Which plants are best for hanging baskets?

It is at this time of year that gardeners need to be thinking about which flowering plants they want to plant in hanging baskets, tubs and planters so that there is sufficient time to plant seeds and grow the young plants on before final planting. There are a variety of plants on the market that are suitable for hanging baskets and ideally there needs to be a mixture of upright varieties and trailing ones. Buying from a garden centre is advisable as the quality of plants is usually superior to those bought from a supermarket.

One of the first considerations is the colour scheme that will be used. Some people prefer a riotous mix of colours in their hanging baskets whereas others like to have their baskets with a definite colour theme. Whatever choice is made there are flowering plants to suit most tastes.

Petunias are a popular choice for hanging baskets as their trumpet-shaped flowers last throughout the summer if they are dead-headed regularly. They can be found in a range of colours from bright pink through to blue and create a wonderful display in a hanging basket.

Fuchsias can be found in both trailing and upright varieties. There delicate flowers look delightful in a hanging basket when planted with other trailing plants such as geraniums and begonias.

Grow your own potted potatoes

Even if you do not have a vegetable garden it is still possible to grow your own produce as long as you are willing to be a little bit inventive. Most vegetables and salad can be grown in pots either on a patio or a balcony so that the resulting produce can be enjoyed without too much effort.

Potatoes usually take up a lot of space in the ground but if you choose a smaller variety they will grow quite happily in a large pot. Once you have bought the seed potatoes from a reputable supplier the process of chitting will need to be done. This basically means that the seed potatoes are kept on a windowsill until they are sprouting.

Once they are ready, the seed potatoes can be planted out quite far down in a pot that contains compost. After watering, the pot with the potatoes in needs to be placed in a sunny spot on the patio or balcony. Check each day whether the soil is moist and only water when it is dry as too much water will cause the potatoes to rot.

Once the plants have grown and flowered usually about fifteen weeks after planting, the potatoes should be ready to be harvested and enjoyed.

It’s easy to grow your own herbs

You do not have to be a gardening expert to grow your own produce and this is even more the case with growing your own herbs. All you need is a suitable container, some soil and either seeds or young plants to start you off.

It is a good idea to have a range of different herbs in the herb garden so that you have a variety to use in different recipes. Some herbs are easier to grow than others and some will completely take over so a single pot of mint for instance is preferable to mint planted with other herbs.

Different varieties of the same herb can be grown together such as flat leaf parsley and curly parsley, large leaf Italian basil and large purple sweet basil.

Chives are an easy herb to grow and can be used in potato salad or as a garnish for soups. They are a particularly rich source of vitamin C and beta carotene.

Herb plants can be bought from many supermarkets and can usually be planted in an herb garden to prolong their life however growing herbs from seed is simple to do and produces lots of plants which can be shared with friends and family.

Is replacing a hedge with a fence a wise move?

Many of our houses have a boundary around them whether it be a conifer or privet hedge, brick or stone walls or the common larch lap fencing. Each of these types of boundary has its advantages and disadvantages so which is the best option when you decide to replace a hedge?

Choose fencing over hedging is usually done because maintaining a hedge means it needs to be pruned at regular intervals which in turn means having to purchase a hedge trimmer or employ a gardener to prune the hedge for you.  Getting rid of the hedge trimmings can be a problem if you do not have the means to transport them to a local recycling centre or do not have a kerbside collection service for garden waste. Although fencing does still require some upkeep such as painting this will only need doing every few years.

Despite the increased maintenance required many householders still prefer a hedge to fencing. This may be because they are concerned about the decline in natural habitats and so may be in favour of conserving hedgerows and garden hedges as they provide nesting sites for native birds and food and habitats for many insects and other small creatures. The number of birds visiting a garden increases if there are hedges for them to use to hide from potential predators.

Is gardening enjoyable?

For some people, there is nothing better than getting out in the garden and getting your hands dirty, for others, there is nothing worse! Gardening really is one of those things you often either love or hate. You may not enjoy gardening but do it because you get satisfaction out of it looking nice afterwards.

Some people find gardening therapeutic and choose to spend much of their spare time doing it. They get enjoyment out of planting seeds and watching them grow. Brightly coloured gardens and neat borders are exactly what some people need to boost their wellbeing.

If you are not sure if you like gardening or would like to try it but don’t really know what to do then why not enrol on a gardening for beginners course which will teach you the basics. You can then get more of an idea as to if it is something that you would like to take up as a hobby.

If you really despise gardening then you could always hire a gardener to come and give your garden a once over every couple of weeks or so. They will usually charge around £15 an hour and will often come as and when you need them too.

How to build the perfect rockery

If you have an area of land within your garden that doesn’t have a purpose then you may want to turn it in to a rockery. A rockery can look extremely attractive and once established, is often very low maintenance.

To create a rockery you first need to lay the foundations. You may wish to raise the area by putting bricks or rubble in a pile. This will not only make it look more appealing once it is finished but it will also help with drainage and give you a good base to start. Next you need to cover this with torn up turf to stop the soil falling through the gaps. Once you have done this stage you can then add a layer of soil and then place your rocks out on the soil to see how they will look.

You may need to move the rocks around a number of times to find a place that you are happy with their positioning. Once this is done and you are happy with the layout of the rocks, infill the rocks with more soil to secure them in to place.

There are certain plants which are better suited to a rockery such as Heathers, Ferns and other Alpines.

How To Find Ideal Driveway Gates For Your Home

Security is a top priority for every homeowner nowadays. The driveway gates not only put a barrier to entry. They allow you to control the access to your property at a considerable distance away from the main building. This will give you an even higher level of security. There are so many options for these doors on the market today. Here are the things you should put in mind when buying these gates;  (more…)

Designing a Garden with Entertaining in Mind

If you love entertaining and throwing parties, your garden needs to reflect this as well. You can create a space that is perfect for spending time with friends a family – it just takes a little bit of planning. Here are some tips:

1. Consider how you are going to cook. From BBQs to full outdoor kitchens, there are lots of options.

2. Add levels. Have a level of seating, a level of dining, a space to relax and have some peace… Split them up with steps.

3. Have a specified dining area. If you love entertaining, you need the space to eat. Have a designated place for a large garden table.

4. Install low walls to separate areas. When lots of people are using the garden, they can also double up as seats.

5. Make sure there is shade. Install a pergola, awning or parasols to provide shade for guests (and maybe some shelter if it rains too!)

Building a Gazebo in your Garden

Senior man setting up beach parasol

Building a gazebo is easier than you might think. It can be used as a quiet spot to sit, as a place to entertain or as a supporting structure for plants and flowers. However you use your gazebo, it will make a big difference in your outdoor space.

 

You can build a gazebo from scratch, though this is much more challenging. You can also buy smaller gazebos whole but then transport can be difficult. The easiest thing to do is to buy a gazebo kit. This will contain all the parts you need to build your own gazebo quickly and easily.

 

Gazebo kits are available from most gardening retailers. The widest selection will be online and you will have lots of choices. Select the type of wood and finish you want – gazebos can be made from lots of different woods, including oak, larch and redwood. A kit will come with instructions and is easy to put together.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Pansies

Pansies are available in a wide range of colours, including orange, yellow, purple and white, amongst many others. They can be grown in pots or planted in borders, and they can even be used as ground cover as well if you want to achieve a flower meadow feel in your garden. Here is a guide to growing your pansies:

 

1. Plant your pansies in the summer months if you want them to flower in the winter.

2. If you are growing them from seeds, keep them inside for around 6-8 weeks and them move them to the outdoors.

3. Keep pansies around 8-12 inches apart.

4. Make sure the soil is right. Pansies like moist yet well-draining soil.

5. Plant them in a sunny spot. They grow well in the cold weather but they are still going to need plenty of sun.

6. Water on a regular basis.

7. Dehead pansies that have wilted or died to encourage further growth.