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A fond farewell and a warm welcome

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Monday, 30th October 2023, 09:00

It has been such an honour writing a column for The Local Answer for so many years. I can’t tell you how often people have said to me, “we always read your column to find out what we should be doing in the garden this month”, which is very gratifying. To start with I felt very unsure and really doubted if anyone would care what I said!

Gardening practices have evolved over the years I have been writing. To start with, everything seemed to end with chemicals, for ridding the garden of ‘pests’ or killing off weeds. More recently, gardeners have become much more focused on natural ways of dealing with problems.

We have come to realise that all insects have their place in our garden, not just the pretty ones. As for the topic of weeds, well just look at Chelsea this year! The French have no word for weed – they are just plants in the wrong place, and perhaps that is the way to look at them.

Gardening is whatever you get pleasure from

Don’t worry about your garden not looking neat and tidy if that is what you have – if some plants do well, plant those. Don’t try to grow stuff that isn’t happy. On the other hand, if you love neat and tidy, go for it – don’t be made to feel a failure because you don’t have a meadow and instead have a nice smooth lawn!

Gardening is whatever you like and get pleasure from – no rules to follow. Be a trailblazer and discover your own style. Now I shall hand over to your new columnist, Daniel, who will be writing a well-informed and interesting column – I look forward to reading it!


Hello, fellow garden enthusiasts! I’m Daniel and I am honoured to say that I’ll be taking over Julia’s long-running gardening feature. I’m a professional gardener working for a number of customers local to my home in Gloucestershire. I am, at heart, a gardener for nature. I love the idea of creating and maintaining beautiful outdoor spaces that we can enjoy, but which also benefit the wildlife that can call it their home, too.

I appreciate witnessing the changing seasons and engaging with the seasonal jobs each new time of year brings. I find the rhythms of a gardener’s seasonal tasks, year on year, very rewarding and hope my insights can be of use to you.

There’s nothing quite so fulfilling as sowing a seed that erupts into life

I enjoy getting stuck into many tasks in the garden, but nothing will ever get close to the enjoyment I find in planting. There’s nothing quite so fulfilling as sowing a seed that erupts into life, or putting a plant in the ground and seeing it grow and thrive. However, I believe that through any act of care and maintenance of our natural spaces, we are tied to them.

From planting a tree, to potting up the petunias, to sprucing up the potting shed; with every involvement we become more connected to our gardens. See you next month for my first full feature!

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