Get your little ones into the garden via seeds and wildlife

Darlington and Stockton Times: FUN: Youngsters can learn so much by taking up gardening, such sowing seeds, watering plants and growing vegetables

2:34pm Friday 11th April 2014

As National Gardening Week approaches and the Easter school holidays arrive, Hannah Stephenson looks at how to get your children interested in gardening

Good enough to eat: Indoor cucumbers

2:32pm Friday 11th April 2014

Indoor cucumbers can be sown from April in an unheated greenhouse, sowing seeds singly in 7cm pots with good multipurpose compost.

Best of the bunch: Perennial wallflowers

2:31pm Friday 11th April 2014

Perennial wallflowers are among the most cheerful sights in spring, their blooms appearing in shades of everything from yellow to deep purple.

What to do this week

2:30pm Friday 11th April 2014

Continue to sow tender crops in the greenhouse, including tomatoes, aubergine and peppers

Alan uses his Yorkshire roots to mark 50 years in a garden

Darlington and Stockton Times: A blooming great 50th anniversary

3:41pm Friday 4th April 2014

GARDENING guru Alan Titchmarsh is looking forward to getting his hands dirty at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year. Instead of wearing a sharp suit to present the show, for the first time in 30 years, he will be wearing a pair of gloves and designing a garden instead.

Best of the bunch: Magnolia

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Magnolia

3:40pm Friday 4th April 2014

These amazing trees and shrubs can form the focal point of a garden in spring with their enormous goblet-shaped blooms in shades of pink or white. I love the standalone impressive M. grandiflora, which is really a tree, which will reach 7m (21ft), bearing creamy white blooms, sometimes as large as dinner plates, between July and September.

Good enough to eat

3:39pm Friday 4th April 2014

The vegetable patch doesn’t have to be bare while you wait for the warmer weather for planting crops like French beans, tomatoes and courgettes - catch crops will fill in the gaps.

What to do this week

3:39pm Friday 4th April 2014

Prune spring-flowering shrubs over three years old as they finish flowering

Simple ways to make your garden an eco-friendly haven

Darlington and Stockton Times: TRY LATE BLOOMERS: wild flower meadow

3:03pm Friday 28th March 2014

IF YOUR planting is attracting bees, butterflies and other wildlife, your shed is devoid of pesticides and your fruit and veg are strictly organic, then you are already heading along the right road to eco-friendliness.

Good enough to eat: Celery

Darlington and Stockton Times: When it comes to crunch, try celery

3:01pm Friday 28th March 2014

If you love its crunchy texture in salads, use it to accompany hearty cheeses, or just add it to soups and casseroles, then it's time to start celery seeds off in a greenhouse (or anywhere you can maintain a temperature of 15C).

Best of the bunch: Snake's head fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris)

2:59pm Friday 28th March 2014

ALTHOUGH they don't generally appear until April, these fragile-looking bulbs with nodding, bell-shaped heads of white or purple, intricately marked with shaded squares, are now widely available in full bloom in garden centres, so you might want to treat yourself to a pot for spring.

What to do this week

2:59pm Friday 28th March 2014

Replace and replenish mulches around the base of trees, shrubs and climbers.

Gardens can inspire a lovely choice of Mother’s Day gifts

Darlington and Stockton Times: PRESENTS FOR MUM: Sophie Conran tools and accessories, £19.95, Burgon & Ball

4:20pm Friday 21st March 2014

Stuck on the usual ‘flowers or chocolates’ dilemma? Why not find some inspiration in the garden this Mother’s Day, and treat the woman who knows you best to everything from decorative twine to wind chimes, seed collections or serious tools.

Good enough to eat: broad beans

4:18pm Friday 21st March 2014

NOW Is a good time to start sowing broad beans, an underrated veg which are delicious boiled for about 10 minutes and then mixed with melted butter and fried bacon, or tuned into a summer soup or puree.

Best of the bunch: Muscari (grape hyacinth)

4:16pm Friday 21st March 2014

THE grape hyacinth brings a burst of blue to spring, either crammed into pots or in drifts between deciduous shrubs.

What to do this week

4:16pm Friday 21st March 2014

Plant dormant rhubarb crowns.

Good enough to eat: sowing peas

Darlington and Stockton Times: Good enough to eat: sowing peas

4:01pm Friday 14th March 2014

MANY people may only know the frozen kind, but there’s nothing quite like shelling fresh peas into a bowl in summer, and eating a few as you go along.

Tender care can turn a bog into a luscious lawn again

Darlington and Stockton Times: WATER FEATURE: There is plenty of work to be done to revive your grass

3:57pm Friday 14th March 2014

IF THE recent deluge of rain means your luscious, closely-cropped carpet of green is now nothing but a soggy bog, you might be feeling a bit downhearted.

Best of the bunch: Forsythia

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Forsythia

3:56pm Friday 14th March 2014

THE forsythia is always a welcome sight in spring, its bright yellow tubular flowers appearing on long stemmed branches before the leaves.

What to do this week

3:55pm Friday 14th March 2014

If the ground isn’t too wet, plant herbaceous perennials including geranium, astrantia and oriental poppies.

Lots of options to brighten up your patio for spring

Darlington and Stockton Times: OPTIONS: Diarmuid Gavin with Penstemon, ‘Czar’, which can brighten up your patio

11:25am Friday 7th March 2014

IF THE rain ever lets up long enough for us to venture out on to our patios, we’ll need some quick fixes to brighten them up in time for the warmer, and hopefully drier, months of spring.

Best of the bunch: Bergenia

11:24am Friday 7th March 2014

OTHERWISE known as elephant’s ears because of the shape of their leathery leaves, these cabbage- shaped low-growing perennials produce pink, mauve, white or red flowers, but their leaves can also change colour depending on the variety you choose.

Good enough to eat: Bergamot

11:24am Friday 7th March 2014

YOU may see this plant in bedding areas under the name monarda, but its fragrant mint-like leaves provide an orange flavour which can be used in desserts.

What to do this week

11:23am Friday 7th March 2014

Clean and oil the blades of cutting tools and check electrical equipment before spring.

Royal Alexandra sailing ship launches at Stockton

Darlington and Stockton Times: Royal Alexandra sailing ship launches at Stockton

3:48pm Friday 28th February 2014

ABOVE PICTURE: It is March 1988 and Mr Lewis Wright is retiring from the newsagent business in Thirsk Market Place he has run for a lifetime. In his hand is a copy of the D&S Times – in its days as a broadsheet with property advertising on the front page

Give your garden a touch of texture with right design

Darlington and Stockton Times: A touch of texture

3:41pm Friday 28th February 2014

Award-winning designer Luciano Giubbilei, who is creating the Laurent-Perrier show garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, reveals his secrets on how to create a textured garden, combining lustrous hard materials with carefully chosen plants

Best of the bunch: Daffodil (Narcissus)

Darlington and Stockton Times: Annual charity daffodil walk to fund cancer nurses

3:37pm Friday 28th February 2014

THERE are few flowers that signal the arrival of spring more cheerfully than the daffodil, its bright yellow flowers arriving as early as February and some varieties blooming into late spring.

What to do this week

3:15pm Friday 28th February 2014

In the greenhouse prick out seedlings and space them in bigger trays when they are big enough to transplant.

Good enough to eat: sprouting broccoli

3:14pm Friday 28th February 2014

THIS delicious green vegetable with its purple or white flowery heads is among the first to herald the start of spring. Its sweet heads and tender stalks are perfect when picked young and steamed for a few minutes.

How green shoots of hope grew behind enemy lines

Darlington and Stockton Times: HISTORY MAKERS: Photographic postcards of the gardens at Ruhleben, circa 1917

4:27pm Friday 21st February 2014

MORE than 5,000 British citizens were interned in First World War civilian detention camp Ruhleben, an old racecourse outside Berlin.

Time to act quickly to save all your casualties of water

Darlington and Stockton Times: SPLASH: Garden tools get a good soaking from the rain

3:40pm Friday 14th February 2014

WHILE the incessant rain may have left gardeners’ water butts overflowing, it has also inevitably claimed its share of casualties.

Set a date to visit the UK’s most romantic gardens

Darlington and Stockton Times: Castle Howard rose garden, near York

2:17pm Friday 7th February 2014

AVOID the cliched and overpriced dinner this Valentine’s Day, and treat your loved one to a much more inspiring garden-themed gift.

Kale and hearty

Darlington and Stockton Times: Pretty useful: seakale has scented flowers

4:23pm Tuesday 4th February 2014

FOR the vegetable gardener it’s all about planning and ordering seeds in the darker winter months – mostly for the crops we grow each year. But it’s also worth considering including some perennial veg, if you have the room.

Unearthing the truth about digging for your vegetables

Darlington and Stockton Times: SPADE WORK: Charles Dowding composting newly shaped beds

3:49pm Friday 31st January 2014

EACH autumn, there’s a collective, nationwide groan as gardeners think about the endless digging they’ll be doing over winter to improve their soil’s condition for the following year.

Invest in feeder for feathered friends

Darlington and Stockton Times: HUNG UP: A great spotted woodpecker feeds on buggy nibbles in an RSPB ceramic acorn feeder

4:16pm Friday 24th January 2014

THERE’S never really an excuse for not having a bird feeder standing in your garden.

Beware the problems of receiving plants by post

Darlington and Stockton Times: RISKS: Online customers have had problems with dead or diseased plants arriving through the post, as well as specimens that were too small or which quickly succumbed to disease

3:39pm Friday 17th January 2014

SHOPPING by mail order is meant to make our lives easier, but the reality is often a little different – especially, it seems, if you’re a gardener.

Best of the bunch: Dogwood

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Dogwood

3:37pm Friday 17th January 2014

THE vibrant stems of dogwood, in shades of vivid red through to deep yellow, provide a touch of drama to the winter garden.

How to prune apple trees

3:35pm Friday 17th January 2014

NOW is the time to prune your standard apple trees to keep them in shape, allow in more light and reduce the amount of fruit they carry, which will result in larger, tastier, better quality fruits. Leave them unpruned and you may get more fruit, but the apples will probably be smaller and sharper tasting because of delayed ripening.

What to do this week

3:35pm Friday 17th January 2014

Bring containergrown shrubs into the greenhouse for forcing. Suitable candidates include roses, deutzia, lilac and viburnum.

Looking to the Victorians for gardening inspiration

Darlington and Stockton Times: CURIOSITY: Chris Beardshaw hosts the Great British Garden Revival. Below, The stumpery at Highgrove gardens, Gloucestershire

4:36pm Friday 10th January 2014

STUMPERIES may be a throwback of a bygone age, but – perhaps thanks to the current trend for all things retro – they could once again command a place in the British garden, creating a cornucopia of planting opportunities and providing a haven for wildlife.

Top buy: Anti-bramble gauntlets

4:35pm Friday 10th January 2014

IF YOU’RE tackling prickles and other tough sharp plants this winter, you’ll need more than basic gardening gloves to help you in your task.

What to do this week

4:35pm Friday 10th January 2014

Order seeds now to be sown in January or February as you may have to wait some weeks for delivery.

Good enough to eat: Curry leaves

4:31pm Friday 10th January 2014

HAVE some fun with edible houseplants while you’re hibernating this winter and, if you’re still waiting to make that turkey curry, look no further than the Murraya, whose leaves will give you a home-grown curry flavour better than any take-away.

Best of the bunch: Holly

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Holly

11:40am Friday 20th December 2013

MANY holly bushes have been bearing berries since the autumn, their brilliant red hue appearing above deep green spiked foliage.

Good enough to eat: Parsnips

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Parsnips

11:38am Friday 20th December 2013

CHRISTMAS just wouldn’t be Christmas without parsnips on the festive table, either drenched in maple syrup or coated in a Parmesan and flour before being roasted alongside the turkey. They do best on deeply dug, fertile, slightly acid soil and are better following a previous crop which has been well manured, rather than adding compost now. Seeds should be sown directly into the ground in April in drills 1cm deep and 30cm apart, sowing a couple of seeds at 15cm intervals.

Top buy: The Hogitat Hedgehog House

Darlington and Stockton Times: Top buy: The Hogitat Hedgehog House

11:37am Friday 20th December 2013

THE RSPB is selling three times the amount of wildlife products compared to this time last year, according to latest figures, and one of the bestsellers is its homes for hedgehogs.

What to do this week

11:22am Friday 20th December 2013

Protect cordylines from freezing temperatures by bringing them under cover or tying up the leaves and wrapping them in fleece until the cold snap is over.

Snuggle down in the warm with a new gardening book

11:43am Friday 20th December 2013

THINK of the festive season and you probably think of being snuggled up inside by a roaring fire – but put a new gardening book on your Christmas wish-list, and you could be thinking of your spring planting too.

Do the groundwork before bringing the new tree home

Darlington and Stockton Times: Advice on how to choose the right Christmas tree for your home

1:04pm Friday 13th December 2013

PICTURE the familiar Christmas scene: you arrive home from the garden centre, a tall, bushy tree proudly under your arm. You’re anxious to get it up and show it off in all it’s festive glory - but once it’s actually inside, once you’ve pruned and snipped it into it’s allocated space, the magic seems to have faded.

Good enough to eat: Celeriac

Darlington and Stockton Times: Good enough to eat: Celeriac

1:02pm Friday 13th December 2013

THIS knobbly root is a winter staple which creates a wonderful mash with potato and garlic, or added to soups and stews to add flavour and texture.

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