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The Gardening Coach

Catharine Howard is the Gardening Coach. Contact her for gardening advice and visit www.thegardeningcoach.co.uk for more information.

March 9, 2017 | My 10 top tips for a successful PLANTING PLAN

This week I have mostly been spending time on  planting plans and fending off the breath of chaos breathing  down the back of my collar as I juggle with 6 or 7 different projects.  It’s worth sharing some knowledge.

THERMOMETER:  Plant choice is worked out with my customers who can have as little or as much [...]

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March 6, 2017 | Bulbs - try out the dolly mixture planting style

Bulbs are opportunists.  Most come from the far Eastern end of the Mediterranean, from rocky scree where early  snow melt gives a source of water before summer drought.  The busting into leaf and flower comes from energy suppled by a modified root and shoot system stored in their fleshy cells. Photosynthesis and pollination accomplished, they [...]

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February 21, 2017 | Pennisetum Red Buttons runs away with me

I have been having a love-in with Fountain grasses for quite a while.   Pictured here is the one that I have run away with in my not so big garden.  It is Pennisetum massaicum ‘Red Buttons’. First eye-balled it at the Chelsea launch in 2010 on Neil Lucas’s Knoll stand.  Stalked after that,  including [...]

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February 17, 2017 | How was it for you? 2017 Garden Press Event

How was it for you? I am about to ring my PR mate and ask her about  yesterday’s Garden Press Event.  Actually I tried to call her for directions  as I blundered round windy walkways that skylined past St Giles Cripplegate church, urban lunchers and chunks  of Roman Wall.  The Barbican Exhibition hall was not [...]

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January 16, 2015 | Advice on fruit trees

Fruit trees are magnificent and lovely even without the eating.  Garden designers hunt around for architectural plants and most fruit trees have this this quality in spadefuls.  A few winters ago, I was tasked to renovate a small old orchard and my tree surgeon, who is a trained artist, pruned the old trees.  Out with [...]

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December 21, 2014 | H is for hairy hedges

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December 20, 2014 | Feast on your greens: winter gardening

December weather lays  bare the bones of the landscape and reminds keen gardeners of the delights of monochrome gardening.  Knock out  colour – except greens –   and think texture, movement, leaf contrast – all those things that design tutors at college chant as a mantra.

Last  autumn,  a group of us visited The Laskett in [...]

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October 7, 2014 | Tomato horrors: some fell witch has visited my greenhouse

This is a story of how NOT to grow tomatoes.

Growing in the greenhouse  began so well.    I am new to protected cropping and took great pride in stringing up my burgeoning plants and weaving them upwards.  The cucumbers got the same treatment.   Watered, fed, shut and open doors and all that and  I [...]

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September 29, 2014 | Problem planting areas - slopes round ponds

or should I say moats?   In Suffolk, east of England,  moats are ubiquitous .   I have lost count of how many customers I have with the address “Moat House Farm”.

The problem is that the banks down to the water are steep.  So what are the options for maintenance and aesthetics?  Lush growth of [...]

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September 28, 2014 | This is my mistreated carrot

An extreme example of very poor soil preparation.  The wretched thing is coiled into a scream that stops it taking flight for a Tony Cragg Road Show.

We ate it and it was quite tasty.

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