25 great gardening tips

Here are 25 of the best gardening tips to help you create and maintain a beautiful garden...

1. Autumn is the perfect time to collect seeds of hardy annuals. Seed needs to be absolutely dry before being stored.

2. Dead-head annuals regularly and they will keep on making more flowers in an attempt to produce seeds.

3. Failsafe annuals include love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), Californian poppies (Eschscholzia californica), cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus), larkspur (Delphinium consolida), poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii) and opium poppies (Papaver somniferum).

4. Annual seeds are best sown in rows – this helps you tell the seedlings from the weedlings.

5. Store seeds in envelopes in a carton and put it in the fridge.

6. Climbing roses will flower better if the branches are trained horizontally.

7. Is space in short supply? There are a number of gardening tips to help. One of the best is to use bulbs in pots for an immediate impact. When they are just on the point of flowering in the spring, you can plant the whole pot in a border to provide an instant splash of colour.

8. Terracotta pots absorb water, so a plant in a terracotta pot will dry out a lot quicker than one in a ceramic or plastic container.

9. Figs will fruit much better if you restrict the root growth, which makes them ideal for growing in containers.

10. A bench or seat around a tree always provides an excellent focal point.

11. For a natural effect, don't plant bulbs in a row. Plant them in clumps of at least five.

12. Want to attract wildlife into your garden? Lavender, daisies and ivy are the way to go.

13. Bright light washes out cooler colours, so blues, greens and purples are better suited to shaded areas.

14. Cramped borders don't work. They need space, and that means 1.5 or even 2 metres from front to back.

15. Experiment by positioning plants in their pots before putting them in the ground.

16. Don't put a compost heap in a part of the garden that is rarely visited. You won't use it. Put it where it is easily accessible for the kitchen and the garden.

17. Digging should only be done when the soil is reasonably dry.

18. Save space by sowing two different crops in a single row. Mix a slow growing crop such as parsnips or carrots with something faster such as lettuces or radishes.

19. Very small seeds can be mixed with a bit of sand before sowing. This prevents them from being sown too thickly.

20. Thyme can be used for ground cover and is happy to grow in the cracks between paving stones or rocks.

21. If you're starting a veg plot on very weedy ground, potatoes may help swamp weeds with their rapidly growing foliage. They are often planted to 'clean the ground' in this way.

22. Putting almost ripe tomatoes in a paper bag with a banana will speed up the ripening process.

23. Pear trees blossom early, so it is best to plant them against a warm wall or in a sheltered spot to prevent the flowers from being damaged by frost in the spring.

24. Slugs and snails often make a beeline for newly-planted specimens, so concentrate your efforts on protecting these, rather than every plant in your garden.

25. Mice and squirrels love bulbs, so cover the pots or the area just planted with chicken wire, to prevent them from being dug up and eaten.

What do you think - do you have any great gardening tips to share?

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