Archive for February, 2012

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A Drop Of Light From Andromeda Murano

February 28, 2012

drop_lamp.jpgLighting in the home makes such a difference if it’s well placed, well designed, enhances the surrounding decor and is appropriate for it’s use.

This beautifully designed lamp entitled “The Drop Lamp” from Andromeda Murano exudes Italian style and is one of those homestyle accents around which an entire mood board and even room can be designed just to audaciously compliment the “Drop Lamp” itself.

Unfortunately, however much you love the “Drop Lamp” in the picture, Andromeda Murano’s policy is that no two of their creations are identical.

No that’s exclusivity…

… and style…

… and of course… Italian panache.

For more details visit www.andromedamurano.it

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Don’t Just Look Back…

February 27, 2012

Some of our front gardens don’t receive as much tender loving care as they could do. One reason could be because a front garden is often just considered to be a small transitional area that we pass through from the roadside to our front doors. Also many of our front gardens now have to accommodate off-street parking and are often paved or covered over with concrete.

Although our front gardens don’t often get as much attention as they deserve, with a little bit of imagination even the tiniest, shadiest or paved front garden can be transformed with some planting to make the setting and entrance to our homes more inviting and pleasant.

Even just by having two planters on either side of the front door you can enhance the entrance immediately. Take into account the style of your house and choose pots that will suit your type of property. Larger pots preferable to smaller ones as the scale and proportion works better, andfront2.jpg besides, they also require less maintenance than small pots.

For security, I fill my pots one third full of stones, not only to add drainage, but also to make them very heavy to be picked up. If possible concrete in or secure the pots with some form of anti-theft anchor.

For easy care and stylish plants I’d go for topiary Buxus ball, cone or lollipop shapes as they look smart and elegant. Plant around the topiary Buxus with some trailing Ivy and seasonal colourful bedding plants to make a super display.

Hanging baskets also look petty and colourful around a front door but they will need constant feeding and watering. If you only have a small wall area by your front door then you could always put up an attractive wall planter with seasonal planting.

The smallest of front gardens can be given an instant stylish makeover by using gravel, some rocks, planting pots and a few small hardy shrubs. For vertical colour interest plant a manageable flowering climber or wall shrub around your front door.

Remember to plant the base of these plants more than twelve inches away from the wall of the property so their root get access to rainwater, while at the same time keeping the roots away from foundations.

If you must pave over your front garden for car parking, then how about incorporating raised planting beds somewhere?

If your car is going to be parked on a diagonal in front of your house, then how about having a fan or triangular shaped flowerbed in the corner of your front garden to create an attractive focal point?

So, if your front garden is looking a bit drab, give it a spring clean and get imaginative and creative… and give your front garden some kerb appeal.

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Vases From Realm Dékor

February 26, 2012

koralvase.jpgFrom my recent posting entitled “Flowers Indoors” you can probably tell that I’m all for “bringing the outside in” to our homes and creating an blend between the interior of our homes and the exterior to our gardens.

That’s why I love having plants and flowers inside my house, although sometimes it’s all too easy to take our indoor plants for granted and plant them in uninspiring looking containers.

These exquisite planters from Realm Dékor could quite well be considered as style accents by themselves, but when planted up they give a whole new vibe to having plants around the house.orbvase.jpg

Even just a single stem of a flower can be transformed into something special in one of these planters from Realm Dékor

Combining Japanese minimalism together with a contemporary style, these range of planters add such a touch of elegance to any home that there’s really no excuse for not “bringing the outside in” and turning a plant or even a single stemmed flower into a work of art in itself.

For more information on these planters and other products from
Realm Dékor

visit www.realmdekor.com

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A Cut Above The Rest

February 23, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-40.jpgSome gardeners get confused about when and what to prune in their gardens, so this week let’s see what pruning is all about. In nature, plants don’t get pruned, so why do gardeners prune?

One reason is to keep plants healthy by cutting out the dead or diseased parts.

Another reason is to help the plant produce more flowers or fruits, to keep a good shape and also to keep the plant from outgrowing its allotted space. When pruning always take a neat clean cut on a diagonal, sloping away from the bud that you want to sprout.

The important reason for cutting on the diagonal like this is to enable rainwater to run off so that it doesn’t cause disease to enter the plant.

As I have mentioned before, good hygiene is always important in the garden, so when pruning, always keep your secateurs clean as you want to avoid transferring disease from one plant to another.

Different plants have different pruning times during the year and it’s always worth knowing when your particular plant needs to be pruned.

From mid to late March will be the time to prune bush, climbing, standard and miniature roses. With rambling roses remember to prune after flowering is over. The reason for pruning roses is that it stops them from getting old woody stems and it allows the plant to produce new young strong stems, which in turn will produce better flowers.

If you have an established apple or pear tree that is not producing good fruits, then the tree will benefit from pruning. Prune out any dead or diseased branches, also cut out any branches that are rubbing together or where there are too many branches and it is overcrowded.

The aim is to thin out the tree’s framework to let more light in and to allow more air circulation in between the branches to prevent pests and diseased getting a hold.

Also now is the time that you can prune the summer flowering varieties of Clematis back to about four inches to a strong bud above ground level. I know this sounds drastic, but this climber really benefits from a hard prune and will produce more blooms at the tips of the new shoots.

Hydrangeas, Hortensia and Lacecap types can be pruned in March. Cut off the dead flower heads down to just above the next green bud.

With older more established shrubs, cut out some of the old, thick stems at ground level to stop the stems being overcrowded and keep a healthy plant.

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Home Spa Entertainment Taken To The “Extreme”

February 20, 2012

spa1.jpgIn my last posting I featured an innovative bargain product and so I thought I’d feature something more extravagant for this posting.

If you have a passion for spas…

… if you have the space…

… and of course if you have the cash, then why not splash out (pun totally intended) on a luxury spa from Coast Spas?

This particular model, the Extreme, seats up to 8 people while letting you bathe, listen to music and also watch your favourite movie all from the comfort of a luxurious spa.

The Extreme flaunts a built-in 17-inch LCD display, Sony Stereo System, DVD player, Bose controls for the stereo, 45/80 jets, and an obligatoryspa2.jpg towel-warmer.

As well as featuring all the multimedia gadgetry the unit also features an array of lights both underwater as well as on the surface which nicely sets the mood…

… lovely…

Available in various finishes, this spa from Coast Spas must be the ultimate in home spa entertainment.

Do I have a passion for spas? Of course I do.

Do I have the space? Not quite.

… and as for the cash…

… hmm… well, I can dream… can’t I?

Visit Coast Spas for their delicious range of luxurious home spas and spa entertainment centres.

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Instant Outdoor Sink—No Plumbing Required!

February 17, 2012

instant-sink.jpgWhat a useful product!

There’s nothing better than being able to clean up outside after a session out in the garden before you go back into your house, but not everyone has space outside to have a clean up area with a sink…

… until now.

This simple-to-fit sink from Solutions.Com is perfect for a small space outside and there’s even no need to plumb it in.

Perfect.

Details:
Enjoy the convenience of an outdoor sink and potting bench! The 21″x15¼” work surface is ideal for potting plants. Slide it open to use the full-function sink. Has a built-in hose reel, soap dish and hooks for hanging your tools. Includes a 40′ garden hose, a 4′ connector hose for attaching to a spigot, and a connector that lets you use both the sink and garden hose at the same time. Durable plastic. 17″H.

* Outdoor Sink Station
* Wall mounted sink
* Fold away design
* Sliding cover protects the sink and provides additional work space
* Faucet with turn off/on valve
* Built-in soap area
* Drain on bottom of sink
* Full size hose reel includes hose measuring approx. 40′ L x ½” diameter
* 4′ connector hose included
* “Y” connector allows connection to sink and garden hose at the same time (included)
* “Y” connector has 2-on/off valves
* Two built-in hooks on the side
* Built-in towel bar on the other side and rectangular cut-out underneath
* Weight limit: 10 lbs.
* Instructions and hardware included
* Four mounting holes
* Assembly required
* Closed work surface measures approx. 21″ x 15¼”
* Overall measures approx 28″ W x 17″ H x 16¾” with handles
* Net weight is approx. 18 lbs.
* Gross weight is approx. 20 lbs.
* Made in China

Care
* Wash with soapy water and soft cloth
* Do not use abrasives
* Drain sink and disconnect garden hoses when not in use

Click here for more details of this handy instant outdoor sink from
www.solutions.com

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A New Awakening

February 16, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-42.JPGHave you noticed how the birds are starting to sing earlier in the mornings? This is a true sign that the welcome spring is on its way.

I really do enjoy hearing the first solo song of a bird, which is then followed by the full dawn chorus. I’m sure that if we spent more time listening to nature’s natural sounds we’d be more relaxed.

Such sounds can help as a distraction to other modern day noises such as road traffic, trains and aeroplanes.

Birds are very useful in the garden and can help keep down the population of unwanted insects including slugs and snails. My father keeps several white doves and they do a magnificent job of cleaning up the small black slugs around his strawberry patch. However, when fruits start to form it is best to net them in some way to stop the birds eating them and just eat up the pests instead, although leaving a few fruits for the birds is one way to encourage our feathered friends into our gardens

One of the reasons why our gardens have become invaded by so many slugs and snails is that our towns have become over developed which in turn has unbalanced the natural environment of the wildlife.

Luckily we can give nature a helping hand by encouraging and sustaining the wildlife in our gardens, such as birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads.

Around this time natural food sources are a bit depleted for the birds, so why not encourage them to become regulars in your garden with some extra food and water.

Buy a bag of mixed wild bird food, provide a birdbath or some sort using a container which has sloping sides and you might as well pull up an armchair, turn off the television as you’ll be entertained free, courtesy of mother nature. Beside, there’s nothing more wonderful than having a resident Robin in your garden keeping you company while you’re out gardening around this time of the year.

Blue Tits are very useful little birds as they eat several unwanted insects in the garden and one way to encouraged these sweet little birds is to put up nesting boxes for them. Either buy or make your own, but make sure that the entrance hole is a small one as that way larger birds can’t move in and the eggs and the new hatchlings will be safe from other predators.