Sarah Coles

Off with their Heads!

  Peter Wake who grew roses at Hambleden used to say he never picked flowers because ‘it’s like cutting off  the heads of friends’.   But where would a house be without flowers, and many plants the more they are picked the more they produce flowers. Wanting to learn more, I went for a day course by Sarah Raven’s on cutting flowers from the garden.  We usually think flowers from our gardens won’t last as long as florist flowers.  Sarah said, not so! She gave us some golden rules.  Pick at the right time of day, she said.  First thing in the morning is best, and second best is late...
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SUCCULENTS I must have about fifteen different succulents and the odd thing is, when I think of the dozens of plants I’ve managed to kill over the years, I’ve barely lost one. I love them outside in bowls in summer, but particularly I love them now, indoors on the window sill. They include include several sedums, stonecrops, agaves, aeoniums, echeverias and more. Each bowl is a garden in its own right. They cope with drought by storing water in their leaves. They are sun loving, and come in subtle shades of blue grey green. I started with an echeveria which I bought by chance, because I liked the...
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It rains, every day.  Bob has installed the old wooden butt I used on the farm and in two days it’s overflowing.  There’s no tap –  it’s just a dipping butt.  The rain patters persistently, softly.  It nags.  The greenhouse I sited in a concrete  dip so the neighbours would not be annoyed by the sight of it, sits in a pond.
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Seeds inside

  April 20th. Seeds on the kitchen window sill have germinated far better than in the cold greenhouse. Up have come seedlings of a perennial sunflower in a beautiful soft yellow (in the catalogue anyway) Helianthus maximiliani – chosen for Max aged six, he will be pleased – which apparently has a chocolate scent, plus lobelia (easy I know) and Tagetes minuta, whose roots are supposed to have a secretion deterring or even  killing weeds, including ground elder and the like (some hope! but …). Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, after an entire year, three seedlings of that graceful...
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MARCH   GARDENING Why grow your own vegetables?   In these hard times, growing your own helps ease the family budget.   The mail order seedsman D.T. Brown for an initial outlay of £34.36 grew and harvested summer vegetables on a plot 30 by 9 feet, giving the plants and soil no special treatment.  Results included climbing beans at a market price of £48.22, courgettes costing over £30, and many more, altogether saving over £260.  You can find full results on their website How does the novice choose & grow?  Mr Fothergills ( mark about 35...
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