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What Gardeners Grow: 600 plants chosen by the world's greatest plantspeople (6) (Bloom)

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Pruning plants can seem like a daunting job, but if you learn how to do the job properly, you'll be rewarded with plants that look good, grow well, and they're likely to flower and fruit better, too. The key to successful pruning is to know when to prune, and follow guidance on how to make the cuts and shape the plant. We've got plenty of pruning step-by-step guides and videos to look though – here are some for starters:

10 Easy-to-Grow Vegetables for Beginners | BBC Gardeners

Julian and I both cherish childhood memories of this plant, especially of its sensational orangey and heart-warming smell in early summer. The first to flower is usually Philadelphus coronarius, a native of southeast Europe with abundant, creamy, star-like flowers and a scent that can catch you by surprise metres away. Philadelphus used to be a staple of all British cottage and country gardens, but big round shrubs have become less popular since the fashion for grasses and perennial plantings came in. Nevertheless, we always include them in our designs because they give body, form and, in this case as in that of many others, scent to a garden. The leaves are not distinguished – except perhaps those of golden P. coronarius ‘Aureas’ – which makes for a small, intensely fresh green shrub that does well in part shade. Most varieties are hardy, except those from the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, and there are also some evergreen ones, such as P. karwinskyanus, though we have never obtained or grown it. If space is at a premium, consider dwarf selections and bush forms. Many seed companies now sell 'patio' vegetables, which are suitable for even the smallest garden. Sunflowers are such a special plant. No one can look at a sunflower without smiling. They are beautiful and come in a ton of different sizes, colours and varieties. They can be 12cm tall to several metres tall, and each flower can be 3cm to 60cm in diameter. Hundreds of thousands are planted in Fukushima, Japan to pull radiation out of the ground. They feed you and they feed pollinators (bees, butterflies and so on). I plant them in my parkway garden year round to make people smile. They drive by, they walk by, and they can see them from the Metro train. When they drive by they slow down like they are in Disneyland. It’s my social experiment.Watch our videos for help and advice on growing your own vegetables – including sowing techniques as well as individual profiles. Vegetables A-Z

Getting started with vegetables - help and advice on growing

They are typically a spring/summer flower, but in some places you can grow them year round. They do well in an open space. Sunflowers like full sun and will follow it, but can also grow in part shade. It’s best to keep them in moist soil, as they are not a deep-rooted plant. You might want to stake them early for support. It's easy to get carried away when looking through seed and plant catalogues, so make sure you grow only what you really like, keeping experiments to a minimum. Think about how much space you have: this will be the greatest limitation on what you can grow. Also think about how long things take to grow - cabbages, for instance, are slow to mature and take up precious space all season.What Gardeners Grow’, a new book published by Bloom, collects into one encyclopedic volume the most treasured plants (and the stories behind them) of more than 250 gardeners. Ahead of the book launch at the Museum on Tuesday 16 May, we’re sharing an exclusive extract from the book, in which garden designers Isabel and Julian Bannerman, and community activist Ron Finley share their chosen favourites: What I do is start the seeds in a 7cm-deep tray or dresser drawer. I put cardboard or newspaper at the bottom, mix soil and compost, add the seeds very close together, and cover with more soil. Once they start to sprout, I use a spoon to take them out and plant them where they will live. This is because sunflowers do not like to be moved once they get to a certain height.

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