Garden Survival Guides
When was the last time you inspected your garden fence for signs of rot and fungal decay?
Oh, you can’t tell me? Tut-tut, that just won’t do.
Unbeknownst to many, the greatest threat to any innocent run of garden fencing isn’t powerful, gale-force winds - extreme weather of this nature is so unlikely in this country - nor a swift, slat-splitting kick from a hooligan idly destroying every panel within a two-mile radius.
No, the true arch-nemesis of your fence panels and posts is far more banal. Slowly it creeps, until your entire fencing run is consumed, rendering it useless, and your pockets empty. Rot, is the most perilous hazard facing your fence panels and posts.
When you read ‘bedding’ and think of fitted sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers then perhaps you need to check out the haberdashery department. But if bedding conjures up images of containers stuffed with plants in a colour scheme reminiscent of an explosion in a paint factory, then read on.
The majority of plants are lovely, friendly additions to your garden. All fluffy, colourful and pretty. Even sweet smelling.
Others are laced with danger. A little bit of research into potential newcomers, and existing incumbents, may reveal a darker side lurking in your beds, borders and containers.
Wisteria is the doyenne of many cottage gardens, clothing walls, arbours and fences in long racemes of delightfully perfumed blooms. I, for one, admire and deligh
Need to know what to do in your garden but don't know where to start? We've looked at 4 key areas for gardening and provided 5 top tips for each to help you make a start on your garden. Our 4 key areas of focus are:
- Seasonal Gardening - we've covered tips for the whole year, not just the current season, so if you want to know more check out our gardening advice section
- Eco-Friendly Gardening - eco-friendly gardening is a huge part of making sure that you are doing your bit to help the environment while you enjoy your garden! Find out more about eco-friendly gardening here
- Growing Your Own - growing your own food is becoming more and more important, and popular! We look at some great ways to get started here but for
School children go back to their learning institutions resplendent in over-sized blazers and blister-inducing, shiny black shoes. Crows and ravens return noisily to nest uncomfortably close in neighbours' trees. Strictly Come Dancing revs up for its sprint to Christmas and.....there's plenty to be getting on with in the garden. There's lots of crops to pick, dahlias to cut, gladioli to stake against the breeze as thoughts turn to planting again. After all, the soil is warm, the soil is moist, the soil is ready. September is a marvelous month.
Gardening is a long game and planting bulbs now for superb display next spring is a must in September. Choose whatever you want but only go for sound, solid and disease-free bulbs and plant in well-drained soil and containers. Never let the soil or compost get waterlogged and your garden will be blooming marvelous next year.
Top tips for September
- Net over ponds to stop the first falling leaves clogging up
Whatever time of year it is, there’s always something to do in the garden. It’s great exercise for both mind and body – figuring out why something is thriving or barely surviving, and working out how something will come out in the future are hugely rewarding for any gardener. The interaction between gardener and the environment – and particularly how it changes from spring to winter – is what elevates gardening from outdoor decoration to an art form.
Step into spring
From March to May, when the days are lengthening and the earth is awakening, you’ll have crocuses, daffodils, and cherry blossom to brighten up your garden. Now is the time to clear up after winter and begin to imagine how your summer garden will look.
Getting things tidy again after winter is key. Get your lawn under control, deal with your early weeds and tidy up your perennials.
'We're all going on a summer holiday' – except your plants won't be and you need to get them sorted before you go away. Charm your green-fingered neighbours and make it easy for them – gather containers together, rig up watering systems and go away with a clear conscience. Or you can go all high-tech and water your plants from the warmth of your sun lounger using a Wi-Fi-connected watering system. Whatever you do, make sure you do something to avoid disappointment.
Houseplants are always trickier as you might not want someone, even a neighbour, trampling around your house. To make sure your plants stay well-looked after, gather together your houseplants into the kitchen in and next to the sink. Keep a damp towel in the sink to produce a humid atmosphere that will keep plants growing well a little longer than they would if you left them around the house. A bathroom is just as good but make sure to move plants from windowsills.
Preparing your plant
Reduce your carbon footprint, grow food without insecticides, reuse and recycle your own waste – there are many reasons for wanting to approach gardening in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. For every kilogram of fruit and vegetables that you grow and eat, you’ll use less energy and save two kilograms of carbon emissions.
Eco-friendly gardening is focused on using fewer pesticides, helping garden wildlife, reducing the amount of waste you create, minimising your use of tap water and using products that are sourced as locally as possible. Growing food organically is the start – with eco-friendly gardening methods and practices you will create a sustainable and environmentally responsible garden. But how? Check out our ultimate guide to eco-friendly gardening.
Planning an eco-friendly garden
Wildlife gardening is a way for gardeners to put out a welcome sign for all the birds and animals who rely on our green spaces to survive. With dozens of species coming under pressure through losing their natural habitats, it has become ever more important for Britain’s gardeners to offer some sort of safe haven for our native wildlife. The RSPB discovered recently that 60 percent of animal and plant species have declined over the past 50 years.
Wildlife like wildness, so the trimmed and manicured gardens with decking and paving have pushed them out. But this doesn’t mean turning your own garden into a scraggy patch of chaos – you don’t need to do a major overhaul of your garden to make it more appealing for wildlife. Many of the traditional features of gardens offer something for wildlife – think of sparrows drinking
June has been a scorcher! Will a little rain and lots of sun, the garden is going strong.
Soft, leafy growth should ensure the potatoes produce a great crop. Most are flowering now indicating that tubers are present (or coinciding with the beginnings of a crop) and now is key to a bumper harvest. Even if we do get rain, the canopy of leaves may well stop everything but the most persistent of downpours from reaching the soil. You will need to water either the soil around the plants or the sacks the plants are growing in. Seeds can still be sown with short rows of carrots guaranteed to produce something before autumn.
The same goes for salad onions and lettuce. Beetroot can be sown now. Soak seeds for a few hours before sowing and rinse the seeds prior to popping in the ground. This washes out germination inhibitors and increases your productivity. Each seed is usually a cluster of seeds so expect bunches of seedlings appearing. In other words, space them out so as not