Gardenproud Blog

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See Gardenproud on Instagram

Friday, January 29th, 2016

We’ve recently joined Instagram and have the grand total of 30 Followers!

So a long way to go yet.

We are trying to upload new photos everyday.

The above photo features Basil who is one of our regular ride-on drivers, it’s already got a like from would you believe John Deere!

If you are looking for great pictures to inspire your garden thinking, then look no further than Gardenproud. You can see us at www.instagram.com

If you haven’t already signed up you can download the app for i-phone (IOS) , Android, or Windows phone at the above, or visit your App Store on your phone.

Looking forward to having you as Followers soon!

Gardenproud Photo Highlights 2015

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

2015 was an excellent year for Gardenproud.

Lots of new projects for the landscaping division and some previous projects revisited and updated. Which is all good stuff as gardens evolve.

We went to Chelsea and gleaned inspiration from the latest designs, braved the weather and enjoyed the champagne. We’ve started designing and creating garden buildings as part of our landscaping offer. The Maintenance teams  worked extremely hard to cope with the new assignments, and new gardeners joined the team. We look forward to recruiting more team members in 2016.

It is with great sadness to report that Emmett Gilah, who was a regular member of the team, has unfortunately died. He was an industrious chap and good gardener and far too young to die. Our thoughts go out to his family. Thank you Emmett you will be sorely missed.

2015 was a big year for us, as we moved house. We haven’t moved for 16 years. So had forgotten just how stressy and time consuming the whole process is. Especially when you are also trying to run two businesses. So having beautified our last house and completely re-fashioned the garden, we now have a new garden. So watch this space!

Fortunately shortly after moving we had a holiday. Which was a real tonic. Sarah and I visited a number of gardens during our summer holiday. We went to Madeira, which was an eye opener. We went in August, but if you really want to see the flora, I suggest you go in April or May. But do go. It is a wonderful island and it benefits from a sub-tropical climate. Over the years it has had a strong British influence, so the planting is a bit a mixture between those we see in the UK and more tropical specimens. There is a very good book (which I bought) written by an Englishman, Gerald Luckhurst. He is a landscape architect and has designed and built many gardens on Madeira. Sounds like a rather good job!

Back home and back to work on our plans for the new house and various gardens.

So here we are already in 2016. A new house, a new garden, a greenhouse for the first time, some new possible avenues, new projects and new gardens. Oh yes, we’ve got a little more savvy on the media front – we are already on Facebook, we are now on Instagram! I think we have the grand total of 30 followers, so do look us up (my son claims to have 1400)!  I don’t believe him.

See us at www.instagram.com

Enough said, 2016 looks busy, I’d better stop writing and get on with it!

How to create your very own Cuttings Garden

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Tim Sykes of Tunbridge Wells based Gardenproud,
shares with us some inspiration for our summer gardens……..

Imagine a year round supply of your favourite blooms to display in your hallway, without the cost of buying a bouquet every week?

That priceless fresh aroma and splendid display that welcomes you every time you enter your house.

Well you could be creating your own supply of fresh blooms.


Why not dedicate an area of your garden to an experiment this year?

I was inspired to research into Cuttings Gardens last Summer, having visited Les Jardins du Manoir d’Erignac in the Dordogne.

In the kitchen area of the garden a large bed had been dedicated to a rotational plan of flowering. It was chockablock full of blooms of varying varieties, creating a kaleidoscope of colours and choice for the avid flower arranger. The area Erignac had set aside was quite large, probably c 12 x 6m.


But you don’t need such a large space. Just 3 x 4m would be more than sufficient.

A conversation with one of my gardening colleagues revealed an approach. Jenny who has worked with us for over 2 years has recently created her own Cuttings Garden.



She has been in the horticultural business for over 10 years. She specialises at the moment in traditional, seasonal outdoor crops such as Sweet Peas, Cornflowers, and Ammi. For the past 2 years she has grown almost everything from seed, producing crops from June through to October.

Jenny comments: ” It’s great that there is such a ‘buzz” around British grown blooms at the moment, so come on, leap on the bandwagon and start your very own flower patch!”

So what could you be planting in your Cuttings Garden?


Well here are some ideas…..


Jenny’s plan is based on an area of c 4.5m x 3.5m. It features 4 raised beds (2m x 1.5m each), with shingle pathways between them. If you like vegetables and herbs then by adding two further beds of similar sizes you could have a complete Kitchen Garden.


Her planting list includes:

In Bed 1 – Mostly Shrubs and Perennials, including Sarcocca confuse, Convallaria majalis,Papaver orientalis and Gladiolus nanus


Bed 2 - Mostly Hardy Annuals, including Ammi majus, Calendula officinalis, Consolida ajacis and Briza maxima


Bed 3 - Mostly Biennials, including Digitalis, Eryngium giganteum and Dianthus barbatus


Bed 4 - Mostly Half hardy annuals, including Didiscus, Nicotiana, Sunflower/Rudbeckia and Sweat Peas


It is best to cordon off an area of the garden that is in full sunlight. You may need to incorporate a leaky pipe system, or be prepared to embark on a regular watering regime.

Most flowers are best picked when they are just starting to show colour. This except some plants, such as roses and dahlias, which may not fully develop if picked too early.

For best results, collect cut flowers in the morning when their stems are full of water.

Avoid picking flowers during warm and sunny conditions as they will be water stressed.

Place the stems into a bucket of water as soon as possible after cutting.

Good luck and enjoy the summer sunshine in your garden.

For further help, or information about designing, or creating your own cuttings, herb or vegetable garden contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or see Gardenproud at www.reallygardenproud.com

New Look at Gardenproud!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The new Gardenproud brochure is printed and available for you to see.

It features some of the highlights from our recent Landscaping projects.

To get your copy, or for more information about our

Design, Construction or Maintenance services,

just contact us at info@reallygardenproud.com

or, call Tim Sykes on 07725 173820

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015 – a photo walk through the gardens of 2014 with Gardenproud

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Just a glimpse at some of the gardens we have created, maintained, visited and enjoyed during the year.

Looking forward to 2015.

We hope you all have a very enjoyable Christmas and New Year celebration.

For more information about Gardenproud, our Garden Maintenance, Garden Design and Landscaping services please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or at info@reallygardenproud.com

It’s November and what’s happening in the garden?

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

By Tim Sykes

Looking good in our garden at the moment are the Sedum Autumn Joy, and if you have them so will Sedum Iceberg.

Verbena Bonarensis can also still be looking the business.

I love the look of Hydrangeas as the flower heads turn from their full bloom colour to the slightly shabby chick hues. We tend to cut the flower heads off now and use them in doors as flower arrangements.

Our variegated Holly standard looks stunning with its fresh red berries. Even the Dahlias are often still in bloom. The odd rose lingers on through October and November. If you have rose climbers now is the time to prune them. A good guide on rose pruning can be found on the BBC Gardening website.

The trees had a particularly heavy leaf cover this year, so you can expect to have a lot of leaves to clear up this November. We tend to clear the leaves as we go rather than wait for one fall. A good strong blower, a soft plastic rake and bulk bags are probably the best tools to use. You can also purchase rather nifty hand grabbers – Yeoman make a pair around £10 from Greenfingers.com.  Regular clearance of the leaves helps minimise any damage to lawns. However in some instances where the gardens are so vast we have taken to mulching the leaves using our big rotary mowers and spreading the shredded leaves across the lawns. There is a school of thought that this helps put nutrients back into the lawn surface.

Talking of which it’s time to make that final cut of the lawn, then clean your mower for winter storage and servicing.

Typically the best time to be planting out larger shrubs, trees and hedging before the Winter sets in. For inspiration you might take a trip to nearby Sheffield Park, Uckfield, or English Woodlands nursery in Heathfield where you can also buy the plants.

The Autumn is also a good time to be trimming and shaping your hedges, so remember to get the hedge trimmer out, or ask your gardener to check them.

Plant containers and hanging baskets with winter flowering bedding plants including pansies and my favourite cyclamen. The cyclamen looks good in pots, but also can be planted out and will flower right through the Winter. Favourite places are under trees and in rockeries.

Don’t forget to get those Spring bulbs out there.

We’ve bought a whole variety of tulip bulbs to be planted in our front garden beds, and November is the best time to plant tulips.

Our choice for next Spring includes:

Blue Spectacle, which give a beautiful bluey lilac multi-petalled flower head

Little Beauty, a rather delicate small crimson flower

Tres Chic, with it’s distinctive white tuber shaped petals

Queen of Night, that famous black tulip which looks stunning planted in concentrated patterns, often seen mixed with fennel

There are good ranges in most of the local nurseries. We bought ours at Notcutts in Tunbridge Wells.

For any advice or further information about gardening and gardening design contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820 or, at info@reallygardenproud.com

Remember to wrap up warm, and enjoy November in the garden.


Eridge Horse Trials 2014

Monday, July 7th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we trialled a little experiment.

Can we make a show garden in 2 days?

The Eridge Horse trials was beckoning. This has in the past been an international event attracting intermediate riders across a 3 part course including dressage, show jumping and cross country.

For further information about events see  South Eastern Equestrian Services at www.seesltd.com

The Event is set in the delightful grounds of the Eridge Estate, owned by the Marquess of Abergavenny.

The horse riding fraternity are of key interest to us, as are the residents of Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding countryside, so what better way than create a lovely garden for all the visitors to the show to enjoy!

A very generous Tim Nolan, who incidentally organises the Trials with his mum, helped give us a big enough space and prominent enough position, to put us in front of our audience.

Thanks Tim!

So the test was on. A design was needed. Equipment, materials and plants were required. A design in hand and a couple of conversations later, and Tate Fencing and The Flower Pot Nursery, both based in Tunbridge Wells were on-board.

A BIG thank you to both of you!

The concept looked like this….

Essentially the show garden/stand revolved around a centre-piece – a nice (quintessentially English) open marquee, bordered by matching trellis panels and cottage garden borders. As a real crowd puller two giant terracotta pots contained two beautiful Ilex Crenata’s.

The Planting Plan included:

- A palette of Purples, Blues, Whites, Pinks and Lilacs

- Plants including……

Agapanthus

Verbena Bonariensis

Euonymous

Hydrangea Macrophylla

Echinacea Southern Belle

Lava Terra Barnsley

Lavender Augustifolia Edelweiss

Delphinium Highlander

Veronica First Glory

Veronica Fascination

Veronica Spicata

Achilliea Millefolium

Ceanothus Burkwoodii

Persicaria Superbum

Buxus

Thalictrum Delavayi Splendide

Geranium Orion

Cosmos

Stachys Lanata Byzantia

Campanula Lectiflora

Cistus Dansereaui

Salvia Amistad

Salvia Caradonna

Salvia Patens

Nepeta x Faassenii

Stokesia Laevis

With the plans under our arms we started to gather all the materials then set upon setting up the stand on the Thursday before the Show. We had 2 days to turn this into a reality……

We hope you like the finished result.

The whole experience was inexpensive, thoroughly enjoyable and created a surprisingly healthy list of enquiries, including cementing some good relationships with trusted suppliers.

So we’ll do it again!

For further information about our design, build and garden maintenance services contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or at Gardenproud.

It’s February already, so what’s going on in the garden?

Friday, February 7th, 2014

It’s February and it seems like we are getting a similar dose of  weather to January, with a mixture of rain, sunshine and low temperatures. At the point of writing there’s no promise of snow, although cold air above Scandinavia may move southward and bring with it a colder spell.

So I’m afraid you need to wrap up warm in the garden, plus watch the weather forecast for frosts and keep your less hardy shrubs wrapped in fleeces.

The RHS provide a really useful list of jobs for you to consider in February. This covers work you can be getting on with, both in and out of doors:

  1. Prepare vegetable seed beds, and sow some vegetables under cover
  2. Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches
  3. Net fruit and vegetable crops to keep the birds off
  4. Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering
  5. Divide bulbs such as snowdrops, and plant those that need planting “ in the green”
  6. Prune Wisteria
  7. Prune hardy evergreen hedges and renovate overgrown deciduous hedges
  8. Prune any climbers in conservatories or greenhouses
  9. Cut back ornamental grasses left uncut over winter

Other things to be considering….

-       Cut back any dead foliage you’ve left over the winter period

-       Prune back Hydrangeas to their new shoots

-       Prepare the borders for planting

If the weather starts to improve you may find it’s necessary to cut the lawn, although don’t cut it too short, and avoid going on the lawn if it remains sodden. One job you can do is to tidy up the edges as this will help reduce your tasks for March.

Turf can be laid provided that the soil is not too wet or frosty. If you have to carry this out then work from planks to avoid localized compacting and creating an uneven surface. Whatever you do, avoid walking on the new surface for a number of weeks to allow the root structure to establish.

When preparing the beds look at the soil conditions and consider improving these. For example given the heavy rains of December and January you may have noticed a drainage problem. If you have heavy soil work in some organic matter and horticultural grit to help improve the nutrients and drainage.

Mixing in a deep layer of organic matter helps to condition the soil, can help suppress weed growth, protect plants from fluctuations in temperature, and

retain moisture during the warmer months.

Last month we talked about garden repairs. If the dreadful weather we’ve all experienced hasn’t allowed you into the garden yet, then don’t forget to get these projects out of the way before the growing season! So this includes broken fences, damaged shed roofs, rotten pathway gravel board edges, plus compost and raised bed repairs.

Talking of repairs. During these more dormant periods it’s also worth tidying out the shed, and clearing out any broken tools that can’t be fixed, broken pots etc. Also remember to have serviced any power tools including the mower, hedge trimmer, strimmer and blower. Always ask your repairer to sharpen the blades, or replace them in the case of a heavily utilised mower. If you haven’t used the tools for a while it’s worth remembering that the fuel can go stale, so when you take any items in for servicing ask them to refresh this.

Flowers to look out for in February include; Snowdrops, Hellebores, Violets, Winter Jasmine and of course those early Daffs.

Please do let me have your thoughts and contributions.  Also feel free to fire any gardening questions at me and I’ll do my best to answer these for you in the next edition. This is my email address    reallygardenproud@btinternet.com

I hope you enjoy February in your garden.

Best wishes

Tim Sykes, 07725 173820

Windy New Year brings havoc to Tunbridge Wells

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Winter Garden Repair Service

If the storms in October and leading up to Christmas weren’t enough, the bad weather has continued to reek havoc in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding countryside.

Even last night another tree in our road – a Scots Pine fell foul of the winds. I was stopped by one of my tree surgeon colleagues who was trying to reduce the tree so that it didn’t collapse onto a nearby house. Part of the problem is that we have had a period of sustained rain, so the ground is very wet and soft, added to this trees have taken a pounding over a number of weeks, so are likely to be less secure. Strong gusts can therefore uproot them.

Many customers are reporting broken fences, garden walls, gates and garden buildings damaged by falling debris and trees.

Fortunately most of the big oaks had shed their leaves before the latest storms. So from what we can see, the trees that have been badly affected by the recent weather, are predominantly evergreen, with conifers, scots pines and cedars among the major casualties.

Just as we were leaving for a Christmas break the storms wipped up on December 23rd and by the morning a fresh crop of  trees had become victims of the high winds. We had a narrow escape ourselves, as a tall pine next door uprooted itself and came crashing down on their front garden, narrowly missing their house. A lovely Christmas present for our neighbour.

If you have any tree, or collateral damage from the storms then call us today, on 07725 173820.

At Gardenproud we offer a full Winter Garden Repair Service. It might be a broken fence panel, or post, a shed roof that needs re-surfacing, a garden wall that needs rebuilding, a patio or paths that need re-pointing, just call us on the above number and we will be happy to provide an estimate.

Happy New Year – Happy New Garden

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

I can feel a wave of enthusiasm for the garden as 2014 is finally upon us!

Lots of plans for our garden, including sprucing up the rear garden beds, tackling a wall of ivy, which has been beckoning for sometime and repairing the gravel board edges to our pathways.

It’s a good time to tackle the latter two items right now!  In fact, if you have any repairs you need to carry out in the garden, eg. broken fences, shed roof replacement, pathways, new composting systems, new trellising etc., it’s an excellent opportunity to get these out of the way.

We also have some plans for our front garden this year.

After some design and hard landscaping undertaken during 2013, we now want to turn our attention to planting up the front garden.

We made a lot of progress last year……

From this……

To this…….

There’s still a little bit of hard landscaping to finish, which we will endeavor to complete in January and February.

Then it’s onto the planting plan. I’ve already prepared some outline plans for this and we replanted a section of the beech hedge in November ( using bare root beech hedging plants from English Woodlands, with Miracle Grow planting compost).

We also planted four gorgeous trees, two Prunus Cerasifera Nigra ( a dark red leaved flowering Cherry ) – very pretty.

Photo: with thanks to RHS.

Plus, two Liquidambar Styraciflua (Sweet Gum). These trees resemble large acers, and have bright green maple like leaves that turn a striking orange/red and purple in the Autumn.

Photo: with thanks to RHS.

We’ve made a start on the planting, but we need to finish this off, otherwise my name will be mud!

So watch this space!

Apart from getting the garden into good shape, January is a great time to gain some inspiration and make plans.

If you are a keen gardener you may like to consider taking out a subscription with RHS for their monthly magazine – The Garden. It’s £4.25 an issue, but well worth it!

In the January issue, Tim Upson puts a spotlight on some of the less well –known plants that look great in the winter garden. These include Ribes Laurifolium, Edgeworthia Chrysantha, Cornus Officinalis, and my favourite –Rhododendron Dauricum. This latter plant is semi evergreen with small leaves, tinged purple in Winter. It has beautiful, white funnel shaped flowers that appear late Winter. Further information about The Garden magazine can be found at www.rhs.org.uk

Another publication I find inspiring is The Garden Design Journal, published by The Society of Garden Designers. You can Google more about it at www.sgd.org.uk

One of the article’s I spied in their January edition is the preparation for Capability Brown’s 300th birthday celebrations in 2016. You can see more about these at a new website that’s just been launched

www.capabilitybrown.org With over 100 surviving examples of his work you can visit, it’s well worth signing up to the website’s advance news and updates for the celebrations.

In the meantime, if you are looking for inspiration in the winter garden, here are a few places you could visit:

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Audley End, Essex www.english-heritage.org.uk

Painshill Landscape Garden, Surrey www.painshill.co.uk

Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Enjoy January in the garden and Happy New Year!

For further information contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud, on 07725 173820