Garden Design, How To, Scott

Many gardens in the UK look the same. A fenced-in rectangle lawn is a default option for most new build houses but gardens should be so much more than that. They’re spaces that should bring joy; places you go to relax, socialise, work and play. Luckily there are quick and easy garden design hacks to introduce a little more personality into any garden. Not only will this bring interest and character to your space but it will ensure your garden is far removed from the default option; it will be a space you can take pride and joy in. 

Screening

garden screenng

Screening is a cheap and easy way to create the illusion of more space in your garden. Introducing a divide helps create mystery as to how far back the full space goes. Anything can be used to create this effect; Primrose stock purpose-built screening solutions but you could also use trellis or planting. This simple trick can transform your default rectangular lawn into a space that invites you in to investigate. What will you find beyond the screening? This is a simple method of garden design to divide spaces for multiple uses; keeping the kids play area separate from the dining space or separating your formal space from your vegetable patch.

Pathways

garden pathway

One of the best ways to bring meaning to a garden is to think in terms of journeys and destinations. The easiest way to create a journey is with a garden path. This one addition will add meaning to your garden, giving it a clear use and purpose. Combine this with your screening to create a pathway that escapes to a hidden destination and you’ve instantly got a space that’s begging to be explored. Try drawing a simple rectangle on a piece of paper then experiment with various lines to see how a path could break up the space. Will you have straight lines, winding pathways or stepping stones? 

Furniture

garden furniture

Now that we have created a journey with our pathways and screening we need something at the end of the path. What do you want to be doing in your garden? If you want to have a quiet comfortable space to read, invest in a bench or arbour. If you want a social space to entertain on summer evenings, perhaps a dining table on a patio? Always consider what you want to use your garden for and make this your destination at the end of your gardens journey. It will become a space you look forward to visiting and give your garden purpose. Multiple spaces can be separated this way and having clear perimeters stops everything from floating randomly.   

Bedding and Lawns

garden beds

With distinct sections in your garden, you now have an opportunity to make full use of garden beds. These should be used to fill in space around your pathways and destinations. They make the journey to your destinations more pleasant with colour and texture. A good rule of thumb no matter what the style you want, is to select 7 plants that you love and use these to fill your space. This will give a sense of cohesion across your garden and a limit to work within which will help you think more creatively.

Details

Your garden is probably looking quiet special by now but there are plenty of other garden design hacks you can add in for that “final touch”. 

Mirrors – these are an excellent way of tricking the eye into seeing more space, especially in a garden where mirrors can be used to make beds and planted areas look more expansive than they are.

Water features – the sound of running water is proven to help reduce stress and aid relaxation. Hidden water features (remember your screening) draw us in with their calming sounds.

Lighting – using lights through the garden can help to bring attention to those elements you wish to highlight. Lining a garden path with lights can give your journeys more distinction, whilst putting lighting in a social area can make them more cosy in the evenings. 

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Gardening, Gardening Year, Grow Your Own, Planting, Plants, Scott, Sustainable Living, Vegetables

For a beautiful garden come spring and summer, preparation is key. Frost and snow may not make your garden the most welcome of places but the promise of Spring and the return of warmer days gives you plenty to be doing. This is also a time of year where our wildlife relies most heavily on the food we supply as natural reserves would have run dry by now so you should give all the help you can t see your local wildlife thrive. Read below for some key February garden jobs.   

february garden birds

General

Check garden equipment – this is a prime opportunity to check over your garden equipment. Does any of it need fixing or replacing? Every gardener should have at least a good quality spade and a few handheld tools such as a trowel to tackle various projects.

Feed wildlife – this time of year, at the very end of winter, natural food sources will be at there most depleted. This is a difficult time for many birds and mammals so putting food out can really help wildlife through to spring

Apply organic fertilisers – a slow release of nutrients is perfect for moving between winter and the warmer days to come. Applying a good quality organic fertiliser around plants in February will help retain moisture and add nutrition for better growth come spring.

Plants

dahlias

Plant bare-root – the dormant season of trees runs from around November to march so bare roots can be planted at any point in this period. Bear in mind that the further into this period you plant the less time the plant has to develop strong roots before its efforts go into the growth above the soil. 

Prune overgrown hedges – Now is an excellent time to heavily prune your overgrown hedges. This will keep them healthy and help maintain a more pleasing shape.   

Plant Dahlia tubers – Dahlias bring some excitement to February gardening with their beautiful variety. Start planting Dahlias that can provide good cuttings to be potted up come summer. Place them in a tray of soil in good light and spray occasionally with water to encourage the buds to grow.  

Snowdrops – a quintessential symbol of springs arrival, snowdrops can be planted now to bloom in their beautiful white bells in early spring

snowdrops

Produce

Plant shallots – the perfect time to plant shallots in preparation for spring and summer. Plant in rows with plenty of organic fertilizer. 

Sow peaspeas can be sown in a piece of plastic guttering with drainage holes drilled into the base. Keeping them warm will assist germination. Once they begin to sprout they can be transferred to a trench in your garden and covered with a cloche for protection from frost. 

Mulch fruit trees – this is a great way to prevent weeds from sprouting around your trees and also to retain moisture in the roots of the tree. This will help cut down the amount of watering you’ll need to give the tree come summer.  

Greenhouse

Heat your greenhouse – there’s still plenty of time for frost and snow so a keyFebruary gardening job would be to keep your greenhouse heated with an electric or gas heater will help maintain a steady temperature.

Start a citrus tree – with a greenhouse heater providing the warmth you could start your own lemon tree. Cut open a lemon and remove the seeds, plant several of these in a pot about a 1cm deep, place in a warm spot and water well. Once seedlings begin to emerge pot them up and keep them warm. 

Grow peppers – you can also take advantage of the steady warm temperature in a greenhouse to grow your own peppers. These can be transplanted outside when warm weather returns or kept inside the greenhouse.

Animals

february garden

Feed birds – this is a difficult time of year for birds when natural sources fo food are depleted. Help out the birds in your garden by providing a variety of foods or putting out food that’s specific to the diet for the birds you see. 

Food for squirrels – squirrels will be having their first litters of kits. Parents will need more food to help sustain them as they wean their babies until 6 weeks when the baby can move onto solid foods.  

Prep for a wildflower meadow – now is a great time to prepare your soil for some wildflower planting. Break down large clumps of soil, rake over and cover with mulch.  

Install a pond – a garden pond is one of the best ways to help garden wildlife and now is an excellent time to start a pond. You may get the years first frog spawn and you can support toads coming out of hibernation. 

 

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Allotment, Children in the garden, Container Gardening, Gardening, Grow Your Own, Scott

kids grow your own

Teaching our kids about the world around them has never been more important. Knowing where our food comes from can help kids to understand the work that is involved, allow them to engage with nature and get them outside in the fresh air.  

Basic set up

Whatever space you have – it’s enough to begin growing your own fruit and veg.

A single pot – you can teach your kids the entire process of growing food with one plant pot, some soil and seeds. Try a small batch of fruit like strawberries or even some herbs.

A large planter – you can have more of a permanent space with a small variety of things with a planter. Keep it simple with one or two vegetables.

A raised bed – a great way of containing a vegetable garden. It keeps pests away and provides excellent drainage. It will also get your kids outside into the garden where the learning possibilities are limited only by their imagination.

A garden bed – giving a whole section of the garden over to growing your own is a commitment but a satisfying project when it begins to yield results. 

An allotment – the ultimate in growing your own spaces. A dedicated area where you can go with your children to work in the garden, dedicating time to the process but also to spending time as a family. 

 

 

 

Mini projects

grow your own

Grow your own tomato sauce – With some cherry tomatoes and a mixture of herbs (oregano, parsley, chives and basil) you’ll have everything you need to add a delicious sauce to your kid’s dinners. 

Make plant labels – get your kids making their own plant labels using some ice lolly sticks or clothes pegs and a sharpie pen. 

Mystery planting – buy yourself some vegetable seeds and empty them into small blank envelopes. Put them all together and let your kids pick out an envelope of seeds to plant and grow outside in a garden bed. What emerges can be a surprise for you all.

Start a grow bag – a grow bag offers up all the nutrients you need from your soil along with a semi-permanent container to grow in. These are great for growing tomatoes. 

Grow a fruit salad – an ideal project for a raised bed or some large planters. There are plenty of berries that can grow well in the UK like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Grow a selection and make a delicious fruit salad or blend them up with oat milk for a healthy smoothie! 

Tips for getting kids engaged 

kids gardening

  • Give your kids responsibility: whether its asking plenty of questions on what they would like to grow and where to grow it or giving them their own section of the garden, give them the ability to learn by doing.
  • Select fast-growing seeds: things like radishes and salad leaves are excellent for keeping impatient kids interested. You may find them more willing to try new foods if they’ve grown them in their own garden too. 
  • Pick out some gardening clothes: pick out some clothes from your kid’s wardrobe that they won’t mind getting dirty. Encourage them to get their hands a little messy in the soil. Planting and growing can be just as much a time of play as a time of learning. 
  • Gardening tools: Think of gardening tools as practical toys. Giving your kids a set of mini tools that they can use in the garden can teach them the process of growing your own as well as ownership and responsibility.  

 

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardening Year, Greenhouses, Plants, Scott, Uncategorized

January can be a quiet month for the garden. It may seem like everything is just waiting for the return of spring but there is plenty you can do now that will benefit the garden later in the year. For January gardening we suggest following these three P’s: Plan for the year ahead, Protect from the cold weather and Provide for the wildlife in your garden. Read on for our handy breakdown that incorporates all of these elements so you can prepare for success this year in the garden. 

General

frosted lawn

  • Compost: it’s the perfect time to begin a compost heap. You can utilise garden and kitchen waste (any organic plant matter) to make nutrient-rich compost year-round for your garden. One of the first things you can use is the Christmas tree! If you already have a compost heap now is a great time to make use of it as a mulch in your garden beds where the nutrients will benefit the soil later in the year. 
  • Tread carefully: your lawn will be very fragile this time of year. Frost can make grass brittle and prone to cracking resulting in yellow and brown patches in spring. A simple way of avoiding this is with garden tracking that puts less pressure on the lawn.
  • Repair: winter can be a devastating month at times with weather wreaking havoc on drains, fences and planters. Now is a good time to take note of the damage and think of fixes and solutions for when the warmer days begin.
  • Tidy up: it’s important to keep on top of the mess that can build up over winter. Fallen leaves can be cleared up and composted or left in a heap for wildlife.

Plants

summer bulbs

  • Inspect spring bulbs: take a look at stored bulbs and tubers to ensure they remain cool and dry. Keeping these stored correctly can be key to successful planting for spring. Having everything stored and ready also makes it much easier to plan for your garden designs and plant layouts.
  • Plant bare-root: now is an excellent time to plant bare-root trees and shrubs as this dormant winter period provides time for strong roots to establish; this is great preparation for the plant to grow strong healthy foliage in spring. 
  • Cut and compost: clear away decaying perennial plant stems and add them to the compost heap. This will help the plants focus on the healthy stems come spring. 
  • Prune: now is a great time to prune trees to shape. Pruning serves two mains functions: 1. It allows the tree’s energy to focus on the areas of growth we want to flourish and 2. Clearing the weight and density of a tree’s branches allows more light to reach the remainder of the tree. 
  • Water planters: plants need water all year round, not just when the sun is out and potted plants rely on us almost entirely for their water supply. Make sure you cut back on watering in winter but continue to water regularly to help keep roots healthy. Make sure you have good drainage and wait for the water to run through and out of the pot. 

Produce

soil cultivation

  • Prepare your soil: the sooner you can cultivate the soil in empty flower beds the better. This will give time for large clods of earth to break down and improve on the soil structure in preparation for growing success in spring. Try to work the soil when it is moist but not soaking wet as you’ll have great difficulty if anything becomes compacted and later dries out. Add compost to the soil to encourage extra nutrition and then cover with a good mulch or even a polythene cover which will help protect it from winter frosts and stop weeds from sprouting early. 
  • Prep potatoes: seed potatoes can be purchased in winter ready for planting in March. You can “chit” the potatoes as part of your January gardening plan which simply means encouraging them to sprout before planting; you can do this by storing them in a cool dry room for a few weeks. 
  • Force rhubarb: this means covering the crown of the plant to prevent light from getting to it. With an established rhubarb plant this can result in early growth that can be harvested when 20-30cm long. 
  • Apply organic fertiliser: a slow release of nutrients is perfect for assisting the slow return of life to plants and trees coming out of dormancy. Organic fertiliser will ensure this slow release as opposed to artificial fertilizers which provide quick shocks of nutrition which would do more harm and good at this point in the year.

Greenhouse

greenhouse

  • Temperature control: with the weather beginning to fluctuate January gardening in the greenhouse can be tricky. It’s best to judge each week or day as it comes. You’ll likely want to keep the greenhouse heated at night with a gas or electric heater, but during the day it may be warm enough to ventilate or even keep the door open. 
  • Clean the glass: you’ll want to make the most of what light you do get in winter and one f the easiest ways to do this is by giving the glass a good clean. For an extra helping hand you could also stick large bubble wrap onto the glass which will help to store and release some heat as well as concentrate the light. 
  • Move plants: overwintered plants can begin to be moved back outside once the sun starts to appear more frequently. It may be best to keep a layer of fleece or other winter protection like a cloche or cold frame with the plant so it can acclimatise gradually to the outside weather again. 
  • Plan ahead: now is a great time to organise the greenhouse with staging and shelves, making sure everything is accessible and ready for planting. 

Animals

bird feeder

  • Feed the birds: this is the hardest time of year for birds were finding food can be a daily struggle. Ensure you give the birds in your garden a hand by putting food out. If you can identify the birds in your garden you can feed specific foodstuffs to help them thrive. Some birds may like mealworms whilst others may only eat seeds or fatty foods. 
  • Provide shelter: giving homes to wildlife in your garden can be the difference between surviving the winter or not. Birdhouses, beehives, hedgehog homes and frog houses can be purchased for specific animals but you can also provide natural shelter with leaf piles, log piles and compost heaps. 
  • Maintain birdbaths: birds need water throughout the year to keep themselves clean and to drink. Make sure you top up your birdbath with fresh water often. An easy way to keep it from freezing over is by adding a small ball that can float on the top and agitate the water. 
  • Clean feeders and tables: keep your bird feeders and tables cleared from debris like leaves and branches so that food is easily accessible.  

 

Head over to the Primrose Instagram to show us how you’re getting on with your garden this month! Tagged photos may be featured on the Primrose feed.

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.