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Blog posts tagged with 'how to'

What a start to the New Year!

I doubt many would want to be out and about in the current weather, but spare a moment to think on your plants. You may think that they will be loving all this rain, but understanding that a plant needs air as well as water, you a chance to stop the rot, before you have to expensive replacements. If you garden is well and truly sodden, now is the time to get out there and address some immediate issues.



The lawn is still growing, given the mild air currents, but it will be sitting wet – something it hates. If your garden is on anything but sand, its roots will be struggling to breath and you will need to slit or aerate the lawn. First sweep away all the debris that has collected. Then, grab a fork. Starting at a corner where you will not have to walk over it twice, insert the fork at a 45 degree angle and lift the turf slightly. It needn’t be by much, just enough to allow an air pocket. Remove the fork and repeat. The best method is to create a zig-zag of forked columns or rows across the lawn. Once you have done this, a light dressing of compost would be welcome. Try not to walk on the lawn for a week or so, to let it settle.

Alternatively, you could just use the special shoes or aerating machinery that is available, but given the amount of water that has fallen, and given snow is approaching, I am not sure this will suffice.

If there are any areas in your garden, where shrubs sit wet, try to fork the roots to give them air. Some trees even – such as the Southern Beech (Nothofagus spp.) – will rot quite quickly if in wet soil leaving you with a dead plant and an expensive headache to replace.

Make a wreath

So Christmas is approaching and I am sure, being the thrifty and creative person you are, perhaps you are looking at making your own wreath to adorn your front door.



For a start, buy a decent pair of gloves. Warm and robust. A pair that will hold back the most fearsome holly thorn. The Town and Country Premium Leather and Suede gloves with fleece lining are exceptional if I do say so myself.   Next, decide what you want to achieve? A small garland or a huge planet sized object forcing you to use the back door for the season?  

Materials needed:
  • 1m of narrow gauge chicken wire or a 30cm foam ring.
  • 1mm metal wire, florists binding or garden twine.
  • Greenery / Flora.
  • Ribbon or other decorative materials.
  • Imagination.

  Once you have decided, start to create!   If you are using chicken wire, fold it into a size which will work for your design, making sure it is not impassable for the stems to pass through, but tight enough to hold the material. The beauty of using chicken wire is you can shape it. Perhaps a bell shape, or a snowflake, or the traditional circle. Make a loop of wire and attach it to the back of the frame. This will be the place to fix it.   Now comes the fun part. Choosing your greenery.   Go into your garden, or into the nearest area where there is a multitude of flora with your secateurs (making sure you have asked permission from the landowner).   There are thousands of evergreen shrubs surrounding us, but there is also a plethora of coloured plant stems. Ilex (Holly), Tillia (Lime), Hedera (Ivy), Skimmia, Luarus nobilis, Euonymous, Jasminum, Osmanthus, Viburnum, Lavender, Santolina, not to mention all the lovely varieties of fir tree. And if you are feeling really experimental or brave, try some citrus fruits or apples, horse-chestnuts or oak apples – and maybe even feathers and seashells if you are that way inclined.   When you have chosen your material, prune long lengths if you are using the chicken wire, or short if you are using the foam. Always making sure you do not leave the host plant unsightly, bald or indeed beyond any chance of life!   Return home with your bounty and have fun.   The trick is to add small amounts at a time. Keep the design balanced, so evenly spread out the material. If you are having problems attaching the material use the binding wire.   Happy Christmas!












-- Guy Deakins

Easy mulching

 


Something I love about Autumn is when all the leaves fall to the ground. When they are dry, the brown, red and caramel shades look gorgeous amongst the green grass. However when they are wet, they are slippery and dangerous!

Now that your garden is beginning the process of dying down for the Autumn and Winter ahead, it’s time to think ahead to next years garden. Collect all your leaves., dry or wet. Put them in a mulch bin or a bin liner. Pierce a few holes into the bag around the sides, lightly water the leaves and then tie the top of the bag. Leave somewhere shaded and leave it to naturally mulch down. Leave it till spring/summer for a mulch or leave it a whole year for a great compost.

-- Gemma Dray

Citrus Peel Birdfeeder Tutorial


As the weather is getting colder, birds are finding it harder to find food (especially when it starts snowing!). A great way to feed them is to re-use orange or grapefruit peel and use it as a bird feeder!

You Will Need:
An orange or grapefruit
A thick needle
String or garden twine
Bird seed

Simple cut the orange or grapefruit in half, and scoop out the flesh until you are only left with the shell of the fruit.



Cut 2 x 30cm lengths of string and thread the string onto your needle. Poke the needle through one side of the orange and bring it through the opposite side . Do the same with the second length of string on the other side of the orange (making a cross).

Pull the string on all sides equally and tie a knot at the top. Fill with bird seed and hang outside.

-- Gemma Dray

Tutorial: Recycled and Crafty Plant Markers

This week we have had nothing but biblical rain so we haven't spent any time out in the garden, but being the crafty girl I am, and always on the endless hunt for things to amuse the children with we decided to do a little recycled garden related craft.
Garden labelling is always important especially when growing from seed but the wooden shop bought ones rot with the damp weather so you are constantly replacing them, but not with these!


(originally from Bunny Hill Designs)


Tools you will need:

  • Assorted old silverware
  • Anvil or a strong, durable surface
  • Letter stamping set 1/8″
  • Hammer
  • Black Sharpie Permanent Marker, any size.

The letter stamps aren't too expensive and are widely available in different font and size from eBay.
Simply place the piece of cutlery onto your desired surface and hammer it flat. Take the letter stamp of your choice, hold still and imprint the letter, and subsequent word, into the piece of cutlery by hitting the stamp with the hammer.And voila, your totally funky and unique garden markers.


As you can see from this lovely picture, they look awesome in situ!

--Liz Longworth