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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The Free Garden

As a garden designer I need to be creative with a design, but also save a customer money!! Firstly, soil and in particular good compost will aid moisture retention and help suppress weeds, as well as feeding your plants, vegetables etc… Making your own organic soil improver from vegetable and fruit peelings, leaves, plant waste, grass, tea bags etc is a great way of improving soil and recycling. It is important to mix these materials and leave air pockets to help the rotting process. Next, the plants themselves and collecting seeds from a previous years flowers… Make sure the seeds are fully mature and it is best to put these straight into a paper bag. Once collected you will need to filter out any debris or insects by tipping onto white paper to help see the wood for the trees. Finally put in a clean envelope and place in a

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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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Creating A Show Garden – Part 3

The Process and Building The journey which is ‘Akira’ begins by leading you through the design via a zen gravel pathway, similar to ones in gardens of the orient. A specimen Niwaki tree stands at the centre of the design and is the main feature whether viewed from inside or on the bench in the garden.Other trees include: Pinus Mugo ‘Carsten Gold’ to the right, (also cloud pruned) and reminiscent of a hand reaching in and pulling you into the garden. It has a lovely yellow colour in Winter which would be just turning green for the show. There were also three acers which might seem excessive, but they are all small trees and slow growing, each with different colours and textures. The Acer on the left: PalmatumDissectum ‘Inaba Shidare’ with its great reddish weeping habit, is so perfectly situated by the bench, so as you pass by, its shape

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Creating A Show Garden – Part 2

The Brief – The Build Today I would like to talk to you about the show garden process itself and the building of them. Obtaining sponsorship is crucial when building a show garden due in part to the immense cost involved in the pursuit of perfection, perfection one has to aim for! Moss plays a big part in Japanese gardens and I decided to use sustainable cushion moss as an undulating rhythm throughout the space. I wanted to create a feeling of calmness inspired from sitting on the beach and watching the waves lap over the shore. The RHS are seriously committed to combatting the destruction man has and is still doing to the planet over the years and therefore (and quite rightly) everything used in a show garden has to be responsibly sourced and sustainable. This meant that the moss I needed to use had to be grown hydroponically

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Creating A Show Garden – Part 1

Submission and Preparation :- The show gardens process and building of them In 2020 the Malvern show theme was to be ‘Wanderlust’. Every year there is a different theme and ‘Wanderlust’ conjures up a desire to travel, and for garden design and me personally I wanted to create something exotic using a different cultures philosophy towards gardening.But before we get to the show garden itself, I would like to talk about the submission and acceptance of a design. My Journey in the Design and Building of a Show Garden Firstly, having credibility and the RHS knowing the show garden will be built for both the designer and the RHS to look professional; needs confidence and trust between both parties. I submitted a design in 2019 and managed to get a meeting, but unfortunately it was after the submission date so couldn’t be accepted. So where now? I decided I wanted

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Versatile Violet

The colour named after a flower Violets (viola) add a lovely vibrant colour to a border and look especially at home in a cottage garden. They are found in woodlands and under hedges, but are also shrouded in a wonderful history… There is a romantic, natural sweet essence to violets that can only be smelled once before they steal your olfactory senses and is often used in perfumes.. Violets have also been used in herbal medicines to relieve insomnia, depression and headaches..The flowers are edible and can be used in salads, as a garnish and candied (which looks particularly good in cake decoration). They were also found in Napoleon’s locket when he died.Violets are also called “the flower of Modesty” because it hides its flower within heart-shaped leaves. In medieval times, violets were referred to as “Our Lady’s Modesty” because it was believed that it first blossomed when the Virgin

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