Garden Care

Ground Elder Leaves

Ground Elder

Ground elder is a pernicious weed but has an interesting history. Ground elder can be eliminated by digging, or by covering the ground with black polythene to starve the weed of light. It may take several seasons until the ground elder is completely destroyed. Ground elder “Aegopodium podagraria” is a perennial plant within the carrot family (Apiaceae) that grows mostly in shady places. The name “ground elder” comes from the so-called similarity of its leaves and flowers to those of the elder plant Sambucus though the two are unrelated. It has various common names such as: herb Gerard, bishop’s weed, goutweed or gout wort, and snow-in-the-mountain. It is sometimes referred to by the names English masterwort and wild masterwort. The species itself is native to Eurasia and was introduced around the world as an ornamental plant much to gardener’s chagrin where it can pose an ecological threat as an invasive […]

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Raised beds

Raise Your Level

Having raised beds is a great way to add a comfortable height for your gardening especially if you have a bad back or limited mobility. There are many other positives to raised beds; the main one being control of your soil and drainage allowing one to match the soil to the plants you are growing. Soil in raised beds also heat up quicker in Spring and will stay warm longer, but remember to choose a position where there is at least 6 hours sunlight later in the year and need less tilling or maintenance. A sloping garden can look amazing when raised beds are added and can also add value to a property. If money is tight this is a simple solution rather than an expensive landscape relevelling of the site. There are many options for raised beds and contemporary white rendered walls can give a crisp and clean look

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Snow IN April!!

So!… in April we had a real surprise! Not only snow, but a heavy frost to follow. How does mother nature cope with newly sprouting plants, shrubs and trees? …and how can we help? It might seem surprising, but damp soil holds warmth a lot easier than dry soil and watering during the daytime is the best time to do this. We all know covering plants is a great trick and if possibly moving them inside for further protection works better. Buckets, cloches, old plant pots or even light weight material (so as to not weigh down or damage the plant), cardboard boxes, straw or cutting the bottom off 2 litre bottles to form a cover are all excellent methods of protection. When frost damage does occur, remove the damaged growth once you are certain frosts have passed and prune to a healthy bud. If root damage occurs (particularly in

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The Best Is Yet To Come

With colour in the garden from daffodils and tulips, herbaceous perennials are beginning to emerge from their winter slumber. Lawns are growing creating a lush canvas for flowers and new leaf growth; it is also a good time to lay new turf or repair damaged grass or bare patches. Make sure soil is well prepared and keep moist. Remember the following:- There are chemical treatments for moss, but for me it’s a traditional rake to remove any excess. Power scarifiers are also available and help to remove grass thatch (congested roots from living and dead grass). Aeration or spiking grass using a traditional fork or simply walking using aeration sandals allows air, nutrients and water to penetrate grass roots. There are also power aerators, or hollow tines that remove a core of soil for more drainage. A crisp lawn edging using a half moon tool or adding an edge to

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Another Spring Clean

Spring has sprung with a glowing performance enacted by Narcissi, Snowdrops and Crocuses. Hope is opening the curtain on an ensemble of colour, texture and form; transmitting a sense of relaxation. With the weather improving, it is a good time to strive for the garden of your dreams whether it be tweaking what you have considered already or, if desired, totally re-designing and building anew. A spring clean in your garden with love and hard work now, will reward you with a spectacular display, creating wonderful scenes for the remainder of the year. Spring/March jobs Remove any frost damage to plants Trim perennials to new growth and shrubs before they come into leaf (there are exceptions). Deadhead early flowering bulbs. Prune early flowering clematis (armandii, napaulensis). Check for pests hibernating (aphids vine weevils, slugs, snails etc) Clean the greenhouse using hot soapy water. Clean tools. Sow vegetables (tomatoes, beetroot, broad

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Winter Blues?

For me, Winter can be about the blues, such as the very architectural Euphoribia which looks great sparkling in the sunlight with frost on. I also love the lightness of grasses which come into their own over a cold Winters day catching the light from all aspects. There is a lot of seasonal interest in Winter, including from a design point of view, the following to help beat those blues. Berry Interest We all know the lovely berries associated with Holly and Roses, but Pyracantha can really pack a punch with it’s brightness. An unusual favourite of mine is Callicarpa bodinieri var.giraldii ‘Profusion’ which have striking purple berries. Turning Leaves Many deciduous trees can create a burst of colour in a garden before the leaves fall. On a cold day the fire glow from an Acer or Sorbus commixta can help create visual warmth. Mountain ash offers great colour with

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October Garden Jobs

Autumn/Winter Pruning, Visual Interest, Maintenance of Flower Borders “Think natural sculptures and winter interest before you start”. For some, an immaculately tidy garden is priority above anything else, but in winter and autumn do consider which structures can be left for winter interest and homes for wildlife. Remove anything showing sign of decay or fungal infection and burn rather than compost, especially when signs of rust or leafspots. Hydrangeas are pruned the following year after the first frost has gone to protect the plant. This leaves changing winter colour on the flower head, but also these mopheads of flower that look great frozen in time when the weather is cold. One of my other favourites is Eryngiums (sea holly) with their very architectural spiny foliage below the flower head. Hylotelephium (previously Sedum) have strong umbellifer flower structures which can look good right into Spring. Late flowering Clematis (group 2) can

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