Last winter heavy snows wreaked havoc on many areas of the U.K., closing schools, suspending power, and blanketing homes and gardens. This year the “Beast from the East” has caused a £520,000 overspend on winter services in Bradford alone. Don´t despair however, winter maintenance can be made easy for your personal garden with the use of some precautionary measures. Whether you are protecting your existing plants or looking into what vegetation might best survive the winter, there are several alternatives open to you.
Keeping Clear of Debris: Low Maintenance Options …
When it´s cold outside, nobody wants to spend a lot of time working on their lawns. Luckily, it is not necessary. Briza media grass is a low maintenance choice, as it flowers from May until June and clean up is only necessary in August. Carex grasses are an easy option as well, only needing to an occasional rake over the winter months. For true ease of maintenance try artificial turf, which will keep your lawn looking green and tidy while holding up to the elements all year long. Keeping the environment in mind, you can even repurpose the lawn turf when it has seen better days.
Don´t Neglect Personal Care When Gardening …
When you are out in the cold, tending to your garden you want to feel comfortable and protected from harsh winter elements. Put some thought into those layers. For example, use pants that have knee padding already sewn in. Protect yourself from any whipping winds by using a windproof and waterproof jacket. Always remember to protect yourself with a hat and gloves.
Decor That Holds Up All Year …
Outdoor sitting areas are easier to care for when they can stand up to the elements. Furniture made from hardwood like teak is much more durable as it does not expand or contract as much when the temperature changes. Teak’s natural oils protect its surface so less upkeep is necessary throughout the year. Eucalyptus is another great choice in hardwood as it is resistant to rot and insect damage. However, it does need to be treated.
This winter bundle up and with your scarf and jumper, light the fire, and get the water boiling to make some tea. Also, remember to use these simple tips to keep your outdoor space just as cozy and easy to care for as your indoor space.
As the garden starts to take on elements of autumn there’s nothing better than preparing your garden for the oncoming winter and the arrival of familiar birds.
Ones you can expect to see in your UK garden cover many and varied species. The common types of birds you can attract include:
Robins, blackbirds, great tits, blue tits, greenfincehs and common house sparrows.
What Food to Provide?
There are some particular favourites that many varieties of birds will prefer. There are many commercial bird seed mixes and foods you can buy off the shelf if you shop around and they needn’t costs a fortune.
Popular foods and seeds include black sunflower seeds, peanuts, fat balls along with many bird cakes and mixes.
For the fully story and the A-Z of attracting birds and feeding them in your garden visit the RSPB at –
We highlight some the ways gardeners can protect plants and grow vegetables using garden cloches throughout the year.
Weather protection and cloches
Your garden cloche will create a protected micro environment for your seedlings and plants in your garden or raised bed providing them with shelter from the worse of the weather. Frost is the obvious danger for those early plantings but heavy rain and high winds can also create havoc. Later in the season cloches can be used to protect the established crop from unexpected early frosts so it has the chance to grow fully before harvesting. Winter hardy crops such as spinach carried overwinter under cloches are less mud splashed and more tender as a result of their cosseted life. Some gardeners struggle to get even the winter hardy crops to survive their local climates and growing under cloches makes this possible.
Soil Warming under your cloche
Pre-warming the soil with a garden cloche before sowing encourages earlier germination and increases the length of the cropping season. Seeds germinate at various temperatures but as a guide germination of hardy crops such as carrots start when the average soil temperature is above 8°C (46°F) and for tender crops such as French Beans 12°C (54°F).
AcryliCloche® Garden Cloches will raise the temperature of the soil thus increasing the average daily temperature. In addition dry soil warms quicker than wet soil and your cloche will keep rain and snow off your planting site. An added bonus is the faster germination of weeds under the cloche. Known as a ‘sterile seed bed’ the weed seeds germinate as the soil warms, these can be removed before the vegetable crop is sown and will mean there are a few less weeds to worry about later in the year. PoshCloche have carried out temperature trials which show how quickly soil warms under AcryliCloche® Garden Cloche and have published their trial results.
Your AcryliCloche® garden cloche provides the first line of defense against threats to precious seedlings and early sowings with the main early season culprits being weather, slugs, rodents, pigeons and rabbits.
Pigeons and rodents are the main problem when planting seeds from the Fabaceae family of plants such as peas and broad beans. Before they get a chance to germinate most seeds are dug up and eaten and need to be protected under cloches to prevent this. Onion sets are a particular attraction to pigeons which seem to make a national sport of pulling them up. A garden cloche provides a physical barrier which will give them time to germinate and establish before the next wave of attack from slugs and rabbits which thrive on emerging seedlings.
Hardening off involves carefully acclimatising plants raised in greenhouses or windowsills to cooler temperatures under cloches and increased air movement otherwise the shock of planting out in the open will be to great. Plants usually require between two to six weeks to harden off before they can be planted in their final growing position. Place your plants under a AcryliCloche® Garden Cloche with the end pieces in place and gradually reduce the time the end pieces are off during the day. On mild days gradually increase the time the cloche is off replacing it only at night. Eventually the cloche can come off though half-hardy and frost tender plants must be protected until the danger of frost has passed.
Courtyard gardens can be very small and it may seem almost impossible to achieve a fresh, original and comfortable look to such a space. The fact is that there are ways of working with courtyard gardens that can make them an attractive and colourful place to be, adding the right kind of garden furniture and the right type of plants will make all the difference. One of the tricks of enlarging a courtyard garden is to concentrate on using vertical as well as horizontal space by using a pergola or something similar create a more private space, and make the courtyard appear bigger. Taking things upwards, creates the illusion of more space and also provides some privacy.
When courtyard gardens are extended vertically, it helps to break the garden up into zoned areas. Creating separate zones in a small space, can make it appear bigger, rattan garden furniture, complete with scatter cushions will add colour to the space and give you somewhere comfortable to sit and relax. Choose a few vibrant plants to add life to the space and often the addition of a small water feature will make all the difference. The gentle noise of water can often be more relaxing than almost anything else, the sound of that softly flowing water helps in forgetting the cares of the day.
If you have a fairly sheltered courtyard garden, add a touch of greenery because it will help to make your space look more exotic and will also enhance the look of your patio furniture. The pergola is great because it gives you something to look at, in time, if you choose, you can trail plants like jasmine and honeysuckle across the pergola. The garden is a great place to sit comfortably and relax with a drink after a hard day at work. A little bit of thought, inspiration, colour and the right kind of garden furniture can really add substance and style to a small space.