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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…

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,…

planting indoor hyacinth bulbs

marc hyacinth vid

AG news editor, Marc Rosenberg, shows how to plant hyacinths for indoor winter colour

Protecting tree ferns

Marc tree fern vid

Ag news editor, Marc Rosenberg, shows you how to protect tree ferns from the worst of the winter weather

How to grow the perfect Christmas roses

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Val Bourne has successfully grown Christmas roses for over a decade. She says the secret to growing perfect flowers is to plant them up into containers. Here’s how…
Start off by buying cheaper ‘tester’ Helleborus niger in smaller pots. If possible, buy them in flower, looking for rounded blooms and plenty of healthy foliage.
Pot them into slightly larger black plastic containers.…

Potting amaryllis

kris amaryllis video

Ag gardening editor, Kris Collins, shows how to pot up amaryllis bulbs for indoor winter colour

Winter grape pruning



Grapes vines need a hard prune in winter to encourage heavy cropping, but how you grow them will determine how you prune them, says AG garden writer, Michelle Wheeler
Rod and spur system:
For fence/wall/trellis trained vines and those grown under glass:

If in its first year, prune out two thirds of the trunk (the rod) and cut the side branches (spurs) to…

Winter hanging baskets

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Amateur Gardening video: AG garden writer, Michelle, shows you how to plant up a hanging basket for a winter display


Best flowering bulbs for January

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1. Eranthis hyemalis
The golden glow of this charming low-growing winter perennial is a heartwarming sight indeed. The winter aconite will thrive in any soil that is well-drained during the summer. They prefer dappled shade, reaching up to about 6ins (15cms) and growing so thickly that the vigorous leaves soon cover every piece…