Category: 12 tips to save time in the garden


Tackle weeds early so they don’t have a chance to flower and then set seed- dig out perennial weeds and hoe out annual weeds on a dry day. Then cover any bare soil with a layer of mulch or ground-covering plants to smother new weeds before they get established. Control problem weeds with a weedkiller containing glyphosate.

Further information:

Weeds: non-chemical control-RHS

Dealing with weeds- BBC

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener



pest controlPests and diseases-

Buy varieties of plants that are restistant to pests and diseases. If you want to grow vegetables, choose modern varieties that are easier to grow and protect them with crop covers such as insect-proof mesh or garden fleece. Encourage natural predators to take up residence in your garden by growing nectar-rich flowers, providing nesting and overwintering sites, and by feeding birds in winter. Use bilogical controls in the greenhouse.

Further information:

Natural pest and disease control

Biological Pest control- RHS

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener


perennial borderPlanting-

Grow trouble-free and long lived shrubs and perennials instead of annual spring and summer bedding that needs replacing every year. All new plants must be planted carefully into well- prepared soil, so that they establish quickly and are able to resist attacks from pests and diseases.

Further information:

Top 10 all weather perennial plants

Tips for designing perennial beds and borders

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener


raised bedsDigging

There is no need to dig at all once you have adopted the raised or deep-bed system for growing vegetables. If you are preparing a vacant plot for planting shrubs or flowers, get rid of the weeds, dig in a thick layer of organic matter and from then on you only need to mulch and let worms improve the soil.

Hmm, not sure about this raised bed....

Hmm, not sure about this raised bed….

Further information:

Raised bed growing

Raised beds- RHS

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener


One way of pruning lavender

One way of pruning lavender


Choose plants that will perform reliably with minimal pruning. Keep any pruning you do mas simple as possible. For instance, don’t bother following traditional pruning methods for hybrid tea and floribunda roses, just cut all the stems down to 30cm (12 inches) high using shears, secateurs or even a hedge trimmer. prepare prunings for the compost heap quickly by using a shredder or spread them on the lawn and chop them up with a rotary mower witha grass ,box or use a garden vacuum tthat mulches too.

Further information:

How to prune your plants- Gardeners’ World

Pruning Tips and Techniques

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener


My kind of mower....

My kind of mower….


Cut your mowing time in half by simplifying the design of your lawn. Avoid any awkward corners and fussy shapes by converting them to sweeping curves that are easy to cut without stopping and starting. Also remove any obstacles such as over hanging shrubs and specimen trees that will slow you down as you mow. If you have several specimens in a lawn, link them together in a single island bed.

Further information:

Mowing lawns- RHS

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener


A mowing strip using block pavers

A mowing strip using block pavers


Keep edges to a minimum by making the lawn shape simple. Install a mowing strip (a hard surface level with the lawn) along the edges of the lawn so that the lawn mower can trim right over the edge. Any awkward tufts of grass and rough areas can be dealt with quickly using a nylon -line trimmer.

Further information:

Mowing strips

Installing a mowing strip

Lawns in small gardens

How to choose a lawn shape

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener


Anthemic tinctoria 'E.C. Buxton'- suitable for the 'Chelsea Chop'

Anthemic tinctoria ‘E.C. Buxton’- suitable for the ‘Chelsea Chop’


Avoid the need for staking by growing compact versions of tall perennials or plant them close together so that they support each other. You can also cut back later flowering perennials in late spring by pinching out or cutting back stems by about a half- the so called ‘Chelsea Chop’- this will promote more compact and later flowering plants that do not need staking. Also, select flowering plants with weather-resistant blooms which stand up to wind and rain and that don’t need regular deadheading for continuous flowering.

Further information:

Plants for Gardening in a rainier Britain- Daily Telegraph

Rain- proof flowers

Pruning perennial and annual plants- BBC

Dwarf perennials- Guardian Garden Centre

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener



To reduce watering time grow drought tolerant plants, apply a layer of mulch to prevent evaporation from the soil and water only those plants that really need it. Install an automatic watering system, especially where regular watering is needed, such as for container plants and in the greenhouse.

mulch-your-bordersFurther information:

RHS- Watering Advice

Drought-busting advice- BBC

How to water your plants- Gardeners’ World

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener



Use the right tools, garden products and equipment to get the job done fast. If a task is easy to do, don’t leave it to become a problem. For occasional big tasks, consider hiring specialist tools or employing a contractor to do the job for you.

Further information:

Garden tools and equipment

BBC guide to buying tools

RHS guide to hiring contractors

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener


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