However well designed often new urban buildings end up with a side view of a large slab of concrete. Lots of solutions are available to create green walls but they can be expensive and take a lot of maintenance to look after. One easy solution is to use a plant called parthenocissus tricuspidata henryi – this is a self clinging climber using small suckers on the stems to attached itself to the building and slowly climb up the building. Losing it leaves in the autumn after providing a great display of autumn colour it tends note to have the same problems found with ivy grown on a building that often excludes the moisture reaching the wall and starts to dry our even modern mortars which start to crumble
The GardenAdvice Team have now answered well over 5 million questions sine we started in later 1999. We have steady stream of questions on a whole range of gardening and gardening related subjects. At the start to get things moving our advisors asked each other questions and made requests for advice but it soon took off and now everyday we get a steady stream of questions and requests from our members and viewers. Every day brings something different and some of the questions and requests are so obvious we sometime wonder why we did not thing of them for example we where recently asked about suitable plants for a garden shared by a number of teenage footballers – so obvious as the UK is full of gardeners sharing a garden with aspiring teenage footballers and cricketers.
To ask us for some GardenAdvice visit https://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/advisor/freeadvice/index.html
If you are an enthusiastic gardener winter can be a great time to plan your coming gardening year with regards to planting new plants and sowing seeds in the spring for your next crop of vegetables. It can also be a great time to be great time to increase your garden skills and knowledge by signing up for a GardenAdvice beginners course.
The GardenAdvice Team are often asked to to help create English country style gardens in warmer climates often with high summer temperatures and no frosts plus higher light levels. This can cause problems for lots of plants need a cold weather period and the dormant season of the winter to recover. In a climate with no real winter plants often suffer the plant equivalent of sleep deprivation and die after a few years.
As well as the selection of plants the key is often the preparation of the soil making sure it has a high level of organic mater and mulches to maintain the moisture levels and the plants access to moisture.
Here is a list of the plants we often use in warmer climates to create a soft English style garden.
sambucus black lace
Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Flame’
Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’
Cornus scarlet fire
Hydrangea ruby slippers
Daphne auto marginata
Geranium johnsons blue
Scabious clive greaves
Pennisetum Cassians Choice
Firstly the only way a drainage system works is if the water has somewhere to drain to after it has been collected. A soak away is simple a means to collect a flash flood of water and the idea is that it soaks into the surrounding soil over a period of time if the soak away is constructed in a clay soil this is not going to happen. Most people just dig a soak away with no through about how the drainage water will be removed from the soak away.
The best solution is a soak away thats linked to your surface water drains through a silt trap that collect silt in the water and stops the surface drains from becoming blocked. Other solutions possible are draining into ditches and other such structures.
Normally and in every occasion we have come across its been allowed to drain the water into the surface drainage system as long as the water goes through a silt trap.
French drains these are just a trenches full of stones/gravel if the problem is surface water then often the stone in the trench is extended to the surface to intercept the water as it flows over the ground or through the surface of the soil. In most French drains we construct we add a small diameter flexible pipe at the base of the trench covered by stone so the drain can be cleaned because at some stage a French drain will become blocked with silt etc
For further information on garden drainage visit our main drainage page Click Here
Squirrels, deer and rabbits not to mention cats and dogs can all be a problem in the garden often they are a delight in the garden until they start eating your prize plants. Lots of solutions are available most do not work and the ones that do such as high fences and surrounding your plants with wire cages can often be expensive and unsightly.
The GardenAdvice teams preferred method of dealing with such pest problems is simply to throw cold water at them and seeing as we cannot be around all the time we use a spraying system with a sensor called PawHunt Click here for more details
Although not a perfect solution its a good start and very cost effective in most conditions. As with most solutions for damage by deer, rabbits and squirrels etc when the weather turns hard and cold extreme hunger often overcomes fear and your plants become a Unrealisable food source, so in these conditions simply feeding these critters might be your best bet and calling a cold weather Armistice for a few days
Soil has evolved to support plants and not to be without plants. If left for any length of time without plants it soon becomes de-structured poorly draining and a hostile environment for all the soil organism that work in the soil to breakdown organic matter etc
If you find yourself with a bare patch of soil that is going to be bare for more than 6 weeks you should consider growing a green manure such as clover in the case of a vegetable garden or in other areas of bare soil mulching with mulches such as spent mushroom compost will protect the soil . Both these method will improve the soil an enrich its fertility and organic matter content. Although it should be noted that mushroom compost contains lots of lime and so will raise the soil pH if you have a chalky soil or need to lower the soil pH using well rotted manure will achieve this.
Another method to protect your soil in the short term is to cover the soil with a weed sheeting which as well as smothering the weed seedlings protects the soil the soil structure from the devastating effects of rain and rain drops which smash the surface destroying the crumb structure and de-structuring the soil making it difficult for plant roots to growth into the soil.
November and December are the best months for pruning both inside and outdoor grape vines.
If you are training your vine and it’s a newish plant you should tie in the stems you require horizontally to a frame work of wires you have already created.
Training the stems in a horizontal direction will include fruiting spurs and more fruit.
With establish vines first prune out all the damaged and diseased stems. Next cut back the long summer growth stems by 75 percent unless you are planning to extend the range of the vine. Finally prune the main stems back to the fruiting spurs.
Winter in an unheated Glasshouse – creating some colour –
If you have on and the thousands of unheated Glasshouse in the UK and wondered what you could do with them in the winter months then planting a few stock plants will provide you with some scented cut flowers for your home in the late winter early spring. Easy to grow and very hard its not a plant that is as common over resent years but well worth a try. Its best purchased as plugs or grown from seed on a window sill and then transferred to a pot or bed in your greenhouse. For extra protection you can planting them under bell jars or small cloches just to get them started.
Other plants for the cold greenhouse which will produce early colour are spring bulbs in pots, primula and violas.
We are often asked about pests and disease in Greenhouses and often our answers involve biological control methods but by far the most effective methods to control pests and disease in a new or existing Greenhouse is to start with a clean house. This means cleaning the inside and outside with a horticultural disinfectant or some Jeyes Fluid disinfectant using a hand spray to create a jet of water/disinfectant and small brush or long handled broom to get into cracks and gaps where pests and diseases create of eggs and spores that over winter. Then once the Green house is clean use a sulphur candle which produces a sulphur gas to help kill the pests and diseases that have managed to get themselves into inaccessible places.
This simple task will make sure your GreenHouse is as clean as it can be before you start to sow the new season crops.