Six ways to enjoy your garden this summer

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You’ve mown the lawn, grown the begonias and sown the sweet peas...now what? Now, it’s time to sit back, relax and admire your hard work! After all, what’s the point in making your garden glorious if you have no time to enjoy it?

With many of us facing another summer of staying put, it’s time to put away those passports and instead head for Destination Garden, where you might be surprised just how much there is to appreciate...

Garden for garnishes

Surely, one of the best ways to enjoy your garden in the summer is to admire your handiwork with a cold drink in hand? But, why not add the fruits of your labour to said drink to make it even more special?

It’s easy to grow plenty of garnishes for cocktails and other drinks right in your own outside space - herbs like mint, rosemary, basil, thyme and verbena all make great garnishes, and don’t forget about fruits, too - if you’ve been growing strawberries and cucumber in your garden, you’re almost halfway to having the ingredients for a fresh, fruit-filled Pimms!

Some flowers are also edible and look delectable in drinks - if you’ve got any borage knocking around, pick the flowers and freeze them in ice cube trays - they’ll brighten up any G&T!

Rosemary Gin Fizz recipe:

(makes one drink)

Ingredients:

  • 50ml of your favourite gin 1 tablespoon rosemary simple syrup (check out how to make your own here)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Soda water
  • A rosemary sprig to garnish

Method:

Shake your gin, simple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into a chilled glass.

Add soda water to taste

Pop in a sprig of rosemary to garnish

Enjoy!

Pick a good egg

When it comes to seating for your garden, you want something that’s comfy, allows some shelter from the sun’s rays and of course, looks stylish too. You might have seen egg chairs cropping up in magazine spreads and online; these hanging chairs are de rigueur right now, and offer a stylish and secluded spot in any garden. Available everywhere from Aldi to John Lewis, this is one trend you’ll definitely want to get on board with. After all, how better to enjoy your eggs in the morning than with a slice of sunshine?

Sleep under the stars

If the opportunity to get away on a much-needed holiday hasn’t presented itself this year, then don’t despair - glamping in your own back garden could still afford you some luxury away from home (but with the benefit of having a working toilet and shower just metres away.) And if you think your garden is a little too close to home why not try an idyllic glamping site set in a wildflower meadow surrounded by vines and hops in our very own Weald of Kent?

Lots of companies, both in Kent & Sussex and further afield now offer you the chance to hire a bell tent and have it pitched in your own back garden. Perfect for that real home away from home feeling, and also a great and affordable option should you have guests to stay and want to offer a unique alternative to the spare bedroom.

Get a pizza the action

Barbecues might be a British right of passage come summertime, but they’re not the only way to enjoy al fresco dining. Pizza ovens have become increasingly popular recently, with leading brand Ooni going from making £10million to £50million over the past two years. With gas fired, wood fired and even ovens you heat on your barbecue available on the market, adding pizzazz to your own pizzas is easier than ever. Plus, many of these ovens don’t have to be used exclusively for pizza; smoking meats, baking potatoes and even flame grilling your steaks can all be achieved.

Dabble in a paddle

With the school summer holidays on the horizon, you might be looking for simple ways to keep the kids entertained at home. Enter the paddling pool - an easy way to make a splash and cool the kids (and yourself) down in no time. Choose a smaller one for little kids and for dipping your toes in, or bigger options are available where the whole family can get in and enjoy some wet play.

Be a good sport

A paddling pool isn’t the only way to keep the kids busy in the garden - why not set up your own sports day? Minimal equipment is needed for this, but you can have hours of fun enjoying three legged races, egg and spoon relays and obstacle courses in even the smallest of outside spaces. You’ll get bonus points for offering ice creams as prizes, too.

Your Garden in July

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It’s mostly sun and games, but there’s a little bit of work to do, too...

The temptation right now is to relax in the garden and ignore all of the tasks that need doing. And, while we do encourage this to a certain extent (after all, what are you making your garden look nice for if not to enjoy it?) there’s also a few things you’ll want to tick off the to-do list before you top up the tan and get started on a new book.

The good news is, while there’s always things to do, July sees a lot of maintenance to keep things fresh and healthy, rather than huge renovation tasks that’ll eat into your sunbathing time. Doing these things little and often will ensure your garden continues to thrive, and you won’t feel hard done by, or, hopefully, overheat.

Here’s some of the ways you can work on your garden in July to keep it looking healthy...

Weed deeds

This month, it’s a good idea to hoe and weed your borders regularly, to stop the weeds setting seed.

Warm dry weather is the perfect time to hoe - keep your hoe sharp and it’ll be much easier to cut through the weeds. Once you’ve loosened the weeds, leave them on the surface to dry out in the sun - if the ground is too wet, they could re-root which means all of your hard work will be wasted!

If the hoe’s not cutting it - literally - then you might need to employ the help of something a little stronger. A glyphosate-based weed killer should do the job, especially on anything with a larger leaf surface with which to absorb it.

Plant ahead

It almost doesn’t bear thinking about, but much like buying new school uniforms before the summer’s out, now’s also the time to start planning and planting for your autumn garden. Options include the likes of Cyclamen, which are pretty hardy and will grow in shadier areas of the garden, to Begonias, which are less hardy so you’ll want to lift them before the first frost hits. (But let’s not think about frost for now - let’s just think about the pretty flowers you’ll have come October!)

Keep on top of the crops

Growing vegetables in your garden? Give them some TLC this month to encourage even more goodies to grow. After all, the more you grow, the fewer trips to the supermarket you’ll need.

For crops you’re growing in bags, such as tomatoes and chillies, pop some tomato feed on every couple of weeks to encourage them to fruit.

For those growing fruit and vegetables in the greenhouse, keep an eye out for fruit starting to appear on your pepper, chilli, cucumber and tomato plants. Use a high-potash fertiliser once you spot them fruiting to keep them fed and encourage growth. If you’ve got any sunflowers in the garden you can also use the fertiliser on them too.

Off with their heads

Keep an eye on your bedding plants, annuals, perennials and sweet peas, because you’ll want to regularly deadhead them this month to encourage them to keep flowering for as long as possible. Get into the habit of doing this every couple of days, and your plants will look lovelier for even longer.

Deadheading your roses is something you’ll also want to do, although not as regularly. To encourage them to keep flowering for longer, it’s also worth investing in a good feed for them too.

Spring thinking

Most garden tasks might seem a little arduous, especially when the sun’s out and there’s better things to be doing - like relaxing and reading...but here’s a task you can do while sitting in your lounger with your feet up (you can thank us later.)

Now’s the time to order your spring bulbs, ready for autumn planting, so spend some time observing your garden - thinking about what gaps you need to fill and what grows well, then start ordering!

Take your pick

If you’re fortunate enough to have bountiful fruit trees in your garden, then paying them a little attention now will encourage lots of lovely produce later. You might notice by now that your apple, pear or plum tree is rich with fruit - but when there’s too much, it’s likely the fruit will be smaller and you’ll probably lose out on a lot of it because it’ll drop to the ground before you can make the most of it - which seems like a waste when you could be enjoying a homemade fruit crumble from your own hand-picked fruits.

By the end of June your trees should have done their own thinning procedures, so July is the key time to get in there and work your magic. For plums, you only need to leave one or two every 6inches, and for pears you’re looking at around two fruits per cluster. If you’ve got eating apples, thin down to around one apple every 5 or 6 inches, and for cooking apples, look to keep one per 6 to 8 inches.

Compost to GROW

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GROW is a not for profit organisation delivering curriculum, extra-curricular, and outreach based programmes. Based in Totteridge, North London, they work in state schools and communities promoting mental well-being, physical health, and a more hands on relationship with nature.

Bourne Amenity were glad to support their vital work by delivering a full load of our PAS100 compost free of charge for new beds being created on their Community Farm, a six-acre site in Barnet. Here, GROW raise vegetables, fruit and flowers using organic principles, which they sell to the local community and businesses. They grow a wide range of crops, from carrots and cabbage for school canteens to specialist ingredients for chefs and restaurants. They use best practices in agroecological farming, which means looking after the soil in a sustainable fashion - this is where the compost comes in - to show the next generation what the future of farming can look like.

If you would like to try their delicious produce, it is available from the Totteridge Academy every Thursday from 3pm - 6pm and at weekend events during the season. The stall normally runs Mid May - Mid November. Please check their instagram for more info. If you would like to support GROW, their donations page is here.

The Circle of Waste

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How we’re working to complete the recycling circle - (and why your old waste could be just what we want!)

We love talking rubbish - that is, discussing waste and recycling, rather than reality TV. At The Bourne Group, one of our aims is to make everything as biodiverse and environmentally friendly as we possibly can. And, one of the ways we’re able to do this is through our Dumpy Bag Company

If you’ve ordered some of our Gardenscape garden products, for example some bark or some stone chippings, once you’ve put them into their desired spots in the garden, you might be wondering what to do with the empty bag - and that’s where our waste collection service comes in. You can just fill the bag back up with garden waste, household waste or construction waste, and we’ll come and collect it, and take it back to our environmentally permitted waste transfer station.

Our lorries are out delivering products every day, so we schedule the collections into their routes - that means there’s no wasted fuel, no additional pollution, and we can still be efficient, whilst also being eco-aware.

Your bag might have been used to deliver garden products to you, but that doesn’t mean you need to refill it with the same - whether you’re looking to get rid of old furniture, timber materials, roof tiles or even rubble from a housing project, just pop it in the bag, and we’ll take it away. (Of course, there’s some things we can’t take, like food waste and toxic substances. You can find a full list here).

We’re licensed by the Environment Agency to both transport and transfer waste, and once we get your bags back to our site, we sort through the waste, aiming to recycle at least 90% of everything we receive.

We aren’t picky though - we’ll even collect bags that aren’t our own and sort out the waste for you. And, if you don’t have a bag but would really like us to come and collect some waste, we can deliver a bag to you for you to fill.

We’re really passionate about this scheme because we want to make waste disposal responsible, and we’re committed to completing the recycling circle. For years, we’ve been in the business of delivering materials (many of which are recycled), and now we want to maximise the use of our lorries, so that they’re returning to us just as full as they left us - only they’ll be filled with waste products we can recycle and thus continue the cycle.

You’re probably wondering what the catch is (other than not being able to dispose of those toxic substances you were really hoping to be rid of). Well, collection costs £79.99 for one of our standard bags, but you can fill the bag with up to a tonne of waste - which is quite a lot of grass cuttings or broken bricks. We’re also able to offer discounts for multiple bag collections and for trade customers, so the more you recycle, the more you save.

We cover a wide area of postcodes across Kent and Sussex, so you can check here if you’re in our collection area. If you’re not, we might still be able to help - we charge £30 for collections outside of our designated areas, and we’re able to cover Surrey, London and even areas further afield.

So, if you’ve been staring at that empty Gardenscape bag wondering how you can possibly use it again, now you know. Just start filling it up, and give us a call when you’re ready for it to be collected. We’re really looking forward to talking rubbish with you!

To find out more about The Dumpy Bag Company, visit our website https://thedumpybagcompany.co.uk/ where you’ll find all of our FAQs, prices and contact details.

Your Garden in June

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Brits love to discuss the weather, but these last few weeks it’s been justified - instead of a glorious spring beginning, we’ve been welcomed to the season with a somewhat cool reception. If May invited us over for dinner, we’d politely decline. The less than ideal conditions have put paid to barbecues, beach trips and, of course, many gardening plans.

There is a silver lining to all those clouds (and rain, and storms) we had in May however - the lower than average temperatures and soggy conditions may have spared gardeners a little longer to tick off those May to-do lists. While things definitely grew, as anyone who’s tried to mow their lawn recently can attest, some flowers that would usually be blooming by now are but mere buds, and the late frosts may have wreaked a little havoc.

So, now that Mother Nature’s spared you a little more time and sent some sun our way, let’s hope for a more jubilant June. Here’s some ideas for what to do in the garden this month:

Rose tinted gardens

There’s a few things you can do to your roses this month to really help them to thrive. For rambling or climbing roses, you can encourage more flowers by tying new stems to horizontal supports. By training them, you’ll encourage them to flower for longer so you’ll have beautiful blooms all summer long.

If your roses repeatedly flower throughout the season, then this month do some dead-heading to encourage new flowers. Don’t go too heavy on the pruning - you just want to cut them back no more than 5mm above an existing bud.

Keep an eye on your roses’ health too, and spray any that are showing signs of disease or mildew.

Hedge your bets

In the summer, hedges can get out of control if you’re not careful - it’s best to trim them every six weeks to keep them in check (and avoid any complaints from the neighbours!) Before you get too hack-happy, make sure you check in your hedges for any nesting birds so you don’t end up disturbing them and getting a shock!

Quench your thirst

No, not for a G&T (although one probably wouldn’t go amiss). We’re talking about water, and lots of it. Last month we spoke about ensuring thirsty crops and greenhouse plants were showered with a little extra water, but this month you’ll want to keep topping up the whole garden. Try to get into the habit of watering daily, or at least frequently, and definitely on warmer days. Pay special attention to any new trees or shrubs you’ve planted, because these will need extra quenching.

The nitty gritty

Grit in your soil helps to improve the drainage, so at this time of year it’s certainly worth investing in some to help with all that water you’ve been lovingly showering your plants with. You can also use a grit mix to top dress your pots to help reduce evaporation.

Want to know more about grit mixes and how they can help you make the best of your soil? Check out our helpful guide.

Do the June prune

Once your spring-flowering bulbs have flowered, it’s time to prune them. Look for young shoots lower down the plant, and prune back to them. Try to prune fairly soon after the bulbs have finished flowering, to allow maximum regrowth time, and as well as cutting stems back, also get rid of any weak shoots - when it comes to thriving flowers, it’s survival of the fittest! Once you’ve pruned, add some mulch, and some feed, and watch those flowers continue to thrive!

Turf’s up

Turf’s best laid when the ground isn’t too wet, so the chances are, if you were planning to carpet your garden in April or May, you might well have held off. Now that the ground is hopefully a little drier, you’ll want to lay your turf soon - but be prepared to keep on top of watering to keep it healthy and hydrated. There’s a fine balance when it comes to keeping your turf happy - you don’t want to over-water, so try to water it every few days, especially for the first month while it’s becoming established.