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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Garden Layout For Laying Out – The Tricks Of The Trade

Summer is almost here and that means one thing: getting the garden in shape. Everyone wants to be able to sit outside in the sun and admire their work. Let’s face it – we like to brag and judge neighbouring gardens too. Of course, to get to this position all the features have to be on point. In short, the layout, something homeowners don’t take seriously, is vitally important to the style and practicality. As an amateur, structuring flower beds and vegetable patches so that work seamlessly sounds hard. And, it is because it takes skill and knowledge. Here, though, are the trade secrets that can bridge the gap.


Sketch A Design

How are your drawing skills? If the answer is good or so-so, start by heading out into the garden and jotting down a couple of sketches. Having an idea(s) on paper is the first step and makes it feel real. Remember that the majority of people are visual thinkers, so an image can instantly get the ball rolling. Begin by sketching the garden as it is now before moving onto the creative stage. That way, you can see what needs removing and what can stay. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, either.

Pin Ideas Together

Social media is huge, and it has a big part to play in landscaping. To design a layout, you need to be able to add features which are “must-have”, “want,” and “bonus.” Without inspiration, it can be hard to muster the imagination to revolutionise the area. For instance, Pinterest will have a variety of ideas regarding everything from water features to decking. Also, the site should lead you down the garden path, so to speak. Swing and Slide has patio door technology which is well worth considering, and their boards are available online. Think of it as a scouting mission.



Start Designing, Digitally

Once there is a plan and there are must-have features, it’s time to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Doing it manually is by no means a good idea, not until you know what it is going to look like. Therefore, it’s always wise to use design software to get an insight into the finished article. Garden Puzzle is an excellent tool as it encourages you to figure out the kinks and work through them, as the name suggests. Small Blue Printer is a handy resource as well.

Trial And Error

When the layout is in place and you’re happy, you can pat yourself on the back. It’s a job well done! Alternatively, you can constantly tweak and adapt the features until they are perfect. The way structures work is by using trial and error and learning from your mistakes. It may not look good, but you can address it, change it, and seek to understand what went wrong. Even when the garden feels right, don’t be afraid to add different pieces and try new things.

 
Hopefully, your garden layout will be perfect for laying out in the sun come summer.

 

Friday, 6 April 2018

Taking Bay Cuttings

An essential herb you should have available to you is bay (Laurus nobilis) it is an easily available plant to buy but if you want to grow your own heres how!
  1. Take a heel cutting, a fresh shoot or tip in early summer or in the autumn. Cut from a mature bay tree don't be tempted to take one from a young plant. The cutting should be about 8cm (3") long.

  2. Strip off the upper and lower leaves from the cutting.

  3. Dip the intended root end into a cutting rooting hormone powder. This will stimulate vigorous root growth.

  4. Put the cutting into a small pot filled with two-thirds coarse sand and one-third good quality multi-purpose compost.

  5. Put the container under a plastic bag hanging over wire or similar to keep it from touching or landing on the cutting. This creates a mini-greenhouse for the cutting.

  6. Be patient. It will take around 9 months for the cutting to root.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Japanese Cherry Blossom

At this time of the year Tokyo becomes pink with streets full of Cherry Blossoms.
 


Sunday, 1 April 2018

Creating the Perfect Relaxing Garden



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The garden can be the unrivalled champion of stress relief. If you’ve found yourself taking on a lot of stress due to work or home obligations recently, then it might be time to head out to the garden and craft yourself a relaxing haven. Here’s how!

The magic of gardening

As you may already know, physical activity is a great way of reducing stress. People often underestimate just how much of a workout thorough gardening can be sometimes! But it’s not just the physical exertion that triggers a decrease in stress.




There’s the increase in exposure to sunlight to think about, too. An influx of vitamin D, combined with fresh air, is always great for relaxation. Another thing about gardening is that it’s a creative process, which in itself relieves stress in a very effective way. That’s why a lot of people write and paint. Why not get double the effect by creating a beautiful garden then painting it?


Creating a space for you


People underestimate how stressful being at home can be. Because your home life isn’t always completely divorced from your professional life - and it certainly isn’t much of a break from obligations if you have a family! - simply being at home isn’t always as relaxing as people make it out to be.




That’s why having a private space away from home can be very beneficial. We’re not talking about something too far away from the house, of course - we’re talking about having somewhere right in your garden! Some may choose to construct an arbour or a small summerhouse, others may choose sheds or even a log cabin. Whatever you choose, these spaces can be great places to relax and concentrate.


Bring in the wildlife


Nature, in itself, can be a relaxing thing - and this effect is multiplied when you throw wildlife into the equation. The presence of animals can help someone de-stress very effectively. This is why a lot of people suggest that those who are depressed or stressed get themselves a cat or a dog!





You can encourage wildlife into your garden by getting a bird bath and bird feeder. After all, how good can a garden really be if it doesn’t attract beautiful birds? You can also encourage the presence of butterflies and bees by planting flowers. (Although the presence of bees doesn’t always relax people!)


Calming scents
It’s strange that there’s such a strong connection between stress and smell. But studies have shown again and again that there are certain scents out there that can really help us relax, as well as boost our mood. Thankfully, you can introduce many of these scents to your garden.

The first thing you may think of is lavender, which is widely used for its calming effects. Jasmine is something else you can grow in your garden with a scent that boosts moods. If you’re not in the mood to start growing plants, or you need something a little more immediate, then try mowing your lawn. You’ve probably experienced for yourself the mood-boosting and relaxing effects that the aroma of cut grass gives.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Super Clever Ways to Organise your Greenhouse


Having a greenhouse is a great way for you to grow the things you have always wanted and on top of this, you can really reap the rewards of your hard work as well. The main problem that a lot of people have when it comes to their greenhouse space is that they find it hard to keep everything neat. You may find that unruly plants are growing everywhere and you may also find that it is hard to keep the glass clean.

Zoning

When you own a greenhouse, you need to try and organise it into zones. This will help you to make the best use of the space and it will also help you to keep track of what you have planted as well. Try and have an area that is for potting, and an area that is for non-edible plants. Keep everything you need in one place as well or even in a storage area as this will cut down on the time you spend trying to find your tools.
 
 
Harvest Times

Some greenhouse stores also provide planters and even organisational trellises as well. When you do shop for these, you’ll find it very easy to keep everything looking great. One thing that you can do is organise everything into specific spaces. You may want to have everything in neat rows or you may want to organise things based on their harvest time or even by the amount that they need watering as well. The best way for you to keep your greenhouse organised is to try and get rid of as much clutter as you can. You need to be ruthless here and the more junk that you have, the easier it is for pests to hide as well.



Shelves

Shelving can provide you with a ton of new space and it also gives you the chance to take advantage of the higher levels of your greenhouse. It’s more than possible to find some freestanding shelves or you can even get wall-mounted shelves. These are ideal if you have lean-to greenhouse and it really is the best way for you to make the most out of the space that you have without having to invest in another greenhouse for the garden.

Rubbish

Taking care of your rubbish will really help you to keep your greenhouse tidy. This is often overlooked and you may not think that a few wooden planks are taking up that much room but they are probably shutting away valuable planting space. If you want to try and stop rubbish from piling up then try and have one bin for composting and also have one bin for general rubbish. When you do this, you can then keep track of everything you need and you can also deal with any old plants as well. You can then use the compost to try and help your new plants grow, and this system is ideal if you want to have as little waste as possible. You can even label the bins according to the waste that they are for, so you can recycle easier than ever.

 

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Gardening Trends

Gardening is something that many people enjoy as a hobby. It’s an opportunity to be creative, grow something from nothing, or just spend time in the great outdoors. A lot of people take real pride in their garden areas, and their hobby can go from strength to strength. However, some people can lose sight of their gardening purpose, so I thought I would share with you some of the gardening trends that could re-inspire that gardening spark inside of you hope. Re-igniting that hobby once more.

Colored structures are making a comeback

No longer do you have to hide your shed, storage areas or summer houses. Making them look like part of the garden. Now you can get inspired with color once more and enjoy making features out of your fences and garden structures. It used to be seen that these kinds of things were taking the design away from the garden itself, but it seems that more people are making these structures part of their overall garden design.

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Increase in houseplants and growing vegetables indoors

Sometimes it’s not possible to have a huge exterior outside space in your home, especially if you live in a small home with just a yard or even an apartment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of gardening through houseplants or even growing your own food. Thanks to things like hydroponics kits and tutorials advising on methods to successfully grow many things indoors. It means that now more people are feeling inspired by gardening and wanting to make more of their homes, even if it is a corner of their home.

Having a subtle garden design

While there is a huge trend to have colored structures, the complete opposite is happening to the actual garden itself. People are opting for a more subtle design finish in their exterior gardens. From softer blooms, to color coordinated flowerbeds. Gardens no longer have to be over the top for people to appreciate the hard work it goes into maintaining them.

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Making the outside area an experience to enjoy rather than a labor of love

Gardening is a hobby that all can enjoy, but a trend that has developed this year is to make the garden a place where you can enjoy the experience of being outside, rather that it just being a place that has become a labor of love. Consider adding entertaining areas on decking, or even install a hot tub that everyone can enjoy on a warm summers evening.

Adding lighting schemes to your garden

Many people want to ensure that you can experience the garden, even when the sun goes down. So more and more people are choosing lighting schemes in their garden. But rest assured, this isn't going to run up your electricity bill, many lighting schemes use solar power which is a cost-effective way to light up your garden at night. It might even encourage you to use your outside space at night, maybe for entertaining or dining on a decked area.

I hope this has inspired you to consider more gardening for the next year ahead.




Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Winter Onions


Following on from our post earlier this month about how to grow onions its worth reminding ourselves that there are actually quite a number of different varieties of onions from sets that can planted in your vegetable plot or allotment now. Sets are the simplest way to grow onions yourself much easier than from seed. They have the bonus that they can be harvested earlier on in the year as well.

Electric is a good red set, Radar a good yellow and Shakespeare is a highly reliable white.

You can also sow some spring onions now: White Lisbon Winter Hardy is a good one that we like to use. Check your local garden centre as quite a lot of them will have shallots available now for plantin. Jermor is already available in my local garden centre. These are good to be planted about now or though until just into the New Year.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Creating a Successful Allotment

For those who consider themselves to be at least a little green-fingered, the idea of starting an allotment might be a frequently recurring fantasy. And why not - having an allotment has many benefits to it. For a start, who doesn’t love the idea of producing their own produce year after year? This is a cheaper, much more fulfilling way of sourcing fruit and vegetables, and many agree that the taste is even better as a result. What’s more, an allotment affords you a wonderful opportunity to practice your gardening skills, and it is also likely that you will learn a great deal which will be beneficial in the future. But one of the hardest aspects of the whole process is in the beginning; starting an allotment has its own unique challenges which are quite a lot of effort to deal with. As with anything, it is remarkably easier if you break it down into smaller steps - so here are three steps towards starting your own allotment plot.


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Plot It Out


One of the quickest ways to ensure failure with your allotment is to fail to plan it out. This is vital, as there is so much that can go wrong if you fail to plan properly. With a decent plot laid out on paper, however, the whole process is going to be remarkably easier. You need to think about where you are going to have not just your plants, but anything else which might be necessary to. For example, have you included space for your compost? Is there room t walk between the beds, so that you don’t tread on your soil? All of this needs to be considered in your plotting, as it all makes a big difference to the final outcome. Allotment planning is a difficult art, but one which is vital to your success.


Rotation


When you are planning, it is vital to remember rotation. This means that you need to rotate where your different plants go from one year to the next. In the first year, you need to have your brassica in one patch, your root vegetables in another, your salads and leaves in another, and so on. Then, it is important that you rotate where these are the following year, as this ensures that the soil is kept in the best possible way. You need to remember this during planning, so as to make the most of the space you have.


Prepare The Soil

Now it is time to actually get down to work and get your hands dirty. Preparing the soil is one of the most important parts of the whole operation, as it ensures that your plants will actually grow and be as healthy as possible. The first thing to do here is to remove any weeds, ideally by their roots so they don’t grow back. Then you want to turn over the top layer of soil, add some compost and dig it down to whatever depth you need, depending on what you are planting. With well-prepared soil, you are now ready to actually begin your planting - arguably the most exciting stage of all.
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