Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

Garden Gifts for Dad

by Hannah Stephenson

Whether he's an armchair gardener or likes a glass of something cold while he's firing up the barbecue, there's a present out there for all fathers. Hannah Stephenson picks some gems...

As Father's Day looms, everything should be flourishing in the garden. But there are always some little extras gardening dads could use to help them in their outdoor work and play area. Whatever your budget, you should be able to find him something which will make his day.

If he's short of gardening shoes, check out the new pebbles design from BackDoorShoes, which are ideal for slipping on and off at the door, for gardening or nipping up to the shed, without ruining his regular shoes or trainers. They come in a range of designs up to size 13. (£20,

Gnomes may be naff, but there's a lot of them about, even if they're not allowed at the Chelsea Flower Show. The new Ninja Gnome, equipped with sword, should create some laughs, with a solar panel on the back which lights up his eyes. (£19.99,

If he's a wow with the barbecue, treat him to a Personalised BBQ Tools Set, equipped with tongs, spatula, fork and meat brush. Utensils are made from stainless steel with natural wooden handles, presented in a canvas zip bag with up to 10 characters to personalise the bag. (£34.95,

Vegetable gardeners with limited space may enjoy rich pickings from Suttons new 'Stacks of Flavour' personalised wooden crates, which can be added to as time goes on or just kept small enough to harvest lovely quick-growing salad leaves and microgreens throughout the season. Each crate is made with FSC sustainably sourced pine in 12mm thickness for extra strength. They have been given a three-year protective stain in a beautiful antique colour and have smooth contoured handles for easy lifting. They also come with an easy to fit durable liner. (From £20,

If Dad is fed up with tidying up muddy boots, garden games and other bits and pieces and can't house them in a garage, The Posh Shed Company's outdoor cupboard may be the solution. Available in two sizes, it fits snugly against any house or garden wall. The practically placed shelving, shoe holders and umbrella stands, keep items organised, dry and safe. Made from high quality FSC timber and treated in Sadolin classic timber protection,it is finished with a felt shingle roof. (From £490 inc delivery and installation,

Dads who are likely to be stuck in the office beyond Father's Day may like a little reminder on their desk of the great outdoors. With this in mind, award-winning design and manufacturer Bluw has created a Desktop Garden complete with propagation tray, drip tray, soil, seeds and full instructions, encased in a decorative mini garden fence, to give him a little green space on his desktop. (£14.25,

Does he need a set of new tools? If so, there's a great hand tool gift set from Joseph Bentley, featuring a hand trowel, transplanting trowel and hand fork. Blades are made from polished stainless steel, while the handles are oak, and the set is presented in a wooden seed box. (£24.99,

For the untidy or forgetful Dad, Burgon & Ball's Shed Tidy is a perfect gift, being both incredibly useful and extremely sturdy. Made from enamel, the caddy will keep his tools, rags, string and other bits and bobs safely stowed and ready to hand. (£18.95,

Digging out brambles and tackling hawthorns may no longer be a problem if you buy Dad a pair of hard-wearing leather Gold Leaf Tough Touch Gloves, handmade in a traditional Shropshire tannery. They offer terrific protection from thorns, nettles and brambles and are perfect for garden clearance work and pruning.(£24.95,

All that digging can be thirsty work for the busy gardener, so treat your dad to a beer or two on Father's Day - check out The Thirsty Gardener Gift Set from Dobbies, containing three different types of beer with novel labels in an easy-to-carry box. (£11.99, Dobbies garden centres)

And at the end of a hard day's gardening, your dad will want something which will effectively clean his hands quickly and easily. Go for the Dirty Hands Soap and Brush Set, an an exfoliating ground walnut kernel soap with olive fragrance and a wooden nail brush for those tough spots. (£7.99,

Best of the Bunch


This beautiful blousy bloom may be fairly shortlived but makes a statement in early summer in any garden, in colours ranging from deep red to baby pink, yellow and cream. Its huge flowers should be combined with plants that have many smaller flowers such as catmint or Alchemilla mollis. Peonies are easy to grow, although they do need shelter from the wind. They thrive where the early morning sunrays miss them, so that any buds that have been frosted overnight have a chance to thaw out slowly. Grow them in moisture-retentive, but well-drained and fertile soil with plenty of added organic matter. Plants will take a year or two to settle down. Good varieties include Paeonia officinalis 'Rubra Plena' and the cream-coloured 'Duchesse de Nemours'.

Good Enough to Eat

Stop grey mould on strawberries

Strawberry season is almost upon us - if grey mould hasn't invaded our crops. This fungal disease - Botrytis cinerea - enters the tiny fruit before the flower petals fall and remains dormant as the fruit develops, but when the weather becomes damp, it will infect the strawberries, producing pale brown rotting patches and a grey, fluffy mould. The only solution is to remove any dead or dying leaves and ruined fruit from the plant. To stop it, place strawberry mats or straw under the fruits to keep them dry and stop rain splashing from the ground.

  • Continue to tie in climbers to walls, trellis and supports
  • Sow chicory, growing roots that can be lifted and potted next winter to raise chicons
  • If you want huge rose blooms, remove any buds developing at the side of the main terminal bloom on each shoot
  • Prune large and overgrown Clematis Montana after flowering, cutting back hard to encourage new growth
  • Prune late-spring and early-summer-flowering shrubs like philadelphus, ceanothus, escallonia and weigela immediately after flowering
  • Thin apples by picking off damaged or diseased fruits
  • Pinch out the soft tips of broad bean plants to reduce the risk of attack by blackfly
  • Cut lawns at least once a week now the grass is growing vigorously
  • Top up water levels in the pond as they fall in hot weather

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph