Gardenproud Blog

Archive for the ‘Our Services’ Category

Happy New Year from View

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

View is the quarterly update from Gardenproud on what’s new in the garden.

The new 2014 edition is out now. You can order a copy in the post, or via email. Just send an email request to info@reallygardenproud.com

In this quarter’s edition are Gardening Tips, 2013 Highlights from Gardenproud, some ideas for Window Boxes, details of our latest Equipment updates – of special interest to the demands of larger gardens, our latest recruit, and news of our latest Design Projects.

It’s nearly Christmas and what’s going on in the Garden?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Is there a gardening angel in you?

If so don’t forget to feed the birds this month.

With all the preparation for the Christmas festivities it’s all too easy to forget who’s braving it out there and what’s going on out in the garden.

If you haven’t already done so then get the fleeces out and protect the more vulnerable shrubs. Some examples to look out for are bay trees, tree ferns, cordylines, olive trees, in fact any of the less hardy shrubs in your garden.

Remember to rake up the leaves from the grass. If you haven’t done this already there are probably a lot, especially following the storm of 28th October.

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse then give the plants and seedlings a water and remember to ventilate on warmer days. You can also clean and prepare all the seed trays and make ready for sowing the spring seedlings.

December is always a great time for indoor plants, including Hyacinths and Poinsettia. In our house the Hyacinths always adorn our upstairs landing window sill, they look and smell really super. The Poinsettia give a warm festive welcome in the Hallway.

Other thoughts to help lift the spirits include planting out a couple of smart pots close to your front door. Looking good could be miniature Christmas trees,  or small box pyramids surrounded by a sea of cyclamen. Make sure you fill the base of the pot with small rocks, or broken old pots, then create a mix of potting compost and topsoil. Water the plants before you pot them and remember to water them once they are in situ. It’s always satisfying to come home to a bright welcome, and your Christmas visitors will also appreciate this.

A couple of years ago we test marketed the idea of creating real live Christmas Wreaths. I really dislike the cheap plastic imitations, so don’t fall into this trap. You can easily make your own. They look so much more inviting. To start with you can buy inexpensive conifer based rings from most garden centres, or flower shops. These come in different diameters and the conifer cuttings are usually held together in a moss and wire frame. Go for this variety as they will last longer and keep the ring damp.

Then select your embellishments. If you’ve got a well stocked garden a few items such as pine cones, holly sprigs, berries, ivy, dried fruit, fresh flowers, cinnamon sticks held in place with some thin green wire (or a heated glue gun) will look a treat! If you haven’t got access to these, you can usually buy similar items at Hobbycraft, or your local garden centre. It’s good to keep it simple, so maybe have a theme. Think about where it’s likely to go. If it’s a red front door then something that contrasts and has red in it, will always look good etc, etc.

Anyway have a go.

Christmas wreaths look smashing on front doors, above hallway and lounge mirrors, on outside trellis, even on the potting shed door!

For further information about Christmas Wreaths, Logs for your fire, or woodburner, or any gardening advice for 2014, contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.

Have a super Christmas and New Year!

Frosty ferns

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

That’s one thing you don’t want. Those gorgeous tree ferns that cost a fortune getting attacked by the first frost!

You need to start thinking about how you are going to protect your vulnerable plants from the onset of winter. What a depressing thought!

I’ve just today visited one garden where we have prepared the tree ferns and other plants including cordylines for a cold spell.

We’ve found that phormiums are pretty hardy, but cordylines and yuccas can circum to very cold weather, so we always wrap these in a fleece. You can buy these inexpensively from your local garden centre. Botanico make an excellent range of fleece jackets in various sizes. A typical price for a 3 pack of 1m jackets is £6-7.

If the plant is in a pot, wrap the fleece jacket around the plant and draw the cord so that it fits around the pot below.

To look after the tree ferns you need some 1. Straw, 2. Garden twine, 3. Fleece on a roll.

First we hold the leaves (fronds) apart and take a good handful of straw and place this in the crown of the tree fern. Don’t push the straw down to too hard as this may damage or inhibit grown of the new fronds in the Spring.

Hold the fronds together and tie them together. This gives added protection to the crown. The old fronds will eventually die back, but don’t worry about this, this is to make way for the new ones.

We then wrap the upper part of the stem and around the crown in fleece material. Some gardeners advocate wrapping the whole of the stem. Then using the twine affix this to the plant firmly.

For further information about Frost Protection you can contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820.

Warning! Broken Fences and Falling Trees- Monday 28th October 2013

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Tomorrow’s forecast storm ( Monday 28th October) is set to reek havoc in the SE with heavy rain over night on Sunday and gusts of wind reaching 60-80mph on Monday morning. The latest Met Office forecast suggests that the eye of the storm is most likely to run across country to East Anglia with collateral damage to the south. There could also be localised flooding.

Best to avoid any unnecessary car journeys whilst the storm is passing and take care if you venture out afterwards.

The last time we suffered such a severe storm in October 2010 trees came down and fences were damaged.

If you have any such problems and live in the Tunbridge Wells area then do call Gardenproud and we will do our best to assist you.

Call Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.

One Bath Crescent to be proud of….

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
We had the good fortune to visit our relatives in Bath this weekend and what a pleasant surprise to see their new garden terrace. They live in a large delightful stone house in a village setting  just outside the City. The house is surrounded by a walled garden which is mainly laid to lawn with herbacious borders, fruit trees and a large vegetable garden (which must be Phase 2 of the garden refurb they have just embarked on).
When we first saw the garden some years ago, the levels were strange. You used to walk out of the rear kitchen door to be confronted by a high wall and a flight of steps. The rear of the house was consequently rather gloomy and garden although nice was unwelcoming.
Well that’s all changed now. Thanks to the foresight of our relatives and a rather clever design the rear of the house has been transformed. Some 30 tons of soil were dug out to create the space for a smart new terraced area. This has been designed in a crescent shape with planting terraces and steps leading up the garden beyond. Suddenly light is reaching the rear of the house, you can see the garden, you are in the garden amongst the fauna, it’s wonderful.
Thanks to the rise in temperature this weekend we were able to sit out on the new terrace and take it all in.
We were supping our G&T’s before Sunday lunch on the nicely weathered teak table, among the beautiful late flowering plants in the lower beds. The planting scheme was designed by Darren Joseph of Daisy-Rose Gardeners in Bath, and what a nice job they have made of it. My favourites include the verbena bonariensis and euphorbia, they are just stunning.
Other features include the distressed urns that adorn the local stone clad walls, and a rather cute ceramic pelican that has a great provenance.
The terrace surface is paved in Welsh stone and I can appreciate why. It has a softer riven effect to indian sandstone and works really well with the local stone walls.
If you live in Bath then why not contact Darren at Daisy-Rose Gardeners www.daisyrosegardeners.co.uk
Alternatively for further information about this article, or Gardenproud please  contact Tim Sykes at 07725 173820

Don’t throw away your old ride on, race it instead!

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Don’t throw away your old ride on, race it instead, says Tim Sykes of Gardenproud.

My son Harry and I were treated to the whole new world of lawn mower racing yesterday .

We’ve got an old ride on which we’ve been wondering what to do with for sometime and by chance we heard about the British Lawn Mower Racing Association from our local equipment supplier in Tunbridge Wells.

We checked out their website www.blmra.co.uk and found it to be a very lively organisation.

Yesterday they were running a 12 hour endurance race at Five Oaks, West Sussex. So we packed the camera and turned on the Sat Nav and headed out to find out as much as possible about this exciting new sport.

Click on this video link  IMG_9226

Click on this video link  IMG_9227

There was no problem finding the event as apart from the wonders of Sat Nav the AA had helped signpost the way. Once at Five Oaks, West Sussex the race circuit was well laid out and marshalled. It was £5 a head to get in and there were refreshment tents, souvenir tents. Everything you’d expect at a properly organised event. Various people had taken their tents so they could camp out and stay with the race as it hurtled through the night.

We watched the timed trails. These took place in the afternoon from 3.15pm. To the layman these looked just like the race although I suspect the actual thing is more competitive and pretty hairy during the night. You will be surprised to see just how fast these machines zoo round the grass tracks, often spinning round corners on just 2 wheels! The drivers wear all the kit too. So they are as safe as can be, plus look the part. At first sight the racing mowers look a bit heath robinson, but on closer inspection have been souped up to carrier round the tracks.

There are 3 main types of racing machine:

Group 3 and Group 4  both use 13.5 hp engines and these include vehicles that look like tuned mini tractors, and other lower gravity machines that are more reminiscent of go-karts than mowers. Anyway I’m assured they were mowers once upon a time! Actually they have to have been, otherwise you wouldn’t be allowed to race them.

The third category I really loved. This is Group 2. These machines started out life as cylinder or roller based machines, but they now look more like a cross between an old fashioned bob sleigh and a cricket mower. The cylinder contraption sits in front and tows a small chariot on which the driver sits. They lie low on the track and no doubt take some handling, but look the business!

For the endurance race you need a team of drivers. Plus a skilled team of mechanics and lots of spare parts. The pitstop area was arranged just like a Formula One area, with teams stopping off for essential repairs and driver changes.

The BLMRA was founded in 1973 by a bunch of beer drinking enthusiasts in Wisborough Green. They hold a number of events each year including a Grand Prix, National and World Championships, plus a 12 hour Endurance Race. Apart from the UK events have been held in Ireland, France, Luxembourg and USA.

Lawn Mower Racing has attracted all manner of drivers including some of the greatest such as Stirling Moss ( who I was once very privileged to share the cockpit of a Lola with – very scary) and Derek Bell – the UK’s greatest Le Mans winner. Both of whom have won the 12 hour endurance race twice!

So if you take this up you’d be in great company.

Well after yesterday we are thinking  very seriously about starting a Gardenproud Racing Team during the 2014 season.

Let me know if you have a ride-on mower you might like to donate to us.

Contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820 at Gardenproud, or go to the BLMRA website if you would like further information.

It’s May so what’s going on in the garden?

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Typically May is one of the busiest months in the garden. The grass is growing, the weeds are growing and the spring flowers are all coming into bloom.

The tree blossom is out and early leaves are starting to appear.

Well if the weather continues to improve then these things will all happen, probably with vengeance! There is so much water in the ground that I can only imagine that as the temperature rises and the sun pokes its head above the clouds that it’s all going to go berserk.

We seem to be running a month behind at present, but it could all suddenly catch up. So for what to do in the garden this May you could refer back to my April column and combine this with these few tips……

- It’s typically the time to increase the frequency of the mowing, it’s also a good time to over seed any bare patches, and give the lawn a good feed. My tip is not to mow your lawn too short, as this will hinder the root structure and lead to weaker grass

- If your Daffs and Tulips have flowered, then dead head them, but leave the leaves for 5-6 weeks before you cut these back

On the subject of Tulips. If you haven’t already visited the Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor, then you haven’t lived! This year the festival is open from Wednesday 24th April and runs every day until Monday 6th May. Pashley Manor is open 11am – 5pm.

It’s a sight to see with over 20,000 blooms on show. It’s well worth a visit as we discovered and the tulip festival is just the splash of colour we all need after the dreariness of that long cold winter. The gardens and setting are beautiful, with a wide range of plants and sculptures on show, plus a real find is the restaurant. Expect to queue, but the wait is worth it! So take your debit cards and get there just before lunch.

Pashley Manor is a short drive away from Tunbridge Wells, situated just out of Ticehurst village on the B2099. You can easily access it from Wadhurst, or via the A21.

You can see more about Pashley Manor at their website www.pashleymanorgardens.com

Plants to look out for include Delphiniums, Euphorbia, Peonies including those wonderful Tree Peonies, early Alliums, Choisya, Rhododendrons and Azaleas. If you are lucky the Wisteria might also come into bloom.

Here a few more gardening tasks you might consider for May:

-       Prepare containers and borders for Summer planting

-       Keep a check on any pest activity and spray roses/shrubs/fruit if necessary

-       Plant up your hanging baskets, but keep them in the greenhouse or under glass until there’s no risk of frost

-       Keep on top of the weeding

In the vegetable garden look out for Asparagus as this is one of the most exciting harvests for May. The other May favourite for me is Spinach.

Enjoy May in your garden

If you have any questions, or are interested in Gardenproud providing you with some advice or help in the garden then contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820 or at info@reallygardenproud.com

7.4m Brits are too ashamed to use their Gardens

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Some of you will have read the article in the Daily Mail. It’s almost unbelievable but maybe true!

Recent research reveals that an amazing 7.4million Brits never spend time in their courtyard or back garden. That’s 12 percent of us. 40% say it’s in a real state with weeds, poorly cared for plants etc. So a rather embarrassing place!

More than 25% of householders admit to finding mowing the lawn or planting flowers more difficult than doing a spot of DIY.

Well if this describes your experience then look no further!

Apart from helping you look after your garden on a regular basis we can turn that weed ridden wasteland back into a garden you’ll be proud of and enjoy.

We have a dedicated GARDEN BLITZ team, plus a team of regular gardeners who can take on the regular maintenance task.

Costs start from as little as £13.00 + VAT per hour

So if you live in Kent contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820 for a free estimate.

So Spring is nearly with us. What’s going on in the garden?

Monday, March 18th, 2013

By Tim Sykes – March 2013

As we approach Spring the bulbs start bursting through and for many of us this is the signal to focus on getting the garden sorted for the Summer.

In reality looking after the garden is a year round thing. But after the dreariness of the winter those daffs coming into bloom are a great moral booster and really help to re-engage us!

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party” – Robin Williams

I can’t believe it, it’s March already and 2 months have passed since the festivities of Christmas and the New Year.

If we are all agreed it’s time to party, what should we be focusing on in the garden?

-       If you haven’t got the mower serviced yet you need to get it seen to, just getting the blades sharpened will help ensure that you achieve a nice cut.

-       You need to prune the roses before the buds burst into growth.

-       If you’ve got any patches of lawn that are looking sad then now’s the time to sow some fresh seed and apply a dressing, or re-turf sections.

-       If you haven’t already done so then prepare your borders, removing any old weed growth and dead foliage and apply a mulch or well-rotted manure. This will help add nourishment and suppress fresh weed growth.

-       Prune back any climbers such as clematis before they get going.

-       Choose and plant out your Summer bulbs and sow the seeds of your herb garden (in particular Basil, Coriander and Parsley).

-       Plant out any new perennials.

-       If you have a fruit section in your garden then now’s the time to plant the raspberries and strawberries.

These are just some of tasks that spring to mind, but please 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

Flowers to look out for in March include; Daffodils, Primrose, Hellebores,  Cyclamen,  Crocus,  Hyacinths, Dwarf Tulips, Violets and of course Bergenia Cordifolia (Elephant’s Ears).

Enjoy the awakening of your garden this March.

For further information about Gardenproud’s design, landscaping or garden maintenance services please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or at info@reallygardenproud.com

Gardenproud braves today’s blizzard conditions

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Today in Tunbridge Wells. Gardenproud 4 wheel drive vehicles switched from their everyday role of ferrying gardening equipment to helping sister company Houseproud get their cleaning staff to clients homes.

The weather in and around Tunbridge Wells turned particularly bad overnight and many roads were impassable this morning.

But the Jeep and Land Rover trucks came into their own and battled through the icy weather to clients homes.

Here Sarah, MD of Houseproud stands bracing herself against the fierce blizzard conditions. See Houseproud at

www.reallyhouseproud.com