Quick Links
Expert supplier Media Clips Info Sheet Expert Advice

Designing a long narrow garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

With a long narrow garden, it can be quite difficult to see how you can create interest particularly if the garden is all on the same level. However, there are a few very effective techniques for creating interest the first being to compartmentalise the garden into different areas.

Compartmentalising simply means to divide the garden up into different areas either formal or informal. Traditionally a formal compartmentalise garden such as Hidcote Gardens in Gloucestershire would be compartment using solid hedges such as yew or privet.

However, the same effect can be achieved with an unstructured technique to compartmentalise the garden using structural planting with plants such as choisya ternata and structural trees such as Amelanchier Robin Hill combined with defining the borders and edging of the lawn, for example with brick edgings as seen in this drawing.

To design such a garden you should start by working out the positions of the most interesting spots from the house or patio and the rear of the garden, Mark these areas with canes and imagine these will be the structural plants. Next, you can work out the shape of the borders, patio and if needed a grass or lawn area.

It is useful to peg out the border shapes etc with garden canes and garden string. This will give you a good idea about how the garden could look once finished with regards to the structure.

With regards to details on plants etc your MyGardenTeam gardening expert on the MyGardenTeam will be able to help you with the selection and design with regards to plants.

Planting ideas for outdoor tubs and pots

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe
Skimmia Rubella – great for winter colour

Planting ideas for outdoor tubs and pots to create colour and interested in different seasons through the year.

Ideally you need to focus your main plants in a tube or pot on a certain time of year to gain maximum effect. However to add interest through the year you can use secondary planting with small plants such as Iris reticulata to extend the seasonal interest. The following combination of plants combined can create colour and interest in your pots and tubs through the year.

Winter Scent – daphne auto marginata and Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Purple Stem’ both these plants provide fantastic scent in winter which is great to come home to on a damp wet day. 

Summer Scent – with tubs etc summer scent is often best achieved with wall shrubs trained on trellis or directly on the wall. Examples include trachelospermum jasminoides, cytisus battandieri, and clematis armandii.  

Winter colour – One of the best plants for winter colour is Skimmia rubella with its colourful flowers and berries. 

Summer colour – too many plants to choose from but have a look at ceanothus, Spiraea japonica Goldflame and cistus silver pink. 

Plants to use with the above to add more Seasonal colour – all the above plants will be the feature plants but you can add additional plants to extend the colour and interest in the tubs or pots. Examples are 

Iris reticulata – early season colour 

dicentra spectabilis – early season colour 

cyclamen hederifolium – low late season colour 

Colchicum autumnale – surprise autumn colour

Tulips and crocus – great for spring colour 

Clematis jackmanii – growing through the existing plants

Are slot tournaments a thing?

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Slot tournaments, although the concept seems unlikely, are indeed a thing. And when you think more about what it might entail, the idea becomes an exciting, thrilling, if unusual one. There are competitions in which people play slots and wherein they can win prizes. The interesting thing to note is that these tournaments are popular, and becoming more so evert day. 

In order to enter this kind of competition, you are going to need to pay an entry fee. However, when you think about the fact that you would have had to pay to play the slot anyway, this shouldn’t be a barrier to entry.

The fees do vary, but there are enough slot tournaments and competitions around to mean you can find one that suits your budget properly. And remember, the prizes tend to be better than you would normally find (because you have a fair chance of winning!). The more players involved, the higher the prize will usually be, so take this into account when looking for a game to play at Thor Slots.

What To Search For In A Slot Tournament

The perfect slot competitions for players are those with progressive jackpots. The prizes for these games are bigger than other tournaments because the vast majority of the entry fee is employed in the prizes. The drawback to this particular concept, obviously, is the grand prize is going be reduced if generally there are not lots of players entered into the tournament. 

If you want to feel confident in entering a competition you need to practice. Although slots are, of course, random (that’s kind of the point of them and what makes them so entertaining), it is also helpful to understand precisely how they work and what you have to watch away for so you understand exactly how well you’re doing in the game itself.   

It is also a good option to have a budget when it comes to entering slots tournaments. You might pay far too much because you find lots that you want to play in, and that is just as bad as spending a lot of money on playing the games in the first place. With a budget in place, you will need to restrict yourself. This is useful not only in terms of saving money, but also because it means you will be ‘forced’ to find the best tournaments to enter to make the most of whatever budget you have. 

How To Win A Slot Tournament

As stated before, slots are random and just can’t be predicted (they work with a random number generator (RNG) meaning every spin will be different). Therefore, there is no chance to rig cheat a tournament; that’s great news because it means you can be sure everything will be fair no matter which one you want to enter. 

You will find a few things you are able to do to maximise your chances of winning, however. They’re all above board and legal too, so there’s no need to stress or even feel guilty. Start by betting the maximum on every game you play. In a slot tournament, you just have a small quantity of time to spend all of the credits you’re allotted at the beginning of every round. As these credits do not roll over, the quicker you are able to spend them the better. 

It’s also a good idea to play the game in automatic mode if there is an option to do it. This is, once again, due to the time limits imposed in a tournament. Using this option means you are saving time. It might only be a few seconds, but those seconds could definitely count.

Funny Bingo Rewards

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Bingo is one of the most social of all gambling games and it has recently been transformed into a vibrant pastime that attracts a newer and much younger crowd.  Obviously, these new recruits to bingo come with different expectations and new demands and it’s not always cash prizes that they seek. If any gambling game can offer quirky prizes other than money, then it is bingo at mrluck.com. The very nature of this ball-based game allows for quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to rewards. 

 Bingo Flexibility Explained 

Bingo can also be used as a great fundraiser for charities and non-cash prizes, such as hampers and weekend breaks, are standard prizes that are up for grabs during such events. The game can also be used as part of themed nights at pubs and this offers something different to regular customers. However, sometimes bingo throws a curve ball to its players and the results are unexpected prizes that only bingo can produce. 

Winter First Aid 

With winter approaching and the inevitable cold and flu season getting into full swing, a winter survival kit can come in handy. It’s probably something that you wouldn’t expect to win at bingo, but if you do, then expect chicken noodle soup, cough sweets, ginger candy, honey, tissues, puzzles, a blanket and a deck of cards, to be included in the kit. Then all you have to do if you win it is to sit and wait for the dreaded bug to strike. 

Animal Gifts 

Naturally, wherever you play bingo, you might expect to win a cuddly toy, although live animals are mostly off the prize menu.  However, this was not the case for a young lady from New York who won an actual cow whilst playing bingo at countryside charity bongo event. Whether the city girl kept her prize or donated it to one of her fellow players is not known, but a milking cow and city life could have proved a bit of an awkward combination. 

Adult Entertainment 

Bingo is classed as adult entertainment but only because you have to be 18 and over to gamble. However, an experiment a few years ago actually gave bingo a distinctly adult flavour in other ways. 

Anne Summers is not a name you would associate with bingo, but in July 2007 it launched its own online bingo site but with a typical Ann Summers twist added to the proceedings. The idea came about because many of the clientele at Ann Summers parties actually expressed their love for the game. This adult version of bingo came with some risqué bingo lingo and new number nicknames that were all unsuitable for a family audience. Even the prizes were adult in nature and the target audience was definitely young women. 

The bingo site was launched to coincide with the public smoking ban, which at the time was expected to affect bingo hall numbers. This never happened but the prediction that bingo would become more popular online, proved a correct call by the adult brand.

Apple tree care and general pruning rules

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Apple Trees – winter care will help you create a bumper crop in the autumn

The GardenAdvice team are often asked about apple trees by a lot of clients, the key really is to set them up in the later autumn and winter months which will generate some great fruit later in the autumn. 

Winter wash – when all the leaves have fallen and the trees are dormant you can treat the trees with a wash of vitax winter wash and a second application of jeyes fluid. This needs to be applied with a spray set to a jet so that it runs down the stems and trunks into all the cracks in the bark etc killing all the overwintering pest eggs and fungal spores which are just waiting to jump onto the new spring growth. 

Although this method is not fully organic as it’s a winter operation it will not affect any bees plus will reduce the need to treat the apple trees in the spring and summer. 

Feeding – When applying the winter wash this is a good time to apply a general fertilizer such as Growmore which is ideally as it low in nitrates and high in potash. Generally a couple of handfuls spread under the tree will be effective. 

Companion planting – in winter creating a bed around the base of the apple trees by removing some grass then sowing a few calendula officinalis and tagetes. Very easy to grow and colourful they create an area that supports lacewings which in turn eat the aphids on your apple tree. 

General pruning basics for apple trees – best carried out in late winter early spring before flowering and the spring leaf break. 

Normally an apple tree will have two types of growth. The first being the fruiting buds stems with short stubby nodes or buds about 5mm to 10mm long with rings around the base, these are the fruiting buds and these stems need leaving unless you are reshaping the apple tree because these buds are next crop of flowers and fruit. 

The second type of stem is the long thin stem normally growing straight up normally on top of the tree making it look like a spiky haircut. These need to be pruned back to about 75mm as these are summer shoots and will not flower or fruit. Some summer shoots can be left if needed to help reshape the tree.

Poinsettia care Keep you plant healthy

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Thousands of poinsettia plants are sold every year at Christmas but not many make it to a second Christmas. How to make sure you’re poinsettia survives and thrives and lives a full and healthy life.

Poinsettias plants should be kept in a well lit room away from draughts. If placed on a window ledge it should be brought into the room in the evening. when the curtains or blinds are closed to prevent it from getting a draught or suffering from damping off due to condensation on the windows forming a microclimate between the curtains/blinds and the window.

General Poinsettia care notes
The Poinsettia should not be placed near gas central heating boilers or electric heaters as the air in these areas is too dry. If this is not possible or your general have a living area with dry air it is important to place the plant on a saucer filled with gravel or pea shingle keeping the saucer damp to create a humid atmosphere around the plant. In addition you can occasionally spray your poinsettias with a fine mist of water.

If the plant is left to go slightly dryer than usual, then it can be placed in a sink with about 25mm of water so that the roots can soak up the water over a couple of hours so the whole root ball becomes damp. If watered from the top then the water may run right through the pot, as the pot is full of a mass of roots .

Once the poinsettia starts to lose colour
Once the red bracts start to lose colour the poinsettia can be cut back by up to half of its total height. If you cut back into bare stems it will start to reshoot from dormant shoots in the stems. The plant should be turned on a daily basis so it doesn’t grow or lean towards the light and become leggy. At this stage it’s worth starting to feed with a house plant food such as Baby Bio plant feed.

If your poinsettia is over two years old once it has finished flowering it will need the following treatment to keep it flourishing. Firstly it needs repotting in a plant pot one or two sizes bigger ideally using a clay pot. ( clay pots are better at creating humidity around the plant )
With regards to repotting, we recommend a soil based compost called John Innes compost number 2 compost.
When repotting it’s a good idea to check for vine weevil which can be a problem with poinsettias.

Summer light requirements
The Poinsettia needs in summer needs a good source of light after pruning to encourage new growth. Your Poinsettia can be placed outside during the summer months or in the greenhouse or conservatory, it will need to be moved back into your house in early September.

Producing new red bracts
The red bracts natural form as a result of shortening days which happens naturally. However to insure the ed bracts are formed for the traditional Christmas period it needs to be placed in a dark cupboard or covered with a black bag for about 8hrs per day for about 4-5 weeks to encourage the bracts to turn red.

Climbers and wall shrubs for a west facing wall

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe
Ceanothus ‘Concha’

Climbers for a west facing wall or fence
Clematis armandii
Trachelospermum jasminoides – Star Jasmine
Lonicera henryi – Henry’s Evergreen Honeysuckle
Ceanothus ‘Concha’
Garrya eliptica ‘James Roof’
It would also be worth growing a clematis jackmanii through through these plants to create some colour as flowers later in the year. Clematis jackmanii planted at the base of one of these plants will over the spring grow up inside the plant without harming or smothering it and flower in the late summer or early autumn adding and additional display of colour

Start planning for next year to create some colour in your garden.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Now is a great time to start to get ready for spring. Gardening is all about planning ahead at this time of year cleaning your pots and greenhouse is a great place to start. Its easy to clean pots and your green house with some Jeyes fluid and a small scrubbing brush.

Get some advice on your gardening projects https://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/gardening-courses/index.html


Time to start some Hyacinths bulbs to produce some indoor flower early next spring

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe
Time to start some Hyacinths bulbs to produce some indoor flower early next spring
How to plant and grow.
• Almost fill an 8cm (3in) pot with moist bulb fibre, and then push a bulb in gently to half its depth. If you have sensitive skin, wear washing up gloves when handling the bulbs as they release tiny, needle-shape crystals, which can irritate the skin.
• Put pots in a cool, dark place, such as a garage or shed for about ten weeks to allow the roots to grow. If you are growing more than one variety, label with its name or colour to prevent mixing different shades together.
• Check bulbs regularly and water if the compost feels dry.
• When shoots appear, wait until they are about 5cm (2in) high and arrange the three pots in an 18cm (7in) bowl.
• Fill the gaps with more bulb fibre and place in a light spot to flower.
For further advice visit Free Gardening Advice from the GardenAdvice experts https://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/advisor/freeadvice/index.html

Be Careful in the Garden – Over a Third of Household Injuries Take Place in the Garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

It may not be somewhere that seems particularly dangerous, but the garden is somewhere where accidents are incredibly common and there are a number of hazards. It is important that homeowners that have a garden are aware of these hazards and know how they can stop themselves from suffering an injury in their own backyard – read on to find out more.


The Site of Many Accidents

Accidents in the home is something that was recently researched by personal injury claims specialists the National Accident Helpline who found that 73% of the 2,000 survey respondents had injured themselves multiple times in the home in the past year alone. Interestingly, one-third (33%) of these respondents claimed to have injured themselves in their own garden (the kitchen was the only area where more accidents happened).


Types of Accidents 

So, what kind of accidents are happening in people’s own gardens? It seems that using certain objects in the garden is the most common reason with 33% involving exercise equipment, 20.5% of accidents involving a ladder, 9.7% involving a hosepipe and 9.3% involving a lawnmower. Of course, people are spending more time at home and in their gardens even in winter due to the pandemic so an injury is even more likely which is why people need to be so cautious in the garden.


Gender & Age

In terms of gender, men were slightly more likely to injure themselves in the garden with 36.8% suffering an injury in the garden compared to 30% of female respondents. Women were much more likely to injure themselves using exercise equipment, though, at 40% compared to 25% of male respondents. Age is another important aspect to consider and it was the 55-64 age group that had suffered the most injuries in the garden at 44.2% followed by 65+ at 39.3%. Interestingly, it was the younger age groups that had more injuries with exercise equipment with 18-24-year-olds (69%) and 25-34-year-olds (64%) leading the way. 



The survey also considered the location of where people lived and Bristol was the city that had the most number of people that had suffered an injury in the garden with as many as 57.1% of respondents (this could be due to the fact that gardens are more common compared to other cities). As you would expect with this statistic, Bristol is also where the most accidents involving ladders happened with 42.9%.


As you can see, the garden can be a dangerous place and people need to take great care when spending time here whether they are exercising outdoors, using a ladder, mowing the lawn or even using a hosepipe. Injuries can change many aspects of life and cause a great deal of pain and suffering, so being aware of these dangers and taking extra caution is important.