Recent Posts by Nick Withers

Autumn Gardening

By Friday, September 23, 2016 0 0

It’s the end of Summer…

It is now officially Autumn, and that means your garden is about to go through more changes than the Great British Bake Off. Here are the top things you need to do for your garden to prepare it for the cold months ahead.

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3 crazy gardening stories from last month.

By Monday, September 19, 2016 0 0

OK, so your hydrangeas are wilting and next door’s dog has destroyed your vegetable garden. At least you’re not facing any of these problems with your garden:

Serial hedge thieves strike

 

Two separate households in the South of England were the victims of the same bizarre horticultural crime at the end of last month, when their garden hedges were dug up and stolen overnight. Anthony and Daphne Hawley from Copthorne, West Sussex woke up on the 25th August to discover their 30ft laurel hedge had completely vanished from their garden.

“We had about 25 laurels at the front of our garden…about six foot high. We woke up and everything was just gone. It must have happened overnight.”
“You can see quite clearly where they have been dug up and you can also see tyre tracks on the road outside. Whoever it was must have needed a large truck, because 25 laurels certainly aren’t small things.”

The Hawley’s had CCTV cameras, but failed to get any footage of the crime in action. The loss of their laurels came only 5 days after another case in Kent where Peter and Julie Vine’s 127 shrubs, that made up a border around their front garden to keep out traffic noise from the A227, were similarly stolen in the middle of the night.

“You’ve got to pull them out, load them on to the back of something, and I have to ask what is the point of doing something like that?”

The police are looking in to each case, but are so far stumped.

Pensioner prisoned for growing a garden

A Preston pensioner has been dealt a six month suspended prison sentence for planting a community garden without permission in front of his block of flats. Jam Imani Rad – a retired teacher – spent £5000 on creating an elaborate garden space complete with trees, statues, trellises and water features on the communal land, but did not get approval from the Community Gateway Housing Association.

After being warned that his garden was in violation of his tenancy agreement, and was a health and safety risk in a communal area, the Mr Rad was taken to court, where a judge sided with the CGA.

Despite a petition featuring over 6000 signatures, the garden is currently in the process of being dismantled Mr Rad is now facing eviction as well as a six month prison sentence.

Live grenade planted in garden

 

Digging up a garden often unearths some mysterious relics of recent history: the shrapnel of old tapes, undeveloped rolls of film from a disposable camera, the bones of once beloved pets. But fortunately very few gardeners discover a relic as dangerous as the one found by residents of a South London home on the 22nd August. A live grenade was uncovered amongst the flowerbeds, buried deep under the roots of the plants, waiting for a misplaced strike from a fork or spade to blast a crater in the garden.

Fortunately the grenade didn’t go off when it was revealed by the terror-stricken gardener, who immediately called the police to deal with it. A specialist bomb disposal team removed the device and set it off in a controlled explosion at a safe location.

 

Heard any other gardening related crazy news stories? Let us know!

September Gardening Tips

By Monday, September 5, 2016 0 0

September is an important time for gardeners, with the transition from Summer to Autumn becoming crucial for deciding how you want your garden to look through the colder months and beyond. So here are a few ideas for what to do in your garden this month.

Prepare your winter pots and beds

As summer flowers begin to wilt, now is a good time to prepare the garden for winter. Replace flower beds and pots with simple, low maintenance, hardy plants that will continue to bring a touch of life to your garden through the colder months. Bedding plants like cyclamen, violas, primulas and polanthus will continue to flower every so often throughout milder periods, evergreen shrubs like ivy or thyme fill out a garden with green leaves, and tough plants like sempervivium will survive even through freezing temperatures. Plant your winter selections now to allow them to bed in a grow to an optimal size before the temperature drops.

Plant sweet peas

As one of the most popular flowering plants, there are hundreds of varieties of sweet pea, with breeders developing new types each year. The simple “White Supreme”, the blue flowering “Charlie’s Angel” or the frosted pink “Gwendoline” all provide a delightfully strong scent that makes them sought after in gardens. Plant towards the end of the month in fertile, well drained soil with as much exposure to sunlight as possible, and keep watered during dry spells. Use pea sticks, canes or trellises to support the plants and allow them to climb as they grow. They should begin to flower beautifully by late spring.

Plant coriander

Many crops are reaching peak time for harvesting, but there’s still time to grow something new. Coriander, best used in Indian or Thai cooking, can grow well with limited sunlight to add a fresh flavour to autumnal dishes. Plant coriander in deep pots or flowerbeds and protect with a cloche during colder nights and you should be rewarded with a crop that lasts until winter.

Enjoy the outdoors with a fire pit

Though the evenings may be getting shorter, there’s still plenty to enjoy in the garden. If your summer beds are still in bloom and your garden still smells fresh and peaceful, don’t miss out by retreating inside. Add a decorative fire pit or chiminea to your garden and add some essential warmth to your September evenings outdoors. With many designs to choose from, an outdoor fireplace adds a contemporary touch to outdoor living, and becomes a wonderful, cosy centrepiece for friends and family to gather round.

Outdoor heating is available now at Gardens And Homes Direct.

 

Making the Most of your Late Summer Harvest

By Tuesday, August 30, 2016 0 0

As we sink deeper in to the tail end of summer, the hard work and patience put in to greenhouses, allotments and kitchen gardens is finally starting to pay off. The time has finally come to harvest those fruits and vegetables planted months ago with so much soil and hope. As mouths across the country alternate between being stuffed with fresh produce, and exclaiming how it “tastes so much better than what you buy at the shops”, eyes will be taking in the bowls and buckets spilling over with an endless supply of tomatoes, plums, courgettes with a growing expression that says “what the hell am I going to do with all of these?”
So before you start shovelling armfuls of radishes on unsuspecting friends just to get rid of them, here are a few tips for prolonging the life of your successful crops.

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Advanced BBQ Techniques

By Friday, August 12, 2016 0 0

Advanced BBQ Techniques

The sun is out, the beers are cold and the grill is on.

This isn’t your first BBQ. You know all the basics, you’ve heard all the safe beginner barbecue stuff – don’t start until the coals are white, ensure meat is properly cooked through, etc. But no-one got a Michelin star from just knowing the basics. It’s time to bring up your bbq game to professional level with some advanced tips for serious grillers.

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Beginner BBQ Techniques

By Friday, August 5, 2016 0 0

 

So the sun has finally come out and everyone’s looking to you to properly honour it in the traditional fashion through the burning of meat on an open flame. Before you begin, there are a few basic things you need to know in order to successfully host your first BBQ party.

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5 Tips For A Bee Friendly Garden

By Monday, July 25, 2016 0 0

5 Tips for a Bee Friendly Garden

 

The bee population worldwide has been falling rapidly over the last few years, and that’s a problem. It’s actually surprising how important these tiny insects are to the natural environment and our own lives. It’s thought that the pollination provided by bees affects up to a third of the food we eat every day. Apples, broccoli, sunflowers, coffee and cocoa beans may not exist without bees. Neither would many of the crops grown to sustain cows and other livestock, seriously affecting another part of our traditional diets.

If a small insect can have such a big impact on the natural world, then it should only take small changes to aid them. With that in mind, here are a few easy things you can do in your garden to encourage the bee population to thrive again.

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2016 Garden Trend: The Indoor/Outdoor Switch

By Tuesday, July 19, 2016 0 0

It’s time to stop thinking of your garden as a separate entity to your home. The lines are blurring between indoors and outdoors: nature makes its way in to the house while comfort and style spill out to the garden.

 

Indoors

Houseplants have always been an essential feature for introducing warmth and life to a home, but there is a growing trend for more vibrant, more tropical and more varied growing arrangements indoors.

 

 

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5 Apps That Are Revolutionising Gardening

By Wednesday, June 29, 2016 0 0

 

 

If you’ve always considered gardening an analogue activity, uninterrupted by the technological advances that have taken over so many other activities, then it’s time to discover a whole new way to grow. Our smartphone-enabled modern world doesn’t have to always be at odds with the beauty of nature, sometimes it can actively help to enhance it. We’ve discovered five brilliant apps that are changing the way we grow things, and this short guide will demonstrate the simple steps that you can use them for to create a modern, flourishing garden.

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