Gardening Mum

Local Mum and gardening professional Mary Burstow is blogging for us about all things gardening-related

Mary planting


Box Tree Caterpillar strikes again
I am increasingly seeing Box Trees in customers gardens, which have been infected with the box tree caterpillar.  This nasty little creature strips the plant of its leaves, killing it over a couple of years.  

Box tree caterpillar infected 1

The box moth, Cydalima perspectalis, is a recent alien import, whose natural home is East Asia. 

Adult moths, pure white with a brown margin all around the wings, hide on many different garden plants as well as in the box itself. Numerous generations will hatch and flourish across the season, so that chemical insecticide spraying is an expensive and ineffective method of control—as well as being potentially harmful to other creatures.

Box Tree caterpillar up close

If you catch it early, you can try and remove the caterpillars by hand, but that is incredibly time consuming

Sadly for most trees, the only treatment is removal of the half dead shrub and putting it straight into the Green Garden waste bin.

Box tree caterpillar infected


Planting tomatoes
There is nothing quite like the pleasure of picking your own, home grown tomatoes on a warm summers evening.  

I thought I would share my own top tips for getting a really good crop...

Mary planting tomatoes 1

I like to use my own home made compost, rather than buying compost bags.  I have compost bins at the bottom of my garden, made up of green garden waste and kitchen scraps.  By April the compost is beautifully rich, still full of egg shells and ready to be used.

Compost in the bin

I like to use large deep pots for my tomatoes, as it gives them a chance to put their roots down and get at the nutritious compost.  I generally put a thin layer of soil on top, just to smarten things up for appearances sake!

I like to keep my tomatoes near the house.  It makes it easier to water them in summer and they benefit from any heat the walls give off.

Tomatoes in pots

I try my best to be an organic gardener, but I have to be honest and say I draw the line at slugs and snails eating my young tomato plants.  Coffee grounds given away by cafes work well at deterring slugs, but as this is not possible right now, if you are a tea drinker like me, I am afraid it is slug pellet time.

Buying plants and compost
Trying to find somewhere which sells plants and compost is a bit of a challenge, for everybody right now, so I thought I would share the local family-run shops I have discovered as a professional gardener, which offer delivery or click and collect.

Please be aware that they are rather busy at the moment, so you may have to wait, before getting through.  If you have any more to add to the list, please let me know.

Planting a flower bed

Barnes Nurseries
46 Woodmansterne Lane,
Tel: 0208 647 8213
Barnes Nurseries on Facebook

51 Little Woodcote Estate, 
Woodmansterne Lane, 
Tel: 020 8647 5615
Flittons on Facebook

Crossways Nursery
Woodcote Road
Tel: 020 8645 0710
Crossways Nurserfy Facebook

Melbourne Nursery
43 Little Woodcote Estate
Tel: 020 8647 2368
Melbourne Nursery on Facebook

Mayfield Lavender Nursery 
139 Reigate Rd (near Driftbridge Audi Garage),
KT17 3DW
Tel: 07503 877707

Lavender plants for sale at their stand, also fruit and veg

Michaels Greengrocers
13 The Broadway,
Tel: 020 8642 6446

Michaels carry a limited range of bedding plants, as well as fruit and veg

Cheam Village Hardware
35 The Broadway,
Tel: 0208642 3195 

Cheam Village Hardware have a limited supply of gardening equipment, including compost.  

And finally a plea.  Most of the nurseries I have listed stock compost.  If possible, please ask for Farmyard compost, not Peat based compost.  Peat comes from bogs which soak up rain water. They therefore play an important role in reducing the risk of flooding and flood surges, which parts of the United Kingdom suffered from so badly over the winter.

About Mary
I am a professional gardener with over 25 years experience of gardening.  I like to garden organically and help the local wildlife, as much as I can.  I can be contacted on my Facebook Page @SuttonandCheamGardenMaintenance, by phone on 0787 555 4929 or by email

Mary River Thames Cropped
 About us        Advertise with us          Contact us         Site Map