Category Archives: RHS

Chelsea chop

I’ve had a few emails asking about ‘The Chelsea Chop’ what is it and what does it do?  

I’m guessing this has come about after watching the wonderful RHS Chelsea flower show on our TV’s recently. It doesn’t take a genius to work out it’s something that normally done around the time of the flower show (late May or early June). It’s were you simply cut back the stems of some herbaceous plants such as Sedum, Echinacea purpurea, Campanula lactiflora, Rudbeckia ‘herbstonne’ to name but a few cut them back to around one third as their flower buds start to appear.  But why?  Cutting them back will make your plants stockier and bushier and will give you flowers into late summer/ Autumn, also helping to keep your borders looking tidy, without all those stems needing staking.  

If that sounds a little too radical why not try a less scary approach and cut back one in every 3 stems?  If you’ve never tried it have a go and let me know what you think later in the season. I’m about to do it with my sedum they do tend flop out wards leaving a big ugly hole in the middle.

And joy of joys, I harvested my first batch of broadbeans, how can anything beat sitting in the sunshine popping open their big pods, which remind me of huge cozy sleeping bags.

My allotment to do list:

 It’s time to start harvesting those broadbeans

Also early potatoes are getting ready to be dug up to, but keep earthing up your other spuds

Sow little rows of beetroot, lettuce, kohl rabi every couple of weeks

And believe it or not it’s time to think about winter cabbage, these can be sown this month in preparation for later on.

Keep training your peas to climb their supports, keep a ball of string in your pocket, saves walking back and forth to get it.

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Oh my gosh… My first result from my RHS course

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I haven’t studied in a very long time. My last exams where about 20 years ago, but I still remember the terror as if they were yesterday.

I suffer from nerves very badly, I think people assume I am super confident. After all I present a breakfast show on the radio across the North West of England. Outside of London it’s the most competitive market, surely I am filled with a huge ego and confidence that explodes from every pore?

No, not one bit! I am quite the opposite, think of me more as a swan swimming in a lake, calm on the surface but under the water I’m paddling like crazy.

I signed up for my RHS course hoping to pick up a few little tips to help me in my allotment and was terrified by the prospect of doing exams. Well I got my first result this afternoon, I had to double check there hadn’t been a mistake! 99%!

And now in typical Vix worry mode, I’m freaking about about my next one! Maybe in the next couple of days I will get a letter telling me there was a mix up in my results… Me 99%?



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Just look at the colours in this Delphinium, it was so gorgeous, I just had to share it.

I was just looking at my photographs from the RHS Tatton flower show, I was snapping everything.

I think I’m going to have to find some for my allotment next year. I could stare at those colours for hours.


Inspired by RHS Tatton Flower Show

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I’ve wanted to expand my Hosta collection for a while now, I just love the big green leaves and since finding out you can eat them, I’m even more inclined to do so. Find out more here

Hosta’s are a beautiful woodland plant, they love moist feet and a shady spot. Whist I was at the Flower show I came across a wonderful stand, the display was perfect, I have decided I’m going to do something similar in my allotment.

I have a big willow tree on my plot, it moved in many years ago and the height it’s given my plot is lovely. It also gives some nice shade to plants that struggle in full sun.

I have a huge oak trunk too! It was so beautiful I haven’t had the heart to cut it up for our log stoves and have always wanted to do something with it! So thanks to some inspiration this is what I will work on.

It will look lovely under the willow tucked away down the plot near my secret herb garden…

Happy gardening my friend! X


RHS Tatton Flower Show

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Just got back from an amazing day at RHS Tatton Flower show. Phew it was a long hot day, but totally worth a visit.

I’m very lucky to of been given two Press passes for the day, thank you guys! I had the most thrilling day.

My favourite part was the allotments bit, veg and herb growing is a huge passion of mine and to get the chance to talk with like minded folk was a real treat. There was everything from huge onions to the worlds biggest collection of gooseberries I had ever seen, wonderful seed collections to the latest spade. It’s basically heaven for gardeners. I could of easily of spent the whole evening there too.

I bought a new herb, Banana Mint! I do have a soft spot for mint. Pineapple, apple, chocolate, spearmint and now Banana! I spoke to the lovely lady on the stand, next year she is hoping to have strawberry mint!

I also got the opportunity to speak to a lady who looks after the North West Herb Group. I shall be sending her an email and joining soon. Following another chat with a lady who helps run a heritage seed society I found out I could help a local stately home with their Tudor garden.

I always harvest my seeds in autumn and many of my plants have deep historical roots (sorry about the pun). So the thought of helping a historical site in the North West of England fills me with joy.

That pretty much sums up what gardening is to me, healthy eating, exercise and getting the chance to share knowledge, veg and seeds with as many people as possible.

Today has been one of the highlights of my year, now its head down and try to win Horwich in Bloom 2013! (Got to 3rd place in 2011 so it’s all to play for!)