Monthly Archives: July 2014

Herbs, herbs, herbs!

Herbs and Dianthus in wooden boxes - 'A Woodland Kitchen Garden' Show Garden, Silver Award, Malvern Spring Show 2013 - © Michael King/GAP Photos

Herbs and Dianthus in wooden boxes – ‘A Woodland Kitchen Garden’ Show Garden, Silver Award, Malvern Spring Show 2013 – © Michael King/GAP Photos

Herbs do really well in containers inside your home or in the garden. Some of the perennial herbs will spread out of control if left to roam in your garden, so they are much better contained anyway. You can really enhance your space by planting a combination of delicious herbs in a decorative recycled container or vintage find. Create a really individual display with recycled objects like an old wooden crate or rustic cabinet drawer so you and your herbs can really stand out from the crowd.

Glasses with Basil leaves used as table decorations - © Simone Augustin/GAP Photos

Glasses with Basil leaves used as table decorations – © Simone Augustin/GAP Photos

With so many different colours, textures and scents available, herbs make great displays for your dining table or you could take this even further by creating a planter that is embedded in your outdoor dining room. Harvested herbs placed in glasses of water on a table bring summer freshness to your meal times.

Finished herb planter with Violas - © GAP Photos

Finished herb planter with Violas – © GAP Photos

Strawberry planters are perfect containers for herbs to show off lovely layers of plants and make them easy to harvest. Upright herbs like chives and mint will give height and the silvery foliage and flowers of marjoram will trail over the sides. You can combine your herbs with favourite flowering annuals to make a colourful display.

Old tea pots planted with herbs - Sage, Thyme, Mint, Parsley and Rosemary - © Pernilla Bergdahl/GAP Photos

Old tea pots planted with herbs – Sage, Thyme, Mint, Parsley and Rosemary – © Pernilla Bergdahl/GAP Photos

You can choose whatever container you like for planting herbs, so why not show your personality and humour with some quirky pots. Keep a cooking theme going by using colourful pots and pans from your kitchen to plant your favourite herbs in.

Hanging basket of herbs - © GAP Photos

Hanging basket of herbs – © GAP Photos

If you are short on space but still want to grow your own herbs, a hanging basket can be a great solution. Choose a variety of herbs to really use the space afforded by hanging baskets. You can hang this fragrant and decorative basket anywhere, enjoying the scent as you go through the back door, harvesting the culinary delights whenever you like.

The Joy of Colour Clashing in the Garden by Faith Ramsey

One of my joys in designing gardens and indeed in planting my own is playing with different colours. The beauty of gardens and gardening is that there is always a chance to discover a new way of combining plants, not just year to year but season to season as various types of plants come into their own.

Mixed border with tulips - © Juliette Wade/GAP Photos

Mixed border with tulips – © Juliette Wade/GAP Photos

Over recent years I have started playing with colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel so they clash rather than complement For instance, I have found that bringing in an orange to play against a purple or blue really makes both colours stand out and brings an energy to the border. This works well for the Spring garden with tulips where the colours livening up borders after the darkness of winter. However, it can really come into its own in the sunshine of summer when the light makes the oranges glow, and the purple of plants like verbena bonariensis, nepeta and lavenders is now acting as a ‘rest’ from the vibrancy of the colour shown by Geums, eschscholzia and tithonia.

What is great about this colour scheme is that it can continue through into the autumn, continuing to brighten up the days even as the nights draw in and one could argue that autumn perennials are the best in the orange spectrum, with heleniums and dahlias shining brightly

Author

Faith Ramsey - My Country Garden

Faith Ramsey – My Country Garden

Faith Ramsay
My Country Garden
www.mycountrygarden.co.uk

My Country Garden Design Solutions offers garden design, review and maintenance services in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey areas. We aim to help you have the garden of your dreams, whether that be a place to sit and dream a place to entertain or a space for the children.  Whatever you dream of when you think of your garden there is a design solution for you.

Timco Wood’s guide to an eco friendly garden

It is often difficult to manage your garden in an eco-friendly manner so we have developed an easy-to-follow guide on how you can have a great garden that does not impact on the environment.

Soil
Know your soil: taking a measurement of your soil to determine what type it is clay, chalk, loam or sand. It is also useful to check the pH level of the soil. This will help to determine whether you do need to add any neutralisers before planting.

Taking container of collected green kitchen waste to the compost bin in the garden - © Victoria Firmston/GAP Photos

Taking container of collected green kitchen waste to the compost bin in the garden – © Victoria Firmston/GAP Photos

With regards to fertiliser, if you can develop your own compost heap then do so. Using your own compost will help recycling not only in the home but the garden too. Old teabags, vegetable scraps, paper and more can be used – anything as long as it is natural material. Using your own compost is essential to create a natural and nutrient-rich environment for your garden. Compost improves the texture of your soil, aerates it for greater air and water absorption and It also helps to reduce the pH levels in your soil. Additionally, it reduces pollution. Healthy natural soil is a key factor in maintaining and eco-friendly garden.

Tools
Many gardeners do not realise that the tools they use can impact upon the environment and, while it is not always possible or practical to use a push mower for instance you can take small steps to ensure your garden is as eco-friendly as possible.

Stainless steel hand fork and trowel in lawn with morning dew - © Lee Avison/GAP Photos

Stainless steel hand fork and trowel in lawn with morning dew – © Lee Avison/GAP Photos

If you can use hand or electric tools rather than gas powered tools it will be beneficial to your garden. Gas powered products are liable to spillage which can damage grass and plants and also seep down to the lower soil levels.

If you do need to use other fertilisers or pesticides then use organic produce to again reduce the environmental impact of your garden.

Plants
Strike a balance between native and non-native plants. Native plants will grow better in your soil and benefit soil nutrient retention which will help to avoid the use of chemical products in your garden.

Potager in summer with raised beds and bench - © GAP Photos

Potager in summer with raised beds and bench – © GAP Photos

Planting trees is recommended as a way to improve the air quality of the garden but are useful to protect your garden against wind.

Quick tip: determine where the runoff of water is more pronounced and plant native trees and wildflowers there, they will be able to thrive and give a wilder look to that part of the garden.

Decoration
Gardens are made to be enjoyed and you can still decorate your garden tastefully while still paying attention to the environment. Solar powered lights are a great way to light your garden at night that won’t take up any electricity.

Solar powered lights illuminating border at night - © GAP Photos

Solar powered lights illuminating border at night – © GAP Photos

It can at first seem daunting to create an eco-friendly garden but these tips should help you on your way to enjoying your own truly green space.

If you want to cap off your eco-friendly garden with fencing, decking or planters Timco Wood has a range of FSC® certified composite timber products that can add a new, and green conscious , dimension to your eco friendly garden. More information on Timco Wood and products can be found here.

Timco Wood

Decking by Timco Wood

Decking by Timco Wood

Timco Wood is a UK based company which produces environmentally friendly composite wood products that are FSC® certified and fully recyclable. The range includes decking, fencing and  cladding to provide durable and sustainable additions to any garden area.

Follow Timco Wood on Twitter by clicking here.