In the garden with Tess

A look into Tess' garden with all her tips and tricks.

Rose flower plant

- What's growing in the garden?

Too many things to list! I'm absolutely sold on taking and growing from cuttings. Love a freebie. I have successfully grown climbing red roses and white rose shrubs from cuttings, hellebores, campanulas, asters and irises from dividing and also a wonderful collection of flowers from bulbs. Dahlias, gladioli and cornflowers have done incredibly well in the garden in a spot I like to think of as the 'nursery'. Nothing seems to die there and in fact I have managed to bring back plants and flowers from near death. This year I've also added red hot pokers to the garden. They've been an heirloom in my family from my great grandmother where they grew in her front garden in Guildford. There's something really sweet about having them as a living memory and knowing all the gardens they've been growing in.

Anemone rose pink flowers

- What goes into your bunches?

Homegrown dahlias, anemones, cornflowers, sunflowers, astrantia, cosmos, sweet peas, nigellas and more. Everything I've grown I like to include when I can. Its such a personal touch to be able to add something I've cared for from seed to bloom. I think you'll always appreciate something that much more when you've grown it. I've planted new bulbs this year, 2 different varieties of tulip (which I am very excited for) and irises.

flower bed home grown nigellas gladioli anemone

- How do you keep your garden eco friendly?

Plenty of water butts is key. Being able to use fresh rain water to water the plants means you can see exactly how much you're using and also avoiding all those chemicals from the tap. I've also built 2 raised vegetable and cutting beds in the garden and I knew I'd need lots of soil but I didn't want all the plastic bags that come with that. Instead I purloined all my Grandad's soil from his compost heap - what are Grandparents for right?

pink rose flower red rose flowers

- What's your favourite season and why?

I love summer. I'm such a sucker for just sitting in the garden for hours listening to the birds and soaking up the sunshine. I've been called a sun-worshipper by too many people on too many occasions! For me, there's something so relaxing about the green leaves on the trees against blue sky, I think it's because it takes you back to the simplicity of nature and out of the stresses of day to day life.

- How does gardening benefit you? It's a complete escape. I love being outside and away from screens. Gardening is so distracting which I love, it allows me to completely forget about my anxiety and just gives you a break from life. It's also an added bonus when next door's dog, Fred, brings himself round for a visit. Although you have to watch that his little waggy tail (which never stops) doesn't whiplash all the heads off the flowers as he joins you.

corn flower cornflower nigellas astrantia flowers

- What are your tips for other gardeners?

If you think somethings not happy, move it. So many times I argue with myself in my head about whether to move a plant or just leave it where it is. My gut feeling is usually right and I've learnt by moving things around where they like to be best. It's all trial and error really but I think that's the best way to learn. It can help to keep new plants or flowers in pots at first so you can move them around but with better drainage they'll need more watering!


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