One of the tasks I’ll be working on this weekend is to check the many ferns growing throughout the back garden.

I’ve probably got about 20, mostly in the ground, and now is a good time to carefully cut back tatty old fern fronds to make way for new ones that are starting to unfurl.

They always look quite incredible, if a bit alien, as they start to unfurl. You need to be very careful not to cut off any new growth by accident.

I inherited a wonderful ceramic container full of orange and red lilies from my Aunt Margaret, who died back in 2004. This is the time of year when I have to be extremely vigilant to check for lily beetles. Some might say they are pretty red bugs, but they wreak havoc with the leaves on the gorgeous flowers.

You really need to prevent them before any damage is done or the plants succumb to being stripped of foliage. Pick them off or with large infestations use a pesticide.

Mine have put on so much growth recently but flowers are still to emerge. Fortunately, so far, the leaves have remained complete. Let’s hope they stay that way.

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This weekend, Banks Farm in Boast Lane, Barcombe, will open the garden gate for the National Garden Scheme from 11am to 4pm. It is an interesting and tranquil nine-acre garden, set in rural countryside with extensive lawns and shrub beds.

Dogs on leads area allowed too which for me is always a real bonus. Home-made teas are served outside too and entry is £5 with children free. Full details can be found at

I have quite a large collection of fuchsias at Driftwood, some hardy and some tender. This week I have been pruning the hardy ones. When the new growth starts to appear you can very carefully cut back the dead stems above the buds. Alternatively, you can prune very hard back to the ground so all new growth will develop. The latter totally rejuvenates the plant and it will produce strong new growth through the summer.

At the top of the garden, in a small area in front of the studio, I have created a box courtyard.

The topiary balls and cones have fared well against box blight. I feared I had lost some earlier in the year but treated them and they seem to have stabilised and look OK again. They do need to be tidied up now to retain their shapes so they too have had a prune back this week. Once pruned they have been fed to encourage new growth.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at