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Monday December 17 , 2018

Blue Daisy Blog

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

Planning for Spring in Autumn

Posted by on in Garden Design

Tulip 'Ballade'

Yes, that’s right and there’s no better time than late autumn to plan for spring!  The garden centres, nurseries and in some cases even supermarkets have huge amounts of spring flowering bulbs for sale right now so it really is the perfect time to buy and plant them.   Just the sight of snowdrops or daffodils can make even us feel just a little excited that spring is on the way and the cold Winter months are being left far behind us.  Spring plants are also one of the earliest sources of nectar for our emerging bees and other pollinating insects that really need do need a food source.

Some people I have spoken to see bulbs on sale and buy a selection of those they know or have heard of and plant them up and there is nothing wrong with that at all.  However, if this is you why not try something different this year and here’s a few questions to ask yourself which could influence your decision:

  • What bulbs did you buy last year?  
  • Does your garden have a particular colour scheme throughout the year?
  • Are you aware of any planting gaps in the borders around spring?

Once you have the answers to these questions you’ll have more of an idea how to plan for early colour next year.   If you don’t have a colour scheme in your garden don’t worry just try to think of a pleasing colour scheme and use it to plan for spring, it will be fun!  

There are so many different varieties of tulips some are late spring and others early summer but you can find those that are a solid colour and others mixed.   Let’s take soft, muted pinks and purples as our colour scheme for this example Tulips, e.g. Tulipa ‘China Pink’, T. ‘Ballade’ (see main photo, above), T. ‘Greuze’ or T. ‘Queen of the Night’.  So, where do daffodils fit with these colours?  There are several varieties of daffodils that are white or cream with limited yellow in the centre so you could look out for those rather than the bright yellow ones that are likely to clash Narcissus actaea e.g. Narcissus ‘Actaea’ (photo, left) or N. ‘Cool Crystal’.  White is a colour that is often used sparingly in planting design for the eye to naturally rest and this provides a comfortable break or pause from colours.  Snowdrops will do this perfectly, there are so many different varieties why not try a different one this year?  You could try Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’ or G. elwesii. There are a huge variety of bulbs or other small flowering plants in so many different colour schemes that can add interest in your spring garden such as Fritillaria meleagris, Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’, Eryanthis hyemalis, Muscari armeniacum, Primula vulgaris also crocus and various cylamen.

Once you have decided upon your bulbs check which months they flower to ensure that you have colour as early as possible and every month right through until your established garden plants begin to come into their own.  Don’t forget to plant up your containers too as they will give you more interest and you can move them around the garden. If you have squirrels in your area lay some chicken wire or similar over the containers for protection until they start to grow.

The next stage is to buy them and remember a tool to plant them with, if you have only bought a few you would get away with a hand held tool if you’ve bought a lot it would be worth investing in one with a long handle that you can use standing up.  Buying the right tools for the job makes the job much more pleasurable and less painful!!  

We’ve only really touched lightly on planning for spring, if you want to know what to do now for your garden in spring give us a call we’ll be happy to come out and give you some advice.


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A Garden for all Seasons

Posted by on in Garden Design

A garden is not just for summer it’s for 12 months of the year!

winteryew2Some people often think that as soon as the leaves fall and the dark nights come everything stops in the garden.  Well, they couldn’t be more wrong – while, for most of the year your garden is an entertaining space,  a playground for children or a showcase for your favourite plants – it’s also there for 12 months of the year and since I’m sure you’ll be able to see it from more than one window of your home, it's also a winter vista, so why not make the most of it?

Personal style
We all have a preferred way we like our home and gardens to look and that identity is very personal, it isn’t right or wrong, it is our choice.  Some people like to have their garden pristine with lawn edges sharp, any sign of dead or decaying plants quickly removed;perennials that are beginning to die down and over winter underground are swiftly cut back.  This results in a very neat and tidy garden for winter which more often than not just leaves the evergreen plants or shrubs and any deciduous trees or shrubs as the only structure in the garden.

Tagged in: winter garden
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Garden Design Project - Earlsdon, Coventry

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The clients' current garden had been inherited and they felt it didn't flow well, needed updating and the initial brief for the style of this garden was low maintenance with a contemporary twist, it would be used for impromptu morning coffees, reading the weekend papers, socialising with small gatherings of friends and family or maybe having a barbeque in the summer. Hard landscaping materials the clients preferred were brick, gravel, natural timber, sleepers and slate. A bin storage area and shed at the bottom of the garden along with a small lawn and a Brabantia foldable washing line was a must. The project as always came with some problem areas - the garden sloped down from the house and the level of the garden was higher than a neighbours meaning that the land needed retaining to keep within the garden boundary it currently had a small wall that acted as a retainer but also seemed, wrongly to be a focal point too!

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What is a Ha-Ha?

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A ha-ha looks like a ditch that has a vertical brick retaining wall on one side which is unseen from the main house and gardens, the ditch is usually turf and slopes back up to ground level.  The ha-ha is situated at the edge of the garden or pleasure grounds that surround the main house, the main purpose is to provide uninterrupted views of the estate or parklands and distant coutryside views.

Visually from the house or pleasure grounds there are seamless views however it also stops livestock such as cows, deer or sheep from entering and destroying the gardens yet allows them close enough to graze and been seen.

Tagged in: Capability Brown ha ha
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Chelsea 2011

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It can't have escaped your notice that was the RHS Chelsea Flower Show recently and what a show it was from beautiful displays in the floral marquee through to amazing show gardens!  For me it was the show gardens that really attracted me the most, don't get me wrong I am a plant lover but I prefer to look at plants in situ and see how they work with other plants and different materials.

An RHS Gold Medal and The Best In Show Award went to The Daily Telegraph Garden designed by Cleve West who demonstrates how the more traditional materials can be combined with more modern materials comfortably.  Space too was included in his design which is a brave yet confident move, a lot of show gardens are crammed full but this space added to the calm and peacefulness of the garden.  For me personally it wasn't best in show - call me what you will but I didn't feel inspired and excited by this garden, I loved the planting and the clever use of materials but it felt 'comfy'.

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