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Nature-Spotting in Your Garden this Winter

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

Once the seasons change and colder weather settles in, you might realise just how much the landscape changes; including your very own garden. Moving on from the summer and autumn, your garden takes on a totally new look for the winter months. Complete with morning frost and crisp skies, you might notice some winter wildlife coming out to say hello. From animals to plants, winter can transform your garden into your very own wonderland. So, as you sit looking out at your garden from your warm, comfortable conservatory, look out for some exciting wildlife!

Winter can be tough for many animals, but keep your eye out and see if you can spot any this year.

Spotting nature in your garden

There are the highest number of birds present around this time of year. As well as the popular robin bird, often associated with Christmas, there are so many other birds to try and spot. Whether it be in your own garden or while you’re out and about, you might be surprised!

Drakes in particular are at their brightest during the winter, while you should also keep your eye out for migratory geese flying up above. You might also be able to spot some less common types of duck as they migrate too.

Other birds may be trickier to spot, but easier to hear. Tawny owls are at their loudest during December, while woodpeckers usually begin their drumming in January and February.

Look for tracks

If you are lucky enough to get any snow this year for a proper winter, you might be able to see the tracks made by certain wildlife roaming around. Deer, foxes and badgers are often elusive creatures but the snow can help you spot where they’ve been exploring!

If there isn’t any snow forecast, you might still have the opportunity. Areas of muddy landscape may also leave tracks of animals passing through. What’s more, there are fewer plants to obscure your view of wildlife.

Helping the wildlife

If you’ve started to notice wildlife appearing in your garden this winter, there are a few simple things you can do to turn your garden into a winter haven and help them along the way. Food can be scarce for many animals, in particular for birds, and many animals look for shelter through the cold weather.

If you have a bird feeder, consider providing food with a high fat content to help keep them warm. For example, you can put fat blocks in wire cages, or use bacon rind to feed any birds that land in your garden. Don’t forget nuts and fruit too; after all, birds need a balanced diet as well!

Other advice to follow during the winter is to be careful with your compost heap. This can be a warm place for frogs or other animals to hide away. If you are planning a bonfire any time soon, check it before lighting for any hedgehogs or other small animals!

You might want to provide nest boxes for birds too. Not only will this help them through the winter, it might also mean they come back again and again!

So, this year don’t neglect your garden in the winter months; create opportunities for animals to come and rest and eat, and spend your free time nature-spotting!

 

3 Key gardening tasks for early 2017

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

Sweet Peas – Additional colour for your garden

your very first gardening task for 2017 is to start some sweet pea seeds on your kitchen windowsill.  Sweet peas provide a great show of summer colour and an abundance of cut flowers for the house and they are so easy to grow. – the more flowers you cut the more flowers you will get.

The seeds are best sown early in the new year, take the seed and lightly scratch the seed on a rough brick wall or a nail file just enough to scuff the hard coat to allow water to enter the seed. Stand on some tissue paper on a kitchen plate and water, leave the seeds for 24 hours. They will start to germinate and can then be placed one or two seeds into a three inch pot with compost on a windowsill. Within a few weeks you will be on the way to creating some plants that can be planted out in the spring. Click Here

 

Fruit Tree care – lots of our views and clients have found that fruit trees have been infected with fungal and bacterial diseases. January is the time to start to deal with these problems by treating your fruit trees and bushes with a winter wash that will help to remove the overwintering spores and pests eggs on your fruit trees and bushes so they will start with a clean bill of health next season. For some advice email us a few pictures of your fruit trees and bushes and will will come back to you some advice. Click Here

 

Dahlia – once a very popular flower but now unfairly underrated. Such a brilliant flower for adding summer colour for the summer garden especially the new garden in its first year. Possibility underrated because of the need for staking and earwigs these issues are easy to solve by staking early to provide support so the plants grow through the stake supports and simply earwig traps or encouraging garden birds such as blue tits make short work of earwigs. Click Here

Gardening course for beginners in London

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

gardening-course

 

GardenAdvice one day gardening courses have been designed to provide people with an introduction to gardening and ongoing support by including into the course cost membership to our MyGardenTeam service for 12 months.

The courses are run over a day normally 9.30 to 5.30 at a number of venues around the UK or in a private garden which is the home gardening course where you can undertake the course on your own or  invite up to 12 of your friends to undertake the course in your own garden.

Currently the dates in London at Kew gardens are the 18th February, 11th March and 18th March more dates will be available shortly.

The courses are presented in three different formats which are

The beginners gardening course

The wildlife gardening course

The organic gardening course

The courses are tailored to the individual needs surrounding the questions and gardening projects the course members have. These requirements are determined by having a chat with the course tutor before the course begins.

Further course content details can be found by following this link

http://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/gardening-courses/index.html

All our courses come with a lunch or dinner, snacks and tea/coffee through the day. After the course each course member receives a copy of the course notes and answers to any questions asked on the day answered by the lecturing team.

One of the most useful elements of the course is the membership to our MyGardenTeam service for 12 months which provides you with a expert member of the GardenAdvice staff to help you plan, organise and undertake various gardening tasks and gardening projects within their own garden. In addition to this the MyGardenTeam  service offers a number of other benefits including visits to garden by our experts if required. Hers is a link to the MyGardenTeam service

http://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/my-garden-team/

The cost of the course is £125 per person, you can book a date or we can issue you with a gift certificate which can be used for any of our course dates and venues.

The Garden Isn’t The Only Thing That Needs Taking Care Of This Christmas.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

While the wind is blustering outside, us gardeners need to remember that we don’t just have a garden to look after! Its so important to look after the skin that we’re in! It is important after a hard session in the garden that you protect your hands from the cold and wet weather, by thoroughly washing and exfoliating your hands, and then using a nourishing cream to get rid of any cracks and dry skin you may have on your fingers.

 

If you’re feeling especially creative this Christmas, you could make your very own lotions with everyday household and garden items! Just follow our simple recipe for beautifully natural products which you can use on yourself, or give to friends and family for a personal touch…

Ingredients

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/8 cup shea butter
1/8 cup cocoa butter
1 Tbsp aloe vera juice
1 Tbsp liquid oil of choice (like sweet almond, jojoba, etc.)
5-10 drops essential oils

Method

1.  Heat the shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa butter over low heat until melted in a bain marie.

2.  Remove from heat.

3.  Add the aloe vera juice, liquid oil, and essential oils and stir to combine well.

4.  Store in container of your choice – Try using small, pretty ex-jam jars that you have lying around.

 

Or, if you are not feeling as brave, you could always go to http://www.essential-care.co.uk/ who have gone out of their way to make your life that little bit easier. They only use organic produce, so you know that you’re putting some of the goodness of the earth, back into your body.

Stuck for Unusual Christmas Presents?

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Green Fingered Friends?

Stuck for what to buy a loved one for Christmas? Does the keen, or indeed, reluctant gardener in your life have everything else? Then maybe MyGardenTeam is the answer.

MyGardenTeam is a personalised service giving you your very own Expert Gardener, who is on hand to answer any questions you might have by phone, email, and through garden visits throughout the year. They will provide you with a free garden design tailored to suit your requirements. We will also make you a personalised Calander, giving you updates online and through SMS on when and what you need to do to help create that beautiful garden in your mind.

Not only do we offer a personalised notification service; You are entitlted to join in our Free Plant Swap Community, where you and our other members can share plants, tips and tricks of the trade. We also offer Free Lawn Care for up to 75 square metres. This includes a fertilisation service, so that the grass doesn’t have to be greener on the other side!

The service brought to you by GardenAdvice.co.uk breathes life into advice, and helps to cultivate your skills, and helps you to grow as a Gardener all for just £79 a year.

www.gardenadvice.co.uk/my-garden-team

 

http://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/my-garden-team/gardening-gift-vouchers/

The Gardener In Your Life, And The Perfect Christmas Present.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Stuck for what to buy a loved one for Christmas? Does the keen, or indeed, the reluctant gardener in your life have everything else? Then maybe MyGardenTeam is the answer.

MyGardenTeam is a personalised service giving you your very own Expert Gardener, who is on hand to answer any questions you might have by phone, email, and through garden visits throughout the year. They will provide you with a free garden design tailored to suit your requirements. We will also make you a personalised Calendar, giving you updates online and through SMS on when and what you need to do to help create that beautiful garden in your mind.

Not only do we offer a personalised notification service; You are entitled to join in our Free Plant Swap Community, where you and our other members can share plants, tips and tricks of the trade. We also offer Free Lawn Care for up to 75 square metres. This includes a fertilisation service, so that the grass doesn’t have to be greener on the other side!

The service brought to you by GardenAdvice.co.uk breathes life into advice, and helps to cultivate your skills, and helps you to grow as a Gardener all for just £79 a year.

 

www.gardenadvice.co.uk/my-garden-team

Winter Decking Blues.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Its common to forget your decking during the winter, after all it plays such an important part of life during the summer when we can’t imagine life without it! But it is important to maintain it during the winter months, so that when the summer time swings around again, your decking is in tip top condition.

Getting rid of algae, moss and mildew is a simple task. All you need is a bucket of hot, soapy water,a good hard brush and some elbow grease, scrubbing away in small manageable sections. Ideally, get yourself a powerful jet wash and set the nozzle to the highest power to really get in between the planks and grooves! Leave it to dry, probably over night, and then apply a clear good quality sealant or decking varnish.