George, How To

How to Windproof Your Garden

In our unpredictable climate, protecting your garden against wind is essential. Blustery weather can damage tender plants, scatter seeds and hurl objects into your property. But don’t worry, with just a few simple tips you can learn how to windproof your garden in preparation for the next unexpected gusts.

Ways to windproof your garden

The only way to provide protection from the breezes is with windbreaks. A windbreak can be any sort of barrier, provided it is securely held down and around 50% permeable. This allows enough air to flow through, rather than sending the wind over the top in even stronger eddies. Here are some ideas for making your own windbreaks:

Hedges and fedges

A windbreak just needs to divide up your garden against the blustery air, so a natural barrier is fine. Hedges such as beech or hornbeam are particularly wind-resistant. For an alternative look, you could also grow your own living fence – a fedge. Simply plant a row of willow and weave the strands together.

Fencing

Remember that solid fences will actually make wind problems worse as they will force the air over, or risk bringing the fence down. Permeable fencing like willow and hazel hurdles make great windbreaks though, filtering just enough air through. This kind of fencing is also ideal for sheltering hedging while it grows to size.

Willow Hurdles

Screening

Putting up a barrier of screening material is a thorough solution for creating a windbreak. Netted privacy screening is effective either on its own, on in combination with other kinds of decorative screening. This option is ideal if you need a fast, complete result, if not always as attractive as more natural dividers.

Plants

Growing a windbreak is one of the most flexible methods of protection. You can adapt the borders to the areas of your garden that are most exposed or that you want to shelter. As well as the hedges mentioned above, plants such as lavender and box hedge make reliable barriers for low-growing areas.

Garden dividers

There are all kinds of other ways to break up your garden into less wind-exposed patches. Retractable windbreak awnings provide reliable protection for your patio. Pick and choose from trellis panels, pergolas, sail shades and even fruit trees to add more shelter elsewhere – and a bit of a feature!

Greenhouse Wind Protection

Greenhouse wind protection

Of all the things in your garden, the greenhouse is often most vulnerable to wind damage. Strong gusts can fling debris into the windows and shatter the glass. They particularly suffer when the wind can get inside and blow out panels, so the best protection is to try to prevent any air gaps. Fix up any damaged or lost panels as soon as you spot them. Tape up any cracks and board up missing pieces until you’re able to replace the panel. Finally, when you notice it getting windy make sure to keep the greenhouse door firmly shut.

Emergency wind protection

If it suddenly starts blowing a gale outside, you need to act fast to limit any potential damage. Make sure all garden buildings like sheds and greenhouses are locked up. Bring inside any light objects that are likely to blow away and cause damage to windows and other structures. These include plastic pots, ornaments and – ironically – windchimes.

Dog in Wind

Blown away

In the UK at least, we’re unlikely to get too many disastrous wind storms a year, so it’s best to keep your garden prepared for the regular blustery spells. Use dividers and clever planting to create borders and shelter the most exposed areas. Keep an eye on your greenhouse to make sure it’s sealed against the wind. Bring inside or tie down anything that might take off if a gale really picks up. And if your garden only gets a gentle breeze, embrace it with a wind chime or hanging decoration. After all – you can’t fight the wind, only prepare for it.

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.

Garden Design, Garden Screening, George, How To, Sail Shades

If you live in a city or terraced house, you know how difficult it can be to relax in your garden without the feeling you’re being overlooked by neighbouring windows or passers by. With summer fast approaching, now’s the time to prepare your outdoor space so that you can make the most of it without the fear of prying eyes. We’ve put together a list of garden privacy ideas that you can easily try out at home to stop your garden being overlooked – without compromising on the natural aesthetics and your outdoor designs.

Garden Privacy Screen

1. Garden privacy screens

Garden screening is a simple, quick and attractive way to shield off part of your garden. It’s great for terraced houses with low fences or wire dividers between gardens. Choose the type of screening that suits your taste – bamboo, willow or artificial to name a few – and attach it to an existing fence or trellis for a privacy boost. Creating a beautiful enclosed area to relax in has never been so easy!

 

 2. Hanging sail shadesSail Shade

Of course, often you won’t be exposed necessarily by the fences in your garden, but by overlooking windows from the houses next door. This is especially common in city streets, where the houses are packed so tightly together that it’s hard to find somewhere to sit in your garden where you don’t feel watched. Hoisting up a sail shade or two over you patio is an ingenious solution. The best part is you can easily just put them up for the summer months, when you want to sit outside under a little shelter from the sun – and any prying eyes.

 

Living Wall

3. Living wall

It’s a classic solution but one of the best: put up a border of trellis and allow some climbing plants to grow up it. This will create an attractive, organic barrier between you and any gaps where people can peep through into your garden. If you’re overlooked by any upstairs windows, then combining the trellis with a pergola over your patio, decking or seating area will give you a perfect private enclave once the plants have grown across. Clematis or ivy are good climbing vines to choose.

 

Hedge

4. Privacy planting

If you need a free standing barrier to shield off part of your patio, try making a wall out of tall planters. Choose any such pots in the style you like and fill them with big plants or trees for maximum shelter. Growing your own screening is another age old solution to the problem of being overlooked. Add height to your fences with an additional border of fast growing hedges like the evergreen yew. Or for an alternative that lets in a bit more light, plant some bamboo. Of course, bamboo can often spread out of control but clumping varieties are known for being more contained, or just plant the bamboo in containers.

 

Water Feature

5. Sound barriers

In the modern age of urban living, we are often so crammed that when you’re outside in the garden you end up hearing every word from your neighbours – and knowing they can hear you too. A great way to create some psychological shelter is by using a water fountain or two so the sound of their running water will mask your conversation as well as the noises from next door.

Let us know if you have any more suggestions for making your garden more private and we hope you find these tips helpful!

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, George, How To, Planting

How to Grow Moss in Your Garden

Is your garden in need of a design shake up? Do you dream of smooth rolling lawns, but without the hassle of maintaining them? Then perhaps a moss carpet would be a great alternative for you, either across the whole of your garden or for a particular area. Contrary to popular belief, many types of moss can actually grow in the sun as well as the shade, so there’s no need to limit where you can place your moss garden. The key is to look for moss that’s growing in similar conditions to your chosen location when you’re picking samples to transplant. In this guide you’ll learn how to grow moss in your garden with just a few simple steps.

Preparing the area

Pretty much all soil types are suitable for growing moss, except the most sandy soils as these might not be stable enough. Begin by clearing the intended area of any remaining grass, leaves and other debris. Smooth out the soil but feel free to leave curves, bumps and ridges in as desired. Remember that moss clings very closely to the shape of the ground, so any landscaping will be clearly visible. Lightly scratch the earth with a rake to make it easier for the transplanted moss to gain a grip.

Gathering moss

In order to grow a new moss lawn, we’re relying on the natural ability of moss to grow outwards and cover a horizontal area. All you need are samples of living moss to expand and cover your chosen ground. As mentioned earlier, the best way to pick the type of moss that will grow best is to look for some growing in similar conditions – soil type, shading and access to moisture. Obviously ask permission if you’re going to take samples from somewhere outside of your own garden. Scrape some moss from the ground or trees at the original location using a trowel or spatula. This will be easiest when the moss is slightly damp, so go out after a rainfall or spray it with some water yourself. Once you have your sample split it up into lots of small pieces – enough fragments as you can to get good initial coverage of your intended area.

Transplanting Moss

Transplanting the moss

Start by wetting the earth you’ve prepared, though be careful just to make it damp to the touch rather than completely waterlogged. Then push the small fragments of moss into the dirt, not spread out too sparsely but enough so that the whole area is fairly well covered. If you’re worried about the pieces shifting, you can secure them in place with netting or pins to start with.

Settling in

After the transplant it’s important to water the moss regularly – at least a few times a day. Spray the whole moss lawn lightly with water, using a fine head on the hose or a spray bottle for smaller areas. Keep pressing the fragments down, either with your hands or by walking over them. Be aware that it will take some time for the moss to acclimatise and expand to fill in all the gaps. But soon enough you will be enjoying a rich, smooth, spongy lawn all year round.

Moss has great potential to really enhance your garden and differentiate it from a standard turf lawn, which can often be a struggle to keep looking healthy and trimmed. Whether you want a natural secluded cove at the end of the garden or just a place to lay out in the sun, a moss lawn is definitely worth considering. You can transplant the moss any time of year, just keep in mind any falling leaves and adjust your watering depending on the weather. Remember to choose moss suited to your intended place, and you can find varieties that will thrive in shade or sun. A lot of moss is also drought tolerant, all it needs to grow well initially is constant moisture and a lack of competition from other plants.

If you do decide to take the plunge and try out growing moss in your garden, please get in touch and let us know how you get on!

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.

Amie, Animals, Current Issues, How To, Primrose.co.uk

Hedgehog awareness week runs from 1st – 7th May, so we’re giving you a heads up on everything you need to know to keep these animals alive in the British wild.

Hedgehog, Garden, Spur, Nature, Animal World, Cute

Hedgehogs are one of our favourite mammals, noticeable from their small, spiky bodies, roaming freely in our gardens. However, according to a recent report from BBC Gardener’s World magazine, almost half of us have never seen the cute, prickly critter. Even more worrying, only 29% have seen a hedgehog in the last year. Their presence is in decline, and is happening for a number of reasons, including changing environmental habitats, intensive agriculture and built up urban areas.  It would be a great shame to lose one of our favourite animals from the wild, but there are a few simple things you can do to help.

Make it easy for hedgehogs to roam between gardens 
One of the best things you can do to help hedgehogs is to allow free movement between gardens. By doing this, you make it easier for them to obtain food (did you know they travel up to a mile a night in search of food?). If you haven’t a fence in your garden, or you’re debating replacing them, look at fencing with gaps underneath. Else cut a hole in your fence roughly 13cm x 13cm, giving plenty of room for them to pass through. If you’re worried about your fence looking aesthetically unpleasing, simply place shrubbery or foliage near the hole to cover it up.

Build a habitat in your garden
Hedgehogs love twigs, leaves, bushes and foliage, which feature in many gardens, so why not make your own ‘hogitat’? Ensure there are no obstacles around the shrubbery, and ideally locate this in a corner of your garden, keeping the habitat warm and dry. This will not only provide a good place for hedgehogs to hibernate and nest in, but it will also be a hotspot for hedgehog grub to shelter such as slugs (meaning they are less likely to wonder the streets, crossing busy roads looking for food). You could even make your own DIY hedgehog box (similar to a rabbit hutch, but much smaller). Hedgehogs breed between April and September so this is a good time to provide warmth and shelter for them.

Hedgehog, Garden, Spiny, Animals, Leaf

Check any obstacles in your garden
Many gardens have features which can pose a danger to hedgehogs, so you need to rectify this. It’s all about applying common sense here. If you have a steep pond, then this is an instant death trap. Although hedgehogs can swim for short distances, they have difficulty exiting steep sides, so look to create a slope or place a log to allow for easy access. Or another solution is to place a netting over ponds to avoid falling in. If you had a bonfire in your garden, ensure this is fully dismantled and extinguished so it’s not disguised as a hibernaculum.

Warn off any predators that enter your garden 
Whilst hedgehogs feature a clever defensive mechanism in the way of their sharp hairs (known as quills) utilised through curling into a ball, there is still a danger posed to them by larger animals. Birds of prey such as hawks or owls, foxes and weasels are some of the more well-known predators that lurk in British gardens, and whilst deterring foxes (without affecting hedgehogs) isn’t straightforward, it’s very simple and cheap to place a bird decoy in your garden. Likewise, if you own a pet, try and ensure they don’t pose a threat to hedgehogs, by warding them off their habitats where possible.

Owls, Burrowing Owl, Casal, Nest, Hole, Bird Of Prey

Leave out extra food 
Whilst all the above gives the best possible chance of providing food and insects for hedgehogs, it’s useful to leave out supplementary food such as meat-based pet food, crushed peanuts, mealworms or raisins. Ensure any food you leave out is not only digestible, but is placed upon a pesticide free lawn (avoid slug killer, weedkiller etc).

Care for injured hedgehogs
If you see an injured hedgehog, then do what you can to assist. The safest way to pick up a hedgehog is underside first, to avoid being pricked. Bring the hedgehog inside, and place it in a box, wrapped up in a towel. This is less likely to frighten them, but will also allow them to keep warm. You can call your local hedgehog hospital or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society who will be happy to help. Many rescued hedgehogs fortunately are released back into the wild once they’re recovered.

Hedgehog, Mammals, Breeding, Animal

Follow our tips, share with your friends, and become an advocate for hedgehog conservation. With your help, we can create safe, hedgehog friendly communities, not just single garden habitats, which will give hedgehogs less chance of disappearing from our gardens.

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.

To see the rest of Amie’s posts, click here.

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