Current Issues, Events, Gardening Year, George, Hampton Court Flower Show, News, RHS

Another year, another roster of fabulous events to pack out you calendar. We’ve gathered up the best exhibitions, flower shows and festivals coming down the track, so you can start booking your tickets and grab the best deals for gardening events in 2018. We’re excited already!

gardening events 2018

2018 Gardening Events

January

27-29 Jan – Big Garden Birdwatch – Do your bit to help keep track of what’s flying around our back gardens by joining in this nationwide event.

February

10 Feb-11 Mar – Kew’s Orchid Festival – Thailand is the star of this annual celebration of the vibrant world of orchids.
13-14 Feb – RHS Early Spring Plant Fair – The first tinges of spring are in the air at this show to inspire your new year’s gardening.

March

16 MarNational Collection of Magnolias – Hear from the owner of Caehays Castle’s magnolias in a lecture and tour of the gardens.

April

6-7 Apr – RHS Orchid Show & Plant Fair – You won’t want to miss the spectacular spring plants on display at Lindley and Lawrence Halls.
13-15 Apr – RHS Flower Show Cardiff – The first major plant show of the year brings the joy and inspiration of gardening to Wales.
22-22 Apr – RHS Spring Plant Fair – Visit Hyde Hall to stock up on plants for the season ahead, with a range of specialist growers.
26-29 Apr – Harrogate Spring Flower Show – Show gardens, floral art and plants for any type of garden are all waiting for you at Harrogate.
30-6 May – National Gardening Week – Host your own event or take part in a local activity to share in this celebration of all things garden.

May

10-13 MayRHS Malvern Spring Festival – Join in with this proper family event, full of shopping, flowers and food.
22-26 MayRHS Chelsea Flower Show – The ultimate flower show that is always unmissable for any lovers of plants and garden design.
26 May-3 JunNational Children’s Gardening Week – Get the kids into gardening with fun events and activities to do.

June

1-3 JunGardening Scotland – Celebrate the joy of everything garden in Edinburgh, from inspirational designs to accessories and plants.
6-10 JunRHS Chatsworth Flower Show – Talks, floral displays, advice and shopping round out this unique garden show.
14-17 JunGardeners’ World Live – The nation’s favourite gardening programme comes to life with talks and exhibits for you to soak up.
23-24 JunWoburn Abbey Garden Show – Experience the 9th annual show at Woburn Abbey for talks, advice and lots of fun.

July

2-8 JulRHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – Take in a historic royal landmark alongside its gorgeous gardens and plant shows.
18-22 JulRHS Flower Show Tatton Park – Experience the work of up and coming garden designers in this summer exhibition.

August

16-19 AugSouthport Flower Show – The theme is ‘Once Upon a Time’ for the country’s largest independent flower show.

September

29-30 SepRHS Malvern Autumn Show – the second annual Malvern show packs in autumn plants and cookery workshops.

October

27-28 OctRHS Urban Garden Show – City growing and houseplants are order of the day at this inspiration exhibition.

November

24 Nov-2 DecNational Tree Week – Celebrate the start of the winter tree planting season by joining in with a local project.

So there’s our gardening events 2018 calendar. Hopefully you’re now feeling inspired for the year ahead – and please do let us know if you have any more suggestions!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Gardening Year, Guest Posts, How To

Preparing garden building for winter

As autumn draws to a close, many of us have become accustomed to the colder weather and shorter days, opting for relaxing indoors rather than outside in our gardens. But just because the warm, pleasant days of summer are long gone it doesn’t mean we should abandon our gardens all together – especially as cold, wet weather can wreak havoc with outdoor buildings.

From underfloor heating to essential maintenance, this article will shed light on the steps you can take to prepare your garden buildings for the colder months ahead – creating an outdoor area that’s still usable, even when the temperatures drop.

Keep the weather where it belongs

Winter inevitably brings wind, rain, ice and snow that can cause significant damage to outdoor buildings – particularly if they’re built with timber. Therefore, it’s vital to take appropriate weatherproofing measures to keep the elements at bay – prolonging the life of your garden buildings, as well as protecting what’s inside.

From fixing leaking roofs and checking window and door seals to installing guttering and water butts to keep excess water away from the structure, weatherproofing should be a top priority to avoid damp and rot setting in.

Clear the area

When winter hits, it can be tempting to lock up outdoor buildings and items, forgetting about them until the following spring. However, it pays to get things organised before then to make better use of the space all year round.

Taking the time to remove low-lying branches, trim back nearby shrubbery and clear fallen leaves away from the building will prevent potential damage outside and improve the appearance of your garden building. On top of this, making sure the inside is organised and clutter-free with shelving and storage will offer up more floor space – meaning you’re more likely to use it in winter.

Sheds in winter

Create a winter haven

Garden sheds offer a perfect opportunity to add extra living space, but if you want guaranteed use of this building throughout the year, you could consider adding a heating system to keep this space warm and cosy.

A free-standing electric heater or wood-burning stove are both potential options, but underfloor heating could add a great level of warmth and insulation. Whether you use floor tiles or wooden planks, underfloor heating is easy to install and provides a cost-effective heating solution, too.

Add a fresh coat of paint

Applying a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in protecting your garden buildings against adverse weather – working to minimise the effects of damp and rot. However, it isn’t just the exterior walls that can benefit from a lick of paint or varnish – you can do wonders with the inside, too.

From adding a splash of colour with seasonal tones to simple, neutral shades, your garden building is the ideal place to experiment with interior design styles – projecting a warm and welcoming ambiance to enjoy, whatever the weather.

Furnish with flair

To make your garden building extra snug over the winter months, think about updating the interiors. From comfy sofas and soft cushions to fluffy rugs and faux-fur throws, using a variety of different fabrics, colours and textures will create a plush and relaxing atmosphere.

Whether you intend to use outdoor buildings simply for storage or as living space the whole year through, our essential maintenance and interior design tips will help you ensure these spaces are well prepared for the harsh weather this winter might bring.

SuhaylSuhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

Gardening Year, How To, Liam, Planting, Plants, Trees

How to plant bare root tree

Planting a tree is a decision made with many, many years in mind. With that being said it is essential to give your young tree the best possible start so it can grow to its full potential. With this guide we will show you you how to plant a bare root tree, which, like most plants, requires some initial TLC.

 

Bare root trees are uprooted and sent out around November to March, while the tree is dormant. Therefore it is around this time you’ll be planting them, however, avoid days when the soil is frozen or waterlogged.  

On receiving your bare root tree you will want to plant immediately. If this is not possible then it is essential to check the roots to see whether or not they have dried out. If they have then dunk in a bucket of water for 5 minutes and then return it to the plastic packaging, making sure it retains its moisture.

Giving the Roots a Soak Before Planting

The tree’s nutrients are critical to the survival of the tree and its ability to establish itself are stored in the roots. When the roots dry out the tree will suffer severe damage and may even die. For this reason it is a good idea to soak the roots in a bucket for up to 30 minutes before planting. Equally the tree needs to breath and so leaving it in the bucket for much longer will suffocate it.

When picking a site for your tree, ideally you will want somewhere which is going to receive full sunlight and will be sheltered from harsh, drying winds. Make sure you pick a spot where the roots will have a chance to grow and spread out. If training against a wall then leave at least 1ft of space from the base of the plant.

Dig a hole with a diameter roughly 3x the size of the roots and with the same depth. If planted too deep, the lower trunk of the tree may become susceptible to disease. The graft-point of the tree should be above the soil. 

A square hole allows for the greatest root penetration and growth. Loosen up the soil at the bottom of the hole with a fork and also the sides if they appear compact.

The Correct Size and Depth of the Hole Relative to the Roots

You can plant a stake by the side of the rootball to give the tree some additional support if required. For a bare root tree we only recommend using one stake as their roots are more spread out. If planted in a sheltered site it may not be required and we advise not using a stake to improve the tree’s strength and flexibility. See our guide to staking a tree.

Take the soil you have dug and mix in compost so that it is three parts original soil, one part compost. You can add some further compost to the bottom of the hole and then fill in with your soil. There is no need at this point to apply a fertiliser, you can however sprinkle around the roots with mycorrhizal fungi (Rootgrow) to stimulate root-growth.

The Hole Filled in with Stake in Place

Place your tree in the hole and then fill in with your soil. Every now and then gently heel in so that the soil is touching the roots. Air circulation is essential so don’t compact the soil too much.

After this form a bowl with the soil around the tree and fill with water. This will ensure the water doesn’t spill off and go directly to the roots. In the first few years it is important to look after and regularly water your young tree, especially through periods of extended heat. Once the roots have grown out and the tree has established itself it will require less maintenance.

Liam at PrimroseLiam works in the buying team at Primrose. He is passionate about studying other cultures, especially their history. A lover of sports his favourite pass-time is football, either playing or watching it! In the garden Liam is particularly interested in growing your own food.

See all of Liam’s posts.

Garden Tools, Gardening Year, George, Hiring Help in the Garden, How To, Trees, Wildlife

how to deal with falling leaves

As anyone with deciduous trees in their back garden will know, autumn can be a beautiful, but laborious, time of year. As the foliage turns to stunning shades of reds and yellows, it begins to drop, and drop… and drop. Learning how to deal with falling leaves is a challenge every gardener must face, so to help out we’ve rounded up the best tips for you.

Why do you need to sweep up leaves?

Fallen leaves can smother the lawn, suffocate plants and introduce diseases into the soil. If you can’t see the top of the blades of grass, or if over a third of the lawn is covered, then it’s time to clear away the leaves.

Remember leaves will continue to fall throughout the season, so it’s worth planning a day to clear up the leaves every few weeks until winter.

Are leaves good for wildlife?

Some creatures do like to use fallen leaves as shelter, particularly worms and other insects. So it’s good to do your bit for the local wildlife and leave a small patch of leaves undisturbed.

wildlife in leaves

Is it OK to mow over leaves?

Yes, mowing over leaves can help to shred them and make them easier to mulch. But heavy falls and wet leaves can be tough to mow.

Watch out for pine needles

Pine needles will decompose into an acidic mulch, which is only suitable for certain plants. So it’s worth sweeping these up and bagging them separately from the leaves for later use. Helpfully, pine needles usually drop first.

How to clear up fallen leaves

  1. Rake the leaves into piles. You can use a leaf blower to help create rough piles first (or blow the leaves straight back into woodland).
  2. Rake the piles onto leaf bags or a sheet and gather up. The folding Leaf Eazi Leaf Collector is a great tool for this.
  3. Drag these bags off the lawn and store for later use.

A leaf vacuum is another useful tool for collecting autumn leaves. Look for one with a shredding function to make disposing of the leaves even more efficient.

raking leaves

Should you rake wet or dry leaves?

You can rake up leaves when they are wet or dry. If they’re wet, they’ll form a more grabbable solid lump, but be much heavier to move. Beware wet leaves can also contain mould or mildew, which can set off allergies. To use a leaf vacuum the leaves will need to be dry.

What do you do with leaves after you rake them?

The best thing to do is turn fallen leaves into compost. This saves waste and returns the nutrients back to your garden. Firstly, make sure you remove diseased leaves from the pile and bin them to avoid spreading the infection. If you can, shredding the remaining leaves will help speed up the decomposition process. Then put the leaves onto the compost heap to biodegrade. Use the fresh compost on your flowerbeds the following spring!

Are leaves good for garden soil?

You can mulch some of the leaves directly into the lawn, provided there is not too thick a layer, and send their goodness straight into the soil. You need to see at least half the grass through the leaves for this to work. Start by aerating the lawn. Then chop the leaves into small pieces using a lawn mower. As the leaves mulch, they will decompose and their nutrients will run straight down into the soil.

mulch

If you have plants that like a lot of mulch (like shrubs, garlic and roses) you can make the mulch and then rake it straight onto the flowerbed. The best time of year for mulching is in the autumn, to help protect your plants over the winter frosts.

Help for dealing with falling leaves

If all else fails you can hire a professional leaf cleaner. But clearing up the leaves is a rewarding task, and with the help of our leaf collectors, should be done in a breeze!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

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