Callum, Garden Design, Gardening Year, How To, Planting, Ponds

Daffodils 2

Lawn

Britain’s climate allows us to grow the very best grass in the world so wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t make the most of this wonderful opportunity? Start by removing all the dead leaves, sticks and any other unwanted debris to give your lawn a chance to breathe. Then it’s time to get your rake out, dethatch the lawn and remove all the dead roots and grasses.This process will clear the way for watering, mowing and planting seeds. For larger areas you can seek a scarifier with a motor. The debris will still have to be raked up and removed. Now if you want your lawn to have the best drainage system then a good old fashioned forking wouldn’t go amiss. Simply push the fork into the lawn every 12 centimetres and wiggle it around to break the soil and reduce the compaction.

Lawn

Alternatively, if forking isn’t for you, an aerator can be used instead. This is a very simple tool that pushes into the lawn like a fork and will remove small plugs of soil which can then have lawn sand brushed into them. Your final step is to add lawn feed and place seeds wherever there are bare patches. I’m sure it goes without saying but it is vital you stay off your lawn as much as possible until your lawn has finished its growth period to give your grass the best chance to prosper.

Soil

Sadly your soil just isn’t the same as it was a half a year ago. Months of rain and numbing temperatures will inevitably take their toll. Now you’ll need to really show your ruthless characteristics at the start of this process. Give your beds a thorough cleaning, remove everything except for perennial plants. This will make it easier to maintain your soil and help you to determine what to plant this year.

Soil

The next step is to test your soil. Get a baseline of your soil’s PH by using a testing kit. Test several places in your garden as results can differ across different areas. The ideal P.H is between 6-6.5, if it’s below that then your plants will have a hard time absorbing nutrients. If the P.H is below the magical 6.5, then add some garden lime and use according to the packaging directions. It is unlikely it will be above this, but if it is then add some pure sufler to these alkaline areas or alternatively you can just plant alkaline loving flowers. Finally add an inch or 2 of compost, either homemade or purchased. I would recommend commercial compost as it has a finer texture than homemade, and then simply rake over the surface of soil to even it out across your bed.

Pond

Ponds provide a beautiful sense of sound, movement and reflection in the summer months which many of us like to exhibit to our close friends and families. If you ignore your pond however, then the urge to boast this potentially beautiful spectacle might disappear and regret will sink in. Now (unfortunately for some) it’s time to clean your pond and work that elbow grease. If your pond is murky with no sign of life, start by giving it a good clean. Bail out the water with a bucket and remove any plants, standing them in bowls of water in a shady spot. Scrape the sludge off the bottom of the pond with a spade, being careful not to damage the liner, then scrub the sides and floor with a stiff brush.

I would then recommend supplying yourself with a pond vacuum. This neat mechanism attaches to your hose. The water pressure creates a vacuum venturi effect which sucks up any dirt and debris, collecting in a reusable bag allowing the clean water to pass through. The brush attachment then has special rollers which glide easily over the pond bottom, gently removing the dirt whilst protecting pondlife and fish.

Pond

By following all of these steps your garden should have all the essentials to produce the frameworks for an aesthetically pleasing garden ready to show off to all your fellow friends and family. Happy gardening everyone!

 

Callum is currently on his placement year here at Primrose with his parents being huge garden enthusiasts.Callum

In the time he has free from his parents rambling on about the garden, he is being a typical university student experiencing life to the full and supporting his beloved Reading FC.

See all of Callum’s posts.

Charlotte, Gardening, Guest Posts, How To

Operation Dandelion

Our next guest blogger is Charlotte, telling us about her struggle with everyone’s favourite little yellow nuisance…

I’m ashamed to reveal that my lawn contains a higher proportion of moss and daisies than grass. However, I can live with this; in fact I find the happy faces of the little daisies smiling at me rather pleasing as I wander down the garden path. Daisies and Dandelions on the lawn

It’s their dandelion companions that bother me. Despite my best efforts to eradicate the yellow menaces, every day when I open the curtains more have appeared overnight. Unable to tackle the problem alone I’ve enlisted the support of my sons with the invention of a new game – Operation Dandelion. With buckets in hand we each, on the count of 3, race around the garden, battling to pick the most yellow heads until the lawn is rid of them. We then count them out to determine the winner. Rather disconcertingly in the last game we each filled our buckets with over 100 flowers! And in spite of our determination the next day more had raised their heads as if to taunt us.Dandelion

The key to obliterating this weed seems to lie in removal of the entire plant. It has a long deep tap root which can be difficult to extract in its entirety and often snaps unless it is first loosened. It’s crucial that the whole root is removed otherwise the plant may regenerate.

A fluffy dandelion clock
Dandelions are one of our most common and recognisable weeds, largely due to their incredible method of seed dispersal. What child can resist blowing the beautiful seed head or ‘dandelion clock’ and watching as the seeds float away in the breeze? Even I cannot fail to smile at my toddler’s joy upon finding a stray flower which has survived ‘operation dandelion’ long enough to go to seed. I join in his pleasure as he gently holds the stem and blows, dispersing the tiny seeds across the lawn. All the while I try not to imagine them settling between the blades of grass ready to produce next year’s carpet of yellow.

Blowing dandelion puffs
However irritating, I can nonetheless appreciate that to many, the dandelion is considered a delicious and versatile plant. My guinea pigs certainly seem to enjoy munching them and I myself am partial to a cup of dandelion tea to cleanse the system. In fact I think that rather than fretting about their spread I should instead relax with a cuppa and enjoy the many apparent health benefits dandelions can offer.

Charlotte

Primrose also has a wide variety of weed control options, if ‘operation dandelion’ proves unsuccessful!