Tag Archives: Gardening

Inspired by the new gardening book, we managed to dodge the rain and get out in the garden this weekend.

Planting seedsIsaac had lots of fun planting seeds – free from http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/digin/ – which we hope will grow into splendid salad leaves, carrots, courgettes, beans and sunflowers. Hmmm, as complete novices, we will see!

Besides the vegetables I want to try and attract more wildlife to the garden. My parents are lucky enough to enjoy the spectacle of two visiting badgers almost every night; it would be wonderful if we could encourage mammals to our garden too. The Wildlife Trust has a teamed up with the RHS to produce a lovely website with lots of handy tips http://www.wildaboutgardens.org/.

Our first project will be this fantastic Hedgehog Hideaway from Seasonal Garden Ideas. Despite its simplicity, this is definitely one for my other half or I might end of with one or two fewer limbs!


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Pretty in Pink

Pretty-in-Pink

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Pretty in Pink

Make a pretty basket of pink hyacinths special by adding hoops of pussy willow twigs with the soft grey catkins just bursting out – a lovely display that should last for several weeks.

Pussy willow twigs are available in early spring, either in hedgerows or from florists. Pot-grown hyacinths can be found in garden centres from January through to May or even later.

Planting up a basket takes about an hour.

Plants required
Ten to twelve pink Dutch hyacinths just coming into flower.
Six to eight pussy willow twigs each about 45cm (18in) long.

Equipment required
Rustic-weave basket.
Hanging-basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
Bulb compost to fill.
Several handfuls of moss to tuck around the base of the hyacinths.
Trowel.

1 Place the liner you have chosen in the bottom of the basket, pricking holes through for drainage if needed. Fill the basket two-thirds full with bulb compost.

2 Carefully remove each hyacinth, one at a time, from their pots and plant in the basket, adding more compost and setting each one to the same depth as it was in its pot. Place them as close together as you can, so the heavy flowerheads will support each other, and firm in well.

3 Tuck moss loosely around the base of the hyacinths to cover the soil completely. Water lightly.

4 Wedge the bottom end of a pussy willow twig into the basket weave then bend it over to form a hoop. Tuck the tip of the twig securely into the basket, then repeat with the other twigs all round the basket, overlapping the twigs slightly as you go.

5 Position your basket in a sunny spot for best display. The furry grey catkins will eventually turn bright yellow as they open.

Tips
Take great care not to knock the pussy willow catkins off the twigs as you handle them – they are quite fragile. If the hyacinth stems start bending over, insert thin bamboo canes into the compost and tie the stems to them as discreetly as possible with soft string. Bring under shelter if heavy rain is threatened.

Note
Reuse your rustic basket for a summer display by planting with nasturtiums or begonias.

Aftercare
By its very nature this is a temporary display. When the hyacinth flowers have withered, stop watering and allow the foliage to turn brown. Then remove the bulbs from the basket, clean them carefully and store in a dry, dark place until autumn, when you can plant them out in the garden. Discard the pussy willow twigs when the catkins have flowered.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas

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Seasonal Garden Ideas to add beauty to your garden

The big news this week is the launch of Seasonal Garden Ideas: a new gardening book that will inspire both novice and experienced gardeners this spring.

Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas is a beautiful book featuring easy half-day projects to add beauty to any garden throughout the year.

Each of the 77 projects is presented like a RECIPE; with ingredients, step-by-step instructions, hints and tips, time required, when to start and aftercare. Now doesn’t that sound simple?

When you turn to a project you will be delighted with how the information is clearly laid out to make the task so straightforward. Each project is illustrated with a beautiful colour photograph.

Excellent value at just £9.75.
Order it from your milkman or online while stocks last.

Celebrate St David’s day with a fantastic Welsh lamb dish

I love Welsh lamb and this Minty Lamb Pattie is the perfect excuse to support Welsh farmers and enjoy one of the best ‘burgers’ you’ll ever taste. Sounds naughty, but this is a nicely balanced meal. Try it and I think you’ll add it to your ‘favourites’.

Save £4 when you buy Around Britain Dairy Cookbook

Minty Lamb Pattie is taken from the popular Around Britain Dairy Cookbook which is available for a short period at the incredible price of just £2.99 while stocks last.

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