Archive of June 2022

Five ways to organise your outside


At this time of year when we tend to spend a lot more time enjoying the garden, it’s worth working on keeping your outside space in order. Tackling tasks little and often will help to keep things in check, without making you feel like you’re prepping for a royal visit. In recent years there’s been a rise in a more natural, undone aesthetic, too - so use this to your full advantage and forgo stripes in the lawn (unless you really want them, of course.) Much like the relief you feel when you’ve cleaned and decluttered the house, giving the garden a good tidy helps to create a relaxing space you can enjoy throughout summer and beyond. Read on for tips on how to get your outside space organised…

Make your Bed

It doesn’t take much for beds and borders to start looking unruly - a few weeds, some overgrown plants and a touch of summer weather to make everything grow faster, and suddenly you’ve got a mess on your hands. But, even the most chaotic bed or border can be given a spruce by adding a bark such as woodchip or ornamental bark. Not only does the addition of a bark act as a weed suppressant, it also provides a pleasing aesthetic and makes the space look instantly neater. Once you've done your weeding and planted up your desired flowers and shrubs, add a layer of bark as the finishing touch.

Lawn Labour

If you happened to partake in No Mow May, then the bees may be happy but you might be struggling to keep the lawn in order. One of the quickest ways to keep your garden looking tidy is to give the grass a good trim, but don’t neglect the edges - that’s where you can really make a difference, so grab those shears and get trimming. Ideally to keep on top of your edges and stop the grass encroaching into your borders, aim to trim them after every mow. Once the tidying and neatening is done, treat the lawn to a little TLC by using a summer lawn feed to help aid drought resistance - essential as we head into the warmer weather.

Dress to Impress

Usually, tidying means decluttering and throwing things away, so the suggestion of introducing more plants to your garden might sound counterintuitive, but hear us out. Bringing hanging baskets and pot plants into your outside space helps to ‘dress’ it by adding colour and charm. Much like homes, minimalist spaces can look cluttered quickly if there aren’t focal points - by adding striking pot plants or beautiful potted displays, the focus becomes about the plants and less about the surrounding (potentially less tidy) area.

Patio Prep

Often patios and decking areas can be overlooked when it comes to garden maintenance because the focus tends to fall to beds and borders. But, ensuring these areas are kept clean and tidy can make a huge impact when it comes to the overall aesthetic of your garden. If you have one to hand, or can borrow one, use a pressure washer to give your patio or decking a thorough clean. Keep an eye on any weeds that might be popping through as these can look unsightly, and repair any damaged areas or touch up areas where paint may have faded.

June Prune

At this time of year, deadheading and pruning plays a big part in keeping your plants thriving for longer. Not only that, but doing so helps to keep everything looking tidy, too. Faded flowers can look unsightly, and also cause a mess as the petals and leaves drop. But, if you deadhead and prune as soon as you can after the flowers start to look past their best, not only will your garden look instantly tidier, in many cases you’ll also be helping the plants to produce more flowers for longer.

Celebrating strawberry season


A quintessentially British fruit, strawberries are a summer staple. From adorning meringues at summer garden parties to being enjoyed at picnics in the park, at this time of year those little red fruits make a big impact. This June they’ll really be taking centre stage too, with the Queen’s Jubilee weekend celebrations seeing many traditional afternoon teas consumed, and then at the end of the month there’s Wimbledon, too. In fact, a huge 166,000 strawberries are eaten during the tennis tournament.

So, with the strawberry season in full swing, perhaps it’s time to consider growing your own. Not sure where to start? Read on to find out how to get the best out of your berries…

Why should I grow strawberries?

There are several benefits to growing your own strawberries. For starters, they’re relatively easy to grow, so you’ll have the satisfaction of enjoying your own homegrown fruit with minimal effort. Strawberries can get pretty pricey when you’re buying them by the punnet too, but picking them right from the garden means you’ll not only be saving on the cost of the fruit, but the cost of driving to the shops too - especially important in the current climate!

If you need something to keep the whole family busy, then growing strawberries can become a fun project during the summer months, with the added benefit of being able to eat the produce at the end.

When’s the best time to plant strawberries?

There are several times in the year when strawberries can be planted. Late spring when the weather is starting to warm up is a good time to plant, as are late summer or early autumn. If you're planting in spring you may see a smaller crop for your first year, but don't be disheartened - typically the best years for strawberry plants are years two, three and four.

Strawberries are frost hardy perennials, so once established they'll withstand the colder winter weather.

Where do strawberry plants grow best?

Depending on the type of strawberry you're growing depends on the environment it needs to thrive.

If you're growing alpine strawberries from seed then you'll want to plant in pots or trays, using a quality compost. Strawberries do very well in containers and can be planted in them from runners or plants, and they can also be grown in pots, or just planted directly into the ground. If you’re planting them into the ground, consider a raised bed, and also invest in some material to protect your fruits from hungry birds and squirrels.

Strawberries will grow in most conditions, but most do best in full sun, except for alpine strawberries which grow best in the shade.

What kind of care do strawberries need?

The good news is that strawberries are pretty low maintenance. You’ll need to keep an eye out for viruses though, as strawberries are prone to them. They're caused by things like aphids, and some can be easily treatable if you catch them early. Soil splashes can cause the fruit to go mouldy, so using a mulch can help to stop this happening.

Keep your strawberry plants well watered in hot weather and throughout the growing season, but ensure the soil is free draining to avoid mould.

When should I pick my strawberries?

Depending on the variety of strawberry you're growing will depend on when the fruit will be ready to harvest, but in general, strawberry season is from early summer to early autumn. The fruit doesn't continue to ripen once picked, so make sure it's definitely ready - sour strawberries aren't to everyone's taste!

You can tell they're ready to be picked once the fruit is a deep bright red all over (no pale patches). Ideally pick them during the warmest part of the day - this is when they'll taste the best.

What can I do with my strawberries?

There are few things nicer than a freshly picked homegrown strawberry, so you could just tuck into your produce. However, if you're looking for another way to enjoy your efforts, perhaps indulge in a little mixology and whip up a strawberry cocktail - perfect for a jubilee celebration, or an accompaniment to a tennis tournament, perhaps?

There are lots of popular strawberry based drinks such as daiquiris or margaritas, but we're particularly fond of this simple gin fizz recipe, which combines delicious fresh strawberries with gin and sparkling wine.

Strawberry Gin Fizz

Ingredients: (makes one jug)

400g strawberries, sliced

A handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

30ml simple syrup

100ml gin

1 bottle of sparkling wine such as prosecco, cava or perhaps an English sparkling rosé

A handful of ice cubes


Put the strawberries, mint and half of your sugar syrup mixture into a jug, and muddle the fruit until lightly crushed

Pour in your gin, fizz and ice cubes and stir together, adding the rest of the simple syrup if you think you need the extra sweetness

Pour into a fizz glass and garnish with mint leaves and sliced strawberries

Enjoy! (And maybe share if you're feeling generous…)