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MyGardenTeam – What to expect

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


MyGardenTeam service from GardenAdvice.co.uk

Our MyGardenTeam service is designed to enable you to team up with one

of our expert gardeners to assist you in developing and looking after your garden

The MyGardenTeam service is a membership that lasts 12 months

On the initial visit or one a days gardening course we find out how you wish to develop your garden. For most people they have an idea of the style of the garden they wish to develop and a set of requirement Including a garden that’s easy to maintain, more summer

colour and a garden suitable for pets or children.

During the initial visit we will answer your questions for example on  punning and weeding. After the initial visit you will receive a garden report and planting suggestion. This report set the objects for your garden over the next 12 months.

After the initial visit we will also set up a task list of Jobs you can carry out in your garden.

The MyGardenTeam Service includes the following

Additional visits – when we are in your area normally once every 14 days we will email you and see if you wish us to call on you to offer further advice or you can contact us for a further visit. If our visit is under an hour we do not charge for the visit.

Additional assistance – if you require additional assistance over an hour for example with pruning etc we will provide you with a quote for the cost.

Plants and gardening materials – We can supply you with plants and garden materials such as paving often we are able to provide you with substantial trade discounts

Online notes and Calendar – on online section where we keep your notes, pictures and task schedule.

Free lawn care – two treatments to help maintain your lawn up to 75 square metres

Plant Swap. – from the end of September to the end of March we have a system where all the members in our MyGardenTeam service can swap plants Your myGardenTeam gardener will explain this to you.

Free tool loan – for example if you are carrying out a lot of pruning we are happy to lend you a garden shredder and some long handled loppers

For further information visit our MyGardenTeam service online



How to add worms to a compost bin to make a wormery

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

A compost bin is a great way to turn kitchen waste into usable garden fertiliser, but if you want to make the process even faster, you might want to think about making a wormery.

Worms naturally convert organic waste like leftover raw fruit and veg, as well as garden waste like grass cuttings and leaves, into a rich, fertile compost.

They’re surprisingly efficient at this, especially if you get the right number of worms for the size of wheelie bin, compost bin or other container that you are using.


What is a wormery?

A typical wormery has three levels – think of it like a town house for your worms. They live in the middle layer, in amongst some comfy ‘worm bedding’ such as leaf mould, coconut fibre (also known as ‘coir’) or old compost.

Below them is a drainage layer – this allows for the liquid to drain out of the worms’ excretions, and this too can be collected for use as a liquid fertiliser.

In the top you have a layer of fresh materials for the worms to climb up into and digest, and this is where you put your healthy garden and kitchen waste (just avoid meat, dairy, unwashed fruit rinds and too much citrus).


What container should I use for a wormery?

There are a few options when building a wormery:

  • Three separate stackable boxes with mesh bottoms to contain the material.
  • An adapted wheelie bin or compost bin with drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Purpose-built commercial wormeries with drainage taps and removable layers.

If using a wheelie bin, you don’t have to take a drill to your council garden waste bin – you can get a new garden waste bin from suppliers like Wheelie Bin Solutions in a range of sizes and colours.

You should choose a wheelie bin that is the right size for your garden and the amount of food waste you produce, and then make sure to get the right number of worms for healthy and efficient digestion.


Top tips for even better wormeries

Even just adding worms to an ordinary compost bin can help digest the waste more fully, but there are some top tips for better wormeries that are worth keeping in mind:

  1. The liquid that drains out of your wormery is a useful fertiliser in its own right. If you’re handy with DIY, consider installing a water butt tap at the bottom of your wheelie bin so you can collect it.
  2. The worms’ home in the middle layer should be raised slightly to allow for drainage, and you should make sure if you are using a tap that you don’t forget to collect the liquid regularly.
  3. The top layer should be removable. You can just dig it out by hand, or you might want to fashion a mesh shelf that hooks over the sides of the bin and rests gently on the worms’ home layer.
  4. Removing all of the compost by hand when it’s ready can be easier with a smaller bin, so keep this in mind when you order a new garden waste wheelie bin to use as a wormery.
  5. Worms need it to be dark, not too dry or humid, and not too hot or cold. Make sure your container has a neatly fitting lid that’s easy to remove – again, a wheelie bin is an ideal example of this.

Keep your worms happy by insulating the outside of the container, draining the liquid regularly and topping up with fresh, clean fruit, vegetable and garden waste, and you should have usable compost within a matter of months.


One day gardening course for beginners – North London

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


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

17th March 2019 

6th April 2019 

4th May 2019 

Click Here for further details  or view our facebook page 

Codling Moth

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The codling moth is a small moth whose young eat into apples in late to mid summer, this is one of the easiest pests to spot as if the grub is not present the bore hole will be.

These pests cause apples to ripen and drop early and also leave them inedible.

In order to control these pests we need to understand their lifecycle.

The small brown moths in their larvae stage spend winter hidden in bark and other secluded areas, in the spring they pupate, emerge grow wings and lay eggs, once the eggs hatch the hungry larvae eat their way into the apples until they are fat enough to emerge and overwinter starting the cycle again.

You can’t treat the codling moth once you have it so what we need to do is prevent it and there are a number of options available.

We can use a biological control  by using nematodes which are small worms that enters the body of the codling moth infect it and kill it, you would use this in september when the bug leaves the apple. This is an effective control for the larvae but will not stop the adult moths arriving from other gardens the following season.

A popular method to deal with these pests is a pheromone trap this is a trap that mimics the scent of a female and lures the male into a sticky trap that they cannot escape, this may not control the population of codling moth but will reduce the numbers, this is not suitable for a large number of trees.

If you wish to use a chemical control, these should be sprayed before the larvae enter the apples in late spring, it is important to avoid getting these chemicals on your flowering buds as they will kill any pollinators.

This is a nasty little pest who can very easily ruin your whole crop of apples,prevention is always best it may just be a case of trial and error to see what works best for you.


Planting a Wisteria – a long term plan

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Wisteria is a beautiful climbing vine that produces masses of scented blue,purple and white blooms in late spring and summer. They are commonly used to grow over pergolas and around door frames.


Wisteria is best grown from grafted plants you should be able to check this by looking for a bulbous join on the lower stem. Plants from seed are unreliable and may have you waiting 15 years for a flower. Always buy your plants from a reputable seller.


Once you decide where to grow your Wisteria preparation is very important. Your plant will be in place for a long time so it is important to ensure that you prepare the ground well. Wisteria enjoys a ph of 6.0-7.0  so if you have an acid soil a little lime will help raise the PH. To give your plant the best start add as much well rotted manure as you can to improve water retention, soil structure and also release nutrients.


Wisteria is a very fast growing heavy plant and will need to be supported as it grows, it is best to get all your supports in place before planting, as you may cause damage to the plant once it  is in the ground Galvanised steel wires will be required to support the weight when growing against walls, also check your structure will be sturdy enough to support your plant.


You will need a sunny position for your plant . but if you can give a little shade to the roots this will help mimic their natural environment where they would grow up trees from the shady forest floor.


Spring and Autumn are the best times to plant.

Plant pot grown plants at the same level as they are in the pot, if they are bare root plant them with nursery line( a line of soil at the base of the stem, this is the level it was planted at in the nursery) 10cm above the ground. Firm in well water and mulch. It is important to keep the plant well watered and not allowed to dry out. When feeding choose a fertilizer high in Potassium as too much nitrogen will result in a plant full of foliage and no flowers.


Newly planted young plants can take a couple of years to flower so be patient, keep your plants well watered and prune twice a year Cut back the long whippy growth to 5 or six leaves  after flowering in July/August then in winter January/February cut these stems back to 2-3 buds.


With the correct preparation and care your wisteria will reward you with spectacular flower displays year after year.


Forcing Rhubarb

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Forcing Rhubarb is the process of covering the crown of your plant to exclude all light and speed up growth.

You can start forcing Rhubarb from December -January, cover the crowns of your plant with straw then place a bucket or rhubarb pot on top, the clay pots look nice and traditional but can be expensive to buy a bucket works just as well.

When we exclude the light the plants natural reaction is to grow longer to find the light. You may have seen this before when seedlings grow ‘leggy’ searching for light.

The rhubarb when forced will grow long smooth stems quicker than the unforced,by keeping the rhubarb covered for approximately 8 weeks this will give you a much earlier crop, and more tender stems.

It’s important that you don’t try to force the same crown again the following year as the plant will need to recover.


Asparagus In The Ornamental Border

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Traditionally grown in the vegetable garden asparagus is greedy for both time and space and once settled it does not like to move. Asparagus requires  around 3 years before you can even start harvesting a crop and the plants can eventually grow to height of 2.0m and achieve a spread of 90cm.

If you want to grow asparagus but have limited space in your vegetable plot  it might be worth considering growing this crop in your garden beds. With its beautiful bright green foliage and fern like appearance this plant would not look out of place in your  garden borders and may be a talking point with fellow gardeners when they try to figure out what you are growing.

Asparagus does not like to be moved so make sure you chose the right place for them, a sunny position is best, but make sure you can access them so you will be able to harvest the spears.

You can grow asparagus  from crowns and these can be planted in spring into fertile well drained soil, you can incorporate some well rotted manure before planting to improve the soil.

Asparagus prefer a ph of 6.5-7.5 so if you have an acidic soil a dressing of lime is advised. The plants are relatively easy to look after a general fertilizer such as growmore in March make sure to keep the plants well watered throughout summer, however do take care when weeding as they have very shallow roots and these can be easily damaged with a hoe, so if in the you can weeding by hand is best. In the Autumn cut back any old or yellowing growth and give them a mulch with some well rotted manure.

Now you have your plants you will want to enjoy your crop.

The basic guidelines are

Do not harvest for the first 2 years as this enables the plants to establish.

In the 3rd year you can harvest for 6 weeks from mid April.

The following years you have a harvest season of 8 weeks from mid April.

You harvest the spears when they are around 18cm tall and using a sharp knife cut them back to around 2.5cm under the soil.

So if you have run out of space in your vegetable plot and are looking to fill your borders with something different try a little bit of edible/ornamental planting.

Colour in the garden in February

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Colour in the garden in February

February might be cold, wet and dull but in the garden you can still find plenty or colour. The GardenAdvice team have come up with a few ideas on plants to increase the colour in your garden.


White snowdrops – Galanthus ‘Ailwyn’

How to grow cultivation
Grow in humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil that does not dry out in summer in sun or partial shade. See snowdrop cultivation
Propagate by seed sown in containers in an open frame when ripe or by division when foliage dies back. Seed may not come true
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Banks and Slopes Flower borders and beds Garden Edging Low Maintenance Underplanting of Roses and Shrubs City & Courtyard Gardens Cottage & Informal Garden Patio & Container Plants Rock Garden


Red stem cornus – Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’

How to grow cultivation
Will grow in most soil conditions in sun or partial shade
Propagate by hardwood cuttings
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Low Maintenance


Yellow aconite – Eranthis hyemalis

How to grow cultivation
Grow in a humus-rich, moderately fertile soil that doesnt dry out. Tolerates most soil types but does best in alkaline soils
Propagate by seed, sown in pots in a cold frame in late spring or separate tubers in late spring after flowering. Dry tubers may not establish well
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Flower borders and beds Ground Cover Underplanting of Roses and Shrubs Cottage & Informal Garden


Red and white hellebore – Helleborus

How to grow cultivation
Often forced for earlier flowering and sold for indoor or outdoor Christmas display. Place in a cool place indoors and after flowering gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions before planting out in the garden. Thrives in neutral to alkaline soils that are moist, fertile and humus-rich. Partial shade is ideal but can tolerate full sun if the soil is not prone to drying out. Provide shelter from strong, cold winds. Mulch annually in autumn.

Divide mature clumps in spring after flowering or in early autumn

Suggested planting locations and garden types
Flower borders and beds Underplanting of Roses and Shrubs City & Courtyard Gardens Coastal Cottage & Informal Garden Rock Garden Patio & Container Plants



Getting the most from your cold Greenhouse

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

If you are about to invest or already have invested in a greenhouse then its worth spending some time considering how you can extend its use. Most people figure they can grow summer crops in your glasshouse such tomatoes and cucumbers but with some planning and help from the GardenAdvice team even with a cold unheated greenhouse you can dramatically extend its use

Here are GardenAdvice recommended crops for year around interest and crops in a cold greenhouse

Forcing crops – in late winter you can use your greenhouse to force Rhubarb dig up some Rhubarb crowns pots then up cover them with a black bucket and place them in your glasshouse and within a couple of weeks you will have some forced rhubarb stems. Other crops you can try are forced chicory from its roots in the same way as rhubarb.

Winter flowers – In the summer starting a few stocks in a pot or in your greenhouse beds will provide a few flowers you can cut in the winter.

Early spring flowers – by potting up a few spring bulbs you can create some early season flowers, Try some crocus, Daffodils, Snowdrops and tulips.

Early season crops with hot beds – its easy to make a hotbed in the greenhouse using a raised bed and some fresh horse manure to raise the temperature to grow some winter salad leaves.

Late season flowers – Poor Man’s Orchid, Schizanthus easy to grow and a great show of colour. Spray or single bloom chrysanthemums. Both these flowers can be started outside in pots and moved inside as your tomato plants start to die back ready for flowering.

Crops for summer – together with your summer tomatoes and cucumbers you can grow can grow some grapes, with the plants planted outside and grown into the greenhouse and trained along inside the roof grape vines will also provide some additional shade in the summer. Another interesting crop to try is melons

For some advice on Greenhouse for sale and on particular crops contact the GardenAdvice team

Lawns with moss and shade – Gardening Advice

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Two of the most common questions the GardenAdvice Team receive on lawns are about shade and moss 

Moss on lawns – often moss it not caused by bad drainage allow its often a combination of heavy soils and incorrect pH with the soil to acid or too alkaline – moss points to it being to acid. Although fine grasses need a slightly lower soil pH at a certain point the soil pH becomes to low or to high and suits mosses so they are able to access the nutrients and grass struggles to do so resulting in thinning grass and more moss growth. 

scarification can be used to remove moss but again it comes down again to soil pH the purpose of scarification is to remove thatch created from moss or dead grass and to encourage more grass shoots but if the soil pH is correct the natural bacteria etc in the soil should break down the thatch and save you the job of scarification. 

Lawns in Shade – With regards to the shade areas created by trees we normally recommend overseeing these areas of lawn in the spring or the autumn with Fescue ruby or Poa pratensis. These grasses are better suited to shade conditions. In addition we recommend cutting the grass slightly higher in shady area because less light is available to help it recover. 

Or if its a really shady area you might consider creating a lawn from Micro Clover. 

For the perfect lawn why not join our MyGardenTeam service