Category Archives: Gardener Tips

A garden job to do right now!

This weeks’ garden job. If you have soft fruit and berry bushes now is the time to make sure they are well netted. February and March can be quiet months in the garden so if you can get on top of these small maintenance jobs ( small being a relative term, it depends on the size of your fruit cage!) you’ll be we’ll ahead once the growing season starts. A fruit cage is a great way to protect fruit from birds and essential if you want to get to ripe cherries before the blackbirds. They seem to have a sixth sense and will be in there before you even knew they were ripe.

garden design Oakham

Fruit cages have been used since Roman times with the earliest recording in AD 4-70 from a writer and farmer who wrote that he was using broom to prevent birds from eating pomegranates.

 

If you have an interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for, then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Jobs in the garden

It’s a quiet time in the garden right now so make the most of it. Pour a cup of tea and settle down with a biscuit (or a plate of them!) and some seed catalogues.

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If you had gaps in the garden last year you could think about filling these with some annuals or Summer flowering bulbs so get choosing.

garden design Uppingham

Jobs you can carry out in the garden right now include:

If you are lacking scent in the garden plant a flowering shrub  – try Lonicera x purpusii or Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’. I love the scent of sarcococca planted by a front door. It can be quite heady but at this time of year you just get a passing whiff!

Cut back summer flowering clematis to about 18 inches off  the ground.

garden design Oakham

Plant garlic, shallots and onions. They need a cold spell to get them moving so if the soil is unfrozen now is a good time to plant.

garden design Oakham

Tidy up any fruit cages now and make sure the nets are tight and hole free. If you don’t net wall trained cherries or raspberries you’ll find the blackbirds eat more than you do! They seem to have a sixth sense for when they are just ripe and will strip a whole tree in a morning.

Remember keep tidy – rake and clear leaves to keep pests down, especially slugs.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland, Leicestershire, Nottingham and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

Garden jobs to do this month

It’s still a little cold but on a bright sunny day like yesterday it’s lovely to get out in the garden for an hour or so. At this time of year you want to have a number of small jobs which you can tackle on their own and then go back indoors for a cup of tea. My first task is to tackle the herb garden.

chelsea 2008 099 garden design Lincs

  Take advantage of the fact that your       herb plants aren’t sprawling all over the place right now take notice of where you have bare patches that you can fill with new herbs. Now’s your chance to work out where new plants could fit into your herb bed.

 

If you have some gaps to fill think carefully about what to fill them with. When deciding try to choose species to encourage beneficial insects, such as hoverflies, lacewings and bees, into your garden. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), sage (Salvia officinalis) and thymes (Thymus species) are all popular with these useful creatures. Rosemary (rosmarinus) is a stunning plant in its own right. It can be used as a pot plant, hedge or shrub in a border. And bees flock to its pretty blue flowers for weeks on end.  


chelsea 2008 117

 

Consider adding features to an existing herb garden. February is a good month to dig a pond, add a bird bath or sun dial or create new paths. Avoid treading on wet soil as this compacts it and damages the structure. If you have to work on open soil, lay down planks to spread your weight – old scaffold boards work well for this.

 

If you’ve recently taken on a garden, and the soil is heavy clay, dig in plenty of grit now. Most herbs prefer well-drained soil, and many will be short-lived in water-logged growing conditions. And don’t forget to regularly add grit to give plants the drainage they need.

 

If you’re growing Herbs in containers they will need top-dressing as conditions warm up. This simply means removing the top 5-10cm (2-4in) of compost and topping up with a 50/50 mixture of well-rotted garden compost/worm compost and leaf mould or green waste compost. Finish off with a layer of horticultural grit, to improve appearance and retain moisture in dry spells. If you have none of the above material, then use a commercial soil-conditioner mixed 50/50 with fresh organic potting compost.

garden design Oundle

 

If the weather is mild, shoots of herbaceous herbs (those that die back over winter) may start emerging by the end of February. Improve the fertility by mulching with a layer of garden compost 2-5cm (1–2in) thick.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden and interior design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

How to ensure the grass isn’t greener in your neighbour’s garden

A recent report in The Telegraph newspaper explained how experts were worried about the state of UK gardener’s lawns in the coming years. At this time of year there is not much you can do about your lawn. After all the rain we have had, made most lawns are too wet to even walk on them.

Here’s what The Telegraph had to say:

“Experts fear the British summer will be prone to extreme weather conditions in years to come, with periods of torrential rain and prolonged droughts becoming the norm.

As a result maintaining a classic lawn will get harder, prompting warnings that gardeners seeking the ‘bowling green’ look will have to make do with rougher grass instead.

Drier springs and wetter summers will also ensure plants in beds and borders will struggle to flourish.

The stark warning was been made by experts from the Met Office and the horticultural world during a recent Royal Horticultural Society conference.

Professor Richard Bisgrove, an expert in turf management and garden history, believes people will have to abandon the dream of having the perfect lawn”.

Richard was the lead plant lecturer on my garden design course at Reading University back in 1999 and he was a fantastic teacher. I learnt so much from him that I still apply to my garden business today. His lawn tips from The Telegraph are really useful:

“Instead gardeners should raise the height of their lawnmower blades in the summertime to ensure a healthy patch of grass.

The retired University of Reading lecturer said: “My own view is that climate change won’t affect gardens dramatically but the weather will.

“Nobody can tell one year to the next what we will have.

“In terms of grass I would say to a large extent the less effort you put into it the better.

“People should accept a slightly higher cut of grass, more daisies and buttercups.

“In general, intensive inputs into grass management are futile.

“If you are after the perfect lawn you have to cut it closely, at least once a week, burning fossil fuels, using more fuel.

“There are some people for whom the perfect bowling green lawn is the only thing they can live with so they will have to pay the price for it.

“Very short grass will go brown in just a short spell of dry weather so you have to irrigate, remove moss and weeds which all uses up more resources.

“Most people who now aim for the bowling green look are probably over the age of 75.

“Most younger people are willing to hack at it a bit when it bothers them then leave it at that.”

Professor Julia Slingo, the chief scientist at the Met Office, also believes gardeners will need to adapt to the change.

She said: “We should all be worried about climate change, we are taking the planet into unchartered territories through our own activities.

“We are taking our planet into a climate that we haven’t seen for a very, very long time, going back to before there were gardens in the UK.

“For us in the UK we will be buffered from most of the climate change because we live downstream from the Atlantic Ocean, that is why we have lovely gardens now.

“(The weather) will continue to be very variable and as gardeners we need to adapt to that.”

You can certainly say that again. Let’s see how we can all adapt to the variations in weather this year and hope it’s not the wettest drought we have ever experienced!

 

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

Garden jobs for November

Now that the clocks have gone back it gets harder and harder to think about doing jobs in the garden. Take advantage of bright sunny mornings and do just a few key tasks to keep on top of jobs.

General tidy up

While the soil is still warm and damp, move and plant shrubs and herbaceous plants

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in the soil to add nitrogen

Make sure you sweep up leaves from the lawn and borders or they’ll provide perfect places for slugs and snails to overwinter. This has been a bumper year  for slugs keeping on top of garden hygiene is all important.

Prepare the greenhouse for winter, clean the glass, bubble wrap if necessary, ensure your heater is in good working order.

Prepare for next Spring

 

Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring.  If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or soil and plant them where they fall. In borders opt for large clumps of bulbs – you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of 5 or more – you’ll find that if you plant them in clumps of 12 – 15 tulip bulbs then it will allow enough for you to pick a few for a vase in the house next Spring without it being obvious.

Think about planting a new ornamental tree – now is the time to pick what you want to come bare root  once the season has started, usually towards the end of November. I still have my eye on a Liquid amber to add interest next Autumn but as I’ve been concentrating on the house this year I still need to find a space for it.

 

Now is the ideal time to plant Japanese yellow onion sets and garlic. My favourite garlic supplier is The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk

 

I‘ve also added some glass cloches over herbs which I’d like to pick through the winter, grown in this way herbs like parsley will provide you with fresh stems throughout the winter.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Garden jobs in October

For ‘tis the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but
what is there for gardeners to do this month? Here’s my latest update on what
you should be getting up to in the garden in October

This is my favourite time of year. I know I should love summer
with its heady mix of annuals and perennials making borders look like a Monet
painting but for me, spring and autumn are my favorite times of the year. I
love the moment the soil awakens in Spring and up pop all my autumn planted
bulbs. I love the way new seeds uncoil from the ground pushing clods of earth
aside. In autumn I love the mists, the glistening cobwebs, watching spiders
spin their way from plant to plant and birds stealing the last seeds from spent
seed heads.

General gardening

While the soil is still warm and damp, lift and divide
herbaceous perennials. Replenish the soil with well-rotted compost (and with
plenty of coarse grit if the soil is heavy clay). Replant the strongest, outer
pieces and water well. It’s also a good time to buy and plant pot grown plants,
and shrubs, they will get their roots into the soil while it is still warm.

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in
the soil to add nitrogen. Sow sweetpeas now for early flowering next year. They
benefit from the winter shelter of a cold greenhouse or frame. Sow 5in deep
into long root trainer pots (or loo rolls) and cover with glass or polythene
until seedlings break through the surface. Keep in cool, light conditions to
prevent weak growth and thin out as they grow pinching out the tips to create
strong bushy plants.

Move tender plants indoors or under glass.

Bring squashes and pumpkins into cure – they develop a thick
skin which makes them keep better. On dry, bright days put them out in the sun
but if there is a chance of rain leave them undercover or on a bright
windowsill.

Mulch, with a layer of compost, around the base of any
tender perennials to protect from frosts.

I’ve noticed some box plants in pits are looking a little
yellow right now so have fed them with a liquid feed high in iron. Sequested
iron is used for camellias etc but can provide the nutrients needed to green up
leaves on yellowing plants.

It is still warm enough to use nematodes against vine
weevil  if you get a move on. I’ve just
had an email from a client telling me hers arrived in the post this week. Water
around the plant well first and then water the nematodes into the soil,. They
will eat the vine weevil grub which does so much damage munching its way
through roots so plants eventually die.

Roses

Shorten any long lanky stems on shrub roses to reduce their
vulnerability to the wind. Floribunda roses that have finished flowering for
the year may also be given the same treatment. If not completed earlier, i.e. just
after flowering time, rambler roses can have flowering stems removed and new
stems tied into position.

Herbs

Place a cloche over a row of parsley, to keep up supplies
over the winter. Tired plants may be encouraged – give them a pick me up with a
gentle application of nitrogen fertiliser.

Prepare for next Spring

Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring.
If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or
soil and plant them where they fall. In borders opt for large clumps of bulbs -
you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of 5 or
more – the more the better as it means you can pinch a stem for a vase next
spring without the group looking bereft!

Think about planting a new ornamental tree – I have my eye
on a Liquid amber to add interest next Autumn and to provide fabulous scent
when I crush it’s leaves.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden
design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden
design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318
or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of
your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you
are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and
paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a
handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing
rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

Garden Jobs to do in September

September

Monday definitely felt like a day of mists and mellow fruitfulness while today has been bright and sunny and unbelievably warm. The brood of House Martins next door has all left the nest and were flitting and diving across the sky yesterday catching bugs and trying out their wings. We had quite a collection on the telephone wires and some on the roof which kept tumbling and almost falling off before spreading their wings and remembering that they could fly.

 

It has been so nice you can spend the whole day in the garden if you have time (and your back is up to it)  so now is the time to catch up on jobs and get ahead for the Autumn.

Herbaceous borders

If you spotted some gaps in your borders and took photos to remind you of when and where the gaps appeared you are a step ahead. If not, plant pot grown asters, phlox and rudbeckia in the gaps now and they will have filled out for next summer.

Or sow hardy annuals directly into the borders in some freshly drilled soil. They will provide an early display next summer.

Begin to dry off large pots of tender plants such as agapanthus and fuchsias. We lost a lot of agapanthus last winter so ensure you dry pots well and set aside – it can be sitting with their toes in water rather than the cold that kills them.

Prune climbing roses cutting out the oldest stems at ground level. Tie in new growth as near horizontal as possible to encourage flower buds next year.

Buy Spring flowering bulbs – you can never have enough bulbs they brighten even the dullest day. I have stocks of tulips and alliums. Call or email for more information on my current favourite planting combinations. This is one of my client’s combinations from this year.

Plant new climbers, shrubs and evergreens while the soil is still warm.

Ponds

Now is the time to net your pond – not to stop the heron but to catch the leaves before they fall.

Vegetable garden

Keep harvesting courgettes or they will turn into marrows!

If you haven’t already done so lift your main crop potatoes

 Plant garlic bulbs, The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight are one of the best around. Visit www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk

Add a fleece tunnel to keep the ground warm and sow winter salads. It’s amazing how easy it is and so delicious to pick a handful of fresh leaves for a sandwich in the depths of winter.

Plant new strawberries. A strawberry plant has about 3 years productive life so continually replanting the runners is the way to keep your patch productive year after year.

I like to clear the greenhouse and give it a thorough clean in September. I know I can leave plants outside for a night or two without them coming to harm so I empty everything, give it a thorough scrub and light a sulphur candle over night to disinfect the whole greenhouse.

If your garden is in need of some TLC then why not give me a call and let me come and advise on solutions. Or if you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland, Oundle and Northamptonshire as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

what to do in the garden in June

Your herbaceous borders should be about to peak this month so ensure you keep them well stakes and fill any gaps now so they are almost disguised by new lush growth as it pushes through.
Borders
Continue to deadhead in your borders to encourage repeat flowering
Remove old flower stems and leaves of hellebores
Deadhead!


Ponds
Remove too vigorous pond plants to keep an area of water clear


Vegetable gardens
Start to harvest garlic and shallots
Thin out direct sown seedlings including beetroot
Feed tomatoes weekly with a high potash feed and remove side shoots once trusses have set
Repeat sow lettuce, salads, French and runner beans, carrots and beetroot for crops later in the season.
General
If slugs are a problem, get a couple of chickens! Bantams do hardly any damage to your garden and provide you with fresh eggs. They won’t lay all year round like a more robust breed such a long island red might but they will keep pests at bay.
Make sure you have a couple of nice places to sit and enjoy the garden – perhaps one seat positioned for sun and one for shade. There’s nothing better than being able to enjoy all the work you’ve put in but if you don’t make it easy with a well positioned seat you may miss it and only ever go into the garden to toil.
If you have a garden, interior or landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.
I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

Garden jobs in May

Spring has definitely sprung and all the rain of the last few weeks has really pushed on fresh growth.  If you took a leaf out of my tree and did a good tidy up last Autumn you should be feeling on top of things and even have time to read the seed catalogues at leisure. But if you’re still grappling with the onset of Spring and need to get ahead here are a few of the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.

 

Borders

  • Do a final tidy through of borders cutting back all the herbaceous plants left with foliage on last winter. Weed where soil is light and crumbly.
  • Support taller herbaceous plants especially delphiniums and paeonie’s
  • Split clumps of perennial grasses to keep them alive in the centre

 

Maintenance

  • Mulch, mulch and add more mulch – add well rotted horse manure together with the contents of my compost bin if you have it. Add a sprinkling of bone meal to established hedges – rake up any leaves and sprinkle on the soil at the base.
  • Hedges are hungry feeders so fertilising is really important to keep them healthy.
  • Turn the compost heap and begin to add fresh material. If you have access to manure (chicken or horse) add this in layers and it will help to get the composting process going.

 

Lawns

  • Your lawn should have had its first few cuts so you can start to set the blades a little lower – but go easy.
  • Renovate grass as needed – if like my lawn it is filled with moss you can use this to your advantage and rake it up to make decorations for the house. Wire bunches of moss and flowers (blossom, primroses, and newly emerging leaves) around a wire ring or heart. Keep them watered or spray every day and they will last for up to a week.

 

Ponds

  • Clear ponds and begin to plant marginal pond plants. Leave cleared plants on the waters edge overnight to allow any creatures lurking in them to find their way back to the water.

 

Think ahead

  • Plant up containers for summer and keep under cover until all frosts have gone
  • Sow annual flower and herb seeds.
  • Plant scented leaf pelargoniums (you will find some of my favourites at The Herb Nursery at Tistleton)
  • Plant out pot grown pumpkins, courgettes and cucumbers once frosts have passed

 Don’t beat yourself up if the garden isn’t perfect – you have time yet.  I believe that every space can be comfortable, relaxed and beautiful without you feeling pressured to be perfect.  I would love to help you achieve your beautiful home and garden. If I can help with a home or garden project please give me a call. Alison: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland, Leicester, Nottingham and Northampton as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

What jobs should I do in the garden: November

 T’is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but what is there for gardeners to do this month? Here’s my latest update on what you should be getting up to in the garden in November.

This is my favourite time of year. I know I should love summer with its heady mix of annuals and perennials making borders look like a Monet painting but for me, spring and autumn are my favorite times of the year.

I love the moment the soil awakens in Spring and up pop all my autumn planted bulbs. I love the way new seeds uncoil from the ground pushing clods of earth aside. In autumn I love the mists, the glistening cobwebs, watching spiders spin their way from plant to plant and birds stealing the last seeds from spent seed heads.

 

General tidy up

While the soil is still warm and damp, move and plant shrubs and herbaceous plants

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in the soil to add nitrogen

Make sure you sweep up leaves from the lawn and borders or they’ll provide perfect places for slugs and snails to overwinter.

Prepare the greenhouse for winter, clean the glass, bubble wrap if necessary, ensure your heater is in good working order.

Prepare for next Spring

 Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring.  If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or soil and plant them where they fall. In borders opt for large clumps of bulbs – you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of 5 or more – you’ll find that if you plant them in clumps of 12 – 15 tulip bulbs then it will allow enough for you to pick a few for a vase in the house next Spring without it being obvious.

Think about planting a new ornamental tree – I have already picked three Silver Birch (Betula jacquemontii) to come bare root once the weather has turned cold. I’ll plant them in a triangle near the stone wall at the bottom, of the garden where their pure white stems will catch the morning sun. To keep them white, give them a hose down and scrub their bark with a soft brush. I also have my eye on a Liquid amber to add interest next Autumn. I still need to find a space for it but am looking forward to it’s fabulous scent when I crush it’s leaves.

Now is the ideal time to plant Japanese yellow onion sets and garlic. My favourite garlic supplier is The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk

If you have a building project, interior project or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.