Tidying gardens in Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Knebworth & surrounding villages.
If you would like help in the garden, whether it's for a few hours a week, a month or more, please give me a call.
Tel: 07963 291504
Email: jane@tidygardensbyjane.co.uk


Friday, 17 April 2015

Romance is in the air…



Greetings fellow Gardener-holics.
It’s been a busy, busy, thoroughly fabulous week gardening.
The weather has been glorious, almost perfect….except Wednesday when the temperature hit 25C. Not only was it too hot for this shade-lovin’-lass but it also meant the embarrassingly, silly hat made an appearance.


Luckily for you, I will not be sharing images of said hat, but I will, for your delight n’ delectation, share the latest addition to the Tidy Garden.
This is Primrose ‘Romance’ with her ruffled, marbled, pinky / orange petals.

I think that’s enough excitement for one day.
Until next time Winking smile

Monday, 13 April 2015

Fruit Trees for Container Growing



Lubera's Fruttoni Range

Introducing Lubera’s Fruttoni range of fruit trees bred specifically for container growing.
Not everyone has the idyllic English garden in which to grow fruit trees and this is why Lubera specialise in producing fruit trees that everybody can grow.

The majority of the fruit trees in this range grow no taller than 160cm and have even been Tweeted about by Rob Smith, the winner of the BBC Big Allotment Challenge 2015, who says "Lubera's Diamond peach is a great mini peach tree, mine is covered in beautiful pink blossom in the late spring, followed by up to 20 small, juicy, 'diamond white' fleshed fruit. Perfect on a patio in a big pot. Diamond is a real eye catcher, and a real talking point of the garden"
Varieties in the range include:

Fruttoni Cherry 'Cinderella'

  • A self fertile mini cherry
  • Pretty white blossom in April
  • Harvest delicious cherries in July
  • Final height 140cm to 160cm
  • Final width 140cm to 160cm
  • These hardy plants are ideal for containers or in the ground

Fruttoni Peach 'Diamond'

  • A white fleshed mini peach
  • Stunning deep pink blossom in April
  • Harvest juicy fruits in July to August
  • Final height 140cm to 160cm
  • Final width 140cm to 160cm
  • These hardy plants are ideal for containers or in the ground

Fruttoni Pear 'Mibi'

  • A mini pear for the smallest garden
  • Beautiful pale blossom in April
  • Harvest sweet fruits in September to October
  • Final height 140cm to 160cm
  • Final width 140cm to 160cm
  • These hardy plants are ideal for containers or in the ground

Fruttoni Apricot 'Apricompakt'

  • A mini self fertile apricot
  • White gentle blossom in March to April
  • Harvest tasty apricots in July to August
  • Final height 180cm to 2metres
  • Final height 180cm to 2metres
  • These hardy plants are ideal for containers or in the ground

Don’t forget, Tidy Gardens by Jane readers can get 20% off their order at Lubera by using the code TGBJUK-1504-01 (Offer ends 20th April 2015)

Saturday, 11 April 2015




A couple of gardens that I’ve worked in recently have been awash with Pulmonarias (Lungworts).
On my hands n’ knees, up close, weeding around them, I realised just how beautiful they are & each clump buzzing with bees.
Well that was me sold (again)…anything that lures bees to the Tidy Garden in the spring.
Last year I bought Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’ & ‘Lewis Palmer’.


So, welcome Pulmonaria ‘Majeste’, with long silvery, green foliage & a mixture of pinky / blue flowers. Will grow in sun or shade, in well drained soil that doesn’t completely dry out & reaches about 12” high x 24” spread.


This is the delicate, pale blue Pulmonaria ‘Opal’ with speckled, green foliage.
This one prefers a semi-shaded or shady spot in the garden in moist, well drained soil and will grow to about 10” high by 18” spread.


All of these Pulmonarias have a special charm.
The white flowers of this one, Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’ are so bright. like fresh snow. It also prefers a shady spot, with moist, well drained soil and has white-spotted leaves.

PicMonkey Collage

Pulmonaria’ Raspberry Splash’….isn’t that a fabulous name?
Raspberry-pink flowers above silver-spotted foliage…who can resist?
This one, like the others, prefers a shady spot.

I’ve also bought Pulmonaria ‘Victorian Brooch’ which is in the first photo, but not in flower.
According to the label, it will have magenta coral flowers above silver spotted leaves & prefers full sun or partial shade.
I’ve planted them all now down the dappled / shady side of the garden. That way I can keep my eye on them and watch out for any future plantlets.

Happy Gardener! Happy Bees!



Monday, 6 April 2015

Introducing Lubera


Please allow me to introduce…



‘Once upon a time there was a Swiss gentleman called Burkhard Gasenzer, who in 1889, placed his first advert in a newspaper in which he promoted his fruit trees. Today his great-grandson, Markus Kobelt, passionately keeps Burkhard's legacy alive with Lubera. The cultivation of fruit trees has been maintained on the Gasenzer family farm in Buchs for more than three generations. In 1993, Markus founded the Rhine Nurseries together with his aunt Anni Grässli-Gasenzer, which revived and continued this tradition.

Redlove® Odysso®
Redlove Apple

In the last 10 years, Lubera has bred and introduced more than 80 new varieties to the market. And there's no end in sight. Lubera breeds and produces their plants in the Rhine valley, in Switzerland, in the middle of the Swiss Alps. It goes without saying that their plants are very weather resistant.

Saskatoon Saskalate®

Now Lubera have launched their new UK website, here. Not only can you buy fruit, vegetables and flowers, but also peruse many of the informative and extremely entertaining videos.’

Edible passion Fruit

I’m really looking forward to introducing a touch of Swiss magic to the Tidy Garden very soon.
Watch this space (Enter excited ‘Squeal’)


Meanwhile, from 6th April - 20th April 2015 you can get 20% off your order using the code TGBJUK-1504-01 (exclusive to Tidy Gardens by Jane readers)

Click the image below to take you to their website.


Enjoy & do let me know what you buy, we can compare goodies.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener – Book Review


One Pot

I’m thrilled to have been given a copy of Cinead McTernan’s  book ‘The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener’ to review.
As a keen gardener and…let’s face it…rubbish cook, this is a great book for those wanting to grow their own fruit & veg in a limited space (limited as in, in a pot!!) and create simple yet fabulous meals & drinks.


This book starts with very detailed basics on how to grow plants in general, from choosing the right compost & pots though to plant care & pests…absolutely brilliant for novice gardeners. It then moves onto a selection of recipes for picnics, soups & salads, quick suppers, tasty accompaniments to drinks & puddings.

Garden Pizza Pot

The idea is that you grow all (well…most) of your meal ingredients in one pot to use in the recipes.

Garden Pizza Recipe

Each Pot / Recipe comes with detailed instructions on exactly what to grow but you can of course adapt the plants or seeds suggestions if you can’t get the plants listed.

Ready-to-Eat Garden Pizza

This book is beautifully written & illustrated, perfect for novice gardeners & those, like me, who are cateringly-challenged. It would make a great gift idea.

The idea is to grow-your-own and eat-your-own produce.
Any book that encourages that gets my vote.

The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener is officially released on April 2nd and you can get your very own discounted copy here…

To order One-Pot Gourmet Gardener (published by Frances Lincoln) at the discounted price of £12.99 including p&p* (RRP: £16.99), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG311.
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Suttons ‘Stacks of Flavour’


Suttons Stacks of Flavour

I’ve been itching to tell you about Suttons ‘Stacks of Flavour’ crates and I can now as they’ve finally been launched this week.

Personalised Crate Collection - Salad DaysPersonalised Crate Collection - HerbtasticPersonalised Crate Collection - Over The Rainbow

These fabulous crates come in a variety of shapes & sizes, with a choice of seeds & plants to get you going or you can buy an empty crate ready to fill with your own delicious mix of goodies.
What’s more…you can have your crate
personalised for FREE…here’s mine…


Each crate is made with FSC sustainably sourced pine in 12mm thickness for extra strength. They have been given a 3yr protective stain in a beautiful antique colour and have smooth contoured handles for easy lifting. They also come with an easy to fit durable liner.


As a gift idea these will be brilliant for anyone who likes gardening or fresh produce, regardless of their ability. Kids will love these too, especially personalised with their names on, and would make a great alternative present for Easter or a birthday.
Of course, the beauty of these is the size & shapes available. You don’t need a lot of space to grow-your own. ‘Stacks of Flavour’ crates will work & look stunning on balconies, patios, in the smallest of spaces as well as working as an addition to larger veg plots.

At the mo’, my crate is in the greenhouse where I’ve been growing another selection of ‘cut-and-come-again’ salad leaves. Once the frosts have gone, I’ll bring it out into the garden, pop it on a bench and keep it going throughout the year, maybe with some edible flowers.


Guess what everyone’s getting for Christmas?

To find out more visit Suttons Stacks of Flavour.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015




This time last year the ol’ jardin was awash with daffs, snowdrops, hyacinths, wind anemones, primulas & emerging tulip buds.

This year we have 2, I repeat 2 (makes it sound like I have more) aconite flowers.
That’s it!!
It’s all a bit weird in the garden, nothing has really died back. I have penstemon in bud, perennials as lush & as green as they were in their prime last year.
But where the bulbs have gone, who knows?


There…. I’ve repeated the same photo to make myself feel happier…sniff!
How are your spring blooms coming along?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Winter Salad Bar

Flamin’ Heck!
It’s ffffffreeeeeeezing out.
Flurries of snow & icy winds are keeping me firmly attached to a steaming hot radiator….Brrrrr.


Your garden may also still be hibernation mode but here’s something you can do while waiting for the kettle to boil for your next streaming hot cuppa… grow an indoor salad bar.

There are lots of salad leaves that can be grown all-year-round.

You will need:
Any shallow container to grow them in
Seeds (see the ones I used below)

I’m growing mine in the greenhouse (unheated), but you could grow them in a shed by the window, a cold frame, plastic mini-greenhouse, conservatory or indoors on a windowsill.
Trust me, they don’t need heat….our greenhouse is freezing but they’re thriving in there.

PicMonkey Collage

A – Thompson & Morgan (T&M) Salad Leaves ‘Bright & Spicy’
(inc. Pak Choi, Greek Cress, Mizuna)

B – T&M Lettuce ‘Leaves Mixed)
(inc. Lollo Rossa, Crisp Mint, Little Gem)

C – T&M Salad Leaves ‘Nice n’ Spicy Mixed’
(inc. Mibuna, Rocket, Mustard, Mizuna)

D – Suttons Microgreens – Sprouting Broccoli Greens


It really is simple (get the kids involved)…
Add soil to container… honestly any container will do, why not recycle the plastic punnets that supermarket fruit comes in?
Sprinkle the seeds, lightly cover with more soil, gently water & leave them to sprout.
When they’re about 3-4 inches or so they’ll be ready to eat as baby leaves, trust me delicious in a sandwich or as a side-salad.


I use them as “cut n’ come again” crops.
Don’t pull them up, just cut off what you need leaving an inch or 2 & then some will re-sprout. Just repeat sowings as & when your supply runs low. I’ve sown 4 different pots & that 1 sowing has kept us going over winter & remember these salad leaves can be grown all year.


Monday, 12 January 2015

Sassy Streptocarpus



S.’Celebration (left) & S. ‘Kate’ (right)

Last summer I was introduced to the Streptocarpus…actually 4 Streptocarpus. (I also had S. ‘Falling Stars’ & S. ‘Hope’)
They are described as …’popular, relatively inexpensive, moderately easy-to-grow houseplants’… by the RHS, so who was I to doubt them?
A client & I decided to buy different types & have a go at different methods of propagation as well as test how easy they were to keep.
I went for the leaf cuttings method (Method 2 on the link above) & my client (who we will call Elizabeth for the purpose of this exercise…and the fact that that’s her real name, tried the ‘whole leaf’ method, Method 2 on the link).


Here’s how I did it…
Step 1. Get a plant (round my way small plants are about £5 & £9 for a large one)
Step 2. Cut off a decent, healthy looking leaf or 2 (or 3 but don’t get too carried away)
Step 3. Cut leaf in inch long portions
4. Insert leaf, using a spoon to create a leaf-shaped hole, into the soil, I used houseplant soil & Perlite (50/50 mix).

July 1

Step 4 (additional info). For goodness sake, plant the leaf up the right way, the bottom goes in the soil.

July 2

Step 5. Spritz or gently water, cover & leave somewhere bright but not in direct sunlight. (Mine just sat in the greenhouse all summer, but you don’t need a greenhouse…I’m just banned from window sill progation Smile)

Jan (3)


Now…based on the fact that the ‘doom monster’ at my local garden centre said our success rate would be 50 / 50, I took LOTS of cuttings.
Elizabeth took 2 whole leaf cuttings.

Oct 3

When I said LOTS, I mean about 8 of each variety, this was in July / Aug of last year. Since then, despite my attention to feeding / watering / light conditions & bedtime story telling, 1 of my original parent plants died…sniff!

Jan (2)

Cease your sobbing….


… fast forward to October et voila!
Baby Streptos everywhere.
Step 6. Pot up your babies in to individual small pots, I used a spoon to carefully remove each original leaflet with its baby attachments.

Jan (1)

Here we are today, they are now sitting in the cold conservatory so I can keep my eye on them.
EVERY leaf, not 50% as the Garden Centre Gloom Ogre predicted, rooted.
Alas Elizabeth’s whole leaves just wilted & died and so did the parent plant. Although this method was supposed to be quicker, it would have only produced 1 plant per leaf, whereas the slicing method produced 3-4 plants per leaf.

Dec 1

So the challenge ahead is to keep my offspring alive & to get them to flower. The challenge after that will be finding homes for them.
Not sure where we went wrong with the parent plants that we lost. All symptoms point to over watering, so we’ll keep an eye on that going forward.
I’d definitely recommend giving this a go, propagating is HUGELY rewarding & dead easy & the flowers are quite beautiful.

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