Meet Phil

I’ve many years of gardening experience, in my own time at first, following in my Grandad's footsteps. Then 9 years working for various landscaping and arboculturalist companies before going self employed just over 5 years ago. Read more...

Happy Customers

Phil is a hard-working, skilled professional who always quotes competitively, turns up as agreed and carries out all work to exceptional standards. Read more...


Top Gardening Tips For The Winter

Flooded fields near East Lyng in Somerset pictured yesterday by Western Daily Press photographer Fran StothardBatheaston is looking very sodden! Needless to say our heartfelt sympathies are with anybody that has been affected by flooding. Water is so destructive!


If Manage My Garden can be of help or assistance don’t hesitate to contact us.

However when everywhere is looking so drab, closer inspection of gardens reveals how valuable evergreens are. The diversity of foliage and berry colour! Also fragrance can have a cheering affect.

Top Tips:

1.    Conifers look striking this time of year. Their variety of colour, texture and shape is immense. My current favourites are Pinus mugo, Juniperis scopulrum - sky rocket and compressa, thyja orientalis ‘aurea nana’. When choosing a conifer for your garden  please check their ultimate height and spread. Also be aware that slow growing is not the same as dwarf! (‘dwarf’ means under a meter height and spread). Also remember to use a reputable garden centre and where possible only buy UK sourced plants.

2.    Daphnes are budding this time of year. Daphne buolua can be tricky, but from December onwards flower with a divine fragrance! Winter flowering shrubs are important for bumble bees. They come out foraging, given windows of opportunity in the weather. Valuable nectar is what they seek. That is what such flowers provide. Daphne mezereuim is calcarious soil tolerant too.

3.    One of my top favourite shrubs is the Mahonia. Totally hardy and tolerant of the most extreme of conditions generally will flourish and without fail produce racemes of fragrant flowers from November onwards. Although ‘charity’ is tall it does not take up much space. Particularly fragrant too is Mahonia ‘japonica’.

4.    Still some remaining leaves to clear from lawns and paths? We can help!

5.    Now is your last chance to harvest horse radish, for making that delicious sauce! Don’t forget to replant some of the shooting growths for next season.

6.    Finally if you have put bulbs in the dark for forcing get them out now and start to give them some light. Do not over water them! That goes for all indoor plants particularly in these  low light conditions.


Ash Die Back disease - beware!

Déjà vu?

Currently in the news has been a threatening tree disease called ‘Ash Die Back’ (Chalara fraxinea) . Said disease apparently is set to be equally as damaging to our countryside as ‘Dutch Elm’ disease was.

In the 1960’s Dutch Elm disease, a fungal infection (Ophiostoma nova ulmi), destroyed all but a few of our native ‘English Elm’ (Almus procera). Ironically it was Dutch pathologists (hence the name sake) that identified and charted the complex transmission stages of this lethal disease. (Watson Crowood 2006).
How it arrived on our shores was via imported timber from North America.

Is this ringing any bells?

Surely you must ask yourself why was Elm imported into this country given that it 'was 'the noblest of our native trees and had been growing happily for thousands of years. Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) has a similar lineage. Ash in all its guises grows happily in our climate. Indeed I myself have weeded many a seedling/sapling out of a neglected border. Ash grows rapidly in the most hostile of conditions. Fraxinus pendula et al grow similarly.

Therefore I conclude there is really no earthly reason to IMPORT these plants! Sadly the REAL cost of cheap imported goods are not calculated. The only cost considered is the cash cost! The cash cost is cheap alone.
However can the cash alone price be put on our wildlife and countryside?

What ultimate price are we paying ?

The loss of the humble Ash tree will have a devastating effect. Can we AFFORD to lose anymore parts of our environmentally complex jigsaw called the British Isles? Is it not time to include other factors in commerce other than just cash?
Top tips

  • This time of year Ash Dieback can be identified as ‘blackened un shed leaves on the tree (do not confuse these with the keys/seeds that are also black). If you suspect an infection contact your local forestry commission (Forest Research Tree Health Diagnostic & Advisory Service T: 01420 23000, E:
  • When buying plants for your garden always use a reputable garden centre. Check source of plant if not clearly labelled. Locally or U.K sourced plants are cheaper all things considered.

A new member of the team!

I thank you all for helping my initial year of self employment so successful. So successful in fact that I've taken on help from an ex-colleague who has also brought another dimension to the business of 'Manage My Garden'.

I confess to being no Alan Titchmarsh but my friend Jackie has a lot more experience and knowledge of the ornamental garden and what plants are best suited to each situation.

It's very easy to look in a book or search the web but I find it difficult to retain such information, which I have used so infrequently in the past. So having my good friend on board has helped in giving customers immediate on-site advice about existing plants and what may be suitable to add in a given situation.

So if you have any difficult conundrums that you haven't found an answer to why not send a question to see if we can help?


Water, water everywhere?

Buying plants in EgyptBuying plants in Dahab, Egypt

A recent trip to Egypt has made me realise just how lucky we are to have plentiful water here in Britain. We may not think so after the start to the summer we've had, but taking the opportunity to harvest as much water as we can and using it wisely can help in attaining a very healthy looking garden.

As rainfall is a very rare and a blessing in many parts of Africa and the Middle East other techniques - and obviously plants - are used to keep a thriving and abundant garden. From many of gardens and public areas visited in Egypt it became quite clear that a mulch, whether it be of stone (inorganic) or dead vegetation (organic), was an essential component too the survival and healthy appearance of most vegetation.

I often use an organic mulch to finish a bed as it serves many uses. Not only does an organic mulch look nice but it also helps to suppress annual weeds and in the long term feeds the soil giving nutrition to plants growing. In a permaculture sense it is essential. We very rarely leave the house without some form of clothing, and in the same sense you very rarely see bare soil in nature. Any bare soil is quickly inhabited by weeds so covering it up reduces the problem while at the same time protecting and warming the soil for the plants we wish to flourish.


Dealing with those pesky weeds!

dandelion flowers

As many of you may have noticed, that wretched garden menace BIND WEED is well on its way to taking over the garden.

For those of you lucky enough not to have bind weed in the garden, it may be another equally persistent weed that rears its ugly head this time of year. It seems much of my time over the past few weeks has involved trying to bring weeds under control before they suffocate the desired plants.

Ground Elder seems just as persistent and even more invasive than bind weed and I personally don't feel the same satisfaction hunting Ground Elder as I do when teasing out long spaghetti like strings of convolvulus.

No matter what the invader, where earth is bare mother nature will find a suitable plant - Dandelion, Thistle, Couch grass, Bramble, the list goes on and on. Methods of control also depend on the individual, ranging from lots of hard work to a once or twice a year chemical control. For those that love to see the maximum range of wild life chemical control should not be an option, though it is very effective for driveways and patios when used responsibly.

I have found using cardboard and plenty of woodchip on veg or flower beds works well, keeping the unwanted plants at bay long enough for desirable plants to get established. No matter what we do the weeds will always come back, and after all, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. So what to some maybe a weed could be a blessing to others.