News - Page 53

Slug barriers at the ready: Britain’s gardens are in for an invasion this summer

Slug barriers at the ready: Britain’s gardens are in for an invasion this summer according to experts predicting an unusually high number of our least favourite gastropods.

Researchers at conservation charity Buglife have predicted that the record warm temperatures this winter means slugs have not retreated for their usual period of hibernation, but have carried on breeding instead. At the same time populations of natural predators like hedgehogs are dwindlin...

Read more...
Leeks sown this spring should be a nice healthy size by now

Leeks sown this spring should be a nice healthy size by now, and it’s time to transplant them across into their final growing places. If you didn’t get around to sowing seeds, don’t worry – you’ll find ready-grown leek seedlings among the great range of veg plug plants at our garden centre here in Pickering.

Instead of just plonking them in the ground, encourage them to form long, white shanks by puddling them in. This is the rather quaint name for a te...

Read more...
The Chelsea Flower Show starts tomorrow

Dust off your best frock – it’s time for the gardening world’s premier event of the year! The RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens this week and we can’t wait to see what the world’s best designers have come up with this year. Expect groundbreaking designs, superb plants, drama and above all glamour from the moment it starts this Tuesday.

This year peonies are set to be the stars of the show, their blowsily romantic flowers featuring on many gardens and in the Great...

Read more...
Have a go at growing greenhouse cucumbers

Have a go at growing greenhouse cucumbers and you too can enjoy the slim, elegant, dark green cukes you buy in the shops.

Greenhouse cucumbers are easy to grow, crop prolifically, and unlike outdoor cucumbers, you don’t have to peel them before you eat them. Growing cucumbers under glass is also good insurance in case wet weather rots outdoor plants before they get going.

The seed of all-female F1 varieties such as Tiffany or Carmen are worth paying a...

Read more...
The Chelsea Fringe begins at the weekend

The Chelsea Fringe begins at the weekend, a few days before its world-famous big sister, the Chelsea Flower Show, opens its doors. The Fringe offers an antidote to all that glamour with a little quirky and alternative horticulture of its own.

Last year more than 350 Fringe events took place all over the UK, plus a few other countries too. Nearly all the events are free and volunteer-run: they range from poetry recitals and art installations, to more off...

Read more...
Count your earthworms!

Count your earthworms and help Oxford scientists find out more about the soil that keeps your plants healthy in the latest ‘citizen science’ project from environmental charity Earthwatch.

All you need to do is dig two holes somewhere in your garden where there are at least two different habitats – say, lawn and flowerbed - and count how many earthworms you find. Then fill in the simple online survey to record your results.

Researchers will use your res...

Read more...
Use your walls to the max with vertical gardening

Use your walls to the max with vertical gardening to cram even more colour, scent and spectacle into your garden and add a whole new dimension to your gardening life.

There are dozens of new and innovative ways to take your plants skywards and you’ll find many of them right here at our garden centre in Pickering.

Shelving systems triple the number of containers you can squeeze in. Shelving with slatted wood allows water to drain through; if the shelves...

Read more...
The number of plants blooming on Valentine’s Day this year shot up

The number of plants blooming on Valentine’s Day this year shot up by over 60% according to the results of the National Trust’s 11th annual February flower count. Each year the Trust counts the number of flowers in bloom on February 14th at 18 of its gardens in the south west of the UK. The sudden increase this year is thought to have been caused by high rainfall and mild temperatures, causing plants to become confused about when they should bloom.

A total of...

Read more...
Plant rhubarb now

Plant rhubarb now for bumper crops next spring. Late spring is a great time to plant permanent crops, as it's warm but there's plenty of rain about – ideal growing conditions. Big, hungry plants like rhubarb need time to get their roots down into the ground to fuel those stout stalks and huge leaves, so planting crowns before the heat of summer gives them a quick start and a whole season to get going before you start picking – giving you hefty harvests from next sea...

Read more...
Gardeners may be able to help reverse the decline in butterfly populations

Gardeners may be able to help reverse the decline in butterfly populations according to Butterfly Conservation, now recruiting volunteers to join its Garden Butterfly Survey.

The survey will reveal the ups and downs of garden butterfly numbers, plus how they are affected by climate change, what plants they prefer and the best size and location for a butterfly-friendly garden.

Britain’s 22 million gardens offer a potentially huge and vitally important h...

Read more...