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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

How To Turn Your Garden Into A Textured Haven

A beautiful garden is a must for every garden-enthusiast, but it doesn’t mean it always looks the part. Often, planting too many of the same things make it seem samey and dull as if it’s straight out of a magazine. You want your garden to stand out for all the right reasons, which is why it’s essential to add texture. With different materials, there is always a contrast that is pleasing on the eye.

The key is finding the right balance, and it’s not easy to do if you don’t know which elements are helpful. Here are four for your information in case you need inspiration.

Compartmentalise It

Usually, a garden is a big area full of grass and flowers. Well, this is when everything can merge into one and you don’t get the wow factor you want. The best option is to compartmentalise the garden into sections, such as a flower bed, lawn and vegetable patch. By doing this, you will automatically add new elements that weren’t there before. For example, a fruit and veg patch will need sectioning off with stones, while a flower bed will incorporate soil as well as plants.



Create Plant Textures

Not all plants and flowers are created equally. Some are fragile and beautiful, and others are rugged and robust. Together, they work in perfect harmony, which is why it’s vital to incorporate a few unique textures. You can start by checking out Hedgeplants Heijnen and their collection of hedges. A hedge never sounds sexy, but it’s an evergreen staple that won’t let you down when it comes to contrast. Once you have something as raw as a bush, it’s best to mix it up with flowers that have delicate leaves and petals. Also, don’t be afraid to play around with the sizes so that you have big, small and medium in one place.



Accessorise

It’s essential that your garden is as substantial as it is stylish, so you should accessorise at every opportunity. After all, some features are unavoidable, such as a bench or a table and chairs set. When you want to relax in the sun, you’ve got to have a place to sit back and unwind. Aside from furniture, consider investing in a barbeque. A modern BBQ is sleek and shiny and instantly acts as a focal point; plus, it’s a must for when you want to grill up a storm and invite friends over. Bird feeders work too, but The Spruce says to be careful of attracting nuisance pests.

Flag The Lawn

If all of the lawn is grass, it’s not going to be practical. Flags make it easier to walk around the garden, and they are another new texture. Sandblast them and give them a once over with a power washer and they’ll grab your attention right away. Decking is another smart move as it sections off the garden and uses wood. Dead trees are natural and will stand in stark contrast with the manmade, inorganic features.

What’s your favourite way to texturise your garden? 

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Secret To A Healthy Lawn

Not every garden has a lawn, but for every garden that does have one, it needs to be perfect. Taking care of a lawn is actually a little more involved than people tend to think, and for that reason it can be more difficult than you might assume to look after yours in a way which really works. If you want your garden to look great, you are going to need to make sure that the lawn is taken care of and, most of all, that it is as healthy as can be. Keeping your lawn healthy is something that you can easily do if you want to, and all it takes is a particular focus and awareness of what a lawn really needs. Let’s take a look at the secret to a healthy lawn.
Credit

Fertilization

Not many people remember to fertilize their lawn, or they might think that it is not something you need to do. But if you want your lawn to be truly healthy, then you are going to need to make sure that you are fertilizing your lawn regularly. Applying just a normal liquid fertilizer every few weeks during the growing months can do wonders to keep it growing healthily, but also to keep it looking as you want it. Good grass fertilizer specifically will help to keep it looking that lovely, rich green colour that is the true mark of healthy grass, so this is something that you are going to want to think about. Fertilization of your lawn really will make an enormous difference in the long run.

Mowing

It’s no surprise that lawn mowing is important for keeping your lawn short, but it is also vital if you want to keep it looking its healthiest too. When you regularly mow your lawn, it means that it is going to be able to keep those nutrients in and use them for what grass is left, which means that it is going to retain its colour and healthy shine much more readily. You will also find that it is just easier to look after a lawn which is kept short, compared to one which is a little more unruly. So that is something that you will really need to think about if you want to make sure that you are keeping your lawn as healthy as possible.



Aeration

If you have never looked into aerating a lawn before, it’s something you will probably want to take on board if you are serious about improving the quality of your lawn. With aeration, you create small holes in the lawn and the soil underneath it, through a process known as coring. Essentially, that’s just pushing small spikes into the grass. This allows oxygen to reach the roots and soil, and means that both fertilizer and water get to the roots much more effectively too. What this all means is much healthier grass in no time at all.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Four Common Gardening Myths Exposed



In many ways, gardening is like cooking. We tend to learn at the knees of our parents and from watching them work their magic throughout our formative years. When we’re young, pretty much everything we see our parents doing is fun and adventurous and we want to replicate and emulate them in the hope that it will make us more grown-up, too. And the great news is… Our childhood selves are right. By learning skills like cooking and gardening (and even driving) from our parents at a young age, we can gain vitally important skills that can benefit us later on in adult life like learning to grow delicious and healthy organic veggies.







However, in all three of these cases, we can also wind up picking up our parents’ bad habits, and believing wholesale in myths and misconceptions that they learned from their own parents. Perhaps it’s for this reason that many people believe the following gardening myths which we’re now going to bust wide open…



Putting gravel at the bottom of a plant pot helps drainage



This certainly seems like common sense. After all, we all know that an excess of water is statistically more likely to kill a plant than drought. Nonetheless, all this measure does is waste good gravel. And if you have great quality premium gravel like Kelkay Pebbles you want to have it on show, not buried under a pot of soil. Plant roots need air and water as well as the nutrients in soil. Adding gravel reduces nutrient availability and potentially keeps the root from getting access to the air and water that it needs, too.



Instead, try mixing in a little sand with the soil to facilitate better drainage.



Watering plants on a hot day burns the leaves



How many of you were reprimanded by your parents for this. Again, it seems to make perfect sense, but plants don;t get sunburn and a droplet of water is not a magnifying glass just waiting to saute the plant’s leaves.



That said, water is more likely to evaporate off the surface in hot weather which is why it’s better to hang fire until the sun has gone down before watering your plants.



Pruned branches need to be sealed to keep disease at bay



Nope! Many of us grew up believing that when branches are pruned, the exposed “flesh” of the plant needs to be treated with paint or nail varnish to keep diseases away. This is a waste of paint or nail varnish. Plants, like us, have their own methods of sealing up wounds and preventing infections from seeping in to the exposed flesh.



Adding sand to heavy clay soil makes it easier to dig



Please don’t. If anything, you’ll make your soil harder to dig and form a consistency almost like concrete. Save yourself a lot of backache and calluses by turning a little compost, sphagnum moss, manure, or even old grass cuttings into your heavy clay soil. These organic additives will be far more effective in loosening the soil.



Forget these garden myths and you’ll have a beautiful garden without wasting your time, effort… or nail varnish!

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Is It Possible For Kids To Find Gardening Enjoyable?



From playing football to sitting on a swing, young children love to spend time outside in their gardens. It’s an environment where they feel safe to run around and explore their surroundings. Their garden can also ignite their imagination which can only make their games even more enjoyable. But despite their love of spending time in the garden, many parents don’t consider gardening as an enjoyable kids activity. While some elements of gardening can be hazardous to small children, there are elements that they can still get involved in. So rather than presuming they won’t enjoy it, here are some gardening activities your kids are bound to adore.

Rake the leaves on your lawn

During the autumn and winter, give your kids the responsibility of raking the leaves off your lawn. This will not only help to keep your garden looking pristine, but can also teach your kids about the change in seasons. You can explain why the trees and plants die and what you can do to make them look even better next year. You could even use some of the leaves for kid’s art projects. You can find some fabulous ideas on https://uk.pinterest.com/. Small children may need some assistance with this activity, but try to let them do as much as they can by themselves. This can make them feel more mature and independent.
Create an edible garden

Another fantastic activity your kids will love is planting their own vegetable patch or fruit trees in your garden. They can take part in caring for the edible sections in your garden by watering the patch or trees regularly. Being able to eat the produce they have grown can be a wonderful reward for all their hard work. It can introduce them to healthy foods they may not have encountered before which can improve their diet considerably. Your kids will also love being able to get a snack from your garden rather than going to the store.

See http://www.chrisbowers.co.uk/ for more ideas on types of fruit trees your kids can plant and care for. Alternatively, visit your local gardening centre for vegetable seeds that require little maintenance.

Encourage them to get messy

It’s no secret that gardening can get messy. This is one of the main reasons why your children will enjoy it so much. Allowing your kids to get messy encourages them to explore and learn more about their environment. So let them help you pull up weeds and dig through the soil with their hands. You can even create games that involve soil from your garden such as building a mud castle. This can teach them more about your garden while also allowing them to unleash their creativity. But if you don’t want your kids to get too messy, take a look at the kids clothing on https://www.spottygreenfrog.co.uk/.

These activities can help make gardening fun and age appropriate for your children. It will be hard to keep them indoors when they find spending time in the garden so enjoyable and rewarding. So if someone asks you if your child enjoys gardening, you can confidently say yes.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Four Skills To Create The Perfect Cottage Life


The perfect cottage is a house that enhances your bond to nature. Not only does it bring you closer through its location – you’d be hard pressed to find a cottage in the middle of town – but also through its settings. Cottage owners have no other way than embracing their connection to nature to make the most of every day. That’s precisely why there is no cottage without a garden. As charming and traditional as cottages seem to be, they are also the pinnacle of a sustainable household. They encourage you to develop green habits and find independent solutions to common problems. Ultimately, if you’ve chosen a cosy cottage, you know that you’ve had to make sacrifices. Takeaway deliveries, home cinemas, and self-heating floors are the kind of luxuries you can’t have due to the structure and location of your home. As a result, you tend to cultivate an independent lifestyle that brings you closer to nature.



Can you start a fire?
Old fireplaces are tricky to find fore modern homeowners. However, cottages are more likely to be suited with either a fireplace or a wood burner. Lighting your fire adds an element of charm and romance to your household. But you need to know how to start a fire – using specialist blazers heat logs when you can’t get dry wood, for instance – and how to maintain it. In a small house, the fireplace can considerably cut down your heating costs in winter.

Can you grow your own veg?
Growing your own vegetables is a hobby nowadays. However, you have to remember that less than one-hundred years ago, being able to harvest your garden for food was the difference between starvation and survival, especially after the war where supplies were low. You may not be able to survive entirely from your veg bed, but you can maintain your supplies throughout a few months. Beginners choose to grow salad – which you can sow throughout the summer – and potatoes and peas, which are better suited for cold weather.

Can you make your own cleaning products?
When the next shop is several miles away, you need to find easy substitutes for every solution. Using the natural resources available in your kitchen, you can make your own cleaning products, which are safe to use around children and pets. Combining borax, soda crystal and a shaved bar soap, you can make your laundry detergent, entirely free of allergens and harmful chemicals. If you’re worried about varnish products, you can polish your old furniture, using essential lemon oil and a little water.

Can you recognise wild plants and mushrooms?
As you become more resourceful with your surroundings and more respectful of nature, you can learn to identify the goodness that grows freely around you. If you leave by a woodland area, you’re likely to find plenty of delicious mushrooms in the wild. Do make sure, however, to know how to tell the difference between the edible and the poisonous mushrooms. Similarly, native plants such as dandelion, elderberry, sheep sorrel and Creeping Charlie are not only nutritious, but they’re delicious too.

If you’re dreaming of a sweet little cottage in a rural area, you need to boost your skills as a resourceful nature-lover. Knowing how to start a fire, grow your vegetables, keep your house naturally clean and find edible wild plants can help to make your cottage dream come true.  



Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Easy to Grow Vegetables for Beginners


Growing your own plants and gardening isn’t as hard as it looks. In fact, there are plenty of things that you can do to make it easier on yourself, and when you start with the below you will soon see results in no time at all.

Salad Leaves

Crunchy leaves really do come in a huge range of flavours and textures. They are super easy to grow, and you can sow them throughout the summer months. They are ideal for making sandwiches with and they will continue growing as you harvest them.
 Assorted Vegetable Lot

Radish

Radish is ideal for spicing up your salad and the best thing about it is that it is super easy to grow. You don’t even need a lot of space either because they can grow in containers. You can sow them into the ground during the summer if you have a garden and they come in a huge range of colourful variations. If you have never tried growing your own radish before then now is most certainly the time for you to get started because it’s both easy and super rewarding.
 Selective Focus Photography of Vegetables in Basket



Potatoes

One fun crop to grow is potatoes. If you don’t have a lot of space then you can put them in potato bags that are partly filled with compost. When you start to see the green shoots appear, you can then cover it with a bit more compost. It’s important that you keep on repeating this until the entire bag is full. Of course, they will need a lot of watering but after 10 weeks, you will then be able to rummage out your own home-grown potatoes! When choosing a variety, try and make sure that you think about what you are planning on using them for. Some are better for roasting for example, and others are better for mash.

Peas

Peas are a trouble-free crop that are more than happy to grow in colder weather. You need to try and sow them into the ground and you can also enjoy the super sweet flavour that they have to offer. Put up some chicken wire in the garden to support them and before you know it, you’ll be amazed at how much they produce.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are ideal when grown in a greenhouse and they are super-fast growing too. If you have never grown tomatoes before then it helps to keep them in a place that has plenty of sunlight. If you need to pick up a greenhouse then Cultivar have plenty available. Of course, when you have chosen your greenhouse, you then need to make sure that you keep on trimming the tomatoes so that they stay healthy. When they are nice and red, pick them and throw them into a nice salad. This is the best way for you to enjoy them and they are really fresh too.

So growing vegetables doesn’t have to be hard and when you put the work in you will soon find that there are endless varieties for you to choose from. Gardening has never been more fun!

DG

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

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.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Sowing Seeds And Bulbs In The Spring


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Our favourite time of year is almost upon us and we are starting to prepare the outdoor space for all of the new life it is about to bloom during the spring and the summer. Spring is a wonderful time of year and if you have been sick of your boring garden for the last few months, now you will be able to finally see some colour emerging from the beds.

Spring is of course the ideal time for us to start planting many different seeds and bulbs, and this is why we are going to chat about how to do it today.

Sowing seeds indoors 
If you buy a few seed sachets you will notice that the date to plant them inside and outside are different. This is due to the fact that the house provides a less harsh environment for the plants as they develop and therefore it can be a good place to start your sowing process if you want to get going early this year. You can plant most seeds inside right now and flowers like marigolds are an ideal candidate for indoor sowing and growing. You can grab some fibre pot trays from your local garden centre and plant one seed into each pot, cover in water and leave in a sunny spot in the house. Once the seedlings are strong and roots begin to show through the fibre pot, it is time for you to plant them outside in your beds.

Sowing outdoors 
If you want to make a change to your garden for the spring there are lots of ways you can do it. You could paint your shed a new colour, grab some new chairs from Alice's Garden, or start growing your own fruit… but we are going to take a look at how to dig out your beds to sow new seeds. Digging out your old flowerbeds is a big job and it will take you a lot of time and effort to do. Make sure that you get rid of all bulbs and roots you can see which you don’t want to be in the space any longer. Once your bed is clear you can cover with some fresh compost for extra nutrients and sow a few seeds. Make sure to space seeds apart to allow for growing, and water them thoroughly to allow them to germinate. If you are looking for lots of colour, a wild cottage seed mix is a great choice here.

Sowing bulbs 
Bulbs and tubers can be a little harder than seeds because they usually need more space to grow and they can have very specific needs. If you were to grab a couple of begonia bulbs from your garden centre now you would need to find a spot in the sunlight for them to grow, and you would need to ensure each bulb had a space of at least 15 cm between them to allow them to grow. Once you do this you’ll need to water regularly and you may even need to stake the plant once it grow to a certain height as the flowers can be heavy. You can find instructions for all different plants on their packet or online.
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