Posted on 8 Comments

I have been a little quiet…….

img 1041 I have been a little quiet.......

It’s been a while since I lasted blogged. I supposed it’s been for many reasons but mainly based around that horrible word time!

I supposed I ended up trying to do too much with the blog and with the added pressures of having 4 kids, a partner, a life style change and a business, something had to give and for me it was sadly blogging. It didn’t mean I fell out of love with it but just the time it was taking out of my daily amount, leaving me stressed and feeling I had to write something.

But I have missed doing it and with the business a little less manic, I am hoping to start adding a few bits and pieces to the blog over the winter months. Tbh these bits will be more technical stuff using my own views and thoughts on things

img 1041 I have been a little quiet.......

Posted on 19 Comments

Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019

img 3966 e1546677386697 Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019

A massive happy new year to you all and a great colder start it is as well. The first few days here in Hampshire has seen the mercury drop down to -5c, bringing the coldest snap of the winter so far, lets just hope we get a few days of this to kill off the bugs that were everywhere after last winter. I don’t know where the time has gone since Christmas, I had so much planned to carry out over the Christmas break but I don’t seemed to get too far with it all, but thats life.

The garden is slowly coming to life isn’t, so many bulbs are sticking there little heads above the ground. Some of these little further coming delights will be in flower very soon and doubt will feature very soon on the six on Saturday theme.

until then, I hope you enjoy these six

img 3966 e1546677386697 768x1024 Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019
The snowdrop cometh! Yes it’s start of the early snowdrop season and here is one of my favourites and indeed also named after one of my favourite birds, Galanthus ‘Lapwing’
img 4002 e1546677455633 768x1024 Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019


2) Edgeworthii are one of my favourite shrubs for a small garden and for winter interest. This beautiful shrub just gets better as the winter goes on until these buds open into stunningly scented flowers in February/March
img 4004 e1546677508409 768x1024 Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019


Bird feeders, we are hoping that we will attract a few more birds into the garden, over the past few years, I have seen more and more passing by and I would love these feeders to be used. Wildlife adds a 4th dimension to the garden and it’s wonderful to see it around
img 4001 Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019


The first of my double primroses are just starting to flower, so lovely to these coming back this year

img 3999 Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019

This prostrate rosemary is so reliable! It’s been in this chimney pot for a few years now and still flowers every winter. It is such a great little plant
img 4003 1 Six on Saturday 5th of January 2019

Adding mulch to the borders is such an important job in any garden and once I have done the first winter tidy up, I like to add the mulch soon after. This particular mulch is pretty new for me and I will be giving it ago during the next 12 months and seeing what happens

Well that’s my six done for this week, I hope you enjoyed them and if you would like to see more, please go to the excellent Mr Propagators site and there will loads more on offer

I will give next weeks a miss but I will be back in two weeks with more six things that are happening in my own garden, until then, take care and happy gardening

Posted on 15 Comments

a wildlife review of 2018

img 6475 a wildlife review of 2018

img 6005 a wildlife review of 2018

I have always so loved seeing wildlife around both within the garden and outside in. This love has been there since childhood, where I spent hours watching blackbirds nesting within the hedges that surrounded our house, spending ages within rock pools, seeing what would crawl out of the woodwork.

Even during the times I was fishing, watching wildlife was always part of that, the enjoyment of watching a kingfisher landing on the rod tip, only 10ft away at times was as pleasurable as seeing a big fish in the net. Of course, fishing depends of wildlife from feeding the fish and to the fish themselves, so gaining that information of what is going on, was a great learning curve

img 5944 e1546589814875 683x1024 a wildlife review of 2018

My aim in 2018 was to spend more time seeing wildlife and listing what I had seen. Part of the reason behind it was to try and help control my depression and anxiety. This had started to vear its ugly head over the past year or so and I needed something to focus on other than work and family and this was idea. It brought me a lot of enjoyment during the year despite it being my worst year mental health wise I have had for many years well at least 10 anyway.

img 6475 a wildlife review of 2018

I always need something to aim for in what ever I am doing, so I set my self a few targets, one was to see 200 species of birds, 20sp of butterflies, 10sp of damsels and dragonflies and 15 sp of bees. Quite tough aims but could of been achievable but in the end I failed to achieve those goals for them all apart from the butterflies, where I scrapped in with 20! Do I care? Nah not at all, it was a little bit of fun that got me looking more into the beauty of what’s surrounding us and looking out for small things within the garden and whilst out walking in the wild and towns.

 a wildlife review of 2018

My highlights have been seeing so many birds for the first time, some I have wanted to see for many many years. Within minutes of driving though France, I spotted a large group of Avocets just feeding on a low reservoir, a bird I had wanted to see since my boyhood. Next highlight was a brief one but just stunning, watching a Hobby chasing a swallow, seeing both birds twisting and turning within the evening sky, like two aircraft in a dog fight. Seeing a large group of Black Tailed Godwits, sat there within 12m of me . Memories that will last with me for years

Butterflies indeed were the only group I managed to see all I aimed to see. The only new one happened to be a 5 second view but what a view! a Purple Emperor landed within a metre from me for a few seconds before flying off again. One of our biggest butterflies and one of the most stunning. I felt so lucky just to see it

img 3998 a wildlife review of 2018

Well I am going to do the same this year and just have fun, This year I am going to try for 200 birds again, 25 buffer flies, 20 bees, 10 dragonflies and Damsels flies and 10 different uk Orchids, another childhood favourite! I hope I will get there but if I don’t, well it doesn’t matter, just as long as I enjoy it! I hope you will enjoy my journey too

img 5642 a wildlife review of 2018

Posted on 11 Comments

6 on Saturday 29/12/2018

Well it’s party time so I thought I would be fashionably late, not too late so all that is left is the alcohol that no one else wants but just so I wasn’t the first here. I must admit some was due to it still being dark outside and then I forgot I had a site meeting at 9am!

I can’t believe its been a week since last Saturday. this week has really flown by and I suppose it was helped by having Christmas in the middle of it. I hope you all had a great Christmas and got everything on your Christmas list, well that’s presuming you had been good for the past year.

its been nice to have a few days just well pottering around in the garden, well when I say days I suppose its been a odd hour or two here and there, a bit of weeding, tidying up the borders and just relaxing in my little space. yes it its a busmans holiday so to speak but there’s something different working in your own little space, in your own time and doing what you enjoy doing without the stresses of work included.

Any way here’s my little look into my garden here in Chandlers Ford, I hope you enjoy them

img 3934 6 on Saturday 29/12/2018

1) Its not often that you see a Salvia ‘Amistad’ in full flower in December but mine is still going strong and it was visited by a beautiful bumble bee, complete with full pollen sacks
img 3950 6 on Saturday 29/12/2018
2) or indeed a rose so full of colour although the name iceberg will be quite adapt for what’s soon coming

img 3949 1 6 on Saturday 29/12/2018
3) managed to get the front pots finished this week, nothing stunning as of yet, I find the polyanthus give a great display and I am rekindling my love for dwarf conifers. Of course what you don’t see is the bulbs that have been added!
img 3948 1 6 on Saturday 29/12/2018
4) sorry just a boring tidy up pick but it is well needed!
img 3945 6 on Saturday 29/12/2018
5) my first snowdrop to be nearly open, a beautiful form called green brush and it’s flourishing in its pot, so wonderful to see them once more 😀
img 3947 6 on Saturday 29/12/2018
6) sorry you may get bored of snowdrop pics soon but it’s something I never get bored of! One of my jobs this winter is to tidy up the pots, redo the gravel and relabel them all! First couple are now done, just a few more to do!

Well that’s me done for this week. I hope you enjoyed my six

For more six on Saturday, please see the great man himself The Propagator and see more links of other great people!

 6 on Saturday 29/12/2018

Posted on 18 Comments

Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018

graham thomas Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018

Well this is my first proper blog for a while and tbh I have missed being part of the #sixinsaturday team so excellently built up by its founder The Propagator. Its the last Saturday before Christmas and I was thinking about doing a special one just maybe about Christmas within the garden or Christmas plants, then I heard the sad news about the passing of David Austin Snr at the grand age of 92, I felt this would be a fitting tribute to him.

For those who know me and follow me, know I have a massive love of roses. Though my lifetime, there have been 4 great rose people, David Austin was certainly one of those. though his rose breeding and selection and beautiful catalogue, he brought roses back to the masses and took them around the world, with his English roses that had been crossed between old roses and the more modern roses, to countries as far away as Japan and the USA. This is a testament to his skills as a businessman as well as a grower. Talking about being a grower, He was certainly one of the most influential one of all time, if not since the time of another great rose family, the Viberts

So lets celebrate his live with some of the stunning roses he bred, so here is my six on saturday

rosa constance spry 1024x683 Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018
Rosa Constance Spry was one the first of the Austin hybrids. this one flowering climber has a delightful scent
graham thomas 683x1024 Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018
Rosa Graham Thomas was really the rose that set the Austin name amongst the best in the world, selected by Graham Thomas, it was the most clear yellow colour that had ever been bred. can be grown as a shrub or a small climber
rosa kew gardens Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018
Kew Gardens is a newer hybrid and I love the simple white flowers, reminds me so much the wild dog rose, it repeats so well all summer long
Rosa Winchester cathedral  Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018
Winchester Cathedral again was a fairly old Austin rose.
rosa wild eric 2 Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018
Wild Eric is a favourite of mine, it has a fair bit of rosa rugosa within the breeding that makes it ideal for the less formal part of the garden. The open blooms are prefect for the pollinators to enjoy these flowers too
img 0838 768x1024 Six on Saturday 22nd of December 2018
Falstaff to me is one of the best Austin roses, it was also the only time I visited the nursery and spent time behind the scenes, looking at the huge set up they have there. I came away so impressed with the whole nursery, the 25000 roses they bred every year just to get 3-4 named varieties, the size of the rose fields and the professional set up they have. Most of all, it was the only time I met David Austin Snr.

I hope you enjoyed my own little tribute to the great rosarian, nurseryman and businessman, David Austin Snr. Of course he was more than that and not only will he be missed within horticulture but also to his family.

Thank you for all that you have done for us rose lovers David, and now may you rest in peace,

For more six on Saturday, please see the great man himself The Propagator and see more links of other great people!

Posted on Leave a comment

Workshops and Speaker days at Sculpture by the lakes

IMG 5804 Workshops and Speaker days at Sculpture by the lakes

For the next year in conjunction with the very beautiful gardens, set in the rolling Dorset countryside, we are running garden workshops and talks, both utilising the gardens onsite. Sculpture by the lakes highlights the stunning sculptures of Simon Gudgeon and with the ex fishing lakes now moulded into the beautiful site it is now, by his wife, the very talented Head Gardener Monique Gudgeon

During the next few months, we shall be doing the following workshops and talks

These workshops take full use of the gardens, utilising them to demonstrate each subject. 

The dates are as follows

November 24th 10.30-3.30 Winter propagation workshop 

January the 16th 11am. Choosing  companions for your Roses, a talk 

January the 16th 2.30pm. Everything you ever wanted to ask about roses, a talk 

January 26th 10.30-3.30 fruit tree pruning workshop

January the 30th 11am. Hardy Geraniums_ the backbone of every garden. a talk

January the 30th 2.30pm. Discovering winter plants to brighten your garden a talk 

February the 9th 10.30-3.30. Rose pruning workshop.

May the 9th 10.30-4.30. Creating and maintaining a wildflower meadow

June the 13th 10.30-4.30, Gardening for wildlife workshop  

July the 11th, 10.30-4.30 Creative pruning workshop 

The price for the workshops is £75 for the day, that includes a light lunch, tea, coffee and free entry to the Sculpture by the Lakes 

The talks cost £15 for 1 or £25 for both talks on the same day. This includes free entry to the Sculpture by the lakes 

For more details on the talks and workshops, please visit or phone 07720637808

Posted on 3 Comments

Six on Saturday 30th of June

img 3123 Six on Saturday 30th of June

Good morning folks, what a dry week that has been! Everywhere I look the grass is a shade of brown, pots seem to dry out within minutes of being watered, it’s more like late August than the last few days of June. The rain they forecast is always on the move isn’t, one day it’s forecast for Sunday and the next it’s been changed for the following Thursday. God knows we need it!

Anyway enough of me moaning about the lack of rain it’s the high temps that have got me, it’s made a pretty horrid week at work I can tell you but now I am away for a few days, down at Butlins at Bognor Regis and that my dear friends is where my six comes from this week, I hope you enjoy them taken from the landscape around this world famous holiday park

img 3112 Six on Saturday 30th of June

The reedmace is just starting it awesome flowering, I love the flower and soon to be seed spikes on this beautiful and stately Reed. From our hotel, we have a semi circular water feature that has groups of these around the edges

img 3118 Six on Saturday 30th of June

And of course it has water lilies there as well and these are flowering their little hearts out at the moment, loving the heat

img 3115 Six on Saturday 30th of June

There is loads of lavender growing around the resort, most being Hidcote I think and the site of this purple/blue is a great distraction from the brown of the grass. It also full of the sites and sounds of bees

img 3116 Six on Saturday 30th of June

As is the Hebe albicans, again in full flower all around the resort, giving the visitors a delight to see. It’s also full of bees as well

img 3117 Six on Saturday 30th of June

The stunning grass Calamagrotis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ is making itself seen, there are small beds of this stunning grass just scattered around the site and in the light sea breeze, the flowerheads are almost shimmering in the sun

img 3123 Six on Saturday 30th of June

The little petunias are one plant that loves this summer sun and heat, they preform best when the weather is like this and how delightful does this little one look in the evening glow

Well that’s just some of the highlights of the flower world here at Butlins, I hope you enjoy them a little and I will catch up with you all soon, maybe Monday when we return! Until then, take a look at other peoples sixes via the hosts site

 Six on Saturday 30th of June
Posted on 2 Comments

Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

05a8474a 812c 4520 be32 a4228822c018 9665 000006fe01c2c74f file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Well that’s the first and only time that I shall use the word dead heading in this blog, it’s such a negative word so let’s use a more positive one that describes the old flowers perfect, spent bloom removal, see more up lifting straight away!

05a8474a 812c 4520 be32 a4228822c018 9665 000006fe01c2c74f file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

I have also now labelled it as part of summer pruning of roses. I prefer to do the main prune during the late winter months but doing a little bit of summer pruning can help the plant to become stronger, healthier plants.

First of all, spent bloom removal is really just needed on repeat flowering roses to encourage more flowers to appear and also open a little quicker. With once flowering roses, there’s no real need to remove the old blooms but just a cosmetic reasons

Removing the blooms is pretty easy,

with the multi headed flowering type of roses you can thin out the spent blooms as they finish or wait until the whole floret has finish and then prune back down to the first full set of leaves. Why the first set of leaves? Well can it’s just helping to plant to maximise the water and nutrients by removing a section of wood that is going to die back down to that bud anyway. It is also well worth looking at the plant and seeing where it wants to be cut, some roses are very helpful and start sending up a new shoot where it wants to regrow.

2552824e 65ca 47d5 a068 7c590287c908 9665 000006feca903af7 file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Removing the odd flower in the middle of a bunch of flowers

84ef0e74 c936 4fd8 87bd 55b51efc65c2 9665 000006ff607b6f9f file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Or taking the spent bloom down to the first full leaf

img 3036 Dead heading and summer pruning on rosesimg 3038 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

This rose shows that perfectly and you can see I have trimmed it down to just above with new shoot.

I also tend to carry out a slightly heavier spent bloom removal or indeed summer pruning of roses that have produced stems that are to thin to hold the weight of the flowers. This is tends to happen on the once flowering roses and the English rose type and the simple way to reduce the weight on these branches, is to remove the spent bloom to a lower bud and even to thin out the branches as below. This help to lift the branches off the ground

img 3030 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

A branch hanging over with the weight of the flowers

img 3032 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

To help to reduce the weight I am thinning out some of the stems

img 3033 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

And then trimming back the spent blooms a little harder

img 3035 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

The finished branch with weight reduced

The other part of summer pruning is to remove any dead branches and any branches at the base of the plant that have simply done nothing since pruning in the winter. Yes it could be done in the winter but removing these bits of wood now again helps the plant to use the water and nutrients more efficiently. It also can improve air flow though the plant and help to reduce fungal infections img 3026 Dead heading and summer pruning on rosesimg 3025 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

This is the type of growth I am talking about

img 3027 1 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

The finished cleaned plant

Equipment wise I tend to use garden snips sold by Niwaki, to carry out spent bloom removal, mainly as the thinner points and lightness makes them ideal tool to use. secateurs are brilliant for the heavier form of summer pruning, I carry both using this great double holster

504a868b 1b57 455e b99d e4357d2274de 9665 000006ffed933eb5 file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Well I hope you enjoyed this blog on summer pruning of summer roses

 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses
Posted on 26 Comments

Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

Well well good morning one and all and we are back to the weekend once more! Thankfully it’s a weekend I am seeing again, confused? Well last Saturday I did something rather silly but does show how dangerous gardening can be and how whatever you are doing, you need to think about it at all times, what did I do? Well I was replacing a fence at the in laws, which involved using a 6ft solid iron bar that weights about 25kgs and is about 11/2″ thick to help lever out lumps of concrete. Normally I am good with it pulling it down to either side of me, this time I pulled it towards me, for some reason I pulled it towards me, it came free of the concrete and smacked me on the head with some force, lucky for me I escaped with just concussion but it really could of been a lot lot worse! It did take me up to yesterday to feel back to normal, just left with a lump and a slight dip in my skull. It just shows that gardening isn’t just a carefree hobby or Job but one that in milliseconds, can turn into one that can have life changing repercussions, so be safe this week in the garden

Anyway enough of the be careful stuff and onto the the plants

img 0839 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

One of my first salvias to flower and one of my favourites, I love the dark rich flowers offset with the dark flower stems on Salvia Bordeaux, one of two bargain rescues at £3 last year

img 0838 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

Rosa falstaff and me have some history which sadly I can’t say in public but never less she is a stunner and one of the best Austin roses I think!

img 0835 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

My clematis last year were crap to put it lightly, first year after planting and they were mildewed rubbish, this year is another matter and Rosalyn is the first one to flower for me

img 0834 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

And she is growing though one of my last roses to flower, the rare blushing lucy, this once flowering rambler is Just starting to open now

img 0841 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

This Geranium is a total stunner! But also a total pain in the backside to over winter, it the 4th time I have tried to grow geranium joy and you can see why I want too, let’s hope I am lucky this time

img 0837 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

Let’s finish with another geranium, this ones called brook side and is a great geranium, flowers all summer long and so easy to grow and look after

That’s my six for the week, I hope you enjoyed them and don’t forget to pop over to the memes host, the wonderful, the king of the cuttings himself, The propagator!

 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.