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Cider making made simple at home

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Turning bumper crops of apples into homemade cider is easier than you might think.
Home brewer Nevin Stewart has discovered a speedy way to brew liquid gold:


As well cider apples, dessert or cooker varieties can be used; the best cider is made from a mixture of sweet and sour (a ratio of 4:1).
Roughly speaking, eight kilos of apples will make…

Shrubs in tubs

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By planting up pots and containers with deciduous and evergreen shrubs, you’ll create longer lasting displays that provide interest all year round. Andy McIndoe recommends five of the best
1 Pittosporum tenufolium ‘Variegatum’ – dense and bushy with waved, blue-green leaves edged with cream. Good in sun or shade. Evergreen.
2 Camellia ‘Jury’s Yellow’ – Pale outer petals and
gorgeous lemon-yellow central ruff. Use…

Make a pumpkin planter

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by Sally Charrett
Pumpkin planters are a fun way to celebrate the season, and they’re quick and easy to make. Use them to dress patios and doorways. Add halloween lanterns and battery-operated fairy lights to the arrangement for extra atmosphere at dusk.


A range of pumpkins large and small (buy from supermarkets, farmers’ markets and PYO farms). Pumpkin planters look great…

It’s all about the Monet, Monet, Monet…

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12 ways to make your garden as pretty as Claude Monet picture:
Let one or two flamboyant, large-flowered hybrids provide the backbone to the garden, and then choose three or four subtler varieties as the ‘supporting acts’. In a late spring border for example, this could be: bearded iris, oriental poppies and peonies together with dame’s rocket, forget-me-not,…

multi-stem tree planting

5 position tree

Add some style and structure to the garden this autumn with multi-stem trees, says AG gardening editor, Kris Collins
Multi-stem trees combine elements  of both trees and shrubs, bringing benefits that make them great garden choices.
Where dense shrubs might create an enclosed feel, or where bare tree trunks might bring a sparseness to planting areas, multi-stems can provide a sense of…

How to grow: Japanese anemones

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Japanese anemones make a beautiful addition to autumn borders but they can be invasive. Follow our top tips and grow them with confidence

Plant in late spring when the soil is moist and warm

Choose a site that’s in partial or light shade

Grow in soil that’s rich in organic matter and moist – but not wet

Water your new plants in well, but…

Standard fuchsias

b fuchsia standards

Train cuttings for low cost versions of these premium plants, says AG’s gardening editor Kris Collins

Cuttings and initial training:
1) Take a non-flowering tip with two or three leaf sets. Cut just below a pair of leaves, remove the lower leaf set and insert into compost. Place in a propagator or cover with polythene until rooted.
2) As the cuttings develop, start to remove…

Seed viability

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If you are sorting through old seed packets through the winter months use this handy table to decide whether seeds are worth keeping. For more info on seed viability, proper storage and testing seeds before the main sowing season, see Amateur Gardening 21 Jan 2012, available at news agents and other outlets from 17 Jan.
Veg and flower seeds and how…

Planting tulips in pots

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November is the ideal time to plant tulip bulbs, says AG gardening editor Kris Collins
While spring flowering bulbs have been available to buy since the end of August, tul;ips are best left until November for planting. This prevents problems with tulip fire disease, a soil-borne fungus that can develop in the lingering warmth of autumn. By planting closer to Christmas…

Treat yourself to some topiary

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With little in flower, add architectural interest with topiary this winter, says AG gardening editor Kris Collins
No matter what time of year, a well-tended topiary shape is guaranteed to catch your attention. Usually created using evergreen plants, these shapes take centre stage during the winter months, bringing structure and an element of fun when the majority of garden plants are…