Category Archives: Garden Tasks


Most of us are trying to get our garden to work for us in many ways – somewhere to sit, somewhere to eat, somewhere for the kids to kick a football, somewhere to plant flowers, somewhere to store the bikes, lawnmower, BBQ etc. And so the list goes on, with so many things to squeeze in.

One of the most important functions for me is somewhere to grow some fruit and veg. I have a standard town garden so making sure everything is efficiently planned and looks great is essential. Over the years I have honed the veg plot in my garden to be the most efficient and productive as well as looking good at the same time.

So lets start with fruit, possibly the best producer for the least amount of effort. The most efficient fruit producers for space usage are trained fruit trees and bushes. The main ones include red currents, tayberries, blackberries, gooseberries, figs, plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, apples and pears. There are other more unusual varieties as well but these are the easiest and most common.

For now we will cover apple trees. These are bred in the nurseries by grafting a stem onto a dwarfing rootstock to restrict their growth. This ensures that they put their energy into producing fruit rather than growth and without this they would take years before they come into fruit production and would end up as very large trees. There are several different types with varying amounts of dwarfing properties to suit any location from a pot to an open field. There are loads of different corresponding training forms but the easiest are cordons, espaliers and fan trained which will come on the relevant root stock.

Beautifully trained fan fruit tree

Beautifully trained fan fruit tree

In my garden I have a few super columns (also known as ballerinas) that are grown and pruned as a single vertical column that grows to about 7ft tall and takes up little space but still produce loads of fruit soon after planting. These can even be planted as close as 60cm (2ft) apart. Here’s a picture of the ‘Saturn’ variety of apple tree that I have in my garden.

Vertical cordon apple tree

Vertical cordon apple tree

This year it produced around 100 apples. And let’s just clarify that these are apples that taste amazing, crisp and sweet – the supermarket variety are not a patch on these. There are not many things better than walking out into your garden and eating an apple straight from the tree.

As well as being productive they produce loads of gorgeous blossom in the spring to rival ornamental cherry trees and of course attractive fruit to look at later on. You can plant bare routed fruit trees from mid November to March and pot grown any time of year. I will be posting a ‘quick and easy’ YouTube guide on how to plant a bare routed fruit tree soon.

Over the next year I’m going to be blogging about how to get the most fruit and veg out of your garden and I will be posting on YouTube a series of ‘quick and easy gardening’ guides on how to plant various fruit and veg – a total beginners guide in easy to understand language. So please check out my YouTube channel. You can also see my quick and easy guide on how to prune a trained apple or pear tree here

Happy gardening.



Autumn is a great time to get out in the garden and give it a thorough tidy up before winter sets in. As part of this tidy up you should be pruning back your fruit trees and Wisteria in order to maximise fruit and flower production for next year. Late summer to early Autumn is a good time to be doing this pruning. I am often asked how and when to prune various plants so I have started posting tutorials on YouTube showing you what to do.

Check out my latest tutorials:

Simple guide to pruning a climbing Wisteria plant

Simple guide on how to prune a trained apple or pear tree

The basics of pruning are really very simple. Both of these YouTube tutorials last under 3 minutes so do give them a look and please do subscribe to me on YouTube so you don’t miss out on any more of my ‘Simple Guides’ in the future. Happy pruning!

Brett and the team

Gardening with New Resolutions

January is the month of OPPORTUNITIES – the time to plan for the year ahead and to take stock. Without the visual impact of the plants, you can see the garden infrastructure, warts and all. So now is a good time to check:

  • sheds – roof, floor and window frames.
  • fences – wobbly posts or panels, will they withstand strong winds?
  • decking – once it goes it rots quickly.
  • trellises – I have one kept up by a clematis and climbing rose.   One day its going to come down and damage them both, and I’ll kick myself.
  • frost damage to pots, brickwork and paths – can this be prevented?
  • slippery patios and decking – they may need to be jet washed or cleaned with an algae removing liquid and then sealed.

Now plants have died down it is a great time to get in amongst the beds to make necessary repairs. But consider REPLACING instead of repairing. For example

  • can the decking be replaced by a new bed or ornamental stone slabs?
  • instead of repairing the fence how about trellising and planting evergreen climbers or an ornamental bamboo?
  • can the shed be replaced by a potting shed that gives you more than just storage?

January is the best month for being imaginative. Walk around the garden on a bright sunny morning with a cup of tea and take stock. Appraise from different angles and search for new opportunities. Simple touches can be made – for example:

  • new paths
  • re-shaping the lawn
  • adding an arch or pergola
  • raising a bed
  • adding outdoor lighting
  • framing and screening areas to divide the garden into spaces
  • even adding a hammock or a barbeque wall – summer will be here one day…

As gardeners we look at new opportunities for planting all the time. We go through seed catalogues looking at new vegetables and buy new variations and cultivars of flowers. Just as we are inventive and creative with our planting, so we should be with the garden.

January is the perfect time to cast a critical and also imaginative eye over our beloved outdoor space and to ask if we are making the most of it. Can we not do that little bit better this year for our garden? I think the answer is yes, and on that note, I’m off to find the drill to fix the wonky trellis.



Look out for my next posting on 5th February – ECO GARDENS ARE THE FUTURE