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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 

Time to feed your wisteria to get some great flowers this season

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Later January / early February is the best time to feed your wisteria to ensure some great spring flower. The feed you use does not need to be to heavy on the nitrates it needs to be a more balanced feed such as Growmore with is a granular feed easy to apply. Just lightly sprinkle a handful around the roots, the winter rains will wash the fertiliser down to the roots.

Why Should You Have Garden Pond Plants

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Every avid gardener wants to have a cool pond that is not just clean but enhances an aesthetic beauty to your home compound. You can now have some pond plants that will satisfy your urge of having a great pond.

As long as you have a pond, you will struggle with algae in it and this is the main importance of getting plants in it; they will combat it successful. But how should you clean up your pond when preparing to plant these pond plants? Here are some tips.

Pond Cleaning Tips Before Having Your Pond Plants

  • Removing any decaying foliage – any foliage that could be leaning into your pond is definitely spoiling the water. Besides, it becomes a major catalyst for the growth of algae. That’s why removing them before having the next pond plants is crucial.
  • Keep the pond neat and orderly – this ensures you don’t use chemicals to maintain it. When there is a lot of congestion, disorder, and foliage, you will have some headache controlling some unnecessary parasites and weeds.
  • Use a pump to ensure water is circulated and oxygenated in the pond. This movement in the water is very necessary for ensuring that your pond plants can comfortably take the nutrients.
  • Make use of filters – this ensures that your pond is not filled with sediments and other debris which can facilitate algae build up.
  • Be equipped with a good mix of pond plants ranging from those that do well in warm season to cool season to perennial plants.

Why Have Pond Plants?

There are various types of garden pond plants from which you can choose from depending on your like and preferences. You may want plants that float on your ponds like lilies or you may want the ones that submerge. There are experts that can deliver the type of plant you want right to your pond like Puddleplants in the UK. Here is why you should have pond plants:


  • To regulate the growth of algae

Algae are opportunistic plants that find their way in your pond. Although they can be a source of food to your fish, you can regulate their growth to have a well-balanced pond. Garden pond plants are one of the most effective and long lasting solutions to dealing with algae. Other mechanical and chemical methods can be expensive.


  • To filter your pond

Your pond has very high chances of having sediments and these water plants can ensure your water is filtered effectively. Similarly to the way trees filter CO2 from the natural air and release Oxygen, so do pond plants filter and intake nitrates and phosphates that algae need to grow.


  • To provide shade and good cover

These water plants provide shade that eventually limits the amount of sunlight getting into the water, nuisance algae basically require nutrients like nitrates, water, and enough sunlight for them to grow. This shade will inhibit the growth of algae.


  • To improve the quality of water

You don’t have to use chemicals to boost the quality of your fish pond. With the right garden pond plants, you can have the quality of your water improved through these plants filtration.


  • For aesthetic purpose
  • They are great in making your backyard awesome throughout the year.


It is clear that you need garden pond plants to ensure your pond is well-maintained and is free from pollution. Choose the right one for your pond. Their eco-friendliness aspect makes them the best you can ever have around your pond.  



Rejuvenating Yew and Privet hedging.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


It’s very easy to forget that hedges are plants that need looking after just like others in our garden, in fact we only really notice them when they start encroaching on our space, start dying or our neighbours start complaining. So what can we do about it?

It is possible to tame our hedges and give them new vigor. Yew and Privet respond well to quite drastic pruning technique,  however this is not for Conifers.

It is important that before you undertake any work on hedges or trees you make sure that there are no nesting birds.

The first step would be to remove half the growth on 1 side of your hedge cutting  back to just under the desired width you require approx 15-20 cm.This will then expose the dormant buds which when triggered by the light will start to produce fresh new growth, to ensure even light from top to bottom it helps to trim your hedge to a “batter” a sloping cut  that is thinner on the top. This should be done mid spring when the danger of frost has passed to avoid damaging the tender young growth. The other side of the hedge should be trimmed as normal.

It is important that we look after our hedge to ensure strong vigorous growth over the growing season, keep the  plants healthy by applying a fertilizer such as Growmore and keeping them well watered a leaky hose drip irrigation system works well.

You may notice that Ivy has started to grow around your hedging, Ivy enjoys growing on weak and unhealthy plants, remove this to reduce competition for light, water and nutrients, continue to feed and water to keep plants healthy.

The following year repeat this technique on the opposite side. Remembering to feed and water regularly.

In the third year you can address the height of the overall hedge and this should be cut back to approx 15cm-20cm below the height you require.

Rejuvenating Yew and privet hedges does not happen overnight but the satisfaction and results are well worth the wait.


Sowing guide for Moroccan inspired Vegetable beds

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Crop Sowing time
Carrots Sow outdoors April – July
Tomatoes (cherry) Sow February – March under glass, late march -April outdoors
onions Onion sets can be sown in Autumn or September – mid October.

Seed can be sown from spring when the ground has warmed up

Garlic In the ground late autumn early winter
Broad beans Seeds can be sown from early November through to early February
Peppers Sow seed indoors from late winter
Spinach Sow in February under cloches or outdoors from mid March- May
Kale Sow from March to June
Beetroot Sow from mid April-July every 2-3 weeks.
Mint Buy plants in pots and sink into ground
Coriander Sow sed early summer or use ready grown plants
Chive Sow in pots early spring or use ready grown plants
Parsley Sow outdoors from early spring to start of summer
Rosemary Best started in spring from ready grown plants
Thyme Sow in pots in early spring or use ready grown plants
Sage Sow in small pots in spring or use ready grown plants
Mixed Salad Leaves Sow continuously  every 2-3 weeks from April- September.


Conifer Hedges are set to die out in the UK

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe



Most of the conifer hedges that you see today were planted in the 70’s and 80’s they were popular plants back then and everyone wanted them. Now 30 plus years down the line it’s a different story, and it’s not surprising. These short lived plants that have been neglected for years ,rarely watered or fed, pruned too often or not enough are no longer thriving, add to this the aphid attacks that leave them vulnerable to Fungal diseases and climate change affecting our seasonal extremes it’s no wonder people are looking for alternatives.

So what can we do? To replace an established hedge like for like is a costly affair and many of us would not have the budget to even consider this.

At Garden advice we have been rejuvenating tired old conifer hedges in a new way with Yew. By removing the lower branches of the existing hedge we are able to underplant with the young Yew plants, as this starts to mature and establish over time we are able to  remove the old conifer hedging leaving a fresh new Yew Hedge in its place,, the new plants are able to tap into the Mycorrhizal network from the old conifer root systems helping to produce robust plants. Although not instant hedging this is a simple, easy and cost effective way to replace your old hedge.  


Supporting your climbing plants – its worth doing it properly climbing plants

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe




If you are considering growing some climbing plants this year its worth considering installing a good support system. Simply using thin wires and vine eyes is alright up to a certain point but consider that your climbing plants could last 50 years or more is worth investing in a more suitable plant support system. The GardenAdvice team use galvanised wire rope 4mm and 2mm with a small Turnbuckle, wire rope clamps and wire rope thimbles to guide the wire rope plus anchor hooks.  It all sounds a bit expensive but using suppliers such as toolstation.com it costs around £6 for a small plant such as a clematis and £15 for a larger plant such as a wisteria. 

The good and the bad with snow and your plants 

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The good about snow – if you have a number of plants that start growing early in the spring such as Crocus and perennial plants such as Epimedium and Dicentra then freshly fallen, clean non compacted snow can have some real benefits such as protecting the plants early growth. The snow will shelter the new growth from winter winds and collect warmth and light and as the snow melts under the surface it also provides a degree of latent heat again helping to protect the plants.

The bad about snow – if you have any conifers growing in borders or as hedges then the snow can cause problems by building up in the top of the plants and spreading or breaking the stems. In this case the solution is to lightly shake the plants to remove the snow and remove and badly damaged branches or stems. Then using a strong wire tie the spread stems together inside the conifer to maintain the shape

Early season vegetable garden preparation

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

January and February are key times to start to get your vegetable garden up and running. As the sun becomes stronger as we progress towards spring you can use the suns power to heat. up the soil and enable early crops and earlier seed germination.

Using black plastic sheeting to cover areas of your vegetable garden will help to warm the soil up by collecting the heat from the sun and helping the soil to dry out and in turn creating a perfect seed bed for starting to sowing seeds in March.

Another system to enable early crops is to use cloches which can be purchased online or can be make with some fencing wire and clear plastic. In January they are ideally for sowing early season peas 

Ensure your garden is well-presented all year round

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Seasonal changes can be troublesome for your outdoor space. In the summer, you may get too much sunshine, while the winter may bring too much frost. This can make it a difficult task to keep your garden space in top condition every month of the year, from keeping your composite decking gleaming, to planting the right foliage. Here, we take a look at the best plants to have in your garden for every season and what exactly you should be doing to ensure that your patch is in peak condition at all times.


These months are sometimes portrayed as being tough to keep your garden in good condition. However, with perfect preparation in the autumn months, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, good planning can help your winter garden look beautiful with little effort. However, although your lawn may not need cutting as often as there is less sunshine, it’s still important that you care for it, mainly so you prevent issues such as lawn frostbite.

Your space could ‘heave up’ due to excess water and freezing lawns. Snow can also cause the fungal disease named snow mould. Usually, the main culprit for this is the pesky snow men. Although fun to make as a family, the density of snow can kill your grass. Make sure you’re clearing excess snow as soon as possible to give your space the chance to thrive as much as possible.   


Spring is perhaps the season you see your garden come to life. The winter frost is thawing and there’s beginning to be some activity among crops and shrubs.  Just as you do in the home, your garden needs a spring clean. You should check for signs of unwanted growth and prep your beds, removing all the debris from your winter collection. If you didn’t prune in the winter, now is the time to do so, but make sure you do so before the buds break into bloom or you’ll run the risk of stressing the tree and getting very little crop.

Although there may be an array of majestic colours shining through as your shrubs grow, it’s certainly not recommended to sit still. Plant some summer-blooming shrubs and allow your garden to continue thriving into the next season. A great example includes the Bluebeard shrub. This bloomer is easy to upkeep and isn’t phased if we get a drought. It’ll also bring birds and butterflies to your space to add a lovely wildlife image for you to bask in. If blue isn’t for you, try the Butterfly bush in its purple, pink or white representation. Growing up to 10-feet tall, this beauty offers a longer bloom season than lilacs and may well run past summer and into autumn too.


Of course, summer is the season which you will get most use out of your garden. However, to make it a space you’re proud of can take some effort. With your grass growing at a speed far faster than any other season, it’s crucial you keep on top of its growth spurts. While it’s recommended that you keep it slightly longer during the summer months, it’s still advised that you mow your lawn a couple of times a week, unless there’s a harsh drought period where one cut a week will suffice.

It’s also possible that weeds will become a bigger nuisance due to the sunnier climes. Make sure you are eradicating any weed issues as often they are competing with your lawn for moisture and, sadly, weeds often come out on top, leaving your lawn looking less than ideal.

To make sure you get a bit of colour in the autumn months, July is a great time to plant your seeds, such as nerines. This can help you to continue having a brilliant floral display for the coming months.


The most important season for gardeners, as well as spring, is autumn. This is because it’s a great time of year for undergoing transplanting work due to the moisture levels of the soil caused by regular showers. Due to the summer warmth, spring bulbs and next summer’s bulbs should be planted by the end of September to allow them to adjust to their new surroundings and grow their roots. This will set them in the perfect position to bloom next year once the frost thaws.

It’s also the time that you should be preparing your space for winter. This is because it’s likely you won’t be able to spend much time in your garden due to poor weather. You must make sure that you cut your grass for the last few times before the cold kicks in. When doing this, you should lower the height of your lawnmower by a notch or two. Excessively long grass can cause problems in your garden throughout the colder climes, and it doesn’t look appealing either. However, don’t scalp your grass as this can expose it to more extreme conditions.

You should ensure that you have fertilised your space – but not too much as this can actually burn your grass. You can also spread a cool-weather grass seed to make sure it stays in good condition despite the icy weather. Remember, just because you won’t need to tend to it as often as in warmer climes, it’s important that you don’t leave any debris or toys on the lawn as this can create disease conditions, or worse still, invite unwanted pests to your garden.

If it’s colour you desire in the bleak months, preparation during this season is vital. You’ll need to pick plants of a good size due to the fact they’ll grow very little in winter. Good examples include the Bergenia, which is also known as elephant ear. With varying shade of pink, red and purple, this flower should bloom and brighten up your garden in the year’s earlier months.

As suggested in the name, snowdrops, also known as Galanthus nivalis, are another good choice for a touch of brightness in January and February. If you would like a bronze purple colour added to your garden between November and March, try planting some clematis cirrhosa var. balearica.


So, there you go. Follow the steps above and you’ll be well on the way to having an attractive and well-presented garden space all year round. Remember, gardening requires a lot of pro-active methods, so don’t leave it too long. Think ahead of the seasons and your patch will prosper!