The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Gardening tips

Fellow gardeners always have amazing ways to get a job done in the cheapest or easiest way, and like me try to reduce waste. So whether it's word of mouth, in a magazine or from the web, I decided to dedicate a page to tips that I have picked up along the way that for me personally work.


Even if has been raining, water your hanging baskets and containers.  This is because the plants create an umbrella over the compost, and whilst the plant might look wet, the soil could be bone dry.

Water in the evening to reduce evaporation.

Try not to water a plant that has sunlight hitting it, as any splashes could cause scorch.

Connect as many water butts as you can. Rain water is free, perfect for acid lovers like rhododendrons, azaleas and pieris, and is great for topping up a pond.  Don't just think of attaching to the house down pipes, useful rain can be collected from you garage, shed or greenhouse roof too.


Tie in climbers with a soft tie such as string in a figure of 8 to prevent the plant rubbing causing a wound where disease can enter.

Cut a strip from a pair of stockings, stretch to its limit and use as a tie (thanks Colly).

Train climbers laterally to create more flowering shoots.

Bedding plants

Always nip out the tips to make bushier plants, then nip each side shoot after two leaves to really beef them up.

Use plain weed membrane to line baskets and wall mangers. Fold over the top of the basket and staple in place. I find it looks better than the coir basket liners and allows a greater space for planting up.

Break up polystyrene packaging that comes with either the plants themselves (or your latest washing machine, kettle or tv) and put at the bottom of your containers before adding compost, to assist with both landfill and drainage in one hit.  This is particularly useful when you use a tall pot - it could cost a lot to completely fill with compost. It also makes your containers just that little bit lighter.

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