In defence of a good bench or novelty seat in the garden

Thyme seat (S)
Thyme seat (S)

Martin Fish’s expert advice on fruit bushes, lawn feeding and watering trees and shrubs

I am a great believer that every garden should contain at least one bench strategically positioned so that you can sit and enjoy a favourite part of the garden.

In my garden I have a couple, but, unfortunately, never seem to have time to sit on them for more than a few minutes, but the plan is to one day! Garden seating comes in all shapes and sizes and it is important when choosing a seat to go for one that suits the style and design of the garden and one that is comfortable to sit in. There is absolutely no point having a garden seat that digs into your back every time you sit on it. Of course there are the novelty seats that are a feature in themselves and these can look very attractive in the garden, even if they are not the most comfortable. A seat that I made a few years ago in our last garden was a thyme seat and whenever we had visitors to the garden they always wanted to have a go at sitting on it. Basically I made a wooden box with a decorative back using pressure treated timber and to the base of the box I added brick rubble for drainage. The top foot (30cm) was filled with garden soil and planted with golden creeping thyme which formed the base of the seat. Once established the thyme created a cushion of dense, fragrant foliage that when sat on gave off a wonderful scent. The seat was made to add a bit of humour to the garden and was not at all comfortable to sit on, but it did provide a raised bed for growing low creeping plants and it always made me smile when people sat on it!

Readers Questions

Janice from Boroughbridge would like to buy some fruit bushes for a friend who only has a patio area and wants to know if they will grow in large pots.

Yes, lots of fruit can be grown successfully in large pots. The secret with growing any plant permanently in containers is to make sure it is well watered in dry weather and fed with a balanced fertiliser. I would also use a mixture of half and half John Innes and multipurpose compost to grow them in as this will provide a good growing medium for several years. As well as bushes, some fruits such as gooseberries, red and white currants can be grown as standards which also look decorative when grown on a patio. Other fruit bushes suitable for growing in pots include blueberries and blackcurrants. As well as fruit bushes, dwarf apples, pears, plums and cherries will all grow in containers as will figs and grape vines.

Jobs for the Week

Remove the side shoot on tomatoes every few days and feed the plants once a week with a high potash fertiliser to help the fruits develop.

Feed lawns with a summer fertiliser to encourage new growth and a thicker lawn. If weeds are a problem now is also a good time to apply a selective lawn weed killer.

Make sure that any spring planted trees, shrubs and perennials are growing properly and making new growth. In dry conditions they may struggle and will need watering until the roots are established.

If you have gardening question for Martin Fish please email him at and we’ll print a selection of questions and answers for readers to share. Or, write to Ackrill Media Group, 1 Car dale Park, Harrogate and we’ll pass on your question.