How does any novice gardener transform the dirty, grey soil of what was up until recently a busy building site, into the kind of crumbly, chocolate-coloured growing medium in which plants will happily grow?

In last week’s column, I wrote about the many challenges of designing and planting a small garden. But what of the special challenges presented by a b(...)

If I sawed my finger off and stuck it in a pot of soil, it would be a little unreasonable to expect it to grow a whole new “me”. And yet that’s pretty(...)

Lichens growing on a stone statue in the historic gardens of Mount Stewart, Co Down. Photograph: Richard Johnston
Loving lichen

Here’s a little quiz for you . . . Which widespread organism is found on almost every garden surface (soil, trees, some evergreen leaves, walls, ro(...)

Photographs: Richard Johnson

SPICK AND SPAN . . . It’s time to get those vegetable beds in tip-top condition for the winter. Start by lifting, storing and clearing away finishe(...)

In the way that some people remember their first kiss, I still remember the day as a young teenager that I fell in love with dahlias, after my (...)