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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Winter planning – Bulbs

For me personally, Winter gives time and opportunity to reflect and review a changing garden throughout the year. The quieter dormant garden is a time to get on with the jobs that escaped you during that year. I find it helps to take photos of the garden (and borders in particular) during the year to see what is missing and what needs changing or updating. Photos really help, as there is no better reference to the large gaps in a border. Planting of bulbs for that light period of interest or lack of flowers really brightens up the space. January to April – Galanthus: a lovely delicate early flowerer Plant Snowdrops at 10cm depth in moist well drained soil from September to November. I particularly love the timeless and original Galanthus nivalis… but why not go for a snowdrop that flowers before Christmas with Galanthus Three ships? February to May …

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Privet always prevails

Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium), meaning oval leaf in Latin, is the perfect hedge for sculpting within a garden with a typically classic look that dates back to the Victorian era. Its dense foliage, strong upright nature and small leaf give a neat and tidy finish to any shape you require, whether it be curves or crisp edges.You can see in the pictures how its strong architectural designs could compliment the architecture of a property and incorporate the rest of the planting into any design when done correctly. I particularly like the way you can manipulate light to further enhance a design. The hedge has lush, green foliage that is not only evergreen, but very hardy and can tolerate both hard winters, and wet soils; It can even be used in coastal areas and is tolerant in urban areas of pollution. Privet has creamy white flowers in Summer, although this is not …

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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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Small Garden – Big Impact

In a small garden it is important to have year-round interest and interesting focal points, limiting the amount of materials used and how they make the space feel. Here I have used scaffold boards horizontally that are quite thin so as not to make the space feel any smaller by “stretching” the eye and giving the impression the space is bigger? Although I wouldn’t normally condone the use of Astroturf, this was rescued from going into landfill so I decided to utilise it and help reduce the carbon footprint; giving one a feeling of unity throughout the whole design. Below it is a harsh concrete base which unfortunately, due to drains etc; had to be left. Gravel could have been used, or paving laid diagonally again making the space feel bigger. Consider seating, and when/where you will get the sun? This is a basement apartment and gets sun mainly in …

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Bees On Lavender

Bee kind to each other in these difficult times

Bees are so significant in these hard times for keeping our food chain going and the ecosystem healthy. They also contribute to keeping our economy going, so Bee kind… Save our bees and save ourselves by planting Bee friendly plants and stop using chemicals which can harm or kill the insects we desperately need and rely on. Of some 270 bee species in the UK, the one most people are aware of is the honeybee, yet this is only one of our important pollinators.Each bee has its own unique way of extracting food and pollinating our fruit, vegetables and flowering plants – so mix up your planting. Bees pollinate by travelling from one plant to another collecting pollen in baskets on their legs for the hive. Pollen sticks to their “scopa” (hairs) which then spreads to other plants. Though all plants, trees and shrubs are beautiful, not all are suitable …

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