Thursday 12 April 2018

Getting to Grips with Your Garden

Your garden is full of life and colour but if it feels like it can sometimes run away with you, you need these top gardening hacks. Save time on weeding and pruning, and more time relaxing and enjoying your garden.

The list of gardening jobs is never-ending. Just as you get to the end of one list, another one starts. When the summer sunshine finally arrives, you want to enjoy it as much as possible but you can’t because the plants are out of control, the garden benches need cleaning and painting, and there is the fence to repair and paint too…

You need these top gardening hacks to save time and effort and maximise relaxation time.

#1 Get to know your garden
If you are new to gardening or you are learning to spend more time in your patch of outdoors, you need spend time getting to know it. This means tracking the path of the sun through the day, understanding the soil type (clay, sand, peat etc.), how the wind affects your garden and what kind of plants will thrive in these conditions.

#2 Jot it down
The best and most experienced gardeners keep a journal. They note down dates that certain plants and bulbs were planted, they noted their success, along with what the weather was like.

You can do with a notebook and pen or you can revolutionise your gardening techniques by involving the digital age in everything from which onions to plant and when, to understanding the latest thinking of wild gardens and meadows. There are many gardening apps suitable for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

#3 Rainbows of colour take more effort
If you want a garden awash with colour – and who doesn’t? – you have probably planted all colours of plants and shrubs about the place. But here’s the thing: to keep this rainbow of colour going takes energy and effort.

The colour of the flower will often denote the conditions it likes to live in, as well as how sturdy it is and how long it will last. Sometimes, the best way to get colour into the garden is to opt for similar coloured blooms with fantastic contrasting foliage. This means great colour all season with minimal effort.

#4 Drink coffee
This is a two-pronged attack – one, after an hour or two pottering in the garden, take time to relax on your garden bench and drink coffee.
But not any old coffee – use ground coffee so that you have the used grounds for use as a rich fertiliser dug into the soil. Full of nitrogen, potassium and other minerals, coffee grounds give a quick and satisfying injection of goodness into the soil, as well as improving the drainage. Watch your magnolias and azaleas burst forth with extra vigour!

#5 Prune in spring and prune regularly
What takes time with pruning is when you leave too big a gap between one pruning session and another. In the main growing seasons of spring and summer, you should make snipping most shrubs a weekly, if not more frequent, task. Spend a few minutes keeping straggly growth under control rather than hours battling unruly stems and branches.

#6 Same for deadheading
Bedding plants such as pansies and violas are cheap and cheerful plants for filling gaps, as well as troughs and pots. When the flower is done, it withers and becomes a seed pod – this seed pods then disperses it seeds when knocked. But it takes more energy to produce a seed pod than a flower.

So, the plant can soon wither and look pasts its best, plus you have no colourful nodding heads to admire. As soon as you see the flower head has drooped, snip it off and the plant will produce another flower.

Do this quick job of an evening and watch the plant produce more flowers for months on end.

#7 Mulch not weed
Weeding is the task that takes forever. When you should be reclining on a garden bench enjoy the sun and the latest best-selling novel, you are on your knees, grovelling in flower beds to pinch out the pesky weeds that are suffocating your lovely plants.

The answer is simpler than you think – mulch. From shop-bought bags of bark to creating your own, a top layer of mulch keeps goodness in the soil and weeds under control. Use with a weed liner for extra effectiveness.

Your garden should be a place to enjoy, and not a place to toil for hours on end. Don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of your labour in the garden this summer!

Garden Benches know about gardening hacks, including tips on how to get the best from garden benches and hardwood furniture. Connect with them on Twitter to find out more.

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