Gardening, Gary, Grow Your Own, How To, Plants, Watering

 

Most of your plants need regular watering to survive, and the hotter it gets the more water they need. Watering big gardens and allotments can become a chore that takes time away from your other garden maintenance. Irrigation has been used to water large areas since the ancient Egyptians dug channels through their fields to divert river water. Luckily, you have a few more options available to you beyond diverting rivers. 

Irrigation types 

Irrigation works by supplying controlled amounts of water to your plants at set times, and there are a lot of ways you can do this. The method that is right for you will depend on how much sun your garden gets and if your plants have similar or different watering requirements

 

Sprinklers 

 

Easy to install and simple to maintain, the sprinkler system replicates rainfall by supplying water from above the plant. This is an easy way to water a large garden and if you get a simple lawn sprinkler can be one of the cheapest. There are advantages and disadvantages to a sprinkler system, and its usefulness will depend on your need: 

 

Advantages Disadvantages 
Covers a large areaCan cause overwatering
Can be automatedProne to disruption from wind
Can be used anywhereSome systems can be expensive to install
Low maintenanceNot the best system if you have different watering requirements

Soaker hose

 

These hoses are made of porous materials and release small amounts of water directly into the soil. More often used in vegetable patches and under hedges, this method of above-ground irrigation might be the best option for you if you want to conserve water. 

AdvantagesDisadvantages 
Conserves water Requires regular maintenance
Conserves soilTime-consuming initial installation 
Can be automated Low output
Waters soil directlyLimited coverage 

Drip Line Irrigation

 

Drip line irrigation is similar to a soaker hose but allows you more control over how much certain parts of your garden get watered. These systems can be placed at ground level or put over your plants if a more advanced line and nozzle system are used making it a good irrigation system for hanging baskets.

Advantages Disadvantages 
Conserves waterTime-consuming set up
Adjustable output Can be prone to clogging 
Long lifespanSlower than other systems 
Can be automated More advanced systems can have a big setup cost

 

Self-watering containers

 

These specialized containers are a great solution to keeping your plants watered if you are away for a short trip. These pots  have an upper pot that holds the soil and plant, while a lower reservoir holds the water and feeds it to the soil. Usually, these pots hold enough water for a few days, depending on the weather and evaporation rate – all you need to do is refill the reservoir. 

Tree bags 

Trees and shrubs need slow, deep watering to become established. Tree watering bags are put around the base of the tree and filled with water where they will slowly release it into the soil surrounding the rootball. They are an inexpensive and water-saving way of establishing 

Automate your system 

 

If you are going on holiday, are away a lot or want to spend time on other gardening jobs then automating your watering is one of the best things you can do. Setting up a basic automated system is simple and can be done in a few steps, all you need is a timer that attaches to your outdoor tap – this can be mains or solar-powered.

  1. Make sure your hose pipes and sprinklers are set up so you have total coverage of your garden 
  2. Attach your timer or regulator to your water source and set the times
  3. Connect everything together with
  4. Do a test run 
  5. Enjoy

 

Once you have the right irrigation set up you will find yourself with much more time to enjoy your garden and get the rest of your jobs done, making this a must-do job for the serious gardener.

Barbecues, Celebrations And Holidays, Fire Pits, Gary, Outdoor Living, Recipe

There is more to putting on a great barbeque  than just a fancy grill and some burgers. A truly great garden party that even the host can enjoy is made in the preparation. Make the process a lot easier with these top tips. 

 

Consider a theme 

Organising your party around a theme is a surefire way to get your ideas flowing. It’ll make it more memorable for your guests whilst also making it much easier to plan. Some ideas could include:

  • Tropical holiday
  • Street party
  • Staycation

 

Decorate 

Whether you have a theme or not, decorating the garden will help you set the atmosphere you want. When decorating consider the following: 

Accessories –  just like with your living room, it’s the small touches that make the biggest difference. Cushionsoutdoor rugs and small decorative features will go a long way to completing the look and feel you want

Lighting – if your family and friends like to gather and natter for a long time then some well-chosen lighting will help give your evening a more relaxed atmosphere or help you keep celebrating for longer. There are plenty of options available.

Heating – in the summer, it’s easy to be in the garden for most of the evening, but if you want to use your social space year-round then you might need to invest in some outdoor heating for when the evenings get chilly. There are plenty of options for heating your garden from upright patio heaters to parasol or wall-mounted heaters. If you want to add some atmosphere, consider a fire pit or chiminea.

 

Seating

Do you have enough space for everyone? It’s not ideal to have people perched all over the place when you are trying to have a good time, it always ends up with dropped food and people scattered everywhere. If you entertain a lot then it might be worth getting yourself a full set, but if it’s less regular then a few stacking or folding chairs you can store in the shed are a great option. 

Never Underestimate a Paddling Pool

They are much more useful than for just splashing about in. If put in a shaded area they become a great way for keeping all your drinks cool.

Do you have everything you need? 

If you have your grill, coals or gas and some buns ready, then you might think you have all you need to get barbequing, not quite. Your household utensils might not be good enough for the job. Buying a set of dedicated BBQ tools is a good idea, as is making sure you have everything else, like bottle openers and plates/cups ready too.

Plan A Menu 

 You don’t want to run out of food halfway through your party and end up with half burgers in a bun. Before you start, write a list of exactly how much food you might need, and stick to it. If you plan long enough in advance you will have time to marinade all your meats and get your prep down as well as plan what you’re going to cook when. If you want some menu inspiration why not check out our blog post  on how to cook the perfect barbeque menu

Don’t Forget Sides & Sauces

 Avoid last-minute rushes by planning your sides beforehand and getting them on your shopping list. Stuck for ideas? Here’s our basic breakdown of the ideal garden party and barbeque 

 

Decoration, Decorative Features, Gary, Indoor, Planters, Scott, Water Features

One in eight British homes has  no access to a garden or private outdoor space. Being outdoors is great for both your mental and overall health. So, how do you get all the benefit of having a garden when you don’t have one? Here are some of our top tips for bringing the outside in.

Add More Houseplants 

Bringing the outside in

This is a quick and easy way to liven up your space. Houseplants come in all shapes, sizes and colours and a good combination of succulents, trailing and upright plants will have an immediate effect on bringing a space to life. You can easily find a plant suitable for every room in your house and when compared to outdoor plants, houseplants can be easier to look after.  Combine this with some pots that match your decor and you have an easy win.

Grow Herbs 

Herbs On Windowsill

If you want to grow plants that are a bit more functional then herbs are a great place to start. Not only do they live longer indoors, but they can be used to add new flavours to your cooking. They also look great and if you plant thyme or rosemary will add some great scents into your home. 

Be Creative with Planters 

You don’t just need to limit yourself to terracotta pots, and there are loads of options you can use to make the plants in your house a design feature. 

Wall Mounted 

Taking your plants off the floor or tabletop is a great way to add green without taking up a lot of space. There are lots of varieties available from simple glass vases to trellis-style planters and they come in all styles and designs. These planters can be used to house all kinds of plants, but look particularly great when used with succulents.  

Hanging

Wall-mounted planters might not be an option if you are renting, but if you still want to add a green feature to your space then consider a hanging planter instead. These planters can usually just be attached with a D-ring and don’t cause any damage. These are a great option for trailing house plants like the devil’s ivy or a monkey leaf monstera.

Balcony Planters

A balcony planter or is a great option if you want outdoor only plants and you have a small or Juliette balcony. These planters are easy to install and either just hook onto the railing or slot over the top. This is a perfect way to grow herbs if you have limited space or bring the smell of some traditional flowers into your house. 

Make Use Of Mirrors

Using mirrors to make space seem larger is a cornerstone of interior design. They bring more light into the home to make it feel fresher and more inviting. Placing mirrors where they can reflect greenery is a great way for making your space feel bigger, fresher and more vibrant. It’s also a great way to work with a limited plant budget; you can double up for the price of a single mirror!

Install A Water Feature

tabletop water feature

The sound of running water is incredibly relaxing and water features don’t have to be limited to your outdoor space. In fact, having running water inside has a host of benefits:

  • Relaxing sound to make a calm atmosphere
  • Better circulation of air in your home
  • Help tackle any noise pollution from the outside

Not having a garden doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nature and the benefits that the natural world brings. These tips are just the start – we’d love to see what you’ve done to bring the outside in on social media:  Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

 

Birds, Flowers, Gardening, Gary, Scott, Wildlife

We can’t ignore it anymore – summer is finally here. As the days get longer, and flowers bloom nature kicks into full gear. But the changes you see in in the garden go way beyond more sun and some blooming flowers. If you take the time to look at the natural world around you there is plenty to see. 

Pollinators 

The first and most noticeable thing about the coming of summer is the colour that appears as plants come to life all around us,  but in the background, a small army of critters and insects are working to pollinate these plants and keep our countryside vibrant. Keep an eye out when your in your garden or out for a walk and see if you can spot any of these underacknowledged pollinators at work.

bees

Ants  – not as effective as the pollinating powerhouses such as bees and wasps, they do however have a limited role in pollinating your garden. Next time you see some in your garden, see if you can see where they are walking.

Bees – did you know that the UK has around 250 different species of bee? Bees are some of our best pollinators and not only for our gardens. They also have a big role in pollinating a lot fo the food we eat.

Butterflies – always a happy sight in the garden, this month you may spot the Painted Lady Butterfly. It has a distinct rusty red colour with black wingtips spotted with white.

Moths –  when they’re not flying around your house to try and get to the lightbulbs, these little creatures spend a lot of their time outdoors pollinating plants, but because it happens at night we never see it. If you have fragrant flowers like jasmine in your garden it’s likely a moth that is doing the pollination work.  

Beetles  – known as mess-and-soil pollinators, Beetles will eat parts of a plant and pollinate through their droppings. If you’re out for a walk, take a closer look at some of the plants and you might see a beetle at work.  

New birds 

The dawn chorus is one of the sweetest sounds of summer, and a lot of those voices come from birds who have come over for the summer. If you keep your eyes and ears open when you sit outside or take your daily walk there are a lot of new birds to see so keep your eye out.  

Most birds will be feeding their young on insects this time of year. Below is a list of birds you might spot in your garden:

  • Sparrows
  • Blue Tit
  • Robin
  • Starling
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Common Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler

Flowers

Poppies

There are many kinds of wildflower that will begin to emerge and bloom this time of year. See the list below for some of our favourites; how many have you spotted?

  • Poppies
  • Cornflowers
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Meadow Buttercup
  • Forget-Me-Nots
  • Foxglove
  • Yarrow