Blog history

August 2017
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My Garden vs The England Football Team

What did you do on Sunday 27 June? Well, if you’re English, German or a fan of football/soccer/the beautiful game etc etc, you probably spent the afternoon watching England crashing out of the World Cup in such a dismal fashion that at 5pm, millions of vuvuzelas emblazoned with the cross of St George were snapped [...]

For those about to open their gardens, I salute you!

So little time, so much to do. Yes, it can only mean one thing…that I’m just about to open my Walthamstow bolt-hole for the National Gardens Scheme. This will be the second time (you can read about all the tears, merry making and cake chomping on my garden opening debut here) that I’ve thrown open [...]

The grim spectre of death strikes my garden

I don’t want to scare you off before you’ve even read the first paragraph, but this post is all about DEATH. Over the past few months, the grim reaper has hung out big time at my house. Not only did we lose our beloved hamster Hamboleyn to old age (he lived to a respectable 18 [...]

Weevil hearted you

The other day I stepped out of my back door to find the branches of a Begonia ‘Bonfire’ in a big pile underneath the hanging basket, which they had cascaded from so beautifully all summer long. Strange, as the plant had looked perfectly well the evening before, but I immediately guessed this was the handiwork [...]

Martyn’s video guide to planting spring bulbs

Have you ever wanted to make a Marge Simpson style hairdo out of grape hyacinth bulbs, but didn’t know how? Yes, of course you have…who in their right mind wouldn’t want to? Well now you can – all you need to do is watch this spring bulb planting vodcast, where I show how to create [...]

Noise annoys

Over the last few weeks, ‘Grrrrr. What the hell is that noise?’ was my much uttered mantra. Sat in my office (or more accurately, back bedroom) upstairs, I’ve been driven demented by the sound of what I thought were small stones landing on my patio. Every time I heard the noise, I would leap out [...]

I went to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and all I got were these lousy aeoniums

Result! I usually spend the first couple of hours of preview day at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (6-12 July) perusing the show gardens, but this year I decided to throw caution to the wind and head into the floral marquee first. By a great stroke of luck the first thing I saw was [...]

O-Day Minus 13

In thirteen days time I’m opening my diminutive garden in East London for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) for the first time. On the whole I can’t wait to meet, greet and show anyone who’s interested the garden that I have built from scratch over the last five years. However, I’m also a little apprehensive [...]

I’m not gonna eat a lot of peaches

Developing peach on my treeMost plant diseases have names that make them sound pretty horrible. Smut, scab and canker are obvious examples, but there is an exception – peach leaf curl. The disease is quite stunning to look at and the name itself possesses a benevolent air, rolling easily off the tongue unlike the aforementioned [...]

Ace of spathes

When I tell someone I’ve got a completely south facing back garden they expect to find a garden full of sun-loving exotics. Well they’d be wrong. Some deft (or maybe daft) positioning of a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, a couple of black bamboos (I swear they weren’t that big when I planted them) and a [...]