Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Friday, 24 April 2009
Seriously folks, plagiarism and copyright theft is pretty poor. If a garden designer can't be bothered to write a couple of paragraphs for themselves, what else will they pinch and pass off as their own?
Monday, 6 April 2009
But enough poetry. It's time to reach for your seed packets. By now your garden soil should be warm enough for you to sow old favourites like sweet peas, lupins, Aquilegia and poppies directly where you want them. Half-hardy bedding plants like Nicotiania and Cleome can be sown in trays and left on the window-sill or an unheated greenhouse. For the kitchen gardener, the time is right for sowing tomatoes, aubergines, celeriac, peppers and celery in pots. Just keep them in a bright, warm place, and they'll be ready to plant out in June.
Spring Hanging Baskets
A few years ago I worked in a garden centre, and one of my jobs was making up the hanging basket orders. After assembling hundreds I regard myself as something of an expert. So here's my guide to making your own Spring Hanging Baskets:
First: which container? Any style will do, but I prefer a cone shaped wicker/rush basket with plastic liner. Poke some drainage holes in the liner and it can be re-used many times. Wicker cones are quite striking, and visually you should aim to balance the shape of the cone with the planting inside it. This means positioning taller plants in the centre and grading the height down towards the edges, with trailing plants tumbling over the sides.
Plant-wise, try to keep to 2 or 3 colours, as well as your background green foliage. Look for Primula, polyanthus and spring bulbs already in flower, such as Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' or 'Paper-White'. Evergreens such as Euonymous, Skimmia or small conifers will provide background colour, while small grasses and ferns, and trailing plants like ivy, bugle and Lamium add form and texture.
Planting is simple. First, using a bucket or large plant pot for support, fill the cone with multipurpose compost to about 8cm from the top. Put your tallest plants in the centre and work outwards. Pack the plants in tightly, and water well.
Hang the basket up, and make a mental note of how heavy it is. Once a day you should lift the cone gently from the bottom, and if it feels significantly lighter then water it. As long as you don't let it dry out you'll get 8-10 weeks display, and at the beginning of June you can empty it and refill with summer planting. Either re-pot the spring plants into another container, or set them out in the garden.
April is a manic time for garden designers, which is great news for me, but the downside is I don't have much time for my own kitchen garden. We managed to dodge the showers in March to plant carrots, parsnips, cabbage, beetroot, peas, early potatoes and shallots. This month we have peppers, brocolli and salad leaves to sow, and some raspberry canes and blackcurrant plants to bed in.
Comments are always welcome and, if you're down with the kids, you can follow me on Twitter: @lushgardens
Saturday, 4 April 2009
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Hi, my name is Anna and I run Lush Landscape and Garden Design – a local garden design business. Over the next few months I will be writing about gardens and gardening and I hope to inspire you to get outside and enjoy a successful and enjoyable gardening year.
In this series of articles I hope to cover all sorts of garden-related topics. But as March is the first “proper” gardening month of the year I will detail some of the pressing tasks needing attention in your own garden.
I’m not one for laying down rules and regulations, but the exception is my Golden Rule of Home Gardening: ‘if the mud sticks to your boots, go inside for a cuppa!’ You can do more damage than good by compacting your soil if it’s waterlogged. If it is too wet use the time to get a plan together. A little forward planning will save you time, effort and disappointment later on, And once you’ve decided what you need to do, cleaned your tools and boots and checked the weather forecast, you’re officially ready for the 2009 Gardening Season.
There’s certainly lots to do – probably the first job is a good tidy up. Bush and shrub roses need pruning, as well as Cornus and other shrubs grown for their colourful winter stems. Cut back overgrown climbers like honeysuckle and winter jasmine. Remove the dead stems of last year’s flowering perennials and divide any that are starting to take over. Flower beds need weeding (as ever), and once done you can sow hardy annuals like poppies, Cosmos and Limnanthes – the ‘poached egg’ plant. If your lawn is looking a bit threadbare now is the time to re-seed. And if your herbaceous perennials are growing fast, get some twiggy supports in to protect new growth against the wind.
But what about the kitchen garden? If you’ve never grown your own, now is the ideal time to give it a try. To be honest, my experience of growing produce is rather limited. Years ago we had an allotment which was so large and welcoming to local weeds that we gave it up after one season. We did manage to harvest a few potatoes, some rhubarb and a ridiculous quantity of butter-nut squash, but eventually we surrendered in the face of an overwhelming enemy. This year, however, we are prepared to give growing veggies another go.
So, armed with a trusty guidebook, we shall first prepare our seed beds (“ensuring the soil is not too dry nor too wet”), then begin sowing. We’re going to try parsnips (“notoriously erratic at germinating”), early potatoes, onion sets and hardy herbs like chives, coriander and parsley. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes, and if we get anything resembling food as a result you’ll be the first to know.
If you have a little space for a few pots or a small veggie bed why not join us and share your experiences?
Friday, 20 February 2009
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Happy New Year!
Looking through the selected highlights it brings home how quickly the seasons change. Some of the shots from February and March last year look grim and depressing, but as soon as some of the plants get going it lifts everything. Have a look through and let me know what you think.
We've also made two significant changes to the way we do business this year. Firstly we've decided to stop offering a hard landscaping service, opting instead to recommend trusted landscapers to our customers. This decision wasn't one we made lightly, but last year we found that we were turning down design projects because we couldn't fit them in. Hard landscaping and project management is particularly time consuming, especially if the weather is against you, which it was a couple of times last year (see pic above from last summer!). We felt that we'd be better off focussing more on the design work and leave the hard landscaping headaches to someone else!
The second change is really us building on what proved to be a successful service last year - the online design service. We are very happy with the service we've developed, and now seems like the perfect time to push it forward. We didn't advertise it at all last year, except on the website. This year we will be more proactive and put some weight behind it nationally. We've added a new section to the website specifically for the online design service, including sample plans from successful projects.