I might have known that it was a bit of a mistake to mention on air that our gardens were a bit dry. It seems to have rained on and off ever since!
This Monday, I had the great pleasure of visiting Jane Milton, our Gardening Inspirations winner. Despite it chucking it down whilst we were filming, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jane and looking around her fabulous garden.
The front garden has a seaside feel to it, bordered by vertical oak sleepers and planted with aromatic herbs and striking architectural plants including a red-stemmed bamboo. Jane’s back garden is a plants person’s paradise, full of interesting plants given by friends and family, as well as some very choice plants found by Jane on her visits to specialist nurseries including Crug Farm Plants in North Wales.
Jane has an artist’s eye for placing plants, as well as creating clever focal points with mirrors, wind spinners and lights. Even on a wet and slightly cool Monday morning, her garden completely charmed me with its colour and sparkle. There were so many features to enjoy, I particularly loved the use of coloured leaved heucheras for virtually year round impact, a mini-hedge grown from black bamboo, a dramatic arch (inspired by something similar Jane saw on an Alan Titchmarsh programme) and some superb edible gems including a fruiting Kiwi plant, an espalier pear tree and an incredible curry leaf plant from Sri Lanka.
It’s such an inspiration visiting a garden like Jane’s, so I’m really looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend to get lots of gardening done. If you’re hoping to get out there too, here are the top jobs to tackle:
- Bring indoors my houseplants that have been in the garden during the summer. Check for pests and spray if necessary. Also look at the bottom of the pot, that’s where slugs or snails hide.
- Lift the last potatoes before the slugs get to them. Dig them up on a sunny morning, leave them on the soil to dry out completely during the day then store in paper bags in a cool shed or garage.
- Preserve some herbs to use in winter. Chop them finely, add to ice cube trays, pour in a little water and put in the freezer. When needed, just pop the cubes into stews or sauces to give them a really fresh herb flavour.
- As the summer bedding plants fade, dig them out and fill the gaps with pansies and polyanthus. The sooner these are planted, the better the display next spring.
- Help those green tomatoes turn red before the weather turns cold. Hang a couple of bananas by the plants. The bananas will give off a gas, which will encourage the tomatoes to ripen faster.
- Got a shrub growing in the wrong spot? It’s the best time of year to move it. Re-plant with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure and keep well watered.
- Give your lawn a big late season boost by feeding with it with Lawn Magic. The feed will turn it a glorious green and help it look better next year.
I’ll be doing my gardening on the Saturday and Sunday, as I’ll be at QVC all day on Bank Holiday Monday with our Today’s Special Value with Wet and Forget. Please join me then and discover how this remarkable product can transform and clean virtually any outdoor surface in days, the easy way!