Actionable gardening advice for new and improving gardeners

Gardening step by step - Martin

I'm Martin Cole and I'm an avid gardener who loves to talk and write about gardening.


I'm an Englishman and former BBC Gardener of the Year finalist. I'm also an International gardener, as I currently live in Australia.


But gardening principles are the same everywhere and I want to share my gardening enthusiasm and know-how with everybody who has been bitten by the gardening bug and wants to know more.


Gardening Step by Step is aimed at new and improving gardeners and is designed to bring you clear actionable step by step gardening advice and tips.


Whether you are looking for gardening tips relating to growing vegetables, fruit or ornamental plants, you'll find what you need here.


Weed control resources

woman weeding

What are weeds?

In part 2 of this weed control series, I try to answer the simple, but not entirely straightforward, question – what exactly are weeds? You will often hear gardeners say that weeds are plants growing in the wrong place and, although something of a cliche, this is probably the best working definition there is. Weeds […]

Weeds: removing crabgrass

Weeds of North America

Here you will find a comprehensive list of weed identification resources for the USA and Canada. Given the vast size of the continent and the tendency of weeds to be a local issue, the weeds of North America are many and varied. The books on weed identification tend to focus on broader areas. Some of […]

Choking weeds

Why get rid of weeds?

In the other posts in this weed control series, I’ve written about what weeds are and made the point that, fundamentally, weeds are like any other plant in the garden. So, if if that is right and weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place, why should we care? Is there any reason that […]

Weed control dandelion seeds

Weed control – is this the gardener’s toughest job?

It is said that gardening is all about the gardener’s efforts to control nature and controlling weeds must be one of the hardest tasks that the gardener has to do. Weeds can especially be a challenge when you are new to gardening because it’s not always easy to identify which plants are the weeds and […]

weeds thrive

How weeds thrive

In this post in this series on weed control, I cover not just how weeds survive, but how weeds thrive in the battleground of our gardens. Ultimately, I’ll look in detail at some of the ways we can prevent weeds from causing us problems and at how we can deal with problem weeds when they […]

More Posts from this Category

Perennial plants

narcissus: field of daffodils

How to Grow Narcissus: Daffodil Plant Notes

Narcissus spp. Common name : Daffodil Family : Amaryllidaceae A bulbous soft wooded perennial with around 50 species and countless cultivars, the Narcissus is the archetypal spring flower in cool climate gardens. With a sheath of mid-green strap shaped or cylindrical leaves, these plants are most notable for their distinctive flowers. These have 6 flattened […]

purple dahlia

How to grow dahlias

According to the late Christopher Lloyd, whose Great Dixter garden featured multiple dahlia cultivars, dahlias are best in in late summer, when they are valuable in: “stiffening a garden that might easily dissolve into an amorphous froth of Michaelemas daises, and when the mellow quality of autumn sunlight best suits their warm colours.” This is […]

Acer palmatum bloodgood

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’: Japanese Garden Star

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ Common name : Japanese Maple Family : Aceraceae Acer palmatums are tremendous garden plants, probably amongst the best loved of ornamental garden trees. Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, a round-headed, deciduous tree or shrub growing to 5m x 5m, is undoubtedly one of the best. Here it is pictured in a border in early […]

Acanthus mollis foliage

Acanthus mollis: For foliage and flowers, sun and shade

Acanthus mollis Common name : Oyster Plant, Bear’s Breeches Family : Acanthaceae Acanthus mollis is a plant I very often incorporate into my gardens. It is easy to grow, creates a good shape in the border and provides interest through both its foliage and its flowers. It is a clump forming, evergreen soft-wooded perennial with […]

Taking care of dahlias: purple cactus dahlia close up

Taking care of dahlias: the trick with deadheading

To my mind, one of the greatest strengths of dahlias, is that they can go on flowering from mid-summer right until the first frosts. Depending on where you live, that could mean that you can have dahlias in bloom for three, four or even five months. However, the most important word in that first sentence […]

How to grow bamboo: phyllostachys nigra

How to grow bamboo: growing conditions, planting, maintenance

Bamboo is undoubtedly one of my favourite plants. I almost always use it in gardens I create. Bamboo has striking presence. It can be used as a specimen plant – a star in the border, like this phyllostachys nigra – or as a wonderful screen. Learning how to grow bamboo is pretty straightforward. I’ll take […]