Tag Archives: garden ideas

Plant for summer colour now – and a special treat for you!

Nasturtiums Running Riot

All the wonderful weather we have experienced recently has meant we have been able to eat out in the garden almost every night – a rarity in England!

My after-dinner ‘treat’ is to look through my gardening books pondering what to plant.

Today, I’m off to a local plant fair to purchase some colourful bedding plants, and one of the definites on my list is nasturtiums – they are the easiest and prettiest little flowers and not only do they bring a riot of colour to the garden, they also brighten up your salad!

In this little project from our book Seasonal Garden Ideas, we show you how to plant herbs with nasturtiums for a mass of colour.

Enjoy the bank holiday everyone!

 


 

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Nasturtiums Running Riot

In this combination a permanent shrubby perennial – catmint – is planted with a foreground of brightly coloured annual nasturtiums. The two together make an interesting summer partnership.

Plant the catmint in autumn or mid spring and the nasturtiums in late spring. Both will flower in summer. The time it takes to plant the nasturtiums depends on the size of bed or border you have got.

 

What you need

Plants
Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus varieties).

Equipment
Fork, spade and trowel.

 

Instructions

1 The catmint is a permanent planting, so needs to go in first. Neither it nor the nasturtium require rich soil – but they do both like a sunny site. Dig over the planting area, removing weeds, roots and stones.

2 One catmint can reach a height and spread of 90cm (3ft) or more, so allow it plenty of room. Dig a hole large enough to take the rootball comfortably, set the plant in and firm up. Fill in with more soil and firm in again. Water well.

3 Buy the nasturtiums as bedding strips and plant them as close together as you can for best effect – no more than 15cm (6in) apart. Plant them all around the catmint to form a colourful carpet – they will reach about 30cm (12in) in height. Water in well.

Tip
Nasturtiums flower best on poor sandy soils – if the ground is too rich they will produce leaf at the expense of flowers. Incorporate some sharp sand or grit into the planting area if you think your soil is too rich or heavy.

Notes
Catmint has been given its common name for a good reason – most cats absolutely love it. This affection can take the form of a few surreptitious nibbles from time to time, through pulling or biting away whole stems to full-scale rolling around all over the plant. Keep an eye on your feline if necessary – or take pity on the poor creature and sew it a little sachet stuffed with fresh or dried catmint to play with.

Aftercare
Watch out for and remove any caterpillars you see on the nasturtium leaves – they can eat the leaves down to skeletons if left. Treat blackfly infestation with a systemic insecticide. Cut away any dead or damaged leaves. Water well in dry weather. Clear away the nasturtiums in autumn and dig over the ground ready for spring planting the following year. The catmint looks after itself for most of the year, but benefits from being cut back almost to ground level in spring.

Project is taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas

 

 

 

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Make mowing a breeze! How-to-do brick border edging

Brick Border Edging

Brick Border Edging

One of the projects that I (when I say I, I actually mean my far more practical other half) want to tackle this summer is the edge between the lawn and the borders. 

Our strimmer seems to run out of strimming
line roughly every two minutes and I end up
on my hands and knees using our blunt garden
shears to hack at the edge of the lawn.

With sunken bricks, you can just mow straight over them and the borders look tidy and stay contained. Overall, this gives a really neat finish to the garden.

 


Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas

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Seasonal Garden Ideas,
shows you how to do this
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Instructions

You can put in brick edging at any time of year, but it’s better to choose a dry day for it.

The time it takes will depend on the length of run.

Equipment

  • Engineering bricks.
  • Sand.
  • Ready-mixed mortar.
  • Spade and bricklayer’s trowel.
  • Watering can or bucket for water.
  • Wheelbarrow or board for mixing mortar.

1 The bricks can be laid on a 12.5cm (5in) footing of sand. Assuming your bricks are 7.5cm (3in) thick, you need to dig a trench 20cm (8in) deep. Start by digging the trench along the full length of the border, making it slightly wider than the length of brick you are using.

2 Line the entire length of the trench with a 12.5cm (5in) deep layer of sand, tamping it down very firmly.

3 Make up the mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using either a wheelbarrow or a board for mixing. Lay a stretch of mortar on the sand at the start of the trench and set the first bricks into it, mortaring neatly between each brick.

4 Continue in this way for the length of the trench, allowing for any curvature along the way by inserting a slightly wider band of mortar between the bricks on the lawn side of the edging. The brick edging should be flush with the grass edge or very slightly below it.

5 Leave the mortar to dry and set before running a mower across the edging.

Tip
Check that all the bricks you use are sound and whole – the wheels of a mower going over them can give quite a battering, which will soon destroy a damaged brick.

Notes
If you prefer you can use concrete instead of sand for the footing – it will be even stronger. Use ready-mixed concrete and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for its use.

Aftercare
Lever up and replace any cracked or broken bricks as soon as you can after spotting them. Once there is a break in one brick, those adjacent to it will also start to crumble and disintegrate. Brush dirt, leaves and debris off the brick edging to keep it looking good.

#gardening

Easy Autumn Hanging Basket

I’ve been absolutely thrilled with my petunia-filled baskets this year

but they’re starting to fade now and it’s time to think about getting planters ready for an autumn display.

This little project from our book, Seasonal Garden Ideas, uses a gorgeous selection of heathers, evergreens and stones and should see the baskets looking brilliant until the beginning of winter.

 

Autumn Hanging Basket

Hot Spot Hanging Basket

Here’s an unusual late-season hanging basket, with plants perfectly suited to their position in a real hot spot – in full sun against a dry wall.

Plant in late summer; the arrangement should last until the beginning of winter. Planting up will take about an hour.

Plants

  • Two plants of bell heather (Erica Cinerea).
  • Thyme (Thymus serpyllum variety with variegated leaves).
  • Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium ‘Purpureum’).
  • Variegated rock-cress (Arabis ferdinandi-coburgii ‘Variegata’).
  • Dwarf conifer – this is a really tiny spruce (Picea).

Equipment

  • Hanging basket frame, wires and hook.
  • Hanging basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
  • Gritty ericaceous (acid) compost.
  • A few stones and/or pebbles.
  • Fine gravel or grit as a topping.

Instructions

  1. Insert a thick layer of liner into the basket – prick small drainage holes through if necessary.
  2. Half-fill the lined basket with very gritty ericaceous compost – good drainage is essential here.
  3. Plant the dwarf conifer first, right at the back of the basket. Set the bell heather plants on either side of the conifer, then firm in all three.
  4. Adjust the level of compost in the basket as needed for the other plants, then plant the thyme on the left and the stonecrop on the right, with the variegated rock-cress in between. Firm in and top up the compost to within 2.5cm (1in) of the rim. Water lightly.
  5. Arrange the stones and/or pebbles between the plants to give the appearance of a  mini-rockery, pushing them into the compost for stability. Finally, spread a 2.5cm (1in) layer of fine gravel or grit on top.
  6. Hang the basket against the wall on a sturdy hook. The gritty compost and stones and pebbles will make the basket heavy, so ensure that it hangs securely.

Tip

Give the thyme a quick squeeze with your fingers as you pass by for a burst of herby, spicy fragrance.

Notes

The dwarf conifer won’t stay ‘dwarf’ for very long. Check its likely height and spread after five years before buying. These have a terrible habit of turning into giants alarmingly quickly. Remove it from the basket before it gets too big and heavy and plant in

the garden.

Aftercare

Water sparingly in dry weather. Clip the heather and thyme in spring to remove straggly growth and to keep the plants neat.

 

Seasonal Garden Ideas £3.99This project is taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas; a beautiful book featuring easy half-day projects, with easy-to-follow instructions, to add beauty to any garden.

Available now at the amazing price of just £3.99!

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