Garden Ideas & Advice

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Summer greenhouse survival guide

Summer greenhouse survival guide

It doesn't matter if it's glass or plastic, greenhouses can get really hot in sunny weather. Here are a few ideas for making sure your plants don't overheat.

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Hot weather garden care

Hot weather garden care

As the weather gets hotter we all get a bit cheerier, and here are a few tips to keep your garden happy too!

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Summer Summer lawn mowing & watering

Summer lawn mowing & watering

Over the summer lawn care is mostly focused on mowing and watering but its also important to take the time to enjoy your lawn too, with the odd picnic or garden party.

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Prep your garden for your holiday

How to grow runner beans

Is there anything more quintessentially British than growing runner beans? Probably not! Runner beans are productive, tasty and decorative enough to grow as a climber in your flower border

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Top jobs to do in your garden in June

Top jobs to do in your garden in June

In June we start to get long summer days and warm light evenings. The garden comes into bloom, with lots of colourful & fragrant flowers meaning it's a great time to relax in your garden, but as always there's jobs to do as well.

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Homegrown Treats: What can you harvest in June?

Homegrown Treats: What can you harvest in June?

The fruits (and veg!) of your labour are starting to pop up now, which garden-fresh goodies will you be tucking into this month?

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Deadheading, dead important!

Deadheading, dead important!

Deadheading properly in your garden can make a huge difference to growing, garden health and, last but not least, appearance!

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Pests, problems & plagues in July

Pests, problems & plagues in July

We're really in the swing of planting, harvesting & marvelling at the growth of our subterrainean friends, we don't want anything bad to happen to them, do we! So while you're busy sowing and harvesting, it's definitely giving your plants a quick health checkup:

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Quick list of planting & harvesting jobs for July

Quick list of planting & harvesting jobs for July

July is a key month in the gardening calendar, the sun is out, some of your veg is ready to harvest and it's time to plant some new treats too!

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Top jobs for your allotment or kitchen garden in August

Top jobs for your allotment or kitchen garden in August

August can be a busy time in your allotment or kitchen garden with lots of crops to harvest, plenty of watering needed, pruning and the chances of pests & diseases. Plus on top of all that you might well be away from the garden on holiday too!

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Prep your garden for your holiday

Jobs to do in your garden before your holiday

Holidays are great, but with all the packing, online check-ins and last-minute trips to the shops to replace lost travel adapters it's easy to forget that your garden will benefit a lot from some extra attention before you leave it for a week or two. Here are our top tips for making sure you return home from your hols to healthy garden;

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Summer Pond Care

Summer Pond Care

Summer is a great time for your pond and it should be teeming with wildlife, full of lush plant growth and your fish will be active and happy. Here are our tips for making the most of your pond during Summer;

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Top gardening jobs for September

Top gardening jobs for September

In September the weather begins to turn cooler and the month is a time of change in the garden. The summer is ending and with it comes the last of your vegetable crops and the ripening of Autumn fruits such as apples, pears & raspberries. The garden is starting to prepare for Winter and soon the leaves will be on the turn, but for now there is still enough warmth for Autumn flowering bedding and some preparations ready for Spring.

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Multiply your Plants by Dividing Perennials

Multiply your Plants by Dividing Perennials

When the active growing season is over, it's a great idea to divide your perennials. This results in strong, healthy plants for next year and also grows their number. You should do this once every couple of years at least, but you can divide up to twice a year, in Spring & dry periods in Autumn. It's not as daunting as it sounds!

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Autumn Bird Care

Autumn Bird Care

Just as Autumn is a time of change for the plants in your garden it is also a time of change for wild birds. Some birds have already started their migrations and other species will soon be starting theirs too. Many will be leaving the UK for warmer climates, but there will also be others arriving from colder countries.

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Top ways to help garden wildlife in Autumn

Top ways to help garden wildlife in Autumn

Many types of garden animals will sleep through the coldest months of the year, some hibernating, while others enter a state of torpor where they can wake in emergencies. In late Autumn these animals will begin to look for nice and dry places they can rest undisturbed in Winter so early to mid Autumn is the perfect time to prep your garden for them.

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Autumn - Time to plant Spring flowering bulbs

Autumn - Time to plant Spring flowering bulbs

Bulbs are a highly rewarding way to add some colour to your garden and Autumn is the perfect time for planting Spring flowering bulbs. The soil is still warm enough for the bulbs to establish their roots, allowing them to flower in Spring instead of Summer.

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Naturalising - How to add colour to your lawn with bulbs

Naturalising - How to add colour to your lawn with bulbs

You've probably seen it in parks, stately home gardens or in grass verges on country roads, lush green grass with swathes of little colourful flowers and pockets of daffodils. You may well have assumed these were naturally occurring and the results of many years of seeding, but actually this is something you can easily reproduce in your own lawn at home

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Create dazzling displays by planting bulbs in layers

Create dazzling displays by planting bulbs in layers

Bulbs are a great way to add colour to your garden and highly rewarding to grow. However, the plants from these little balls of energy will pop-up, flower, and then die back again. So, how can you make more impact full and longer lasting displays? The answer is layering!

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Autumn - Reviving Summer scorched lawns and prepping for Winter

Autumn - Reviving Summer scorched lawns and prepping for Winter

During the summer your lawn may have become scorched, patchy or compacted and once we reach the cooler but still warm temperatures of Autumn it's the perfect opportunity to remedy these. The better condition your lawn is in entering the Winter the better it will survive and ultimately save you work in the Spring.

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Christmas Tree Care

Christmas Tree Care

'Tis the season & there's just something more magical about having a locally grown tree compared to a plastic one (and a much lower environmental impact too!)

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How to recycle your old Christmas tree

How to recycle your old Christmas tree

Having a real Christmas tree in your home over the festive period is a great way to give your home a traditional Christmas feel with that authentic pine needle aroma. But what should you do with the tree after Christmas?

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Winter Pond Care

Winter Pond Care

During winter it's crucial to keep an eye on your garden pond, temperatures will drop and can cause harm if not dealt with properly.

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Winter Lawn Care

Winter Lawn Care

It's easy to forget about your lawn over the Winter as it requires a lot less work than the rest of the year but it will still benefit from a little bit of maintenance occasionally.

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Things to do in the garden in February

Things to do in the garden in February

In February the weather is still very much wintery but the days are beginning to lengthen and Spring is on its way. This is the perfect time to finish off any Winter garden jobs and prepare the garden for Spring.

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Pruning in February

Pruning in February

Now is a perfect time for a bit of pruning, here's our checklist on what to prune this month.

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Planning for the growing season

Planning for the growing season

February is the perfect time to start planning ahead for the growing season, the days are beginning to lengthen, seasonal items are becoming available and some jobs can be started off indoors.

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Lawn care in February & March

Lawn care in February & March

February and march are either a continuation of winter lawn maintenance, or if the weather is warm towards the March more work can be begun to give your lawn the best chance to grow in the spring.

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Wild bird care in February

Wild bird care in February

In February male birds are beginning to mark out their territories ready for mating and nesting season. In colder weather wild birds need extra energy just to keep warm and natural food can be in short supply, particularly if there are deep frosts or snow.

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Caring for wildlife in February

Caring for wildlife in February

Most wildlife will still be hibernating but some hedgehogs and bumblebees will emerge early if the weather is warmer. They will have gone without food over the winter and be very hungry. If you want to attract more wildlife to your garden then now is the perfect time to prepare habitats for them ready for when they emerge from hibernation.

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March - Time to get planting!

March - Time to get planting!

March is when Spring arrives and with it a burst of colour in your garden. It's also a time to start planting and preparing if you want colour in your garden in later months too though by propagating seeds and planting bulbs.

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Things to do in the garden in March

In the garden in March

Finally March is here, and with it Spring! Your garden will be starting to wake from it's winter sleep and it's time for you to start getting back into the habit of working in the garden too.

  • Buy young bedding and basket plants for stunning displays of colour
  • Start sowing seeds indoors and getting all your propagation equipment ready. A diary or calendar is idea to keep track of when to sow, re-pot and plant out your seedlings
  • Make use of water butts to catch all the spring rains
  • Dead-head spent flowers on bedding plants and daffodils
  • Start to mow your lawn (check out our March lawn care tips for more detailed advice)
  • Plant out chitted early potatoes and mound them up to protect from frost
  • Lift and divide overgrown perennials
  • Give your borders a mulch around plants to improve soil, keep moisture in and avoid weeding later in the season
  • Plant summer flowering bulbs
Flowers to sow in March

Flowers to sow in March

With the arrival of Spring we can finally start to sow flower seeds to bring some colour into our gardens.

  • Hardy annuals such as borages, cornflowers and ladybird poppies can be sown outdoors. These can be grown in poor soil so there's no need to enrich it but do weed and rake the area first
  • Sweet peas can be sown under cover. They like long root runs so sow into deep pots or modules
  • Wildflower mixes can be sown outside. Like hardy annuals weed and rake the area first
  • Half hardy annuals such as antirrhinums, zinnias, cosmos & cleomes can be sown. These are not frost hardy so must be sown under cover
  • Dahlias can be sown in greenhouses. These perennials can also have their tubers dug up in Autumn to store over Winter
Vegetable seeds to sow in March

Vegetable seeds to sow in March

Now the days are becoming warmer and longer there are a lot of vegetable crops that can be sown to start off your kitchen garden for the year

  • The Great British weather can be an unpredictable and harsh mistress and for this reason plants such as tomatoes, chillies and aubergines need a long growing season to produce a good crop. For this reason now is the best time to sow them, ideally in the greenhouses or in propagators
  • Salads can be sown throughout the Spring multiple times so you can enjoy them throughout the late Spring and Summer, in March they are best sown indoors
Planting in April

Plant your Summer Flowering Bulbs in April

Planting Summer Flowering Bulbs in April Summer bulbs are dormant from early Spring onwards, which is the best time to buy them as they're nice and fresh. Bigger bulbs mean bigger blooms and the firmer, the healthier!

  • The idea of planting the bulbs now is that the soil is starting to warm up just as they come out of their dormant season. The ideal soil temperature to plant bulbs in is around 13°C and in colder soil your bulbs will not grow.
  • It's important to use free draining soil when planting bulbs to keep them from rotting & clay soil will need to be diluted by some course sand or well rotted organic matter, one or two buckets per square metre.
  • When planting, make holes for each bulb, plant, and cover without pushing down hard. Many Summer bulbs can be grown in patio containers, which can be lifted & stored through winter!
Helping birds in Spring

Helping birds in Spring

In early spring wild birds begin to build their nests and you can see robins, sparrows and other birds flying back and forth with twigs. Birds will begin to arrive back from their winter migrations and later on you'll see birds busy going back and forth to feed their young.

  • Leave small bunches of tiny twigs, dried moss etc near your feeders
  • Avoid feeding fat and bread at this time as these can be harmful to nestlings and only feed peanuts if using a quality mesh feeder that will stop sizeable pieces of peanuts being taken
  • Feeding bug based foods such as those containing mealworms is particularly good at this time, especially in especially dry spells as earthworms won't be available
  • Clean feeders weekly and rotate feeding locations to prevent the spread of diseases
Growinf your own Strawberries

How to grow your own strawberries

Strawberries are a highly rewarding and easy fruit to grow at home. best of all they can be grown in beds, containers or even hanging baskets so you can grow them even if you have very little space. here's our handy guide to all things strawberries.

  • There are many varieties of strawberries but they all fall into 3 categories; Alpines which produces lots of very small fruits. Summer-fruiting varieties hat produce a heavy crop over a short period, most of which fruit in June but there are early and later fruiting varieties too. Perpetual strawberries (everbearers) which produce smaller crops of fruit from early Summer through to Autumn.
  • Seeds can be sown in February/March in a greenhouse/indoors
  • Bought plants can be planted in September/October or late March, April and even late June for later fruiting varieties. Plant them 30-40cm apart making sure the crown is not exposed which will cause it to dry out, or too deep which could cause rot. Plant in a sunny spot, however if only shady areas are available consider Alpine varieties
  • As well as producing fruit strawberries will also produce runner. These can be used to cultivate new plants, however if not wanted they should be cut to allow the plant to put more energy into producing flowers and fruit
  • Good, regular watering and feeding during the flowering and fruiting season is important for good crops, especially if grown in containers
  • If in an area with lots of birds then protect your fruiting plants with netting
  • Once fruits begin to ripen keep them out of contact with the soil to stop them from rotting. A dry material can be used to create a barrier (traditionally straw, hence the name!), however plants in containers may not need this as the fruits will hang down over the sides of the containers
  • Pick strawberries as and when they ripen, once the whole fruit is red by pinching the stem just above the fruit
  • Runners are best taken at the end of the fruiting season and simply planted into pots of compost or if left atatched to the main plant pegged down into the soil and cut once roots have established
Top 10 Summer flowering bulbs

Highway's Top Ten Summer Flowering Bulbs!

Not sure what to plant? Take a look at this list to find some great choices, all available at Highway!

  • Allium - Tall with large, colourful flowerheads - Plant in Autumn
  • Begonia - Short & dense with large flowers - Plant in early Spring
  • Freesia - Colourful & pleasant smelling - Plant prepared corms in Spring & unprepared in Autumn
  • Gladiolus - Tall & pale - Plant in Spring
  • Crocosmia (Lucifer) - RHS Award Winning - Small Vibrant Petals - Plant in Spring
  • Iris (Black Dragon) - Striking petal shape & colour - Plant in Autumn
  • Dahlia (Bishop of Llandaff) - Vibrant red with dark purple foliage - Plant in late Spring
  • Ranunculus - Distinctive petal shape - Plant in Spring
  • Agapanthus - Pastel with trumpet shaped petals - Plant in Spring or early Autumn
  • Canna (Tropicanna Black) - Tall with red petals and huge dramatic dark leaves - Plant in Spring
April Gardening

April jobs in the garden

In April the garden comes alive with colour, daffodils are in flower, early tulips are starting to appear and flowering trees are starting to blossom. Amongst the sunny days are the inevitable April showers but beware as the odd frost is still possible. Indoor-sown seeds should be well under way by now and it's also time to start sowing outdoors.

  • Keep pesky weeds under control
  • protect fruit blossom from late frosts
  • Sow hardy annuals, herbs and wild flower seeds outdoors
  • Re-pot container plants that are outgrowing their current home
  • Feed shrubs with fertilisers
  • Mulch your vegetables, shrubs and roses and around fruit trees too
  • Sow new lawns or repair patches in existing lawns
  • Start watering houseplant more often
  • Fill up bird feeders ready for nesting season but avoid using peanuts
Fruit and veg to grow in April

Fruit & Veg to grow in April

April is a great time to start growing your own vegetables and herbs, but beware, frost is still a possibility so most are best sown in greenhouses or indoors.

  • Perennial herbs like rosemary, sage & thyme can be sown in greenhouses
  • Sow crops such as tomatoes, aubergines, celery, cucumbers and even melons in the greenhouse or indoors
  • Crops like carrots, parsnips, leeks, swiss chard, radishes and beetroot can be sown outdoors
  • Asparagus crows, onions, shallots and garlic can be planted out
  • Strawberries can be planted out. Enrich the soil first with manure to ensure a good crop and protect with a cloche or grow tunnel
  • Pot-grown fruit trees and bushed can be planted out as well as raspberry and blackberry canes
  • Potatoes can be planted either in the ground, raised beds or large containers. These need plenty of space, 30cm apart and 45cm between rows and should be planted about 12cm deep. if planting in containers make sure the container is at least 30cm deep, half fill the container and cover, leaving space at the top
Divide & Conquer!

Feel the buzz of a bee pollinated garden!

Of all of the creatures we share our gardens with, bees are our best buzzing buddies! They make the garden feel alive, and more importantly, pollinate our plants. Playing vital step in the ecosystem for virtually every Summer crop and flowering plant, we should treat our furry friends to a tasty garden.

  • Bees are looking for pollen & nectar from plants.
  • Some flowers can be better than others, however, a plant with a visible centre are popular.
  • Some of bees favourite plants are lavender, eryngium, echinacea & verbina. Full of nectar with lots of little flowers for a sturdy landing spot.
  • Consider bees when laying out your beds, plant bee-friendly flowers near each other for easy pollination and no lost bees.
  • And lastly, don't worry they won't sting you, they just want to get straight to the plants!
Garden jobs for May

Garden jobs for May

With May comes the promise of Summer. The sun's coming out a bit more, but a few more showers until we're into proper sunbathing weather!

  • For an ever better Spring bulb display; once your Spring bulbs have gone over, instead of cutting back the foliage, let them die & break down, then add liquid fertiliser around the clumps.
  • On hot days, make sure you open your greenhouse vents and/or doors.
  • Deter Red Spider Mites by damping down your greenhouse, increasing humidity.
  • Schedule watering for the mornings and evenings to alleviate the effects of the hot Sun.
  • At the end of the month you can plant your Summer bedding.
Top things to do in your garden in February

Growing your own - what to plant in May

The chance of frosts in May are low and so now many vegetable seeds can be sown outdoors, and there's nothing more rewarding than growing your own veggies from seed all the way through to the plate!

  • Sow carrots, parsnips, peas, radishes, spinach and spring onion outdoors
  • In greenhousesor indoors crops such as courgette, marrows, cucumbers, runner beans and perennial herbs can be sown
  • Brassicas and leeks can be planted-out into your vegetable rows
  • Tomato seedlings can be planted into growbags or containers but should remain in a greenhouse
  • If you have the space then sweetcorn can be sown outdoors, however you will need at least 12 plants for pollination
Sowing vegetable seeds in May

Vegetable seeds to sow in May

With the risk of frosts mostly gone, many seeds can be sown directly outdoors from May. Plus there's plenty that can be sown indoors too.

  • Carrots - Tasty and sweet, carrots are both easy to grow and delicious! From classic orange varieties to yellow and purple cultivars you can almost grow a whole rainbow of colours.
  • Beetroot - Growing beetroot from seed is an easy-to-grow choice for novice gardeners. They germinate without much hassle and are low maintenance once established.
  • Sweetcorn - May is you last opportunity to grow corn as it needs plenty of time to grown and ripen. You'll need plenty of space to grow your own corn as the plans are wind pollinated and need to be grown in blocks rather than rows.
  • Cucumber - Homegrown cucumbers taste great! There are two main types of cucumbers, greenhouse and outdoors. The outdoor varieties can be sown outside from May, have ridged skin and are shorter and plumper than greenhouse varieities and the ones you buy in supermarkets.
  • Sprouting Broccoli - This robust crop produces spears of succulent broccoli that can be steamed, boiled or even grilled. Best of all if you sow a range of varieties you'll have broccoli spears to harvest through winter and into spring.
Garden Design Tips

Top tips for garden design

Whether your starting a new garden or revamping your existing one these tips will help you push your garden design to the next level

  • Paint your fence - Painting you fence can have a huge impact on your garden. You can add a splash of colour, pale colours will make your garden feel bigger, brighter and have a calming effect, and dark colours can create impact and contrast
  • Shape your lawn - Lawns don't have to be boring rectangles running from fence to fence! Circles and ovals can make your borders feel larger and boundaries further away, while less formal curved shapes can feel more natural. For more formal designs consider the size and shape of your lawn and if it could be divided into more than one lawn or have a planting area in the centre
  • Patio slab size - Choose your patio slabs based on the size of the area they're covering, small slabs and tiles will make a smaller patio feel larger
  • Seclude seating areas - Add some privacy, shade and interest to seating areas by partially screening them, bordering with taller plants and using climbing plants on boundaries. You can also use these to frame the view you see from a seating area and highlight the stronger areas of your garden
  • Use reflections - Water bowls and ponds are great for reflecting light into areas of your garden. Mirrors on boundaries can also help smaller gardens feel larger
  • Shape borders - Like lawns, consider the shape and depths of your borders and planted areas. You can use them to create winding paths, divide areas and dictate the formality of your garden
  • Design for all senses - Gardens are a treat for your eyes but you can take yours to the next level by incorporating elements of sound and scent. Running water is an obvious choice, but grasses and shrubs in areas that catch the breeze can add a rustling sound and encouraging wild birds are great too. Include plants for their scents as well as their looks and plant them near seating areas and paths
Garden herbs

Quick guide to garden herbs for keen cooks

Fresh herbs are a great way to liven up any dish! Most herbs are really easy to grow yourself and there's a much larger variety available than normally available on supermarket shelves.

  • Culinary herbs are many different types of plants and shouldn't be confused with herbaceous plants. Some herbs are evergreens, many are perrenials or annuals and some like parsely are bi-annuals.
  • Knowing what type of plant a herb is can also useful to know when cooking. Most herbs are delicate and so are often added to dishes at the end of cooking or used raw
  • Evergreen herbs are much tougher and have a more robust flavour and so are used earlier in cooking
  • Evergreens include Bay, Sage & Rosemary. They can grow large but can also be kept smaller if grown in containers. Best of all they're always available to use in the kitchen and are great with meats and in pies & stews
  • Perennial herbs are also easy to grow but will go dormant over the winter. Thyme, Fennel, Oregano, Mint, Tarragon & Chives are great examples
  • Bi-annual herbs such as parsley and chervil will die off in the Winter but before they go they'll drop seeds into the soil below. keep an eye out for young seedlings appearing in Spring and don't plant in hanging baskets
  • Annuals such as Basil & Coriander will die over Winter and not come back so you'll need to sow seeds or plant replacements each year
  • If you want to make regular use of your garden herbs in the kitchen then plant them in containers near to your door so you don't have to go down to the end of the garden every time you need a bay leaf
Houseplant growing tips

Caring for your indoor plants

Houseplants, as well as looking pretty, have many health and psychlogical benefits including reduced stress levels, blood pressure and breathing problems to name just a couple. Follow the advice below to get the most from your indoor plants:

Watering

  • Water sparingly, this is the most common downfall of a houseplant. As a general rule, do not water until the top inch or so of soil is dry.
  • Use draining pots with saucers beneath to allow exess water to drain.
  • Water more in the Spring and Summer, when your plant may be having a growth spurt, and less in the winter, when the plant goes dormant.
  • Tap water is generally fine, but may vary for more specialist indoor plants
  • Cacti & succulents will need less water, flower plants will need more.

Feeding

  • Most indoor plants will be fine without feeding but some, especially flowering plants, may need liquid feed up to once a week!
  • It's generally a good idea to introduce a slow release fertiliser when re-potting to encourage growth in the new environment.
  • Be careful not to overfeed as this can burn the roots of your plant.

Care

  • Pinch or cut off dying flowers/leaves and remove yellowing leaves to keep your plant happy & healthy.
  • Dust can build up on plant leaves just as it would on any other surface of your home! Clean with a soft brush or a piece of cotton wool dipped in water.
  • Many indoor plants enjoy some humidity, a daily spritz of tap water should do the trick! Placing tropical plants near each other can also help them create their own micro-climate

Pests

  • If something doesn't seem right, check for pests. The most common offenders are mealy bugs, woolly aphids, sap-sucking insects & red spider mites. Removing these should be top priority.
  • For mealy bugs & woolly aphids, you'll find tufts of white fluff on your leaves and stems. Use a soft organic soap spray to gently remove.
  • For sap-sucking insects you'll see tiny limpet-like bugs, simply remove these by hand with a piece of cotton wool.
  • For red spider mites you'll find some fine webs & yellow speckling on your leaves. Cut off the affected parts and mist your plant to prevent further damage.
Lawn care in Spring

Spring lawn care

Once we enter Spring it's all systems go on the lawn care front! Moss can be dealt with, new grass seed laid and feeds can be applied to begin making your lawn nice and healthy.

  • Apply treatment for killing weeds and moss
  • Once the moss is dead and has turned black it can be raked out
  • avoid raking the lawn until you're confident the moss is dead as raking can spread the spores
  • Spike your lawn with a fork or use an aerator to relieve compaction and encourage root growth and improve drainage
  • The lawn can be over-seeded and afterwards should be kept moist at all times to help the seeds germinate
  • You can begin to start mowing the lawn but keep the cutting height high at first and make sure the blades are sharp as blunt blades can tear young grass out of the ground rather than cutting it
pruning & Trimming in Spring

What to prune & trim in Spring

Most trees & shrubs benefit from an annual pruning, it helps keep their shape, gets rid of dead & diseased wood and encourages new growth. Some plants are best pruned while dormant, and others are best pruned after blooming, here's our handy guide to which to do when in Spring;

  • Prune Spring flowering trees & shrubs right after they've bloomed, particularly those tha start setting new buds as soon as the old flowers have fallen, this helps reduce the risk of pruning off new buds when doing the old
  • Plants to prune after blooming include; Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Lilacs, Magnolias & Rhododendrons
  • Prune late flowering trees & shrubs as early in the Spring as possible while still dormant
  • Plants to prune early in Spring include; Butterfly Bush, Crape Myrtle. Flowering Dogwood, Honeysuckle & Wisteria
  • Sharp & clean tools are always best for pruning, shop pruners
Growing Tomatoes

How to grow tomatoes

Who doesn't love tomatoes? They're delicious and oh so versitile. What's better than lovely ripe tomatoes? Ones you've grown yourself of course! Not only are they relatively simple to grow but there's also a wide variety to choose from and lots of different things you can do with them in the kitchen.

  • What tomatoes should you grow? We think the best to grow are the more unusual varieties suchs big and juicy beefsteaks, sweet golden yellow varieties and surprisingly delious brown / black ones. If you'd rather something a little more traditional then something like Moneymaker is a great choice too and easy to grow
  • Tomatoes can be sown from seed between February and April. For best result sow them in a greenhouse, propagator or indoors near a warm & sunny window. Cover with cling film at first and remove once seedlings appear. Re-pot your seedlings into 7-10cm pots once they're 2-4cm talland re-pot as necessary until they can be planted outdoors after your confident the last frost has been
  • If you don't want to start from seed or have left it a little late then tomato plants are readily available in the Spring and we sell a wide variety
  • Plant out yor tomato plants outdoors in sunny and sheltered spot after the last frost, normally in May. They can either be planted into a border, veg patch containers (at least 30cm) or you can plant 2-3 into a grow bag. If you have a greenhouse or pop-up tomato greenhouse then these are great for keeping your tomatoes a little warmer until the weather improves nearer to the Summer
  • Some tomato plants are bushes but many are tall single stems that should be trained to a cane. This should be noted on the seed packets
  • Single stem tomatoes need "pinching out" (removing side shoots). When there are four trusses of flowers pinch out the plant's growing tip so it will focuss it's energy onto producting the fruits rather than into growing taller. Bush tomatoes are more likely to sprawl and require a bit more space around the plant and should not need any trainging but may need to have heavy trusses of fruits supported on piles of bricks or upturned pots
  • Both types of plant may need some foliage stripped away to allow light and air to the fruits but bush varieties require a little more
  • Once flowers start to appear start feeding your plants with a specialist tomato plant food such as Tomorite on a weekly basis and continue until mid way through or towards the end of the harvest season
  • Water your tomato plants regularly and consistently. Irregular watering can cause tomatoes to split or develop hard patches and ones grown out in containers can dry out very easily during the summer
  • Harvesting can be done normally between July all the way through to October but you can start as soon as ripe fruits begin to develop. For best result let tomatoes ripen naturally on the plant. Towards the end of the season as the weather begins to turn cold you can pick trusses to ripen indoors
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