About Helen Fowler

Born in Middlesbrough. Moved to live in rural North Yorkshire in late teens. Moved back to the town in my 30's to live near Stockton on Tees. Then after a divorce and a serious accident I moved back to rural North Yorkshire near Thirsk, where I live now. I am a passionate gardener, a keen amateur photograper, I love travel, music, anything artistic and I have a great love of nature and the natural world. I have gardened since my teens and I lived and worked on a farm for years. I have owned or have experience with most pets and domestic animals. I hope by sharing my own experiences and the personal knowledge I have gained over the years, to help and encourage others to gain the most from their gardening efforts.
Helen Fowler

Is It Spring Yet ?

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender April 2, 2014 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments
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This seems to be one of the most asked questions at the moment. We have had the Spring Equinox and the clocks went forward last weekend, but the cold weather is not behind us just yet! If your thinking of planting out anything that is not hardy, you will have to be prepared to protect them. We have a few nice days which make us think Spring has arrived, but be careful gardeners as I'm sure there will be a more than a few frosts to come. Off course a lot will depend on your location, I am up in North Yorkshire, just below the North York Moors. We are quite sheltered from winds coming from the North and East, but there is little to protect us from the South and West. We can get some ferocious South Westerly gales streaming down from the Pennines, and the winds can severely damage tend

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A Proper Summer!

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender July 27, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments
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Yes! A proper summer at last. This is the best summer since 2006! Although it was a long cold spring, with many plants suffering. My tomato plants looked quite sorry for themselves in April, but are wonderful now. I have been harvesting a small number of ripe Sungold toms over the last week and I have others on bush plants ready too. No other varieties ripe, but there are lots of nice trusses on my Gardeners Delight, Black Krim, Purple Ukrain and my grafted Orangina. I have a plant of Indigo Rose which is supposed to have purply blue skin. The unripe fruits already have a blue tinge. I cant wait for my tomatoes to ripen in all colours of the rainbow! Watch the temperatures in the greenhouse or poly tunnel. In the strong sun, temps can easily rocket to well over a 100 degrees, ventil

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Early June Garden.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender June 9, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , , Comment 1 Comment
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Hard to believe we are in June now. The good weather we have had over the last couple of weeks has really made a difference. Everything is growing so fast, I can hardly keep up with the potting up, tying in and pinching out! I have baby tomatoes set on some of the early plants, young peas and broad beans and flowers on my chilli's. My bush tomatoes were planted out in pots and tubs outside last week and are looking good with lots of flowers. The bed and borders are full and lush, with little spare space for any new plants, but as I have grown oriental poppies, helebores and himalayan cowslips from seed, I will have to find room somewhere! The soft fruit is looking great and there is a good set on the currants and blueberries. My garlic that was planted in October is gro

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Intercropping and Catch Cropping.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender May 16, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment 2 Comments
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If you are short of growing space or want to make the most of the space you have, there are a couple of growing practices that can help. These growing methods are commonly known as Intercropping and Catch Cropping. These ways of  growing are not new, but have been somewhat forgotten by many gardeners. With many new gardens being smaller and long waiting lists for allotment sites, Intercropping  and Catch Cropping, could be a way to maximise harvests in smaller spaces, even in tubs and containers. Intercropping. The Intercropping method is simply growing different vegetables together, one well know group planting with a long history is called 'The Three Sisters'.  The Native Americans grew maize or sweet corn in a block, when the corn was growing, climbing beans were then

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May Day or Beltane.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender May 1, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , , , Comment No Comments
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I cant believe that May is here already! Today is May Day or the pagan celebration of Beltane. Traditionally a May Queen was selected to honour the fertility of Mother Earth and the day was celebrated with much meriment including dancing round the May Pole. Well although there is no May blossom here or any dancing round any May Poles, I have been busy in the garden. Just a few weeks ago I was starting to feel a bit discouraged, looking around the garden thinking how awful everything looked. The lawn was pale and sparse, no sign of any buds or blossom on the fruit trees and the soil was cold and wet. Well, what a difference a few weeks of milder, sunny weather makes! The plants and trees in the garden have sprung into growth, the soil has dried and warmed up, even the lawn, which had

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It’s April and Like the Scouts ‘Be Prepared’

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender April 10, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , , Comment No Comments
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Well March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb, so I hope that means that the worst weather is over. The start of April has been brilliant, for me at least, and I am wondering, has spring really sprung? I do hope so. Last week on Gardeners World, Monty Don was saying to keep sowing indoors, but not to be in a hurry to sow outside. So like the scouts, I intend to 'be prepared'. I am sowing lots more seeds indoors and the hardier ones in my cold growhouse and greenhouse. I will keep sowing a succession of salads and peas over the next weeks in modules and carrots in containers. I am now sowing other veg including climbing and dwarf beans in pots so that I will be ready with well grown plants for planting out in May. I have lots of hardy and half hardy flower seedlings that ar

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The Mid March Garden.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender March 17, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , , , Comment No Comments
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The weather has been completely mad the last week or so. It started with warm sunny weather with spring like temperatures. Then came snow, then sun, then snow and so on... Saturday was damp but mild with the sun trying hard to get out. Woke this sunday morning to a very wet, partially flooded garden after heavy rain overnight. Now as I sit at the computer, it's snowing, heavily... and laying!! Never mind mad March hares, it's mad March weather!! Still there is lots of work to be done inside. I have seedlings to pot on... Tomato, lettuce, leek and flowers seedlings need to be moved into individual pots or modules, and if this weather continues, I will be starting lots more veg inside. I have started sweet peas in toilet tubes and they are growing well in the cold growhouse. As

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Wow it’s March!!

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I can hardly believe that March is here already! Mind you the last few days have been very spring like. I have seen a few very large bumble bees buzzing around. These will be females that have come out of hibernation, they will feed on early flowers, then look for somewhere to build nests, often old mouse holes. This got me motivated to create a new bee friendly bed out of my old rhubarb bed. The rhubarb grew so huge last year that it over grew the paths and made it difficult to pass. I had already decided to move the rhubarb so after it had died down last year, I planted a plum in the centre of the bed in October. I had chosen a half standard Burbanks Tangerine plum, this would allow for planting beneath it. I have been growing some plants that are very attractive to bees, lots of

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How Quickly the Weather Changes.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender February 20, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , Comment 1 Comment
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How quickly the weather can change from one day to the next. The last few days have been mild, sunny and positively spring like, I worked happily in the garden for a few hours on monday and tuesday, it really was like spring. Then bang! today is dull, cold and with a really raw wind. A few mild days and I was suckered in, I know it is only February and spring is a good month away, but for a few hours I really felt that spring was tantalisingly close. The Helebores also think that spring is just around the corner, their lovely red, pink and white blooms are blossoming by the day. Anyway the preparations for the 2013  garden season carry on. Lots more seeds in and out of the propagator, with more flowers going in now the toms and peppers are through. I have some perennial flower

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Snowdrops and Snow.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender February 13, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , , Comment No Comments
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Its very cold today, snow is coming and I can see from my window that the first light snowflakes are falling. Yet it is suprising what is growing in the frozen ground. While filling up the bird feeders, I had a quick walk round the garden. Snowdrops are starting to flower in ernest now, I have lots of the common snowdrop [ Galanthus nivalis ] and it's double form Flora Pleno. I also have some of the larger flowered snowdrops, Galanthus elwesii and the broad leaved Galanthus plicatus. I love my snowdrops but not as much as some. Such is the popularity of snowdrops that for some it borders on obsession. These folks are know as 'Galanthophiles' and spend much of their time searching for or breeding new varieties. With some of the rarer choice bulbs selling for more than £150 per bulb. I

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