Animals, George, How To

Giving your pets the space to run around is one of the most important aspects of owning an animal. And if you have your own garden to do so then it’s worth making the most of it. Create a safe, secure environment where your pet dog can play freely so they’re happy and you have peace of mind. Here are some tips on how to make a dog-friendly garden.

How to Make A Dog-Friendly Garden

ADD

  • Security. The number one thing you can do to your garden is ensure all the fences, hedges and gates are secure. Board up any holes to prevent your pets escaping – or passing animals coming in. Screening rolls are an easy way to patch over gaps.
  • Robust plants. Dogs often jump through your flower beds so make sure the plants can survive a certain amount of trampling. Varieties such as rubella, marigolds and geraniums are good options.
  • Pathways. Another way to protect your plants is by creating walkways through them or growing in raised beds so your dog can explore without causing havok.
  • Dog rocks. Adding these handy pellets to your pooch’s drinking bowl can help prevent yellow patches on the lawn.
  • Space to play. Try to leave plenty of grassy area for your dog to chase its favourite ball and run around.

puppy outside

AVOID

  • Poisonous plants. Watch out for any of your favourite plants that can upset your dogs if they eat them. Examples include delphiniums, foxglove, ivy and rhododendron.
  • Harmful pesticides. Dogs will eat anything – including any toxic slug pellets you leave out in the flowerbeds.
  • Pond additives. Dogs will also drink anything – so be careful adding chemicals to ponds and other standing water.
  • Sharp objects. Birds often drop small shards of bone on the lawn, which can injure your dog’s insides if they chew them. So give the grass a once over, and keep an eye out if the mutt starts eating something suspicious.
  • Unprotected compost bins. Some of our food waste like grapes is poisonous to canines, so make sure you have a lid on your compost bin to keep off any inquisitive animals. Depending on how resourceful your dog is, you may need a lock too!

dog in garden

Hopefully these ideas will help you keep your dogs secure, safe and protected from any harmful substances. If you have any other suggestions then be sure to let us know. In the meantime, enjoy your dog-friendly garden!

Learn how to make a wildlife-friendly garden.

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.

Chidinma Zee, Gardening, Gardening Year, How To, Planting, Plants

If you like plants as much as I do, you devote time and energy to your garden throughout the year. But then winter comes and you feel as if all your hard work was for nothing. I decided to do some experimentation and finally came up with a few ideas that can help you keep your garden and plants alive during the cold weather.

I even like to plant my own vegetables like basil, spinach and sometimes even things like garlic, but it can be hard to get started. I recommend potted plants and herbs to begin with, but be careful when you start your garden.

First, let me begin by saying winter is different in every place. Sometimes you may experience the coldest winds and no snow, while others you experience tons of snow and almost no wind. Nonetheless, you should always have a plan in mind, and I recommend having a year-long plan.

keep plants alive over winter

Here are my ideas for keeping your plants alive during winter:

1. Plant them in cloches or cold frames

Cloches are bell-shaped glass covers, also known as bell jars, that help your plants grow even in temperatures considered very low for seeds to germinate. However, you should know that these are very susceptible to wind, so you should always keep the soil leveled before putting the cloche down.

Keep in mind that cloches work better when they have some sort of wind protection, which is why you can try to put them near a wall or a hedge. Though watering plants is considered hard when using a cloche, the soil around it will not only keep it in place, but also keep the plants watered.

Cold frames are very easy to make and they resemble a small greenhouse. Usually, a cold frame is made up of four boards with a removable glass or plastic top. By using solar energy and insulation, your plants will thrive even during the cold months of January and February.

When you use a cold frame, you should keep in mind that though humidity is important to germinate seeds, excessive heat can harm them, even during the winter.

2. Protect Your Potted Plants

If you are planning to have your potted plants outside during winter, you have to make sure that they are plastic pots planted into the ground. There isn’t a clay or stone-like material that will last during winter when temperatures drop below freezing.

By planting the plant directly into the soil, the plastic pot will protect the most important part of the plant, the roots. Just make sure you water them directly and then dig them out when the weather is warmer–most likely in spring.

3. Apply Mulch

Mulch will act as an insulator, which holds heat and moisture for your plants. The easier way to do this is to use mulch made of wheat or pine straws, as it is easy to remove after winter and works well keeping in the heat. This is an easy and affordable way to keep large plants safe.

apply mulch

Beware of using too much mulch. With some plants, such as roses, or fruits like strawberries, if you leave them covered for too long, they will not cool down in time for spring.

4. Bring In Your Exotic Plants

There are some plants that will definitely survive the cold weather outside, whether in a cold frame or potted right into the ground, but your exotic plants will not make it outside. The solution is to bring them inside, even if it sounds crazy, tropical plants will thrive when you keep them warm inside, especially when you keep them somewhere moist, like the bathroom or laundry room and when they have a window nearby.

5. Grow Plants That Will Flower During Spring

If you want to have healthy and pretty plants, it might be better to plant bulbs such as daffodils, day lilies or tulips, during the early winter so that by the end of the end of winter, beginning of spring, they will flower.

There are many other tips for keeping your plants alive during the harsh cold season. Make sure you don’t leave potted plants unprotected, water your plants constantly even when they are inside – but be careful about the amount of water, create insulation for your plants, and if needed, even find another source of heat.

We all love to have our gardens looking good during spring, and winter may not be that terrible, but rather a great time to start working towards your perfect plants for the new season.

ChidinmaChidinma is the founder of Fruitful Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious recipes and lifestyle tips. Most of her recipes help women with fertility issues, especially fibroids, PCOS, and Endometriosis. Sometimes, however, you will find other interesting recipes, as well as cooking tips and tricks there.

Amie, Gardening, Heated Clothing, Primrose.co.uk, Uncategorized

Heat packs – the most underrated heating accessory that is guaranteed to keep you warm this winter.

These useful little heat packs are the ideal way to keep warm on the go and maximise warmth. Simply shake and pop in pockets or gloves for a quick and portable source of heat – it really is as simple as that. However, they’re hugely understated and their versatility means they can be utilised for a range of activities. We’ve chosen a few of our favourites below for you.

  1. Football game
    Standing in the crowd on a cold day, these are a life safer for popping in your pockets or gloves and keeping your fingers from falling off.
  2. Fishing
    Sitting on the windy shore, wrapped up warm, these help to get a firm hold of your rod – rumour has it wearing heat pads brings you in an extra large cod for supper.
  3. Fireworks
    It’s often really chilly when we chose to stand outside in awe of the lights, so give yourself some extra warmth.
  4. Walking the dog
    When Scooby wants a run in the snow, you need to keep warm (and it’s not like you have a thick layer of fur).
  5. Snowboarding
    Not much beats hitting the white stuff on the slopes, but it can be pretty cold so layer up.
  6. Romantic walks
    When the snow is falling, there’s nothing more romantic than a walk, but why not hold your lovers hand with an extra bit of warmth and spice?
  7. Camping
    Whether you’re sat around a campfire, or cosying in your sleeping bag for breakfast, heat packs help keep you extra warm.
  8. Gardening
    Now is the perfect time to start planning how you want your garden to look this summer. Don’t be afraid to get out there now and get mucky.
    de-weed your garden

Next time you’re doing one of the following activities, just think about picking up a little packet of warmth and you’ll have yourself thinking why you never encountered them before!

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

Decoration, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, Gardening, How To, Water Features, Zoe

It can be difficult to make the most of your space in a small garden without the effect feeling claustrophobic. There are a number of reasons your garden may feel small:
• High imposing walls or fences surrounding your garden
• Lack of natural light making the space feel dark and small
• No interesting colour incorporation to brighten the area
• Oversized garden furniture that overpowers the area
• Abundance of overgrown greenery
• Or simply a very small space to work with

This guide can help you with some space saving and trendy ideas that will help transform your small garden into a light and relaxing place to be, that still offers plenty of opportunity to test your gardening skills.

Mirrors

The use of mirrors in a small garden can really help to create a sense of space as the light reflects off the glass and into the outdoor area. There are many options to suit your individual style, whether it is a country garden or modern social space.
One way to incorporate mirrors is to have two identical mirrors facing each other; this will create the feel of an infinite garden and prov
ide a great opportunity to make the most of natural lighting.

 

Alternatively, you can use an ornate garden window mirror that adds character and charm. If you’re feeling crafty you could create this yourself with recycled window shutters!
The use of mini mirrors can incorporate light into the garden in a more subtle way, whilst creating a unique texture. The combination of outside fairy lights trailing along your mirrors can also create a lovely atmosphere in the evening.

If you want to learn more about the safety aspects of garden mirrors check out our previous blog post!

 

 

Stainless Steel Planters

If you’re not keen on using mirrors, stainless steel planters offer an excellent alternative. These will help to make the surrounding space seem bigger, and do not pose the same risks as mirrors do outside.
Try creating some depth in your small garden by adding plants of different heights in your planters, this will create a layered effect and also make the space appear larger.

Water

A water feature can be a great way to add some personality to your garden, and is a great tool to carry through a theme in your garden whether it is a classic country style, oriental theme or an ultra-modern layout.

However, the fantastic thing about water features in small gardens is the opportunity to incorporate light into a space, similarly to mirrors and stainless steel. The water from the feature will reflect the sky, and is a more natural way to reflect light into your garden. One bonus of this is that this may encourage wildlife too!

Trees

In a small garden the addition of trees can create the illusion of space. You can cleverly train certain trees to grow in a particular direction to help cover an ugly wall, and make the space seem less imposing. This may require a bit of patience in order to achieve the desired results however!

Vertical Planting

There are many other little ways you can make the most of your secluded spots through the use of vertical planting. This can be
achieved through Trellis’ and climbing plants, which will grow upwards and help hide walls.

However, for an easier option you could purchase a wall mounted planter that can attach easily to a wall and still optimise vertical space.

Screening

If you have dark walls or fencing surrounding your garden, this may be another reason the space feels so small. Sometimes the colours can have the effect of feeling gloomy or oppressive, but one easy way to brighten your garden is the addition of some screening.

This is easy to put up, and can also cover any broken brickwork or blemishes. There are a range of materials and colours to choose from, but a natural style bamboo screening could really help to boost the feeling of space by brightening the whole area and adding some personality.

Storage Solutions

If you’re short of space in your garden but still want to have a chill out area there are a range of storage solutions that can help you do that.
Seating with storage space built in is one particularly clever way to create more space in your garden as it is not visible. This gives you the option to have an area to relax but also be able to store away things such as blankets, cushions etc. when they are not needed!

You could also use coffee tables with storage built in as an alternative to bulky sheds and storage boxes, this would be a great addition to a social space so your guests can relax with a couple of drinks after you’ve stored away some of your garden necessities!

Hopefully this guide has inspired you to make the most of the space you have, and if you want to explore design tips for lighting your small garden be sure to read our advice on this too!

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.