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Saturday March 06 , 2021

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

Recent blog posts

April Garden Jobs

Posted by on in Gardening

secateurs-240Some of the jobs that can be done in your garden this month are:

  • Dividing perennials - any plants that you didn't get to last month, now's the time to replant them around your garden to increase your border stocks (or give to friends if you don't have any space in your own garden!)
  • Keep weeding the borders, annual weeds should be easy to pull out by hand but the perennials will need digging out
  • If you haven't cut back your ornamental grasses yet this is the last chance to do it or there may well be a chance of damaging the emerging shoots
  • Get sowing your annuals
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March Garden Jobs

Posted by on in Gardening

secateurs-240A few jobs that can be done this month:

  • Prune heathers by removing dead flower heads being careful not to cut into old wood
  • Keep on top of and remove germinating weeds
  • Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials to encourage invigorated growth and increase your garden stock
  • Gently scarify your lawn if not done in the autumn
  • Mow lawns regularly on a high setting for the first few cuts
  • Lay turf or seeds from the end of this month and into April
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Fabulous front gardens - the benefits

Posted by on in Garden Design

front-garden-designIn all of the years we’ve been designing gardens we’re rarely asked to do anything with a front garden.  We seem to think long and hard about what we want from our back gardens but rarely approach our front gardens with the same level of gusto – or indeed with any level of gusto to be fair – which is a shame.  

When we ask clients what they want from their back gardens the lists we get back are usually long and multi-faceted  but ask somebody what they want from their front garden and most people tend to lean towards the ‘somewhere to park the car’ and ‘somewhere to hide the bins’ approach, and don’t take their thoughts any further. But why stop there?  We may not want to sit out and entertain in the front garden but a fabulous front garden is in reach of anyone who has one and in this first article of two I’m going to try to convince you why it’s worth going beyond the total paving approach to our front gardens and opting instead for a beautiful, planted but still functional space. 

So, in no particular order here are our top 5 reasons to choose a fabulous front garden...

  • Aesthetics. Put simply, a street full of lovely front gardens is a nicer place to be and see, but aesthetics have an economic trade off as well because that kerbside appeal translates into improved house prices.  A well kept front garden tops the list of the top 5 exterior must-haves for homebuyers with almost a third of us being willing to pay up to 25% more for a home with kerbside-appeal.  
  • Supporting wildlife.  While gardens will never replace natural habitats they are an important nature reserve that can support a substantial range of wildlife. Evidence is growing that some species that were once common in low-intensity farmland are now more abundant in urban areas and particularly in domestic gardens.
  • Mitigate flooding. More and more of us are increasing the amount of paving we have in our gardens, especially our front gardens; a trend that has been linked to a higher frequency and magnitude of flooding in those areas with increased levels of impervious paving. Recognising these problems the UK now has legislation relating to front gardens and flooding.  Simply put, permeable surfaces and planted up front gardens help prevent flooding.  Vegetation, especially trees, acts like a storm water management tool.  It captures intense rainfall and temporarily holds it in its canopy which eases demands on urban drains. At its other end vegetation encourages better infiltration of water into the soil which reduces surface water flows.  
  • Reduce urban temperatures.  Urban areas – dominated by dark and impervious surfaces – absorb considerably more heat and reflect considerably less than planted surfaces; which makes them warmer than planted areas. This is essentially what causes the urban heat island effect where cities experience higher than normal temperatures as compared to surrounding rural areas. Current research suggests that a 10% increase in vegetated surfaces in urban areas would help manage the rise of summertime air temperatures due to climate change; our front gardens have the potential to significantly contribute to this goal.
  • Improve human health. Much research points to the benefit of green spaces in human health terms – alleviating stress, improving cognitive function, improved self discipline; reduced illness levels, better relaxation and being able to cope with trauma have all been evidenced, while the act of gardening brings with it physical health benefits too.

This list isn’t exhaustive but when so many positive consequences can come from reconsidering and treating your front garden as a garden rather than a car park and bin store why wouldn’t you opt for a fabulous front garden?  Tips for how to achieve one though is an article for another day so please look out for part 2 coming soon!

 

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March Gardens

Posted by on in Gardening

tulipleavesinspringThis month we should start to notice the sun warming up, the grass starting to grow and of course the early spring bulbs will be gracing us with their presence brightening up our borders and generally making us smile! The weather though this month can be changeable so don’t be tempted to remove any protective fleeces on your tender plants. Visit garden centres and nurseries this month to see a vast array of bedding plants but be aware that we can still have some sharp frosts so you may need to keep them in the greenhouse or under cover until the threat of frosts have passed.

With the sun’s warmth getting stronger the germination of weeds will begin in earnest now so it is really important to hoe them out. Any perennial weeds will need to be dug out now before they really start to take hold. Applying mulch to the soil this time of year is good because it will keep all the moisture in and cut down on the amount of weeds germinating.

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Garden Design Quick Tip - Man Made Texture

Posted by on in Garden Design

20150720-111210Good use of texture in the garden is often the thing that brings that final touch of finesse to your design – it is a key tool for designers in creating visual excitement and emotional response when viewing a garden, and often a key element in achieving a good textural tapestry is the planting.  

But while plant shape (form); colour; leaf size, shape and texture; along with positioning all combine texturally, plants alone don’t always create the ‘whole’ textural picture in a garden – it is often the man-made things that we put with them that add to the mix and creates the fuller view.  Think patios, pathways, containers, structures, sculptures, etc – these elements can all add harmony, impact and depth to the textural scene.

Along with function and form, the texture of these man-made elements help define the feel and visual impact of a garden, for instance, if you want a contemporary space then smooth, sleek surfaces with sharp edges add that touch of ‘precision’ that many contemporary gardens exhibit. Conversely if you long for a more relaxed, cottage garden style then reclaimed brick, cobbles or rivened finishes lend themselves well here.  

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