Get buzzing - do your bit to help pollinators

Darlington and Stockton Times:

2:57pm Friday 19th September 2014

Hannah Stephenson suggests a few things we can do to help our hard-working insects survive the winter.

Newer varieties of bulbs flower longer than old

Darlington and Stockton Times: bulb planting (10028929)

2:23pm Friday 12th September 2014

There's a nip in the air which, to me, signals the end of summer and provides a wake-up call to start planting some spring bulbs to brighten up borders and patios next year.

Time to prepare a cool mix of autumn stunners

Darlington and Stockton Times:

3:39pm Friday 29th August 2014

Hannah Stephenson advises brightening up containers to add an outdoor sparkle for autumn and winter

Best of the bunch: Rudbeckia

Darlington and Stockton Times:

3:38pm Friday 29th August 2014

These bright and breezy perennials bring a ray of sunshine to the late summer border with their golden, darkeyed daisy flowers, and do particularly well in sunny situations where the soil isn’t too dry.

Good enough to eat: Lemon grass

Darlington and Stockton Times:

3:37pm Friday 29th August 2014

The grassy stems of this delicious herb add a fantastic flavour to fragrant Thai curries and other Indonesian cuisine.

What to do this week?

3:36pm Friday 29th August 2014

Keep an eye out for pests such as aphids which can multiply quickly in warm weather

Time to recover control after the summer break

Darlington and Stockton Times:

2:43pm Friday 22nd August 2014

GARDENERS who went on holiday confident that friends and family would water, deadhead and harvest their crops in their absence must be feeling pretty smug.

Switch to the shrubbery

Darlington and Stockton Times:

3:33pm Friday 15th August 2014

AS summer marches on, many perennials are now fading, while annuals continue to colour borders and patios. But savvy gardeners should also be thinking creatively with shrubs which will extend the season and provide colour and structure to the border.

Head for the borders topiary and terraces

Darlington and Stockton Times:

4:46pm Friday 8th August 2014

There’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to UK gardens – so if you’re staying at home this summer, take a notepad, pen and camera to some of the best in the country. Garden curators Jon Webster, from RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, and Paul Cook, from RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Yorkshire, offer their own preferences

Good enough to eat: Lifting garlic

Darlington and Stockton Times:

4:41pm Friday 8th August 2014

ANYONE who has grown garlic this year should check the crop for lifting any time now. It should be done when the tops of the plants start to die back and the lower leaves begin to go brown. You may still have a few weeks to go, but when you see the leaves decline, stop watering, which will help cure the garlic.

Best of the bunch: Miscanthus

Darlington and Stockton Times:

4:40pm Friday 8th August 2014

If you’re looking for texture and movement in a border of hot colours, Miscanthus sinensis is a welcome addition.

What to do this week?

4:39pm Friday 8th August 2014

Replace strawberry beds which are more than three years old once the crop has been harvested, as output will go into decline.

This summer make sure you don’t lose the plot

Darlington and Stockton Times:

3:11pm Friday 1st August 2014

Hannah Stephenson reflects on the many advantages of growing your own fruit and vegetables on an allotment

Good enough to eat: Storing beetroot

Darlington and Stockton Times:

3:09pm Friday 1st August 2014

BEETROOT harvesting usually runs from early summer to mid-autumn, although it can be harvested at any stage of growth, depending on the size of the beets required.

Best of the bunch: Sunflowers

Darlington and Stockton Times:

3:08pm Friday 1st August 2014

SOME may consider them gaudy, others associate them with children’s gardening, but sunflowers do cheer up the summer garden with their huge yellow flowers above fantastically tall stems. The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is traditionally single and yellow, but there are double and red varieties, dwarfs and giants, growing up to 10ft tall.

What to do this week?

3:07pm Friday 1st August 2014

Take cuttings of new shoots of camellias, rooting them in a gritty compost in a covered propagator. Clean pond pump filters to ensure they don’t get clogged up with algae.

Don’t give your garden a holiday from watering

Darlington and Stockton Times:

4:36pm Friday 25th July 2014

THERE’S no reason your garden has to end up looking like a sea of straggly, wilted plants while you’re on holiday, even if you don’t have neighbours or friends who’ll water it while you are away.

Attenborough takes action for butterflies

Darlington and Stockton Times:

2:54pm Friday 18th July 2014

Hannah Stephenson meets Sir David Attenborough for the launch of the Big Butterfly Count

Good enough to eat: Raspberries

Darlington and Stockton Times:

2:51pm Friday 18th July 2014

THERE’S nothing like the intense flavour of homegrown raspberries in summer, which are always expensive to buy in the shops but pretty easy to grow yourself.

Best of the bunch: Salvia

Darlington and Stockton Times:

2:50pm Friday 18th July 2014

A PLANT loved by landscapers and novice gardeners alike for its colour and structure, the salvia is the Horticultural Trades Association’s Plant of the Month for July.

What to do this week

2:50pm Friday 18th July 2014

Reduce the lengths of wisteria tendrils by half.

Officer killed in Maori war

Darlington and Stockton Times:

4:26pm Friday 11th July 2014

Lieut-Col Booth killed in battle. By the last advices from New Zealand, received here on Wednesday morning, of the war between the British and the Insurgent Maoris, it is with much sorrow that we perceive among the list of killed Lieut-Col H Booth, 43rd Light Infantry, a young and distinguished officer, and a native of Northallerton.

Make most of the water that comes your way

Darlington and Stockton Times:

4:18pm Friday 11th July 2014

WE may have had the warmest spring on record, but last winter was also the wettest, so we are a long way from a drought and hosepipe ban.

Good enough to eat: Protecting cabbages from caterpillars

Darlington and Stockton Times:

1:51pm Friday 4th July 2014

Keep an eye on emerging cabbage leaves for tell-tale holes and pick off any cabbage white caterpillars you find before they do any more damage. To control them and stop the female butterflies laying their eggs, you need to keep fine mesh covers which were put on earlier in the season in place.

Urban gardens grow with community spirit

Darlington and Stockton Times:

1:49pm Friday 4th July 2014

Hannah Stephenson looks at ways in which companies now see the need to support local green initiatives

Best of the bunch: Cranesbill Geranium

1:45pm Friday 4th July 2014

These vigorous hardy geraniums will cover ground faster than weeds and produce some of the prettiest summer flowers in shades ranging from white to pink to purple, making them ideal candidates for the front of the border. They will grow in any reasonable garden soil in sun or shade and should suppress weeds effectively as well as looking good under trees, although you may have to pull clumps out from time to time to keep them contained.

What to do this week

1:43pm Friday 4th July 2014

Continue to plant out vegetables including runner beans, cabbage, sprouting broccoli and celery

Fill your plot or pots with natural flavours

Darlington and Stockton Times: A herb garden. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. (7326061)

2:15pm Friday 27th June 2014

You don't need a big plot to grow your own herbs. They can be happy in a pot, says Hannah Stephenson.

When your nose tells you that summer is here

Darlington and Stockton Times: lavender and other plants

4:10pm Friday 20th June 2014

WHEN I open my patio doors and breathe in the delicious scent of my neighbour’s mock orange, with its pretty white flowers cascading conveniently over my garden fence, I know that summer is really here.

Mulch ado about old bags of inferior compost

Darlington and Stockton Times: CONSUMER WARNING: A border filled with compost but consumer watchdog Which? has highlighted a problem with out-of-date bags

3:42pm Friday 13th June 2014

BAGS of old compost are still being sold in garden centres and DIY stores, with no indication of the date of production on the packaging, according to a report in the latest edition of Which?

Best foot forward for a special Father’s Day gift

Darlington and Stockton Times: EASY TRIMMING: A Bosch grass trimmer will help you tidy those hard-to-reach parts of the garden

1:39pm Friday 6th June 2014

FOOTWEAR is an essential part of comfortable gardening and Backdoorshoes have new designs of Shedshoes with men in mind. They’re lightweight, slip on and off easily and the new Mulchwood design makes a change from boring old block colours that you find in other gardening clogs. £20,

Pairing is a match made in heaven for summer

Darlington and Stockton Times: GOOD TOGETHER: Rosa ‘Shropshire Lass’ and Clematis ‘Harlow Carr’

4:56pm Friday 30th May 2014

THERE are some combinations that make life feel better – strawberries and cream, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, gin and tonic ... but for me, one of the classic combinations which will always bring a heavenly note to summer is the pairing of clematis and roses.

Flower of remembrance adds a dash of colour

Darlington and Stockton Times: WARTIME MEMORIES: Poppies growing in a field

3:37pm Friday 23rd May 2014

Hannah Stephenson looks at the poppy’s dual role – as a garden delight and as a symbol of remembrance

Good enough to eat: Tomatoes in pots

Darlington and Stockton Times: Good enough to eat: Tomatoes in pots

3:35pm Friday 23rd May 2014

IF YOU haven’t a greenhouse or enough room to house growbags with long cordons of tomatoes, just go for a few varieties which are suitable for a large container on the patio.

Best of the bunch - Allium

Darlington and Stockton Times: Allium

3:33pm Friday 23rd May 2014

THEIR lollipop blooms always make a statement in a border.The most majestic is the giant A. giganteum, which grows to 1.2m (4ft) and produces impressive lilac ballshaped flowers in early summer. The popular A. cristophii has a narrow growth habit which means bulbs can be slotted between other plants in the garden during autumn. Alliums will thrive in any well-drained soil in full sun.

What to do this week

3:31pm Friday 23rd May 2014

Ensure floppy plants in herbaceous borders are staked before they grow too tall.

Gardening tips get you set for the season ahead

Darlington and Stockton Times: Stormproof Vegetable Cage, 49, See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. (6052005)

3:11pm Friday 16th May 2014

IT'S not only ideas for planting your own garden that blossom when you visit garden shows - it's ideas about the accessories, tools and trinkets you see along the way, too.

Understanding the hits and myths of gardening

Darlington and Stockton Times: MYTHS DEBUNKED: A woman holding a potted plant. The spoken word does not have any effect on plants

3:37pm Friday 9th May 2014

IF you think ivy kills trees, watering scorches leaves and digging is always needed to control weeds, think again.

Good enough to eat: Leeks

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Leeks

3:28pm Friday 9th May 2014

They are the ideal veg to grow for winter use, are relatively trouble-free and not too fussy about soil conditions.

Best of the bunch: Bluebells

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Bluebells

3:27pm Friday 9th May 2014

BLUEBELLS are at their best at this time of year, providing stunning bursts of calming blue hues in woodlands all over the country.

What jobs to do this week

3:26pm Friday 9th May 2014

Pull out the dead outer leaves of phormium and divide congested clumps

Tips to stop badgers digging up patches of luscious lawn

Darlington and Stockton Times: PROTECTION: To minimise the risk of badger and fox damage, you need to have a healthy lawn

4:23pm Friday 2nd May 2014

WALKING up my garden a few weeks ago, I discovered great clumps missing from my lawn, and that the resulting holes had been used as some sort of animal toilet.

This Fox loves spending time in her country garden retreat

Darlington and Stockton Times: GARDENING AMBITION: Emilia Fox loves to come home to her cottage garden

3:27pm Friday 25th April 2014

AT the end of a hard day’s filming, Silent Witness star Emilia Fox likes nothing better than to venture into her oasis of calm, with its walls of lavender, pretty clematis and fragrant roses.

Best of the bunch: Tulips

Darlington and Stockton Times: Best of the bunch: Tulips

3:57pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014

NO garden should be without tulips, whether you just have room for a few in a pot or a big enough area for a stunning display. They are the majestic queens of spring in colours from white, red and yellow to peach and deep burgundy.

Good enough to eat: Carrots

Darlington and Stockton Times: Home-grown baby carrots taste so good

3:55pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014

MAINCROP carrots can now be sown outside directly into the ground, for lifting in September and October. Sow thinly in rows 30cm apart in deep, fertile and sandy soil, or if your soil is heavy or stony, go for short-rooted varieties.

What to do this week

3:54pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014

Cut back hardy fuchsias to just above soil level as strong new basal growth appears. Start to sow hardy annuals directly into their flowering position.

Why ‘Judge Dread’ can’t wait to get stuck into his garden

Darlington and Stockton Times: FUN: Jim Buttress, second left, in The Big Allotment Challenge with, from the left, Fern Britton, Thane Price and Jonathan Moseley

3:53pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014

As BBC2’s muchanticipated new gardening show The Big Allotment Challenge hopes to repeat the success of Bake Off, Hannah Stephenson talks to the man nicknamed ‘Judge Dread’, life-long horticulturalist Jim Buttress, about the problems of staging a TV gardening competition.

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.


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