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.

Monday 3 July 2023

This Month in Your Garden – July

“Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit.”
Henry David Thoreau

We rarely major on one particular weed in the garden, but this year conditions seemed to especially favour bindweed. Typically, it is perennial hedge bindweed, Calystegia sepium, that spreads fast with its twining stems and white, trumpet flowers.

The Lawn Care Guide – July

Watering can make all the difference

Less frequent mowing is likely now and it’s good practice to raise the cutting height of the mower or cutting deck on the garden tractor so you don’t cut too short and expose the grass to the harsh sun.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. We are having a real problem with moles and molehills on the lawn. What can we do?

The Vegetable Plot – July

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” Laurie Colwin

Watering the tomatoes both in and out of the greenhouse can be an easily forgotten task. They can dry out surprisingly quickly, especially if they are in grow bags. The next time you look you find limp, dying plants. Get them watered and they should revive.

The Big Glut – July

Vegetable garden risotto

A lovely way to use the beans, peas, and asparagus from the garden, in a light and tasty risotto. From The
Hairy Bikers’ Best of British. Serves four.


  • 250g/10oz broad beans 
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

Friday 2 June 2023

This Month in Your Garden – June

What is one to say about June - the time of perfect young summer?” Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jeckyll’s quote goes on to talk about June as ‘the fulfillment of the promise of earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.” This year it seemed spring would never come, but June is showing us how quickly the garden catches up with a little sun and green fingers.

The Lawn Care Guide – June

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except learning how to grow in rows.” Doug Larsen

Back in April and into May it seemed as if the grass would never grow and in patches left after scarification newly sown seed lay dormant. Then the rains came and the ground warmed up, to be followed by the late May sunshine and hey, away we go with the mowing.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. We have small mounds of earth on the lawn and bees appear to be coming out of them. Are they dangerous if a child were to step on them in bare feet?

The Vegetable Plot – June

Once upon a thyme

There is a certain satisfaction growing your own herbs. Be they sown from seed or little pot plants from the garden centre that you grow on in containers outside the back door. Once you have an herb garden, no matter how large or small, you have ahead of you a feast of culinary delights.

The Big Glut – June

No-stir risotto with radishes, asparagus and artichokes

From Delicious Magazine. Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 150g mixed radishes, chopped
  • 125g fine asparagus, stems finely chopped, tips left whole

Friday 5 May 2023

This Month in your Garden – May

 “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” Pablo Neruda

At last, we are seeing the first signs of spring and the temperature a little warmer than of late, but be cautious with any tender plants. Dahlias, for example, even hardened off, will still be susceptible to late frosts.

The Lawn Care Guide – May

Why my grass seed will not grow

Having scarified and aerated a back lawn, it was time to deal with bare patches and overseed. While grass seed germinates in most conditions the weather does need to be right. Soil temperature needs to be between 9 to 12 degrees Celsius.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

 Q. We have a lawn surrounding large trees and the grass does not grow well in the shade. Is there anything we can do about this.

The Vegetable Plot – May

Success with succession

May is the month to make succession sowing of lettuce, carrot and onion seed for a continuous crop for the kitchen. The Big Glut recipes are chosen to be seasonal and use as much as you can from your own kitchen garden. So, if you are a keen propagator with seed, you will have no end of choice this month.

The Big Glut – May

Asparagus and new potato frittata

Recipe from BBC Good Food


  • 200g new potatoes, quartered
  • 100g asparagus tips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 40g cheddar, grated
  • Rocket or mixed leaves, to serve

Tuesday 11 April 2023

This Month in your Garden – April

No rain, no flowers.” Haruki Murakami

We have certainly been getting our fair share of rain, but the rewards are plentiful with a good showing of dwarf irises, daffodils and some early tulips in pots. March seemed to cling on to winter cold and there remains the chance of frost in many areas, so tender plants like Azaleas still need our protection.

The Lawn Care Guide – April

Feed me, feed me

Grass is a plant the same as other plants and requires periodic feeding. In the long term, it will be beneficial in a number of ways, including colour and appearance, disease resistance, density and wear tolerance. But before we race out with a bag of fertiliser we need to identify our grass. Fine-leaved fescues need very little complete fertiliser, usually once a year is enough.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. I am not sure when and what fertiliser to apply to my lawn. 

The Vegetable Plot – April

The old sow and sow

April is a cornucopia of what you can sow, grow and crop, whatever size of vegetable plot you have. In the first half of the month, the second early potatoes you have been chitting can go into the prepared ground. Maincrop can go in in the second half.

The Big Glut – April

Chicken, kale and mushroom pot pie

A BBC Good Food recipe.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 350g chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Wednesday 8 March 2023

This Month in your Garden – March

Autumn arrives in the early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.”
Elizabeth Bowen

Out with the hoe. The first colourful signs of spring, the crocuses, primulas and daffodils are inevitably accompanied by the fast growth of weeds in borders. Chopping them with a hoe is a great way to keep them at bay and requires less effort than digging.

The Lawn Care Guide – March

Fix your patch and clear the thatch

Coming out of winter into spring, the lawn can often suffer from bare patches which might have been caused by drought the previous year, dog urine or disease. If the soil is compressed and hard where the patch occurs, scratch the surface with an old knife or a rake to loosen it. Then apply grass seed mixed with some topsoil to the area.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. We frequently get mushrooms growing in the lawn. Why is that, and what do we do about them?

The Vegetable Plot – March

Sow here to a bumper crop

The size of your vegetable plot need not restrict the quantity you grow. Old cottage gardeners grew veg between their prize flowers and many people still do today. Containers, hanging baskets, even old guttering are other ways to go. 

March is the month you can start so many vegetable sowings as long as we don’t get freakish weather and more ‘Beasts from the East.’ Even then, you can sow under glass until it’s safe to venture outside again. Asparagus, cucumbers, dwarf French beans, leeks, lettuces, marrows, melons, onions, parsley, peas, rhubarb, seakale and tomatoes are all easy to sow and grow under glass. 

The Big Glut – March

Chicken Florentine with winter greens

Delicious Magazine suggest you can switch the traditional spinach in a chicken florentine to cavolo nero for a winter version of this Italian classic.


  • 2 large chicken breasts, skin on
  • Olive oil to fry
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 125ml white wine
  • 80g cavolo nero
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 10g parmesan, finely grated
  • Cooked gnocchi, rice or pasta to serve

Monday 6 February 2023

This Month in your Garden – February

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” William Blake

February is invariably a month of contrasts as it clings to winter yet sees the first vestiges of spring appearing almost daily. Snowdrops, daffodils, irises, drifts of crocus and cyclamen coum and even an early flowering cherry provide blotches of colour in an otherwise slightly barren garden landscape.

The Lawncare Guide: February

Dressed to kill moss

It’s likely the grass has started into growth as the temperature rises and instead of stepping out onto hard ground, the lawn feels spongy underfoot. Further exploration tells you there is a considerable amount of moss choking the grass and spreading alarmingly.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. I have heard there are moss killers for lawns where you don’t have to rake up the black residue. Where can I find them?

The Vegetable Plot – February

There’s no place like loam

If your soil is sandy loam, you will be spared any deep digging in the vegetable plot. It will just need a good forking over and added compost after the frosts have broken it down. Remove weeds and residue of old crops in readiness for planting out and sowing. Heavy clay soil will need plenty of humus added when you give it a good dig over.

The Big Glut – February

Cauliflower cheese and greens pasta bake

A meal for four from Delicious Magazine


  • 250g wholewheat pasta
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets, leaves reserved (discard any tough thick stalks)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 400ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • Splash Henderson’s Relish

Tuesday 10 January 2023

This Month in Your Garden – January

“Nature has undoubtedly mastered the art of winter gardening.” Vincent A Simeone

Vincent, a horticulturalist and author, goes on to say “even the most experienced gardener can learn from the unrestrained beauty around them.” 

So, January need not be all dull, damp and cold. You could even be sowing seeds that need frost to germinate, including alpine plants, native shrubs and trees.

The Lawncare Guide – January

The answer lies in the soil

It’s very unlikely you will be mowing the lawn this month but the mowing season is not far off, especially if the winter turns out mild. If you haven’t already done so it’s a good time to get the garden tractor or mower serviced in readiness. 

There are a few other jobs needing your attention to help prepare the lawn for spring. Make a note of where any water lies on the grass after heavy rain or when snow thaws.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. I have quite a few undulations in my lawn. Can I do anything this month to smooth it?

The Vegetable Plot – January

Rhubarb and mustard

A useful job this month is to dig over any plots that haven’t been dug and let the frosts break down the soil. Weather permitting as usual, plant rhubarb in the well manured, deeply dug soil. You can force rhubarb and seakale outdoors from late January. 

Grow mustard and cress sown every two weeks in succession indoors or in a heated greenhouse or frame at about 13°C (55°F). You can have home-grown lettuce, early cauliflower and cabbage grown in the same way. It’s useful to make a plan now for your crop rotation and jot down ideas for the coming year.

The Big Glut – January

Sprout, bacon and red pepper panzanella


  • 500g brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 3 shallots, quartered
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 150g bacon lardons
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 thick (3cm) slices sourdough bread, torn into bite-size chunks
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nonpareille capers
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers, cut into strips