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Have you thought of having a wildflower meadow rather than a lawn?

Posted on 23 June, 2017 at 11:39 Comments comments (0)
Establishing a wildflower meadow on an area of turf is definitely financially cost-effective to organizations. Little or no money needs to go into pesticides.  The costs of paying for garden maintenance are decreased because less mowing is required.  

Areas of finely mown turf are valuable to wildlife because blackbirds, thrushes and starlings like to each invertebrates such as leatherjackets and worms.  However, wildflower meadows support a wide range of wildlife.  For example ox eye daisies attract a wide range of insects.  These insects attract predators such as the Fly Catcher.  Fly catchers attract predators such as Sparowhawks.  

Incorporating wildflower meadows into your areas of land undeniably adds interest.  A concern may be that areas that are unmown, could be perceived as uncared for.  Paths can be mown through wildflower meadows so that people can easily and comfortably walk through them and this ensures no one is under the impression that an area has been left to go wild through lack of attention.  

Spot weeding ensures that common weeds such as dandelions are kept at bay and our wildflowers have an opportunity to flourish.  

Please contact us if you would like us to create a wildflower area in your garden.  


Add a Mulch to Improve Plant Growth and Much More

Posted on 28 March, 2017 at 14:39 Comments comments (0)

Mulches help to reduce competition as they suppress weeds. 

Weeds can take away important nutrients that newly planted trees want so it is a good idea to use a mulch. 

Mulches also reduce erosion and improve the water holding capacity of the soil. 

Mulches provide nutrients for plants when they eventually break down.


We can buy wood chips for you and put them in place to keep weeds at bay.  Our services are only a phone call away...



Container Plant Maintenance

Posted on 1 February, 2016 at 6:14 Comments comments (0)
Watering

Watering containers is essential because container compost can dry out quickly.  During spells of hot weather containers need to be watered at least daily.  We should water the container plants using a can and rose.  A rose ensures that the water that is poured onto the container compost is distributed evenly and lightly.

The container should be at least inspected daily.  If weather is hot the container should be inspected twice daily.  When we can see that water is required we should fill the container up to the rim and let it drain out.  Once this water drains away we should fill the container up to the rim once more. 

When we water our aim is to keep the compost moist.  We should avoid making compost soggy as this is bad for plants. 

 

Feeding

5 weeks after planting feeding can begin.  It is beneficial to apply a liquid feed every 2 weeks from planting until the end of August. 
 

Dead-Heading

Dead-head plants to give them a tidy appearance and to encourage the production of a second flush of flowers. 

 

Weeding

If any do appear they can be removed manually. 

 

Pruning

Weak, unwanted and diseased foliage should be cut away.  This leads us appropriately on to the subject of pests and diseases. 

 

Pests and Diseases

            We must inspect the container regularly to ensure no pests and/or diseases have struck plants within our container.  If pests and/or diseases do strike appropriate steps should be taken. 

 

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails may target plants within the container.  They eat leaves and stems.  We should keep the area around the container clean and tidy because slugs and snails hide in garden waste during the day.  Slugs and snails can be removed by hand from containers and the underside of containers.  They are often active after it rains or in the evening.  A length of copper tape may be stuck around the container to keep slugs and snails at bay.  Slug pellets and other poisons actually attract pests so use of these should be avoided.


Aphids

Aphids may attack our container plants.  They feed on the sap of plants.  Plants are then covered by honeydew which in time becomes covered with sooty mould.  Aphids breed rapidly and they seriously harm plants so they need to be controlled.  We can simply dislodge aphids with a powerful jet of water from a hose. 

 

Vine Weevil

Vine weevils may interfere with our container plants.  The adults appear in summer and eat into the edges of leaves.  Vine weevil grubs cause far more damage.  The grubs feed on plant roots.  Parasitic nematodes can be used to control these grubs. 

 

Leaf Spot

Yellow, brown or black spots on leaves are often caused by fungi.  Leaf spot is more likely to occur when conditions are damp.  If we suspect that fungi have attacked our container plants we should cut off diseased leaves.  In addition we should apply an appropriate fungicide.  We can then apply a liquid feed to aid recovery. 

 

Grey Mould

Grey mould, as the name suggests, is a fluffy grey mould that often appears on closely planted container plants.  This fungal disease thrives in wet conditions.  Diseased material should be disposed of.  We can apply a fungicide to control this disease. 



 

 

Betula pendula

Posted on 5 October, 2015 at 6:58 Comments comments (0)
Autumn is the best time of year to plant trees/shrubs.  We can plant trees/shrubs and keep them healthy with our professional knowledge.


Betula pendula



Uses

These trees tolerate pollution so they are suitable for industrialised sites.  The silvery white trunks of these trees provide interest in gardens, parklands and areas of woodland situated throughout the UK. 

These trees are ideal for wildlife gardens because they support many animals.  They support over 3000 insect species.  These insects are preyed upon by a wide range of garden birds.  Birds also consume the seeds that the silver birch produces. 

These trees only require occasional pruning so they are a good choice for those who want a low maintenance garden.   


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 prefer acidic soils however they will grow in soils that are alkaline or neutral.  These plants grow well in well-drained soil or well-drained but moist soil.  Silver birch trees grow well in chalky, clayey, sandy and loamy soils.  These plants grow well in full sun or partial shade. 


Maintenance

Betula pendula should be pruned in early spring.  Dead wood should be removed.  Diseased, damaged, crossing or congested branches should be removed.  During the first two years of life these plants need to be watered during periods of drought in late spring and summer.  Betula pendula have shallow root systems so mature plants will need watering during droughts. 

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 plants should be kept clear of weeds whilst these trees are getting established.  Weeds can be controlled by 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 trees may require supporting to prevent windrock. 

Sawflies may affect these trees.  The larvae of the sawfly can be removed by hand. 
Rust may affect these trees.  If it does diseased leaves should be picked off and burnt. 

Hanging Basket Liners

Posted on 15 May, 2015 at 15:59 Comments comments (0)
We create custom made hanging baskets - what lining would you decide upon?  Below is a quick review of the liners available


Spagnum moss

We can use sphagnum moss to line hanging baskets.  Using sphagnum moss creates more interest for the viewer because moss is a living thing.  It continues to live when positioned next to the soil used in a hanging basket.  If we use sphagnum moss plants can easily be manipulated so that they grow through the sides of hanging baskets. 

A disadvantage of using sphagnum moss to line hanging baskets is that it is quite expensive.  This moss forms beautiful carpets over peat bogs, marshland, heath and moorland.  Removing it for commercial gain is of course controversial.    


Coir

We can buy coir liners.  These are very popular today.  Coir is a natural fibre that is a ‘waste product’ of the coconut industry.  The dull brown look of these baskets will not be to everyone’s taste.  These liners may look a little too exotic for British gardens. 


Natural Fibres

We can also buy linings that are made from natural fibres such as jute.  Many of these liners are available on the market in a pre-cut form.  This avoids us having to go to the inconvenience of creating slits in the side for side planting.  These liners are comparatively cheap.  Another advantage of buying natural fibre linings is that as customers we can choose what colour we want.  These liners are biodegradable.  These liners are often made from recycled material.  These liners tend to look unnatural in comparison to moss or coir liners.  Sometimes these liners are polythene backed to aid water retention. 


Paper pulp

An advantage of buying paper pulp liners is that we can choose from a wide range of colours.  These artificial liners are cheap.  It is ecologically friendly to buy them because they are biodegradable.  In addition they are often made from recycled materials.  Paper pulp liners are a pre-formed shape so we must ensure that we get the correct one if we want to use this type of liner. Arguably these liners look too artificial. 

Pruning Prunus laurocerasus (Common laurel)

Posted on 6 February, 2015 at 9:39 Comments comments (0)
These shrubs are often seen in gardens.  They are ideal for screening.  They grow very quickly so it is necessary to prune them frequently so that their size is kept in check.  

Use secateurs to prune.  These plants are a large leaved shrubs so they should be pruned with secateurs.  This avoids leaves being cut.  If a hedge trimmer is used large leaves invariably get cut and die.  Cut leaves are unattractive and dying leaves are even more unattractive so we should not use a hedge trimmer when pruning these shrubs.    

Cut the hedge so that it is wider at the bottom than at the top.  This ensures that lower branches are exposed to a sufficient amount of sunlight.  In addition it avoids large quantities of snow collecting at the top of the hedge.  Large quantities of snow can potentially break branches.

Cut just above a node when pruning to give the hedge the opportunity to rejuvenate itself.  Trim the hedge back, but do not cut into the wood as doing this will make the hedge look messy.  

Suggested Pruning Schedule 

Cut in late March after the first flush of growth.  Create a dense, compact shape.  Cutting at this time avoids frost damage because the threat of frost has generally passed in late March.  In addition birds do not generally nest at this time of year so this is an ideal month to trim in.  We must ensure that we prune lightly so as to avoid bare patches.

Cut again in July to sustain the compact formal shape we desire.  Birds have generally fled the nest by this time. 

Cut again in Mid August.  We must not cut the hedge after this time because the subsequent lack of growth, in September, could lead to our hedge sustaining bare patches throughout the autumn and winter.  

Pyracantha

Posted on 30 December, 2014 at 18:05 Comments comments (0)
We can source well developed pyracanthas at good prices!  Want a nice shrub on an unsightly wall - this type of plant might be exactly what you are looking for!

Description

These shrubs can be grown as free-standing shrubs or trained against walls and fences.  Alternatively they can be used as hedging.  Clusters of small white flowers appear in June and these are followed by a bright display of orange berries. 


Uses

These shrubs look appropriate in cottage/informal gardens.  They can be trained up walls or grown as free-standing shrubs.  If grown for hedging they provide dense, thorny cover that successfully wards off intruders. 

The flowers and berries that these plants produce provide interest throughout much of the year.  These plants are evergreens so their foliage provides interest throughout the year. 

Established plants provide ideal nesting sites for birds because, as mentioned earlier these plants have protective spiny stems.  In addition birds enjoy the berries that are available to eat in the autumn and winter. 

These plants are useful for urban areas because they are tolerant of pollution.  They are tolerant of drought and this adds to their appeal. 

 
Growing Conditions

These shrubs grow well in soil that is well-drained or moist but well-drained.  These plants tolerate shady and exposed conditions.  These plants grow well in chalky, loamy, sandy or clayey soils.  These shrubs row well in full sunlight or partial shade. These trees grow well on sheltered and exposed sites. 


Maintenance

These plants should be pruned after flowing occurs in.  However, when this is done great care must be taken to avoid spoiling the display of berries to come. 

These plants benefit from the application of a mulch for a number of reasons.  Mulch suppresses weeds and conserves moisture.  Biodegrable mulches also provide nutrients. 
The application of a general fertilizer is recommended for shrubs.  Fertilizer can be applied annually in late winter.  Young and newly planted shrubs need to be watered persistently, especially during times of drought. 

These shrubs may be attacked by a bacterial disease called fireblight.  Infected material should be cut away and burnt promptly.  

Wild Flowers from Seed

Posted on 29 September, 2014 at 13:40 Comments comments (0)
We can create a wild flower area/meadow for you.  Spring or Autumn is the time to sow.  

  

How to Create

Wildflower meadows are best located on land that we know to be infertile.  Fertile soil encourages the growth of grasses and weeds that will in time overwhelm our wildflowers.  The grass seeds that we select should be comparatively fine and slow growing as this restricts competition and allows our wildflowers to flourish. As a general guide 5 grams of grass and wildflower seed should be distributed evenly over each sq m of ground. 

If the soil is fertile the topsoil should be removed from our site, down to a depth of 5cm, in order to reduce the fertility of the area.  Less fertile subsoil should take the place of the removed topsoil. 

If we are sowing seeds on lighter soils it is fine to sow them in the autumn because they generally germinate and establish themselves quickly on such soils.  However, if the soil in question is heavy it is advisable to wait until March or April of the following year before sowing because waterlogging may result in poor germination and establishment rates. We should bear in mind that winter frosts can help to breakdown the dormancy of some seeds, so it can be a good idea to sow in the autumn.  Another advantage of sowing in the autumn is that birds are less likely to consume the seeds because other foods are plentiful at this time of year. 

Firstly weeds should be removed from the area manually or by using a systemic weedkiller.  We should rotavate the remaining soil.  Alternatively it can be dug over.  The area should be firmed by using feet or a roller.  The soil should be raked so that a fine tithe is formed.   We should then wait for a period of about 5 weeks to elapse before removing any remaining weeds with a hoe. The seeds should be sown and then the ground should be irrigated.  It is a good idea to cover the area with netting to prevent birds eating the seeds. 

Plants that could be incorporated into a wildflower meadow include: Centaurea scabiosa, Knautia arvensis, Leucanthemum vulgare, Ranunculus acris.


Benefits 

Establishing a wildflower meadow on an area of turf is definitely financially beneficial.  Less money needs to be spent on maintenance. For example, less mowing is required.

Wildflower meadows are far more beneficial to our ecosystems.  For example oxeye daisies support a wide range of insects.  These insects in turn attract predatory invertebrates, small mammals and birds.

Developing wild flower meadows on previously grassed areas will add interest and lead to you acquiring a greater diversity of plant species.  A concern may be that areas that are unmown, could be perceived as uncared for.  Paths can be mown through wildflower meadows so that people can easily and comfortably walk through them and this ensures no one is under the impression that an area has been left to go wild through lack of attention.  

Scarification

Posted on 5 August, 2014 at 10:24 Comments comments (0)
We can carry out scarification for you using a wire rake or a scarifier. 


‘Thatch’ forms in areas of turf.  Thatch is dead or decaying plant matter which accumulates in turf.This thatch needs to be raked away or removed mechanically.    

Moss can also present a problem in areas of turf.  Lawn weeds are invariably a problem in areas of turf.

We can remove thatch, moss and weeds that have a creeping habit by the process of scarification.  This involves using a wire rake or a scarifier to remove these materials from turf. 

Scarification also lightly prunes grass roots and this promotes growth.  Scarification should be carried out routinely in the spring and the autumn.  Scarification allows air and water to penetrate the surface of the soil.  This in turn allows grass to take up nutrients more effectively. 

We should carry out scarification in the autumn because lawns may not recover if this process is carried out in the spring.  However, we can lightly rake in the springtime.  

2 Ideal Plants for Sunny Locations

Posted on 16 July, 2014 at 17:01 Comments comments (0)
We can source plants for you and plant them appropriately.


Thymus vulgaris (Common Thyme)

Thymus vulgaris is a dwarf, evergreen shrub.  The leaves are small and linear to ovate in shape.  The leaves are dark grey-green in colour.  Common thyme grows to a height of about 30cm.  The ultimate spread of common thyme is about 40cm. Spikes of small, whorled white or pink flowers appear in June or July. 


Uses

These shrubs look appropriate in both formal and informal gardens.   These plants are closely related to the wild thyme of the mountains of Spain and other Mediterranean countries so they are ideal for those who want a Mediterranean theme in their UK gardens.  These plants look at home in rock gardens.  These plants are aesthetically pleasing especially during the summer months when beautiful small flowers appear.  

Thymus vulgarisis often used as an edging plant for garden paths.  Their low-lying nature makes them ideal plants for the front of beds and borders.  These plants look nice when used to cover slopes and banks.  Thymus vulgaris looks nice when combined with other herbs such as lavender. 

The flowers of common thyme attract bees and butterflies so these plants are well placed if situated in wildlife gardens.  The leaves of these plants are fragrant and edible so they are often used in cooking.  The rich aromatic smell of these plants combined with their diminutive size make them ideal subjects for patio containers and window boxes. 

Growing Conditions

Common thyme prefers well-drained soil that is alkaline or neutral.  Thymus vulgaris thrives in full sun.  These plants do not like clay soil but they grow well in loamy, chalky or sandy soils.  These shrubs grow well in sheltered and exposed sites. 

Maintenance

It is advisable to apply a general fertilizer annually in late winter.  Common thyme should be cut back in spring.  These plants are very manageable to grow because they are generally pest and disease free. 

These plants benefit from the application of a mulch for a number of reasons.  Mulch suppresses weeds and conserves moisture.  Biodegrable mulches also provide nutrients. 

Young and newly planted shrubs need to be watered persistently, especially during times of drought.  These plants should be protected from frosts during harsh winters.
 
 


Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’


Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ AGM is a bushy, evergreen shrub.  This variety of lavender has a compact shape. These plants have densely packed distinctive, small, fragrant purple flowers that appear on spikes.  The spikes are situated well above the foliage.  They have narrow, silver to grey coloured leaves.  These shrubs flower between late June and September.  They grow to a height of about 60cm.  They grow to a width of about 75cm. 
 
Uses

These shrubs look appropriate in both informal and formal gardens.  They look nice in a wide variety of locations and this helps to explain why they are so popular.  Standard roses are often underplanted with lavender and many people find this planting combination highly attractive. 

These shrubs are often used as an edging plant for paths and borders.  They have celebrated aromatic flowers and foliage that is used for making pot-pourii.  These shrubs are well suited to gravel gardens and Mediterranean gardens. 

These plants attract many insects so they are often chosen by wildlife enthusiasts.  These shrubs are tolerant of the salty air that plants are exposed to in coastal gardens. 

The aromatic smell of these plants combined with their small size makes them ideal subjects for patio containers and window boxes.  These shrubs are often positioned on banks and slopes.  Their pretty flowers make them a good choice for flower beds and borders. 

The grey-green foliage of these plants can provide interest throughout the year because, as pointed out above, these plants are evergreen.  These plants look nice when combined with other herbs such as thyme. 
 
Growing Conditions

These shrubs prefer well-drained soil.  They should be grown in full sun but they can tolerate partial shade.  These plants can be grown in soil that is neutral or acidic but they prefer chalky or alkaline soils.  They do not like clayey soil.  These plants need to be grown in sheltered locations.

Maintenance

The stalks should be removed, in the autumn, once the flowers of these plants have faded.  These shrubs should be trimmed back into a compact shape in April.  When we prune this type of plant we must not cut back into old wood. 

Lavender should be mulched with non-organic material.  A mulch is useful because a mulch suppresses weeds and conserves moisture. 

The application of a general fertilizer is recommended for shrubs.  Fertilizer can be applied annually in late winter.  Young and newly planted shrubs need to be watered persistently, especially during times of drought. 


 
 
 

 

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