It’s a BBQ!

bbq competition answers

bbq compositeOur latest competition to win a BBQ set has just finished and we have our winner – congratulations Nigel S who has been notified separately!

We wanted to know what you call it and had 1434 entries with BBQ emerging as the winner.

Here are some of our favourite other suggestions:

  • Braai
  • My Man Grill
  • B-B-Q as in each letter
  • Braai-a-Do
  • QBB
  • Formaqueue – the suns out!
  • Braai (South African Export)
  • Hubby’s turn to cook!
  • Braai, South African through and through
  • The hot and sweaty thing I have to spend ages cooking over, to get a few burgers and sausages for my wife and kids
  • Braai ( I was born in South Africa )
  • Outdoor gariller
  • Dad cremating the burgers!

Are you hungry yet? What do you call it?

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.


Where the ‘eck have you been, Spring?

2013-03-05 20.06.02Wonderful! Spring has come along in a rush and the garden looks a mess, but that can’t be helped at the moment. I normally like to have a Spring Clean in the garden, so that when the day arrives, full sun, blue skies, I can simply sit and enjoy a day of bliss.

Well recently that day came, and the sunshine brought with it all the blooms. For a start the primroses that the lovely people at Primrose sent me have blossomed in the warmth and are such a delight!

This lobelia caught me by surprise, hiding as it was behind the Primrose tree chair, and dragged into the sunlight. It is remarkable how a little sun can spark mass flowering – with a plant like this, once one flower appears, the hormones bring out so many more, and in quick succession. You can bring them on by keeping them slightly underwatered, and warm, causing a little stress, promoting flowering. Once they are in flower, water normally.

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It really is wonderful when plants simply appear in the garden. I take a great store by feeding the birds, and they pay me back by pooing on my garden furniture, being pretty and interesting to watch. For example, if you could get a flower that not only looked as gorgeous as a woodpecker, and did what a woodpecker does, flying all over the gardsen, everyone would want one.

However, they also pay me back by dropping seeds they have eaten and just sometimes they pay dividends. This wonderful pulmonaria simply appeared in the shade garden a few weeks ago, at a time when my health wasn’t brilliant and all I could do was look out of the window. It was a great joy to see the purple / blue flowers grow on a central stalk – a gift of gratitude from a blackbird or something, and a great joy.

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Pulmonaria is also known as lungwort, and has been used for centuries in cough mixtures, and was once used as an unsuccessful treatment for tuberculosis. But now I think it is best as a really beautiful garden plant.

When we think about buying plants we often want to know what it looks like when mature, how big, what colour, what shape. But in the Spring you can get to see plants in a very different state, and for me just as beautiful and important in the garden.

Take this hosta, how out of this world are these buds? This is a very mature plant that looks divine when out in all it’s fullness, but at the same time these buds are so architectural and interesting.

But there is another element to this hosta at this time, it shows promise – when you look at it, you start to wonder what next? That’s one of the wonders of growing plants – will the slugs win? Will they be as beautiful as they were last year?

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In order to give these hostas the best possible kick start I will be treating them with a couple of handfuls of blood fish and bone as a slow release fertilizer, and later in the summer a foliar feed in the watering can.

Talking architectural, you cannot beat a good fern. Right from the unfurling of the frond, you get interest – of course, they don’t have flowers, and they are a little drab in colour – but the shapes are amazing.

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Ferns were very popular with Victorian gardeners because when we lit our homes with coal gas, many of our favourite plants died. The reason was the ethylene in the gas, which just happens to be a plant hormone, the one controlling ripening, aging and death. Consequently, many of our gardens were given over to ferns and our house plants to aspidistras and stepmother’s tongues.

When I am working in the garden, Spring always catches me unawares in as much I know it is time for the sap rising when the blackcurrants start to smell. When the wind is blowing right, the aroma of blackcurrant is unmistakable as the buds burst open and they start to leaf up.

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These are ancient blackcurrants that didn’t bear any fruit last year, so they were thinned out in the winter and well fed, so hopefully they will be a little more productive this time around. However, I’m not all that hopefull, and so I am planning some completely new replacements next year.

But for now, as often happens, a good pruning will have to do the trick.

Keeping the rustic alive is an important part of my garden plan. I just love, as you might have gathered, the wild look and where plants seed themselves. Forget-me-nots are just perfect for this, though they can look a little unruly and need to be trimmed to keep them in line. But in as much as they are called forget-me-not, they pop up and raise a smile wherever they are found.

Mr Digwell gardening cartoon logo

Paul Peacock studied botany at Leeds University, has been the editor of Home Farmer magazine, and now hosts the City Cottage online magazine. An experienced gardener himself, his expertise lies in the world of the edible garden. If it clucks, quacks or buzzes, Paul is keenly interested.

He is perhaps best known as Mr Digwell, the cartoon gardener featured in The Daily Mirror since the 1950s. As Mr Digwell he has just published his book, A Year in The Garden. You can also see more about him on our Mr Digwell information page.

See all of Mr Digwell’s posts.

Competition roundup

Our competition to win 1 of 3 lion head wall fountains ended yesterday and the winners – Alyson G, Jacqueline G and Nina M – have been notified.

We had a phenomenal 783 responses and loved reading your responses to our question: What are your plans in the garden this summer? Over 400 entries mentioned BBQs which is something we can definitely get behind!

Here are some of our favourite answers:

  • Garden a wilderness at the moment so pretty well a blank canvas, have a few frames with veg seeds I’ve just planted so will keep an eye on them.. Biggest job is to try and landscape the rest, rubbish and old bricks to move, ground to dig over and shrubs to plant to attract birds and butterflies. Can’t promise to get it all done but one can only try..
  • I plan to make my garden a place of tranquillity this year, a place where I can escape all my stresses. So, I will be planting soft coloured plants that are easy on the eye, trailing baskets, scented borders so *when* we get some sun I can sit there with my eyes closed and breathe in lovely smells. What would really make this project amazing would be to have a water feature, so I can hear the soft tinkling of the water, the ultimate stressbuster and absolutely beautiful to look at! That would just make my garden complete!
  • Put in a pond, and make it wildlife friendly, hoping to get frogs and newts as well as having goldfish.
  • If we get a summer I’m planning on laying a new lawn and using it for picnics and al fresco dining!
  • For my tomatoes not to die and the pear tree to finally produce an edible bit of fruit.
  • Lots of sensory areas bright colours and heady scents
  • “Oh my days, where do I begin? Well time in our garden is always very precious especially when you have 5 children! We aim to grow lots of our own veg this year and will be sowing seeds that please various types of wildlife. We are also aiming to enlarge the chicken coop to give our lovely hens a bigger place to “”play””.  (4 hens = 4 eggs per day). A water feature is also on the list. It would be lovely to sit outside on a summers evening and listen to the sound of running water. Oh did i mention we have brought a very large strawberry planter (holds 30 plants) .  This should please the children!
  • I’m going to try (again) to grow some tomatoes that are bigger than peas…Here’s hoping!

So.. What are YOUR plans this summer?

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.