Thursday 30 April 2020

GYO: Roll up, last few!

Slight slip-up yesterday, so apologies. I published the wrong Cosmos photograph. The plants pictured were Cosmos Sonata – a superior variety, of course – as you can see here. We still have a few available. Remember the gardeners’ odd number rule – plants look better in three’s and fives’s. But you can have singles if you prefer – but only whilst stocks last
I had planned to give you a bit more information about composting today, but time-pressure prevents that. I have just checked the heap – it is still running at 65 degrees Celsius. It is often said that amateurs – and I’m certainly that – cannot run hot heaps. Well, I run mine hot and get an excellent result from it. And I’m keen to share the knowledge I have but, I find, not everyone gets as excited as me about rotting stuff down. “There’s none so queer as folk” – especially garden-folk!

I hear the greenhouse calling, so must tear myself away and attend to the next round of potting on (and it is rather cool out there today). But first, a quick update. But for a few stragglers, we are now out of all the garden-ready perennials I had put aside for this project. It has been a process of learn-as-you-go so I was not expecting the most recent demand. This came in the shape of “Please make up a £5 box for me” – or £10 or £20 as per request. You’ll see this reflected at - look top right at “cash raised offline”. 

So, before we move into the next phase may I check if you need any of the following?
  • A few Turk’s Turban left – repeating myself, a really good idea to get children interested - you get such a spectacular result!
  • Staying with veg; we still have a few kale – both types – see Monday’s post
  • And broccoli – see the same post
  • We have some French Marigolds – reputed to keep greenfly at bay
  • Then there are the Cosmos Sonata – certainly worth trying

From regular reader: Sue C-D
When I checked the greenhouse before lunch I noticed that the young tomato plants were growing fast so they become the next priority. Lettuces are doing well, too. There will be more flowering plants, too – like dahlias, perhaps a few chrysanths – the list goes on. Thanks for stopping by – do call again at …

The Garden Codger Nursery

PS – a regular reader has spotted the lack of Clematis, so far. We make amends with a lovely shot of her own (and return to the subject at a later stage)

Wednesday 29 April 2020

GYO: Cosmos

Cosmos brings back a childhood memory. In fact, I think that seeing this flower was the first time I became aware of flowers as living entities. We did not have a garden, just a backyard. But my best friend was the baker’s son. They lived on the street corner and had a garden at the back of the bakery. Nothing grand – a few chickens and a small flower border at the foot outside stairs leading to the flour loft. And, there they were – a drift of dainty bright colours, floating over feathery foliage. We were given a packet of seeds – probably by Roger’s mother, Mrs Woolcott, who thought it might encourage this ragamuffin to take an interest. We carefully buried the seeds in an old disused sink under the apple tree. We covered them with what we called dirt – about six inches. A day later and nothing had happened, so we applied water which produced a grey-black soup. Over the following weeks my horticultural education seeped away, rather like the dilute mud through the plughole of the sink

The result of this sad but salutary experience? 70 years later, almost to the week I should think, I’m still surprised when my seeds germinate. And, excited, too! So, share my excitement and share my Cosmos. They are probably best planted in three’s or five’s – but I only have a dozen so be quick. A rather shorter blog today as there is much else to do. 

But I cannot resist sharing with you my temperature reading with you. Not mine, exactly, rather the compost heap – and, bear in mind, that reading is in Celsius not Fahrenheit. Good compost is the powerhouse of the garden. Want to know the secret? Tune in again tomorrow …

Hold on – another telephone order has just come in. So that will be another three or five Cosmos spoken for. And, whilst we are on hold, just look at the Azalea (photo right) brought on by the rain. We need both, don’t we? Not just the sun, but the rain, too

Best wishes from the old Garden Codger

Tuesday 28 April 2020

GYO - fun for the kids

I love to see children getting keen about growing.  So, here is an idea for you if you have children or grandchildren (you might even borrow the kids next door). To do what? Grow a Turk's Turban - a really bold, colourful squash plant. They are amazingly easy. Every year we grow a few for our Harvest Thanksgiving and they always look good. I'm told, too, that they are good for eating. At home, they last the whole winter as decorative additions to the conservatory - they look just great! To grow them, just choose a sunny spot but beware - they can grow like crazy. That's the fun of it for children - they get away fast and don't try the patience

We have five plants looking for good homes and they are ready to plant just as soon as you are ready. As we say, they are extremely easy to grow. Absolutely no expert knowledge is needed although, as always, further advice will come with the plants. More than one child? Great! Run a competition for the biggest, the most squashes, (one plant will produce many fruits) or most colourful - I think they look spectacular

Your choice today, folks. Why not go for both?
Broccoli too!
The photo shows not only the five squash (Turk's Turban on the right) but also, to the left, some ready-to-plant broccoli. So, here's another opportunity to get growing and stay healthy. This is not the supermarket type of broccoli - rather the more old-fashioned sprouting type. Broccoli is a long-term crop that gives you something to look forward to next year during the winter months. The plants are available under our LPNPL deal: (Lockdown-Plant-Now-Pay-Later) and full of natural goodness!

Rather than take space in this column, good advice there is available out there on the web. You can find a good video here

Garden Codger: recycle, reuse, reduce
Yes, you've noticed. The Garden Codger is keen on recycling - spot the ice-cream tubs and bottom half of milk containers in the photo? Plant pots aren't to be had for love or money at the moment so it's also a matter of needs-must. Look out for a blog post on this topic in a future edition - we might have some ideas you can use. Ironically, gardening can have an adverse environmental impact - but it can do great things, as well. And, it's good for you!

Happy reminder of harvest
And, finally ...
... a thank you to everyone who has made donations. In case you are new to this site, let me explain. Over the last year I have been growing plants for a charity garden sale which is run in the summer by good friends. With the national lockdown and the prospect of no sale I was wondering what I could do and hit upon the idea of supplying ready-grow-plants to anyone interested locally. In return I simply ask for a donation to be made to the charity we support - Birmingham City Mission. (Click here for details of BCM)

Giving can be done online by clicking here - or by putting cash in an envelope which I then bank (eventually) and transfer (immediately!) but with multiple veg plantings I am happy to supply on tick - hence the Lockdown Plant-Now-Pay-Later idea

Along with all this, I very much hope that these Garden Codger pages will encourage others to get involve in gardening and growing - there are definite health benefits, you know.  And by providing a creative outlet I hope that it will be of help to older folk, especially to the many who are beginning to find lockdown difficult and tedious.  But I also wish to provide families with growing ideas - things that actively involve their children, or grandchildren.  Why not run a Turk's Turban competition. Or, think long-term and try planting broccoli.  The choice is yours, there are many more options - see tomorrow's edition ...

With best wishes from the Garden Codger

Turk's Turban squash growing in a corner of Garden Codger's patch. There are great fun - scrambling all over the place

Monday 27 April 2020

GYO: Kale is King

Italian to the left - Red KX-1 to the right
Kale suddenly rose up the superfood charts a few years ago.  Deservedly so, as it is an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as being high in calcium and iron. Two varieties are available now from the Garden Codger – a red and a green.  The red variety sounds as though it appeared in Battlestar Galactica: KX-1. It is an attractive plant that you can easily mix in the flower border. The green variety sounds like an Italian opera: Cavolo Nero di Toscana. The two are totally different in appearance, both of these vegetables are well worth growing 

You could plant now and still be harvesting and eating next winter!

Cavolo Nero di Toscana
Plant now, pay later!
Now we are moving onto veg supplies please feel completely free to take them as they become available.  We will alert you, crop by crop, at the time they are ready for planting. Just keep a note of what you have and make a donation later in the season if that suits best – Garden Codger is very trusting, don’t you know?

Plenty more on the way - it is an excellent growing season
More veg plants– and more flowering plants
You can see from the photo that we have plenty coming on. Loads of lettuce, for example. And, again, it is so easy to slip in a lettuce into a flower border – true cottage-garden style. We have a quite few different varieties on offer – each good in their own way (watch this space). I am glad to say many people who have ordered plants from the Garden Codger Nursery are relatively new to gardening and have appreciated our advice in plant selection. For our part we have been taken aback by the generosity of the donations received. Click on the donation button here if you would like to see how things are going at the moment

Plants available: both rhubarb and strawberry
Strawberries and cream
We almost forgot! Did you notice that to the left of the kale are two strawberry plants? In flower, too! Just think you could be enjoying your own strawberries and cream in just a couple of weeks. They are an excellent Malling variety – we have only two so: first come, first served

By the way, we have just enjoyed absolutely delicious rhubarb and custard in the Garden Codger Nursery kitchen. The supply of both cream and custard remains an issue but we do have one – just one – rhubarb plant on offer.  And once again it’s a matter of first come, first served

Best wishes from the Garden Codger

PS - GYO = Grow-Your-Own

Sunday 26 April 2020

The Grace of Giving

I had a number of pleasing surprises yesterday, mostly concerning new requests for plants, but the best was to do with the rough quote - if you don’t sow, you won’t reap – with which I started Saturday’s blog.  I turned from the computer to have my daily Bible reading – a habit that I’ll explain some other time – to find these words jumping from the page: Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously. An interesting coincidence, some would say. One reaction was to look through my seed tin. I mentioned the other day that I had previously gone through all the old packets and sown the contents. However, that excluded those seeds that should be sown direct into the seedbed so that kept me busy for the next hour or so

Corinthian context
The quotation about generous sowing and reaping comes from the longest passage in the Bible devoted to this topic - two chapters, no less. They are found in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9. If you read carefully a couple of times you’ll begin to work out the context which was a collection being made in Asia Minor to relieve suffering back in Jerusalem. Two things struck me – first, a point of difference with today - and second, a point of similarity. 

Practicalities then
Think about Roman times and consider the practicalities of transporting a significant chunk of coinage from Corinth to Jerusalem. By sea, and there is the risk of it going to the bottom. By land, what about robbers and brigands? And this is hard earned cash voluntarily given at some sacrifice. (the web tells me the road distance Corinth/Jerusalem comes in at just under 2000 miles – but that’s on modern roads today, of course). Read the two short chapters carefully, and you will find clues as to the precautions taken by the Apostle Paul, so they were acting responsibly and accountably to deliver the gift. No banks, online transfer and so forth

Enduring lesson
As I say, it is worth reading the passage carefully and thoughtfully. 
The whip is never cracked but there is definite encouragement to be generous but only as a result of the working of God’s grace, supremely experienced in Christ. 
Did you notice the reasoning in 8:8-9 – 
I am not commanding you … … For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich

Best wishes from, your friend, the Garden Codger

The quotations from the Bible can be checked here
Note that our chosen title The Grace of Giving comes at the end of 2 Cor 8:7

Relief for persecuted Christians today can investigated here

Saturday 25 April 2020

Sowing and Reaping

We quoted the Bible the other day: if you don’t sow, you won’t reap.  True enough, so it’s as well that the greenhouse is fully stocked – ready for the next phase in the life of Garden Codger’s Nursery. Yesterday (Friday) disappeared in a haze. We were unexpectedly busy and, as a result, almost the all of my garden-ready perennials went out or were allocated for delivery today. Keep an eye on the donations page (click here). It’s amazing to think that, in a few weeks, the entire stock of plants reserved for Angela and Keith’s annual charity sale have been gobbled up. I am very grateful for your enthusiastic support

The greenhouse
I must tell you the story of my greenhouse sometime. Without it we would not be able to do what we do. As you can see, everything is growing away marvellously. What fantastic weather we have been having! We are now gearing up for the next phase where fruit and veg will be the thing. However:

Flowers will not be forgotten …
There are a number of perennials left. I will let you know the range in a few days’ time when I’ve taken stock. Some of you have been attracted by the sight of Margaret’s irises (see top left - our friend, the robin, had been waiting and waiting). They are a lovely scented variety; irises do not usually have a scent - and such a delicate shade of blue. I am glad to say that they propagate well so a good number of plants should be available later. Garden Codger will also keep you informed about other flowering plants – dahlias, cosmos, geraniums and so forth. As they say, watch this space …

Fruit and veg
I said I would let you know about tomato varieties. You may be aware of supply problems caused by the sudden imposition of the lockdown, the closure of garden centres and online supplies getting completely clogged (delivery delays of 15 days being quoted by many companies). I already had some seed, so I reckon we have 150 tomato plants at different stages – hopefully enough to meet demand. The mainstay will be Money Maker and Harzfeuer, the latter being standard issue at Lidl – that’s how I discovered them. I find them suitable for both the greenhouse and outside. Both Money Maker and Harzfeuer are cordon varieties. Probably of greater interest will be bush tomatoes which I intend supply already potted up - so you do not have to plant out. An instant feed-and-grow option producing lovely sweet cherry tomatoes – true PYO!

So, there is much to do. And a garden to look after – I have not yet mentioned beans, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, melons – the list goes on and on! So, look out for the next blog early next week

So, all for now from the Garden Codger

... and even the garden proper to look after - sometimes!

Thursday 23 April 2020

Your delivery, Madam?

We live and learn. Nearly all of our “sales” so far have been the result of advice provided by us and based on a knowledge of the “customer’s” requirements. The Garden Codger will continue to report what plants are available, but we would like to stress that advice is also on offer. Just let us know your requirements and we will do our best to help – even delivering to the door wherever possible

Sowing and reaping
As it tells us in the Bible: if you don’t sow, you won’t reap.  We have now done six weeks of lockdown (we started a week early). Trying to think ahead I rummaged through every seed packet in the shed and sowed every seed I came across in the greenhouse. The result? A lot of seedlings! And, I am pleased to say, lots and lots of tomato seedlings. Most people like tomatoes and, hopefully, this will be the year you try growing your own.  It is not difficult. You do not need much space. In fact, you do not even need a garden. A porch or a balcony will do the trick – proved it gets sun for a good part of the day. There are two ways to grow tomatoes. The best way for a novice is to start with a potted bush tomato. Looking at that first:

Bush tomatoes
As the name suggests, the bush tomato grows in a bush shape and does not require any pruning. You just let it grow! Place the pot in a sunny spot and keep it watered. After flowering, tiny green tomatoes will form in trusses. At this stage you start feeding – a couple of times a week. Buy liquid feed, dilute, and apply. You can obtain tomato feed at most supermarkets. Unless you are growing on an industrial scale, one bottle is enough for the season. I find the Wilko version cheap and does the job fine. 
[Tip: although the directions will focus on tomatoes you can use this feed on almost anything you want to grow]

Cordon (or vine) tomatoes
These require more work – and probably give more interest, too. By pinching out the side shoots the aim is to produce a single stem that grows up and up – as much as a couple of metres. The technique of pinching-out can be learned by looking at videos on the internet. By the way, I recommend those produced by Charles Dowding, see:

Although cordon tomatoes are normally grown in a greenhouse, most summers are warm enough to get good, but later, results growing outside. In or out, the long stem, or vine, needs strong support. Again, YouTube abounds with information. Seasoned growers will want to know what varieties will be available from this quarter so look again tomorrow. I find that tomatoes growers have strong preferences!

Almost forgot to say: for amatuer growers, the fruit of cordon tomato plants tend to be bigger.  Usually, bush tomatoes are bred to produce bite-size, sweet fruit.  The cherry tomatoes that are much in favour

Long season variety - cropping April to October
Rhubarb and Custard
We have just picked and eaten our first rhubarb of the season. Although we can’t supply the custard, we have a couple of nice rhubarb plants potted up and ready to go at Garden Codger’s Nursery.  Get in touch in the usual way if you are interested. And, don’t forget, we’ll do our best to provide any other plants you need.  I've just had a request for a Rudbeckia and I thought they were all gone - but managed to find one.  So, it's worth asking. See the photo below

All for now from the Gardening Codger

PS - I have only just spotted a problem with the dating of these blogs.  I'm actually publishing on Friday 24th yet the date displayed is Thursday 23rd.  Need to sort that - another weekend gone!

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Questions I get asked

What gave you the idea?
Yesterday I told you about the solid work that Angela and Keith Webb have done to support BCM over the years. (That work goes way beyond the annual Plant (and Cake!) Sales – that’s a story for another time.) Last May I spotted an online special offer of plug plants. When they arrived I was surprised how tiny they were – miniature growth emerging from a pot the size of a thimble. I had to pot them on several times but, by the time of the sale, most of them were still too small to sell. At great sacrifice – space in my garden is at a premium – they went into a vegetable bed where they grew on and thrived. Come this Spring and suddenly the Government lockdown was announced – what would happen to the plants, so carefully nurtured over the winter? Well, Garden Codger discovered – the rest is history

How much should I give?
Most people have an idea how much plants cost whether it be at a supermarket, B&Q or at Ashwood’s. That gives a range that people are prepared to pay for a plant. I do not actually charge but there are expenses: pots cost, potting compost costs, seeds cost, fertiliser and so forth. So, I simply ask that a fair donation is made to BCM. Here is a worked example: a hanging basket. Take a look at this picture. You can see plants (£6.00), basket (£3.50), compost (£1.00 – yes, top professional grade), fertiliser (50p), moss (donated by front lawn), leaf mould (priceless – you literally cannot buy it anywhere!) and labour (obviously we would not think of charging).  So, I make that £11.00 at cost. I saw an online advert for a hanging basket this morning at£14.99 + P&P, so about right

Can I have the hanging basket?
Yes, first come – first served (online only for obvious reasons). So, go to - the person making the first donation gets the hanging basket.  Just mention the hanging basket in the ‘message of support’ box. Provided you live nearby you get free delivery. Really nearby and you get the wheelbarrow treatment! Farther away it's click & collect. (The plants are trailing Petunia Surfina, Forget-me-not Bi-colour and Aubretia - mixed colours)

Does Mrs Codger ever see you these days?
Certainly!  In fact, we had a lockdown nightout yesterday.  Where did we go?  In the garden, of course - for a very nice BBQ.  Just the job

That’s all folks. I’m heading for to see how far I’ve got to push the wheelbarrow

with best wishes from the Garden Codger

In case you are wondering, the hanging basket, in flower, should look something like the photo here - Petunia Surfina is usually prolific. Tomorrow, I need to answer questions about tomatoes.  There are several varieties coming on and I'm hoping that folk, even those who have never tried before, will have a go at growing their own this year

Tuesday 21 April 2020

BCM keeps going

Like everyone else, the workers at BCM are affected by the lockdown. But as you view this today (Wednesday 21 April) Wes Erpen together with a colleague will be at the Resource Centre so that food parcels are made available to those in need. This relief is possible because of pre-emptive action on the part of the Mission. Last December they put out an appeal for food items that could be banked. The response was good and because of this reserve food is now available at just the time it is needed. At this juncture donating food is not possible but making a but monetary donation is: see

Garden Codger has been pleased to hear from readers. Bobbie Schipper, a long-standing BCM volunteer, informed us about food relief above - thanks for that tip-off, Bobbie. Another reader (a former Sandwell colleague) reminded me I was giving plants away 20 years ago – something I had forgotten. I tend to think of myself as a more recent gardener, probably because a greenhouse is a fairly recent acquisition – a story in itself which I'll save for another day

Of course, you’re never too old to learn – nor too young to start. The great thing is: have a go.  Every gardener learns by doing. So, here are three border plants that are easy to grow. They flower at different times of the year – a useful feature. So, in order of flowering, they are:

Hellebore (Christmas Rose / Lenten Rose)
I find Hellebores both useful and easy although some authorities disagree. They need some shade and some organic matter dug in. Once established they self-seed and multiply (useful again). They start flowering around Christmas / New Year. Mine are still going strong in April. You usually get a range of shades from white to mauve. Nurseries like Ashwood’s will a supply range of colours, but these can come expensive. Mine aren’t – but I don’t have the costs of breeding them!

Aquilegia (Granny’s Nightcap)
Aquilegia are very tolerant plants and flower in the Spring – just coming into flower now, in fact. Like the hellebores they multiply easily on their own. If you get too many just yank then out – great for the compost heap. (More on that topic another time.) We have available both common and named varieties

Michaelmas Daisy
This traditional cottage garden plant does best in good soil in a sunny spot. In these conditions it will thrive and can be divided after flowering. A good reliable plant that will look after itself. Nothing more to add other than it flowers in the autumn. So, taken together, these three will help cover a long flowering period

If you are interested in obtaining any of the six plants covered so far (there were three on Monday) just drop me an email. To do this, simply go top-right and click on the ‘About me’ area. This will take you to the Garden Codger’s profile page. Look on the left and click ‘email’ and you’ll be away!

Tomorrow, we’ll be running a special offer – see you then …

Best wishes from the Garden Codger

People are more important than Plants!

A year ago, I bought some bargain plug plants with the idea of growing them on to sell in the charity plant sale run by Angela and Keith Webb. People tend to buy plants when they are in flower (garden centres know this!) and some of mine were not ready I so kept them back ready for this year’s sale which was planned for the end of May 2020. But then the coronavirus lockdown came along, so I had plants on my hands and was left wondering what to do

Garden Codger came to the rescue and this site was born and, along with it, the associated page. So, in fact this seemingly new project was actually inspired by Angela and Keith Webb's existing charity work. I feel an interview coming on!

: How long have you been doing your annual Plant Sale?

AW: It must be 13 years now. We started when we lived at Stone Cross in West Bromwich. You used to come along, didn’t you?

GC: Yes, I remember that you had two gardens – two! At that time, I was too busy to do much gardening, but I thought the idea of fund raising in this way an excellent one.  Do you know how much you have raised over the years?

KW: I tend to look after the money, so let me answer that one. Our first sale raised about £600, that soon rose to £1000 and a couple of times we have received as much as £1,600

CG: That is incredible - awesome! Which charities have befitted from these funds?

KW: All the money has gone to BCM except for two years when we split the proceeds between BCM and the Acorns children’s hospice where our daughter-in-law works

CG: Now we have the lockdown, what about this year?

AW: Well, we are just not sure how things will work out. We would like to do something, but it cannot be the usual sale in May or June. We are so glad that the Garden Codger has stepped in. 

As the economic effects of the lockdown continue to bite we wonder how charities like BCM will cope. Giving could well be impacted but we can, at least, try to do something ourselves. Obviously, an online approach lacks something of the social appeal of an actual event - those in the groupabove seem to be enjoying themselves (recognise anyone?)! That was probably the tea and cakes - served by Keith, of course. And just look at the spread below

So, as you dream about summer days, remember you still have the opportunity to grab a plant and grow something yourself - and benefit others at the same time.  More on plants - together with some ideas - tomorrow.  Same time - same place, here at

Best wishes from the Garden Codger

Monday 20 April 2020

Three Thank You’s and Three Plants

First, our thanks go to those good friends who have kindly made a donation to BCM.  Way beyond my original hopes – so a heartfelt Thank You. But along with that a message to our readers that we are very happy to take smaller donations.  It just happens that the first few had ordered weighty boxes of plants (literally!). I’m hoping some folk who have never tried growing will take, say, a single potted tomato plant and get pleasure from it.  More about that in due course

Second, we appreciate the many kind words of encouragement. We will try to reward that with some interesting pages during this period of lockdown – and, perhaps, even beyond

Third, a huge Thank You to my nephew, Robin, who rescued me from the depths of some technical problems last night. Hence, we have hit the road running this morning even if a few minutes late (growing plants is the easy bit, sorting the technology … )

Three plants
Thinking about it over the weekend, I have decided that drip-feed is this best here – so a bit about just three plants today and three more tomorrow:

Echinacea: also known as coneflowers
These are really great plants for the border. The flower has an attractive centre and the petals droop slightly giving the cone shape. Often in a purple, they are very good for encouraging bees and other pollinators

Rudbeckia: also known as coneflowers!
Confused? Well, so am I! If you have one from me we’ll check at flowering time to make sure my labelling has not gone wrong!  Rudbeckia are reliable doers and easily earn a place in the border.  Again, good for wildlife
Achillea millefolium - Wikipedia

Achillea: the common name is Yarrow
Somewhat under-rated, I think Achillea are well worth a try. The wild variety usually has white, or off-white, flowers. Mine are cultivated in a mix of lovely pastel shades

More to come!
Perhaps today’s three are not known to you. Well, we have plenty of old favourites, like lupins and hollyhocks, coming on. Right now, I am only featuring plants that are ready and waiting to be planted in your garden. Let me know your requirements and I will do my best to help you out

You may be wondering why I have plants available for others to plant, grow and enjoy. I’ll tell you the story tomorrow so don’t forget to tune in to!

Saturday 18 April 2020

Getting started

Thanks for dropping by – it's Garden Codger here – over time you’ll be welcome to have a look around my garden in Tipton in the heart of the Black Country - once I've sorted the technology, that is. Right now, I’d like to share an idea with you …

We all know that gardening is good for you. But I’ve been thinking about a way of spreading the benefit. Recently several friends have had a box of plants from me – now is an ideal time of year to get planting. No money has changed hands, but they would like to make a charitable donation. So, at a page has been set up to make this possible – see the link below. The chosen is charity Birmingham City Mission – a cause for which we have great respect. They do a great work and we have supported them for well over 50 years – yes, I’m not only Garden Codger but I’m an old codger (but that email and web address had already been taken!). So, here is an invitation. If you live local to us and would like some plants, perhaps we can help. All we ask is that, in return, you make a donation to BCM via the Garden Codger page on at:

Here are some ideas to think about:
  • 1.       Choose from the list of perennials (plants that come again each year) that I publish in these pages. The full illustrated list will go up on Monday (Sunday is a day off - all gardeners know there is a rhythm to the week) – a temporary short list can be seen below.  Alternatively ...
  • 2.       Let me know your requirements and I’ll make up a box to order.  Also ...
  • 3.       Why not try grow-your-own this year? We have lots of young tomato plants coming on. Not quite ready yet – just watch these pages as to availability. You can have them already potted up – just water and feed – you will never taste better!  And there will be other options, too – fancy growing a melon, for example?
Of, course, every penny will go direct to BCM. If online payment is not your thing, we will accept cash as well – but in an envelope clearly marked, please. Once lockdown requirements are relaxed the whole thing will become easier. So far, ‘customers’ (hardly the word) have collected from our front drive whilst out on a shopping trip. (And some, closer to hand, have experienced a real time wheelbarrow delivery as part of the once-a-day walk!)

Thanks for your attention. To follow up the options above, simply contact me at gardencodger by email. To beat the netbots the address is not spelled out– I just need to tell you that it is a Gmail account. Got it?

Your (old) friend, the Garden Codger

Short list of garden-ready perennials:
Lily (orange)
Hellebore (Christmas Rose – mixed colours)
Echinacea – several varieties – strong plants and good doers
Aquilegia – named variety – good grower
Oriental Poppy
… and loads more on the way – as I say, take another look on Monday