Martin - Author at Gardening Step by Step

All posts by Martin

English Ivy – Hedera helix

ivy - hedera helix

Hedera helix Common name : English Ivy Family : Aralicaeae Hedera helix is a vigorous self clinging climber or ground cover with 3-5 lobed triangular, glossy leaves 4-6cm long. There a hundreds of cultivars, with almost infinite variations in leaf colour and shape but most with some form of variegation. H. helix may be contrasted […]

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Suburban garden makeover: Part 5 – the vegetable garden

The productive garden I’ve featured the development of the fruit and vegetable garden separately, as the images seem to work better that way. But this part of the garden was developed at the same time as the rest of the garden. I was luckily enough to be able to include a Gabriel Ash greenhouse and […]

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Suburban garden makeover: Part 4 – the garden after 1 year

The mature garden – after only one year On this page you’ll see the garden at its zenith in its first year and then a few more pictures from the following year. As I look back on it now, there are of course lots of things I’d have done differently. But that is the essence […]

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Suburban garden makeover: Part 3 – growing plants in the maturing garden

The pictures on this page show the garden in its first spring and early summer. One thing to note is that I planted this garden up very fully. Normally, there are recommended spacings for plants which allow them room to grow to their mature size. I deliberately did not follow these recommendations with the perennials […]

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Suburban garden makeover: Part 2 – the garden layout

In progress: the garden design and its execution There were several design ideas at work when I was planning this garden layout: I wanted to develop separate spaces in the garden, each with its own identity; I wanted to incorporate two planting styles in particular that interested me. Firstly, the big leaved, tropical/exotic look and […]

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Gardening convert: the story of a new gardener

red and yellow cactus dahlia

When I was a nipper, Mum and Dad were not gardeners. Our garden was so overgrown me and my mates spent hours hunting for pigmies. It was a jungle out there. You could go in after breakfast and not come out on the other side until bed time, and it wasn’t a big garden. When […]

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My beautiful flowers

Red and white tipped dahlia

I’m delighted to introduce the first reader’s contribution to be featured on the site. This post was submitted by Connie Clark. Connie has been kind enough to provide us with some beautiful pictures of the dahlias and lilies she is growing in her garden. But, perhaps more importantly, Connie has shared with us just how […]

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How to Grow Narcissus: Daffodil Plant Notes

narcissus: field of daffodils

Narcissus spp. Common name : Daffodil Family : Amaryllidaceae A bulbous soft wooded perennial with around 50 species and countless cultivars, the Narcissus is the archetypal spring flower in cool climate gardens. With a sheath of mid-green strap shaped or cylindrical leaves, these plants are most notable for their distinctive flowers. These have 6 flattened […]

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How to grow dahlias

purple dahlia

According to the late Christopher Lloyd, whose Great Dixter garden featured multiple dahlia cultivars, dahlias are best in in late summer, when they are valuable in: “stiffening a garden that might easily dissolve into an amorphous froth of Michaelemas daises, and when the mellow quality of autumn sunlight best suits their warm colours.” This is […]

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How weeds thrive

weeds thrive

In this post in this series on weed control, I cover not just how weeds survive, but how weeds thrive in the battleground of our gardens. Ultimately, I’ll look in detail at some of the ways we can prevent weeds from causing us problems and at how we can deal with problem weeds when they […]

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Why get rid of weeds?

Choking weeds

In the other posts in this weed control series, I’ve written about what weeds are and made the point that, fundamentally, weeds are like any other plant in the garden. So, if if that is right and weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place, why should we care? Is there any reason that […]

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What are weeds?

woman weeding

In part 2 of this weed control series, I try to answer the simple, but not entirely straightforward, question – what exactly are weeds? You will often hear gardeners say that weeds are plants growing in the wrong place and, although something of a cliche, this is probably the best working definition there is. Weeds […]

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