Thompson & Morgan Gardening Blog

Our gardening blog covers a wide variety of topics, including fruit, vegetable and tree stories. Read some of the top gardening stories right here.

Propagation, planting out and cultivation posts from writers that know their subjects well.

Growing berries in pots and containers

Cranberry Pilgrim from London Plantology

Cranberry Pilgrim
Image source: London Plantology

You don’t need a huge garden to grow your own fruit. In fact, berries are the perfect container crop for small spaces. Think wild strawberries in window boxes, trailing blackberries overflowing from hanging baskets and blueberries in pots on the patio. Not only will your container-grown berries provide colour, scent and interest throughout the summer, but you’ll also enjoy a wonderful harvest with which to make delicious jams and cordials to see you through the winter!

Here, blogger Sasha Ivanova shares her advice on the best berries to grow in a container garden. Browse our full range of fruit plants for even more inspiration.

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Beetroot masterclass: best expert content

Small circular beetroot with roots

Beetroot ‘Pablo’ F1 hybrid holds a coveted RHS Award of Garden Merit for performance
Image: Thompson & Morgan

Looking for tried-and-tested tips for growing your own beetroot? Then browse this collection of helpful articles, videos and Insta posts. Filled with expert advice from those in the know, these nuggets of wisdom will help you with everything from sowing the seeds to cooking your healthy harvest of fresh beets.

Ready to place an order? Browse our colourful selection of beetroot & chard seeds, or fast-track the growing process and buy a tray of 20 beetroot ‘Rainbow Mixed’ plug plants.

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Sweet peas masterclass: best expert content

Purple sweet pea variety

Sweet pea ‘Three Times As Sweet’ was shortlisted for RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2021
Image: Thompson & Morgan

Enjoy the heady fragrance of sweet peas by training these easy cottage garden annuals up trellis, or allowing them to spill out of hanging baskets on the patio. Here, we’ve brought together some of the best independent articles, videos and Instagram posts to help get your sweet peas off to a strong and healthy start.

Ready to start growing? Browse our excellent range of sweet pea seeds to find scented heritage and colourful hybrid varieties. If you’re in a hurry, simply order a few sweet pea plants to save time.

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Trees masterclass: best expert content

Autumnal coloured leaves of Cercis canadensis ‘Eternal Flame’

Cercis canadensis ‘Eternal Flame’ has spectacular fiery colour
Image: Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ from T&M

Trees bring structure and maturity to a garden. They can be smothered in spectacular blossoms through the spring, boast brightly-coloured foliage in autumn, or deliver all-year-round evergreen interest. You don’t need a huge amount of outdoor space either – some trees are perfectly happy in a large patio container. Here are some of our favourite articles, videos and Instagram posts to help you choose the right tree for your outdoor space. 

When you’re ready to place an order, browse our wide range of trees for inspiration.

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A drought-tolerant redesign for Driftwood Garden

Geoff Stonebanks pond view from bench

Driftwood garden in Seaford has been visited by 23,000 visitors, to date
Image: driftwoodbysea

Geoff Stonebanks, designer of the award-winning Driftwood Garden in East Sussex, has been busy transforming another corner of his inspiring outdoor space. He talks us through his brand new water feature area, designed around drought-resistant plants that will reduce the amount of time and natural resources required to keep it looking great. The before and after photos are incredible!

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Carrots and parsnips masterclass: best expert content

Stacked harvested carrots

Carrots and parsnips are versatile root vegetables
Image: Carrot ‘Resistafly’ F1 Hybrid from T&M

There’s nothing quite like homegrown carrots and parsnips with your Sunday roast. If you want to grow your own root veg, we’ve gathered some of the best independent YouTube videos, articles and Instagram posts to get you off to a good start. Here’s everything you need to know to grow the perfect crunchy crop.

Raring to grow your own classic heritage varieties and robust hybrids? Stock up on carrot and parsnip seeds from our colourful range of high quality veg. 

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Leek muffins recipe

 

Leek muffin recipe start to finish

Leek muffins recipe

Amanda Davies
Have you ever wondered why Welsh fans carry inflatable leeks to rugby or football matches? Legend says Cadwaladr, a 7th century King of Gwynedd, once ordered his men to wear one into battle for identification purposes.
But this tasty veg is more versatile than identifying troops. Rich in antioxidants, leeks are packed with vitamin K, manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate and vitamin C, as well as vitamin A vitamin E, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Leeks may be perfect for roasting, souping and frying, but they make surprisingly good cakes too.
Course Side Dish

Equipment

  • Measuring scales
  • Nest of measuring spoons
  • Wooden or silicon spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Cheese Grater
  • Fork
  • Vegetable knife
  • Sieve
  • Mixing bowl
  • Muffin/bun tray
  • Paper or silicon cases
  • Cooling rack

Ingredients
  

  • 1 leek
  • 1 egg
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • 100 ml olive or vegetable oil
  • 50 ml milk
  • 75 g cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1-3 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
  • Grate the cheese.
  • Line the bun or muffin tray with paper/silicone cases.
  • Wash the leek throughly to remove any soil from between the leaves. Then slice the leek into thin circles. Slice these circles into thirds.
  • Measure out the flour, baking powder, herbs and spices in the mix together in a bowl, then turn gently with a wooden/silicon spoon. (Note salt can be used if desired.)
  • Pour the measured milk into a glass and beat the egg into it with the fork.
  • Make a well in the flour, add the milk eggs mix and required amount of oil.
  • Quickly blend together for one minute.
  • Next add the leeks and cheese.
    Continue stirring for two minutes until the mixture is of a stiff consistency.
  • Use a filled teaspoon to drop the mixture into the cases.
  • Place on middle shelf and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Notes

Serving suggestions:
  • Go Welsh and serve with a bowl of Cawl.
  • Go Oriental and dip in a bowl of sweet chilli sauce or mango chutney.
  • Freeze for the summer and enjoy with an egg fried in plum tomatoes for lunch.
 
Grow your own leeks
Leeks are hungry plants, so add plenty of well rotted manure to your plot, or alternatively grow them in a deep container with fresh compost, adding a feed of Incredigrow.
Start the seeds in late February or through March and April either in a single seed in cellular trays outdoors or direct in your soil. From May to July the plants can then be transferred to their final growing positions.
To have a more blanched stem it is necessary to fork the soil around the stems as they grow, being careful not to get it between the leaves.
Beware of the leek moth and leek rust – for more information on this you can always visit our guide on growing onions and leeks from seeds.
Keyword leeks, muffins, vegetables
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Pear trees masterclass: best expert content

Singular pear 'Doyenné du Comice' from T&M on a tree

Pear ‘Doyenné du Comice’ produces deliciously soft fruit in autumn
Copyright: Alamy Stock Photo

Here’s everything you need to know to grow your own bountiful pear tree. Whether you want an old heritage variety or a newer hybrid, if you follow the advice from these independent bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers you’ll be on the right path to a healthy tree and bumper crops.

Browse our collection of apple and pear trees to find the perfect variety for your garden. From dwarf patio fruit trees to full-sized orchard specimens, there’s something for everyone.

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How to plant a bareroot hedge

Cooper hedging protecting smaller plants in garden

Hedging creates natural boundaries in your garden
Image: Copper Beech (Hedging) from Thompson & Morgan

Late autumn and winter is the time to plant your bareroot hedge. That’s because from late November through to March, most hedging plants are in their dormant phase and can be moved without causing undue stress. If you wait until budburst you’ll have lost your opportunity for the year, so don’t leave it too late! Planting a hedge is a satisfying job which will keep you warm on a chilly winter’s day. Here’s everything you need to know to tackle the task successfully. 

Looking for inspiration? Check out our full range of hedging plants.

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How to force rhubarb and the best early varieties

Rhubarb crops growing with forcers

Forced rhubarb provides you with early, sweet-tasting crops
Image: Shutterstock

Forced rhubarb is an early spring treat at a time when there’s little in the garden that’s ready to pick. It’s also an easy and enjoyable process which, when done correctly, won’t cause your rhubarb any lasting harm. Here’s how to force rhubarb, with a quick look at some of the best early varieties to try.

In the meantime, browse our entire range of rhubarb crowns for traditional favourites and flavoursome new varieties.

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The T&M blog has a wealth of knowledgeable contributors. Find out more about them on our "Meet the experts" page.

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