From Camper Vans to Hosepipe Bans

Welcome to my latest newsletter, I hope full of inspirational tips and ideas for your creative gardening efforts!  If you have anything to add or need any assistance, do give me a call on tel: 07708 643313 or drop me an email.

For those of you who know me well, you’ll also know of my passion for camper vans!  My Twitter pal, Jo Thompson, has been awarded the wonderful task of designing The Caravan Club’s garden at Chelsea this year.  More on that in May!

urban greening

You may think you have only a small garden, but actually our gardens account for about 25% of the land in most cities.  Multiply this by the 80% population living in towns and cities and the numbers soon start to add up! 

We can all make a real difference by ensuring every available space in our front and back gardens contain planting.  Why is this important?  Well you can download the full PDF article from the RHS website, but there are 3 key points I would like to bring to your attention:

  • Gardens can help reduce urban flooding by mitigating storm water fall
  • Gardens provide both habitat and refuge for wildlife
  • Plants and gardens are good for us – just refer to some of my previous newsletters!

top tasks for the month ahead

I don’t know about you, but with this lovely sunny weather, I’m keen as mustard to start nurturing and growing, so here are my tips for the month ahead:

  • Sow your Sweet Peas into deep pots and, by deep, I mean around 18” tall!
  • Divide any spreading clumps of perennials, such as Phlox and Campanula (Bellflower) by cutting off the outer sections and transplanting them.  I’ve found a great video to demonstrate this, but give me a call if you feel you need some help or guidance
  • Sow your peas in (spare) lengths of guttering under cover in order to plant out the seedlings, when they reach 2-3″, in an instant row
  • Plant out your onion sets (fat end down) in rows, about 4-6″ apart.  Sets are just miniature onion bulbs; they tend to be easier to grow and more resistant to disease, although they are slightly more expensive than seed
  • Feed brassicas (Cabbage, Brocolli, Bok Choy, Brussels Sprouts… and Mustard) with nitrogen-rich pelleted chicken manure, such as ‘New Horizon’ or organic if you prefer.  Feel free to call me for more details
  • Sow seeds of Strawberries, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Chillies and even Aubergines in your greenhouse

 proud to be British?

If you want to ‘dress’ your gardens in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, then of course you’ll need a red, white and blue planting scheme! 

Plants to look out for include white Verbenas, Lobelias and Nemesia ‘Wisley Vanilla’, red Pelargoniums (Geraniums) and blue Lobelia Panthera ‘Cobalt’.  Purchase them early but do remember to protect from the threat of any further frost. 

If you would like to review or refresh your planting scheme generally, perhaps to ensure colour and interest throughout the year, please give me a call or drop me an email.

design v ecology

There is much discussion currently in the horticultural world about pictorial meadow planting and wild meadow planting; they have their differences and I believe both have their place in our landscapes.

If you’d like to find out more, take a look at Professor Nigel Dunnett’s work at the London Wetland Centre.

are you wasting water?

In my last newsletter I referred to the dreaded ‘drought’, and the latest information on a hosepipe ban tells us that it will be introduced on 5 April 2012.  For those of you who don’t know, this has resulted from the two previous very dry winters.  If you want to learn more visit

Alternatively, you’ll find this blog from The Guardian, either mildly entertaining or madly infuriating as it backs-up the hypocrisy and futility of the hosepipe ban…