Why am I still doing exams at my age?!

Picture the scene: a visit to the beautiful Ness Botanic Garden, on the Wirral, on a pleasant morning in June. Baby safely installed with Daddy daycare. There bright and early with the whole day ahead to enjoy. Sounds marvellous doesn’t it? Just one problem: I’m there to sit exams for an RHS Level 3 qualification in Horticulture. So really, why am I doing this to myself?

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Sweet Sensations: Fragrance

A huge amount of emphasis in gardening is focussed on how plants and hard landscaping can be combined to make a space look good, using colour, form and texture.  However, incorporating features which engage other senses can be equally important in creating a garden which can be enjoyed year round.  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

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