6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

BBC Radio Kent's Andy Garland in Kent Life

PUBLISHED: 00:38 20 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:53 20 February 2013

BBC Radio Kent's Andy Garland in Kent Life

BBC Radio Kent's Andy Garland in Kent Life

The BBC Radio Kent broadcaster and producer on a challenging gardening year for grown ups but a great one for the next generation

On the mic ...

BBC Radio Kent broadcaster and producer Andy Garland on a challenging gardening year for grown ups but a great one for the next generation

Im reflecting on the growing season...

Several of you have asked why Ive not written about gardening as yet. The simple answer is that Ive been having far too much fun writing about anything I choose to; but as this is October and effectively the end of the season then it offers the opportunity for every gardener to look back and assess what went well and what in the immortal words of every school report could have been done better.

Lets start with the good news, fruit growing, mostly excellent. Despite gloomy predictions from Kents apple growers earlier in the season my own cordon-trained trees have produced a heavy crop.

Interestingly, all the varieties sourced from the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale have performed well in their third year in their new home.

The one tree (Charles Ross) that I bought on impulse from Woolworths in Sevenoaks High Street before their demise has yet to yield a single apple. Its been fed, pruned correctly, has bulked upbut not sign of fruit despite blossoming well.

Talking of pruning, my confidence in this area is sky high after attending one of the fabulous courses at East Malling Research. Ill be back there for a session on winter pruning in the next few months for sure.

Other positives have been my colour-wheel planting scheme beginning to actually resemble a colour wheel, from a selection of Darwin tulips in the spring, through the roses and dahlias giving me the blocks of specific colour Im aiming for and a move of three pre-existing shrubs this month will help that even more.

"I thought I could play horticultural god with my camomile lawn and somehow get it to survive through simple willpower"

The bad news has been a non-existent crop of sweetcorn. Planting direct into the ground is usually a sure fire hit but this year with the cold and wet spring I think may have done for the seed before it could even germinate.

Other losses have included a camomile lawn (far too shady - I knew it would be but I thought I could play horticultural god with it anyway and somehow get it to survive through simple willpower), every sweet pea seed bar one, meaning none of that gorgeous, heady scent this year and probably most annoyingly on the failure front, a laziness to get to grips with the lawn which in my mind is the perfect green sward but in reality is riddled with two of the pernicious lawn weeds Speedwell and Selfheal.

Despite sporadic attempts at manually removing them (in a big lawn good for zen-like meditation, but a bad use of three or four hours precious gardening time) they persist and a resort to chemical control is surely not far away.

Pleasant gardening surprise of the year though, has to be my three months gardening with a group of four and five year olds at a local school. Despite my initial misgivings, their enthusiasm for the simple tasks of planting seeds, watering and watching plants grow has been a joy that I now look forward to each week.

And their shrieks of delight when pulling their first radishes, carrots and munching on fresh peas from the pods reminds me that this crop of the next generation of gardeners is without doubt my finest achievement in the garden this year.

More from People

From starring in and producing movies to lining up a future director's chair, Gravesend's own Gemma Arterton is making her mark on Hollywood in typically no-nonsense fashion

Read more
Thursday, August 8, 2019

There are many benefits to boarding schools: enhanced facilities, more comprehensive education and good pastoral care, sometimes at a very reasonable price. We spoke to Duke of York Royal Military School's principal Alex Foreman about the benefits of the state boarding school

Read more

The response to a request for photos of your dog at the beach was phenomenal. Meet some of Kent Life readers' four-legged friends

Read more

Paul Barrett never says no to a sporting dare, but this year he's taking on a whole new challenge as Kent's High Sheriff

Read more

Kent Life celebrates the local charities offering safe homes to abused or unwanted animals in the county

Read more

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex serving the residents of Kent

Read more
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Take a step back in time to the good old days with these vintage videos from around Kent

Read more

The men who fought in the Battle of Britain included civilians who joined the RAF as reservists. Here are the stories of four brave Kent men

Read more

If you love being active and out in the fresh air, there are plenty of ways you can combine both with helping your community

Read more
Monday, June 10, 2019

Yannick Chastang on parental influence, a youthful calling and his passion for conservation

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life