Noah’s flood

January 15, 2016 0 comments

In the early decades of the 21st century, flooding was still an extreme event. Now it’s the ‘new normal’ – and we’re watching our plots go under.

My green days of Christmas

December 15, 2015 0 comments
dead stems

I’ll be celebrating 12 gardening days this Christmas, but not all in one go – and not in the usual way. I’m breaking with seasonal tradition: instead of counting down the 12 days of Christmas, I’m planning to spread a… Read More

Tomorrow’s gardeners

November 23, 2015 0 comments

We urgently need ambassadors for a different way of gardening. Could the Royal Horticultural Society’s appointment of a 10-year-old signal a sea change?

Celebrating slate

October 19, 2015 0 comments
By late summer, lizard families bask together on sun-baked blue-grey.

Walls, terraces, paths, steps, soil, compost, wildlife habitats… second-hand and spoil heap slate can give you the makings of an entire garden. Bar the dreaming and hard graft, my garden owes its existence to an ancient and, given its dour… Read More

Silence of the gardeners

September 28, 2015 0 comments
More time spent gardening means less flying through the air on high-carbon gardening holidays…

‘Keep quiet and grow on’ simply isn’t tenable any longer. What we do in our gardens does make a difference to climate change – for better or for worse. It needs a snappier name for sure, but Gardening and Climate… Read More

Bombs that bloom

August 20, 2015 0 comments

There’s an effective response to the savage treatment of roadside verges by local authorities: say it with flowers. Revenge, the saying goes, is a dish best served cold. I’m not the only gardener to have looked on aghast at the… Read More

Red alert

June 29, 2015 0 comments
I’m hoovering up virtually no butterflies – such as this wayward fritillary – now that I’ve swapped glass for mesh in the greenhouse doors.

Earth-friendly plant protection is a finely judged art, but with a little ingenuity you can thwart the pests while providing safe passage for pollinators. Now it begins. Yellow daggers wait poised and patient at the doors. Sharp claws wrench blood-curdling… Read More


May 29, 2015 0 comments
They stopped in a clearing filled with buttercups gleaming in the sunshine.

When neonicotinoid pesticides were developed back at the turn of the 21st century, did nobody realise what would happen to the wildlife that ingested them? ‘Right, Holly – give it a good whack!’ As the tremor shuddered along the oak’s… Read More

Slugs in the greenhouse

May 5, 2015 0 comments

Now here’s a sight to strike fear into the heart of any greenhouse owner. The greenhouse is full to bursting with healthy young plants, all waiting to head out into the allotment. Despite a few false starts and a couple… Read More

‘Ne’r cast a clout till may is out’…

May 1, 2015 0 comments
Image - May 2015 (1 of 1)

Throughout the country, the variable weather continues. Several weeks of hot days and cold nights with a niggling, chilling wind have turned this into a long and beautiful spring for blossom yet low rainfall and cold nights are still affecting… Read More

Why a Hartley?