Using Plug Plants to Create a Beautiful Hanging Basket

When spring comes around, you should be thinking about preparing your hanging baskets for some summer colour. Plug Plants are perfect for this, as they work out cheaper to buy than traditional summer bedding plants, and you have a much wider choice of colours and varieties.

Geranium Plug Plant Display

Geranium Plug Plant Display

If you want to create the perfect mixed hanging basket, it is important to choose a selection of upright, and trailing plug plants, to create a full basket with plenty of colour, and no spaces.

My favourite combination of plug plants for a hanging basket, are an Upright Fuchsia (preferably hardy), and a selection of one or two trailing verbena, and geraniums. This creates the perfect size combinations, to make your hanging basket look fantastic in full bloom. You could also add some million bells to create an even larger trailing edge.

Million Bells Trailing Blue

Million Bells Trailing Blue

Where to Buy Your Plug Plants Online

Now you can always check if your local garden centre sells plug plants, however if you would rather purchase online, then there are a few companies I will recommend. There are some mixed reviews of a few companies (mentioning no names), with comments about poor quality packaging, with plugs found upside down and broken. However speaking from experience, I can advise you to go with Babyplants.co.uk, as they seem to care a lot more about the packaging of the plug plants than others, and are very reasonably priced.

Guardian grows competition  share your most original places to grow plants

Do you grow plants in unusual places? We’d like to hear from you!

Enter the Guardian Grows competition and inspire us with your most inventive means of planting. Whether you’re growing flowers in upcycled wellies or vegetables in an old kitchen sink, share your most original places to grow plants – one photo per person please – for the chance to win up to £100 in garden centre vouchers.

We want to prove that you don’t need acres of land to enjoy planting. The winning images will be publicly displayed in the Guardian lobby from 20 July – 2 Aug.

The competition closes midnight on 30th June 2014. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions below.

Terms and Conditions – Guardian grows GuardianWitness Competition

Entering the Competition

  1. The Guardian Grows GuardianWitness competition (the “Competition”) is open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
  2. The Competition is not open to employees or agencies of Guardian News & Media Limited (“GNM” or the “Promoter”), their group companies or family members, freelance contributors to GNM or anyone else connected to the Competition.
  3. Entrants into the Competition shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions.
  4. To enter the Competition you must sign in to GuardianWitness (on desktop, Android or iPhone app) using your Guardian, Facebook or Twitter account and submit a photograph of an unusual method for growing plants. In submitting your entry, you must follow the instructions on GuardianWitness (including as to file format and size). No purchase is necessary. If you have any questions about how to enter or otherwise in connection with the Competition, please email us at readersoffershelp@guardian.co.uk with “Guardian Grows” Witness Competition” in the subject line.
  5. Only one entry per person. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed. You are responsible for the cost (if any) of sending your Competition entry to us. The winner shall be the owner of the Guardian, Facebook or Twitter account from which the selected winning entry is sent.
  6. GNM accepts no responsibility for entries that are lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt by GNM.
  7. The Competition opens at 11am on 3 June 2014 and closes at 23.59 on 30 June 2014. Entries received outside this time period will not be considered. GNM reserves the right in its absolute discretion to extend the closing date where the entries received are of insufficient quality.
  8. You own the copyright to your Competition entry as its author. If another person has photographed your entry, you warrant that you have received an assignment of all associated copyright to that entry from that person. The Promoter may ask to see evidence of that assignment at any time.
  9. By submitting an entry to the Competition, you give GNM: a) Permission for your entry to be published on GNM websites including but not limited to witness.theguardian.com and theguardian.com (“GNM Websites”) and on any social media account controlled by GNM, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter accounts (“GNM Social Media Accounts”) , and you grant GNM a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide licence to use and publish your Competition entry in electronic format (including on GNM Websites and GNM Social Media Accounts) and hard copy (including in GNM publications) for purposes connected with the Competition, and to adapt the entry to enable such publication (including to crop or otherwise edit it for such purposes), and you hereby irrevocably waive, for the benefit of GNM, all moral rights in the entry to which you are entitled; and b) The right to use your name and county of residence for the sole purpose of identifying you as the author of your entry and/or as a winner of the Competition.
  10. Your entry must be your own work, must not be copied, must not contain any third-party materials and/or content that you do not have permission to use, must not promote any goods or services or include any trade marks (other than those belonging to the Promoter), and must not show inappropriate or dangerous behaviour, or otherwise be obscene, defamatory, distasteful, offensive, or in breach of any applicable law or regulation, or in breach of any confidentiality obligations owed by you to third parties. If we have reason to believe your entry is in breach of this paragraph 10 then we may not consider it and may disqualify it.
  11. Entrants confirm that each individual whose image is featured in the Competition entry has given consent for the use of his/her image in connection with this Competition and in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. Where an individual whose image is featured in a Competition entry is aged less than 18 years the entrant confirms that the parent or guardian of that individual has given the relevant consent.
  12. We may disqualify your Competition entry for the following reasons: your entry does not comply with these Terms and Conditions; you have not obtained the consents detailed in paragraph 11 above; you are not eligible to enter the Competition; or you cannot be contacted. In the event of disqualification, we may select a new winner in accordance with the selection processes outlined below.

    Picking the winner

  13. A judge who is independent of GNM will select the best 8 entries from all Competition entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions, using the criteria described in paragraph 14. The judge reserves the right in his/her absolute discretion to include fewer than 8 entries in the shortlist where the valid entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions are, in his/her reasonable opinion, of insufficient quality. Full details of the judging process and the name of the judge are available on request to readersoffershelp@guardian.co.uk.
  14. When choosing the winners, the judge will consider the most original images which have the most impact.
  15. The judge will select the winning entry on or before 4th July 2014.The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

    The Prizes

  16. The Competition winners will receive vouchers which can be used to purchase items sold at the Guardian Garden Centre (http://www.guardiangardencentre.co.uk/), as follows:

    1st prize: £100 voucher;

    2nd prize: £75 voucher;

    3rd and 4th prizes: £50 voucher (each);

    and 5th to 8th prize: £25 voucher (each).

    Vouchers must be used in full against a single transaction. The voucher has no cash value and no change will be given. Any spend above the value of the voucher must be paid for by the winner. The voucher may only be used by the original recipient. Vouchers must be used within 6 months of the date of issue. The voucher may only be redeemed over the phone against items sold by the Guardian Garden centre: (http://www.guardiangardencentre.co.uk/).

  17. The winners will be notified by phone or email on or before 4th July 2014 and given details of how to claim their prize. If a winner does not respond to GNM within 14 days of being notified of their win, that winner’s prize will be forfeited and GNM shall be entitled to select another winner in accordance with the process described above (and that winner will have to respond to notification of their win within 14 days or else they will also forfeit their prize). If a winner rejects their prize or the entry is invalid or in breach of these Terms and Conditions, the winner’s prize will be forfeited and GNM shall be entitled to select another winner.
  18. Prizes will be sent to the winner by 31st July 2014.
  19. The prizes are non-exchangeable, non-transferable and are not redeemable for cash or any other prize. You must pay all other costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize.
  20. GNM reserves the right to substitute the prize with an alternative prize of similar value in the event that the original prize offered is not available.

    Some other rules

  21. The name and county of the winner can be obtained after 30th June 2014 by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address: Reader offers, Guardian News & Media Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU.
  22. The winner may be required to take part in promotional activity related to the Competition and the winner shall participate in such activity on the Promoter’s reasonable request. The winner consents to the use by the Promoter and its related companies, both before and after the closing date of the Competition for an unlimited time, of the winner’s voice, image, photograph and name for publicity purposes (in any medium, including still photographs and films, and on the internet, including any websites hosted by the Promoter and its related companies) and in advertising, marketing or promotional material without additional compensation or prior notice and, in entering the Competition, all entrants consent to the same.
  23. The Promoter shall use and take care of any personal information you supply to it as described in its privacy policy, a copy of which can be seen at http://www.theguardian.com/help/privacy-policy, and in accordance with data protection legislation. By entering the Competition, you agree to the collection, retention, usage and distribution of your personal information in order to process and contact you about your Competition entry, and for the purpose outlined in paragraph 21 above.
  24. GNM accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Competition or accepting the prize. GNM further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the Competition. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall exclude the liability of GNM under law for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation, or for death or personal injury resulting from its negligence.
  25. GNM reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its reasonable control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of GNM in all matters relating to the Competition is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  26. GNM shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations relating to this Competition where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.
  27. The Competition and these Terms and Conditions will be governed by English law and entrants to the Competition submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
  28. Promoter: Guardian News & Media Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU.

Chelsea Discoveries

The Discovery Zone at Chelsea has really upped its game with stands that intrigue and inform. Shallow person that I am, I was attracted by the zinc planters on the Rothamsted Research Centre stand (I wasn’t alone, apparently several people had asked) and in case you too are wondering – they were made by the team at Rothamsted. Turning my attention to more serious matters, I found that they are doing some very interesting work on how altering petal colours can deter insect pests and reduce the need for the use of pesticides. The research was demonstrated by rape plants that had been watered with dilute dye, but in the long term would obviously involve breeding new strains with different coloured flowers. When I asked about bees they told me that they quickly adapt to the new colour and carry on gathering pollen as before. Clever stuff.attractive round zinc planter at the chelsea flower show
Nearby, the Food & Environment Agency had put together a great looking stand featuring suitcases bursting with flowers to highlight the danger of unwittingly importing pests and diseases along with the plants we bring back from our foreign travels. Most of the major problems are as a result of commercial timber and plant imports from Asia, but nonetheless it’s worth checking that rosemary plant to make sure it is free of rosemary beetle before you transport it across the Channel.suitcases of plants on stand at chelsea

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Edging: it’s a facelift for your lawn

Garden week: Lawns

A well-edged lawn makes the grass looks kempt and well-loved. Photograph: Stephen Sykes /Alamy

Every now and then I like to indulge my inner Hyacinth Bucket and edge my lawn. This is one of those faintly ridiculous pastimes, something akin to the stuffing of a mushroom. Who has time for this stuff in our busy lives? We could be learning the harpsichord, writing a novella, gazing at sunsets. But I’m kind of fond of it, and as my garden mostly bumbles on with very little input from me, I am partial to spending the odd hour on this one seriously uptight task.


Husqvarna logo
This blogpost is sponsored by Husqvarna

The thing I really like about edging the lawn is the redefining of boundaries. You’ll have to indulge me for a minute here, but I think it is a good metaphor for this whole gardening malarkey. What is it that we are up to when we garden? We are stamping our humanness on the landscape, domesticating it, making it recognisably patterned and shaped. I have a circular lawn with a straight path running through the middle of it. I like the formality of this, the flat, (almost) perfect circle contrasting with the wilder borders. When I don’t edge, all of this starts to blur. The grass runs in between the lumpy cloud-pruned box plants that circle the lawn and makes a bid for the border, flowering spikes of it even popping up out of the tops of the box mounds. Nature is reasserting itself.

I think a gardener often needs an edge. Where I have proper, wooden edges at the allotment it doesn’t actually stop the couch grass from stealing into beds, but it does give me something to work back to, a definite line in the sand, or, in my case, the clay. It stops the creep that sees unedged beds slowly shrinking over time, becoming more path than bed. In short, I like an edge. Give me boundaries.

There is a half-hearted sort of edging that is quite quick, snipping around my lawn circle with long-handled shears to beat back the overlong bits. But that is not the sort of edging that interests me. After a lengthy period of neglect I needed to go about this with serious intent. I do own a half-moon edger, one of those wonderfully specific tools that truly only does one thing. Its rounded-blade-on-a-stick slices into the straying turf, but then can slide along through the soil to the next slicing point. On the few straight bits I stretched a piece of string between two sticks to truly straighten things up, but on the curve I worked by eye, cutting, kicking up the offending bit of turf, weeding behind and under the box hedging, and then giving the whole newly bare area a luscious mulch (which helps keep the box hedge happy too).

If mowing the lawn is like giving the garden a good haircut, then edging is the full facelift. It makes the lawn look kempt and well-loved even if it isn’t, and the garden look intended, domesticated and under control, even if it barely is.

• This blogpost is the latest in a series on lawns sponsored by Husqvarna. Read the earlier parts here and here.

How to be a Show Critic

Back before he was famous, important, an RHS worthy – and made silly films with Joe Swift and Cleve West as part of Three Men went to Mow – James Alexander Sinclair and I used to have a very jolly time going round the various RHS shows each year, passing our own judgement on the various gardens. He taught me how to assess the various qualities of the gardens and ask myself why I liked or disliked aspects of design or planting. The most important piece of advice he gave me was this: When you like a garden, ask yourself what you would leave out (apparently designers nearly always add something extraneous at the last moment). If you don’t like a garden, look for the one redeeming feature. I’ve been doing it ever since and it really does make looking at show gardens a richer experience. Try it next time you’re at a flower show.
The garden designer James Alexander Sinclair

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Gorilla (as opposed to Guerilla) Gardening

To my great joy I have finally found a product that fixes broken terracotta really effectively. Gorilla Glue is an American product that claims to mend just about anything – including metal, stone, ceramic and wood – so I thought I would see what it could do for a large vintage pot that has been rather unsuccessfully held together with wires for the last few years. All I had to do was wet one of the sides to be bonded, apply the glue and then push the two surfaces together. Clamping is advised for a firm repair, but I just turned the pot upside down as its weight was as effective as a clamp. As it bonds the surfaces, the glue expands and oozes out of either side of the repair. I’ve left the inner side untouched (it will be covered with soil) but on the outside I scraped away the excess with a penknife and then rubbed over the repair with a piece of broken terracotta – it is quite noticeable at the moment but will soon weather down and disappear. It’s wonderful to have my pot back in one piece.terracotta pot being glued back togetherterracotta pot how it looks after being glued

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Sausage vines – a scent that sizzles

Holboelia brachyandra

The flowers of Holboellia brachyandra smell of cantaloupe melon. Photograph: Robbie Blackhall-Miles

I found myself in a polytunnel recently, sorting out the climbing plants for Sophie Walker’s Cave Pavilion, one of the fresh gardens at this year’s RHS Chelsea flower show. With the weather being quite warm, the temperature was heading up towards 30C. The climbing plants of Holboellia and Stauntonia were flowering more than I have ever seen them before. The heady scent of the flowers was filling the air with notes of cantaloupe melon, cucumber and jasmine. Daydreams, in sepia tones, of holidays past, started to enter my head. The moment was so restful that I stopped thinking about the stress of the few weeks left until the show.

Known as sausage vines because of their bright purple or pink sausage-shaped, edible fruit, these evergreen climbers sit in a family called the Lardizabalaceae. What a mouthful! This family also includes Akebia and Decaisnia. The first of these is known as the chocolate vine, because of the colour and fragrance of its flowers, and the second is nick-named dead man’s fingers, because of its blue finger-like fruit.

Stauntonia and Holboellia aren’t new to British cultivation, although it’s only really in the past 20 years have they become more readily available. Stauntonia was introduced to the western world by Sir George Staunton and named in his honour. He brought it to Britain from China while on a mission to establish trade between the two countries, as part of Britain’s first embassy to the emperor. Holboellia is named after Fred Louis Holboell, superintendent of Copenhagen botanic garden.

The book A General System of Gardening and Botany published in 1831 states: “This plant requires plenty of room to grow and climb or they will not flower” and this much is true. Many, particularly Stauntonias, will happily cover buildings or climb into trees. At home, I grow two Holboellia coreaceae on a fence that runs the entire 20M length of my small garden, and in places you can no longer see the fence. But with a little careful pruning they are neat, tidy climbers deserving of that little bit of effort.

It’s “careful” pruning that’s the trick with them. During late spring and early summer they have the potential to put on metres of new growth and many people are tempted to chop it right back, keeping their plant under control, and thus robbing themselves of any scented blooms. The trick is to cut each of these new growths back to just 2 or 3 leaves, as this is where the following year’s flowers will appear.


Hoelboellia latifolia
Holboellia latifolia is a recent introduction to British cultivation. Photograph: Robbiue Blackhall-Miles

Recent introductions to British cultivation of Holboellia include H. brachyandra, which smells of cantaloupe melon, as well as H. latifolia, with both dark and light-flowering forms. As for Stauntonia, the deep purple flowers of S. purpurea have re-curved petals, like little pixies’ bonnets. There has long been confusion between Stauntonia and Holboellia. As an example, S. yaoshanensis was originally known as Holboellia grandiflora. My favourite though is S. hexaphylla, with flowers up to 4cm across. These are in pale cream and pink tones, while the leaves are made of five leaflets held elegantly and flushed with coral when new.

And what of that edible sausage-fruit? I like to scoop out the pulpy insides and eat it fresh, spitting out the dark seeds as I go. The thick rind of the fruit can then be stuffed with lentils or minced turkey, mixed with fresh coriander, sweet chilli dipping sauce, soy and lime juice and baked in tin foil. Its slightly bitter taste is reminiscent of aubergine, complementing the oriental sweet and sour of its contents just nicely.

Holboellia and Stauntonia aren’t bold or brash like some climbers can be. But when the smell transports you away from the humdrum of normal life you will thank yourself, as I do, for planting one.

• Robbie Blackhall-Miles is a modern day plant hunter’s propagator and gardener. He is personally interested in ancient families of plants and blogs about these on his website fossilplants.co.uk. He also tweets as @fossilplants.

Gardening for free for ever

Kim Stoddart with her kale plants

Kim Stoddart’s kale plants are already starting to set seed. Photograph: Kim Stoddart

When I first started this blog I imagined there would be a few small sacrifices to make along the way. I was confident I could learn to make, mend and “do” my way out of most of the obstacles I’d face; but surely my complete lack of buying power would hinder my ability to garden as before?

As it turns out – no – not at all.

I’ve had to make an exemption for horticultural books and magazines which I can’t always get from the library or indeed for free, but that’s it. Otherwise, I’d go as far to say my gardening experience has been greatly enriched.

It’s true some things have taken more time – at least at first. The raised beds and pathways I built last year were very time-consuming. However, that wasn’t because I was making them out of free materials – they were just fiddly to do full stop. But they definitely make life a hell of a lot easier now they’re there.

I have to confess I was tentative about using my homemade seed compost. Surely it couldn’t be as effective as the bags of crumbly potting material I used to buy? Yet a few months in and I love using it. Yes, there’s the odd weed to pick out, but it does the job superbly. I can just go and help myself when I need more.

Over time I’ve become more confident at experimenting. I don’t use rooting powder on the cuttings I’ve taken (as I’ve run out) and I’ve been snipping a few at the wrong time of year, but yet most (about 90%) have taken. This is despite me clumsily pulling them out of the earth and shifting them to a new home about a month ago. I’ve learned that most often things aren’t as precise or indeed complicated as they are made out to be.

Seed saving is a perfect example. Most people have dabbled with peas, lettuce and maybe tomato but there’s an aura of mystery about most of the rest – I wasn’t sure how much I’d be actually able to do for myself. Yet I’ve got last year’s beetroot and carrot about to flower, and my herd of kale plants are beginning to set seed already. That’s just for starters. Entering this bountiful world has without doubt been the most rewarding exercise so far.

There are a multitude of reasons why this activity deserves and warrants more attention. The Soil Association certainly think so, and this is why I am working with them to produce a series of short films on seed saving which will be shown on this blog in the coming months.

During filming at the Garden House horticultural school in Brighton, I found myself in awe of the stunning array of landscaped flowers and shrubs. It cemented my desire to expand my gardening horizons. As luck would have it, a trip to the annual seed giveaway at the scenic Royal Pavilion gardens provided me with a range of ornamental seeds with which to start. While there I found out about the many inspirational wildflower planting projects taking place in and around Brighton. Speaking to the people involved has reinforced to me the true meaning of the saying “weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place”, and they shouldn’t necessarily be eradicated. Although pesky hairy bitter cress – I make an exception for you – be gone for ever, dammit!

The challenges of not being able to buy anything will continue, as will my experimenting with new (and old) ways of doing things. Gardening for free is no longer an experiment – it’s just what I do now and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

If there are any areas you’d particularly like me to cover in the coming months in this blog please share them in the comment section. As always, I’m keen to hear your ideas and experiences on all things gardening for free.

Up and Away – from the Slugs and Snails

There is no point in growing salads at ground level in our garden – they disappear overnight as platoons of slugs and snails emerge from their hiding places in walls and terraces to feast on my efforts. Rather than spend a fortune on wool pellets and nematodes (I keep these for other crops) I grow my salads in containers that can be kept out of their reach. In the kitchen courtyard where I like them to look decorative, they are planted in metal and terracotta containers, but in the vegetable plot I use recycled fish boxes on a table top. This has worked fine until I discovered that the local fox rather liked sitting on the salads as he took in the view – so now I have had to rig up a frame covered in wire netting to protect them from yet another creature threatening their destruction. I sometimes feel that I spend far more time devising barriers than I do on actual gardening.salad growing in assortment of potssalad protected by chicken wire

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Gardening for free forever

Kim Stoddart with her kale plants

Kim Stoddart’s kale plants are already starting to set seed. Photograph: Kim Stoddart

When I first started this blog I imagined there would be a few small sacrifices to make along the way. I was confident I could learn to make, mend and “do” my way out of most of the obstacles I’d face; but surely my complete lack of buying power would hinder my ability to garden as before?

As it turns out – no – not at all.

I’ve had to make an exemption for horticultural books and magazines which I can’t always get from the library or indeed for free, but that’s it. Otherwise, I’d go as far to say my gardening experience has been greatly enriched.

It’s true some things have taken more time – at least at first. The raised beds and pathways I built last year were very time-consuming. However, that wasn’t because I was making them out of free materials – they were just fiddly to do full stop. But they definitely make life a hell of a lot easier now they’re there.

I have to confess I was tentative about using my homemade seed compost. Surely it couldn’t be as effective as the bags of crumbly potting material I used to buy? Yet a few months in and I love using it. Yes, there’s the odd weed to pick out, but it does the job superbly. I can just go and help myself when I need more.

Over time I’ve become more confident at experimenting. I don’t use rooting powder on the cuttings I’ve taken (as I’ve run out) and I’ve been snipping a few at the wrong time of year, but yet most (about 90%) have taken. This is despite me clumsily pulling them out of the earth and shifting them to a new home about a month ago. I’ve learned that most often things aren’t as precise or indeed complicated as they are made out to be.

Seed saving is a perfect example. Most people have dabbled with peas, lettuce and maybe tomato but there’s an aura of mystery about most of the rest – I wasn’t sure how much I’d be actually able to do for myself. Yet I’ve got last year’s beetroot and carrot about to flower, and my herd of kale plants are beginning to set seed already. That’s just for starters. Entering this bountiful world has without doubt been the most rewarding exercise so far.

There are a multitude of reasons why this activity deserves and warrants more attention. The Soil Association certainly think so, and this is why I am working with them to produce a series of short films on seed saving which will be shown on this blog in the coming months.

During filming at the Garden House horticultural school in Brighton, I found myself in awe of the stunning array of landscaped flowers and shrubs. It cemented my desire to expand my gardening horizons. As luck would have it, a trip to the annual seed giveaway at the scenic Royal Pavilion gardens provided me with a range of ornamental seeds with which to start. While there I found out about the many inspirational wildflower planting projects taking place in and around Brighton. Speaking to the people involved has reinforced to me the true meaning of the saying “weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place”, and they shouldn’t necessarily be eradicated. Although pesky hairy bitter cress – I make an exception for you – be gone forever, dammit!

The challenges of not being able to buy anything will continue, as will my experimenting with new (and old) ways of doing things. Gardening for free is no longer an experiment – it’s just what I do now and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

If there are any areas you’d particularly like me to cover in the coming months in this blog please share them in the comment section. As always, I’m keen to hear your ideas and experiences on all things gardening for free.

Airy Beauties

Cleve West’s Paradise garden had two distinct areas of planting, both equally wonderful, but I was particularly taken by the area at the front where the plants emerged from a dry bed in a way that was reminiscent of the plants that grew outside the cloistered oasis of the original paradise gardens. Its beauty was subtle and far less obvious than the lush loveliness of the rest of the garden, but the longer I stood and looked, the more entranced I became.airy plants on Cleve Wests garden at Chelsea

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