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Gardening course for beginners 17th March North London

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Join the GardenAdvice team on a one day gardening course for beginners at Capel Manor Gardens on the 17th March and get your gardening year off to a great start.

Become a gardener with the GardenAdvice Gardening Course.

If you are new to gardening it can all seem a bit complicated at first with all the Latin names and the gardening terminology.
GardenAdvice.co.uk have developed a especially designed short one day course to be able to teach you all the basic skills of gardening to get you started.
The courses are being held locally thought the U.K and in your own garden cover such basic skills as pruning, correct digging methods, growing your own shrubs and creating the perfect lawn.

See some of our clients our gardening course and our MyGardenTeam service on Instagram


The GardenAdvice gardening course for beginners and new gardeners is available as a home course – we send one of our experts to you for the day ring us or send us an email for more details courses@gardenadvice.co.uk or telephone us on 01225 637218 or 0203 8077456


The course takes place in a garden and involves both practical demonstrations and short talks aimed at giving your an introduction To all the basic skills you will need in the garden. The following areas are covered –


Short introduction to the history origins of gardening.


Basic gardening techniques such as digging, grass cutting, pruning, planting and watering.

Easy garden maintenance covers methods to make your garden easy to look after. Including weed control.

Basic construction methods covering how to lay a lawn, a small patio and decking.

Pest and diseases how to control them by using organic methods and creating a natural balance in your garden to keep them under control.

Creating special areas in your garden including a organic veg plot, fruit garden, perennial borders and water features.

Planting designs basic design techniques for garden planting to encourage all year round interest.

MyGardenTeam service – All our course include a years membership to our MyGardenTeam service so you are supported for a whole year Click Here

To inquiry about our gardening course Click Here or ring 01225 637218 or 0203 8077456


Early Season flowering Bulbs in lawn to create a splash of colour

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

If you are looking to introduce some early spring colour into your garden, naturalising bulbs in your lawn can be a great option, and once planted the bulbs will return every spring for years to come.

The first step is selecting your bulbs.

Crocus and snowdrops are all good choices, here are some good varieties


Narcissus cyclamineus ‘February Gold’, ‘Peeping Tom’ and ‘Tete a Tete’


Crocus biflorus ‘Blue Pearl’

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty’ and ‘Gypsy Girl’


Galanthus nivalis

Galanthus elwesii

Snowdrops can be planted as bulbs in the autumn, but they are best planted in the green when they have finished flowering.

For spring flowering bulbs you will need to plant them in autumn. Mow the lawn first this will make it easier. To plant bulbs in turf is very simple, once you have selected your choice of bulbs  you need to position them in your lawn, a great way to make them look natural is to scatter them across the area and plant them where they land, if some land a little too close just seperate them, you can use either a small trowel or a bulb planter to do this job, I prefer a thin trowel. Lift the top layer of turf off and remove the soil to a depth approximately 3 times the depth of the bulb, Daffodils being the largest wil be planted deepest, break up the soil and backfill the hole them firm the turf back down on top.

Once planted they require very little aftercare, however it is recommend to leave daffodils for around 6 weeks to die back and restore the bulb before removing the dead leaves.


12 best Alpine plants to grow in a rock garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

12 best Alpine plants to grow your rock garden 

  1. Gentiana verna,  stunning blue flowers from late spring to early summer.
  2. Saxifraga, forms a matt of green with delicate pink, white, red, yellow and purple flowers.
  3. Sempervivum,small rosette forming succulents, easy to care for that need full sun.
  4. Campanula, bell shaped flowers in blue, white and purple on a carpet forming plant.
  5. Sedum, a succulent with star shaped flowers throughout summer.
  6. Iris reticulata  small bulbs growing from late winter to early spring.
  7. Daffodil ‘Tete a Tete’  dwarf plants with yellow flowers in spring.
  8. Cerastium, ‘Snow In Summer’ a mass of white flowers on silver foliage in summer.
  9. Pulsatilla Vulgaris, purple bell shaped flowers on hairy stems in spring bearing silky seed heads.
  10. Aubretia, cascading plant with masses of purple, pink and white flowers throughout summer.
  11. Thymus vulgaris, bushy spreading plant with scented leaves and purple flowers.

Spraxis, harlequin flower, a hardy bulb that produces a stunning display of multi-coloured flowers.

One day gardening course/workshop for beginners 17th March 2019  – North London

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Happy gardener in a nursery shop carrying a crate of flowers (celosia)

One day gardening course/workshop for beginners 13th March 2019  – North London

Update on the GardenAdvice  One day gardening course for beginners at Capel Manor gardens the course on the 3rd March is now fully booked but we have spaces on our other dates 

We have just released some new dates for a one day gardening course for beginners at Capel Manor Collage Gardens Bullsmoor Lane Middlesex, Enfield EN1 4RQ

3rd March 2019 ( fully booked )

17th March 2019 ( places available ) 

6th April 2019 ( places available ) 

4th May 2019 ( places available ) 

For more information click here

Find details on the course on Emptychair click here 

Using hardy annual plants to create a splash of colour

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Using hardy annuals to create some summer colour in your garden is a great way to get some additional colour in your garden especially if you have just started gardening as all it costs is a bit of effort and the price of the seeds.

Amberboa moschata

A tall-stemmed plant with purple-violet flowers, rather like a delicate thistle-head. It’s an easily grown, scented annual that makes an excellent cut flower. Best sown en masse to create a dramatic effect. 75cm high 

Ammi visnaga

Don’t be put off by its common name of bishop’s weed. This voguish plant is like a super-charged cow parsley, but with much bigger, more dramatic flowers. It’s nectar-rich so attracts butterflies and bees too.

1.2m high 

Catananche caerulea

Sometimes called cupid’s dart, this short-lived perennial is treated like an annual in Philippa’s northern garden. The flowers resemble a pretty, lilac-blue cornflower, which means it is a favourite of flower arrangers. Has little in the way of foliage, so plant in drifts for maximum effect.

75cm high 

Calendula officinalis ‘Orange King’

A bright-orange, double flower, which was a favourite of Gertrude Jekyll who used it in large drifts in the garden on Lindisfarne. Simple to grow, it self-seeds gently and keeps on producing flowers if it is regularly deadheaded.

45cm high 

Centaurea cyanus ‘Black Ball’

A dark, almost-black cornflower and a stunner, but best grown in drifts and supported with wire as it has a tendency to flop. The flowers are a bee magnet and last well out of water, making it good for decorating puddings and salads.

75cm high 

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’

Although it looks quite exotic, with its glaucous blue-green foliage and droplets of dark-purple flowers, this honeywort is a truly tough character, and given dry soil and lots of sun will flower its head off for months. Flower arrangers and bees love it.

45-60cm high  

Crepis rubra ‘Snow White’

This pinkish-white flower, a cross between a daisy and a dandelion, does best in full sun where it will bloom for months. Good for containers too as it likes being kept on the dry side.

60cm high 

Chrysanthemum carinatum ‘Polar Star’

A showy, tri-coloured flower that resembles a child’s drawing of a flower. Its white petals have a yellow inner halo surrounding a dark-brown centre. It also has good lacy foliage and makes a long-lasting cut flower.

75cm high 


Cosmos Plants – Apollo Mix

A compact, bushy cosmos with larger flowers and better petal quality than traditional varieties, therefore providing much greater impact in containers or the garden. It also makes an excellent cut flower. Flowers June-September.

50-60cm high

Creating an alpine bed is an ideal project for a small garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Creating an alpine bed is an ideal project for a small garden plus it’s a great project to start with if you are new to gardening. If you need any additional help use our free gardening advice service or our MyGardenTeam service.

Most alpines grow naturally in difficult areas such as on alpine mountains and alpine meadows. To get the best out of your plants you will need to recreate the same conditions.

Firstly and most importantly you will need to create a free draining soil. This is best achieved by incorporating some horticultural grit into the top 50-mm, aim to achieve 50/50 soil/grit mix. Alpines generally benefit from being on a lean soil so at this stage there is no need for any base fertilisers to be added. Click Here for more details on creating an alpine bed.

4 Advantages of a Wooden Garage

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


A garage is one of the essentials in a new house. It provides shelter for your vehicles, and can also be converted into a storage space to keep all your items. Converting a garage is relatively easy and requires minimal effort as well. The structure/space does also help improve your home’s aesthetics significantly.


While you can hire a contractor to help build the garage from scratch, it wouldn’t hurt checking out various prefabricated wooden garage designs on the internet. Most of these are made using the best quality wood hence value for money.  Depending on the available space, it would be advisable to choose a larger version of the garage. This makes it possible to store other items in the garage including garden furniture, garden tools, table tennis tables, bikes, and toys. Going for a larger garage also ensures you won’t have to invest in a new one should you require more space. Outlined below are some of the advantages of investing in a wooden garage.


  1. It Helps Reduce Current Costs

Investing in a wooden garage helps cut down current costs in many ways. For starters, it protects the car, vehicle, garden furniture, garden tools, or your motorcycle from extreme weather and theft. It will also influence insurance rates on your car or bike as well. The fact that your beloved car will be protected/shielded from weather and uninvited guests means you can sleep soundly at night. You don’t have to worry about leaving the vehicle exposed to most of these elements.  The garage also brings about order in the house, meaning your items will be kept in a safe and dry place, which again improves their durability significantly.


The same applies for a workshop full of expensive materials and tools. The workshop makes it possible to keep all your production items safe and well protected. The benefits of investing in a wooden garage outweigh those built using other materials.


  1. It Compares Well with Other Garage Types

Timber is a natural material that integrates well with almost anything in the house or garden. It even adds an extra touch of appeal if there are trees and a few woody plants around the garden. These give it a log-house kind of feel and charm. In addition to this, timber blends relatively well with almost any other material hence can be used in any natural environment. Wooden garages also come in a wide variety of styles and designs to choose from.  This gives you the freedom to choose a plan that best fits your home.


A wooden garage also has a better aesthetic appeal as compared to cold hard concrete walls or steel garages.  In addition to this, building a wooden garage from prefabricated wooden planks is much easier and less time consuming as compared to using building block for the same project.  The same applies to steel garages that require specialized tools and expertise to build one. With a wooden garage, all you need is assemble the wooden planks, an exercise that will take only a fraction of the time it would take to build a concrete garage.


  1. Quick and Easy to Construct

Wooden garages come in many different shapes, sizes, and designs. This gives you the freedom to choose whichever design you wish to have. You can also make a custom order of a wooden garage with your specifications and features. Among other features, you can have the garage customized to fit your preferred roof pitch, choose a custom wood finish, as well as window and door designs to match with the main house. Once a custom order is made, the manufacturing company ensures all the customized pieces are delivered to your doorstep ready for assembling.  They also provide a step by step construction manual to help you assemble the garage without facing any problems. A bit of DIY experience in woodwork may be required to construct the garage from scratch. You should be able to complete the entire project comfortably in two or three days.


Constructing/assembling a wooden garage is easy. The prefabricated designs are also easy to disassemble as well.  This means you can have the garage erected somewhere else without necessarily having to invest in a new one. The same cannot however be said for steel and concrete garages. The welding process in steel is hardly reversible, hence cannot be dismantled and redesigned again without causing damage.


It is worth noting that, fabricated garages come with a DIY guide to help you every step of the way. Most of the tools required for this project are readily available – chances are you own them already.  Timber also makes it possible to make alterations to the original design, as well as add extensions without damaging the garage.


  1. Timber is an Excellent Natural Insulator

Wood is one of the best natural insulators that helps keep the room warm during winter and cool during summer. In addition to this, wooden garages are considerably drier as compared to those made of steel and concrete. As an added benefit, timber inhibits condensation in the garage. This keeps your items and expensive equipment dry and free from dampness. Keeping a concrete or steel garage dry and free from humidity can be quite a challenge. Timber, on the other hand, has moisture regulating properties that help keep the garage as dry as possible.


Timber makes it possible to regulate temperatures inside. With a hot engine, maintaining favourable temperatures can be quite tasking for concrete and steel garages – this is unlike wooden garages that remain dry and comfortable regardless of the weather.


Why would you choose expensive and complicated materials for your garage when timber is readily available. A wooden garage could be the answer and solution to your needs.


Earthworms Friend or foe

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon


Earthworms are essential to our garden, worms burrow through the soil creating pockets for ventilation and drainage and this improves the soil structure, worms break down decaying organic matter from the surface like leaves,dead plants and animal manure this process releases the nutrients into the soil and increases the amount of fungi and bacteria in the soil. In an acre of healthy farmland there can be up to 1.75 million worms.

There are different types of earthworm in the UK, our common earthworm (Anecic) burrow vertically into the ground leaving casts on the soil surface at the entrance, there are also the non burrowing type that live on the soil surface such as the brandling or tiger worms that are used in womeries, be careful the burrowing type worms are not suitable for the wormery, another worm you may come across are non native flatworms from New Zealand that are a predator feeding on our earthworms.

So our hardworking earthworms seem to be the gardeners friend, unless you have a lawn, as the worms burrow and make there way into the soil they leave casts on the surface of the lawn  it does not take long for your carefully tended lawn to become a muddy mess, so this leaves us with the problem of wanting to keep our worms but not wanting the casts on our lawns, what can we do about it without using harsh chemicals?  The traditional method of waiting for a dry day to sweep off the casts using a besom broom is good but with a busy lifestyle we need to look for an alternative. CastClear have produced a non hazardous nutrient based deterrent to reduce the casts on your lawn and breaks down naturally into the soil. Casts start appearing from February so if you want to improve the health and longevity of your lawn without harming our earthworm population, this may be an alternative solution to the perennial problem of worm casts.


Creating a mediterranean style garden

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon

If you are looking for a reasonably low maintenance garden that can cope with stresses of climate change maybe a mediterranean style garden might be worth some consideration.

When you say mediterranean garden to someone they will have their own idea of what that may mean, for some it’s terracotta pots, brightly painted walls and vibrant plants, for others its more muted with soft foliage and fragranced plants. Whatever your vision here are a few tips to get the look.

Let’s start with the plants,

Olive trees can be grown in pots or as a large specimen and they can really create a statement, with their gnarled trunks they look incredible lit up at night,

Lemon trees can be grown as standards in terracotta pots to sit on patios or outside doors.

Oleander and Bougainvillea with their bright colourful flowers delight the senses, they may not be hardy enough to survive our damp winters so growing these in pots will make them easier to move inside.

Conifers such as Juniperus ‘Skyrocket’ or Cupressus Sempervirens add height but be warned some can reach up to 80ft in height so always check the label for information.

Palms can add an exotic touch to the garden and the Trachycarpus fortunei and the chamaerops humilis both do well in the british climate.

Succulents such as sempervirens, sedums and agave add to the look and require very little care once established.  

Let’s add some colour with plants such as cannas, agapanthus, osteospermum, santolina, crocosmia, gaillardia, rudbeckia, verbenas, salvias the choice is only limited to your imagination, but don’t forget must have geraniums for pots and windowsills.

No mediterranean garden would be complete without scented plants and some to consider would be Rosemary or Lavender and of course trachelospermum jasminoides that releases its heady scent on summer evenings.

Mediterranean life revolves around food so rustic tables and chairs for dining al fresco are essential.

Provide some shade to escape the midday sun with a Pergola it’s also perfect to grow climbers such as wisteria, honeysuckle or jasmine.

Use gravel, stones, slate or large pebbles as a top dressing over your soil.

Hopefully these ideas that can help you start to plan your garden with a mediterranean influence for additional help check out our MyGardenTeam service and our one day gardening courses carried out in your own garden.


Free garden plants for creating some winter interest

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon


If you are looking for some winter interest in your garden I would highly recommend planting some dogwoods, these shrubs can provide a stunning display of brightly coloured stems throughout the winter months, whilst the variegated varieties can provide interest throughout the year.

Dogwoods can produce stems from dark purple to bright yellow so whatever your favourite colour your sure to find something you like, one of my favourites is Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ this has individual stems of  yellow blending into orange then red like a flame, when this is planted en- masse it produces a magnificent display. Other varieties to check out are Cornus alba sibirica for intense bright red stems, Cornus Sanguinea for light red stems Cornus alba Kesseringii will produce dark dramatic stems and the Cornus sericea Flaviramea will give you lime green stems.

To ensure that you have a cornus display every winter it is important to know when and how to prune them, when your first buy a plant you will need to let it establish for the first year, after this you can start to prune your plants,  in order to get lots of long colourful stems in winter you need to cut back the old stems back to approximately 15 cm from the ground in spring, Mid-March to mid April, it may seem harsh but this will allow a full growing season for the new stems to develop.

What can you do with all the bright colourful stems now, if you are creative the cornus stems can be woven together to make attractive plant supports or something else you could try would be hardwood cuttings, these are so simple,

Choose a straight stem about pencil thickness

Take a cutting of approximately 25-30cm

Look at the bumps on the stem these are the nodes and this is where the plant will grow from.

At the bottom of the cutting make a cut straight across UNDER a node.

Count four nodes up an make a slanted cut ABOVE a node.

You have your cutting.

Now you can put these in the ground in an undisturbed area or put them in pots in a gritty compost mix, plant them with about 2/3rds of the cutting in the ground.

Forget about them now and after few months they will have rooted and started to grow into new plants.

This is a simple way to get free plants  from your garden that you can either plant in other areas or give away to family and friends, so give it a try.