If you don’t have room for an orchard, try a ‘supercolumn’

  • This week Nigel discusses different planting techniques for smaller gardens
  • Even the smallest of gardens have the opportunity to grow fruit trees 
  • The supercolumn  system works with cherries, plums and apples

When I was little we lived in a bungalow. The garden wasn’t considered large, but my parents grew flowers and veg and kept poultry. We also had an orchard with trees big enough to climb. read more

How to create the perfect colour combination by Monty Don

  • Monty advises colours in gardens to be as carefully selected as wardrobes
  • He says too much colour quickly muddies, it’s best to keep it simple
  • Monty also shared how different colours were used for definition in his garden

So often you hear people refer to a ‘riot of colour’ as though that was intrinsically a good thing but in truth, a riot quickly becomes wearying if not downright dangerous. read more

In Victoria, a perfectly preserved piece of Arts and Crafts architecture

‘You know how you dream about where you want to live when you grow up? This is the home I’ve always wanted,” says Tara Hurst of the house she shares with her husband, Michael Zary, and their chocolate labrador retriever, Zadie (after writer Zadie Smith). The Arts and Crafts-style cabin in Victoria’s Gonzales neighbourhood was built in 1913 and has a character all its own, which the couple strived to maintain despite an all-purpose renovation that observed several rooms stripped “to the studs,” Hurst says. read more

The show must go on: Chrysanthemums

  • Nigel says Garden chrysanthemums thrive on neglect and can last for months
  • He says the latest openers can still look lovely through rain, sleet or snow
  • He advises to plant Garden chrysanthemums in medium soil that drains freely

Travelling in Romania last month I was surprised to see so many chrysanthemums. These were not the tall funereal type, but cheeky little Cushion Mums.

In parks, front gardens and street planters they grew as packed domes of yellow, pink, bronze or white. Dwarf chrysanthemums like these are fine for speedy colour. Garden centres still carry them, but few will last into winter. However, tougher garden varieties are in bloom — or limbering up to make a glorious show from now to December. read more

Monty Don’s ground rules for a great garde

  • Monty Don says the secret is to narrow down the options on offer to you
  • He advises you keep it simple and personal, while following your dream
  • He warns you have to be patient, as for three years few will see what you’re doing

Over the years I’ve made quite a few gardens, including three large ones, from bare ground. 

So the advice I’m about to give you is a distillation of the principles that seem to me really important behind creating a beautiful garden.  read more

There’s nothing crafty about papier-mâché’s contemporary renaissance

Paper, in its simplest form, is flimsy and two-dimensional. When it’s layered and hardened, however, the material can become anything: a bowl, a bookshelf, even a chair. Before the era of mass production, it wasn’t uncommon to see a multitude of design objects rendered in papier-mâché, a craft technique of bonding shredded paper with everything from flour to glue to create volume. Now, that technique is enjoying a contemporary comeback in lighting, furniture and home accessories, and inspiring other unique processes that turn humble pulp into a major design statement. read more

mix ’ n’ match tulips: bulbs

  • Nigel believes November is the best month to plant bulbs or pot them
  • He recommends a variety of colour combinations for a beautiful display
  • Best companions for May tulips include wallflowers and forget-me-nots

Thinking about spring flowers when we’re battening down for October gales seems optimistic, but garden centres are piled high with bulbs — and tulips are selling fast. read more

Anyone can grow apples says Monty Don 

  • Monty recommends seven-metre spacing when planting an orchard
  • He says apples and pears can be grown in a garden of any size
  • Apples lend themselves to pruning and training in lots of different shapes

October always breaks in Herefordshire, where I live, suffused with the deep aroma of apples. 

It is a sweet, cidery tang that combines an overwhelming sense of fruitfulness with a touch of sadness, because it is the garden’s final flourish. But this is their hour and they are to my mind the stars of the garden. read more

Inside Sting and his wife Trudie Styler’s garden

  • A new book of celebrity sanctuaries reveals the secrets of the stars’ gardens
  • Victoria Summerley and Hugo Rittson Thomas shared an extract
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber’s house dates as far back as the 16th Century 
  • Meanwhile much of Sting and his wife Trudie Styler’s garden is Grade II-listed

The people in our book may be familiar to most of us, but they are just like any other garden owners. They wage daily battles with slugs and they have weeds in the vegetable patch.   read more