My marvellous Kent Claret vine ... I bought it from Victoriana Nursery to keep my ever-faithful calendulas company. Friend Wendy recommends the grapes for grape jelly.

Happy harvesting … my Great Auntie Bee's watercolour of farming life as it used to be, painted in 1950.

The creative mind in action … Coppicing days, Pheasants Coppice, Bishopsbourne.

History …In the garden of Serre de la Madonne, Menton. Seems I wasn’t the only admirer.

Happy birthday! ... My 50th Birthday Party 9th September 2010 at Jenny's, also with Hilda, Becca, Vittorio, Robin and Yvonne and Bianca - Caprese Michelangelo, Toscana. A very special day.

Birthday girl ... Mrs G picking flowers on the morning of her 80th Birthday, a few seconds before she realised that I had arrived.

Many think that this winter will be very severe and it does seem that this is not just scare mongering. Let me remind you of a few Winter needs.

Are your gutters clear?
Have you some salty grit for that slippery path?
Have you a handy snow shovel?

The best shovel I ever had was a Sold sign, from a very, very, lax estate agent. It turned out to be a wonderful piece of kit, and just less than the width the path. Perfect.

Here's a handy way to have mint tea all year. Bring some roots of mint inside. It will grow all winter, and give you the satisfaction of seeing fresh green leaves all the time.

Dry some mint now – dried mint makes for a much better mint tea than fresh mint.

Even if you do not like mint tea, someone will.

Looking after your soil

Try to organise some six-month-old horse manure - be warned, six months maturity is the minimum - from a friendly stable. Many stables have to pay someone to take it away, and they are the places that will happily let you have it gratis.

You might want to check to see what the horses have been eating, particulaly if thistles were in the diet. But really, your soil will benefit so much from this manure. A few unwanted seeds really just offers evidence that life is not perfect - though free manure comes pretty near to it.

I learned recently that the seven stomachs of cows destroy any weed seeds which is encouraging if this is your preference. Like horse manure, it needs to be at least six months old. Actually, there is nothing quite like manure.

Any gardening problems? Please contact me - I'll be pleased to help.

Happy gardening!

Robert Graham's | Email | Wye, Ashford, Kent TN25 5DD | © 2000 - 2019