Plant of the Month – Dogwoods

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Dogwoods (Cornus)

A great way to add colour to the garden through the winter months is to grow dogwood (cornus). These hardy shrubs are grown for their coloured stems that look great from November when the leaves drop, right the way through until spring. For best effect they should be planted in groups. There are several different types of dogwood with colourful stems that make excellent garden shrubs, including Cornus ‘Sibirica’ with its bright red stems, C. ‘Kesselringii’ which has a fark purple-black stems, C. ‘Flaviramea’ which is a lime green-yellow and C. ‘Midwinter Fire’ with yellow-orange-red stems. Easy to grow, dogwoods prefer a fertile soil that retains moisture. In fact, they are the ideal for growing in a damp part of the garden. For good colour each winter, the long stems should be hard pruned to almost ground level each spring, around mid-March. It looks drastic, but by cutting all the growth back, it encourages strong new shoots to grow over summer, which will be brightly coloured from November onwards.

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at or find him on Twitter!

Houseplant Survival Guide

Houseplant Survival Guide

Are your indoor plants looking sad? Here are some of our top tips to ensure they thrive all year around!



  • Keep the instructions
  • Under-watering if better than over-watering
  • Check your houseplants regularly for pests
  • Feed with suitable feed
  • Give them plenty of natural light


  • Avoid draughty spots
  • Never put a houseplant on a windowsill
  • Avoid placing houseplants close to radiators or open fires

We hope these tips help!

Paskett PR


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We would like to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! What a fantastic year we have had!

Here’s to a successful year of gardening!

Graham & the team

Paskett PR welcomes two new recruits

Paskett PR welcomes two new recruits


Puja Kotecha (left) and Sarah Bryan (right) joined Paskett PR in November


We are pleased to announce the appointment of two new employees.

To manage the influx of new business and existing clients, Paskett Public Relations, the UK’s leading specialist gardening and lifestyle PR agency, has hired social media expert Puja Kotecha as an account executive. With more than three year’s experience in retail, marketing and social media, Puja joined the team early in November.

Joining Puja to support clients – which include big brands such as BASF, Forest Garden and The Posh Shed Company – is former journalist and account executive Sarah Bryan. In addition to her newspaper experience, Sarah brings with her a background in technology and business PR as we as social media expertise.

Commenting on her new appointment, Puja said: “It’s been great getting involved with both new and existing clients and helping to achieve the best possible results. I’m really looking forward to utilising not only my writing skills but also my social media expertise to help assist the team in the strongest way I can.”

Sarah added: “I am thrilled to have joined the Paskett team at such an exciting time for the business. I have always had an interest in B2C communications as well as gardening so combining the two together is a perfect fit for me. I look forward to embarking on this new adventure.”

Graham Paskett, managing director of Paskett Public Relations, added: “I am pleased to welcome both Puja and Sarah to the Paskett team. Both ladies have great experience and enthusiasm which has shone through right from the onset. With some big plans and ideas for 2019, I look forward to working with the new team to bring it all to fruition.”

Paskett Public Relations specialises in gardening and lifestyle PR and social media support for many household brands.

Snow problem; vegetable patch preparation!

Snow problem; vegetable patch preparation!

The first snow forecast of winter resulted in an early gardening start as I had to remove the small gauge netting from the roof of my vegetable cage to prevent the frame collapsing under the weight of the white stuff.

Dawn on a very frosty morning in Staffordshire found me unclipping the netting from the sides and then rolling it back.  It is a very large cage and it took two of us almost an hour to remove the netting.   I keep it in the greenhouse over winter and the winter sprouts and other greens are protected from the pigeons and pheasant by a two-inch square net roof.

I was glad to see a heavy frost as my leek crop is being damaged by the unseasonal warm weather and they are still growing and splitting.  I hope the cold will help them recover.

Graham Paskett



One of my aims this week is to complete the planting of my almost complete collection of native British trees in my Staffordshire garden.

There are 32 native British trees of which I have 14 already growing in my garden.  In 2017 I bought from Hillier 12 of the missing 18 and decided to pot them on to grow to a larger size and plant out now.   The first three, the Goat Willow (Salix caprea). The Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) and the Bay Willow (Salix pentandra) have already been planted in a very damp area of the garden.

So, to mark National Tree Week, the other nine will be going in before Saturday.  They are:

  • Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
  • Rowan Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Downy Birch (Betula pubescens)
  • Aspen (Populus tremula)
  • Wild or Gean Sherry (Prunus avium)
  • White Willow (Salix alba)
  • Field Maple (Acer campestre)
  • Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
  • Hazel (Corylus avellane)

We have got enough space for them but the ground is still pretty dry and I don’t want to have to spend December watering them.  So I shall be doing my own version of the rain dance!

The six missing trees are the Small Leaved Lime, Wych Elm, Sessile Oak, Ash, Black Poplar and the Midland Hawthorne.  If anyone know where I can obtain any of these – do please let me know via email . It is terribly important to grow native British trees because they are an important genetic link to our history and the natural hosts to all wildlife and insects.

The challenge I am facing is trying to find labels that will identify these trees – including the ones already growing.  I really would like something with the Union Flag on it but, as yet, have failed to identify something that will last the life-time of the tree and be attractive.  It will also be interesting to find out whether the willows already planted actually help to dry out the land in which they now live.

Graham Paskett

Striking the Right Balance Between Work and Life

National Work Life Week takes place in October – an initiative created by Working Families that gives employers the chance to showcase how they provide work life balance for their staff.

How can we as individuals take responsibility for our own work life balance? Here are some tips that you can implement into your day-to-day routine…

1. Don’t be afraid to speak up if work demands and expectations are becoming too much. If you are overloaded with tasks, it is okay to let your boss and colleagues know so that they can pitch in and help. Staying silent will leave you feeling isolated and worried, and could cause problems for your employer further down the line.

2. Prioritise urgent deadlines and try allocating a set amount of time to tasks, focus on these tasks and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by emails or phone calls. Completing them in a structured way will give you a deserved sense of achievement when ticked off your list.

3. Take a proper lunch break. A recent survey by Eggland’s Best found that fewer than half of British workers leave their desk at lunch time, and the average lunch break is 30 minutes or less. It is important to step away from your desk, and the office if you can, to pause and refresh ready for the afternoon.

4. Exercise is a great way to destress, as well as giving you an endorphin kick. Make time for hobbies, too, as focussing on something that you are passionate about is stimulating to the brain and helps to ward of feelings of anxiety.

5. Put down devices before you climb into bed. Many office workers will spend hours every day using screens, then watch TV at home, then browse their phone or tablet before finally closing their eyes to sleep. Try putting down your device at least 15 minutes before you go to bed – scrolling through social feeds right up until you switch off the light will keep your brain active, making it more difficult to drift off to sleep. (Apple’s iOS 12 update includes a feature that tells you how much time you have spent on your apps!)

6. Leave work at work. It isn’t always possible, but try and leave work at the office when you are finished for the day. Of course, during particularly busy periods, it’s necessary to check your emails whilst your out of the office, but not at the expense of your health. If you do have to work from home, try and do it in a dedicated area of the home and keep it there, away from areas where you relax and rest.

You can also read our 10 tips for a productive workday here.

Another Year, Another Successful GLEE Show for our Clients

We’ve had a busy few days attending GLEE this week. Many of our clients had a presence there, so the preparation work had been well underway in the run-up to the show, organising editorial previews to give people a glimpse of what to expect this year, and arranging to meet journalists and bloggers at the show.

E.P. Barrus’ three key gardening brands, Wilkinson Sword, WOLF-Garten and Town & Country unveiled a staggering 150 new products at GLEE this year, including a number of great gifting opportunities and extensions to hugely popular lines to create more opportunities for retailers and stockists.

EP Barrus at Glee

All three brands could be found at one large stand, divided into clear sections – all the gardening tools and accessories you’ll need in one place.

Westland Horticulture also announced new innovative products to the market, including one of the most exciting breakthroughs in growing media for many years – New Horizon BIO3™ – a compost produced from three natural and sustainable ingredients that is indistinguishable in performance, appearance, smell and texture from 100% peat based products.

Westland at GLEE

Many of Westland’s leading brands, including Resolva, Unwins, Peckish and John Innes also announced new products, packaging and branding ahead of the 2019 season. Its new Deadfast Rodenticide range received ‘Best Garden Care’ New Product Award in the Chemicals, Fertilisers and Growing Media category.

Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse from Forest Garden

Our client Forest Garden partnered up with Thorndown Paints to display its extremely popular Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse painted in pastel Skylark Blue wood paint. ‘Grow your own’ continues to be a big trend, which was evident at this year’s show, but the emphasis continues to shift towards making gardening more accessible to those who do not have as much outside space as homeowners with large gardens or those with access to an allotment.

Our days were jam packed with appointments and catching up with journalists to show them around the stands. Now it’s back to the grindstone to follow up on all the enquiries to secure coverage and start raising awareness of all those new products!

For more information on any of the companies mentioned, please call the office on 01332 258335 or email

September Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Eucomis bicolor

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish


Eucomis bicolor

If you fancy something a little different to flower through early autumn, look out for eucomis. This is a group of bulbous perennials that originate from South Africa and are commonly known as pineapple flowers or pineapple lily. When in flower you can clearly see how they get their name.

Eucomis bicolor

Despite coming from a warmer climate, many types of eucomis are fairly tough and will grow perfectly well outside in the UK, either planted into a well-drained soil or in containers. Eucomis bicolor is a popular choice and very easy to grow. It produces long strap-shaped leaves during the summer and from the centre of the rosette flower spikes develop in later summer and continue right through September and beyond if you’re lucky!

The tiny maroon and white flowers are clustered up the stem and topped with foliage. In the winter the plant dies back to the bulb and lies dormant until late spring when it will start to grow again. Bulbs need planting around 20cm (8in) deep for protection and when established they form a clump that look great when in flower.

At this time of the year you can often buy eucomis in flower, especially if you visit one of the flower shows such as the Harrogate Autumn Show in mid-September.

Horticultural expert Martin Fish

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at or find him on Twitter!

Diary of an Allotmenteer

Back in June, after a long two year wait, I, along with three friends, became the proud custodian of an allotment. Based at St Anns Allotments in Nottingham, it is grade 2 listed, and part of the oldest and largest area of Victorian detached town gardens in the world, with the plots all still in their original 1830s layout. This give the plots a real charm and quirkiness, with many of them having their original brick buildings still in tact.

When we went to visit the site in order to choose our plot, all four of us instantly fell in love with Plot 80. It was massively overgrown, having been left unattended for a number of years, but had a ‘secret garden’ feel to it, and we could just about make out a couple of trees and a building through the brambles. So we signed up for it and a week later headed to the site for our initial recce.  Upon second viewing it was rather daunting! The weeds seemed higher, the brambles spikier, and the task much more overwhelming.

But, undeterred, we returned, tools in hand, and set about the mammoth jobs of cutting down weeds, slicing through brambles (stopping to eat copious blackberries along the way), pulling up carpet (?!), unearthing a house-worth of bricks, and discovering an entire, fully grown plum tree in the process.

Almost three months on we are now at the point where Plot 80 looks like an allotment, albeit a rather wild one. The next job is to start planning for the following year, and experimenting with different techniques and practices – the first thing to try is green manure. As we chart our progress through every visit, even at this early stage in our journey, it is amazing to see how far we have come, gaining a friend in a sociable robin along the way.


Follow the progess at Plot 80 on YouTube