Posts in Category: General

15 Top Additions to Compost

Composting is not only a great way to save on organic waste going into landfills but also helps to save money by providing you with your own fertile top soil. Composting can be done either in a container or via a compost heap or pile. Composting works best when you provide a variety of different materials without putting any one item in excess of others. Compost can be created year-round and typically takes about six months to be produced from the time that you start. Keeping your compost pile turned over will also help expedite the decomposition process.

The 15 of the best items to add to compost are:

1. Dried leaves
2. Tea leaves
3. Grass clippings
4. Dried manure
5. Fruits
6. Vegetable
7. Peelings
8. Coffee grounds
9. Old wine or corks
10. Used biodegradable pet bedding (such as from rabbits or hamsters)
11. Dust from sweeping or hoovering
12. Dry cat or dog food
13. Old herbs and Spices
14. Shredded Newspapers
15. Hair and nail clippings

Ten Best Autumn Colour Plants

As the Autumn weather brings in the grey clouds and wet days, some beautiful, warm Autumn colours ought to help brighten your mood and give you that cosy Fall feeling. Autumn brings many shows of colour from deciduous trees, climbers, roses and shrubs. Many of these will bear hips, berries and other fruits this time of year.

1. Snowy Mespilus- produces beautiful scarlet and crimson leaves in fall

2. Aster- flowers in late summer and early autumn

3. Beauty Berry- boasts stunning, large clusters of purple berries mid-autumn

4. Judas Tree- has leaves that turn an impressive yellow in autumn

5. Autumn Crocus- flowers throughout September and October

6. Cotoneaster- bears beautiful red berries during the autumn

7. Crab Apple- gives colourful fruit and leaves in autumn

8. Nerine (Nerine Bowdenii)- gives a fabulous lipstick-pink flower and can be grown outside if in a warm, sunny border that’s backed by the shelter of a wall

9. Chinese Virginia Creeper- has a lovely, velvety texture and turns a fiery crimson in fall

10. Sternbergia lutea- give a bright yellow flowering bulb that likes a warm sunny spot with good drainage

Top 9 Plants for Attracting Bees and Butterflies

Do you love watching bees and butterflies buzzing around your garden? Here are 9 of the best and easy to grow plants for attracting them:

1. Alliums and Chives- are much loved by bees and not too fussy on soil conditions.

2. Sedum- are a firm favourite for butterflies and great for growing in containers.

3. Cranesbill or Geranium- especially the blue and purple varieties, are perfect for attracting bees and quite low maintenance.

4. Cerinthe Major- a bit rare and an annual but definitely a bee magnet!

5. Buddleia or Butterfly Bush- comes in a variety of sizes is very fragrant and extremely attractive to bees and butterflies.

6. Perovskia/Russian Sage- is loved by bees and prefers dry, sunny conditions and a large container.

7. Monarda or Bee Balm- enjoys a sunny, well-drained spot and not ideal for growing in a container.

8. Herb Oregano- is a very hardy herb, great for use as a border and very attractive to butterflies and other pollinators.

9. Lavender- is very fragrant, great for container growing and likes a sunny/well-drained spot.

Things to Avoid Putting in Your Compost

Creating your own compost is a great way to reduce your waste and save money at the same time. However, there are a few things that may seem ok to compost that you should actually avoid.

-Coal or Charcoal ashes can contain toxic materials that could harm your plants (wood ashes are fine).
-Walnuts also contain a chemical that could be harmful to other plants and does not break down (juglone).
-Cat and Dog waste should be avoided as it could contain dangerous diseases that could be spread to humans.
-Coloured paper could contain toxic dyes and should not be composted, unlike regular paper.
-Limes should not be composted because their pH is alkaline and could kill the microorganisms in your compost.
-Bird droppings (excluding chickens) can be added but could possibly contain weed seeds or disease, so use caution.
-Some food items can be composted but are not recommended due to the amount of time it takes them to break down or could attract pests, such as: meat, onion peels, citrus peels, grease, bones, or dairy products.

Most other food waste, garden waste, coffee grounds and coffee filters, paper, cardboard, hair or nail clippings and much more can be added to your compost. Just remember, that the smaller these items are, the easier it will be for them to break down.

Signs your plant needs repotting

Often when growing plants, the growth cycle will start in a small pot which you will then move to a larger pot as it grows. There are a few signs that your plant is ready to move into a larger pot but what are they?

1. The most obvious sign is the if you see roots coming through the drain holes at the bottom of your pot. You should be able to hold the stem of your plant and pull it out of the pot if you see lots of roots at the bottom this is a sure sign its ready to move to the next size pot.

2. Another sign that your plant needs to move space is if it is very thirsty. If your plant starts looking dehydrated or starts wilting despite frequent watering then this could be a sign it needs a larger home. Ensure you water your plant the day before moving it to reduce stress on the roots.

Once you notice that your plant is ready to be placed into a bigger home it is important to make the move as soon as possible. Plants that are left in a pot too small to accommodate them will eventually die as they will not be able to absorb water or nutrients.

Garden Gravel

Having a gravel area in part of all of your garden is a low maintenance option and can look amazing if done correctly but there are a few things to consider before you decide to gravel your garden.

– You will need to think about if your garden is suitable first, although any area can be graveled it is more suited to a sunny well-drained area. and whilst you can place gravel on any surface a sandy or gravelly soil will be a better surface.

– You will need to consider the type and size of gravel also. You can get fine grade gravel or thicker types which are 20mm or more. Medium-sized gravel is easier to walk on than smaller gravel types so this is usually a better option for gardens.

– If you have cats regularly visit your garden the smaller gravel types will be inviting them to use your garden as a big litter tray – larger types of gravel can deter this.

How to bring dying plants back to life

Have you come across a less than happy plant in your garden?

A plants life can fluctuate if it is getting too much or too little of the vital life lines it needs to thrive. But most plants can easily be brought back to life using a few simple remedies to restore its natural balance.

Check out these common symptoms of dying plants and the solutions to revive it.

Symptoms – wilted, brown or yellow leaves, moist soil – these could be a sign of over-watering. Solution – keep out of direct sun and lightly water – re-pot if possible.

Symptoms – dry brown leaves, dry or hard soil, drooping leaver – these could be a sign of dehydration. Solution – place your plant in a humid area if possible or keep out of direct sun and lightly water.

Symptoms – dark or bleached patches, dried out leaves – these could be a sign you plant is getting too much sun. Solution – provide shade and water well.

Symptoms – small leaves, weak stems, stunted grown – these could be a sign that your plant is not getting enough sun. Solution – move to a sunny location if possible or add light coloured gravel to reflect light.

Wood vs composite decking?

To determine which type will work best for your lifestyle and budget we will compare wood and composite decking.
Wood decking is typically more budget-friendly than composite decking although we would always recommend going with a high-end wood, this will expand lifetime and minimise damage/chips or cracks.

Wood decking requires more maintenance than composite decking – we recommend to stain and seal every 3 years. Composite decking although virtually maintenance-free does still require cleaning, brushing regularly. Composite decking will fade over time if placed in direct sunlight – wood decking is much easier to bring back to life.

Ultimately there isn’t a huge difference between both apart from aesthetically – the deciding factor usually boils down to which one looks better to you. Composite decking comes in a range of colours which may suit your garden better.

How to keep your grass green

Yellowing and patchy grass is not aesthetically pleasing for anyone. Keeping your grass green, full and fresh can be a time-consuming task but completely worth it. Follow these simple steps to ensure your lawn looks fantastic.

– Fertiliser – we advise to start a fertiliser routine in winter but if you haven’t already done this you can start from March, you should use a quick release, high nitrogen fertiliser.
– Weed and moss control – the greenest lawns are the ones free from weeds and moss. Using a weed killer once or twice a year will help eliminate weeds. You should avoid using killers on a hot day as this can kill your grass.
– Water – in dry spells its important to keep your lawn hydrated, a hose or sprinkler system will do the job.
– Seeding – applying new grass seed will quickly bring back the green back to your garden.

A Guide to Growing Grape Hyacinth

The grape hyacinth is aptly named: its blooms look like lots of small grapes, whilst also resembling the overall shape of the traditional hyacinth. It is an easy flower to grow in locations around the garden, from borders to planters, and it isn’t especially fussy about soil either. It will grow well in any kind of soil that is relatively well draining and gives it enough nutrients.

Grape hyacinths are small and only grow to a maximum of about 8 inches in height, so you should be careful not to plant them somewhere too shady. Make sure they will get plenty of natural daylight and give them space to grow. It also might be a good idea to plant them away from other plants and flowers because they can spread very quickly, invading the space of others. This is also why people often grow them in pots, or let them naturalise in a lawn.