About Anglian Gardener

Anglian Gardener is run by Paul Ward.

Cambs Gardener / Anglian Gardener - This website started life as CambsGardener (Cambridgeshire Gardener) intended for the county of Cambridgeshire only, this being where I live. It was first published on the net in November 2000.

By April 2001 I realized that many of the site visitors were from outside of Cambridgeshire, so I took the step of making the site regional rather than county. This makes more sense in that it now addresses an area of the country with a fairly even climate (and loses a pretty naff name). So I'm not trying to give advice to people who live up mountains in Wales or Scotland or by the coast in Cornwall all of whom have very different climatic conditions, but I'm also not tying myself to the artificial boundaries of a man-made county.

About me - Paul Ward

Some time in the late 1960's my granddad decided that I should earn my sweetie money (living in Nottingham these were called "tuffees") by watering his tomato plants for him.

This was an introduction to the nitty gritty of gardening as he swore by the practice of steeping horse manure in the water that was used for aforementioned tomato plants.

Thus, the seed for CambsGardener / Anglian Gardener was sown. As well as my lack of fear of germs from the earth ("Aren't you going to wash your hands before you eat those sandwiches?" - "No I don't need to, I've already wiped them on my trousers"). Still I get less stomach upsets than anyone I know. Over the next 10 years I took over ever greater areas of my parents garden until I left for university.

Ten years later by the early 1990's I stopped wandering around, and stayed in one place long enough to begin to garden again. Working as teacher of "Environmental Science" I started a nursery in the school I worked in, run by pupils growing and selling hanging baskets / bedding of all kinds / bulbs / trees etc. all profits went partly to charity and partly to develop resources.

I then spent a year sweating in Mombasa, Kenya which being at sea-level on the equator allowed me to grow wonderful plants with 4 foot + long leaves from seedling to 6ft high in a few months. I trained a  Bougainvillea up to the top floor of the house until my neighbour told me how a poisonous snake had taken up residence in the Bougainvillea that grew over his balcony and dropped on his head one day when he opened the curtains. My Bougainvillea promptly came down. Mimosa pudica, the sensitive plant provided entertainment as it grew in great quantity outside the front door until I became bored with throwing soil on it and watching it "wilt".

Back again to UK and forwards to the late 90's, (much voluntary gardening and raising of plants in the meantime) when I began to arrange "garden make-overs" professionally. This was when I made contacts and built up my muscles in an attempt to look like a Kenyan gardener (imagine what you'd look like if you had to cut 1/4 acre of grass without a lawn-mower).

And so eventually CambsGardener / AnglianGardener bloomed after about 30 years. I now teach again and spend much of the time not doing so involved in staring at my computer screen or travelling the county photographing anything vaguely to do with gardening.

Webfundi - Fundi is a Swahili word meaning "craftsman", or "expert" I thought it would make a change from "webmaster". Anglian Gardener was nearly called "Ojwangas Garden" after some-one with the splendid moniker of Alfie Ojwanga who I came across while living in Kenya.

Feedback Received

Jambo sana Bwana Ward, just a quickie to thank you for an entertaining and informative rainy afternoon's surfing. What an excellent web site. Though much of the content does not apply to people who live up a mountain in Wales or Scotland or on a beach in Phuket I really enjoyed it and will be returning as I try to change from being an engineer to a gardener.
Best regards and kwa heri - Andy Watson

Thanks for the newsy and interesting news letter. PS I'm ex SA and haven't ever seen snow like this in SA. You can if you're in the right place (or wrong place - depending on whether you're a farmer or not).  Really quite novel to see snow actually falling in such large quantities.
Cecil Whitcomb

I found this site whilst looking for a particular plant, I have now book-marked it. I wish I had found it sooner. Well done!!
Michael Bave

Hello and a merry Christmas to you and your wife. I look forward to your article as it is so well written. Just wanted to say thank you. I moved house a year ago so now I know what the previous owners had planted in the garden. In the new year I intend to make some changes. Had a good crop with the tomatoes & cucumbers first time as well (lived in a flat before) made friends with all the neighbours by sharing them. Well happy new year and take care. Thanks again.
Best Regards Alan.

What a brilliant site. Many thanks for all your good ideas. I am searching for small trees to replace Holm Oaks that were planted along the front of our shared driveway (in front of two blocks of townhouses) and are now dying or growing too large. There are lots of ideas on your site - many lovely shrubs that I shall investigate further. So, thanks again. p.s. I also like to see correct spelling and grammar and hope I haven't made any mistakes now!
Diana Hetherington

I have to agree with everything good everyone has already said...great site! I'm a 'newbie' gardener and have just got a new garden. Large, nothing in it. Just soil! A few odd plants appearing from nowhere, and not a lot of expertise. So I read your monthly tasks and follow your advice and in a few years I will have a nice garden. I am really looking forward to it!

What a great find! I am looking for tips on laying a patio, and your site is just the business. I like the straight talking and the humour; just the kind of advice I need. Thank you.
Michelle Duffy

Many thanks for your email newsletter, very interesting indeed looking forward to your next edition. DavidHello Paul, I just wanted to say many thanks for the useful information I get in the newsletter every month. I'm new to gardening about a year ago and still need a lot of help so your newsletter is mine and my plants lifeline! So many thanks for all your advise and Happy New Year. Kind regards,
Kerri Bailey

Pruning: Deadhead only in autumn, leave pruning until spring so that the young buds can be protected. young plants can be pruned to promote bushy growth, but regrowth ability diminishes with age. Plants may or may not (tendency decreasing with age) grow again from old brown wood. Very large unruly pants are best replaced. Oh, thank you for this, I laughed out loud! A brilliant website, full of facts.

    Ah well we all make mistakes :o) Paul - webmaster

I found in your site exactly what I wanted to know about laying and fixing decking boards. It was most helpful. Thank you. P.S. I've added it to my favourites so that I can come back when I've forgotten what you said!
John Macnab (retired) Hastings.

Football has no hold over me so while my husband put himself in front of the television, I put myself in front of the computer to search for advice on decking - which I found in abundance - but having lived in Africa for 5 years, I recognized the word Fundi and quickly left the decking quest and discovered your fantastic site. I will have square eyes if I look at it for much longer! I do so want to be a better gardener and this can only come with knowledge. I will most definitely return.

I can't thank you enough for putting together and maintaining such a useful web site. I came across it a bit by chance while looking for tips on re-designing our new garden (we've just bought a house and the fairly small garden is *so* cluttered) and ended up avidly reading loads of pages from patching up a lawn, to fencing, to climbers, to,... etc etc. Although I have some notions about gardening, I am fairly novice, and your web pages are exactly what I needed: advice, handy tips, humour, and most of all straight and to the point ! I have now massively overshot my lunch break but it's so worth it, and I'll definitely be back ! Thanks again.

Hello Paul, Just a quick word of appreciation .I have recently discovered the Anglian gardener pages. Its great, useful and informative to use  - well done I also like the folk lore section. Best wishes, and many thanks

Brilliant Site! Just browsing through, but definitely warrants regular visits. My garden is a disgrace, so your site should hopefully provide all I need - advice and humour!

I love your site - practical, informative and humorous, without being prissy, patronising or pedantic. Marvelous stuff - keep up the good work! I will definitely be recommending you to the Web section of Gardener's World magazine.

I discovered you by accident a few months ago and have enjoyed every visit since then, I wish you a long and successful web presence.

Very good site for interest and information. Congratulations on providing a source of gardening info.

Paul. Thank you so much for your email and advice - it is much appreciated! I'll add the angliangardener to my favourites list.

Thanks v much Paul - for brilliant advice I couldn't find anywhere.

Dear Paul , Just wanted to say how appropriate the 'editorial' was this month. We garden to save our sanity in a world gone mad over the past few months! For me its about healing and a great restorative for the soul , Ms Greer's quote is so very true (A garden is the best alternative therapy - Germaine Greer).
Take care - seasonal good wishes. Michael

This is a really excellent site. Incredibly easy to navigate around and fantastically informative.

A good and informative website, something I feel will be an asset to present and future gardeners.

I am very impressed with your gardening site - have just spent several hours looking and was determined not to miss anything. Have taken copious notes as I am planning the planting of my front garden. Thank you.

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