the Bogeyman

Sue Whigham shares experience and advice on how to deal with honey fungus We’ve always had a part of the garden where I’d try out interesting shrubs only to find that they turned up their toes after a couple of...

’Tis the Season

Jen Stuart-Smith – co-founder of Blooming Green – gets real about truly seasonal flowers “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” people sometimes say, as an excuse to have a daytime tipple… The expression always pops into my mind when I see a...

Stalwart Friends

Jo Arnell edits down a selection of her favourite reliable plants to see you through the whole season ‘That can’t be your favourite plant, surely?’ People are too polite to say this to me out loud, but they may well...

Trouble Ahead

Jo Arnell comes up with some practical solutions to help protect your plants during challenging periods of weather Many of the Mediterranean species – lavender, rosemary etc – can withstand the cold, but not prolonged periods of wet weather. This...

Heart of the Hive

Sue Whigham finds out about The Buzz Project, an inspirational initiative set up by Syrian bee expert Dr. Ryad Alsous One of the last things that Dr. Ryad Alsous did before he left his flat in Damascus was to open...

Buried Treasure

Jo Arnell applies cooking principles to the garden this month, as she starts planning her bulb lasanges I’m doing my best squirrel impression this month, scuttling around, digging holes and burying bulbs in the hope that, come the spring, welcome...

A Destination of a Different Nature

Sue Whigham reflects on her natural findings on a recent trip to Sweden Whilst I’d been warned that this year Sweden had been having a very wet summer, I hadn’t taken into account what might be the result of this...

It’s all in the preparation

Emily Pavey heads to The Small Holding to improve her gardening skills at a Grow the Seasons session Perhaps I’m not cut out for gardening – don’t tell anyone, but I find weeding a bit upsetting. Who am I to...

Paving the way

Jo Arnell discusses what you need to consider when embarking on a quest to create the ultimate hard landscaping in your garden Lawns are lovely to walk and sit on in the summer, but not so tempting when the weather...

Where the Wild Things are

Sue Whigham caught up with Lou Carpenter of Marden Wildlife and the Marden Farmer Cluster to learn about their inspiring work We had our first green-winged orchid flowering here this year and the excitement when we spotted it knew no...

Back to Basics

Sue Whigham explores the wonderful biodiversity on the Isle of Oxney We got pretty excited early this morning when we spotted a large stand of ragwort behind a hedge (and luckily nowhere near livestock). Why? Because that would explain the...

Message in a Bottle

Jo Arnell finds out that there’s so much more to terrariums than first meets the eye when she meets Sebastian Tribe, founder of Terrapy Making a self-sustaining botanical world filled with beautiful, miniature plants is – if Sebastian Tribe has...

Ready for Round Two?

Jo Arnell heads to the veg patch to prep for an autumn harvest If you have some space in the vegetable garden – or if you’ve been thinking about growing vegetables but haven’t got round to it yet – there...

Falling for you

Sue Whigham explores the magnetic attraction of majestic irises Whilst we all have regrets, my current one is not having made the effort to go to RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year. And whilst there’s good coverage on the TV,...

Heaven Scent

Jo Arnell explains what you need to create the ultimate insect-attractor – a nectar border Insects may look insignificant, but they are pollinating our plants, playing vital roles in ecosystems and generally going about their minute business, quietly underpinning much...

Happy Medium

Sue Whigham explores the oh-so delicate world of epimediums –personal favourites that are a little harder to track down I’m happy that other names for epimediums include barrenwort, ‘Bishop’s hat’ and ‘fairy wings’ – but ‘horny goat weed’ is going...

Cut  Dried

Jo Arnell spreads the love of a new generation of preserved blooms Everlasting Flowers It’s been a while since dried flowers were in vogue – but after years in the interiors wilderness they have finally shaken off the dust, spruced...

Notes on Rye Harbour

Sue Whigham takes a trip to the coast to discover what makes the nature reserve at Rye Harbour such an incredible habitat for our wildlife We have the forces of the wind and the sea to thank for the initial...

Space to Heal

Jo Arnell explores the undisputed health benefits of therapeutic gardens Research has shown – and most gardeners can testify, that gardening is good for us. More and more hospitals, homes for the disabled and rehabilitation centres are installing therapeutic gardens....

Weird & Wonderful

Sue Whigham digs deep into the world of lesser-known fruit and veg I’ve joined a waiting list for Apios americana (above) but it’ll be worth the wait and also gives us a chance to thoroughly prepare the ground and find...

Vertical Gardening

Jo Arnell explains how to double your growing space by extending upwards If you are lucky enough to own a garden, remember that it’s not just the ground that is yours – the air above is also at your disposal....

The Glasshouse  Project  

Sue Whigham goes behind the scenes at a social enterprise which enables women approaching the end of their sentences to develop skills in horticulture before their release from prison ‘I believe everyone should have a second chance,’said the lady in...

Green Attraction

Jo Arnell looks into houseplants with benefits Keeping houseplants will make you more attractive. This is not just a ploy by the houseplant marketing board – according to some research commissioned by The Joy of Plants, all you need to...

Patience is a Virtue

Sue Whigham advises it’s worth taking your time to discover how your new garden grows as she contemplates the revamp of her son’s new outside space near Bath Having lived in a Brixton flat with a small but perfectly formed...

Curves in all the right places

Jo Arnell takes a look at the (frustratingly) skilled art of topiary There’s something soothingly barbaric about topiary. A tightly pruned tree growing exactly how we want it to grow – forced into submission and yet still happy enough to...

Keeping it Real

When it comes to lush winter foliage, the magic’s in the authenticity, as Jo Arnell explains Fake plants are getting more and more realistic – I often have to pinch a leaf, or even myself, when I see an impossibly...

Duchess Diaries

Jo Arnell goes behind the scenes at Belvior Castle to find out how Emma Manners, the 11th Duchess of Rutland, has tranformed its formal gardens in line with a treasure trove of plans rediscovered in the castle’s archives Imagine plunging...

Emerald City

Sue Whigham looks into evergreen trees and shrubs that can cope with drought conditions  In the 1980s we were custodians of an absolutely enormous holm oak (Quercus ilex). First introduced in the 1500s, these evergreen trees grow to a considerable...

Herb Appeal

Sue Whigham explores the rich history of herbalists So where to start. Perhaps with John Gerard, 16th century naturalist and herbalist (1545-1612) who had responsibility for many important British gardens including the Physic Garden at the College of Physicians in...

Up from the ashes

Jo Arnell picks drought-tolerant plants to soothe a parched summer garden It was a gruelling summer this year – nothing in comparison to what is happening in some parts of the world, but the fierce combination of extreme heat and...

Skandi Style

Sue Whigham reflects on the natural beauty of Sweden Rain at last and I think that we’re all sighing in relief and that goes for our gardens too. We were in Rye when it started yesterday and we passed a...

Totally Tropical

Work with nature to create a lush oasis in our unpredictable climate, as Jo Arnell explains   Making a tropical garden or border means choosing plants that will give the impression of the humid tropics – a lush-leaved oasis dripping...

Boxing Clever

Sue Whigham visits Benenden’s Balmoral Cottage, home to Charlotte and Donald Molesworth  I think I might have taken Charlotte too literally when she suggested an early meeting in her garden last Saturday morning. And I must say that my dogs...

Pick of the Crops

Jo Arnell explains why it’s not too late to get growing for autumn and winter harvests If you’ve been growing your own this year, then this month all that hard work could be about to pay off, although sometimes the...

Forever Colour

Give your garden’s hues true staying-power by selecting blooms that will provide a vibrant display all summer Where have all the flowers gone? It seems like only last week that the borders were full of colour, and now they’ve faded...

Glorious Geum

Sue Whigham delves into the background of this hardy perennial  Bearing in mind what sparkle and zing the bright flowers of geums bring to the garden, I’m wondering why we don’t have more of them here but the three G....

Wild Wine

Foraging expert and self-sufficiency instructor Michael White explains how to reap the rewards of making your own wine – no grapes required!  Do you enjoy drinking wine? Of course you do, but have you ever considered making it yourself? Very...

Cottage Garden Style

Jo Arnell explains how to create your very own country haven with cottage garden plants for a dreamy summer look Arches festooned with romantically billowing roses, paths lined with lavender and borders bursting with colourful perennials, the cottage garden is...