Feathered Friends’ Feeding Frenzy

I recently published a blog on 10 Tips for Attracting Wildlife to your garden which started with “Feed the Birds”.  This was soon after the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in which the UK public is asked to submit details of the birds which visited their garden during one hour over a weekend at the end of January.  The data is then used to evaluate bird populations across the UK.  Inevitably during the hour we chose to undertake our birdwatch we had a single solitary Robin pay a visit and nothing else.  Knowing that we frequently get a wider range of birds, and having recently enhanced the bird feeding area in our garden, I thought it might be interesting to conduct a slightly longer survey to see which visitors we see most often and in the largest numbers.  This is a blog about the results of the survey which demonstrate that you don’t need a large garden, or to live in the countryside, to engage with wildlife. Continue reading

To Dig or not to Dig, that is the Question

Digging.  An activity which for many years has been considered an essential feature of gardening, particularly in the vegetable patch.  But is it all it’s cracked up to be?  This blog is about the pros and cons of digging a plot, and where I am currently at in my own practice. Continue reading

10 Tips for Attracting Wildlife

Gardens, even small ones or indeed any greenery, can provide a much appreciated habitat for wildlife, particularly in our increasingly urbanised living spaces.  Whatever planting you have is likely to harbour some of the creatures with which we share our planet.  However, there are a number of initiatives that can be applied in outdoor spaces which can really enhance the environment and attract a wide range of wildlife to the doorstep of our homes.  This blog provides an overview of 10 ideas for supporting wildlife in gardens and other outdoor spaces. Continue reading

Winter Inspiration: A Visit to Dunham Massey

In an effort to get out of the house on a grey day in the middle of January we decided to make a visit to Dunham Massey.  January is not normally considered the best time of year for garden visits, but a focus on winter interest at this garden provides great inspiration.   Continue reading

Allotment Harvest 2017: the winners and losers

During 2017 I took part in a research project being conducted by staff at University of Sheffield, under the banner of MY Harvest, into the impact of home grown produce on UK food production.  The project involved enlisting domestic gardeners who grow their own fruit and vegetables, either on an allotment or at home, to submit data about their crop yields throughout the year.  This blog post is about what the data for my own plot has revealed about this year’s harvest and has been written in conjunction with Datawoj (otherwise known as my husband!) who did some snazzy data visualisation for me. Continue reading

Making the most of small outdoor spaces

Gardening magazines and programmes often depict gardening in expansive country settings where all manner of styles and features can be accommodated.  However for many people living in towns and cities outdoor space is at a premium, sometimes awkwardly shaped, and often enclosed with extremes of sun or shade.  Much as I love visiting and reading about beautiful gardens in impressive estates, there is something fascinating about the challenge of accommodating greenery in much more limited spaces.  This blog focusses on ways to make the most of small outdoor spaces. Continue reading

Allotments: what is their role in the 21st Century?

We have had an allotment for the past 5 years.  As well as enjoying the fruits of our labour in terms of the produce we have grown, I have also been an active member of the allotment colony’s association committee which has provided some insight into the issues associated with managing an allotment site.  This blog is a reflection on the role of allotments in modern life and why, in my view, they continue to be an important feature of our national culture in the UK.


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New Planting Scheme: Part 1

After almost a decade in our current home, in which modifications to the permanent planting have happened in piecemeal fashion, I have decided that the time has come to take a more planned approach.  This blog is about what’s wrong with the current planting (in my view) and what I hope to achieve by redesigning it (if I ever get the chance!). Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities: a case study in contradictory approaches to urban greening

Recently, via the wonders of social media, I have become aware of what appears to be an example of two initiatives taking place within the same city which seem entirely at odds with each other when it comes to environmental sustainability.  The city is Sheffield in the north of England, where on the one hand there has been widespread acclaim for a recently delivered urban greening project, and on the other widespread despair at the removal of thousands of mature street trees.  What makes this even more noteworthy is that both of these schemes have been lead by the local authority, Sheffield City Council.  This blog post will explore the two approaches and how one appears to undermine the aspirations of the other. Continue reading

Container Gardening: Autumn 2017

For many people gardening in small urban spaces, containers will almost certainly form a key part of their planting space, and may be the only option if there is no open ground available.  In my own garden I have two small beds either side of a paved area but I have always supplemented these with the use of containers to provide an opportunity for temporary planting including edibles and seasonal displays.  This blog post is focussed on some recent Autumn planting I have undertaken in my own garden. Continue reading