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Supporting your climbing plants – its worth doing it properly climbing plants

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe




If you are considering growing some climbing plants this year its worth considering installing a good support system. Simply using thin wires and vine eyes is alright up to a certain point but consider that your climbing plants could last 50 years or more is worth investing in a more suitable plant support system. The GardenAdvice team use galvanised wire rope 4mm and 2mm with a small Turnbuckle, wire rope clamps and wire rope thimbles to guide the wire rope plus anchor hooks.  It all sounds a bit expensive but using suppliers such as toolstation.com it costs around £6 for a small plant such as a clematis and £15 for a larger plant such as a wisteria. 

The good and the bad with snow and your plants 

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The good about snow – if you have a number of plants that start growing early in the spring such as Crocus and perennial plants such as Epimedium and Dicentra then freshly fallen, clean non compacted snow can have some real benefits such as protecting the plants early growth. The snow will shelter the new growth from winter winds and collect warmth and light and as the snow melts under the surface it also provides a degree of latent heat again helping to protect the plants.

The bad about snow – if you have any conifers growing in borders or as hedges then the snow can cause problems by building up in the top of the plants and spreading or breaking the stems. In this case the solution is to lightly shake the plants to remove the snow and remove and badly damaged branches or stems. Then using a strong wire tie the spread stems together inside the conifer to maintain the shape

Early season vegetable garden preparation

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

January and February are key times to start to get your vegetable garden up and running. As the sun becomes stronger as we progress towards spring you can use the suns power to heat. up the soil and enable early crops and earlier seed germination.

Using black plastic sheeting to cover areas of your vegetable garden will help to warm the soil up by collecting the heat from the sun and helping the soil to dry out and in turn creating a perfect seed bed for starting to sowing seeds in March.

Another system to enable early crops is to use cloches which can be purchased online or can be make with some fencing wire and clear plastic. In January they are ideally for sowing early season peas 

Ensure your garden is well-presented all year round

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Seasonal changes can be troublesome for your outdoor space. In the summer, you may get too much sunshine, while the winter may bring too much frost. This can make it a difficult task to keep your garden space in top condition every month of the year, from keeping your composite decking gleaming, to planting the right foliage. Here, we take a look at the best plants to have in your garden for every season and what exactly you should be doing to ensure that your patch is in peak condition at all times.


These months are sometimes portrayed as being tough to keep your garden in good condition. However, with perfect preparation in the autumn months, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, good planning can help your winter garden look beautiful with little effort. However, although your lawn may not need cutting as often as there is less sunshine, it’s still important that you care for it, mainly so you prevent issues such as lawn frostbite.

Your space could ‘heave up’ due to excess water and freezing lawns. Snow can also cause the fungal disease named snow mould. Usually, the main culprit for this is the pesky snow men. Although fun to make as a family, the density of snow can kill your grass. Make sure you’re clearing excess snow as soon as possible to give your space the chance to thrive as much as possible.   


Spring is perhaps the season you see your garden come to life. The winter frost is thawing and there’s beginning to be some activity among crops and shrubs.  Just as you do in the home, your garden needs a spring clean. You should check for signs of unwanted growth and prep your beds, removing all the debris from your winter collection. If you didn’t prune in the winter, now is the time to do so, but make sure you do so before the buds break into bloom or you’ll run the risk of stressing the tree and getting very little crop.

Although there may be an array of majestic colours shining through as your shrubs grow, it’s certainly not recommended to sit still. Plant some summer-blooming shrubs and allow your garden to continue thriving into the next season. A great example includes the Bluebeard shrub. This bloomer is easy to upkeep and isn’t phased if we get a drought. It’ll also bring birds and butterflies to your space to add a lovely wildlife image for you to bask in. If blue isn’t for you, try the Butterfly bush in its purple, pink or white representation. Growing up to 10-feet tall, this beauty offers a longer bloom season than lilacs and may well run past summer and into autumn too.


Of course, summer is the season which you will get most use out of your garden. However, to make it a space you’re proud of can take some effort. With your grass growing at a speed far faster than any other season, it’s crucial you keep on top of its growth spurts. While it’s recommended that you keep it slightly longer during the summer months, it’s still advised that you mow your lawn a couple of times a week, unless there’s a harsh drought period where one cut a week will suffice.

It’s also possible that weeds will become a bigger nuisance due to the sunnier climes. Make sure you are eradicating any weed issues as often they are competing with your lawn for moisture and, sadly, weeds often come out on top, leaving your lawn looking less than ideal.

To make sure you get a bit of colour in the autumn months, July is a great time to plant your seeds, such as nerines. This can help you to continue having a brilliant floral display for the coming months.


The most important season for gardeners, as well as spring, is autumn. This is because it’s a great time of year for undergoing transplanting work due to the moisture levels of the soil caused by regular showers. Due to the summer warmth, spring bulbs and next summer’s bulbs should be planted by the end of September to allow them to adjust to their new surroundings and grow their roots. This will set them in the perfect position to bloom next year once the frost thaws.

It’s also the time that you should be preparing your space for winter. This is because it’s likely you won’t be able to spend much time in your garden due to poor weather. You must make sure that you cut your grass for the last few times before the cold kicks in. When doing this, you should lower the height of your lawnmower by a notch or two. Excessively long grass can cause problems in your garden throughout the colder climes, and it doesn’t look appealing either. However, don’t scalp your grass as this can expose it to more extreme conditions.

You should ensure that you have fertilised your space – but not too much as this can actually burn your grass. You can also spread a cool-weather grass seed to make sure it stays in good condition despite the icy weather. Remember, just because you won’t need to tend to it as often as in warmer climes, it’s important that you don’t leave any debris or toys on the lawn as this can create disease conditions, or worse still, invite unwanted pests to your garden.

If it’s colour you desire in the bleak months, preparation during this season is vital. You’ll need to pick plants of a good size due to the fact they’ll grow very little in winter. Good examples include the Bergenia, which is also known as elephant ear. With varying shade of pink, red and purple, this flower should bloom and brighten up your garden in the year’s earlier months.

As suggested in the name, snowdrops, also known as Galanthus nivalis, are another good choice for a touch of brightness in January and February. If you would like a bronze purple colour added to your garden between November and March, try planting some clematis cirrhosa var. balearica.


So, there you go. Follow the steps above and you’ll be well on the way to having an attractive and well-presented garden space all year round. Remember, gardening requires a lot of pro-active methods, so don’t leave it too long. Think ahead of the seasons and your patch will prosper!











Growing climbers on older walls – point you wall before planting 

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


If you are looking to grow some new climbing plants on an older wall especially if its a wall has been created with lime mortar then Its work pointing any parts of the wall when the capping or putty has become and the lime mortar is starting to fall our. Using a specialist tool called a brick jointer makes the job a lot easier 

GardenAdvice on how to planting a box hedge

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

As the season start to approach spring now is a good time to plant a bare rooted box hedge ( buxus sempervirens or buxus sempervirens suffruticosa – the second being a dwalf version so slightly slower to establish but less pruning.

As with all hedges its all in the preparation of the soil before planting. As you hedge might be around for more than 50 years its worth spending some time getting it right. With Box plants they love slightly alkaline soil. Soils that are to act will slow the establishment of the hedge. Also with the requirement of a free draining soil with lots of organic matter adding spend mushroom compost is an ideal way to add lime and organic matter to the soil. 

Ideally you should dig a line for the hedge forking the based as you turn over a spades full of soil whilst digging adding some spent mushroom compost to the base as you fork and then once you have finished digging lightly using a fork to break up the soil and mix in the spent mushroom compost.

Before planting soak your plant well, if bare rooted plant leave them in a bucket of water to soak the roots over night. So not plant of a frosty day  and make sure they are well firmed in after planting and give them another soak. Its worth planting a few spare plants in another location so if any die in your hedge they can be replaced in the following winter season.

Finally add a leak hose along the base ready to water in the spring and summer. With a leaky hose installed all you have to do when watering is connect a hose at one end and leave it for 15 to 20 mins a week in dry weather in the first year. If you soil is weedy or likely to have a crop of weeds then covering the bases and leaky pipe with some weed sheeting – if this looks a bit ugly it can be cover with some gravel or bark.

In the summer month to add the creation of the hedge by helping it to grow quicker you can feed with some liquid plant food just be careful the growth does not become to0 soft as this will make the plants susceptible to fungal diseases. 

Plants for wedding bouquets and loved ones

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


If you wish to extend the memory of your wedding or a loved one the might have passed away through plants the GardenAdvice Team has a service designed to create new plants from the original plants from a garden or wedding flowers. 

Its a simple idea that allows you to have cutting taken from your plants and returned to you a year later as plants ready to grow in your home or out in the garden.

For further details visit 


First stages in setting up a fruit and vegetable garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

If you are considering growing some of your own fruit and vegetable garden a bit of thought and planning in January and February can make sure your venue is well on the way to a successful year.

Here are the key point that the GardenAdvice Advisors get our MyGardenTeam service members to consider 

• Position of your fruit and vegetable garden – this is key it has to be in a sunny shelter position. With regards to shelter you can create this with hedges and windbreak but your fruit and vegetable garden has to be in a sunny position, under trees or in the shade of a wall all day long is not a good position.

• Next you need to selected what you wish to grow.  A good place to start is to write down your favourite meals or dishes most will have an element you can grow. Currently some of the GardenAdvice teams favourite are fresh asparagus, fresh peas, forced rhubarb and blanched chicory.

• Consider crops that are best really fresh such as asparagus and new potatoes and fruit and vegetables you just cannot buy easily. Growing vast amounts of tomatoes and potatoes is fine but its a lot of work especially when you realise that you could have purchase them in the supermarket at a low cost.

• Once you have a list of the fruit and vegetables you wish to grow next think about the soil each crop needs. For example asparagus is from family of sea shore plants so thrives in a salty soil, the brassica family needs lime, rhubarb needs a heavy soil to supply water for the springs quick growth. You should be looking to engineer each area of soil to suit your crops – Mushroom compost will make the soil more moisture retentive and raise the soil pH, well rotted farmyard manure will lower the soils pH 

• One of the keys with vegetables is to start early using black plastic and cloches to cover the soil once its been prepared will help to collect the suns heat and warm up to soil and speed you the early seasons growth once the seed and new plants are planted out. 

The MyGardenTeam service from GardenAdvice provides you with your own expert gardener on the GardenAdvice staff to help you plan and create a fruit and vegetable garden. Click Here for further details 

How to Care for the Birds That Visit Your Garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Have you ever experienced a beautiful moment when sitting with a cup of tea, admiring your garden and suddenly a gorgeous little bird lands on the bird table next to your patio doors? Well, if you have then you’ll be able to appreciate just how special it is when birds choose to spend time in your garden. Wild birds are so beautiful and in order to protect them and ensure they feel welcome in your garden, there are a few things that you can do. From providing them with fresh water, to a comfortable place for them to perch, our top tips will help you to care for the birds that visit your garden.

Fresh Water

For wild birds, fresh water is extremely important. Depending on the area you live in, it can often be difficult for birds to find clean water to drink, so having a guaranteed supply in peoples gardens can really help to keep them hydrated. It’s also really difficult throughout the winter months for birds to find a substantial amount of fresh water for them to bathe in. Even in gardens, the bird bath or streams can freeze over and restrict birds from accessing it. One of the best things to do throughout the colder winter months is to keep a close eye on your bird bath. If it’s starting to freeze over or you notice the water has become dirty, replace the water each morning so that the birds have plenty to drink and bathe in.

Feeders and Seeds

Attracting wild birds into your garden is as easy as 1, 2, 3 when you have a bird feeder and some tasty seeds for them to enjoy. If you’re going to provide the wild birds with some food, it’s really important that you stick to seeds that have been specifically designed for bird feed. From Nyjer Seeds to peanuts, there are loads of different options so you can keep things interesting for them when they visit. You can find a great selection of bird feeders and bird seeds online at Two Wests, with a range of different seed types to keep the birds in your garden happy and healthy.

Rubbish and Debris

Whilst it may be your number one focus to keep your garden neat and tidy, you can’t control what rubbish or debris may gather in unexpected areas. From plastic carrier bags that have blown in from a messy neighbour, to broken glass from a damaged shed window, there can be a number of hazards in your garden that can be dangerous for wild birds that visit. It’s worth taking a look at your garden every few days to ensure that the area Is safe and clean. If you do happen to see any general rubbish, or you notice that your fence has half blown down, now is the time to get that sorted before any further damage is done!

Bird Watch

There are so many beautiful bird species that will come and go from your garden, and they are all so different from each other. By conducting bird watches, you can identify which birds are visiting your garden and keep track of how many and how frequently they visit. Once you have some data to work with, you can get in touch with the RSPB or even take part in their Big Garden Bird Watch, to help them in their mission to care for our wild birds and ensure they receive the protection and care they require!

GardenAdvice to relaunch its original audio weekly garden calendar at the end of March

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

GardenAdvice to relaunch its original audio weekly garden calendar at the end of March as a Amazon Alexa skill. Click the link to hear one of our original audio calendars from 2002