Now is the time for thinking about getting out into our gardens. I am beginning to hear the sound of lawnmowers and strimmers, emanating from nearby gardens. If you are thinking of 'tidying' your garden, in the next few days, can I please ask that you think about hedgehogs, and other wildlife. Lawnmowers strimmers and forks/spades can cause terrible injuries to hedgehogs. Please check the area you intend to work on, for hibernating or sleeping hedgehogs. They love to hide in long grassy areas, just the area you might think of mowing, strimming or digging. And it's not just hedgehogs that could be hiding out there. If you are going to 'turn' your compost heap, please don't immediately stick a fork into the pile. Please go gently when first moving it. Hedgehogs, slow worms, frogs may be snuggled down in the warm compost. If possible, leave an area of your garden 'wild'. You might think it looks a bit messy but it is a Garden of Eden to wildlife! Piles of logs, leaves and shrubs/hedgerows make ideal wildlife areas. If possible sow an area of wild flowers. It doesn't have to be the size of a meadow! Small areas all add up. I buy the £1 boxes of wild flower mix from the Pound Stores. These have never failed me.....yet! The butterflies and bees love the flowers....and will love you for supplying them much needed nectar. It is important to make a 'corridor' between gardens. Link your garden with your neighbour's garden by making a 4-5inch square gap in the fence (an easy guide is the size of a CD. If you have gravel boards and think it cannot be done, it can! You need to dig a hole underneath the board, not necessarily easy but it will help immensely......obviously you need to work with your neighbour to do any of these things! Please, please STOP using slug pellets. They are lethal to hedgehogs and other wildlife. For alternative slug control methods, visit:- www.hedgehogstreet.org or www.slugoff.co.uk Garden netting can also cause immense problems for hedgehogs. Place garden netting above ground level, to stop hedgehogs getting caught up in it. If you have a pond please make sure it has access out of it. Make a ramp, a plank of wood covered in chicken wire, to avoid the hedgehog slipping. Stepping stones are another alternative, or a beached sloped exit. Hedgehogs can swim but obviously need to get easy, quick access out of the water. Keep deep holes or drains covered, so hedgehogs can't fall in and become trapped. These areas can be a slow, lingering death trap. Check bonfires before lighting. If you can move a bonfire, before lighting, it would be ideal. If you can't move it, please check it carefully prior to lighting. Thank you for taking the time to read this......I don't mean to be a bore.......but if we all do our little bit, then our grandchildren will have the wonderful experiences of seeing wildlife, as we did. Any/all comments and suggestions gratefully received. Kind regards to all LJ
A COUPLE’S garden is full of random objects including a stone frog playing a guitar and some sort of archway, it has emerged.
Teacher Martin Bishop and his wife Sarah have spent years acquiring items of outdoor tat for reasons that neither of them can adequately explain.
Bishop said: “When you’ve got a garden you feel you should put weird stuff in it. For some reason I spent a day installing an archway on the garden path, but it doesn’t lead anywhere except a rockery containing some badly moulded plastic fairies that light up.
“It’s ironic because our house is quite tastefully decorated, yet the garden is full of junk, like a metal dragonfly.
“The strangest thing is the sense of achievement now we’ve put arbitrary objects everywhere, so maybe £24.95 for a concrete rabbit pushing a wheelbarrow wasn’t a rip-off after all.”
Sarah Bishop said: “I think they pump hallucinogens into the air at the garden centre. It’s the only explanation for us putting a large fountain depicting the Greek sea god Poseidon in our pond.
“Still, the swinging garden seat is great for sitting on while trying not to spill your drink.
“And the wooden bees on sticks are fun. Or are they? I have no idea.”
A few years ago a neighbouring allotmenteer suggested I should grub up my moth-eaten gooseberry bushes - so I kept them, and planted some more. More recently I regained a half allotment I had be persuaded to give up about seven years' ago. It has three gooseberry bushes. (to continue...)
Man has no career aspirations
RETAIL worker Stephen Malley has no desire to do a job other than the one he is already doing.
34-year-old Malley works in a garden centre, helping people with advice on products and ensuring that the displays are kept looking tidy and presentable.
He said: “I like talking to customers, most of whom are alright. The people I work with are pleasant and it’s rarely too stressful.
“To be honest I like going home and not having to think about it too much. I do some gardening or watch the football.”
Malley’s cousin Tom Booker said: “It’s like he’s just got this job that isn’t high-powered or particularly well paid but he stubbornly refuses to feel any self-loathing. I’m not going to say that’s outright wrong but at the same time I don’t really like it.
“I’m pulling in 82k working in finance and that doesn’t even seem to annoy him.
“He should at least be doing a course in the evenings, even if it’s just in massage or Spanish.”
Booker’s sister-in-law Emma Bradford said: “I’ve shown him copies of GQ magazine with pictures of all the trousers and suchlike that he could have if he were a bit more ambitious.
“He nods and smiles almost as if he is humouring me. Doesn’t he realise I’m the one who’s trying to patronise him?
“Clearly he is mentally ill.”
We have had what we call 'The Pond' in a corner of our garden for as long almost as I can remember. It has sat there & done pretty well nothing & been a problem to no one until this year when it was an absolute magnet to our Grandson Luke.
With this in view I have seen to it's demise. Once the water had drained I was posted urgently to rescue Jean's Lilies.
These plants were amazingly well established, but eventually I got a minimal purchase on the roots. It fought me tooth & nail, squelching & oooozing at me from deep down.
It almost had me once, but I just managed to save myself from going in head first.
Eventually I had him, & he came out on top of me as I sprawled on the bank, gasping for breath.
It had lived all that time in a thin alluvial mud where I also found the leg of a Shetland Pony, half a tractor & the remains of a French missionary.
Soon there will be no sign of a pond; soon we shall be Pond-less.
The uglier relation of the greenhouse, polytunnels are proving increasingly popular with gardeners, as a way of extending the growing season. One advantage over a glasshouse is the cost. Whatever your budget, you will get a larger growing area for your money if you opt for a polytunnel.
What to Grow
With a polytunnel, spring arrives six weeks early to your plot, when early crops of lettuce, carrots and herbs can be sewn. In summer, include heat-loving plants such as aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, basil and coriander. Brassicas, oriental greens and winter salads are great for autumn, while in winter you can enjoy perpetual chard and spinach. And if you love your soft fruits, over 90% of British strawberries are grown in polytunnels, so you may wish to include those. It’s even possible to grow several red and green grape varieties. Any delicate plants can be overwintered in the tunnel as well.
What to Look For
Not all polytunnels are equal, so it’s important to know what to look for. The polythene should be thick and have good insulation properties. If possible, the cover should be 180 microns thick and made up of several layers. The plastic should have anti-drip properties, so that condensation won’t cause a problem. If the cover is opaque, the light will pass through and bounce around inside, benefiting the plants. It’s essential that the tunnel has doors both ends for maximum ventilation, otherwise you’ll end up all sorts of pests and mildew.
Word of Warning
It’s important to choose the right site, as although it may look like a large tent, a polytunnel is a permanent structure. You don’t want anywhere that’s too windy or somewhere that’s going to annoy the neighbours. Depending on the height you opt for (usually over two metres) you may need permission from the council. If you’re not keen on how it looks (and no one could blame you) you could build a screen of attractive flowers or shrubs. If you place it east-west, it will get maximum sun but could suffer from more pests than if it’s north-south. Don’t be fooled into thinking that erecting one is simple and quick. You will need some DIY skills and someone on hand to help with the covering, but the time and effort will be worthwhile.
Decent greenhouses can be expensive per cubic metre and if
you ever want to upgrade, it means demolishing the old one and
laying new foundations. A polytunnel, on the other hand, requires
less outlay and will extend relatively easily, if you find the
growing bug takes hold.
This is a guest blog provided on behalf of Premier Polytunnels.
Five Quick and Easy Improvements for the Garden
As we near the end of January, spring begins to poke its head around the corner and before we know it, it will be time to get the garden organised for the warmer season. If you have reached the golden retirement age time will be on your side. So it’s time to get the garden in shape with some quick and easy improvements.
If you need inspiration, here are five quick improvement ideas that can be done in a flash.
- Repaint Your Decking
Tired and dirty decking can make a garden look grim and drab. A simple paint or polish job could transform your garden instantly and create a welcoming atmosphere just in time for the spring bloom. When you repaint your decking, it could be a good idea to also consider adding a special coating such as ‘anti-slip’ or ‘anti-carbonation’.
- Add Some Garden Lighting
There are fewer things as inviting or welcoming as garden lighting. Make your home a guest friendly environment and prepare for the summer parties ahead. If you have family over for barbeques or dinner parties, outdoor lighting can make your garden safer in the evening and it also lights up your home beautifully. Find an extensive range of beautiful garden lighting including wall lights, ground lighting and post lights.
- Buy Some Garden Furniture
A beautiful patio isn’t complete without some stylish and inviting seating. Whether you choose a simple garden bench or a large table and chair set, the right furniture can really help to transform your outdoor space. When buying furniture for your garden, it’s important to consider the different materials such as wood, plastic, metal, wicker or rattan. Each will have a different cleaning / repainting / polishing method so always ask the retailer for care instructions.
- Hanging Plants
Prettify your front or back garden with some lovely hanging baskets. Get these in time for spring and watch the colourful flowers blossom just in time for the sunny season. Hanging baskets are available pre-arranged from your garden centre or you can create your own.
- Add a Bird Feeder to Your Garden
Attract birds to your garden by adding a bird feeder. Birds are great if you love waking up to the sound of gentle chirping or if you want your garden to feel more friendly and ‘alive’. Bird feeders are available from most garden centres or online garden shops. But if you want to make your own, you can create one from various recycled or unused materials in the home.
This is a guest blog provided on behalf of Scotlight Direct.
I have just been out to lay
out the hose for watering the garden early tomorrow
I thought there were swarms of midgis in the air around my head -
Went on with laying out the hose - then looked up & discovered they weren't midgis at all.
They were clusters of Larks, very high in the clear evening sky, swerling round & round.
They were so high I could only JUST hear their screeches.
...Fasinating sight as the light began to turn pink.
They are not finicky about what I put on their plates but they would take their time to digest bones and the like. They love meat but it gets stolen from the darlings by rats and foxes and other baddies.
They would demonstrate a love of paper and cardboard but take their time to digest. In fact slugs love card and would be in the compost recycling it more quickly. Composteers like me dislike slugs because they use the new earth as a storage and transportation hub.
The store is for laying and keeping eggs; the transportation hub is to let the dormant eggs and newly hatched Eartling babies and slugs travel to the wilds of other places in the allotment plot and garden! Ughrrr!
Once in these places the baby slugs gorge themselves on ............need I go on?
I only compost white paper - tissues and kitchen sheet - the latter with kitchen vegetable oil from wiped frying pans etc. Other papers are more than not covered in priters inks and other tackies which may contain heavy metals - so that stuff goes to recycling facilities: not the compost bin.