Spring Garden flowers on the edge of the Cheshire plains

Rhododendrons in dappled shade, Magnolias and Azaleas were a big part of my ‘Red Castle’ apprenticeship as a flushed face teenagers full of wonderment at the world of nature and the adventure it was sure to bring.

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Sow Zinnia now for a colourful Summer filled with Fun and Frivolity.

If your looking for that special planting scheme to gets pulses racing then you won’t go far wrong with a colourful selection of Zinnia. Sowing Zinnia in the next few weeks will guarantee colourful Summer borders filled with Fun and Frivolity. In a range of colours that are sure to delight Zinnia’s have set the bedding…

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Magnolia Black Tulip puts on a spectacular Spring performance. 

Having worked in horticulture for over 30 years it now takes a spectacular plant to really impress me and actually stop me to admire the show. A gorgeous Magnolia soulangeana hybrid with the darkest burgundy flowers in early Spring is the first of several varieties to perform in a Cheshire garden. Breathtaking upclose the velvety…

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How to grow to love Broad beans  

Broad beans must be one of the easiest of vegetable crops to grow, so easy in fact that they make the ideal first vegetable for the novice or kids to love to grow. Large dry bean seeds can be sown in the open ground in

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Planning 12 months with flowering Heathers

Do you know how to plan for 12 months of colour with flowering Heathers? Typically associated with Winter into Spring, Heathers can with some careful planning, provide flower colour and foliage interest all year round. Winter and Spring tend to be seasons we appreciate the heather, usually when little else is in flower. Heathers are often…

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How to Defend your Garden plants from Vine Weevil attack

Fighting the war against pests like vine weevil can seem like a daunting task! Persistent plant-eating predators and diseases that prey on your most precious garden plants can be a soul destroying challenge. The list of plant leaf and root eating parasites seems to be never ending and for many gardeners it can be heartbreaking…

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How to become a Snowdrop collector

Humble, meek and mild the lowly Snowdrop famously illuminates many a woodland setting at this time of year. It’s no wonder that so many people obsess over Snowdrops and choose to collect 100’s of highly sort after named cultivars from all over the World.

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Snowdrops an Addictive Spring time Obsession for Galanthophiles

Having always admired the humble snowdrop from afar, I decided it was time that this Head Gardener become up close and personal with the delicate Galanthus. Little did I know what a vast expedition I was about to undertake much like my four year obsession with fungi and subsequently foraging. This interesting  green swatch Galanthus…

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Celebrate a New Year with Flowering Bulbs.

January starts with a warm rosy festive glow, yet a bitter chilling winter soon prevails and memories of celebrating, childhood laughter and Christmas carols are lost in the whiteout! Breaking ice and frozen snow the winter Aconite flowering bulbs are the first to appear in the New Year.    

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Top Ten Winter Flowering Shrubs – Best gifts for growing #Gardens.

I don’t know about you but as I get older I find it increasingly difficult to buy Gifts for Adults!  That’s why I decided to put together my Top Ten Winter Flowering Shrubs list – Best gifts for Gardeners So what do you do when it comes to buying the best gifts for someone who already…

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Garden lighting provides night-time treat for gardeners.

Come the early nights and the savvy gardener illuminates any good garden design with a built-in lighting programme. A well thought out subtle lighting system can provide evening and security garden lighting treat throughout the year. Similarly the garden plants need for dormancy, take their lead from the subdued lighting that precedes the Autumn fall. Nature…

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Brighten up an Autumn Border by planting Nerine bowdenii

Keen gardeners will be well aware of the added value of planting seasonal flowering bulbs. Autumn a time when colour in the garden begins to fade to shade of rustic hues, oranges and yellows a plenty, this is when late flowering bulbs like the feminine Nerine takes to the stage.

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European Spindle tree outshines amongst the natives

Hidden amongst the hedgerows of much of the UK and Europe the spindle tree – Euonymus europaea outshines amongst the natives. Coming to life in the autumn, the spindle tree makes a  great robust addition as a native hedgerow, a stand alone shrub or small garden tree. Strangely the versatility of such an understated native tree is largely unknown,…

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A Realistic November 

Novembers Path. To be a pessimist one looks down and looses ones way. But be an optimist with your head held high then sooner or later you are going to loose your footing Try being a realist looking forward and adjusting your strategy, every step you take. Always forward never back, stay focused on the…

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The Making of a Head Gardener – How to grow a career in Horticulture.

Horticulture continues to flourish in the British isles a massive diverse industry that employe’s a vast number of qualified and practically trained individuals that have a passion for horticulture and associated professions. The making of a Head Gardener however follows the non-commercial route and relies on experiences largely from the amenity sector. Having spent the last…

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A Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.

“I dreamed of being a teacher, but academically I just don’t cut the Mustard! So I became a Gardener and learnt to Teach the World to Grow! “ I believe a love of nature, plants, animals and our environment is essential, today our modern thinking is as much about our ecological footprint as it is about…

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How to Collect, Clean, Dry, Store and Enjoy Walnuts

If your lucky enough to have a fruiting Walnut growing in your neighbourhood then you are going to need to learn how to Collect, Clean, Dry and Store fresh Walnuts then you’re in luck. If Walnuts are completely new to you, then not perhaps after reading my article, you will consider planting one? But don’t…

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How to Find and Prepare a Juicy Beefsteak Mushroom

A mushroom that looks, feels, is full of protein and even tastes like meat? Photo Credit: Sam Harris Next time you talk a country walk, keep an eye out for one of Mushrooms best kept secrets! Beefsteak fungi (Fistulina hepatica) or known regionally in the UK as Ox tongue fungi, is a great find when found growing…

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Gardening in October is time to tidy, clean and prepare for Winter

I hate being the bearer of bad news but once October is here it is largely time to accept the inevitable! Prepare for Winter it’s on its way and it is time to get Gardening and prepare ready for cold winds and harsh weather conditions. Before you give up all hope on growing fresh produce at…

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The Silent Kingdom – Foray for Fungi

As Autumn grips the region, rustic hues appear across our beloved landscape and preparations are made for the Winter months ahead. Naturally drawn to giving thanks for a bountiful harvest, we re-joyce to reside in such a rich, fertile land, where nature and agriculture exist in symbiotic harmony. Combing the elements has always been mother…

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20 Tips for a Perfect September Garden

When September arrives it reminds us that Autumn is well on it’s way but it is also one of those months that fly by so fast that if you blink your going to miss it!  Especially true for busy gardeners who won’t have a moment peace until well after September has past. What with the…

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Grow your own Summertime Raspberries 

Sweet sun ripened Raspberries have to be the ultimate Summertime soft fruit. Careful planning of early, mid and late season varieties will ensure you have fresh rich red Raspberries to pick all Summer long. Raspberry canes are one of the easiest fruiting cane crops to grow for yourself at home. Once established the bare rooted…

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August brings a touch of Autumn and a taste of Summer.

August teases us with signs of Autumn, providing an abundance of soft fruits and berries, seeds and ripening vegetables leaving us the taste of Summer that lingers on the tongue. Just as we begin to enjoy the warm Summer’s breeze our senses detect signs of Autumn, all too quickly our sunshine loving perennials and bulbs begin to set seed and prepare…

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Aquilegia a growers guide to beautiful Springtime bonnets.

There are a million reasons why Aquilegia deserve a dappled shaded position in your Garden! I love to see the delicate mound of Spring leaves forming a mass of light green foliage that quickly follows the fading Tulips and spent Narcissi in our Gardens. Flowering throughout May into June these dainty dancing intricate often spurred,…

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Powis Castle Gardens – Trainee to Head Gardener.

Taking a trip down memory lane and re-visiting the past may not be something many of us have time to do! Instead looking to the future the changing of the seasons and our future plans. I wanted to take this opportunity to re-visit and share with you my memories of working, training and learning at…

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Are Horticultural Professionals really in short supply?

I remember days of old when opting for a career in horticulture was frowned upon and recall my career advisor suggesting I apply for a professional career in the Police force, teaching or similar higher paid, more streamline alternatives. How supply and demand for horticultural professionals has changed the marketplace! Today we are crying out for horticultural students…

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Ferns on the edge of a Natural Sandstone Precipice

When life throws you shade plant ferns! After days of detail weeding our Fernery is taking shape. Moss and wild ferns have already begun to inhabit this natural sandstone precipice that is a ready made home for our new collection of hardy ferns. Come follow me and make some wonderful gardening friends on Stephen Pryce-Lea…

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Everyday is Mothers Day for Mum and Me. 

Everyday in the garden is Mothers Day for my Mum and me! Make Mother’s Day everyday and spend some time gardening with your Mom! You will be so glad you did and rewarded with kindness that only a mothers love can give. 

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Chester City Walls in Springtime

Chester’s City walls attract 100’s of thousands of visitors to tread the riven texture stone paving slabs that line the historic sandstone walls encircling Chester’s medieval city. Treading the well worn steps of tourists and Roman soldiers alike, the circuit of sandstone that protects the City is a beautiful collection of gates, arches, towers and steps…

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Compost Tea for health, wealth, vitality and fab roses.

Our Roses and fruit trees are reaping the health benefits of using a natural based plant tonic and spray consisting of Compost tea, Baking soda and Canola oil. Want the recipe for improved plant health and vitality plus save you money on expensive branded chemicals? Compost Tea for health, wealth and vitality find my own tried…

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Show your Climbing Roses some Romantic Love in February 

Despite the blustery Snow showers and storms in February that continue to threaten travel distrubtion across the UK!  Gardeners still manage to retain a romanticized view of work to do in the garden, which must continue regardless of the latest weather forecast. When you’re charged with the restoration of a prestigious garden there’s no time…

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12 Red Roses for a Summer of Love

A dozen Red Roses in February are synonymous with Valentines Day, however there’s much more to 12 red roses than a glasshouse of cut flower’s forced to bloom out of its natural season. ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ a rose of luxurious rich crimson full bodied flowers, fading to purple as they age. Train as a typical…

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Real Gardeners know how to Share the Love!

Real Gardeners know how to Share the Love! #sharethelove on Twitter If your fed up with hearing about the tearing down of a President, while #Trump attempts to build a billion dollar wall? Has your news feed suddendly become domianted with political opinion where once flowers stood? Then us gardeners need to take control of our…

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Spring flowers in a February Garden.

Some things can only be said with flowers and I don’t mean the shop bought, cellophane wrapped kind! I mean real plants in flower and at their best, even in a February Garden. The coming of Spring is acknowledged by the arrival of the earliest of our Spring bulbs. This week in February and we…

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Garden Staff recruitment relies on Social Media.

If you have ever searched for garden jobs in the Horticutural industry, either as a potential employer or employee? Then you will be aware that the demand for professional gardeners has reached unpresedented highs. Great news for experienced gardeners who can pick and choose from numerous private estates and gardens throughout the UK. Recruitment agencies…

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Herald the Spring

Before the snow is lost I long for Summer skies Spring flowering bulbs awake To brighten gloomy eyes.   And snowdrops, they awaken With wonders unfortold Seek for the precious lights Midst winters gloom bold And brave varieties,  Seek now, search for gold.

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New Job, Historic City & Fitness Regime for a Prosperous New Year.

While you may still be adjusting to a new year full of positive resolutions? Perhaps you are also planning a new fitness regime and maybe even considering a career move.  Many of us use the start of a new year to evaluate our career prospects, is a new job on the horizon? Wherever that new…

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Prickly Holly and the Poison Ivy

Gardeners beware it’s a jungle out there! Hazards exist in every walk of life but if your going to choose Gardening as a career or a hobby then there are a few things you need to be wary of. Dried Ilex or Holly leaves can be a gardeners nightmare, fortunately with leaf suckers and shredders…

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Firey shades of Autumn turn to golden embers.

Saying farewell is never easy, gardeners regularly welcome seasonal colour and flowers onto their gardens palette. Autumn gives us gardeners the opportunity to say goodbye to cherished plants in triumphant accolades that burn firey glowing embers all autumn long. As realistic gardeners prepare for the inevitable changes that await us in November, we are presented…

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