Gardening through the Seasons with Margaret Finch

Margaret Finch, with her husband Tony, own Farley Hill Place Gardens. Historically part of a Georgian Manor House with a one and half acre walled garden that takes you back to when they grew food for ‘the big house’. Margaret is a renowned and respected gardener and the walled garden appears on Gardeners World, in Waitrose Adverts and she works with people such as Monty Don and Alan Titchmarsh. The gardens are open for visitors during more normal times and workshops are held there.

Farley Hill Place Gardens
Farley Hill Place Gardens
Farley Hill Place Gardens

Questions and Answers with Margaret Finch

If you have any gardening questions you would like answered, please e mail us at

  1. When is the best time to prune roses?

Rose Pruning – in the South of England March is a good Pruning time, in Scotland- April.Cut to the ground any Dead, Diseased and Damaged parts and  
cut out any crowded and crossing stems.

If H.Ts. Cut down to three to four buds above ground 
Leaving shorty study stems of about 6 inches.

Take out the above 3 D’s and 2C’s. Any old stems as flowering will be on last year’s growth. Fan out and tie in these new stems and reap the benefits of your hard work.

2. We seem to be having a problem with white fly on our hellebores?

Sorry to hear the problem I’ve not ever seen the white fly on Hellebores but understand 
the problem.
I would cut to the ground affected leaves as soon they need cutting down anyway.
Give a good mulch to help energies plant and keep moisture in the ground. You could use an insecticide if there are still white fly and do this after flowering again next year. 
Good luck would hate not to see them growing.

3. What is the best way to manage fruit trees?

Always a good idea to water in very hot weather and when planting any tree s, a plastic pipe planted with top just at soil level so the tree can be watered and reaches roots. Look in Garden Centres for winter insecticides to protect against any pests left from this year and sticky bands for Spring on the trunks to protect  against codling moth.

Young Apple trees can be tip pruned in the Summer to reduce leaf cover and promote fruit growth.

We prune old very old trees from January to February back to two buds. Don’t forget the 3D’s  remove Dead Damaged and Diseased Wood and 2C’s Prune out crossing and crowded branches.

Only prune Plums after flowering 
Only prune cherries  and pears lightly.

And I hope you have plenty of Fruit 


This Week’s Blog: Saving Seeds

As a Gardener there’s lots of Plants ,Bulbs and Seeds that I would like to spend my pennies on, but it’s money saving and very achieving to save some of my own seeds.
One of the best and reliable seeds to save and store are from the Bean family whether they are a recent variety or an old family favourite which makes saving your own so important to continue growing heritage varieties.
I let some of my Beans mature and completely dry on the vines before picking and finish ripening in the Greenhouse then shell the Beans, dry thoroughly until very hard and place in air tight jars or brown paper bags and label. One thing I have to get better at -as by next year’s sowing time however good your memory is lots of other things have happened and yes I can hear myself saying ‘ so there’s the label’
Immediate labelling is needed!!.
One of my fondest memories is planting Runner Bean seed with my Grandfather not only being introduced to Vegetable growing but now realise that as you get older the ground is most definitely farther away so there was obviously a cunning plan here with young help, but I still remember the lessons and the all-important trench that the Beans were planted on. So it’s time to think about digging your trench and filling it this Winter with grass cuttings, vegetable waste and other moisture retentive material.
 One very useful Bean that I’ve grown this year is the Barlotta Lingua Di Fuoco dual purpose Bean that can be used as a fresh green pod no need to string or  as a dried Bean has beautiful red striped pods when ripe and coloured seeds. Other successful seeds can be saved from Tomatoes, Peppers and Peas.

Enjoy your Garden and all the latest seed catalogues for next year’s planning, I’m now spending what I’ve successfully saved.

Margaret Finch

Last Weeks Blog:- British Seasons

The magic of our  British Seasons never fails to impress us as Gardeners with awesome colours and the little treasures that return as old friends every year.
I’ve just spotted the emerging stems of Nerine Lillies with their spear like stems that flower leaf less and have the most dainty spherical heads of waxy petaled Flowers. They can be pink, red and white and make long lasting cut Flowers. They enjoy a sunny location and well worth watering when in leaf to help flowering.  

Also making a great show at the moment are the Michaelmas daisy or Asters enjoying the late Autumn sun, attracting plenty of Bees and Butterflies to their open daisy like blooms giving a good splash of colour.

Shrubs are also showing a vibrant glow of Autumn colour, the Forsythia has taken on a brilliant burgundy hue before shedding its leaves for Winter .This is one of the most impressive times of year for Trees showing off their splendid colours and an interesting small Tree is the Sorbus a Mountain Ash, good for a small Garden with brilliant coloured foliage and berries Joseph Rock having yellow berries.
My favourite Autumn Tree the Liquidambar is showing off it’s best red, purple and gold leaves almost Maple shape.The intensity of colour is awesome and well worth admiring.
Our for ever changing Seasons keep our Gardens alive with such fantastic interest making our Gardening pure pleasure only to be enjoyed.

Happy Gardening!

Margaret Finch

Don’t Forget – you can as Margaret any gardening questions

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