Category Archives: Seasonal

5 Materials to Mulch Your Garden With This Summer

Applying a mulch to garden beds and borders is generally a great habit to get into, and is beneficial at most times in the year. It helps to keep moisture and goodness in the soil, keeps plant’s roots warm and suppresses weeds. Early summer is a great time to mulch, reducing the need to water as regularly as normal when the heat arrives. However, you can be creative with what you use to mulch, rather than traditional manure or bark chippings. Below are five environmentally-friendly materials that you can use to protect your plants.

Garden compost

Mulching the base of a cut back Agapanthus with natural garden compost - © GAP Photos

Mulching the base of a cut back Agapanthus with natural garden compost – © GAP Photos

Mulching with home-made garden compost is a fantastic way of giving the soil surrounding your plants a nutrient boost, as well as reusing your garden waste.

Marbles

Carex in red seaside bucket with mulch of marbles - © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

Carex in red seaside bucket with mulch of marbles – © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

Why not make your mulching decorative and include glass pebbles or marbles? These materials are probably better suited to mulching plants in containers, so they can all be kept together and do not end up getting lost around the garden.

Grass Cuttings

Solanum tuberosum 'Epicure' - Applying grass clippings as a mulch to earthed up organic Potatoes - © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Solanum tuberosum ‘Epicure’ – Applying grass clippings as a mulch to earthed up organic Potatoes – © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Don’t add your grass cuttings to the compost heap, instead spread them under plants in borders or over your vegetable garden to add goodness to the soil. This method is sustainable, and good for the environment and your garden.

Straw

Fragaria - Ripening strawberries mulched with straw in June - © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Fragaria – Ripening strawberries mulched with straw in June – © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Straw is a fantastic mulch to use in the summer, especially for low-growing fruit and vegetables such as strawberries, as it creates a clean barrier between the harvest and the soil, and keeps the plant’s roots cool.

Broken slate and pebbles

Step 7 of planting an Acer in a terracotta pot - Cover the surface with broken shale for extra drainage - © GAP Photos/BBC Magazines Ltd

Step 7 of planting an Acer in a terracotta pot – Cover the surface with broken shale for extra drainage – © GAP Photos/BBC Magazines Ltd

Adding stones and pebbles as a mulch to containers and pots serves as both a decorative and practical purpose. It keeps moisture in the soil, and adds a natural topdressing to hide unsightly soil.

The Right Support

Large clump of unsupported Sedum spectabile flopping from centre - © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

Large clump of unsupported Sedum spectabile flopping from centre – © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

If there is one garden job that is often missed in the spring, but proves beneficial later on in the season, it’s providing support for vegetable crops, annuals and herbaceous perennials. Plants often flop outwards under the weight of their own flowers and fruit, or bend towards the light; and a few stakes and a bit of string help can prevent this from happening.

Although support can be installed later in the season as required, it is often a good idea to have the framework in place before plant growth really takes off in late spring. Now is a great time to start as you should be able to see where the new growth is, but still have the space to add support without damaging any foliage or roots. Better yet, if you are also planting, you can incorporate a support system at the same time.

When it comes to plant supports, they can be as fancy or simple as you like. Some bamboo canes and string will provide efficient support to climbing annuals such as sweet peas. A few wooden stakes drummed in around the base of a herbaceous perennial, with string laced between them will help the plant upright.

Also consider how you can use plants to decorate structures in your garden. Clematis look beautiful as they steadily climb their way up decorative obelisks. Archways and pergolas can be turned into cool, shady areas in the summer if covered by a sun-loving vine.

Here we have put together ideas for simple and effective plant supports to try now, so that you can spend the summer admiring your garden rather than rushing around in the heat supporting it.

Simple Ways to Incorporate Nature into your Easter Decorations:


While some years we may celebrate Easter before it feels as though the spring has truly arrived, common themes to the celebrations include new life, colour and light. After dark and gloomy winters, the sight of fresh leaves on branches and flower buds in our gardens are a welcome sight.

If you are having family and friends round for Easter celebrations, why not lift everyone’s spirits with simple and decorative centrepieces that embrace what nature currently has on offer. Save egg shells and gather moss, cut spring flowers and the budding branches of deciduous trees and shrubs, and bring them all together for pretty and vibrant displays.