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Planning a new garden pond then get your Heron in early

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

If you are planning to build a new garden pond with some fish then your first move should be to establish a statue of a heron ideally even before you start digging the pond. A Heron can clean out your pond of fish within a matter of hours but they are very territorial and will not normally intrude on other herons patch so by adding a statue of a heron before you add the fish serves as a mark that your pond is taken already by an existing heron.

If you have already suffered an attack by a heron on your fish it’s often too late to add a heron statue to discourage further attacks

Controlling ground elder thats taken over your garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

Controlling ground elder in your garden once it has a hold can be a real problem. If you do not wish to use chemical weedkiller to control it smothering  it with a good quality ground sheeting can be a good method of controlling it but it does take time and persistence 

  • dig up most of the perennial plants you wish to save and pot them up trying to remove most of the ground elder around the roots.
  • Then apply a ground sheeting onto the beds and cover with bark cutting it around the existing shrubs here is a link https://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/blog/installing-ground-sheeting-to-help-prevent-weed-in-your-garden/
  • It’s important the ground sheeting is woven and does not allow light through and with the bark we normally try to arrange local wood chips which have been composted to save people money as bark can be quite expensive on larger areas.
  • This means the ground elder just grows around the edges of the sheeting and means you have to keep weeding these are or just cutting it back so it losses energy then after a year you can replant through the ground sheeting with the new plants or the plants you have saved
  • With the plants you have saved in the pots you should keep weeding them
  • When weeding the ground elder it’s pointless trying to remove the roots but as long as you keep removing the foliage the ground elder will become week and will die back

If you have any question on ground elder control or just need some general advice click here for our gardening advice service.

6 Benefits of Regular Tree Trimming and Removal

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Being a homeowner comes with many responsibilities. You need to keep the environment beautiful and clean throughout. You need tree services because trimming the trees is one of the things you must do every after a few weeks. It ensures that your compound is clean and members of your family are assured of your safety. Notice that when trees are well maintained, they establish elegance and grow healthier. In this post, we look at the benefits of trimming trees.

1. The trees become healthy

When you make it a habit to trim your trees regularly, they grow healthier. Trimming removes branches with diseases and stops them from spreading to other parts of the plant. When you remove the small branches, they no longer compete for food with the bigger ones. The remaining branches grow stronger and can withstand the storm.

2. It adds value to the environment

Trimming trees helps to add value to the environment. It allows branches to grow uniformly giving the tree a good appearance. It adds value to the environment. Also, it helps the trees to maintain good, nice shape and more appealing to visitors. It increases the value of your home.

3. It helps to detect diseases

When you trim trees regularly, you will be able to detect diseases that eat them up. Early detection of the diseases gives you time to look for a specialist in treating and preventing the diseases from spreading to other trees.

4. Can damaging your property. 

Letting tree branches to hang over your home is dangerous and can be fatal when it is stormy. Strong winds can force a branch to break and slam it onto the house. Also, when the branches burry themselves into the shingles, they may cause roof leaks. To avoid damage to the property, it is necessary that you trim the trees often. 

 

 

 

5. For safety reason

When you don’t trim trees, the branches add a lot of weight to the stem. When they are uprooted they may damage power lines and other utilities. Also, they may injure people who are around them. Cracked and hanging trees can fall and injure people on your property. So trimming them reduces liability associated with such accidents.  Note that when trees destroy utility such as power lines, the tree owner will be required to repair the lines at their own expenses. This could be expensive. 

6. Improves productivity of the tree

If you have planted trees for harvesting fruits for domestic or commercial purposes it is necessary you ensure that they are trimmed regularly.  It helps to increase both the quality and the size of the fruits. Trees with fewer branches are healthier. Also, the fruits have enough food; thus they increase in both quality and quantity.

From this discussion, it is clear that the benefits of pruning trees are many and varied. Pruned trees increase the aesthetic value of the home and make it safer. Also, regular trimming of trees can help you identify plants that are infested with diseases and eliminate them. Lastly, trimming reduces accidents and makes trees produce quality fruits.  

 

Lawn Care Secrets: How to Prepare Your Yard for Spring

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Many homeowners and gardeners wait until late spring or the start of summer before getting the lawn in good condition. To ensure a healthy and vibrant lawn, you should be maintaining it all year round and start preparing it in early spring. Having a well-maintained garden throughout the year will mean you can spend more time relaxing when the sun is shining. We have put together some advice for those looking to get a head start on the perfect spring lawn.

Getting Started

Many lawns get neglected in the winter months as we use it far less, and most naturally lose interest in maintaining it. Before you start preparing the grass for the summer remove all leaves and debris which may have accumulated. Any children’s toys should have been kept off the lawn in wintertime as dead spots will appear when the grass cannot get consistent light. Before getting the lawn mower out, you should re-define the grass edges and break up compacted soil on the flower beds around the lawn. 

Let the Lawn Breathe

A common problem a gardener will need to address is thatching, and this is when dead stems and grass has compacted and acts as a thatch roof over the soil. Thatching will severely hinder the grass’ ability to breathe and get sunlight. You can get a specific tool from a garden centre so you can lightly rake the thatch off without causing harm to the grass. Keeping control of thatching is crucial for a healthy lawn. Eliminating the thatch in early spring will give the lawn the best chance of being healthy and vibrant when you start to sit outside in warmer times. 

Seed Sparse Areas

During times when the ground is cold, wet and having regular frost, the grass will go into a hibernation mode. When grass is in hibernation mode it will not seed so every lawn will suffer from some sparse areas that will need reseeding. Before scattering seed make sure you have removed the thatch build up and have mowed the yard, so the seed won’t be in the shadows. Choosing what grass seed to grow will depend on where you live and how you use your lawn. Never start to seed a lawn if there is still a risk of frost or if heavy rain is forecast. 

Regular Mowing

In the summertime, it is a common sight to see everyone mowing their lawns; in cooler times we tend to overlook mowing. The types of people who are keen to mow their lawns are intriguing, men turn out to be less inclined to mow as they get older, but women show the opposite trait. Those ladies and gentlemen who do want an attractive summer lawn should start rolling up their sleeves when the grass is dry, and regularly trim if the lawn is dry enough for a mower to cut. In the springtime, heavy rainfall can be a common occurrence so do not cut the grass too short, check your packaging for guidelines. As the temperatures rise you can start to lower the cut height a little as long grass in hot spells will dry out and die very quickly. 

Give Grass a Drink

Watering your lawn is not just for the warm times; grass needs a drink all year round. For many, the watering aspect is catered for naturally with rainfall in autumn through to spring. High winds and a few dry days can mean you will need to start helping with watering the lawn. Don’t get the hosepipe out until you have fixed the issues mentioned above, watering before getting the lawn ready will not support the growth of the grass. The type of grass, your location and weather conditions will determine how much you should water the grass. If there is no rainfall it is good practice to water every few days – don’t soak the grass, just give it a good drink. 

Fertilizing Before Summer

Knowing when, or if, to fertilize a lawn is a contentious issue in the horticultural community. In early spring your grass is focussed on developing its roots systems and use all the resources to achieve that. When we add fertilizer, we are asking the grass to concentrate on blade growth so fertilizing too early may damage the roots systems. Wait until late spring before using any fertilizer as this is when the grass will start to use its energy to promote blade growth, only one dose of fertilizer will be enough. Using fertilizer before the rain will help to circulate the nutrients down to the roots for the grass to feed on. 

By paying attention to what your lawn needs you can limit the workload and have more time to enjoy the garden. When weeds pop up, it should be taken care of promptly rather than letting it spread across the lawn. Keep bikes, toys and other garden furniture off the grass when not in use to prevent dead spots. Mowing the lawn should be done as late as possible before winter and as soon as it is dry enough in spring. By following these few common-sense suggestions, you can have a garden that is safe and enjoyable for the family to enjoy, weather permitting.

Installing ground sheeting to help prevent weed in your garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Currently on the market lots of different ground sheeting is available for the use of preventing weed growth. Unfortunately a lot of the ground sheeting products on the market at present are not fit for purpose as they are to thin allowing light through which in turn allows the more invasive weeds to grow through the sheeting such as ground elder. 

The best weed sheeting is a woven product which does not allow light through. It comes is different widths and is easy to cut to shape with scissors. 

https://www.toolstation.com/search?q=Heavy%20Duty%20Landscape%20Fabric

When laying ground sheet laying ground sheeting it should be over lapped by 100mm and held dow with pegs which will hold it in place before the fabric is cover with a bark much or any other covering. 

Although you can buy pegs for the purpose they can be expensive considering the numbers that will be required. Its better to buy a roll of wire and cut it into 200 lengths to create pegs which can be pushed through the ground sheeting. 

https://www.screwfix.com/p/apollo-2-5mm-galvanised-garden-wire-25m/57999

Before installing the ground sheeting its a good idea to spread a general garden fertiliser such as Growmore about a handful per meter in the areas that planting is going to take place. 

https://www.diy.com/departments/westland-growmore-granular-garden-fertiliser-10kg/1318588_BQ.prd

Also before installing the ground sheeting its worth considering laying some soaker hose under the sheeting in the areas that will be planted up. The hozelock soaker pipe is especially useful because because you can use the control at the start of the hose to regulate the water flow. 

https://www.toolstation.com/hozelock-soaker-hose/p13349

Considering an artificial lawns Micro Clover might be the answer

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

With the changing climate and gardens becoming small the pressures on the modern day lawn are growing !! Climate change means that lawns are either very wet or very dry which has a couple of effects firstly the lawn losses its colour in the summer and secondly if you lawn gets a lot of use with children then its going to get worn out and not recover quickly.

Faced with these lawn problems a lot of people have opted to install artificial turf or astro turf. Whilst this is a good solution it can be expensive and cause a few unexpected problems for example if you have a dog the smell created by the dog never seems to leave artificial turf as artificial lawns have no bacterial to breakdown dog waste.

One solution the GardenAdvice teams have been developing over the last few years is to install or oversees existing lawns with micro clover. This is a clover often found in patches in lawn but used as a covering plant species it makes a great lawn whilst you will loose the striping effect when you cut the lawn clover it will hold its colour in the summer and will recover from wear in a wide range of conditions including wet and dry spells of weather.

 Clover also has the additional advantage of producing its own nitrogen feed by teaming up with soil bacteria known as rhizobia which can live in nodules on the clover roots. Rhizobia take nitrogen gas (N2) from the air and convert it through a series of steps into forms of nitrogen (such as ammonium and nitrate) that can be used by clover to support growth. 

Short courses for gardening from GardenAdvice

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Short courses from the GardenAdvice team on practical gardening run in your own garden for you by the GardenAdvice experts plus you can also invite up to 12 of your friends or family along at no additional charge . Our courses are designed to provide you with an introduction to gardening and how to develop your garden with the help of the GardenAdvice  expert gardeners.

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

Click Here for further information on our one day gardening courses 

 

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 –

 

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 and basic garden 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 

Many of the people undertaking the GardenAdvice short gardening courses go on to undertake further courses in part time education such as the RHS garden certification courses which qualifies them to to undertake a wide range of jobs and positions within the horticultural industry such as working as a gardener in a botanical garden.

One day GardenAdvice gardening Workshop for beginners – North London 17th March 2019 

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

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

Join us for a one day gardening workshop at Capel Manor gardens this Sunday with the GardenAdvice gardening school team.

For further details click here

https://www.emptychair.com/classes/arts-and-crafts/plants/one-day-gardening-workshop-for-beginners–1001

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 to become a good gardener. in your own private garden.

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

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

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 and basic garden 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

Available as a gift voucher if you wish to give a present to a friend or family member.

Why should we buy ‘Peat Free’ products for your garden.

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon

 

Peat is formed over thousands of years by decaying vegetation, it is unique to bogs and peat lands and is one of the biggest sinks for carbon. When Peat is harvested this carbon is released into the environment and contributes to global warming

As a carbon store peat holds more carbon than the combined forests of Britain, France and Germany, it is beneficial to wildlife as many rare species inhabit peatland, for water management peat holds up to 20 times its own weight in water and and helps control flooding, peat can also preserve vegetation, landscapes and people that arechaeologist can use to study our past.

Peat reforms at a rate of 1mm a year  this is a limited resource, so we need to look at alternatives. The  3 main uses of peat in the garden are as soil improver, improving structure and draining in sandy and clay soils, as a growing medium for seed sowing and planting and as a garden mulch although it dries out quickly and can be blown off the soil surface.

Some alternatives that are available are.

As a soil improver,

Well rotted garden compost,

Composted bark or wood chippings

Farmyard manure this can be used on soil in autumn and weathered and broken down over the winter.

Leaf mold, if you have the space fallen autumn leaves can be collected and placed in wire bins and left to rot down for a couple of years, this can then be sieved and added to the soil.

As a growing medium

Well rotted sieved garden compost, can be used to make a potting mix but as you can not be sure of the nutrients it contains you may need to add fertilisers.

Composted bark, this is usually composted forest products like bark and sawdust and if this is well composted it will provide a structure very similar to peat, however it may be difficult to know the nutrient content.

Coir, this is a by product of the coconut industry and has become very popular as a substitute for peat, when left to rot down it can act in the same way as peat improving drainage and water retention.

As a mulch

Organic garden materials such as  manure, grass clippings, leafmould, bark, straw or stalky material etc.

Non-organic materials such as black polythene, stone chippings or crushed slate etc.

Dalefoot composts have developed a natural alternative to peat based composts using a mix of wool and bracken, the bracken contains high levels of potash which is essential for all fruiting and flowering plants, the sheeps wool ensures good moisture retentiveness due to its natural hygroscopic qualities, as the wool breaks down it releases  nitrogen acting as a slow release fertiliser. They have a range of composts available including mixes for bulbs, vegetables and seeds plus a soil improver for clay soils. Dalefoot compost are produced in the uk and can be delivered directly to your home.

If you are looking at ways to garden more sustainably, reducing or cutting out peat and trying some of the alternatives can really help to  slow down the destruction of peat areas and reduce carbon emissions into the environment.

 

Wildflowers in your garden to add a splash of informal colour

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon

 

We would all like to encourage beneficial insects into our garden and one of the easiest ways we can do this is to grow wildflowers.

Wildflowers are plants that are uncultivated and are found growing in the wild.

Wildflowers can be incorporated into existing borders or sown in large swathes or meadows. Different flowers need different care so this is something you will need to think about when choosing your plants,it can be difficult to choose as there are so many different mixes available.

Wildflowers are available to buy in different ways, you can buy seed mixes, plug plants or as a turf with wildflowers seed already sown into it.

What types of wildflower are there.

Annual Wildflowers

Cornflower

Field poppies

Corn marigold

Annual wildflowers are usually very colourful but they will only last a growing season, they take around 8-12 weeks to flower but they do put on a colourful display, annuals will die back with the first frosts, they do however self seed very freely.  You can harvest seed to sow the following year.

Perennial wildflowers

Ox eye daisy

Red campion

Meadow buttercups

Perennial wildflowers differ from annuals as they will continue growing year after year, they may not be as showy as the annuals but they are reliable, these are best grown from plug plants and a huge selection is available from plants for shady spaces to plants that will grow on the side of a pond.  Cut back perennial wildflowers in Autumn and they will grow again in spring.

Biennials

Foxgloves

Hollyhocks

Forget me nots

There is another group of wildflower plant and these are biennials, these plants flower every other year, producing green leafy growth in one growing season and flowering the following year, they can be raised from seed or plug plants

 

If you’re looking for a fun way to sow seed maybe you could try seedballs, these are clayballs that contain a mix of wildflower seeds, peat free compost and paprika ( to keep the slugs and snails off), you simply scatter these onto prepared soil, keep watered and within a couple of weeks they should start to germinate, these can be great in pots or window boxes if you don’t have a garden and will help to provide food for bees and butterflies.