Posts tagged with “Gardenscape”

Your Garden in February


The cold February weather often leavesa lot to be desired when it comes to getting out in the garden. It’s the time of year when very little is growing, and everything can look a little lacklustre. But, it’s also the month when you can get things going in the garden, and start looking forward to spring. While you won’t want to spend hours outside unless a heatwave arrives, there are still some tasks you can do that won’t take too long and will really help to make that garden glorious in the months to come…

Raise your game

If you’re keen to start seeing progress in the garden (and let’s face it, who isn’t when it’s cold and bleak?), then creating raised beds could be a game changer. These will give you a head-start in the garden because the soil warms up faster due to better drainage, meaning you’ll see signs of spring a little earlier than you would planting directly into the ground. Drainage will also see trickier soils such as clay become a little easier to work with in a raised bed. As for what to plant once you’ve created your bed - almost anything goes. Herbaceous perennials, ericaceous plants, vegetables and soft fruits will all benefit from the new home you’ve lovingly crafted for them.

Spud starter

Now is the time to get your potato growing underway if you’re hoping to enjoy homegrown mash, chips and jackets later in the year. You can begin by chitting them, which just means encouraging them to begin sprouting before you plant them. The best way to chit potatoes is to use an egg carton or seed tray, and stand the potatoes so that the area with the most eyes is at the top. Keep them in an area that’s cool but light, and then wait for shoots to appear. This process can take up to six weeks, but they should be ready to plant out in March.

Feathered feeding

Spare a thought for our feathered friends at this time of year; harsh winter temperatures can make it difficult for birds to find food and water, so give them a little helping hand if you can. Keep bird baths topped up with water and make sure they’re not frozen over, and consider hanging fat balls in the garden for them to feed off. You can make your own using old yoghurt pots, suet or lard and a combination of nuts, seeds and grains - although you can also pop some leftovers in too, like breadcrumbs. They won’t be using it just yet, but you could also set about making a nest box for the birds, so that they have somewhere safe to lay their eggs come spring.

Cut back

While there might not be a lot of planting going on in February, there’s plenty of shrubs looking to have a trim ahead of spring. Clematis, Wisteria, Hydrangea, Buddleia, Cornus and Mahonia can all be pruned this month.

Some plants are trickier to prune than others, so make sure you’ve got all the information before you make the cut. Clematis falls into several categories, and only some will need pruning now - avoid pruning a Clematis Group 1 (flowers in early spring and is evergreen), prune Clematis Group 2 (flowers in late spring) carefully, cutting shoots back to just above a strong bud, and with Clematis Group 3 (flowers summer to early autumn), you can be a little more insouciant with your pruning.

Let it snow

Snowdrops make a lovely addition to the garden in winter time, and if you don’t currently have any in your garden, now’s the time to plant them. They grow well in soil with grit, which aids drainage.

If however, you do have snowdrops but would like a few more, then February is also the time to divide them, so that they’ll multiply and carpet your garden with flowers next winter. Snowdrops aren’t natural pollinators due to them being winter-flowering when insects are dormant, but instead, they will split and then grow new flowers.

To divide them, carefully dig up the bulbs in clumps of three or four, lift them out, and then replant at around their original depth.

Your 2022 gardening resolutions


With the start of a new year comes a pursuit of virtuosity; it’s the time when new skills are acquired and new goals are set. For some of you, it might finally be the year you learn French, for others, a gym membership might be calling. But, while internal, personal growth is prevalent at this time of year, take a moment to consider outside growth, too. That is, growth in the great outdoors. January is a great time to set yourself some garden goals, get into good habits and really turn over a new leaf (or get the rake out and turn over several…)

Here are five gardening resolutions to take you into 2022 and beyond…

The need to weed

Nobody likes weeding - it’s a bit like putting away clean washing or emptying the dishwasher; a laborious task that isn’t very appealing, but actually doesn’t take you that long once you get started. If you’re the kind of gardener who usually goes on a weeding war, spending hours in one go plucking and pulling, then this year consider a different approach. You’ll probably find weeding much less loathsome if you adopt a little and often process. Sometimes, just five minutes is all you need to make a difference and stop those little blighters returning so quickly. Try weeding at regular intervals - maybe once a week - and your garden will be much easier to keep on top of, especially in the spring and summer months when you’ve already quite literally done your groundwork.

Mix it up

If, until now you’ve been adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach to your growing media, then perhaps this year consider a specialist soil perfectly tailored to your needs. If you often find yourself compensating for your soil type, by opting for a mix, you’ll really notice a difference in how your plants grow throughout the year because they’ll be able to thrive in their ideal environment, whether that’s somewhere more acidic, sandy or with added fertiliser. Explore our specialist mixes to find the one that’s right for you.

Create your own compost

There are lots of benefits to making your own compost in the garden. For one, you can use it to improve your soil quality, but it also provides a handy home for wildlife too.

Making your own is simple to do - you just need the right balance of nitrogen rich materials such as grass clippings and tree foliage, and carbon materials like wood cuttings and cardboard. Ideally you want a pretty even mix of the two, otherwise you’ll be left with a mess! Too much nitrogen and the materials will go sludgy, or go too heavy on the carbon and it’ll be a very long time before you see any compost, as these materials will take a long time to break down. If you’re looking for a way to contain your compost, our pallet compost bins are perfect.

Planting Progress

Sometimes, it can be hard to step back and admire your hard work in the garden, which is why taking photos of your progress is really beneficial. This year, make it your mission to capture your before and after moments, as well as lots in between. Before digging out beds and borders, planting perennials or taming your trees, take plenty of photos. It’s useful to look back on them and see how far you’ve come, but having the evidence of what you’ve planted where can also be very handy when things start to spring up and your memory of planting is hazy.

Mulch to do

If you’re not already a seasoned mulcher, then make this the year you invest some time in making mulch a part of your gardening routine. Mulch protects your soil and plants, and can also keep weeds and bay and stave off some diseases. Bark makes an excellent mulch and looks good too - or a good quality compost will also do the trick. The mulch will help save you time on weeding and watering - time you can invest elsewhere in the garden this year, or use enjoying some well-earned leisure time.

Your garden in January


Often the coldest month of the year, January can leave little to be desired when it comes to tackling the garden tasks. But, if one of your resolutions was to be more green-fingered in 2022, then there’s plenty of simple ways to get started this month, from sowing seeds (one you can do from the warmth of your kitchen) to helping the winter wildlife. Read on to find out what to do in your garden this January…

Plant the seed

Just because it's cold and wet outside, doesn't mean you can't get a headstart on your seed sowing - just do it indoors instead. Before you begin, it's worth being aware that the low light levels and central heating can cause issues with the growth of your seedlings, causing 'damping off', where they become diseased. To avoid this, ensure you use a good peat free compost.

When it comes to choosing what to plant, you have plenty of options. For edible produce, chillies usually fare well when planted in January, and now's also a good time to plant basil.

For flowers, take your pick - geraniums, sweet peas, begonias, petunias, delphiniums and dahlias can all be planted from seed now. Use seed compost in your seed trays for optimal growth.

Get moving

With many plants now dormant for the winter, it's a good time to identify any that could benefit from a better spot in the garden, and rehome them.

The process of moving your trees and shrubs takes a bit of planning and groundwork before moving day itself - you’ll want to prepare the new spot, making sure it’s big enough for the roots and future growth. Mix in some good quality compost, too. Then, the day before moving day, set aside some time to water the soil where your plant will be relocated to. Your plants will need a little TLC once they’ve been moved and replanted, too. Adding mulch in the form of bark will keep the weeds at bay and the moisture locked in, but be sure to water regularly, too - even in colder spells for evergreens. (Avoid watering during particularly frosty weather though).

Watch out for wildlife

While many species will be hibernating at this time of year, spare a thought for the birds, who’ll still be visiting your garden, hoping to find food and water.

You can help them out, by ensuring bird baths are ice free and clean, that bird feeders are kept topped up with nuts and seeds, and that your bird boxes are secure and free from debris like last years’ nests.

Helping out the birds is also a great excuse not to cut back too much in your garden - give them somewhere to go, and you’ll save two birds with one stone - they’ll have somewhere to visit in your garden, and you’ll have a genuine excuse for not spending too long outside trying to cut hedgerows and trees back on chilly January days.

Break the mould

You might have purchased your bulbs for next spring well in advance, but you’ll need to make sure they don’t rot, or you won't be left with much to work with when it comes to planting them up next season.

Bulbs and tubers are particularly susceptible so do keep checking them and ensure they’re being stored correctly - ideally in a paper bag or cardboard box, and in a cool, dark room or outbuilding.

Continue Christmas

Christmas might be over for another year, but you can help it to live on, by planting your tree in the garden. If you had a tree with roots in a pot, you’ll want to move this outside as soon as possible post-Christmas, so that it doesn’t become too acclimatised to the warmth of your house, which could hamper its efforts in growing in the colder outdoors.

If you’d like to bring your tree back in again next Christmas, don’t plant it into the ground, and instead grow it in a container, moving to larger ones as needed. Keep it in a sunny spot, and make sure it has a good amount of water - but not so much that it becomes waterlogged.

If you’re not planning to bring the tree back inside again next year, then it can be planted out into the garden. Fir trees like cool, moist areas, away from the heat of the sun (not a problem right now, but might be, come the summer!)

Trees planted out into the garden don’t have their roots restricted by pot size, and therefore can grow pretty tall - in 20 years you could be looking at a tree measuring 20m in height. Something to consider before you get planting!

If you didn’t have a potted Christmas tree, but still want a way to reuse it, consider shredding it for mulch to use around the garden. Or, if you’d like to give the wildlife a helping hand, remove the branches of your tree and tie them together in bundles to make wildlife habitats.

Christmas foliage


Christmas is a time for family, food and…foliage. While greenery may not be at the forefront of your mind when you’re agonising over carving the turkey or wrapping the presents, it does play a big part in the traditional festive setting. From the wreath you display on your door to the statement table centrepiece, and from the mistletoe hanging in the hallway to the garlands on the mantlepiece, festive foliage is the backdrop to Christmas. And, much of it can be easily grown right in your own garden. Here’s some tips for how to plant and grow your very own holly, ivy and mistletoe so that you can soon deck the halls with your own homegrown boughs.

Jolly Holly

Just the sight of holly evokes thoughts of Christmas, and the good news is it's easy to grow and maintain, giving you festive foliage in the lead up to Christmas and beyond, too.

Interestingly, there's over 400 varieties of holly in existence, and each varies in shape, size and colour. From tall trees to small shrubs, this seasonal plant takes on many forms - and the benefit of so many varieties is that you'll be able to find the perfect holly for your garden.

As an evergreen plant, including holly in your garden will ensure there's always some colour from the leaves and berries - even in the bleakest midwinter.

So, how do you plant it? Holly grows easily in many garden spots, but for optimal success, opt for a place in either sun or shade where there's moist, well-drained soil. Holly is best planted in winter, and once in the ground, add some compost to the soil to help your holly thrive.

Holly berries appear when cross-pollination has occurred, so if you're looking for vibrant red berries on your plants, it's recommended to plant two holly bushes - one male and one female. (You can tell which is which by the flowers they produce).

Prune your holly during the summer months, and keep on top of the trimming to avoid it becoming overgrown and unmanageable. Come Christmas, you should have some lovely boughs in which to deck the halls with!

Inviting Ivy

Ivy often doesn't need much encouragement to grow, cropping up just where you don't want it. But, it can also make a lovely addition to your garden, and if you don't already have it growing, it's easy to plant and will grow quickly.

Ivy will grow even in very shady conditions and isn't fussy when it comes to soil quality. If only more plants could follow suit!

Not only is ivy a pollinator, it also helps to keep buildings cooler in summer and less damp in winter - who knew it had so many purposes aside from its festive aesthetic?

To plant ivy, dig a hole between 8-12 inches deep, and once planted, add some organic matter such as compost, manure or bark.

While it's establishing, ivy needs watering regularly, but after this time (one growing season) it'll only need watering when there's been limited rainfall.

Trim your ivy a few times a year to keep on top of it, and every three or four years prune it back to stop it from getting too tall or straggly.

Mistletoe Kisses

Mistletoe can be found hung in many homes at this time of year, but often it’s shop-bought instead of home grown. This could be because it’s quite time-consuming to grow your own - however, if you do decide to give it a go, then the hard work will pay off.

Mistletoe is a parasite, so therefore will need to be grown off mature trees you already own. Fruit trees are especially popular.

The seeds germinate best in early spring, so for best results, have fresh berries ready to plant in early-mid February rather than relying on the ones from your Christmas mistletoe, which may not be the best quality by the time you’re ready to plant.

In order to obtain the seeds from the berries, give them a gentle squeeze - they’ll come out in a jelly-like substance called viscin. Try to remove as much of this as possible - it’ll help aid the germination process.

Once you’ve chosen your host tree, select younger branches and stick your seeds to them. Much like holly, mistletoe also needs male and female plants for successful germination, so you’ll want to plant several branches to help your chances of producing berries.

Within a couple of months your seeds will start to germinate, but you might not see the fruits of your labour for a little while - mistletoe can take up to four years to really produce a significant plant. But once it’s established it does grow quickly. So, it might be a long time to wait for that Christmas kiss, but hopefully it’ll be worth it…

Your garden in December


The weather outside might be frightful, but gardening can still be delightful... especially when there's some tasks you can do from the comfort of your sofa.

While December might feel more like the time to focus your efforts on decorating the tree and wrapping gifts, if you do feel so inclined, tending to your garden now will ensure it flourishes in the spring. Pruning, digging, planting and planning can all be achieved this month, as well as using the fruits of your labour to create some stunning seasonal decorations.

So sit back, grab a mulled wine and have a read to discover what you can achieve in your garden this December

Deck the halls

Evergreen plants and shrubs won't just keep your garden looking healthy over winter - they could also inspire some handmade decorations. Use berries and leaves to create garlands, or rustle up a wreath from materials you forage - the likes of holly, pine sprigs, ivy, coinfer sprigs, birch twigs and even seedheads from sunflowers or hydrangeas can all be used to make beautiful festive pieces to adorn your front door or Christmas dining table with.

Bare necessities

Take advantage of your garden's 'down time' where fewer things are growing, and use this opportunity to dig over bare areas of ground and add compost. Mushroom compost is especially good for this task as it has a high organic matter content, which helps to improve soil quality.

Making the cut

Winter is the ideal time to prune - with fewer leaves on the trees and shrubs the task in hand will be easier, and come spring your plants will be rejuvenated. It’s important to prune correctly though - failure to do so could result in unhealthy plants and potential dieback disease. When pruning, always ensure you’re making the cut at the right distance from the bud - too close and you risk damaging the bud, but too far away and the wood could die off. Getting the perfect angle to your cut is also important in promoting healthy plant growth.

Shrub Up

It might feel as though there's not much you can plant when it's cold, but winter flowering shruba can be planted now to give your garden a much needed boost of colour. Shrubs such as Viburnum, Sarcococca confusa and Camellia will all work well at this time of year and bring a bit of cheer with them.

Berry nice

For a plentiful harvest of fruits come next summer and autumn, you’ll want to think about planting raspberries, blackberries and strawberries over the winter. You could also plant blueberries now and reap the benefits of their pretty flowers come early spring. If you’re a fan of rhubarb, now is also a good time to consider planting some up - use some manure to help aid growth.

Plot your plot

Everyone's favourite kind of gardening task - the kind you can do from the comfort of your sofa. With a mulled wine in one hand and a pen in the other, use colder or wetter days when you can't get out in the garden to plan how you want it to look next year. Make a list of the things you might need to make this happen too - tools, plants and gardening vouchers all make great gifts, so asking for them may well avoid the risk of getting yet another scarf. If you're thinking of creating raised beds in your garden, try our raised bed kit which has everything you need.

Hedge your bets

During the warmer months, hedges can get unruly and keeping on top of them can feel like an arduous task. By contrast, tackling them in December will feel much more rewarding - deciduous hedges will be dormant now, so now's the time to cut them back and neaten things up. The lack of leaves will mean you can really craft the shapes you desire. Do this before hard frost sets in.

Make the cut

Now that we've entered the dormant season for deciduous plants, it's the ideal time to take hardwood cuttings of your fruit plants, trees, climbers and shrubs.

When planting in the ground, you'll need to give the cuttings the ideal growing environment, so dig a trench in a sheltered area of the garden, and use organic matter to fill it.

Plant your cuttings so they're two thirds of the way down into the ground, and then wait patiently (likely until next autumn) for your new arrivals.