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The Huddersfield Gardener

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07825 798127 or (01484) 866 558

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Skimmia Japonica

Posted on 17 February, 2020 at 4:22 Comments comments (0)
People often require a garden that is beautiful throughout the year yet is easy to maintain, so I will talk about a low maintenance plant that could use to enrich an existing bed or  plant in a cleared bed.


Skimmia Japonica 

Skimmia are ideal plants for low maintenance gardens because they are drought resistant so they allow you to go on holiday throughout the summer without having to water the garden.  In addition they do not require pruning, which can be a time consuming endeavour.

Skimmia japonica maintain their green appearance throughout the year because they are evergreen plants so they help to avoid gardens looking bleak throughout the year.



Classic English Tree for your garden: Field Maple

Posted on 1 February, 2020 at 4:20 Comments comments (0)
It is becoming fashionable to plant trees at the moment so why not try?  Otherwise you can ask us to plant the tree for you.  Trees can be grown from seed but it is much easier to buy saplings and plant them instead.  Now is a perfect time to plant trees.  The Field Maple or Acer Campestre is a good tree to plant because being a native tree it is liable to thrive in your garden.  However these trees grow to be too big for smaller gardens.  


These plants are medium-sized deciduous trees.  These plants are native to the UK.  These trees grow to a height of about 800cm.  The ultimate spread of these trees is about 400cm.  These trees have light brown flaky bark.  The twigs of these plants are slender and brown.  The leaves of these plants are dark green and shiny and they have five lobes.  These leaves fade to orange and yellow in the autumn.  Clusters of yellow-green flowers appear in spring.  They are cup-shaped and they hang in clusters.  It should be noted that younger trees are reddish-purple. 
 
 
 
Uses

These plants are regarded as valuable garden plants because of their rich autumn colours of orange and yellow. 

They are ideal for wildlife gardens because they support a wide array of animals.  They support many aphids which in turn support a wide range of predators.  The flowers provide nectar for bees and the seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.  These plants are important understory plants in lowland deciduous woodland in the UK. 
These trees tolerate pollution so they can be confidently located in urban settings.  These trees are appropriate for informal/cottage gardens.  They tolerate sea air so they can be located in coastal gardens. 

These plants require a relatively low amount of maintenance so they are a good choice for those who require a low maintenance garden.  Like most shrubs they take up a lot of nutrients from the soil thereby making the area around their base inhospitable for weeds.  


 
Possible Nuisance

These trees should be located with care to ensure they do not interfere with overhead and underground services.   These trees should be positioned sensibly and growth should be kept in check so they do not become an issue for those using highways.  In addition care needs to be taken to ensure that branches do not overhang public walkways as leaves could potentially cause accidents.  A significant number of leaves fall from these trees during the autumn so we must ensure nearby walkways are free of leaves. 


 
 Growing Conditions

These trees grow especially well on chalky or limestone soils.  These plants grow well in moist but well-drained soil.  These plants also grow well on sandy, loamy or clayey soils.  These plants grow well in full sun or partial shade. These trees favour exposed sites. 
 


Maintenance

Dead and diseased growth should be cut away in spring.  During the first two years of life these plants need to be watered during periods of drought in late spring and summer. 
For the first two or three years of life it is appropriate to add a general fertilizer to the soil around these trees. Such fertilizer should be applied in late winter.  Those trees that are newly-transplanted have not had time to develop extensive root systems so a slow release fertilizer should be incorporated into surrounding soil.  Once established the root systems should gain sufficient nutrients from surrounding soil.  The area around these plants should be kept clear of weeds whilst these trees are getting established.  Weeds can be controlled manual weeding or by applying a mulch. 

It is advisable to apply a mulch to the area around young or newly-planted trees.  A mulch has several functions.  A mulch conserves moisture in the soil that surrounds plants, hence making them better able to cope with periods of dry weather.  A mulch suppresses weeds.  In addition when biodegradable mulches break down plant foods are created and soil condition is improved.  When young these plants may require supporting to prevent wildrock. 



 

Plants for a Sunny Border

Posted on 10 February, 2019 at 7:02 Comments comments (0)
A good set of plants for a sunny border is shown below.  It is sensible to plant one of each plant that we mention unless we state otherwise below.  

Hebe
Buddleja x weyeriana
Lavandula stoechas (plant about 3)
Syringa microphylla 'Superba' 
Rosemarinus officianalis 
Sedum spectabile (plant about 6) 
Euphorbia myrsinites (plant about 3)
Salvia x sylvestris 'Blauhugel' (plant about 4)
Geranium pratense


When you plant ensure you look at the expected height of the plants you plant so that you can ensure the taller plants are towards the back of your border.  

We can do planting schemes for you.  We look at the expected amount of growth to ensure the plants are planted the right distance apart.  Alternatively you can buy the plants and we can simply plant them for you.  

Before we plan a planting scheme for you we ask you questions about what you would like to achieve with your garden.  



Hedge Planting

Posted on 30 January, 2019 at 14:04 Comments comments (0)

Having a hedge planted is an ideal way to create a border around your garden.  Hedges subdue the wind effectively (far better than fences and other solid features) thereby making your Yorkshire garden less weather beaten.  Plants that don't fair well in exposed conditions will benefit from the protection of a hedge.  

We have experience of planting mixed native hedges.  Seeing them grow into large effective hedges is rewarding.  

Quite a lot of hard physical work is needed to plant a hedge so you may want to employ a gardener to do it.  Getting bare root saplings in is the cheapest way to establish a hedge but this involves doing the work quickly so in this case employing a gardener is highly recommended.  

By having a hedge planted you will be doing a good turn for the environment as they provide a good habitat for lots of wildlife.  

Low lying hedges make great formal features in gardens so however small your garden is the chances are you will have room for a hedge.  

We provide a hedge planting service.  Please ring and we can provide you with the details.  



Having Trouble Making a Wildflower Meadow? : Here are some tips

Posted on 15 March, 2018 at 6:13 Comments comments (0)
Plugs

Plugs can be planted directly into areas of turf in order to establish a wildflower meadow. 



Nutrients

A crop such as oil-seed rape can be grown on the soil and harvested.  The crop takes nutrients out of the soil and removing the crop at flowering time ensures the nutrients do not return to the soil.  Soil that has low fertility is typically needed for a wildflower meadow



Semi-parasitic Plants

We can control weeds and vigorous grasses by introducing plants that are semi-parasitic.  Rhinanthus minor (pictured below) is often planted in wildflower meadows because it is semi-parasitic.  

Wildflower or Weed?

Posted on 8 March, 2018 at 15:43 Comments comments (0)


Ragwort

Ragwort is a generally seen as a weed.  It is toxic to horses.  To get it out dig out the roots; some of these weeds have very long root structures so dig deep down as if you are getting rid of a dandelion.  

Ragwort does provide a home for various caterpillars though so you might want to keep it.


Foxgloves

Foxgloves contain digitalis which is poisonous in quite small amounts so you may want us to dig it up and get rid of your foxgloves.  Foxgloves are excellent for bees and quite attractive to some so we recommend keeping some for this.  Foxgloves love shade so they provide something for areas of the garden where not much seems to go.  

You can buy special varieties of foxglove from the garden centre or just rely on the wild ones that naturally pop up in your garden.  

If you don't want foxgloves they are easy to pull out.  


Teasel

Planting this as a wildflower has become popular in recent years.  When allowed to grow teasel create very interesting plants so naturalists should plant these.  

Teasel look ugly when undeveloped so we are asked to remove these plants most of the time but let them grow and you would get a surprise.  Butterflies and bees love these and the cones look nice in the snow in winter.  This plant is a weed in formal gardens but it definitely has a place in informal gardens.  


Garden Jobs for February

Posted on 2 February, 2018 at 6:00 Comments comments (0)

  • Winter Digging and soil preparation for spring.  We can supply and dig in some compost for you 
  • Cleaning out the greenhouse
  • Seasonal pruning of: Buddleia, clematis, ceanothus and hardy fushsias
  • Pruning roses, if have not already been pruned
  • Trees, shrubs and roses can be planted towards the end of the month
  • Cut back overgrown shrubs and hedges
  • Certain variaties of turnip can be sown at this time of year (we can sow seeds for you.  We often do this alongside a garden tidy up)
  • Hardy ornamental vines, such as Virginia Creeper and Boston Ivy, can be trimmed back now in preparation for the growing season
  • We can treat your wooden garden furniture for you.  
  • When Winter Jasmine has finished flowering prune that back
  • Sow hardy winter types of lettuce and spinach.  Plant them under cloches.  We can supply cloches for you. 
  • Put netting over fruit bushes and winter brassicas as they are extremely attractive to certain garden birds.  
  • Sow hardy annuals in your greenhouse such as Calendula 'Indian Prince'.


These is lots to do in February for gardeners.  This month of the year is the calm before the storm for gardeners.  

What fruit and vegetables can I grow on my Patio?

Posted on 31 January, 2018 at 11:42 Comments comments (0)

Just about any vegetable can be grown in containers.  Raised beds are ideal for vegetables (we can build raised beds for you).  Otherwise it would be a good idea to buy a contained to at the least the size of 18 inches by 18 inches.

Good vegetables to grow in containers include: beans, carrots and beetroots.

Herbs are ideal for containers.  Try planting:

sage

thyme

rosemary

oregano

If you grow mint ensure it is in a separate container otherwise it will overwhelm the other herbs.  

Apricots can be grown as small varieties are available especially for patios.

For those who have bigger gardens it is still best to make the most of your patio.  We can help you select plants for your particular patio.  

Common Hazel Needs to be Pruned in Winter

Posted on 6 December, 2017 at 14:39 Comments comments (0)

Common Hazels are small deciduous shrubs.

These plants reach a height of 4 to 8 metres. 

Common Hazel has a branched spreading habit. 

The flowers are yellow in colour.  These give way to edible nuts. 

They have rounded leaves that turn yellow in the autumn.  They have yellow, male catkins in early spring. 

They are indigenous to the UK, hence they are often used in wildlife gardens. 

This plant enjoys full sun or partial shade.  They prefer well-drained soil and chalky soil. 

Care needs to be taken well locating Corylus Avellana because they could overhang public walkways.  Leaf fall may look unsightly and cause walkways to become slippy.  The fruits whilst edible may be a possible nuisance when in amenity areas.

The Corylus avellana is quite an attractive plant and it produces tasty nuts. 

These plants should be pruned hard over winter in order to encourage multi-stem growth  and encourage the growth of large leaves. 

Corylus avellana can be used for cottage and informal garden designs.  It is a low maintenance plant and extremely wildlife friendly.  For example, it provides an early source of pollen for bees. 

Frost

Posted on 6 December, 2017 at 14:35 Comments comments (0)

Frost damage can occur at any time between September and mid March.  Frost can cause the cell contents of plants to freeze.  Water expands when it freezes so frost can result in cells rupturing and dying.  Tree bark may split and develop cankers as a result of frost damage.  Buds can be damaged or killed from frost if late frosts occur in springtime.  Damage results in a reduced production of flowers and fruits.  In addition fruit itself can be damaged by frosts.  Smaller trees that are vulnerable to frost damage can be protected with horticultural fleece. 

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