Alex, Current Issues, Garden Design, How To

 

Meditation Garden

 

The year is 1000 BBY. The New Sith Wars have come to an end and so too have the Republic Dark Ages and things are looking up for the universe with a wide belief that the Sith, who had been on a quest of universal domination for several millennia since the Dark Jedi Wars, had finally been defeated and were now extinct. As we now well know this was not the case however unaware of these developments, the Jedi order had begun reconstructing their meditation gardens on Coruscant after it had been destroyed some time earlier. Of course, it was to be devastated again many years down the line when Darth Sidious, then disguised as Chancellor Palpatine, orders Darth Vader to raid the temple and lay waste to it.

Once repaired the garden provided a peaceful place where Jedi could seek solace and the noise of the turbulent universe was momentarily rendered absent. The gardens provided a serene place where young Jedi students would often come to meditate, gather their thoughts and tune themselves to the environment. But you don’t need to be a Jedi to create yourself a bubble of serenity in a manic world. There are a few simple things you can do to turn your garden into a tranquil oasis of calm and we have some tips to help you do so.

Our first tip, which applies to any garden project, is to spend ample time planning. This is especially true in this instance because small imperfections can cause annoyances that will surely aid the dark side to take over. When creating this space, it is important to picture what would be a relaxing space for you personally. The idea of relaxation is inherently linked to one’s intrinsic emotions and as such, your relaxing space should reflect your inner self. Think about what it is that you love about spending time in the garden already, what parts of your garden you already enjoy and use those ideas to help formulate your plan.

Take inspiration. Although I did say that this should be a personal space, there is no harm in taking inspiration from other gardens. The web is full of interesting pages and collections of gardens that can provide you with ideas and themes that you can then weave your personal touch into. Choosing a theme to follow roughly is also a great way to create a sense of calmness as this instils a sense of orderliness and focus. A Japanese theme is very popular at the moment and their ordered, clean approach to landscaping lends itself well to creating a calm space.

Japanese Garden Encorporate existing structures and treelines into the design. These can be used to create little areas of sanctuary. Pergolas are often used in Oriental gardens for this purpose and you’d like one you can either create one yourself or buy them ready made.

The sound of running water is known for it’s calming effect and a water feature can be the perfect addition to a relaxing space. You can pick up cascading water features of all varieties for a reasonable price and rock monolith water features seem to fit perfectly with many meditation gardens that I have seen, especially the Japanese themed.

Further additions often found in these types of gardens are sculptures or rocks. They give you something to focus on and the more natural looking ones give an earthy feel to the garden. These again should be choosen to your personal taste but keeping it simple works well as you don’t want to over complicate this space.

If you really are a Star Wars fan of course there is plenty of Star Wars garden merchandise out there too. You can find an ewok garden gnome, a Yoda water fountain or if you’re really keen, a 12 foot AT-ST walker that will make your neighbours happy. AT-ST Walker

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Alex

Alex works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

As a psychology graduate it is ironic that he understands plants better than people but a benefit for the purpose of writing this blog.

An enthusiastic gardener, all he needs now is a garden and he’ll be on the path to greatness. Alex’s special talents include superior planter knowledge and the ability to put a gardening twist on any current affairs story.

See all of Alex’s posts.

Christmas, Decoration, Garden Design, George, How To, Lighting

Outdoor Christmas Lighting

It’s that time of year again for getting the decorations out of the loft and taking your home to tinsel town. But as any competitive neighbour will know, half the fun is in sprucing up the outside of your house with some festive glow. With our quick outdoor Christmas lighting tips, your house will soon be on the way to becoming the highlight of the street.

1. Use outdoor lights

Let’s get the basics out the way first. Always make sure the lights you use are meant for outside – sufficiently insulated and waterproof.

2. Illuminate the features

Throw some spotlights or trailing lights onto the centrepieces of your garden, like birdbaths and water fountains. It’ll add depth and texture to your display.

3. Use outdoor powerpoints

It’s always safer – and helps with home security – to power your lights from outdoor sockets rather than trailing plugs and cables from the house. Be sure that wires don’t become a trip hazard.

4. Light garden paths

Give your guests a special welcome over the Christmas period by bordering your pathways with lights. Your visitors will find it easier to walk at night and it creates a friendly atmosphere.

5. Fix with tape

When you’re installing your lighting, it’s much better to use electrical tape than anything like nails or staples. You don’t want any sparks flying on the big day!

6. Use light nets

Decorating trees and shrubbery can be tricky. A net strung with LED lights is a great, simple way to cover bushes with evenly-spaced spots.

7. Mind the neighbours

If you’re going all out with your festive display, be sure to warn or discuss with your neighbours first. You don’t want to make enemies this time of year! Remember to switch the lights off overnight too.

8. Light up other decorations

Bring a magical glow to existing garden decorations. Wind some mini string lights into a wreath or add spotlights to other festive ornaments on the doorstep for a magical display any time of day.

9. Use battery lights

It’s important not to overload the mains circuits with all your garden lighting. Use a mix of plugin and battery powered lights to spread the load. LED candles are very handy for placing spots of light wherever you like in the garden.

10. Hang decorative lights

Once you’ve wrapped your trees with string lights, hang a few lit baubles or stars for an extra dimension. This works particularly well on skeletal winter trees.

So there are our top 10 tips for garden lighting in the winter. Let us know your ideas and advice in the comments below.

Be sure to check out our Top 20 Outdoor Christmas Decoration Ideas infographic for plenty more festive garden inspiration. Happy Christmas!

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.

Alex, Chimeneas, Fire Pits, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, How To

What’s small, Mexican and made of clay? A chiminea! Well, although this is true, these days there are almost as many different types of chimineas as there are ways of spelling the word itself. All this choice can be a little confusing so we have prepared a guide to help you make often the first decision: Which material will be perfect for you garden?

Clay Chiminea

Clay

Clay chimineas are our most popular type with many of our customers enjoying the authentic feel that they create. Historically, fired clay was used as an inexpensive material used to create these fire pits which were an essential for both cooking and heating back in 17th century Mexico. The chimney directed smoke outside meaning that it could be used inside without filling your home with smoke and the design also funnelled fresh air in to fuel a hot, clean fire. This was useful for providing more heat for the home whilst meaning that there was less ash left behind as a more complete combustion took place.

Clay Chimenea
In more recent times, clay chimineas are more often used in the garden and offer both aesthetic appeal and functionality. The authentic look provided by clay lends itself effortlessly to rustic design and these chimineas seem to blend in perfectly with any background. They also add a little foreign charm to a garden, especially the models with Mexican or Italian designs. For guidance on how to prepare and look after your clay chiminea, visit our page full of handy tips.

 

 

Cast Iron

Cast iron chimineas burst on to the scene later than clay, providing a different option for consumers. The different material has several advantages over clay in some areas, but also some drawbacks, it really does depend on what is more important to you and what you plan on using your fire pit for.
One of the main plus points is that unlike clay versions, you won’t have to cure before use; it’s ready to go straight away. Cast iron is a more durable material, less susceptible to damage caused by temperature change, and should outlive even the best quality clay chimineas.

Cast iron Chimenea
In addition, they are less likely to be damaged accidently. Cast iron versions are not easily knocked or blown over as they are heavy and so more stable. This makes them ideal for cooking, and many of our cast iron versions come with a grill included.
Cast iron fire pits come in stylish colours such as bronze and black and can help create a more modern look if that coincides with the theme you wish to create in your garden. They are also easily re-paintable, whether you are looking to give it a fresh coat after it has faded over the years or after a change in colour to give an entirely new feel to your fire pit.

 

One slight downside is that being metal; they are prone to getting rather hot. You will need to consider where you place the fire pit. Ensure it is not pushed up against anything that may be affected by the heat and that it is placed on top of a fireproof surface. It is also wise to consider keeping it in an area where it is not likely to be bumped into when in use, especially with children around, and extra care must be taken when operating to ensure that you don’t accidently touch the hot metal.

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Alex

Alex works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

As a psychology graduate it is ironic that he understands plants better than people but a benefit for the purpose of writing this blog.

An enthusiastic gardener, all he needs now is a garden and he’ll be on the path to greatness. Alex’s special talents include superior planter knowledge and the ability to put a gardening twist on any current affairs story.

See all of Alex’s posts.

Animals, Bird Baths, Garden Design, Garden Tools, Gardening, Gardening Year, George, Greenhouses, Heated Clothing, How To, Planting, Plants

Gardening in Winter

When the cold winds blow and snow begins to settle on the lawn, it’s tempting to close the backdoor and spend the winter curled up by the fire. But if you’re an outdoorsy person then there’s no need to give up on the garden for a whole season every year. With our guide to gardening in winter you’ll find plenty of projects to crack on with before the spring, how to protect your plants against the cold and top tips for making the most out of your time outdoors.

Winter Gardening Jobs

  • Pruning. Some plants are best cut back and pruned over winter, such as roses, shrubs, fruit trees and deciduous hedges. This will encourage healthy new shoots to grow when the weather warms up again.
  • Cleaning. While the life in your garden is less demanding, it’s a good opportunity to sort out a bit of general maintenance. Hosing down your paths and patios will not only spruce them up, but also ensure they’re free of grime which could become slippery in the cold, damp conditions.
  • Checking for structural damage. If you have a greenhouse, conservatory or shed then winter is the best time of year to give them a good inspection. Most of the surrounding foliage will have died back, leaving a clear path to see any cracks in the frames or broken window panes. Fixing these now is crucial for protecting any plants inside from freezing draughts.
  • Ordering seed catalogues. Get prepared for the sowing season by choosing seeds and plants to buy. It’s a good time to sit back and plan how you might like to redesign your planting or reflect on which flowers grow best in your garden.
  • Cutting the lawn. You won’t need to mow the grass anywhere near as frequently as in the summer, but if the weather is mild it will need doing every now and then. The grass won’t grow as fast, so you can leave it longer than normal.

Winter Gardening Tips

  • Don’t compact the soil. During wintertime, the ground will likely be saturated from excess rain and freeze due to the plummeting temperatures. It’s best to avoid treading on the earth too much as you will compact the already dense soil, making it even more difficult to work in the spring. So try to step lightly when you need to go over it.
  • Maintain tools. There won’t be many labour intensive jobs to do in the garden over winter so it’s a good opportunity to show your tools some TLC. Oil any machinery that requires it and sharpen the blades of your trimmers and secateurs. Then you’ll be all set for cracking on when the frost thaws.
  • Keep watering. It’s easy to overlook watering your garden when the weather’s so rubbish this time of year. But it’s still important to go outside and give your plants a quick water every now and then, particularly if it hasn’t rained in a while. And don’t forget to water your indoor flowers too!
  • Plan ahead. Winter is a great time to plan your garden design for the coming year. Most of the plants and trees have died back, leaving the core layout of your plot clear. Take advantage of this by mapping out new paths or patios, or deciding where to put that new shed or greenhouse.

Trees in Winter

Winter Planting

  • Winter loving plants. Surprisingly, there are a few plants that defy nature and come into their own in the chilly months. Besides evergreen trees, these include witch hazel, winter jasmine, winter honeysuckle and viburnum. Add a few of these for a colourful flowerbed all year round.
  • Winter vegetables. If you have an allotment or kitchen garden, then there are plenty of hardy vegetables that will keep you going over winter. In early summer you can sow broccoli, leeks, winter cabbage and brussel sprouts, which are all capable of enduring the frost – and perfect for a Christmas dinner!
  • Frost protection. As any gardener will no doubt be aware, most plants don’t take well to frosty nights and freezing temperatures. There are many methods to protect your plants against frost, from cloches and fleece blankets to careful watering and layering mulch.
  • Indoor gardening. Perhaps the simplest way to get your gardening fix without having the brace yourself against the chill is by planting inside. Not all plants will grow well indoors, so make sure you do your research. Most plants will grow best in rooms full of light and insulated against draughts. For the most effective indoor growing, it may be worth investing in specialist lights and a grow room.

Winter Wildlife in the Garden

Wintertime can be harsh for animals in the wild. Food is scarce, conditions are icy cold and shelter is hard to come by. You can help out the creatures that come to your garden by providing a little assistance. For the birds, leave out extra food in your birdfeeder and keep your birdbath topped up with water – though make sure it doesn’t freeze. A tennis ball in there should do the trick. You can also plant berry bushes, which will provide a source of winter food and a place to shelter.
For other creatures, make sure there’s somewhere for them to bunker down and sit out the winter months. Simply leave out a pile of leaves or uncut grass for groundlings to nest in.

Bird in Winter

What to Wear Outside

Obviously the priority when gardening outside from November to February is keeping warm. Wrap up as much as you can with hats, gloves, scarves and coats, while allowing enough ease of movement to be able to get on with your digging and pruning. A great way to cut back on the layers while retaining the warmth is with heated clothing. You can use heat pads for your hands or even battery heated socks and gloves for long-lasting toastiness. Just make sure that you don’t spend too long outside at a time, especially if you’re feeling unwell. There’s nothing like a regular tea break to warm yourself up!

One Year Ends, Another Begins

So don’t let the cold weather and long nights dishearten you too much – there’s still plenty of opportunity to get outside and enjoy your garden in winter. From protecting the plants you’ve tended all year to planning new features for the next, winter is the perfect time for reflection and inspiration. Take a brisk walk through the grass before huddling up inside with a hot drink and admiring your garden through the window. Treat someone special to a book full of gardening ideas for Christmas. And most of all get ready, for spring will soon begin!

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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