Control garden pests without reaching for the Roundup

We all want friendly insects like bees and worms in the garden to keep our plants pollinated and the soil in good condition, but sometimes other pests come along which can wreck havoc in our lovely outdoor spaces. While your first instinct might be to reach for the insecticide, I believe it’s always best to…

A sneak preview into Gardening Scotland’s Show Gardens

Following all the television and media coverage around the Chelsea Flower Show last week – particularly its very decadent show gardens – I’m getting very excited about Scotland’s equivalent – Gardening Scotland – which takes place from Friday till Sunday next weekend at Ingliston, near Edinburgh. As well as showcasing some of the finest floral delights…

The sweet scent of Honeysuckle – in a candle

  Nothing signals the arrival of summer like the sweet scent of honeysuckle.  Come June and July this beautiful, highly perfumed plant comes alive in our gardens and hedgerows, and its white flowers are perfect for training over pergolas and archways, filling the outdoors with its rich aroma.  For me, the smell of honeysuckle also…

Rose-hips – foraging and herbal recipes

Autumn officially started this week and the beautiful tomato-like rosehips are starting to ripen on the wild rose hedgerows which line the canal near my house.  Every year I make grand plans to forage for hips – they are from the same family as apples and are packed full of vitamins A and C –…

Herbal healing and comfrey ointment recipe

On Saturday I attended a herbal first aid day course at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Not only did it add to my knowledge about the healing powers of some of our native plants, it also made me think about gardening in a whole new light.  Until now, I’ve grown vegetables for eating and…

Top tips for planting spring flowering bulbs

With supermarkets and garden centres full of bulbs, it’s nearly time to start planting if you want colour in your garden next spring. Here’s some top tips for planting, courtesy of the Telegraph Gardening section – it includes everything from preparing the soil for best results to forcing bulbs for winter displays. Prepare the ground Remove weeds…

Growing ferns in Scotland

My first experience of ferns and gardening came a couple of years ago when I had to shift a well-established one that was starting to dislodge part of my allotment fencing. Anyone who’s ever had the lucky experience of digging up a fern will know that their roots go a lot deeper than expected. It…

Grow-your-own-gin masterclass

The Bonnie Gardner has teamed up with creative drinks consultancy Liquor to Lips to devise a very fun and informative drinks workshop ‘GrowYourOwnGin pdf‘ for up to 50 people. Designed to be on trend with gin’s modern renaissance and green fingered foodies growing their own botanicals, liquor to lips deliver the facts on the gin, while the…

Read my new Scot’s Magazine gardening blog

I’m very privileged to feature in Scot’s Magazine this month and to be writing a weekly blog on the magazine’s website throughout July. My first entry offers some top tips on how to grow lettuce leaves, and the second entry – up today – is about how to encourage wildlife into your garden to help it thrive…

Why there’s so many reasons to love a sedum

At this time of year I can honestly say that I spend more time weeding than I do growing new plants or tending to my vegetables. While July is a glorious month in the garden for delphinium, red hot pokers (knautia macedonia), lathyrus and dianthus, it’s also a month where I find low maintenance plants…