Postedon April 21st 2013.
The onion (allium) is one of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen and is easy to grow and store. High in vitamins B and C and essential dietary fibre, the onion is an essential part of most diets. Continue reading
Postedon April 14th 2013.
Author Virginia Woolf's 17th century cottage is a jewel in the Sussex countryside. Surrounded by orchards, flowers and vegetable gardens, ponds and lawns, it conjures qualities of a quintessential English country garden. Continue reading
Postedon April 1st 2013.
Increasingly the size of gardens is shrinking, especially inner city ones. This does not mean, however, that you can't create a beautiful and usable outdoor space.
Design is important to ensure the space is used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Whether you're going for a courtyard feel, an outdoor 'room', a plant paradise or a vegetable plot, all can be achieved in a small space. Simplicity is often the key to a successful urban garden as more complex designs can feel too busy or that too many ideas have been crammed in.
Light colours are useful to brighten up small gardens that are hemmed in by houses. Plants and flowers can be used to do this but also using colourful materials for patios and boundaries will give your garden a lift.
When considering the planting scheme for the garden, scale is very important. Large trees and shrubs should be avoided as they can quickly outgrow their space in the garden and dominate it. Obelisks and arches, with climbers growing up them, can bring height to the garden without taking up a lot of space. Using scented plants can be very effective as their fragrances aren't blown away as easily.
Pergolas are very useful in smaller gardens to provide privacy from overlooking houses. Climbers can be grown up through them to make them look prettier, whilst still allowing some light to pass through to the area underneath.
With a small garden the boundaries are more integral to the look and feel of it than in larger gardens. Screening or decorative fence panels can be used to make the boundaries part of the design. Growing climbers up fencing covers them without taking up as much space as large shrubs. The boundaries also allow you to grow vertically, giving more room to plant. Hanging baskets, wall pots and wall planters can all be used to take advantage of this space.
Postedon March 21st 2013.
Busy Lizzies is a popular bedding plant due to its ability to thrive in shady areas, whilst adding a splash of colour. The impatiens species can be annual and perennial, producing flowers from early summer through to the first frosts. Continue reading
Postedon March 20th 2013.
Many people living in flats still want to be able to enjoy gardening. The presence of a balcony or a flat roof space (provided it can safely take the weight) allows for this to be done, albeit on a smaller scale. The key is to use raised beds and containers to provide areas for planting in.
Obviously there is no soil on balconies or roofs like there is in a normal garden. This doesn't however mean that you can't grow plants. Using containers means you can grow a large range of plants in a small area. Growing plants in hanging baskets, wall planters and window boxes means you can take advantage of all the space provided by a balcony.
The walls of a balcony are obviously quite a major, and imposing, feature. Painting them, putting up decorations or even growing plants up them are all things to consider. Pots with trellis attached to the back can be used to grow climbers that will cover the trellis blocking the walls and increasing the feeling of being outside in nature.
Living in a flat doesn't have to mean missing out on wildlife either. Planting up your balcony or roof garden with nectar rich plants will attract pollinating insects and butterflies just as they would in a normal garden. It's even possible to grow a mini wildflower meadow in a pot to attract insects. Putting up bird feeders and a bird bath will attract birds.
Postedon March 18th 2013.
A common garden shape in town gardens is a long, thin rectangle. This can result in a narrow, claustrophobic feeling to the space. However there are methods to take advantage of this shape.
A common mistake is to have a large lawn with narrow borders either side, sparsely planted, with the aim of creating a feeling of space. However the result is merely a garden that accentuates the narrowness of its boundaries. It may seem counter-intuitive but making the plant borders wider and planting them generously with plants of varying shapes and heights will break up the edges of the garden and create the impression of depth. Dividing the garden into separate areas, or 'rooms', will break up the length of the garden, increasing interest.
Long thin gardens are perfect candidates for creating rooms. This allows different areas to be created in the garden each with a different purpose and feel. These can include an area to entertain, a secluded retreat, a wildlife area, a vegetable plot, the possibilities are endless. Large shrubs, garden screening and trellis are just some of the methods to divide up your garden.
A path or a lawn that flow through the rooms will link the areas encouraging people to explore your garden. Curving these paths, rather than just using straight ones, will make the garden seem wider and give the feeling of going on a journey through the garden.
Any type of planting scheme can be used in a long thin garden. Using a variety of different plants will add interest to your garden. Try to include different foliage and texture of plants as well as flowers. Using some evergreen plants will ensure the structure of the garden is retained even in winter.
Postedon March 14th 2013.
The layout of front gardens is vitally important, with as much emphasis put on functionality as appearance. The size and positioning of the drive and path are the most important (It may seem obvious but drives need to be wide enough to allow you to get out of the car!) Lawns, gravelled areas, flower beds, pots and trees can all be included in your garden. Continue reading