Autumn Bliss Malling Promise Raspberries

Pruning Raspberry plants

Autumn is well and truly here, and it’s time to clear the decks for the winter days that sit on the horizon.

Allotment Diary Travels

National Gardening Week: Celebrating all things edible with Charles Dowding

National Gardening Week has passed us by again this year and aims to be a celebration of all things gardening headed up by the RHS.

Allotment Diary Travels

RHS Glow 2018 at Wisley

This week I was lucky enough to visit the Glow are RHS Wisley in Surrey.

RHS Wisley is the flagship garden for the Royal Horticulture Society and for someone who grows their own veg, it’s a real treat to go there – I simply don’t go there often enough. The great thing about Wisley is that it changes with the seasons, which means that each time you go – you really do see something new, and the best of the season.

The Glow is no exception. I’d never been to a garden whereby the combination of lighting and plants were the focus. It’s a great idea entice footfall to the gardens during the colder winter months – and it also breaks up the time between Christmas and New Year fantastically.

Allotment Diary

Picking out a Christmas tree that will last

Christmas! Love it or hate it, one of the big highlights of every season needs hardly an introduction – the Christmas tree!

In the world that we live in, picking out a good tree is crucial to enjoying the festive season with your loved ones and there’s nothing worse than waking up on a snowy Christmas morning to a bald, dried out tree.

Something to bare in mind is that your Christmas tree is slowly drying out after being cut – so the key is to keep it moist or at least pick out a tree that is as fresh as possible.

It’s placement within the family home, exposed to gas and central heating only accelerates the drying out process, and is made even worse when you start adding lights, which also generate a certain amount of heat.

This in mind, I called upon Squires Garden Centres for some advice on what to look for when buying that all important Christmas tree:

  • Look for a tree with a good shape, evenly spaced branches and one strong leader at the top for your star or angel to perch upon.
  • Your tree should have lovely deep green needles (rather than paler green) and should not be shedding too many needles when you move it.
  • Nordmann and Fraser Firs will naturally have better needle retention than Spruce.
  • To really help needle retention cut a few inches off the base when you get your tree home and plunge the trunk in to a bucket of water ( as if it were a bunch of flowers) and keep your tree in a cool place until it is time to bring it in the house.
  • When you do bring it inside avoid placing it too near a radiator or other source of direct heat.
  • Above all enjoy the scent, colour and movement of a real Christmas tree this festive season

Questions you should ask when picking out a good Christmas tree:

  • Are the branches stiff?
  • Do the needles fall off when you shake it?
  • Is it a big tree – but actually quite light when you pick it up? A light tree will indicate, a dried out tree
  • Is the top bald or lacking needles?
  • As above, how green is the tree?

Luckily – it’s  been a good growing season for trees this year with enough wet weather during the year to promote good growth and good needle retention, so chances are, in our year 2014, you’ll be okay in whatever tree you pick out.

If you have any other Christmas tree tips, be sure to comment and let us know!

Merry Christmas!