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Problems with squirrels and rabbits with your newly planted bulbs

November 15th, 2018 · No Comments

If you love your spring flowering bulbs but are plagued by rabbits and especially squirrels digging up your newly planted bulbs then one answer is to plant them with a wire mesh over and around them to form a barrier against the feeding rodents – its quite a lot of work but its the only sure way to protect your bulbs.

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Keeping your garden tidy after your bulbs have flowered

November 15th, 2018 · No Comments

If you are the kind of gardener that wishes to keep your garden extra tidy after your bulbs have finished flower one solution might be a bulb basket so the bulbs can be lifted once they have finish flowering moved to another location and allowed to die back naturally to create next seasons flowers. If the bulb is not allowed to die back naturally the bulb in most cases will not produce flowers next spring.
Bulb basket are very useful with the larger bulbs such as daffodils and tulips

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What to grow in your cold greenhouse in the winter

November 14th, 2018 · No Comments

What to grow in your cold greenhouse in the winter. Depending on the temperature the seeds might be a bit slow germinating and the cutting might take a bit longer to root than normal
All best sown in pots ideally inside a small propagator within your glasshouse with some horticultural fleece on standby for the very cold night in the dead of the winter.
If the weather produces a warm winter then fungal diseases are going to be your main problem so remove all the dead leaves from the plants and general area to stop fungal disease spreading.

Plants from Seed

Salad leaves I aim to sow at least one 12cm (5in) pot of salad leaves every week and get two or maybe three cuts per pot. Right now, the hardier oriental brassicas, green in the snow, komatsuna, mizuna and red mustard can be germinated indoors and will be ready, depending on the weather, in around six weeks.

Mangetout peas ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ stands low temperatures better than others. Sow four seeds to a 10cm (4in) pot. Pot on into 30cm (12in) pots when around 15cm (6in) tall and support with 1.2m (4ft) long twiggy sticks, or plant in soil beds.

Sweet peas I never get around to sowing in October, but I’ve often caught up by sowing in November, December or January/February. You’ll still get flowers weeks ahead of spring-sown plants.

Broad beans Sowing now produces young plants for early spring, planting either in beds (near the door so bees will find and pollinate them) or outdoors. Sow one seed to an 8cm (3in) pot. ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is reliable.

Early-pull carrots ‘Amsterdam Forcing’ and ‘Early Nantes’ do well from late-winter sowings in a 30cm (12in) pot. By spring you’ll have tender young roots to pull.

Plants from Cuttings

Pyrcantha – in late autumn easy to root in pots from stem cuttings and will over winter
Skimmia Japonica – in late autumn easy to root in pots from stem cuttings and will over winter

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One day gardening course from GardenAdvice a great Christmas present for the gardener in your life

November 14th, 2018 · No Comments

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Caring for Buxus Shaped Plants

October 18th, 2018 · No Comments

Buxus plants trained into shapes such as balls and cones, they do need a bit of special care. They can get a disease called box blight but this mainly seems to be on plants that are not cared for. The Box blight is a fungal disease that builds up on old foliage and starts to show itself as a black mould like substance on the stems.
So its best to feed you buxus with some liquid tomato feed from March to the end of October twice a month – liquid tomato feed is high in potash and creates a hard grow not easily infected by fungal diseases. Then shaking the plants to remove dry dead leaves is recommended as well as in the summer watering the heads with a jet of water to again remove any dead leaves and stop the build up of dead leaves inside the ball which supports fungal grow.
Finally with our Buxus balls or other shapes on dry days during the winter twice a year we reach inside the ball and apply a dressing of yellow sulphur here is a link
this helps stop the spread of any fungus – its worth testing a plant before you treat all the plants just to make sure you have no side effects i.e burning etc

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Creating A Mirco Clover Lawn

September 5th, 2018 · No Comments

Preparing a seed bed for a micro clover lawn

The best time for sowing a microclover lawn from seed is in the early autumn from September onwards.
The first task is to generally level the area and allow any weed
seeds to germinate and remove these weeds by hand or spray them off with
Roundup weed killer.
Next after a couple of weeks rake the area with a fine rake removing all the large stones and producing a fine tilth on the surface of the soil.
Sow the clover about half a handful per square metre and lighty rake the seed in. If the soil is dry you can also roll the area or use you feet to tread in the seed it. Iits important the seed makes good contact with the soil as this helps stop it drying out.
Once the seed is sown keep the area moist with watering as required for
14 days. As the clover germinates any weeds that show should be spot treated with
Roundup weed killer or removed by hand.
It the ground is stoney it can be rolled after about a month to push the stones back into the
ground once the clover start to germinate.
The first cut of the cloner can take place after about 8 weeks using a rotary mower on its highest setting.
With regards to feeding clover produces its own nitrate feed from the air using bacteria
in its roots. So normally a clover lawn does not need feeding. However if its slow establishing use half a handful of Growmore fertilizer per square metre.

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Flowers suitable for cut garden

September 5th, 2018 · No Comments

Allium ‘Purple Sensation” Dahlia
Tulipa ballerina
Tulipa triumph white
Ammi majus
Briza media
Ceanothus cynara Cosmos candy stripe Eschscholzia californica Hesperis matronalis Limonium latifolium Lunaria annua
Zinnia ‘Sprite Mix’
Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ Anemone coronaria
Coreopsis moonbeam Delphinium Faust
Delphinium Guardian
Dianthus barbatus ‘Green Trick’ Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’ Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ Gypsophilia paniculata Helianthus debilis ‘Vanilla Ice’ Knautia
Matthiola incana
Narcissus ‘Tete a tete’ Penstemon Garnet
Penstemon Garnet
Penstemon Sour grapes
Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Phlox paniculata Amethyst Scabiosa Blue Note
Verbena bonariensis

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Adding colour to woodland gardens

April 18th, 2018 · No Comments

If you are looking to create some colour in a woodland garden or border with a heavy tree canopy the GardenAdvice team have a few tips and tricks to keep help produce some colourful displays.
It’s worth focusing on spring colour when planning a woodland garden or shaded border as a number of plants have evolved to flower before the leaves on larger deciduous tree come out in the spring to form a dense canopy shading the ground.

A good place to start it to imagine that you are creating 4 levels of planting within the area with each level designed to create a different level of flowering.

The first layer could be made up of quite large shrubs such as –
azalea mollis
hamamelis x intermedia
magnolia stellata
In addition the second layer in less shady area could be made up of plants designed to provide autumn colour such as –
parrotia persica
euonymus alatus
Digitalis purpurea

The third layer under could be made up of plants that are able to grow and flower in shade in early spring such as –
skimmia japonica rubella
brunnera macrophylla
gaultheria procumbens

The fourth layer is the ground floor layer and as well as spring flowers it offers the opportunity to extend the flowering period slightly into summer and the autumn with the following plants
Crocus speciosus large autumn crocus
cyclamen hederifolium
pulsatilla vulgaris

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Protect your garden against deer and rabbits

March 30th, 2018 · No Comments

Rabbits, Deer And How To Stop Them Playing Havoc In The Garden

In the past, in my various gardening roles, I have been lucky enough not to experience too many problems with bunnies and bambies. But for those not familiar with these pests, deer and rabbits between them will eat virtually every garden plant. From the more obvious and juicy bedding plants and salad crops, to young shrubs and trees. So if you have just moved in to an area, or a new house and you want to have a garden what do you do?
One method, if deer are a major problem in your area, is that the entire garden needs to be fenced off with deer wire fencing 8 feet (3.75 meters). If it is rabbits, then you need rabbit wire about 3 feet high buried in to the soil at least 18 inches deep. The reason for all this ugly fencing is that deer can jump very high (even those cute little Munck Jack deer) and rabbits are prodigious diggers.

There are a variety of things that you could try to repel deer, from human hair, to loud banging noises, to suspended shiny CD discs. In my experience, however, none or these work, certainly not on any long term basis. What is more, they look even more unpleasant than the fencing.
Obviously not everyone wants their garden to look so fortified, especially if it is only a very small plot. So what do you do? Then solution, for deer at least, is to limit the plants you grow to those that are deer proof. These are plants that are known to be unattractive to deer, either because they taste, or smell unpleasant to them, or are spiky. You will also find it valuable to talk to gardeners in your area, or join your local garden club or society and ask them for advice. Below is an extensive selection of Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees and Vines / Ground Cover plants which are known to be deer proof. Let me know about your deer and rabbit experiences, send me an EMail percy@gardenadvice.co.uk.
* Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold)
* Campanula medium (Canterbury Bells)
* Impatients wallerana (Busy Lizzie)
* Lupinus (Lupin)
* Moluccella laevis (Bells Of Ireland)
* Myosotis sylvatica (Forget Me Not)
* Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppy)
* Papaver rhoeas (Flanders or Shirley Poppy)
* Ricinus communis (Castor Oil or Bean Plant)
* Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)
* Vinca Rosea (Madagascar Periwinkle)
* Zinnia
Perennials / Bulbs
* Aconitium (Monkshood)
* Agapanthus (Nile Lily)
* Agave
* Aloe
* Amaryllis belladonna (Hippeastrum)
* Anemone hybrida
* Artichoke
* Arum (Calla Lily)
* Bamboo
* Begonia (Tuberous)
* Cactus
* Chives
* Chrysanthem maximum (Shasta Daisy)
* Cortaderia selloana (Pampas Grass)
* Crinum
* Crocosmia (Monbretia)
* Cyclamen
* Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
* Digitalis (Foxglove)
* Eschscholzia californica (Californian Poppy)
* Ferns
* Freesia
* Gaillardia grandifloria
* Helleborus (Hellebore)
* Hosta
* Iris
* Kniphofia uvaria (Red Hot Poker)
* Lamium maculatum (Dead Nettle)
* Lavandula (Lavender)
* Lupinus (Lupin)
* Jasminum (Jasmine) *
* Mirabilis jalapa (Four O’clock Plant)
* Narcissus (Daffodil)
* Nepeta (Catnip)
* Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy)
* Penstemon
* Phormium (New Zealand Flax)
* Romneya coulteri (California Tree Poppy)
* Rudbeckia hirta (Black Eyed Susan)
* Sisyrinchum
* Trillium
* Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree)
* Berberis
* Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush)
* Buxus (Box)
* Callistemon (Bottle Brush) *
* Ceanothus “Blue Jeans”
* Ceanothus gloriosus
* Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean Fan Palm)
* Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange)
* Cistus (Rockrose)
* Corylus cornuta californica (Western Hazelnut)
* Cotinus coggygia (Smoke Bush)
* Cotoneaster buxifolius
* Cytisus scoparius (Scotch Broom)
* Daphne
* Elaeagnus pungens (Silverberry)
* Erica (Heath / Heather)
* Euonymus japonica (Evergreen Euonymus)
* Gaultheria shallon (Salal)
* Heteromeles arbutifolia (California Holly)
* Hypericum (Saint John’s Wort)
* Ilex (Holly)
* Juniperus (Juniper)
* Kerria japonica
* Lantana
* Mahonia
* Myrtus communis (Myrtle) *
* Nandina domestica (Sacred Bamboo)
* Nerium oleander (Oleander)
* Paeonia (Tree Peonies)
* Plumbago auriculata *
* Potentilla (deciduous types)
* Punica grantatum “Nana” (Dwarf Pomegranate)
* Rhododendron (not Azaleas)
* Rhus ovata (Sumac)
* Ribes (Flowering Currant)
* Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
* Salvia (Sage)
* Santolina
* Solanum (Potato Vine)
* Taxus (Yew)
* Teucrium fruiticans (Bush Germander)
* Abies (Fir)
* Acacia *
* Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
* Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)
* Albizia julibrissin (Silk Tree)
* Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle Tree)
* Arbutus menziesii
* Callistemon (Bottlebrush) *
* Cordyline Australis
* Eucalyptus *
* Fraxinus (Ash)
* Ilex (Holly)
* Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweet Gum)
* Lithocarpus densiflorus (Tan Bark Oak)
* Melia azedarach (Chinaberry, Texas Umbrella Tree)
* Palms **
* Picea (Spruce)
* Podocarpus macrophyllus (Yew Pine)
* Umbellularia californica (California Laurel, Oregon Myrtle)
Vines / Ground Covers
* Arctostaphylos uva-uva (Bearberry)
* Clematis
* Fatshedera lizei (Giant Ivy)
* Fragaria chiloensis (Wild Strawberry)
* Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine) *
* Hedera helix (English Ivy)
* Hypericum calycinum (Creeping St. Johnswort)
* Jasminum (Jasmine) *
* Laurentia fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)
* Osteospermum fruitcosum (Trailing African Daisy)
* Solanum jasminoides (Potato Vine) *
* Trachelospermum jasminiodes (Star Jasmine) *
* Vinca major (Periwinkle)
* These should all be hardy in most of the UK but check with your nurseryman if you have any doubts as they can be a little tender.

Another method work trying to protect against deer and rabbits is to use a spray jet Click here for further details

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Plants for narrow garden borders

March 6th, 2018 · No Comments

Planting a narrow border can be a challenging project as not many plants are suited to grow in confirmed spaces whilst looking good. Listed below are a few explains of plants the GardenAdvice Team use when designing narrow borders

cistus silver pink

lavender munstead

skimmia rubella

anonomie queen charlotte

pittosporum tom thumb

Heuchera ‘Cherry Cola’

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Spear’

epimedium x youngianum ‘niveum’



Colchicum autumnale

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Ground elder in new and existing borders

January 8th, 2018 · No Comments

On the new and existing garden borders that contain ground elder if you install ground or weed sheeting covered by bark mulch that will stop the ground elder and kill it through lack of sunlight. You can plant through the sheeting with plants by cutting crosses in the sheeting and planting through the sheeting
You will find that some of the ground elder will come up at the edges of the sheeting and sometimes in the crosses you cut into the sheeting to carry out planting. In this case use a small hand held sprayer with Round up weed killer to treat these areas of ground elder as a spot treatment with several applications over the spring and early summer.
With the Round up if you buy it in the litre bottles as it stronger and mix it will 60 percent water here is a link

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Pruning climbing honeysuckle

December 7th, 2017 · No Comments

Over the winter months you can prepare your honeysuckle for new growth and new flowers in the coming spring.
First prune removing all the dead diseased and damaged stems cut back some of the new shoots that were created in last years growing season.
Once all the leaves have fallen off in December or January it’s also a good idea to give the plant and winter wash to remove all the overwintering pests and diseases.
Finally in the early spring provide the honeysuckle with a couple of handfuls of Growmore fertiliser just to ensure some strong new growth and new flowers which in most cases will be formed on the new season growth.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
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Overwintering Geraniums.

December 7th, 2017 · No Comments

Overwintering geraniums – As the season draws to a close its time to save you summer geraniums before the hard frosts arrive.To do this dig up you geranium plants and cut them back to the main structure of the plant just leaving a frame work of the larger branches.The softer grow removed can be used to create softwood cuttings.
click here for more details.
With the remaining plants pruned back pot them us into large boxes or pots with a John Inness soil based compost making sure the compost is quite dry. Then place them on or near a window sill in a cool frost free area overwinter.Water very lightly every two weeks to stop them totally drying out.Then you will find in February to early March they will have produced a number of shoots that can be again used for softwood cuttings.Then at the end of March re-pot the plants and start to water and feed them before planting them out into the final bedding positions in the garden or your tubs.One final point whilst over wintering the geraniums keep an eye open for fungal infections and remove any dead of damaged leaves or stems.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
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Getting Your Christmas Cactus To Flower.

December 5th, 2017 · No Comments

Treat them mean and keep them keen – A term not often used in relation to plants but in the case of a Christmas Cactus its the key to getting them to flower at the best.Ideally they need to be grown pot bound and slightly under fed so the leaves start to yellow in the autumn.This treatment of a Christmas Cactus will help induce the plant to flower at its most prolific.Then when its finished flowering in late winter give it a light house plant feed and when the risk of frost has passed place the plant outside on a patio so that the summer rains can remove all the dust that builds on the plants leaves over the winter inside.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
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Planting for interest near a privet hedge 

October 30th, 2017 · No Comments

Privet hedges are quite hungry and deplete the soil near to them of organic matter and nutrients so to grow plants near to a privet hedge you need to improve the soil with spent mushroom compost and a general fertilizer such Growmore fertilizer 

Plants to consider planting near a privet hedge include the following

cyclamen hederifolium

brunnera macrophylla

Euphorbia myrsinites

Lonicera nitida Baggesen’s Gold

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
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Plants for creating a seaside style garden 

September 12th, 2017 · No Comments

Plants for creating a seaside style garden 



griselinia littoralis

festuca glauca elijah blue

verbascum gainsborough

echium vulgare

Cordyline Australis Red Star

Rosmarinus officinalis

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
For further details Click Here

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Native bluebells 

May 1st, 2017 · No Comments

There are two species of bluebell found in the United Kingdom. Native or British bluebell and non-native Spanish bluebell. Cross-breeding between the two species means you may spot flowers which combine traits from both.
The easiest way to tell the difference between native and non-native bluebells is to look at the colour of the pollen. If it is creamy-white then the bluebell is native. If it is any other colour such as pale green or blue then it’s not native.
These other characteristics will also help you to tell the difference.

Native Hyacinthoides non-scripta
native bluebells

Native bluebells

Pollen cream-white colour

Deep violet-blue. A genetic mutation occasionally causes white flowers

Flower stem droops or nods distinctly to one side

Almost all flowers are on one side of the stem, hanging down to one side

Flowers are a narrow, straight-sided bell with parallel sides

Petal tips are reflexed (curl back)

Flowers have a strong, sweet scent

Spanish Hyacinthoides hispanica 

Spanish bluebells

Spanish bluebells

Pollen green or blue

Pale to mid-blue, often also white or pink

Flower stem is stiff and upright

Flowers are usually all the way round the stem, with the flowers sticking out

Flowers are a wide open, almost cone shaped bell

Petal tips flare slightly outwards

Flowers have little or no scent at all

Why are non-native bluebells a threat?

Spanish bluebell is a threat to our native species because they readily cross-breed resulting in the fertile hybrid Hyacinthoides hispanica x non-scripta.

This is a problem because crossbreeding dilutes the unique characteristics of our native Bluebell, changing future generations forever.

Most bluebells in urban areas are now thought to be hybrids and a study by Plantlife found that one in six broadleaved woodlands contained the hybrid or Spanish bluebell.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
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Mulching your garden borders

April 28th, 2017 · No Comments

One of the keys to creating a low maintenance gardening is to use mulches to suppress the weeds and reduce the need for weeding. 
In areas that are predominantly trees and shrubs you can use a weed sheeting covering my bark chips or wood chip mulches. On areas that contain perennial plants it’s best to use either spent mushroom compost or well rotted horse/farmyard manure making sure the material does not contain weeds initially.
These mulches will be incorporated into the soil over a period of time by the soil bacteria and by earthworms helping to improving the texture and water holding capacities of the soil.
One important point to remember with all mulches is that as they breakdown they remove nutrients from the soil as the bacteria uses the nutrients to help to break down the mulches so it’s important when you apply a mulch to add some fertiliser to the soil first we normally recommend a handful of Growmore fertiliser per square metre.
Spent mushroom compost is ideal for most soils and most plants however if you need to lower the pH in the soil or if you have plants that prefer acid soil conditions well rotted horse manure or farmyard manure is a better option as it is slightly acid. 

Spent mushroom compost contains high levels of lime making it unsuitable for acid loving plants. 
After the initial application of the mulch you will need to top it up every year and any more persistent weeds that grow through the mulch will need removing by hand or spot treating with Round up weedkiller. 

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When To Prune A Passion Flower.

March 26th, 2017 · No Comments

Prune your passion flower is spring, when danger of the most severe frosts have passed.It is good to leave as much growth on during the winter to protect it from the weather even though it looks quite messy.Its hard to prune to any set format just follow the existing main stems and prune back to these.Once pruned a liquid feed of a fertilizer containing a high potash content is ideal i.e. liquid tomato feed is ideal.

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Bay Tree Damaged By Frost.

February 5th, 2017 · No Comments

With regards to your question on your bay tree damaged by frost over the winter months.
The damaged leaves will not recover and are best removed by hand.Once they have been removed feed them with a liquid plant food,for bay trees the best one is one high in phosphate such as a liquid tomato feed available from most garden centres.After about 6 weeks you should find that new leaves start to grow from the bare stems and by the end of the summer the plant should have fully recovered. For More information:
click here

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