Tag Archives: Gardening

4 Steps to a Fabulous Fragrant Pot

4-Steps-to-a-Fabulous-Fragrant-Pot

At the moment, I have a rather sad looking pot of mint by the sink. It needs a proper place to live as it’s bedraggled and neglected. 

I absolutely love the scent of herbs and would love to create somewhere special for them to grow and be nurtured so that we can use them in salads and stews and enjoy the aroma.

After browsing through our Seasonal Garden Ideas book I have decided to do this project (adding in my little pot of mint). It will look fabulous by the front door, will create a wonderful aroma as we pass into the house and give me an easily accessible supply of delicious herbs. I can’t wait to get started!

 

Bay, Thyme & Lavender

Three strongly aromatic plants combine here to make an enticingly scented corner. A  standard bay in a large ceramic pot is circled by a medley of low-growing thymes, with lavender surrounding the base.

Plant in spring.
All of these plants have a year-long presence – bay and thyme are evergreen, while lavender, which flowers in summer, retains its grey leaves throughout winter.

Allow a couple of hours to complete this container and the surrounding bed.


What you need

Plants

  • One bay tree (Laurus nobilis), trained to standard shape and clipped to a ball.
  • Eight thymes (Thymus serpyllum and Thymus citriodorus varieties – here golden leaved, variegated and grey-leaved forms as well as the more usual dark green).
  • Eight lavenders (Lavandula variety, such as ‘Munstead’).

Equipment

  • Large ceramic container (or any other pot large enough to take the bay tree).
  • Soil-based potting compost with added grit or sharp sand for drainage.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Trowel.

Instructions

  1. Position your pot where it is to stand – it will be too heavy to move once planted. Here the pot is surrounded by a narrow bed of lavender which will need about 45cm (18in) of planting space all around the pot.
  2. Line the container with broken crocks for drainage, then half-fill with compost. Check the level of the bay’s rootball by placing it in its original pot on the compost. Adjust the level as necessary to get the rootball to the same depth it was in before, then plant the bay, placing it centrally in the pot. Firm in.
  3. Top up the container with more compost – the thymes will have much shallower rootballs than the bay. Plant the thymes in a circle around the bay, firm in, then top up again with more compost to within 2.5cm (1in) of the rim. Water thoroughly.
  4. Work some of the compost/grit mix into the soil around the pot, then plant the lavenders all round. Water thoroughly.

Tips
If you wish, choose a dry, sunny day and cut some of the lavender flowers when they are at their peak. Leave them to dry in bunches, then use them in a vase or a potpourri, or make little sachets and stuff them with the lavender flowerheads – place in linen drawers or hang in clothes cupboards to keep the clothes smelling fresh and sweet.

Note
Both the bay and the thymes are culinary herbs, so use them freely in your cooking.

Aftercare
All these plants do best in full sun and need light, well-drained soil. Keep the bay in shape by trimming any straggly shoots in summer; remove any frost-damaged leaves/shoots in spring. Remove faded lavender flowers in autumn, then prune in April – but do not cut into old wood. Clip the thyme, removing dead flowerheads and straggly shoots in spring.


 

Seasonal Garden Ideas £3.99Seasonal Garden Ideas
is available for just £3.99!

A perfect gift for your
green-fingered friends.

 

#gardening

#easypots

#growourownherbs

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National Gardening Week

Succulents and Seashells project

Year-Round Interest in 5 Simple Steps 

National Gardening WeekAs it’s National Gardening Week I thought I would do something a little different in the garden.

Instead of the usual flowering basket I’m going to tackle this easy project from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book.

It only takes a few minutes but should give interest throughout the year.

Cute!

 

Succulents & Seashells

Succulents are often grown as indoor house plants, but many varieties are perfectly hardy and do well outdoors – if given full sun and really sharp drainage. Striped and whorled seashells make perfect partners for these shapely rosettes.

Plant in spring. Succulents like these usually flower in June and July but their thick, fleshy leaves provide year-long interest. Creating a display like this will take one to two hours.

 

What you need

Plants

Selection of houseleeks (Sempervivum) and echeverias – read the plant labels carefully to check that the ones you choose are fully hardy. Sempervivum arachnoideum, S. tectorum and Echeveria elegans – and their numerous varieties and colour forms – are some to look for.

Equipment

  • Large stone terracotta or ceramic container with drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Gritty compost, such as that sold for cacti.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Selection of seashells.
  • Fine gravel or grit for a topping.
  • Trowel.

Instructions

1 Line the container with broken crocks for drainage, then fill it nearly full with gritty compost.

2 Carefully tip the rosettes out of their pots – the leaves can break off easily, so handle very gently – and plant them in the compost, leaving room for the shells.

3 Top up the compost with the fine gravel or grit – allow for at least a 2.5cm (1in) layer. Then pile up the shells around and between the succulents.

4 Water moderately, then follow the plant label instructions for subsequent watering. Position the container in full sun and bring into a sheltered area during winter.

Tips

As an alternative to seashells, try pebbles or cobbles of various shapes, sizes and colours. These plants also do really well in rockeries or on the top of drystone walls.

Notes

It can take quite some time for a houseleek or echeveria to flower – and when it does, that rosette dies, but it is quickly replaced by new ones. The leaves of some varieties change colour in summer, turning from green or silvery grey to red or bronzed.

Aftercare

Deadhead flowers as they wither (they usually appear in summer). Remove any withered or damaged leaves.

 

 

Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas is a beautiful
book featuring simple projects, with
easy-to-follow instructions, to add
beauty to any garden.

You can order a copy for just £3.99.

Buy Seasonal Garden Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

#seasonalgardenideas

#nationalgardeningweek

A Splash of Colour and Instant Curb Appeal in 4 Simple Steps

PLANTING SPRING POTS

A Splash of Colour and Instant Curb Appeal in 4 Simple Steps

Garden centres are filling up with beddings plants and we can finally say goodbye to winter on Sunday with the official start of spring.

Celebrate the new season by creating a splash of colour at the front of your house.

For just a few pounds and a few minutes
you can give your home instant curb
appeal with some gorgeous flowers.

In this feature from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book we show you show.


 

Playing a Supporting Role

A single giant pot with a very large plant can look a bit stark – surrounding it with smaller containers holding a variety of colourful flowers will soften the overall effect.

Buy a bedding strip of pansies, and several pots of white narcissi in bud in March for flowering in April and May.

Planting one pot like this takes less than an hour, but if you want to surround a large container with many smaller ones, allow an afternoon for the job.

 

What you need

Plants

  • Bedding strip of six to eight blue pansy (Viola) plantlets.
  • Six white Narcissus ‘Petrel’ in bud.

Equipment

  • Terracotta pot.
  • Soil-based potting compost.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Trowel.
  • Extra terracotta pots, if required, to surround the planted container.

1 Line the terracotta pot with a layer of broken crocks for drainage.

2 Start filling with compost, then ascertain the right height for the narcissi by placing them in their pot on the compost – the rootball/bulbs should be about 4cm (1½in) below the rim of the terracotta pot.

3 Position all the narcissi, spacing them out as evenly as possible, firm in by twisting each one slightly, then top with more compost.

4 Plant the pansies in the same way, positioning them around and in front of the pot. Firm them in, finishing with a final layer of compost. Bump the pot gently to settle the plants and compost, then water thoroughly.

Tip

The beauty of this arrangement is that when the pansies and narcissi have finished flowering, you can replace the whole pot with another display. With the wide range of narcissi and pansy colours available, you can choose any number of variations on this theme – or go for something completely different.

Note

The pansies may well flower a lot longer than the white narcissi. In this case, cut down the narcissi stalks when the flowers have withered and allow the pansies to continue on their own.

Aftercare

Deadhead the pansies regularly to ensure a long and continuing display of flowers. If the narcissi start bending over (in high winds or rain), support with thin bamboo canes and soft string ties.

Seasonal Garden Ideas if available for just £3.99 at http://www.dairydiary.co.uk/gift-books.html

 

#springflowers

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!

Five Easy Ways to Attract Hedgehogs to your Garden

There’s something very magical about sitting quietly and watching wildlife.

On a recent visit to my parents’ house I was lucky enough to observe a trio of hedgehogs enjoying a feast on their patio.

How cute are they?!!
They look as though they are
wearing little spikey skirts!

I am determined to encourage these cute little mammals to our own garden and after some advice from Mum and Dad, here’s the plan:

Continue reading

Step-by-Step Guide to 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.

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