Monthly Archives: June 2014

Herbs!

Herbs – the quintessential plants – aromatic, culinary, medicinal and beautiful; the huge range of textures and colours make herbs a delicious asset to gardens and kitchens.

Planting young parsley - © Visions/GAP Photos

Planting young parsley – © Visions/GAP Photos

Consider sowing your own herb plants from seed, you will save money and you can really plan your crop. You can sow many of them in spring. Basil, chervil and parsley can go in quite early and will do well when container grown until you decide if you want to transplant the plugs elsewhere.  If there is a cold spring, bring your young plants inside to avoid any late frosts.

Picking Parsley from a raised bed - © FhF Greenmedia/GAP Photos

Picking Parsley from a raised bed – © FhF Greenmedia/GAP Photos

Picking herbs regularly will really benefit herbs like basil and thinning out of parsley will give room for the others to thrive. This shouldn’t be a task as herbs are a healthy and tasty addition to your food.

Chopping and freezing Basil for Pesto. Adding freshly cut Basil leaves to ice cube tray - © GAP Photos

Chopping and freezing Basil for Pesto. Adding freshly cut Basil leaves to ice cube tray – © GAP Photos

There will be times when hardier herbs like mint, marjoram, chives, bay, sage and thyme need cutting back. Once harvested consider preserving them. Annuals including basil or parsley can be chopped and put into an ice cube tray, add a little water and freeze, for handy sized portions of herbs to add to your cooking. You can dry rosemary, bay and thyme to name a few, pick and divide into small bunches before tying upside down in a warm dry place and make small bouquet garni bundles.

Rosemary cuttings - woman holding wooden tray of newly planted cuttings in pots - © GAP Photos

Rosemary cuttings – woman holding wooden tray of newly planted cuttings in pots – © GAP Photos

It is also possible to take cuttings of the more bushy and woody herbs such as rosemary, lavender, sage and bay. Propagating is a great way to produce new young plants, save money and keep your herb garden topped up.

And if by mistake or choice your herbs flower, it is worth leaving them to go to seed. This will enable to collect and keep the seeds for sowing next year.

Stunning silver

Silver foliage can be really eye-catching and break the sequence of green leaves in any flowerbed. The silvery grey leaves seem to go with just about every colour of flower – complimenting other dusky tones them or acting as a calming backdrop to bright reds and oranges. Many drought tolerant plants also have silver coloured foliage as the colour reflects some of the suns rays. These plants can also have soft hairs on their leaves making them lovely to feel and these help to retain moisture. Think about adding them to a mixed container for architectural interest or in a silver-grey and white themed border – they look great everywhere.

Eryngium giganteum 'Silver Ghost' - Sea Holly - © Tommy Tonsberg/GAP Photos

Eryngium giganteum ‘Silver Ghost’ – Sea Holly – © Tommy Tonsberg/GAP Photos

Texture
Choose plants with great texture. Eryngium giganteum ‘Silver Ghost’ – Sea Holly adds height, texture in stunning eye-catching colour. This looks great when left in winter too.

Silver candle holder and glass paperweight - © GAP Photos

Silver candle holder and glass paperweight – © GAP Photos

Themed spaces
You can decorate your garden table, terraces or balconies with a silver theme, using new or vintage metal candleholders and containers planted with succulents with silvery-grey tones or compliment a white garden with cool, steely leaved plants.

Santolina chamaecyparissus with Salvia officinalis 'Purpurea' - © Howard Rice/GAP Photos

Santolina chamaecyparissus with Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurea’ – © Howard Rice/GAP Photos

Herbs
Combine herbs for colour and scent as well as flavour. Santolina chamaecyparissus with Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurea’ makes a great mixture. The foliage will almost illuminate any container or herb bed.

Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' - © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ – © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

Go for grass
Ornamental grasses are an asset to any garden, border or container – they move in the breeze and add structure and interest, more so when the foliage is a silvery tone – try this Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ iridescent greens, blues and silver catch the sunlight.

The return of ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’

Two girls in garden, hanging seat under Weeping Willow - © Paul Debois/GAP Photos

Two girls in garden, hanging seat under Weeping Willow – © Paul Debois/GAP Photos

Furniture in your garden needn’t be a permanent fixture. You can use temporary seating very effectively to use in your outdoor spaces without committing to anything in particular. This will give you flexibility depending on weather, space and number of people using it.

Blue bench between roses with small table - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Blue bench between roses with small table – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Furniture can also be a quick and stylish way to add some colour to your garden. Your choice can compliment your existing colour scheme, borders or container planting or brighten up a green palette or a shady area. You can paint an existing table and chairs or you might have a beloved red chair that will inspire your other choices for your garden. Breathe new life into an old wooden bench with a lick of colourful paint to bring a modern twist to your outdoor space.

Table set for breakfast, Garden Towanda, Mistelbach Austria - © Robert Mabic/GAP Photos

Table set for breakfast, Garden Towanda, Mistelbach Austria – © Robert Mabic/GAP Photos

Vintage style is all the rage and using a mixture of your finds or favourite family furniture in the garden can look homely and stylish. Mixing colours, wood and metal seats and tables adds to the charm and can save you money.

Deckchair on lawn and a bunch of orange Dahlias - © Juliette Wade/GAP Photos

Deckchair on lawn and a bunch of orange Dahlias – © Juliette Wade/GAP Photos

Deck chairs are also a simple choice for any space. They instantly add that fun feeling of beach holidays and summer escapes. They are available in colourful patterns or plain, and of course fold away for easy storage. And hammocks and swings can be a great way to relax. What could be nicer than swaying too and fro with the breeze after a long day?

Banquette seating under pergola - © Lynn Keddie/GAP Photos

Banquette seating under pergola – © Lynn Keddie/GAP Photos

For instant style, just add cushions. Use soft furnishings to make sitting in your garden more comfortable and as a quick way to update tired or out of date furniture. You can go the whole hog with full-length sofa style padding or simply put a selection of colourful or co-ordinated cushions on existing chairs and benches.