Category Archives: nature & the natural world

Wonderful Weeds: CHICKWEED – A Sign of a Rich and Fertile Garden Soil, This Prolific and Edible Wild Plant Can be Added to Your Salads All Year Round

Chickweed Stellaria media Other names: chickwittle, cluckenweed, mischievous Jack. Life cycle: Annual/ephemeral Dense green clumps of chickweed, up to 30cm (1ft) tall indicate rich, fertile soil, but it will grow virtually anywhere in the garden, including the cracks in paving. The … Continue reading

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Wonderful Weeds: BORAGE – A Prolific Self-seeding Plant Which Can Swamp its Neighbours, But is a Big Hit With Bees and Other Insects

Borage Borago officinalis Life cycle: annual/biennial Grown as a herb, this prolific self-seeder has escaped in many gardens and should be treated as a weed, except for any plants which you want to allow to develop and flower throughout the summer. … Continue reading

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Wonderful Weeds: DANDELION – Let Some Wet-a-Beds Bloom to Provide Vital Food for Bees and Insects in Early Spring

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Other names: pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, blow balls Life cycle: perennial Dandelion’s deep taproot must be dug or forked out and older plants, with very deep roots, may need several attempts. However, dandelion doesn’t spread sideways, so I let a few … Continue reading

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Wonderful Weeds: HOGWEED or COW PARSNIP – A Big, Tall Weed Whose Flowers Are a Magnet for Bees, Hoverflies and Other Beneficial Garden Insects

Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium Other names: cow parsnip, keck, limberscrimps Life cycle: biennial/perennial Often seen on roadsides, this tough, taprooted weed can be difficult to remove if it gets a foothold in beds or borders. Leafy rosettes of deeply lobed leaves … Continue reading

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Make Your Own Easy, Cost-free Biodiversity-Boosting ‘Insect Hotels’ For Your Garden or Allotment and Encourage Wild Solitary Bees and Pest-eating Wasps to Live and Nest There

Media buzz about bee conservation can have a real and positive effect, but virtual wildlife gardening only goes so far. I wanted a more immediate way of boosting wild bee (and wasp) populations on my own, real-life patch, so I … Continue reading

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Gardening in England is Set to be Completely Peat-free by 2020 – Where is The Persuasive, Compelling & Inspiring Green-fingered Roadmap That’s Going to Get Us There?

Meeting the UK government target of turning gardening peat-free by 2020 will bring a dark, nature-damaging side of gardening to an end. But it will only be achieved with determined effort – including a campaign to educate all those non-gardening folk buying a ‘bag of dirt’.  … Continue reading

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Here’s Some Real Gardening News: Peat-free Composts – Fertile Fibre and SylvaGrow – Bag Two Out of Three Which? Gardening Best Buy 2017 Awards for Container Growing

The April 2017 issue of Which? Gardening magazine brings good news for gardeners, and for our natural world: two out of three of its Best Buy awards for container compost have gone to modern and reliable peat-free compost brands (the other went to … Continue reading

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How Gardeners and a Top Compost-maker are Teaming up to Bring Professional-quality SylvaGrow Peat-free Compost Into More Garden Centres, Plant Nurseries, Shops and Other Horticultural Suppliers

Why didn’t we think of it sooner? The makers of SylvaGrow professional-quality peat-free compost – which has bagged no less than three Which? Gardening Best Buy awards, and carries the endorsement of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) – have just … Continue reading

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Modern Peat-free Composts March on: RHS-Endorsed SylvaGrow Bags a Which? Gardening Best Buy Gong for Container Gardening – for the Second Year in a Row

Just when you thought modern and reliable peat-free composts couldn’t get any better – and there are a clutch of good ones out there – SylvaGrow, a professional grade (as used by professionals…) peat-free, environmentally sustainable, all-purpose compost, has has just been awarded another … Continue reading

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Inclusive, Persuasive and Gently Powerful – How the #Peatfree Hashtag is Changing Gardening and Horticulture for Good

One symbol, the hash sign (that’s one of these #) grafted onto the words ‘peat’ and ‘free’ (as in ‘#peatfree’) is giving all gardeners confidence in forgoing peat use – by slaying tired old myths about whether our garden plants … Continue reading

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