Martin - Author at Gardening Step by Step

All posts by Martin

Weed control – is this the gardener’s toughest job?

Weed control dandelion seeds

It is said that gardening is all about the gardener’s efforts to control nature and controlling weeds must be one of the hardest tasks that the gardener has to do. Weeds can especially be a challenge when you are new to gardening because it’s not always easy to identify which plants are the weeds and […]

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How do plants grow? Becoming a Gardener – Step 1

How do plants grow: flower bed

For most people gardening is about plants. Admittedly, features like paths, walls, fences and decks play part in creating the overall garden picture. But without plants, it is very hard to consider any space to be a garden Indeed, for most of us, it is plants that draw us to gardening in the first place […]

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Weeds of North America

Weeds: removing crabgrass

Here you will find a comprehensive list of weed identification resources for the USA and Canada. Given the vast size of the continent and the tendency of weeds to be a local issue, the weeds of North America are many and varied. The books on weed identification tend to focus on broader areas. Some of […]

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Urban garden transformation: small space, big plants … and lots of them

Urban garden transformation

This urban garden transformation was the first gardening I ever did. The garden was in Tooting in South London and was about 9 metres long by 5 metres wide. Although it contained a fair bit of rubble that I had to dig out, the soil was a surprisingly good loam, except in one corner where […]

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Suburban garden makeover: from lawn to lush

In this 5 part series, I’ll show you the process of transforming a good sized suburban garden from boring lawnscape to this riot of colour and texture: I’ve called it a garden makeover because it wasn’t a complete rebuild. There was very little hard landscaping involved and what little there was didn’t involve specialist skills, […]

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Soil texture analysis: what kind of soil do you have?

Soil texture analysis

It is important to carry out a soil texture analysis for any garden that you want to plant in. This is because of the impact that different soil texture characteristics can have on your ability to grow certain plants. Soils breakdown into 3 groups – clays, loams and sands. But there are further subdivisions within […]

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Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’: Japanese Garden Star

Acer palmatum bloodgood

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ Common name : Japanese Maple Family : Aceraceae Acer palmatums are tremendous garden plants, probably amongst the best loved of ornamental garden trees. Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, a round-headed, deciduous tree or shrub growing to 5m x 5m, is undoubtedly one of the best. Here it is pictured in a border in early […]

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Acanthus mollis: For foliage and flowers, sun and shade

Acanthus mollis foliage

Acanthus mollis Common name : Oyster Plant, Bear’s Breeches Family : Acanthaceae Acanthus mollis is a plant I very often incorporate into my gardens. It is easy to grow, creates a good shape in the border and provides interest through both its foliage and its flowers. It is a clump forming, evergreen soft-wooded perennial with […]

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Soil texture: digging deeper into the soil in your garden

Garden soil horizon

It’s hard to overstate how important it is for gardeners to understand the soil in their garden. The soil dictates the kind of plants that you can grow and has a huge bearing on how well your plants will grow once you have selected them. As indicated in our introduction to garden soil, perhaps the […]

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A short guide to garden soil

Garden soil in pile

For a gardener, the garden soil is probably the single most important thing in your garden. Everything good in the garden comes from the soil, so it’s important for gardeners, especially new gardeners, to understand their soil – we need to know the characteristics of the soil we have and we need to know how […]

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Taking care of dahlias: the trick with deadheading

Taking care of dahlias: purple cactus dahlia close up

To my mind, one of the greatest strengths of dahlias, is that they can go on flowering from mid-summer right until the first frosts. Depending on where you live, that could mean that you can have dahlias in bloom for three, four or even five months. However, the most important word in that first sentence […]

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How to grow bamboo: growing conditions, planting, maintenance

How to grow bamboo: phyllostachys nigra

Bamboo is undoubtedly one of my favourite plants. I almost always use it in gardens I create. Bamboo has striking presence. It can be used as a specimen plant – a star in the border, like this phyllostachys nigra – or as a wonderful screen. Learning how to grow bamboo is pretty straightforward. I’ll take […]

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