Top 10 British Gardening Blogs

Every so often I like to have a look through Ebuzzings list of the Top Ten British Gardening Blogs. There's often one or two I don't know, but also some old favourites well worth catching up on. The current List for February 2014 is as follows.

  1. Alternative Eden
  2. Patient Gardener
  3. notSupermum
  4. Fennel and Fern
  5. Seed Parade
  6. Vertical Veg
  7. thinkinGardens
  8. Out of My Shed
  9. The Blackberry Garden
  10. Tidy Gardens

Theres always something new on any of these, most are updated regularly by keen bloggers. A couple are more commercial in nature, but still have useful information.


RHS Plant and Design Show

Dibleys Nurseries
Caths Garden Plants
Caths Garden Plants
With spring on its way what better way to spend a few hours but looking at all the brightly coloured spring flowers on display at the RHS Plant and Design Show held last week in Central London.

The RHS shows are well known for bringing together the best of the plant world, and the first show of the year is always bright, colourful and enjoyable. Theres many more to come, in London and elsewhere. I'll hopefully be visiting several shows across the year, so keep an eye out for more!

Spring flowers on the display are ahead of those in the garden but it wont be long until we have many of these blooms to enjoy outside too!


Win a Healthy Delicious Hamper

Riverfords award-winning organic vegetable and meet boxes contain delicious fresh food straight from the farm delivered to your door and we have another one of their fantastic delicious hampers to give away.

Riverford offers a range of weekly organic essentials like vegetables as well eggs, milk, meat, juices and cereals, they can even deliver wine and chocolate when you need a treat and their amazing Organic vegboxes start from just £10.45. The Riverford box scheme began when Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends in Devon. They now deliver around 40,000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from their regional farms. Ordering is easy and flexible, delivery is free and you don’t even need to be at home.

The prize is a large vegbox with meet that will be enough organic meat and veg to feed 4+ people for around a week. Typically 12 veg varieties with potatoes, carrots and onions most weeks. You’ll also get 3 RSPCA award-winning meat items that will always include a joint and mince, plus a different cut such as diced chicken. 

To enter this free competition tell us about a meal with a special memory, perhaps there was a proposal, a job offer, decision to move home, whatever the memory please share it with us.

Extra entries can be made by sharing this competition on Twitter (include #DiligentGardener) or by liking our page and sharing the competition on Facebook.

An additional entry can be made by "following" this blog via Google Friend Connect

Terms and conditions: This competition closes at 23.59 on 28 February 2014. Any entries received after this time will not be counted. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older to enter. By entering this competition you agree and consent to your name being published and by taking part in the competition, entrants are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the Terms and Conditions and agreed to be bound by them. The winner will be selected at random from the valid entries and will be announced here on the blog. 

Whilst it is possible to leave "anonymous" replies on the blog, please make sure we are able to contact you if you do win.

Snowdrop Season

I just love this time of year when the snow drops start to to put on a show!

Chelsea 2014 - Fabric Garden

Suffolk based garden design team Chris Deakin and Jason Lock have been commissioned by House of Fraser to design a Chelsea Flower Show garden, and exhibited Fresh Garden’ category.

The design duo have embraced House of Fraser’s Scottish heritage with the title of the garden, ‘Fabric’ being derived from the influence of the checkered woven pattern of tartan which is referenced throughout the

The layout of the space is based upon crossed lines, formed with sawn granite which mimics a tartan pattern. There is a similar cross weave of colour and texture in the planting which continues in the furniture and accent fabrics. Especially for the garden House of Fraser and the designers are developing a tartan inspired by the existing Fraser clan tartans.

Allotment Guide in February

We should start to see signs of spring this month, the ground (hopefully) will be starting to warm up towards the end of the month. Many plants shrubs and trees are budding ready for the warmer weather to return. Towards the end of the month is a good time to start sowing early peas and beans.

There are several other vegetables suitable for growing in February,  White Lisbon Spring onion, early short horn carrots, early types of lettuce for example. In the colder parts of the country it is better to wait until March but here in London we will be sowing our parsnip seed which should give us a good large harvest later in the year.
Fresh Garlic Bulbs

February is a good  month to plant out garlic and shallots. Prepare the ground as you would a seed bed and plant using a garlic trowel so that you don’t push the bulbs into the soil. Plant the garlic cloves about 2ins/5cms deep and leave the tips of the shallot bulbs just at the soil surface. Watch out for birds as sometimes they can pull the garlic out of the ground when the first growth appears, if your local birds learn this trick cover over with a net. The leaves can develop rust if they are planted too closely or are in too much shade.

Hopefully the rain will ease as for many its been a very wet period this this, however February is a good month to top dress all your fruit trees and soft fruit bushes with a general fertiliser at the recommended application rate. At the same time top dress the rest of the plot with a general fertiliser as land becomes available. It is not too late to plant bare rooted fruit trees and bushes so if you want to increase your numbers then get that done soon.

Check over any fruit trees and bushes for damage and disease problems and take appropriate action, also look out for any pruning that needs to be done and get the bushes and trees into a good shape for spring.

You can speed up the warming of the soil by covering the soil with cloches or sheets of plastic, which traps heat from the sun and will help you get seeds established quicker when the time comes.

If you grow potatoes then you will have started to chit them by now. Make sure you check them regularly and begin to rub off any excessive eyes making sure you leave three or four well-spaced shoots.Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to cover over with fleece, straw or even newspaper if frost is expected.

If you are lucky to have a greenhouse on the allotment then its also a good time to get this clean and make any repairs necessary.

What ever you do make sure you stay warm, perhaps try a good vegetable soup - heres a great recipe for a hearty winter vegetable soup!
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