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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

Tobermore - Factory Visit

Posted by on in Garden Design

Tobermore3-425A while ago I visited the Tobermore plant in Belfast.  Tobermore produce concrete paving and walling.  I have generally used natural materials in my designs but was really keen to see a product that would compare well for a limited budget.

Tobermore use German technology and machinery to produce their wide range of products. They pride themselves on having managed to reduce the occurrence of efflorescence.  Efflorescence is the cause of those unsightly white marks that can appear on concrete setts after laying.  With new manufacturing methods, their concrete pavers last longer and produce less customer complaints in comparison with those of some of the UK market leaders.  

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Panic for Fence Panels? Think again!

Posted by on in News & Views

holly-hedgeLots of us have been affected by continuous storms and constant battering by the rain causing damage not only to plants in our gardens but fencing too. This has led to a national shortage of fence panels to the extent that according to the BBC, prices have risen by up to 30%.  Newspapers have also reported that a black market has opened up with 'normal' - usually budget - fences being offered at £80 a panel!

That's extortionate but it's also an extremely good reason to consider creating a green boundary in your garden instead of fence paneling.  It's no secret that we love plants here at Blue Daisy and we love living boundaries, here are some of the reasons why...

  • They can look fantastic - Beech, Hornbeam, Photinia Red Robin, Box, Pyracantha, Berberis, Holly (non-invasive) Bamboo the list goes on... green boundaries look great and can sound great too
  • They are functional - they give us the privacy we so often crave and can in some cases act as a sound barrier (not completely but much better than a fence panel can)
  • They're great for wildlife, not only for birds and mammals but in many cases for our beleaguered pollinators too (see Pledge for Pollinators and RHS Wildflower Plants for Pollinators List Released for further information about pollinating insects)
  • They add interest - because they are living many will change with the season
  • Sure you will need to maintain them but living boundaries - hedges - can help distribute and dissipate wind as it passes through its leaves and branches - this can be really beneficial for protecting the microclimate of your garden.  It also makes them more likely to survive high winds and stormy weather.

So what are you waiting for?  Contact us to organise your new living boundary today!

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Heads up! National Gardening Week is coming!

Posted by on in News & Views

sunflower-1Did you know that it will be National Gardening Week during 14-20 April?  This initiative by the Royal Horticultural Society was launched 3 years ago to celebrate gardening.  Thousands of people across the country come together to help keep Britain beautiful by hosting garden open days, garden parties, quizzes, plant swaps and other activities like sharing advice or lending helping hands to friends, neighbours and the local community. 

You can find out more on the national gardening week website: http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk

In addition this year Britain in Bloom will be 50 years old so it is planned to sow half a million sunflower seeds. Gardening groups across Britain will be sowing sunflowers to celebrate in a ‘Growing for Gold’ theme using pollinator-friendly varieties including ‘Giant Single’, ‘Moonwalker’, ‘Taiyo’ and ‘Vanilla Ice’. 

So be on the look-out for lots of bright golden sunflowers this year! And why not consider taking part too by sowing some seeds of your own?  Sunflowers are great additions to the garden or allotment - children love them, they're jolly, joyous and look amazing too!

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Garden Design Quick Tip: Flow

Posted by on in Garden Design

flow1Flow is quite an important element to consider when planning your garden, it can be what holds it all together and is often about how we move people through the space.  Whether we know it or not regardless of the style of garden people like to know the rules for example, where to enter, how to get around, where to look and where to sit.  As humans we relate to order, we find comfort in that and a smooth transition of these areas creates a comfortable and enjoyable flow through the garden to a destination.
 
To create flow you would need to firstly look at the garden entrance, it is here that we need a bold statement which should say ‘this is the way in’ it must be extending the invitation to us to enter.   This can be created with elements such as arches or pergolas which are obvious and can’t be missed or even clever planting either side of the entrance can also encourage us to enter. 

Once inside the garden we need to know how to navigate around it and how to get the most out of the space; this could be in the form of pathways.  Depending on the mood of the garden the pathways could, for example, be a loose material e.g. gravel or bark which would create a slower pace; or if you wanted people to speed up a lawn with its even surface invites a quicker pace taking us to the next garden area.  A lawn is often used as a unifying element as it offers a calming effect with its restful green colour which leads us on through the garden.

Focal points that draw the eye to different areas within the garden create interest but also by keeping a similar theme will unify these elements and help the garden to flow by tying those spaces together. It can be in the form of repeat planting for example, box balls (Buxus sempervirens) can be used in this context; or it could be a repeat of the hard landscaping materials throughout the garden.  Continuity is critical; by using the same paving or gravel in different garden sections it will stop the eye from jarring at the varying colours and textures.  Instead it will allow the eye to relax and the order and transitions to flow more smoothly.

Creating a little mystery in a garden makes it more interesting but it needs to relate to the rest of the garden. By teasing people with a desire to find out ‘what’s around the corner’ we elicit a positive interaction with the garden and a more diverse experience – through a different perspective – of the space.

However large or small your garden is you can create a good flow through the space successfully by following these few rules. 

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Coton Manor Gardens

Posted by on in Garden Visits

hellebore-2

If you’ve never been to Coton Manor Gardens it’s well worth finding a spot for it in your garden visits diary. 

It’s not too far away – nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside – and it won’t take you long to get around its 10 acre garden, but there are little vistas of gorgeousness around every turn that are definitely worth seeing.

The manor dates back to the 17th century but it was in the 1920s that the garden was established.  They gently slope away from the house through a series of terraces which allows for the creation of a variety of themed areas.  Even though they’re not very big the gardens do manage to accommodate a wide variety of flora and fauna and each season brings with it a different star attraction. We tootled along for the last weekend of their snowdrops and hellebore fortnight (22 February – 9 March) and although there wasn’t too much to see plant-wise outside of these two spring-time stalwarts they still managed to deliver an understated but spectacular show...SnowdropPathway

crocus-1

If our photos have inspired you to want to visit don’t despair about having missed the snowdrops and hellebores, Coton Manor is an English Country garden with all year round interest and next to show their faces will be their tulips and spring flower collections swiftly followed by their English bluebells – by all accounts one of the most spectacular bluebell woods in England - which, of course, are due to be looking their best at the end of April, early May.

Even though it’s still early for the rest of the garden it does have a lovely, restful feel to it with its water garden, lake, kitchen garden, yew and holly hedges.  Even the flamingos posed for a photo or two!  Coton Manor also has a plant nursery on site as well as a cafe and we can certainly recommend the lemon cake!

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