Gardenproud Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

It’s March and the garden beckons

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
After one of the wettest winter periods on record we all look forward to March with a little prayer that the weather might improve for us gardeners.
At the time of writing Sarah and I have just returned from a very pleasant walk with Basil our dog, around the grounds of Burrswood, Groombridge. It was heartening to see that the daffs were starting to appear and the snowdrops were out, so maybe Spring is not that far away! Visit the Crown on the Green. You will be welcomed by a very friendly landlord, and if you are lucky the dog will get a treat!

Before we journey outside, I wanted to share with you some photographs of Amaryllis that have been appearing on our Gardenproud Facebook page. We gave a number of our friends Amaryllis bulbs for Christmas and pictures have been flooding in of their progress, so we have posted some of these on our Facebook page. Interest in the progress has come from a number of people, including would you believe Judi Cohen from New Jersey, USA – the wonders of social media! Judy sent us some amazing photographs of her Amaryllis. Her secret to creating wonderful flower heads is to restrict the soil content of the pot. I put the bulb in very little soil, forcing the action away from the roots and into the bloom.” So a tip to remember for 2015.

March is always a good time to be attacking the moss on your lawns, and boy have I seen a lot moss around the gardens of Tunbridge Wells recently! So a good scarifying, followed by a feed could help give the lawn a bit of a lift before the growing season gets a hold. If the lawn is particularly bad you may need to aerate the surface and give it a top dressing and over seeding. Watch the temperature though, because your seeds won’t germinate in cold weather.
Cotswold Grass seeds who are one of the leading suppliers recommend “Soil temperatures needs to be in excess of 4°C, usually late February in Southern UK, two weeks days later in the North. The optimum soil temperature for seeds to start chitting is 7-10°C which is usually reached by mid – late March across the UK.”
One of the things you are going to have to watch (as soon as the temperature rises) is weeds. Last year we had quite a wet start to the year and the weeds grew like mad. So given this years dose of rain you’ll need to get on top of the bed maintenance pdq.
Here a few additional thoughts on March from our friends at RHS:
1. Remove dead foliage, weed and top dress pots and containers with fresh compost
2. Protect new spring shoots from slugs
3. Divide overgrown clumps of perennials
4. Start mowing the lawn, as the weather becomes drier
If you have a vegetable garden then now’s the time to plant out your shallots, onion sets and early potatoes. When the ground is suitable you can plant new fruits, including raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries and blackcurrants ( lots of fruit plants like a free draining, acidic soil, so it maybe sensible to check the pH levels and then mix in horticultural grit, with a good ericaceous compost).
If you haven’t done it already remember to prune your apple and pear trees before the first leaves start to break.
Whilst things will be hotting up in the garden, March is also a great time to be tweaking the beds for your summer borders. Think about the effect you want to achieve, the relative heights of plants, or bulbs once they are established, then look at the borders and decide which of your existing plants you want to keep. It’s also a good idea to have a colour palette in mind. The trend is towards more focused palettes, which I like. So you might mix lilacs, violets, blues, creams and whites, but avoid yellows, pinks and oranges. You’ll be able to select your summer flowering bulbs from the local nurseries.
All of the local ones have a great choice, but you can also find an excellent selection on the J.Parker’s website www.dutchbulbs.co.uk If you prefer a catalogue, then call them on, 0161 848 1124

Finally, another date for all your diaries! Don’t miss the Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor this year! It starts on April 23rd. Entrance is £10 and the festival runs until 5th May. This year will mark their 20th Anniversary, so I’m sure the displays will be stunning. Don’t miss the restaurant, so time your visit around lunchtime!
I hope you enjoy your garden this March.
For further information please contact Tim Sykes, at Gardenproud 07725 173820, or at info@reallygardenproud.com

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

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!