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.

7 plants to brighten up your balcony this winter

Pink heathers growing in containers

Winter heathers add splashes of colour to containers over winter
Image: Shutterstock

What better way to brighten up the dark and gloomy months of winter than by planting a balcony full of colourful winter-flowering shrubs and bedding plants? 

Here are seven of our favourites, all of which are suitable for planting in patio pots and containers. Winter may be upon us but, with this little collection, your balcony will be a beacon of loveliness to brighten even the gloomiest of grey days.

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Amaryllis masterclass: best expert content

Red and white striped petals

Amaryllis ‘Dancing Queen’ has eye-catching ruffled double flowers
Image: Amaryllis ‘Dancing Queen’ from T&M

If you want to fill your winter home with bright tropical flowers, look no further than amaryllis. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best independent content to help you choose your amaryllis bulbs, plant up a gorgeous display and troubleshoot any problems. 

Inspired to grow your own? Take a look at our amaryllis bulbs and tubers to find flamboyant red, yellow and white blooms. Our pre-potted, twinkling amaryllis with lights also makes an extra-special gift.

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Growing rhubarb on a shady plot

Closeup of rhubarb stalks on wooden table

Rhubarb ‘Champagne’ is an early variety that is ideal for forcing
Image: Rhubarb ‘Champagne’ (Spring/Autumn Planting) from T&M

Having waited more than five years for an allotment, guest blogger Richard Mulcahy decided that a shady plot was better than none at all. But choosing what to grow is a bit more tricky when you don’t get unfettered access to the sun. 

Having decided to plant rhubarb crowns, here’s what he’s learnt about growing different varieties of this delicious crop in the darkest corner of his allotment.

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House plants masterclass: best expert content

Aloe vera next to Chinese money plant

House plants like Aloe vera brighten indoor spaces
Image: Aloe vera (House Plant) from T&M

Here’s everything you need to keep your house plants looking fresh. Whether you’re caring for lush tropical foliage or tending to a stylish bonsai, these independent bloggers have plenty of advice to share.

Looking to fill your home with an abundance of greenery? See our full range of house plants to find unusual orchids, carnivorous plants, succulents and much more.

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Cherry tree masterclass: best expert content

Wicker basket full of Morello cherries

There’s nothing better than a basket of fresh cherries
Image: Cherry ‘Morello’ from T&M

Here we’ve brought together experienced cherry growers to help you choose the best variety of cherry tree for your outdoor space. These Instagrammers, YouTubers and bloggers share their wisdom, growing tips, fruit protection ideas and even recipes to help you make the most of your crop.

Ready to order a cherry tree? Browse our online selection of stone fruit trees to find the perfect variety. Choose bare root whips for autumn and winter planting, or potted trees that are already in leaf if it’s spring or summer. Whether you have a small patio, regular garden or an entire orchard, we’ve got you covered.

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Colour in the cold: 5 wildflowers for winter gardens

Giant snowdrops against purple and yellow backgrounc

Giant snowdrops add interest to winter gardens
Image: Visions BV, Netherlands

Winter is often regarded as a time of quiet dormancy in the garden. But with warming winters, some wild flowers now come into bloom as early as December, a trend which is set to continue. Here are five native and naturalised wildflowers that provide colour and interest during the cooler months. 

For more inspiration, see our full range of bulbs, corms and tubers and enjoy a succession of cheerful flowers all year round.

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Spiced pumpkin soup with bacon

 

Pumpkin and bacon soup in open pumpkin

Spiced pumpkin soup with bacon

Rebecca Tute
If you're growing your own pumpkins this year and want to use them for more than just a spooky Halloween decoration, this delicious soup is perfect!
Rebecca from the T&M team says: "This is a really warming soup, perfect for a chilly day. We often add a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger for an added kick. For vegetarians, simply leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock. And for something a bit special, why not use the pumpkins themselves as the bowls? Just remove the tops and scoop out the flesh."
Course Main Course, Soup
Servings 4

Equipment

  • A pestle and mortar
  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 50 g butter
  • 900 g pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 small dried chillies (to taste)
  • 1 L stock (either vegetable or chicken)
  • 4 rashers smoked bacon (optional)
  • 100 ml single cream or Quark

Instructions
 

  • Start by peeling and roughly chopping the onion and slicing the garlic. Gently cook in the melted butter until soft.
  • Peel and chop the pumpkin, but keep the seeds to toast later as a healthy snack.
  • Add the pumpkin flesh to the onion and garlic. Cook until the pumpkin browns at the edges.
  • In a separate frying pan, toast the coriander and cumin seeds over a very low heat for about two minutes.
  • Grind the aromatic spices with a pestle and mortar. Keep the pan for later.
  • Add the spices and chopped chillies to the onion, garlic and pumpkin mix. Cook together for a minute and then add the stock.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft.
  • In the meantime, fry the bacon in the spice pan until it’s really crispy, then chop into small pieces and set aside.
  • Pour the soup into a food processor or use a hand blender to blitz until smooth.
  • Return the soup to a pan to warm through, stir through the cream, and add salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into large bowls (or the pre-prepared pumpkins), sprinkle over the crispy bacon, and serve with lightly toasted sourdough bread.

Notes

Find out how to grow your own pumpkins from seed through to harvest at our pumpkin and squash hub page.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Superb soup recipes

Hand ladling out soup from a pot into a bowl

Try out these delicious plot-to-bowl recipes
Image: Chainupong Hiporn

Homemade soup isn’t just good for the soul – it’s a healthy, wholesome and cost-effective meal that makes excellent use of homegrown veg. 

If you’re taking part in this week’s Big Soup Share, or you’re looking for new ideas to fill your family’s soup bowls and lunch flasks, check out some of our favourite bloggers’ recipes for inspiration…

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Rhubarb masterclass: best expert content

Red stems of rhubarb on a wooden table

Rhubarb stems are delicious in crumbles, jams and tarts
Image: Rhubarb ‘Fulton’s Strawberry Surprise’ (Spring/Autumn Planting) from T&M

Rhubarb is a delicious, perennial crop that’s easy to grow in gardens and allotments. Planted in autumn or spring, the brightly-coloured and tart-flavoured stems quickly grow to produce fantastic crumbles, jams and seasonal drinks! Here we’ve pulled together some of the best advice from independent bloggers, YouTubers and Instagram gardeners to help you plant, divide, force and harvest your crop for optimum results.

Ready to get planting? Browse our full range of rhubarb crowns and plants to find the best variety for your garden.

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Daffodils masterclass: best expert content

Group of narcissus in glass vase

Daffodils make delightful cut flowers in spring
Image: Narcissus ‘Value Mixed’ from T&M

If you want to pack your garden with bursts of spring colour, look no further than daffodils! These popular flowering spring bulbs offer a fabulous assortment of scent, double blooms and multi-headed stems. Here we’ve gathered the best online advice from top independent bloggers to help you choose and care for your daffodils.

When you’re ready to plant, take a look at our quality daffodil and narcissus bulbs and order online for quick delivery.

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Meet the experts

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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