All at sea with Miscanthus – the Glasshouse Borders at RHS Wisley

A rather blustery day yesterday at the RHS flagship gardens at Wisley and the Glasshouse borders were taking a battering. The Miscanthus outside the Glasshouse, large beds anchored by golden Beech monoliths and circling flat-topped islands of Sarcococca, became a seething maelstrom of dry-gold, sometimes illuminated and back-lit by shafts of sunlight. In moments of…

Dodging the showers for a kaleidoscope of flower and fruit – roses, camellias, hellebores, hollies, decorative leaf, bark and seedheads

The roses too continue to put on a good show, with some near perfect blooms - and other joys - I'm hoping the rain will stop so I can get in an afew hours in my  own garden this afternoon - there are dahlias to lift and a venerable banana to wrap up before the…

A little more juicy fruit – pruning raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and whitecurrants, gooseberries, blackberries and all manner of hybrid berries

We're taking a very brief gander at some of the main soft fruits and the pruning techniques that will help you get the most from them. Not strawberries, not in this piece, but summer and autumn fruiting raspberries, red currants, white currants and black currants, blackberries and hybrid berries and gooseberries. Thank you to the…

A little juicy fruit …. raspberries, currants white red pink & black, gooseberries red green & yellow, and blackberries, boysenberries, wineberries, cranberries and honeyberries. Well the last few, just a glance… Oh – and the Veitchberry too

A little tour around the fruit garden at RHS Wisley, where all manner of soft fruit are left either au naturel or trained into fans and cordon, tied and regimented into wires and pruned carefully for the maximum harvest and healthiest plants. I've a little reading to do but have picked out the following articles…

Standen – A meeting with some Remarkable Espalier Apple Trees

With a workshop to host this coming week, I thought I’d look again at these remarkable and ancient espalier apple trees at Standen …

The Teddington Gardener






I visited Standen at the beginning of April 2013 and took these photographs then. March, as I recall, had been a frozen tundra of a month with temperatures barely reaching about freezing day or night. The first daffodils were only just coming through, so different to the early Spring enjoyed last year.

I am minded to reprise this visit as the kitchen garden not least was home to a group of serious Espalier fruit trees – Grand Dames dating back to when the gardens were first laid out at in the last years of the 19th Century – making them about 120 years old…. The lower tiers have gone the way of all things, but the top tiers are massive, encrusted things and still fruitful. Something to bear in mind when planting your own espaliers, they are likely to outlive us all!

I’m presenting a workshop at Petersham Nurseries next Tuesday…

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Winter pruning of Apples and Pears – a very fruitful day at Earth Trust in Oxfordshire

A reprise of my day out last year at the Earth Trust in Oxfordshire. You should have a look at their range of courses – it’s close to Le Manoir au Quatre Saisons, if you were looking for somewhere to stay …

The Teddington Gardener

IMG_3008On my way this morning to Oxfordshire, just off the quiet M40 motorway at J7 and into the great quiet expanse of this beautiful county. Windmills, golden stone, thatched rooves. Pretty as a Picture. And a note for a stop-over next time I venture this way, or perhaps over to Waterperry Gardens which are not far…

IMG_3010Not today, Le Manoir, but not that far from home really and they do gardening courses too I’m sure… But I passed by, crossing the Thames at Clifton Hampden over a delightful (once tolled) bridge designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (

IMG_3024IMG_3013IMG_3030… before heading up the only rise in the landscape to the Earth Trust Centre where the day’s events were planned.

IMG_3050IMG_3095Our classroom for the day (above, not below)

IMG_3096The centre has a commanding 360° panorama from this slight promintory over the surrounding countryside, hardly warmed by the emerging sun.

IMG_3068I was…

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Love your Apples and Pears: Winter Fruit Tree Pruning – Formative, Regular, Renovation and Rejuvenation

Just bringing the subject back into focus, though the real work can be left for a few more weeks, allowing your specimens to go more fully dormant. Autumn is hanging in on in there, and despite the rain we have had, the temperatures are still, in my part of the country, mid-to high teens. I’m planning on revisiting RHS Wisley later this afternoon to see how their orchards and last of the harvest are getting along.

The Teddington Gardener


Care of apples and pears and a winter pruning guide

IMG_3514We are looking at fruit trees – apples and pears just now – and specifically winter care, pruning and management. Young trees, old trees, productive trees and lost souls alike. We have a lot of ground to cover here but don’t panic, we can take it step by step and ultimately, cut by cut.

For established, older and trees seemingly beyond profitable salvage, there will be NO pruning frenzy here. In fact, it is a positive advantage to slow things down and take your time before even picking up the secateurs or pruning saw. Pruning in this instance has much in common with meditation. Calm reflection and really, really looking at the tree.

This goes even further, a proper consideration of Time. What it, the tree, has done in the past (if it has had one), what it is doing…

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Up the Apples and Pears – A Fruity Tour of RHS Wisley: Fruit Demonstration Garden, Fruit Collection and Fruit Fields

With a view to my workshop on fruit tree pruning next week at Petersham Nurseries, an opportunity to flesh out the subject with some photographs from RHS Wisley – their pruning regime won’t start until the New Year but will carry on right through to late March, almost up to bud-burst. Some work can be done now, though with the exceedingly mild weather, leaves are still hugging the trees and this in itself will make the job more trickier, obscuring the architecture of your trees. I’ll be looking at soft fruit too, those requiring some attention round abouts now, but I’ll post on this another time.

The Teddington Gardener

IMG_3379IMG_3307A tour earlier this week around the Fruit displays at RHS Wisley in Surrey – the Fruit Demonstration Garden and Fruit Collections showing a variety of trained forms especially of Apples and Pears, but also a whole range of stone fruit and soft fruit. I moved on into the extensive Fruit Fields.

IMG_3272IMG_3284IMG_3328IMG_3429The Fruit Fields are large orchards with apples, pears, plums as well as grape vines, cherries there too, though it was mostly the apple and pears that were the thing this week – and the winter pruning regime that the RHS are in the midst of even now.

I’m in the middle of preparing a longer blog on winter pruning – following my visit to the Earth Trust last week – and having re-read many of the books I have on the subject. This will I hope put some flesh on the subject and give some context to…

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Teddington Gardener on Twitter

It's been a little more difficult to keep this blog right up to date with details and pictures from my regular horticultural excursions, though I'll try and do better - the last two entries have been vast galleries, carefully selected and duly annotated they are of course, but 2 galleries in two months eh? My…