Quick Links
Expert supplier Media Clips Info Sheet Expert Advice

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.

 

Kew Gardens rips off members with change in arrangements with partner gardens.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

With less than less than 3 months notice Kew Gardens changes it rules for members so you now have to pay to gain access to a kew  partnership gardens. Kew Garden are tell members that the free access to partnership gardens is still free as long you purchase a ticket for a friend.  Lots of people purchase Kew Gardens membership to visit Kews partnership gardens so they do not have to pay every time they enter.  Whilst Kew Gardens might be within the rights they have to change membership access to partner garden providing less than 3 months notice to people who have purchase 12 months membership seems I little unfair. But it support the Kew Gardens corporate culture in that members and visitors are seen as an inconvenience  and something that has to tolerated to gain access to massive amount of public assistance through Government hand outs and grant.

The Kew Gardens Email

We are writing to let you know about a change to a membership benefit. Free entry to our partner gardens is changing. From 1 June 2019, members of Kew and Wakehurst will be entitled to 2 for 1 access to partner gardens (listed below) when purchasing an adult or concession ticket*. This replaces the current arrangement where members of Kew and Wakehurst have free entry to partner gardens.

   

Our partner gardens are:

  • Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
  • Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Benmore, Dawyck, Logan Botanic Gardens
  • Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum
  • Castle Howard Grounds
  • Ness Botanic Gardens
  • Holehird Gardens / Lakeland Horticultural Society
  • Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

The Differences in Temporary and Permanent Greenhouses

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

There are different types of greenhouses. Some people mistakenly think that you can grow different varieties of crop in one greenhouse. The truth is, the type of greenhouse you choose will depend on a couple of factors:

  • What you plan to grow
  • Your situation

Different plants require different environments in order to grow and thrive. You can therefore opt for the type of greenhouse that most suits your needs depending on what you plan to do with it.

Types of Greenhouses

There are two types of greenhouses: permanent and temporary. The type you need will depend on whether you want to do a lot or relatively little with it.ary greenhouse does not require a hefty investment since you may not be able to do as much with it as you would with a permanent one.

Temporary Greenhouses

If you indulge in gardening more as a hobby than a business meant to bring in profits, the temporary greenhouse may be a good fit for you. They are best suited for:

  • Using it during the wintry seasons to protect delicate plants
  • Growing crops when the ground is covered in frost

When the conditions are back to being favourable for crops, you can dismantle your structure and pack it away for next time. Temporary greenhouses are not as big as the permanent ones as there is no need for them to be spacious.

Some of the structures may have frames made of steel or pole but the covering is film. They are easy and quick to put up and equally easy to dismantle. Manufacturers will advise you to have their covers removed before the high winds strike because they have no wind or snow loads.

Benefits

  • Very affordable
  • Can be put up for temporary use when needed
  • They are portable

Temporary greenhouses are not built for harsh weather and they do not last very long.

Permanent Greenhouses

There are two great reasons for opting to go with the permanent greenhouse:

  • You want to make some money
  • You plan to grow crops that do well in your geographical location

These structures are pricier than their temporary counterparts but people tend to choose them because with good management, they will give better service. Moreover, you can grow a wider variety of crops including exotic ones and they have a lot more space.

The quality is also better because the frame is bolted together. Also, the material used such as glass or polycarbonate is a lot sturdier than film. A permanent greenhouse of good quality will have snow and wind load.

While a temporary greenhouse may not require a permit to install, many permanent ones do.

Benefits

  • They are sturdier and therefore last much longer
  • They have more room and can accommodate more plants
  • They can be a means to earn extra money

The ground for installing a permanent greenhouse requires some preparation as a base or foundation is needed. You are well advised to let a professional handle the installation. The warranty ranges from one year to a limited lifetime warranty depending on the greenhouse.

Conclusion

Temporary greenhouses as well as varieties of the smaller permanent ones are easy to move. However, it is not advisable to move them often as that may make them weak. If you must move your small permanent greenhouse, disassemble it and mark each piece clearly for reassembly.

 

Pesticides in the garden – Try to avoid using pesticides if you can

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon

 

Any one that has a garden knows that you will always have unwanted visitors, from snails and slugs chomping on  fresh new growth to aphids and blackfly infesting our roses and vegetables. As we are becoming more aware of the long term effects of chemicals on the environment we need to start looking at different methods to control these pests,

Here are a few tips that may help.

Identify what the problem is, it’s far easier to find a solution if you know what you are dealing with.

Try to avoid using pesticides if you can.

There are lots of methods you can use to deter and get rid of pests in your garden,start with  good housekeeping, keeping your garden clean and tidy and allowing enough space for plants to grow in an area that is suited for them will give stronger plants that will be less likely to be attacked by pests, ensure that pruning, feeding and watering is carried out at the right times and that this done correctly, this will keep plants healthy, any pests can be removed by hand or even blasted off with the hose pipe (taking care not to damage the actual plant).

Use a biological control, this means introducing natural predators in your garden that will go after pests, these work really well for aphids, mealybug and slugs.

If you really need to use a pesticide, only use new products and only buy as much as you will need. Make sure you follow the instructions to minimise environmental damage and as with any chemical always store in its original container out of reach of children.

When using pesticides use correct equipment, don’t use more than recommended as it’s not going to work any faster and may cause damage to your plants and surrounding areas.  Don’t spray on windy days as the chemicals can be carried onto other plants and into water and this can be harmful to animals and birds.

When you have finished make sure you rinse everything thoroughly, do not dispose of this into the drain as it can affect the water supply, simply pour your rinsings onto the taea you treated.

You can dispose of old pesticides at a local recycling centre and empty well rinsed ready to use containers can be recycled, and concentrate containers  can be put in normal domestic waste.

Have a go with the non chemical treatment for pests and see what works best for you not only will you save money you will help to save the environment too.

 

How to select and care for houseplants

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon

House plants in the home not only add to the overall look and feel of your home they can also have many benefits that we might not realise.

Choosing plants.

There is a lot of choice in garden centres  and supermarkets so how can you choose the right plant for you and your space. Here are few questions to ask yourself when selecting a plant.

 

Do I want the plant to look good all year round?

Chose foliage plants if you are looking for a year round display, plants such as ferns and palms do well. If you are looking for something just to bring a little colour for a short period orchids and bromeliads are easily available.

 

How much time do I have to look after my plants?

If you live a busy 24/7 lifestyle easy care is a must, Mother in laws tongue and succulents are good choices.

 

Where will the plant be placed?

Think about what room it is for, somewhere with high humidity like a bathroom would suit a croton, where as a shady room would be ideal for the double z plant.

 

What do plants need?

Plants have 6 basic requirements, and if you get these all in balance then your plant will thrive.

WALNUTS…

Water

Air

Light

Nutrients

Temperature

Soil/Space

If your plant starts to look poorly you should check you are getting these right first.

 

Plants for a specific purpose.

Purifying air,

Plants are natural air purifiers and can absorb chemicals from the air such as formaldehyde and benzene that are released from things like paint, cigarettes and solvents.

Some of the top air purifying plants are

Mother in laws tongue

Peace lily

Spider plants

 

Reduce stress

Many studies show that if you have plants on or near your desk at work can reduce stress and improve productivity, some have even shown that they can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory problems.

 

Aid sleep

Certain plants in your bedroom such as Jasmine and Lavender can have a gentle soothing effect at bedtime.

 

Improve mood and wellbeing

Plants stimulate all our senses with bright flowers, colourful foliage, beautiful scent and velvety leaves, a plant creates an inviting and welcoming space to be in, looking after nurturing your plants and watching them grow can be very rewarding.

 

Caring for your plants.

Watering there is no rule for watering  house plants, some like lots others like hardly any and this is where most people go wrong, you want to see your plant grow so you water and water and then end up with a dead plant, this is where it is important that you do a little research and look at how the plant would grow naturally and try to adapt your watering schedule accordingly, a desert plant like a cactus should not need more than a few spoons of water through the summer and virtually nothing over winter.

 

Feeding, It’s always good to give your plants a little boost especially over their growing period of spring and summer, but don’t over do it, too much can burn the plant as it will not be able to process the nutrients quick enough, every couple of weeks is usually enough but always follow the directions.

 

Position, make sure your plant is in the right position most houseplants dislike direct sunlight but they all require some natural light so rooms without windows and hallways can be challenging for plants. Think about temperature too, most house plants require an even constant temperature, central heating and air conditioning blasting on a plant can have a negative effect. Make sure your plants have enough space to grow if they are constantly being brushed by people and pets the leaves can become damaged and unsightly.

Cleaning and dusting, it is really important to keep your plants clean and dust free,plants have small pores on their leaves that they ‘breathe’ through so it’s important to keep these clear,  and is simply done with a damp lint free cloth, it’s an activity that is often neglected but very satisfying to do.

 

Growing Media, make sure that your plants are growing in the correct type of soil, a succulent such as a money plant will need a free draining compost and will rot away if planted in a water retaining multi purpose type compost, again a little research will help you find the right mix. Hydroponic ways of growing are becoming popular and this has a lot of benefits of being able to know the amount of water and nutrients your plants are receiving, as they are grown without soil they are much cleaner.

 

Now that you have been looking after your house plants and they are growing you could be faced with the problem that they are getting too big, it’s really easy to pot them on into larger pots, or you may want to think about dividing them up into smaller plants that you will be able to pass on to friends and family.

If you’re feeling adventurous you may want to start propagating your favourite house plants, Geraniums for example can be grown easily from cuttings that can be taken in spring and by summer you will have an established plant, Mother in laws tongue can be propagated by cutting off the tip and placing that in a  pot of loose compost, begonia rex, can be propagated by leaf cutting, with a tradescantia you can cut off the shoots and leave these in a glass of water for a couple of weeks until they sprout roots which can then be transplanted into pots, the spider plant and probably the easiest of all produces little plantlets than can be easily removed  placed in a pot and then grown on.

 

All you really need to get started with your house plants is a little knowledge, a little time for their care and some patience, remember there will be casualties along the way but that may be because they are just not suited to the environment and not through anything you are doing wrong, try again with a different plant.

 

How to Renovate Your Kitchen more effectively

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

A kitchen is an important space in a home or apartment. As food is an essential part of living, people spend a lot of time in the kitchen experimenting with new cuisines and recipes to satisfy their palate. Therefore, it deserves a makeover occasionally so that the enthusiasm for cooking remains alive. Here are a few steps with which you can completely change the look of your kitchen.

Change your worktop:

There are various different kinds of worktops out there that have their own features and perks. You could give your kitchen a complete makeover by changing the material of your worktop. A porcelain worktop is ideal for a kitchen, as it is stain and scratch resistant. It can withstand wine or even bleach spills and be completely unaffected. It is also easy to maintain, as it does not require resealing every few years.

Porcelain worktop is a hygienic choice, as it is resistant to bacteria and mildew, ensuring that your kitchen is always clean and bacteria-free. Neolith is an excellent choice for a kitchen worktop because it is resistant to UV rays, which makes it a hygienic material for a worktop. The thing that makes neolith worktops the right choice for a makeover of your kitchen is that the installation does not require the demolition of the previous worktop. In addition, it is heat resistant; no amount of blow-torching will leave any mark on the surface.

Change the colour scheme and the texture:

Changing the colour scheme of your kitchen will give it a completely transformed look and brighten up the cooking area. The choice of colours is important, as certain dark colours like blue and purple could darken your kitchen. Lighter shades add freshness and a cheerful vibe to your kitchen. Neolith comes in a variety of different patterns and finishes and helps bring out the colour and aura of the kitchen. Neolith Estatuario and Neolith Calacatta may look similar from afar but their patterns vary completely. The vein patterns running through both the tiles are different and add a level of sophistication to your worktop. Neolith Iron Copper has a dark brown tinge and gives a matured look to your worktop.

Replace hardware:

You could change the look of your kitchen by changing its hardware. Choose a different style of door knob or faucet to give your kitchen a new look. Small changes, such as a door or cabinet knob, could change the vibe of a kitchen into something new and attractive.

Change the lights:

The light scheme is an important part of interior designing and the selection of lights changes the look of the space drastically. Changing the lights will be the perfect way to give your kitchen a makeover. A bright kitchen tends to improve the aura of space, so changing the lights will make your kitchen warmer and more positive. It is important to blend the worktop with the colour scheme of the kitchen. Neolith Bianco Carrara imitates the Carrara marble, which is where it gets its name from. It adds a classy look to your kitchen and gives it a completely new look under the new lights.