The Great Garden Trail Blog

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Not all gardens are made equal, which is why understanding which plants suit the conditions in your garden is essential for it to thrive. Whether you have dry or damp soil, experience high winds or need tips for child-proofing your garden, I’ve created a guide which will hopefully make the process a lot easier for you.

Michael 23
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Damp spots

Damp soil can create a unique set of challenges for plants. Saturated soils suffer from a lack of oxygen and plants from these areas need special adaptations to their roots to be able to thrive in this environment. Plant suggestion: Zantedeschia aetheopica

Dry Soil

Dry soil can be caused by many factors. Dry gardens are common on the lighter, more sandy soils, found in the Fens and Brecklands in East Anglia. The heavy clay soils found in the east of the country in Essex will bake hard in the summer. Adding organic matter will improve water retention. However, sometimes it is best to work with nature, rather than trying to overcome the challenges it poses. Plant suggestion: Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

Shady areas

Many of us have areas of our gardens that see precious little sun. This isn’t cause for concern, however. Just as nature has caused evolution to find a plant to fill every single niche there are a whole host of plants perfectly adapted to growing in shady spots. And your garden can be just as diverse and as exciting as one bathed in full sun. Just a little cooler, so you can enjoy relaxing in it, even on those roasting hot summer days. Plant suggestion: Geranium sylvaticum


This is one of the hardest areas to deal with in the garden can be a windy spot. Winds are usually a problem for gardens near the coast, where there is little protection from the changeable weather.
Wind can be very unpredictable and one minute a spot will seem calm, whereas a few seconds later you can feel as though you will be blown off your feet. This can be particularly challenging for plants which don’t have the ability to move to shelter. Plant suggestion: Rosa rugosa

Read Michael’s full list of plant suggestions for your garden type:




I am super proud to be an ambassador for The Great Garden Trail, which highlights some unique and inspirational gardens in my home counties!

Look out for not only garden openings, but also some bespoke events throughout the summer.  In addition I will be doing a monthly blog with helpful hints and suggestions especially for you all!

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There is so much talk about gardening at the moment, that you might imagine you have to have a garden in order to take part. The good news is, that’s not the case at all!

Over the last 10 weeks, I’ve proved that you can grow various outdoor plants INSIDE. From flowers to salad crops!

Due to travel restrictions, I’ve been in a small apartment for the lockdown period. However, rather than letting this get me down, I installed plenty of gorgeous houseplants, and also a few flowering plants.

I’ve made a real effort to plant the right plants in the right place, so my forest-like plants are away from the window, whilst the sun lovers are soaking up the rays!


Admittedly, a sunny windowsill means you’ll have to water those plants a little bit more often, but it’s worth the extra effort. My orchids have really enjoyed themselves, as have the cacti and succulents. However, I’ve also made an effort to use hanging plants, and I have a very happy Tradescantia, and a gorgeous Hoya!

But, now for a few surprises, I’ve actually been using a fuchsia on my windowsill for a few weeks, and it’s about to come into flower. Also, Cape Daisies seem very happy, and a few weeks ago I also had a few Geraniums too.

But, the real piece de resistance was when I added solar lighting. Of course, if you can use solar lights outside, you can also use them inside, as long as they can get the sun through the window to charge up. The glow after dark was magical, amongst my forest of plants!

Lastly, I’ve also been growing a few herbs and salad crops. I prefer to grow them from seed, because the ones you buy in supermarkets don’t always establish very well. They often have a lot of glue in the compost, which is designed to keep them intact during transit. However, that makes them hard to look after on the windowsill. So why not enjoy the pleasure of growing them from seed yourself, or steal a few cuttings from your mates!

Happy windowsill growing! Can’t wait to see what you create.



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Our Great Garden Trial Ambassador Michael Perry, shares some tips on a few tips that you can follow for growing inside the home.

It’s excellent for mindfulness, and that little bit of escapism. You may even feel that you’re starting to get green fingers!

Houseplant care


With you spending more time at home, your houseplants will think all of their Christmases have come at once! But go easy, make sure you don’t overwater them!

However, now it’s spring, you can start to give them a little bit of weak liquid feed, and tidy up any yellowing growth. Now would also be a good time to take a few cuttings. You can root those in water, which is really fun and you can see the rooting as it happens.

Windowsill allotments


Have fun growing some edibles, and the flavours will be far superior to shop-bought produce. Picking straight from the plant means that the nutrient content doesn’t break down, and you can pick fruits at optimum ripeness too! No more under ripe strawberries!

Get your seeds growing now for planting out in the garden or in pots and troughs too.

Read Michael’s full list of tips, ideas and suggestions here


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Now that we are in March the garden seems to be finally waking up again after its long winter sleep, so now is a great time to start thinking about your gardening jobs for the month.

There are always flowers if you want to find them. But for many, the first days of spring are signalled by the arrival of daffodils. March can sometimes be even colder than December, but the green shoots of spring are there, just waiting to burst.


Feed borders


As the weather warms, plants will soon be bursting into life. If you want to give them a helping hand, this is the ideal time to apply fertiliser to the beds. Use a well-balanced, general-purpose fertiliser with trace elements, such as seaweed meal.


Divide perennials


This month, you can still divide later flowering perennials like sedums, rudbeckia and echinacea. If you have a large plant, that is floppy or bare in the centre, it is time to refresh it. Lift the whole clump and divide into smaller sections. Dig plenty of well-rotted compost into the soil and replant a few smaller sections. Pot up leftovers to plant in other areas, or swap with neighbours for other choice specimens.


Trim heather


Winter-flowering heather can now have a little trim to keep it neat. Cut off the old flowered growth back to where green shoots are appearing. Don’t cut back too hard into them, as heather can be reluctant to regrow from old wood.


Deadhead spring bedding


Pansies and violas will flower almost all winter and they will start to put on a show as the weather improves in spring. Make sure you remove any seed pods as they start to form and the plants can continue to give a good show of flowers right the way into summer.


Divide snowdrops


If you have snowdrops, now is a great time to lift and divide them. Be careful lifting them as they have very thin skins and delicate root plates that can easily be damaged. Split big groups up into clumps of 10 or more bulbs and spread them out to increase their spread. Before long your spring garden will be carpeted with millions of these dainty white flowers and will command admiration even from the most hardened of gardeners.


For further tips then please go to or follow me on twitter / Instagram and Facebook (@mr_plantgeek)

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