It’s easy these days to hop onto the internet or open a trusted gardening book and find out how to solve all sorts of gardening problems. From black fly to aphids, apple picking to compost-making, or even finding out which tool to use for the job – the answers can usually be found at the click of a button or the turn of a page.

So when we asked our gardeners for their top gardening tips, we wanted them to share something a bit more personal; as professional gardeners, what secret tricks and closely-guarded methods did they have up their sleeves?

Edging, edging, edging

Karen Clay – “My first tip which is a really simple one but I find makes such a difference to any garden is to make time to dig round the edges of the beds.”

This is sometimes overlooked in gardens when there are so many other jobs to do, but it really sharpens up the shape of borders and makes blousy summer displays look defined, and winter beds look neat and tidy, ready for spring. It also deters grass roots from spreading into borders.

Penny Golding – “Edge a border before weeding it or you end up clearing debris twice over. Never leave it unedged though, or however good your weeding is, it will still look untidy.”

One of our gardeners, Vicky, had a really lovely and very personal tip for cutting edges to crisp perfection.

Vicky Adam – “My most treasured gardening tool is my grandmothers old bread knife. It is perfect for trimming slim cuts of turf and I regularly use it to maintain a neat and deep edge for borders; I much prefer it to the halfmoon spades.”

Blooming marvellous

Julia Taylor – “My tip would be a rose-based one. When dead heading, don’t clip just under the spent rose head, go down the stem to a couple of leaf joints and trim there, it will make for a stronger new growth/bloom.”

This is a great piece of advice, particularly with roses, because if you snip off just the flower head, you’re left with unsightly stalks and new growth will develop best from cuts above leaf joints.

Susan Bonnett – “My top tip would be if you grow flowers from bulbs, whether they are winter or summer flowering, take pictures of them when they are in flower. It will help you to remember where they are when you are planning your next bulb purchase and allow you to check what hue they were; its easy to forget how bright or soft the colours were. Also, make use of the wholesale bulb web sites, as they sell bulbs in small quantities (10 – 25) and offer a much wider choice than some garden centres.”

Be prepared

If you’re working in your own garden it’s always worth having the important tools for the job to hand – a cup of tea or coffee being a top priority, of course! If you’re out and about gardening for other people, then Caroline has the following advice.

Caroline Sherd – “Carry the essentials with you at all times; first aid box, litre bottles of water, (for you or the plants), watering can, plenty of gloves for all kinds of work, hat, waterproofs (!!) and a sharpener. Oh and your tools ‘au natural’.”

For more top tips for your garden this Autumn and beyond, see our monthly gardening jobs post here.