Monthly Archives: July 2020

  • When the only way is up! Vertical Gardens

     

    Whether you have a small back yard, patio or terrace or even just a balcony, lack of space needn't be a problem with a vertical garden.

    Vertical gardens can also be used to help cover up ugly fences or act as partitions in gardens of all shapes and sizes.

     

    Check out our range of simple ideas to create a beautiful vertical garden.

     

    Lockdown Ladder

     

     

    Easy to create with some timber offcuts or upcycle an old ladder. Great for beautifying an ugly wall or empty space. Lean it against or fix it to a wall or fence for the ultimate lockdown ladder vertical garden. Trailing plants work well here as well as creeping varieties.

     

     

    Tintastic plant wall

     

     

    Cover a boring fence or partition by upcycling old pallets and paint tins. Clean up your old paint pots then attach your pallet wall to the fence with hooks and fix your paint tin plant pots into place. Make sure to drill holes in the bottoms of your paint tins to allow for drainage then pop in soil and get planting!

     

    Living Wall

     

     

    Timber posts and chicken wire or a garden trellis and some terracotta pots are all you need to create a living wall that can act as a screen or partition or be placed in front of an old garden fence or garage wall. Erect your timber posts and then hang your chicken wire between them. Or for a faster solution buy a ready-made garden trellis. Next, attach your terracotta pots and add plants and flowers of your choice.

     

     

    Step Up

     

     

    For a quick and easy vertical garden why not convert an old step ladder! Paint the ladder in a colour to complement your outdoor area or leave natural if the material suits your area. Then just pop your potted plants on each step. Mix up the sizes of pots and the types of plants. You can also change the arrangements to suit the occasion or season - with warm sunny plants and even potted herbs and veggies like tomato plants in summer to Christmas hollies and winter pansies in the winter months. To add more space for your planters try adding some horizontal planks that span across the rungs.

     

    Gutter Glory

     

     

    Why not repurpose some old guttering to make quirky planters - just fix to a post or wall and pot your plants of choice inside - remember to drill some drainage holes first. You can mix different lengths of guttering or even add pipework to create an industrial look.

     

     

    Bucket Beautiful

     

     

    The humble bucket makes a great plant pot and you can use the handle to hang the bucket from a trellis frame or affix to a fence or wall. Take a selection of buckets - get create with different shapes, sizes and colours and choose your plants to suit. Add drainage holes and get hanging!

     

    Pallet Planter

     

     

    Create a small herb garden, adding fresh earthy aromas to your vertical garden. Just take an old pallet and use a weed membrane - cut and staple to create a bottom to each 'shelf' and then fill with multipurpose compost. Add your herb plants and then attach your pallet to a wall or fence.

     

    Pretty as a Picture

     

     

    Create 'living art' in your garden by using a large picture frame as a rectangular plant potter. Add a back and your choice of small plants then hang vertically on a wall or fence. Use one large picture frame or if your space allows, try hanging several frames of differing shapes and sizes. To water just use a spray bottle to lightly spray the plants.

     

     

    When the only way is up, let your imagination run wild and built your very own vertical gardens this summer!

     

    We would love to see your creative vertical gardens - don't forget to upload your pictures and comments to our social media platforms.

     

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  • The Great British Strawberry

    Nothing says Summer in the UK quite like the Great British Strawberry!

     

     

    Enjoyed with whipped or clotted cream, a scoop of ice cream, or just simply by its glorious self, there is nothing quite like a bowl of freshly picked, sweet and succulent strawberries on a hot summer's day.

     

     

    And it has to be British!

     

    British strawberries in season are quite simply the sweetest, juiciest and best-tasting strawberries of them all.

     
     

     

    Summer saviour

    The summer of 2020, unfortunately, is not set to be a typically British affair. Wimbledon may be cancelled along with the classic court side picnics and Pimms o'clock post-match analogies however that doesn't mean we need to forgo our favourite summertime fruit.

    There are lots of different varieties of strawberries such as the Sweet Eve which, as its name suggests, is popular for its sweeter taste. The many different types of strawberry plants allow the growing season to stretch from May right through to October - giving us plenty of time to enjoy these delicious treats!

     
     

     

    Homegrown Heroes

    Nothing beats the taste of homegrown, freshly picked strawberries - what's more they are so easy to grow! Strawberries can literally be grown anywhere - planted in rows directly into your garden soil, in pots or containers on your window sill, balcony or terrace and even in hanging baskets! So no matter how large or small your garden space is, you can grow your own this summer.

     

     

    It is important to water your establishing strawberry plants regularly - take care to avoid the growing fruit and buds which can cause disease in the plant. You may also need to protect them from the local wildlife in early summer as they take root. Try using netting or wire mesh to keep the birds and squirrels at bay.

     

     

    Another top tip for strawberry beds is to place straw or fibre mats underneath the plants. This helps to keep growing fruits clean and the beds free from weeds.

     

     

    Your strawberry plants should yield summer crops for at least 4 years before they need replacing - ensuring you a plentiful supply of the great British strawberry year on year.

    Strawberries sold in pots or packs can be planted as soon as you buy them or grown in their own containers - so there is still time to get growing this summer.

     

    Pick your own

    Ask any food growing gardener why they grow their own and they will tell you nothing tastes better than freshly picked fruit and veg straight from your very own garden.

     

     

    Strawberry picking can also be great fun too! And if growing your own seems like too much hard work you needn't miss out on that fabulous freshly picked taste. There are hundreds of 'pick your own' farms up and down the country for you to gather all the strawberries you can eat!

    So why not pull up a deck chair, grab yourself an ice-cold glass of Pimms and tuck into a glorious bowl of Great British Strawberries. Happy Summer!

     

     


  • Hints and Tips for July

     

    Clean and Tidy

    Think ‘clean and tidy’ in the garden. Regularly removing weeds, diseased leaves and any pests you find will result in increased crops of quality produce. Grass clippings and vegetable waste from the kitchen will be adding to the compost heap. Don’t forget you need to turn over the contents to aerate the heap and aid the composting process. Make sure you keep it moist. You can also buy a ‘compost activator’ if you want to speed the composting.

     

    Tomato maintenance

    If you have greenhouse or outdoor tomatoes, don’t forget to remove side shoots (unless they are bush varieties). This will allow more air around the plants and encourage better fruit development.

     

    Prune early bloomers

     

     

    Don’t neglect the herbaceous border in July. Cut back faded flower spikes on early blooming types, with some species e.g. Delphiniums, this can induce a later flush of flowers. You may be filling any spaces with new perennials, but if you want to wait for the autumn, you can cheer up and brighten an area with some colourful annual plants.

     

    Fruit harvesting

    Fruit areas will be in full production now. Remove any damaged or over ripe fruit to avoid fungal diseases.

    Remember the more strawberries you pick, the more will be produced!

     

     


  • July Garden Calendar

     

    Our gardening Calendar moves from June to July and towards the heights of Summer!

     

    What a year it's been so far and not for the best of reasons. If there is a 'silver lining', its how good our gardens are looking, courtesy of the time available due to 'lockdown'! Householders though, have embraced the challenge and our gardens are thriving!   Seedmen's sales of seed and plants bear witness to a big drive to 'grow your own' with people taking the chance to supplement the household budget with tasty, healthy vegetables.

     

     

    Remember gardening is great therapy!

    Let's have a look at your gardening tasks for July!

     

    Lawns

    Assuming normal weather, continue to mow weekly, though during a dry period, raising the height of the cutting is a good idea to reduce stress on grass. Should watering restrictions be introduced, don't worry too much, grass has amazing powers of recovery!

     

     

    Vegetables

    The veg garden should be looking great now. Make sure you are watering in dry spells and keep up to date with the weeding to maximise cropping.

    Crops are growing fast now so make sure you are feeding when necessary.

    There is still time to sow Beetroot and Carrots for autumn cropping.

    Perhaps surprisingly there is still time to produce a crop of potatoes for the autumn but make sure you use what is advertised as an ‘early’ variety. Aside from the garden you can plant them in raised beds, or large pots and tubs.

     

     

    Flowers

    The Covid-19 virus has made it a strange summer for gardeners and commercial growers alike. The closure of garden centres has made it difficult for all.

    If you were lucky enough to buy your bedding plants (or grow your own), then now is the time to be watering, feeding and ‘dead-heading’ fading flowers. However, if you were less fortunate, no worries, resourceful growers have been growing later batches of plants.

    You can even still find pots of sweet pea plants if you look around! Already have them? Make sure they are well supported and watch out for those slugs!

     

     

    Fruit

    Looks like being a good year for soft fruit e.g. strawberries, cane fruit e.g. raspberries and top fruit e.g. apples. Pollination of apples was very good with few early frosts – so lots of apples. The down side? You may have to thin out small apples for a decent sized fruit on maturity.

     

    Shrubs

    Time to finish pruning early summer flowering types. May and early June were particularly dry, so don’t neglect the watering.

     

     


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