Bad gardener Vikki Conway loves her azalea but so do dozens of tiny annoying flies. After an appeal on BGC’s Facebook page, some followers came to her rescue. Some horticultural grit on top of the soil will help as the annoying bugs breed in damp soil. She is also going to try spraying it with soapy water.
Ugly year for blackberries. The heatwave didn’t go down well - they’re fatigued and this lot look about as appealing as the week-old ham bagel I’ve just foraged from my handbag. Supermarkets are even flying berries in from South America as the UK harvest is so rubbish.
My salad days are over. Well, my lettuce is done for, anyway. It got too hot and bothered on my windowsill and bolted, meaning it sent up a flower stalk in a panic and has gone to seed. So leaves taste grim. I should have planted it in a shady spot in my garden. But that would have required thoughts and actions. Chips, anyone?
Normal service resumed. Second courgette. Looks like another bumper harvest.
Please, mister, can we have our ball back? Slight problem, it’s 15ft up, looking quite comfy on your leylandii. We’ve been meaning to sort this conifer out for years. It does a top job filtering out pollution and wind. And the neighbours are probably grateful it filters out noise. But under the High Hedges Act, they can kick off to the council if it is more than 2m tall and annoying. Which ours is (x2). Balls.
Oops. Accidentally gave plant gin. Lesson 324: sniff glass before pouring. Better still, use watering can, not last night’s drink dregs.
Ffs. Just when I thought my lawn could not get any worse, the heatwave arrived. Which is all very nice. But not when it turns your grass to straw. I’ve heard you can revive it with sugary water. Well, cake always gives me a lift so I’m hoping the same applies here.
New bad gardener on the block. Vikki had dreams of healthy home-grown summer salads. Then nuked her first cucumber plant in the conservatory when she was off on a weekend jolly. Chips for tea?
Ah. My Falling Down moment with the garden collided with Resolva being on offer at Co-op. So I took out the dandelions. And the lawn with them. Turns out there’s a spray that kills them but not your lawn. I learnt too late. I know, I know chemicals are bad but every girl has her breaking point.
HA. HA. Stickyback. The plant prank that never grows old. It’s got loads of common names (sticky willy, goose grass, robin run the hedge) but this rampant weed is actually called cleavers. It transfers its seeds by cleverly clagging on to animals, birds and your victim’s jacket. So you have to give it some credit, really. It was once used by farmers to filter animal hair out of milk. Which is pretty cool. But I’d rather do this with it.
Weird tip and creepy fact from a wise gardener: to get rid of greenfly and blackfly on fruit trees and roses, chuck ant powder at the bottom. Clever ants farm those pesky aphids and suck their blood (like machines draining Keanu Reeves in The Matrix). So you need to get shot of them. It’s worked on this cherry tree and a load of rose bushes down here in Essex.
This unusual display was spotted in Scarborough. I know people are using all sorts as containers these days but the soil looks a tad boggy here.
Mmmm delicious. Well-baked soil, fresh from the oven, just like mama used to make. Jemma @jemmawoolley attempted to dry off her water-logged soil by sticking it on a low heat. Normal, right? Ten points to that bad gardener.
Ahhhh… the sign of a good day’s bad gardening. This was achieved trying to dig out dandelion roots. I’ve since heard that using a kitchen knife can be more effective.
Gardening course, you say? Oh, better wear my best heeled boots for that, then. What a (tired) idiot. Didn’t stop me getting stuck in and planting carrot seedlings in old tyres. We chucked one tyre on top of another and filled them both with compost but left a space at the top so they’re snug and will hopefully survive any more beastly weather. Boots currently in kitchen sink, covered in mud.
RIP ‘Mr Bottom’ the snowman. Gardens were littered with snowmen corpses across the country after the thaw. And, yes, we did use chocolate coins for eyes.
Kirkgate Market in Leeds is home to plants of much cheapness. I love this kind of place - a mish mash of Moroccan spices, hot tea in polystyrene cups, XXL nighties and fish heads. It was where the first Marks and Spencer’s was, too, and there’s a little stall selling M&S jam and coffee. I sense the market is in danger of turning all hipster since John Lewis moved in next door, mind. But the plants remain dangerously cheap for now. Handy, if you keep killing them.
Errr, so now my houseplants are giving me the finger? Found this monstrosity in my kitchen and, fair enough really. My mistreatment of plants is not just reserved for the outdoors. It’s survival of the fittest... if you can last a fortnight without a drink, you’re in with a chance round mine. I do treat them occasionally to a glug of rainwater, collected overnight in a toy plastic bucket. It’s far better than the tap stuff for houseplants.(The finger is from my six-year-old son’s magic kit, btw. I haven’t been lopping off his dad’s digits. Yet.)
This sad tree has produced just one crab apple. Bad gardener Vicky's three-year-old son calls it their 'crap apple tree'. He may be on to something.
Check out this mutant... bad gardener Jemma says it looks like it's sprouting legs. It is the brilliantly named mother-in-law's tongue (aka sansevieria), so called because its spiky leaves are supposed to resemble a spiky tongue. It's certainly crying out for one mother of a bigger pot.
This lawn was ALMOST mown before the weather turned. Bad gardeners' No1 enemy: time. Better footwear may also be needed.
Hmmm, this acer in a pot in Essex has turned crisp ’n’ dry with sun and wind over summer. Niel (who follows us on Facebook) says it was happy and gorgeous over spring. Lesson learned, he is shifting it to a sheltered spot by his house.
These sweet peas have turned sour. Janet has clay soil over in the Wirral so she grew them in an enormous pot with Miracle Gro compost because they are "greedy individuals". But she managed only nine flowers for all her efforts.
With Janet's sweet pea tower howler, powdery mildew took over big time at the bottom and greenfly, aka aphids, partied at the top. She says: "The nine flowers I did get were terrifically fragrant but I'm wondering whether I should bother with them next year."
Terry, who follows BGC on Instagram, has come up with a novel solution for a bothersome spot in his garden, where only weeds survive. Stick a couple of pink plastic flamingos in there. Bingo! Who's noticing nettles now?
Here’s a dead creepy corner up in Cumbria. @magic_moonshine on Twitter reckons the pumpkins have cursed it. Maybe stick some ferns and ivy in that rocky, shady spot?
Rookie error. Living things need water. That includes potatoes. Better luck next time, @badgardeners
These delicious peas were lovingly nurtured by Karen Woodford in Leeds @safereatingco. Seems slugs got to them before she could.
Gardening and nature advice and blog, for when gardening does not come naturally. Charting attempts at growing, not murdering, plants, flowers and vegetables. Campaign to get parents and children outside.