The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Friday 29 June 2012

This Month In Your Garden - JULY

Your reward for all the hard work gone before. The July garden is full of flowers for cutting, drying or just to enjoy where they are. To keep the show going remove faded blooms or spikes from herbaceous plants, bedding plants, annuals and, of course, roses. Cut back lupins and take geraniums, violas and delphiniums back down to the crown once they have flowered. You may wish to leave some flowers of selected varieties to grow on if you want the seed for growing.

The Lawn Care Guide - JULY

The relentless and widespread rain has caused many gardener's to ask: Should I mow my lawn when it's wet? In an ideal world it would be avoided. However, many people are just too busy to wait for the good weather. If the grass needs cutting, the weekend may be the only opportunity you get - even if it means mowing wet grass.

With plenty of water around and the warmer temperatures of summer, the grass just keeps growing. The wetter it gets, the longer it grows. So is it OK to mow wet grass? With the correct equipment... yes it can be.

The Vegetable Plot - JULY

Keep feeding plants in growth and thin seedlings sown last month for succession.

As last month, you can make successional sowings of lettuce, endive and summer spinach. Sow in shadier places or they are likely to bolt in the heat. 

Look out for any tomato disorders and shade the greenhouse. Avoid splashing the fruit when watering. Harvest shallots when the leaves turn yellow. Garlic can be dug up as soon as the tips colour. 

The Big Glut Recipe - JULY

July’s Broad Bean, Pea and Pancetta Risotto

Hard to choose with so many fresh vegetables available and all sorts of summer salads, the barbecue to light, picnics to enjoy. Here’s a dish for now (or anytime if you use frozen beans and peas). Serves 4 with a nice glass of light white wine.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Water-wise Gardens: Chelsea winner Cleve West at the Lensbury

Cleve West, winner of ‘best in show’ at RHS Chelsea in 2011 and 2012, will be sharing images of his work and wisdom on gardening - for flowers and vegetables alike, for beauty and nutrition, - in the conditions of both drought and flood we’re experiencing this year.

This event is in aid of Jeevika Trust, a local charity delivering vital water and sanitation projects in village India, the world’s biggest poverty trap.

Women in rural India encounter severe water challenges with their precious kitchen gardens. Good water-harvesting and composting makes all the difference. One million Indian children die from diarrhoea every year – many because they do not have access to clean and safe drinking water.

Cleve’s talk, followed by Q&A and drinks is being kindly hosted by the Lensbury Club in their beautiful riverside ‘Pavillion’.

Thursday 6 September, 6.30-8.30pm
At the Lensbury club, Broom Road, Teddington,
Tickets are £10, with a free drink

To register for ‘Cleve at the Lensbury’ please e mail

For more information call 020 8973 3773 or go to

Friday 1 June 2012

This Month In Your Garden - JUNE

Summer is around the corner and roses, poppies, campanula, a host of flowers and plants are about to put on a show. Plenty to do.

Border carnations need staking and disbudding but let them arch naturally, remove side shoots and flower buds except the terminal one on each stem. Do the same for hybrid tea roses to achieve big blooms. 

Lightly trim evergreen hedges. If you want a colourful display next spring now is a good time to sow biennials such as wallflowers, sweet Williams, Canterbury bells, Iceland poppies and verbascums in a nursery, for planting out in the autumn where they are to flower.

The Lawn Care Guide - June

A lot of what was said in May about caring for the lawn still applies in June. A new lawn is best started in August to September, so continue to prepare the area and complete any deep cultivation.

Give existing lawns the last treatment of lawn sand and weed killers that destroy broad leaf weeds.

Watering can be important but with hosepipe bans and periods of drought you need to do what you can to help the grass. Whilst reasonably drought tolerant, prolonged dry periods will make the ground hard and difficult for water to penetrate. Spiking will help, as will mulching by raising the mower blades in dry weather and instead of collecting the grass, leaving it as moist cuttings to act as protection. A purpose-built mulching deck on the garden tractor will be just the job. 

The Vegetable Plot - JUNE

Warmer weather means more pests on the move so keep an eye open for carrot fly and cabbage root fly. Reduce stress on cauliflowers by transplanting when the seedlings are still small but just big enough to handle. 

The various vegetable seedlings from April and May sowings will need thinning. Stop broad beans growing any taller by pinching out the tip. Celery can be planted out along with runner beans raised under glass in April. Do the same for aubergines and capsicums that are hardened off.