Archive for June, 2012

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“Heaven Scent”

June 27, 2012

dscf0070.jpgI think that our sense of smell can be one of the most powerful senses and one that can stimulate our emotional senses too. The smell of baking bread, the smell of fresh cut grass, the smell of flowers and the emotional effects of aromatherapy can evoke memories deep within us all.

One of the biggest pleasures of a garden around this time of year is the scent of fragrant summer flowers. Scented plants will add another dimension to your garden and will help to create an uplifting mood.

When planing and choosing plants for your garden, take time to not only choose different plants that will give you all year-round interest but also to include scented plants. To enjoy the perfume of such plants, they are often best planted near your seating area, patio or pathway where you can enjoy them.

Consider a pergola archway, draped in Wisteria with its cascading fragrant lilac flowing flowers that bloom in May with its heavenly scent and for mid-summer fragrance and interest, add one of the many scented climbing roses. Such a combination is a delight to stroll by in any garden. For the ground, you could opt for a row of lavender to line a pathway to give lovely relaxing scent.

How about creating a relaxing seating area hidden in a corner of your garden; your very own private oasis where you can relax? Fragrant planting in such an area can really heighten the pleasure of such an oasis from where you can simply enjoy being in your garden. Choose a sunny spot, as mostwwwgardendesignercouk-35.JPG scent producing plants prefer that aspect. If the seat has a trellis pergola over it then go for a scented climber like the Honeysuckle or the richly fragrant Jasminum officinale to grow over it. Around the base of the seating area go for scented plants such as Rosemary, Violet and Pinks. For summer evening fragrance go for the Tobacco plant.

I really love the heady scent of Lilies, and I feel that they are best grown in pots as this will help keep them away from slugs and snails that like to chew at the new shoots. Also by having these plants in pots you can move them to other areas if need be.

Various shrubs can certainly pack a punch in the fragrance department like for example the strong perfume of the Mock orange, Philadelphus. One wall shrub, which I personally love, is the Cytisus battandieri with its delightful pineapple scented bright yellow flowers.

So go on, plant some fragrant scented flowers and enjoy the sweet aromas of summer.

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Water Water Everywhere

June 24, 2012

gardenblog47.jpgNowadays a water feature is more or less considered to be an integral feature of any garden design, whether it’s simply for a focal point, or a pond for wildlife, or being used for its ambient sounds of moving water for relaxation. Surprisingly water features have been used in gardens for longer than you may think.

Far back in ancient Egypt around 3000 BC we see the earliest records of gardens, and yes, these gardens did have water features, although most were used for practical purposes. Gardens where mainly enclosed in a courtyard fashion and water channels where formed to irrigate the crops and plants. Later in history, the Moorish gardens of Spain incorporated fountains into their courtyards where people could cool off and have some relief from the hot dry climate.

In Japanese gardens, running water served a practical purpose and water features were sited near to teahouses where the water was used for purification purposes before the ceremony itself, as guests would wash their hands before entering the teahouse. Other practical water features in Japanese gardens include the “deer scarer” where the bamboo pivoted arm collects water and then swings down against a stone with a loud clunk, thus scaring any deer or other wildlife away from the garden and crops.

Nowadays we truly are spoilt for choice with the variety of water features available, although I always suggest that the main consideration for any water feature is that of the safety of small children. If you do have children, then I would strongly recommend the type that has a sealed reservoir, like the cobble or millstone fountains. Other safe styles of water features aredscf0018.JPG narrow and shallow rills or streams which are becoming quite fashionable.

If you are considering a water feature, you could opt for a formal type such as a raised brick one. The choice is endless and you’re bound to find a type to suit your garden, or even get someone to design one for you.

Alternatively, instead of a simple water feature, you may consider having a pond. If you are planning a pond, do remember that it’s best to locate it in an open site where daylight can get to surface-living aquatic plants. Also avoid water features near trees as not only will the falling leaves clog up the water, but tree roots may also damage the pond. There are several types of pond available, from concrete types which you can make yourself, to pre-formed fibre types, toughened plastic moulded ones, or butyl rubber sheet types.

 

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The Joys Of June…

June 23, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-18.jpgGardens are now getting into their peak time and for us gardeners were into our own busy time for gardening tasks. Hopefully, with the weather warming up and the days getting even longer, where better to be than pottering about in the garden. If you haven’t got your own garden then go and visit other peoples’ gardens that are open under the National Gardens Scheme.

If you haven’t done so, then now is the time to plant out greenhouse-reared cuttings, annuals and seasonal bedding plants for summer colour interest. Half-hardy annuals from seeds can also be sown outdoors, but ensure that you keep them watered in any dry spell.

Around this time of the year also make sure that you keep an eye out for those horticultural hooligans; slugs and snails. Given just half a chance, they will quite happily munch away at fresh new shoots and your new plants could end up as little leafless stumps. The best time to find these pests is in the morning and early evening and you’ll be surprised as to how many you’ll find. How you deal with slugs and snails is a matter of choice, but I prefer the organic approach.

Want to grow your own crops? Then now is the time to sow directly into the soil and broad French or runner beans, cabbage, beetroot, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas and turnips are a great choice.

The grass is now growing rapidly so regular mowing will be needed and if your lawn needs perking up then treat it with some lawn fertiliser to keep it lush and green.

Now is also the time to prune early flowering shrubs such as forsythia, philadelphus, pieris and weigela. Remember to prune out to one-third of the old growth and also pruned back to the size and shape required.

Everything is growing rapidly now in the garden and that includes the weeds, so stay to top of the weeding by hoeing or hand weeding them out. Hoeing is best done in the morning so the hoed out weeds will dry and die off in the heat of the day and can’t get their roots re-established in the soil.

Other ways to cut down weeding is by mulching the ground with bark chipping or with the chocolate scented Cocoa shell, which is a by-product of the Cocoa bean. Remember, that the more plants you have in your border, the more shade you will have and therefore make it harder for weeds to germinate.

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June… Just June…

June 22, 2012

dscf0028.jpgIf May is my favourite month, then June has definitely got to be my second favourite. With the days at their longest and the garden blooming, spending evenings relaxing outside with various scents wafting in the air is a joy to experience.

The glory of the garden really gathers pace now as we enter the summer months and all the gardening work we’ve been doing should now be paying off.

The nation’s favourite flower, the rose will now be blooming and flower borders can now be full with campanulas, delphiniums, dianthus, irises, oriental poppies and violas. To keep your borders flowering all summer long, just take a walk around your garden in the evenings and deadhead any flowers that have gone over and past its best.

One of my favourite flowers blooming around this time of the year is the Oriental poppy with its showy tissue paper-like flowers.

Poppies are quite easy to grow, as they are not too fussy about soil but grow best in full sun and a must for any flower borders. My front garden is a ‘hot border’ of bright colours, and I have double flowered bright orange poppies which really set of the design quite nicely.

As for my own back garden, I have designed it with a soft pastel colour scheme including some soft sugar pink coloured poppies.

Black coloured flowers are becoming increasingly fashionable and I must admit that I find this colour stunning and elegant in a garden.

One particular such plant is the black viola ‘Molly Sanderson’ with its small yellow centre that looks super. Alternatively, you might prefer the Viola tricolour with purple and yellow flowers and a happier face, or ‘Irish Molly’ with its lovely burnt orange coloured and golden yellow flowers.

Hardy geraniums are super to use for any well-drained sunny border and they’re such a versatile plant to use as fillers between the other plants and as ground cover if you have some spaces in your garden now.

Several varieties of hardy geraniums have long flowering periods such as the Geranium G. x riversleaianum ‘Russell Prichard’ with its bright magenta-pink flowers.

Hardy geraniums come in a wide variety of colours from white, to all shades of pink and blues. One particular nice one is ‘Johnson’s Blue’ with its lavender-blue coloured flowers and these really add a special touch to any garden.

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Accessible Gardening…

June 20, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-20.jpgGardening, not only for people with disabilities but also in general can have wonderful results both in improving motor skills and in reducing stress.

Just a relatively short amount of time in the garden pottering about, watering and generally tending to plants produces measurable feelings of calm in both body and in mind.

It may not be too surprising that gardening as a therapy was introduced following both World Wars. Hospitals made increased use of gardening as therapy in the treatment and re-education of soldiers disabled in the war.

As a therapy, gardening is one of the few hobbies where interaction with a living medium is used. With gardening, people with disabilities get a hands-on connection with the natural environment and life cycle. With gardening there is always something to look forward to, something to plan, something to learn from, and where they may be an emotional disability, a hobby such as gardening can prove invaluable.

Let’s have a look at some things can make a garden more accessible to everyone.

Raised Beds For Easy Wheelchair Access: There are so many designs available for such raised beds, however the best designs are those where the raised beds are supported on legs or columns at regular intervals. With these types of raised beds, knees and front wheels can actually get under the bed and so provide generally better wheelchair access.

Hanging Baskets: The ideal solution would be such baskets with a pulley system whereby the baskets can be lowered easily for watering – or even perhaps using mechanically-timed watering system.

Visual Aided Planting: Planting against contrasting colours, one example being planting tomatoes against a white fence background which makes it easier to see when the fruits are ripe.

Paving Access: Naturally careful consideration should be given to suchwwwgardendesignercouk-27.jpg walkways, with perhaps handrails needing to be added. Ensure that such walkways provide grip and ease of use in all weathers.

Adapted Tools: These are now relatively easy to obtain. Such adaptations can also easily done to existing tools; longer / shorter handles, brightly coloured handles / blades, etc.

Creating Rest Areas Within The Garden: Throughout my website I like to reinforce the idea that a garden should be enjoyed and there are times when we should just “be” in the garden. A restful place in any garden is a welcome addition.

Selecting Plants For Fragrance Colour And Textures: The garden is a veritable world of sensations for anyone; smells, sights, sounds and so on. Also most gardeners enjoy getting hands dirty and feeling their garden, particularly when planting and pruning. Make your garden a feast for all the senses.

Having Edge Guides On Paths: Not only for wheelchairs, this is a particularly good idea to prevent feet getting onto slippery soil. Bear in mind that such guides must be safe themselves to prevent tripping.

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Jobs In June

June 15, 2012

If you have been busy working in your garden during spring, then you can now slow down a little and enjoy the results of your labour. If you haven’t got around to getting your garden sorted out, the you can still have time this month to catch up with those outstanding chores and then look forward to the summer months for some rest and relaxation in a well-kept garden.

So, lets look at some of the jobs that we can be doing in our gardens during the month of June.

This month you can plant out your summer bedding plants if you haven’t done so yet and do remember to keep them well watered as the weather warms up. This is the month also for finishing planting up hanging baskets, window boxes and tubs and once again, remember to give them regular watering and feeding with a liquid fertiliser.

Lawns will now start to require more frequent mowing and it’s a good idea to raise the blades of your mower to a higher setting during spells of dry weather to prevent it from drying out too much It might also be a good idea to dig out any weeds on your turf or treat them with a spot weed killer. You could also give your lawn a bit of a boost with some liquid feed if it’s looking a bit tired.

The foliage of spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips can look really untidy and messy around now, but do resist cutting off the leaves as this deprives the bulb of stores of energy and your bulb may not flower next year.

If you had a nice show of early flowering primulas, then now is the time to divide up the clumps and replant them right away into prepared soil so you will even get more colourful flowers next spring.

Regular deadheading of faded flowers will be regular task throughout the summer months, as this will extend the flowering period of your plant. By deadheading, your plant won’t be wasting its energy by producing seeds and will instead use its energy to produce new growths and flowers.

This month you can prune and train mature deciduous shrubs that have finished flowering like deutzia, forsythias, lilac, philadelphus and weigela. First remove any dead or diseased growths and then cut out the old thick wood. You’ll find that this will give you lots of new shoots next year, which in turn will produce more flowers.

How about growing some fresh herbs to use in your cooking or to throw onto the barbecue to add flavour to any summer meal? If you haven’t got the room in your garden then you can quite easily grown some herbs in pots or containers on the patio or even on a sunny facing window ledge and you’ll be able to harvest them fresh whenever you need. Go on, give it a go.

Trailing strawberries or trailing tomatoes are also fun to grow in hanging baskets or from pots that have the planting holes in, grow these in a sunny spot and then pick off fresh when ripened.

There’s plenty to do this month. If you’re a beginner and haven’t really had the courage to try some gardening before, then give it a go this month and start off with some of these ideas.

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Slow Down… You’re Going Too Fast…

June 8, 2012

If you have been busy working in your garden during spring, then you can now slow down a little and enjoy the results of your labour. If you haven’t got around to getting your garden sorted out, the you can still have time this month to catch up with those outstanding chores and then look forward to the summer months for some rest and relaxation in a well-kept garden.

So, lets look at some of the jobs that we can be doing in our gardens during the month of June.

This month you can plant out your summer bedding plants if you haven’t done so yet and do remember to keep them well watered as the weather warms up. This is the month also for finishing planting up hanging baskets, window boxes and tubs and once again, remember to give them regular watering and feeding with a liquid fertiliser.

Lawns will now start to require more frequent mowing and it’s a good idea to raise the blades of your mower to a higher setting during spells of dry weather to prevent it from drying out too much It might also be a good idea to dig out any weeds on your turf or treat them with a spot weed killer. You could also give your lawn a bit of a boost with some liquid feed if it’s looking a bit tired.

The foliage of spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips can look really untidy and messy around now, but do resist cutting off the leaves as this deprives the bulb of stores of energy and your bulb may not flower next year.

If you had a nice show of early flowering primulas, then now is the time to divide up the clumps and replant them right away into prepared soil so you will even get more colourful flowers next spring.

Regular deadheading of faded flowers will be regular task throughout the summer months, as this will extend the flowering period of your plant. By deadheading, your plant won’t be wasting its energy by producing seeds and will instead use its energy to produce new growths and flowers.

This month you can prune and train mature deciduous shrubs that have finished flowering like deutzia, forsythias, lilac, philadelphus and weigela. First remove any dead or diseased growths and then cut out the old thick wood. You’ll find that this will give you lots of new shoots next year, which in turn will produce more flowers.

How about growing some fresh herbs to use in your cooking or to throw onto the barbecue to add flavour to any summer meal? If you haven’t got the room in your garden then you can quite easily grown some herbs in pots or containers on the patio or even on a sunny facing window ledge and you’ll be able to harvest them fresh whenever you need. Go on, give it a go.

Trailing strawberries or trailing tomatoes are also fun to grow in hanging baskets or from pots that have the planting holes in, grow these in a sunny spot and then pick off fresh when ripened.

There’s plenty to do this month. If you’re a beginner and haven’t really had the courage to try some gardening before, then give it a go this month and start off with some of these ideas.

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