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Tagged with 'gardening'

Ai-powered Robots can do your landscaping | Verdie

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Can an Ai robot do your garden landscaping?

Verdie uses artificial intelligence to automate landscaping by Electric Sheep Robotics


Electric sheep is an Ai and robotics company specialising in landscaping operations. With multiple adaptations and attachments, the landscaping robots can scale from small to large projects.

The robotics company initially focussed on their electric mowing robots called RAMs. These utilitarian machines focussed on one job to map out a location and maintain the grass autonomously. 

What does the Electric Sheep do?

Each robot uses Ai processing to develop a map of an area, highlight the operational zones, and predict when and for how long to operate on certain areas both short and long term. Mowing, trimming, edging, blowing leaves etc. 

Does the Electric Sheep play well with others?

RAMs integrate symbiotically with the system. On a large-scale plot you could send out multiple RAMs to cover the mowing of a large plot whilst the Electric Sheep manages the trimming and edging of the same area dynamically. 

Continuously learning, adapting and developing the system can optimise its operations to your land.

The company currently operates 40 RAM mowers in the US and is looking to launch Verdie early 2024 to both commercial and residential users. Yes, the future is here and it's working for you, not terminating your existence (Skynet). 

You can view the Verdie in action here...


Sadly we don't stock the Verdie, yet. But for all your garden maintenence needs we are still here to help.

 

Top 5 Mother's Day Gifts for Gardeners | March 2024

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Forget the flowers, Mother's Day gifts for gardeners who dig it

Alright, all you Mother's Day gift-givers, let's get real. Chocolates and carnations are lovely, but let's be honest, they'll be gone in a flash (or wilted in a vase). This year, let's show Mum we understand her. Let's celebrate the dirt under her fingernails and the green thumb that makes her garden an Eden. Let's shower her with gifts that speak to her soul, the soul of a gardener.

When is Mother's Day?

  • Sunday 10th March 2024, 4th Sunday of the Christian festival of lent. 

 What are Mother's Day symbols?

  • Carnations are the official Mother's Day flower, representing motherhood. They also symbolise love and gratitude.

Why is Mother's Day Pink?

  • Pink represents compassion and nurture. However, Green is also used to represent protection (mother nature) and yellow for an optimistic outlook. 

When is Mother's Day US?

  • Sunday 14th May 2024, the second Sunday.

What day is Mother's Day?

It always falls on a Sunday for most countries that celebrate the event.

 

Gifts that make life in the garden a breeze:

Tool time delight:

Garden tools are like kitchen gadgets for the green-fingered. A spiffy new trowel, a comfy kneeler that's kind to her knees, or maybe a sleek pair of pruners that snip with the satisfying precision of a samurai sword (minus the whole, y'know, beheading thing). These are the everyday heroes that make Mum's garden life easier and more enjoyable. 

Storage solutions that sing:

Does Mum's shed look like a gnome exploded in there? Help her wrangle the chaos with stylish and functional storage. Think woven baskets for bulbs, hanging shelves for tools, or a cute wheelbarrow for hauling mulch in style. Bonus points if you personalize it with her name or a gardening pun (we're all about "Lettuce celebrate Mum!" here). Fancy a more practical touch? Try are large organisational storage trunk, easily wheeled and manoeuvred. 

For indoors, try a discrete solution like a novelty hidden compartment in a footstool.

Tech that talks to the tomatoes:

Mum's a gardening goddess, but even goddesses need a little help sometimes. Smart gardening gadgets like soil moisture sensors, weather stations, or even robotic weeders can take her plant parenthood to the next level. Imagine the face-palm moment when she realizes she can water her garden from her phone while sipping margaritas on the beach. Priceless. But not everyone wants that, and that's why a top-up of plant food can still be a great gift.

Remember, the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart (and maybe the local nursery). Spend some time listening to Mum, pay attention to what she needs and loves in her garden, and choose a gift that shows you care about her passion. And hey, if you're feeling extra generous, offer to help her plant something new. Just be prepared to get your hands dirty – that's the price of admission to the awesome world of gardening moms!

Conquer the Seasons: Gardening Guide 2024

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Conquer the Seasons: Your Month-by-Month Gardening Guide 2024


Your garden transforms throughout the year, each month offering unique opportunities to nurture and coax your green haven to life. This comprehensive guide equips you with monthly top tips to navigate the changing seasons, from cozy winter tasks to the triumphant arrival of spring and summer fun.


What months are best for Gardening?

All year round there is something to do in the garden. Spring and Autumn/Fall are your best planting periods. March - May & July - September. 

How do you spend time in your garden in winter?

  1. Bird feeders and Water Baths 
  2. Make a snow angel?
  3. Light up your patch with lanterns
  4. Add some colour
  5. Try a firepit for outdoor heating

 What grows all year round in UK?

Broccoli, Brussels, Sprouts, Cabbages, Kale, Leaks and Parsnips.

What's a winter garden?

Hardy plants that thrive in bitter cold will do well in a winter garden. If you're looking for a low-maintenance garden, this could be for you. Try Boxwood, Winterberry and Witch Hazel. Pair these with Garlic, Onions, Brussel Sprouts, Spinach and Leaks for a range of plants and vegetables. 

What plant grows fastest in winter?

  • Herbs - instant growth to 8 weeks
  • Baby Carrots - 4 to 8 weeks
  • Kale - 4 to 8 weeks
  • Tomatoes - 10 to 12 weeks
  • Lettuce - 6 to 14 weeks
  • Peas - 9 to 11 weeks

 

December: Snuggle Up, Garden Sleeps

  • Embrace the slumber: Don't fret about bare branches and quiet beds. This is nature's time for rest and replenishment.
  • Clear the stage: Rake fallen leaves to prevent disease and pests, but leave some piles for overwintering wildlife.
  • Compost crunch: Gather fallen leaves and kitchen scraps for rich homegrown fertiliser – your future garden will thank you.
  • Mulch matters: Protect vulnerable beds with a cozy layer of bark or straw, offering insulation against frost and a haven for beneficial insects.
  • Plan for spring: Seed catalogs become your winter companions. Browse and order your favorites for early sowing, letting dreams of vibrant blooms and juicy harvests fill the chilly days.
  • Insulate your taps: Avoid the freeze by protecting pipes and taps and turning off the mains supply.
  • Feeding Birds: Hang fat balls, and top up bird feeders. 

 

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January: Dreaming of Green Dreams

  • Potting party: Start seeds indoors for early blooms of pansies, violas, and lettuce. Imagine them gracing your doorstep as winter loosens its grip.
  • Prune with purpose: While trees and shrubs slumber, it's the perfect time to shape them. Remove deadwood and overgrown branches for a neater, healthier garden come spring.
  • Tool TLC: Give your trusty tools some love. Clean and sharpen them to avoid spring-time rust and ensure they're ready to tackle the season's tasks.
  • Soil secrets: Unravel the mysteries of your soil. Test its pH to ensure optimal nutrient levels for spring planting. Knowing your soil is like understanding your garden's language.
  • Planter prep: Refresh and clean containers for upcoming balcony beauties. Imagine vibrant herbs and cascading flowers adorning your outdoor space as the days become longer.
  • Feed the Birds: Keep bird feeders and water bowls topped up. Add fresh water and clear any ice.
  • Harvest your Winter Veg: Parsnips, Swede, Sprouts, Turnips and Leaks.

 


February: Seeds of Hope

  • Sow indoors: Continue the indoor seed party! Peppers, tomatoes, and herbs eagerly await their turn to bring life to your garden.
  • Force some bulbs: Bring a touch of magic indoors. Narcissus, hyacinths, or paperwhites will reward you with fragrant, early blooms, chasing away winter's blues.
  • Tidy up beds: Remove any lingering debris and top-dress with fresh compost. Prepare the stage for your spring stars to shine.
  • Prepare for planting: Start chitting potatoes for an early harvest – the race to the first homegrown spud is on!
  • Build anticipation: Research new plant varieties and garden layouts. Let your imagination paint vibrant pictures of your future summer oasis.

 

 
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March: Spring Awakens

  • Seedling shuffle: Harden off your indoor seedlings – gradually expose them to outdoor temperatures, preparing them for their grand entrance into the garden.
  • Planting power: As the soil warms, sow hardy vegetables like spinach, radishes, and peas directly outdoors. Witness the magic of life bursting forth from tiny seeds.
  • Prune with precision: Cut back deadwood and overgrown branches from shrubs and trees. Give them a fresh start for the new season.
  • Weed warrior: Early weeds steal resources from your precious plants. Nip them in the bud to prevent them from taking over.
  • Welcome butterflies: Plant nectar-rich flowers like lavender and butterfly bush. Attract these fluttering friends and add a touch of whimsy to your garden.

 


April: Green Glory Explodes

  • Planting frenzy: It's a symphony of sowing! Direct sow a wide range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers outdoors. Let your garden become a canvas of vibrant colors and delicious possibilities.
  • Divide and conquer: Split perennials that have become overcrowded. Share the bounty with friends or expand your own floral horizons.
  • Mulch madness: Apply a fresh layer of mulch. It's a garden hero, conserving moisture, suppressing weeds, and keeping the soil cool.
  • Watering wisdom: Deeply water new plantings and seedlings, especially during dry spells. Give them a helping hand as they establish themselves in their new home.
  • Enjoy the bounty: Start harvesting early greens and salad leaves. Savor the taste of fresh, homegrown goodness – the reward for your dedication.

 


May: Garden Grandeur

  • Deadhead delights: Remove spent flowers to prolong blooming and encourage new buds. Your garden will be a vibrant tapestry of colour all summer long.
  • Support squad: Install stakes or trellises for climbing vegetables and tall flowers. Give them the guidance they need to reach their full potential.
  • Compost calling: Keep that compost heap going! Add kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and spent plants to create nutrient-rich gold for your future crops.

 


June: Sun-Kissed Harvest

  • Weed warfare: Stay vigilant against weeds. They're relentless competitors for your precious resources. Regular weeding ensures your plants thrive.
  • Watering wisdom: Monitor soil moisture, especially during hot spells. Deeply water established plants to encourage strong root growth.
  • Pickling paradise: June is prime time for preserving! Pickle cucumbers, relish juicy tomatoes, and jam summer berries. Capture the season's bounty for winter enjoyment.
  • Pinch and prune: Continue pinching herbs and deadheading flowers for continuous blooms and harvests. Your garden will be a never-ending buffet for pollinators and you.

 


July: Summer Symphony

  • Weed warfare: Stay vigilant against weeds. They're relentless competitors for your precious resources. Regular weeding ensures your plants thrive.
  • Watering wisdom: Monitor soil moisture, especially during hot spells. Deeply water established plants to encourage strong root growth.
  • Pickling paradise: June is prime time for preserving! Pickle cucumbers, relish juicy tomatoes, and jam summer berries. Capture the season's bounty for winter enjoyment.
  • Pinch and prune: Continue pinching herbs and deadheading flowers for continuous blooms and harvests. Your garden will be a never-ending buffet for pollinators and you.

 


August: Bounty Bonanza

  • Harvest galore: Enjoy the peak of the summer harvest! Pick juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and plump berries. Share the bounty with friends and family, or preserve the goodness for winter.
  • Divide and conquer: Split perennials that have bloomed and are starting to spread. Share the extra plants with friends or expand your floral kingdom.
  • Plant for fall: Sow seeds for cool-season crops like kale, spinach, and lettuce. Get ready to extend your harvest into the cooler months.
  • Water wisely: Even with regular rain, monitor soil moisture for established plants, especially during dry spells. Deep watering encourages strong root growth and keeps them thriving.

 


September: Autumnal Abundance

  • Harvesting heroes: Continue harvesting summer crops and welcome the arrival of fall favorites like pumpkins, squashes, and apples. Savour the changing flavours of the season.
  • Planting for the future: Plant garlic and shallots for next year's harvest. These underground treasures will reward you with flavorful additions to your kitchen.
  • Bulb bonanza: Plant spring-blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. Imagine the vibrant burst of color they'll bring when winter loosens its grip.
  • Compost calling: Keep that compost heap going! Add fall leaves and spent plants to fuel your soil for next year's garden. Nature's recycling system at its finest.

October: Cozy Comfort

  • Leaf logic: Don't fear the falling leaves! Shred and compost them for nutrient-rich mulch, or leave them in piles for overwintering wildlife.
  • Prepare for winter: Insulate tender plants with straw or mulch to protect them from the first frosts. Help them weather the winter and emerge strong in spring.
  • Clean and store: Clean and store garden tools and equipment before winter sets in. A little TLC now will save you time and frustration come spring.
  • Bird bonanza: Attract feathered friends with feeders filled with sunflower seeds and suet. Witness the flurry of activity and enjoy the winter songbirds' cheerful melodies.

 


November: Rest and Rejuvenate

  • Prune with purpose: While trees and shrubs rest, it's the perfect time to prune them for next year's growth. Remove deadwood and overgrown branches for a neater, healthier garden.
  • Plan for perfection: Take time to reflect on the past year's successes and challenges. Use this knowledge to plan your dream garden for next season.
  • Seed dreams: Browse seed catalogs and order your favorites for early sowing indoors. Let your imagination bloom with the promise of spring.
  • Cozy contentment: Enjoy the quiet beauty of your winter garden. Bundle up, grab a hot drink, and watch the snowflakes fall. Nature's rest is a reminder of the vibrant life that will return in the spring.

 

This monthly guide is your roadmap to a thriving garden throughout the year. Remember, gardening is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the changing seasons.

 


Wormery vs. Compost Bin: Which is best for Gardeners?

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Wormery vs. Compost Bin: Unraveling the Debate for Eco-Conscious Gardeners


In the realm of eco-friendly gardening practices, composting stands as a beacon of sustainability. But amidst the array of composting methods, two stand out as the frontrunners: wormeries and traditional compost bins. While both aim to transform organic waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments, they differ in their processes, outcomes, and suitability for various gardening scenarios.


Is a hot composter faster than worms?

Due to the increased heat allowed in a hot composter and without the need to keep worms alive at lower temperatures, a hot composter can be faster to decompose waste. 

What composter is best for dog poo?

Both will give you liquid you can dilute and feed to pot plants. Compost bins are good for creating soil you can use in the garden; worm farms can be used for cat and dog poo.

Is worm composting smelly?

Expect a good, earthy smell. It shouldn't smell much different than rich garden soil. You might expect worm waste to smell, but it simply isn't the case.

What are the top mistakes of having a worm farm?

  1. Mistake #1: Overfeeding
  2. Mistake #2: Too Wet or Too Dry Composting Bedding
  3. Mistake #3: Wrong Food
  4. Mistake #4: Too Hot or Too Cold
  5. Mistake #5: Forget to Harvest Worm Castings

How often do worms breed?

27 days from mating to laying eggs. Worms can double in population every 60 days.

Key differences of hot composters and wormeries?

  • Due to worms’ highly specialized digestive process, their waste contains bacteria and enzymes not present in compost. This is a more concentrated product of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Worms can specialise in nutrients: 
    • Bacterial-dominant castings and compost are best-suited for annuals and grasses
    • Fungal-dominated castings and compost provide the most value to perennials and woody plants (e.g., trees and vines).

 


Wormeries: A Microcosm of Nature's Recycling Magic

At the heart of a wormery lies an army of tiny red wiggler worms, tirelessly devouring food scraps and other organic matter. These tireless workers break down organic matter into a rich, fertile compost called vermicompost. Unlike traditional compost bins that rely on heat and oxygen, wormeries thrive in a moist, neutral pH environment, making them ideal for indoor use or for those with limited space.

 

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Benefits and Drawback of Wormeries.

Pros of Wormeries:

  • Compact and Space-Efficient: Wormeries are typically smaller and more manageable than traditional compost bins, making them suitable for apartment dwellers or those with limited outdoor space.
  • Faster Composting Cycle: Wormeries produce compost much quicker than traditional compost bins, often within a few months.
  • High-Quality Vermicompost: Vermicompost is considered to be of superior quality compared to traditional compost, containing higher levels of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms.
  • Less Odor: Wormeries generate minimal odor due to their controlled environment and the absence of odorous decomposition processes.

Cons of Wormeries:

  • More Demanding Maintenance: Wormeries require more frequent monitoring and adjustments to ensure optimal conditions for the worms.
  • Limited Waste Input: Wormeries can only process a certain amount of organic matter, making them unsuitable for large amounts of food scraps or yard waste.
  • More Sensitive to Environmental Factors: Wormeries are more susceptible to disruptions in temperature, moisture, and pH balance, which can affect worm activity and compost quality.

Traditional Compost Bins: A Versatile Composting Option

Traditional compost bins provide a larger and more versatile option for composting organic waste. They typically consist of open bins or tumblers, allowing for air circulation and natural decomposition by microorganisms. These bins can handle a wider range of organic materials, including yard waste, food scraps, and even some non-organic items like shredded paper.

 

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Benefits and Drawback of Composters

Pros of Traditional Compost Bins:

  • Handles Larger Volumes: Traditional compost bins can accommodate larger volumes of organic waste, making them suitable for households with more food scraps or yard waste.
  • Versatile Material Breakdown: Traditional compost bins can break down a wider range of organic materials, including yard waste, food scraps, and some non-organic items.
  • Less Maintenance: Traditional compost bins require less frequent monitoring and adjustments than wormeries.
  • Nourishes Beneficial Microorganisms: Traditional compost bins provide a habitat for beneficial microorganisms that play a crucial role in nutrient cycling.

Cons of Traditional Compost Bins:

  • Slower Composting Cycle: Traditional compost bins typically take longer to produce finished compost, often around 1-2 years.
  • Odour Emissions: During the composting process, traditional compost bins may emit some odor, especially in the initial stages.
  • Larger Footprint: Traditional compost bins occupy more space, making them less suitable for small gardens or limited outdoor areas.

Choosing what's best for you, worms or no worms?

The choice between a wormery and a traditional compost bin depends on individual needs and preferences. For those seeking a compact and space-saving solution with faster compost production and high-quality vermicompost, a wormery is an excellent choice. However, for those with larger quantities of organic waste, a traditional compost bin offers a more versatile and robust composting option. Ultimately, the best choice aligns with the individual's composting goals, available space, and lifestyle factors.

Whether you opt for a wormery or a traditional compost bin, both methods contribute to sustainable gardening practices, reducing household waste, and enriching soil health. By embracing these eco-friendly techniques, gardeners can foster a harmonious relationship with nature while cultivating thriving gardens.


Treecycle: How to compost your Christmas tree in 5 easy steps

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Treecycle: How to compost your Christmas tree in 5 easy steps


As the festive season comes to an end, it's time to bid farewell to your beloved Christmas tree. But instead of tossing it out with the rubbish, why not give it a new purpose by composting it? Not only is it an eco-friendly way to dispose of your tree, but it also provides valuable nutrients for your garden. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the easy process of treecycling – turning your xmas tree into nutrient-rich compost in just 5 simple steps. Say goodbye to waste and hello to a greener planet with our guide on how to compost your Christmas tree.


Can I compost a Xmas tree?

Christmas trees make an excellent base for compost. For best results remove needles as these can slow down the decompostion.

Can you put a Christmas tree In the garden waste bin?

A shredded xmas tree can easily go into your compost, however, without this prep work it could take years to compost. 

Can I burn an Xmas tree?

NO. A fresh tree will be holding a fair amount of water unless you have neglected it and let it brown whilst decorating for Christmas. If put in the fire the sap can combust and spit out causing a hazard. The oils can flame up chimneys as well as furniture. Creosote is also a highly flammable and corrosive substance created from the gasses from wet wood. Recycle your trees, compost your trees. 

 


1) Understanding the Importance of Composting Your Christmas Tree

As the festive season draws to a close, many of us are left with a beautiful Christmas tree that has brought joy and festive cheer to our homes. However, instead of simply getting rid of it, why not recycle it through composting? Composting your Christmas tree is not only an environmentally friendly way to dispose of it, but it also provides valuable nutrients for your garden. By turning your tree into nutrient-rich compost, you can give it a new purpose and contribute to a greener planet. In this section, we'll explore the importance of composting your Christmas tree and how it benefits both the environment and your garden. So, let's begin our treecycling journey!

 

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2) Preparing Your Christmas Tree for Composting

Before you begin the treecycling process, it's important to properly prepare your Christmas tree for composting. Start by removing all ornaments, tinsel, and lights from the tree. Make sure to also remove any tree stands or metal hooks. Next, use a saw or an axe to cut the tree into smaller pieces. This will help speed up the decomposition process. If your tree is heavily flocked or has artificial snow, it's best to skip composting as these chemicals can be harmful to your plants. By taking these simple steps, you'll be ready to transform your holiday tree into nutrient-rich compost and give it a second life.


3) The Step-by-step Guide to Composting Your Christmas Tree

Once you've properly prepared your Christmas tree, it's time to dive into the step-by-step process of composting. First, find a suitable location in your garden to set up your composting area. Next, create a base layer of brown materials, such as dried leaves or twigs, to help with airflow and drainage. Then, add a layer of green materials, such as the chopped-up pieces of your tree, to provide nitrogen-rich ingredients. Alternate between layers of brown and green materials until your compost heap is about three feet tall. Make sure to water your compost regularly and turn it every few weeks to promote decomposition. With a little patience and care, you'll have nutrient-rich compost ready to use in your garden come next holiday season.

 

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4) Top Tips for Successful Composting

Now that you're ready to compost your Christmas tree, here are some top tips to ensure successful results. First and foremost, remember to recycle as much as possible. Not only are you diverting waste from landfills, but you're also contributing to the health of your garden. Secondly, ensure that your compost heap has the right balance of brown and green materials. This will provide the necessary nutrients for decomposition. Additionally, regularly water and turn your compost to promote airflow and speed up the process. Lastly, be patient – composting takes time, so allow several months for your tree to fully break down into nutrient-rich compost. Happy composting!


5) The Many Uses of Your Tree Compost

As the leaves begin to fall and create a colourful carpet in our gardens, it's important to recognise that these fallen leaves can actually become a wildlife paradise. Autumn leaves provide an abundance of resources for a variety of creatures, making this season an excellent time to embrace the beauty of nature and create a haven for wildlife in your garden.
Firstly, fallen leaves offer shelter for insects and small mammals. They create the perfect hiding spots and provide protection from predators and harsh weather conditions. By leaving certain areas of your garden untouched, you can create safe havens for creatures like beetles, spiders, and hedgehogs.
In addition to providing shelter, autumn leaves also serve as a valuable food source. Many insects and other invertebrates rely on leaf litter for sustenance. As the leaves break down, they release essential nutrients into the soil, supporting the growth of microorganisms and providing a feast for earthworms, beetles, and other decomposers.
If you want to take it a step further, consider creating leaf piles in your garden. These leaf piles not only provide additional shelter, but they also become hotspots for foraging birds and small mammals. By piling up leaves in a designated area, you can create a buffet for hungry creatures, while adding an element of natural beauty to your garden.


Top Wildlife Gardening Jobs for November and December

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Top Wildlife Gardening Jobs for November and December


Welcome to November, fellow wildlife gardeners! As the leaves begin to fall and the temperatures start to drop, it's time to turn our attention to some important tasks in the garden. November is a crucial month for wildlife, as they prepare for the colder months ahead. So, it's the perfect time for us to lend a helping hand and ensure that our gardens continue to be a haven for all creatures big and small. In this blog post, we'll be sharing the top wildlife gardening jobs for November, so you can make the most out of this season and keep your garden thriving with wildlife.


What should I be doing in my garden in November?

  • Sowing and planting. Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocuses are coming to the end now of planting season.
  • Tidy your garden

What can I plant in November?

Bare-root fruit trees, dormant when planted begin to grow in spring with the temperature increase.

Apple, cherry, pear and plum trees can be planted along with blackcurrant, raspberry and gooseberry. 

10 ways to help wildlife in autumn

  • Plant trees
  • Put your Halloween pumpkin to good use
  • Provide birds clean nesting boxes
  • Help hedgehogs for hibernation 
  • Create a bug hotel
  • Keep bird baths and feeders topped up

Understanding the Importance of Wildlife Gardening in November

November is a critical month for wildlife gardening. As the weather gets colder and the leaves fall, it's essential to understand the importance of wildlife gardening during this time. Many animals and insects rely on our gardens for shelter, food, and a safe haven. By taking on certain tasks, we can ensure that our gardens continue to be a thriving ecosystem for all creatures big and small.

One of the key jobs in November is to provide shelter for garden creatures. As the temperatures drop, animals like hedgehogs, birds, and insects need safe places to hibernate or seek refuge. Creating brush piles, nesting boxes, and log piles can offer them a cosy sanctuary. Additionally, it's important to maintain your pond for winter frogs and newts, as they require a suitable environment to survive the colder months.

November is also the perfect time to make the most of autumn leaves. Fallen leaves can create a paradise for wildlife, providing shelter and food sources. By leaving them in certain areas of your garden or creating leaf piles, you can create a haven for insects and small mammals.

Finally, attracting and feeding birds throughout the chilly month is crucial. Birds need extra food during winter, and by providing bird feeders and planting bird-friendly plants, you can ensure that they have a sustainable food source.

By understanding the importance of wildlife gardening in November and taking on these essential tasks, we can contribute to the well-being and survival of our garden's wildlife. Let's make this season a time of growth, abundance, and support for our feathered and furry friends.

 

 

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Top Garden Tasks to Benefit Wildlife in November

As we enter the month of November, there are several important tasks we can undertake in our gardens to benefit wildlife. These jobs will help provide essential resources and habitats for creatures big and small during the colder months.

Firstly, consider planting winter-flowering plants such as winter jasmine and mahonia. These will provide a much-needed source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, ensuring they have enough energy to survive through the winter.

Next, create a wildlife-friendly compost heap. This will not only help dispose of garden waste, but it will also provide a warm shelter for insects and other invertebrates. Make sure to avoid adding cooked food or meat to the compost, as this may attract unwanted pests.

Additionally, remember to keep bird feeders well-stocked with high-energy foods like sunflower seeds and suet. This will attract a variety of bird species to your garden and provide them with the nourishment they need to endure the colder months.

Lastly, leave some areas of your garden undisturbed, such as patches of long grass or fallen leaves. These provide important shelter and hiding places for creatures like hedgehogs and frogs.

 

Expert Tips on Providing Shelter for Garden Creatures During Cold November Months

As the temperatures drop and the winter months approach, it's crucial to provide shelter for the garden creatures that rely on our gardens for their survival. Here are some expert tips on how to create cosy and safe havens for them during the cold November months.

  1. Hedgehog homes: Hedgehogs are preparing to hibernate, so providing them with a safe shelter is essential. Create a hedgehog house by piling up leaves and twigs in a quiet corner of your garden. Make sure it's well insulated and protected from wind and rain.
  2. Nesting boxes: Many bird species will be looking for sheltered spots to roost during the winter. Install bird nesting boxes in your garden to provide them with a warm and secure place to rest. Different species have different requirements, so do some research to determine the best design and placement for the boxes.
  3. Insect hotels: Insects play a crucial role in our ecosystem, and providing them with shelter is vital. Build an insect hotel using materials like bamboo canes, hollow plant stems, and wood with drilled holes. Place it in a sunny spot and make sure to provide a variety of habitats for different types of insects.
  4. Log piles: Log piles are great for attracting insects, small mammals, and even amphibians. Stack logs and branches in a quiet corner of your garden to create a haven for these creatures. Over time, the decaying wood will provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife.

By implementing these expert tips, you'll be helping the garden creatures survive the cold November months and contribute to the biodiversity of your garden. So roll up your sleeves and create these cosy shelters – your wildlife neighbours will thank you for it!

 

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Making the Most of Autumn Leaves – A Wildlife’s Paradise

As the leaves begin to fall and create a colourful carpet in our gardens, it's important to recognise that these fallen leaves can actually become a wildlife paradise. Autumn leaves provide an abundance of resources for a variety of creatures, making this season an excellent time to embrace the beauty of nature and create a haven for wildlife in your garden.
Firstly, fallen leaves offer shelter for insects and small mammals. They create the perfect hiding spots and provide protection from predators and harsh weather conditions. By leaving certain areas of your garden untouched, you can create safe havens for creatures like beetles, spiders, and hedgehogs.
In addition to providing shelter, autumn leaves also serve as a valuable food source. Many insects and other invertebrates rely on leaf litter for sustenance. As the leaves break down, they release essential nutrients into the soil, supporting the growth of microorganisms and providing a feast for earthworms, beetles, and other decomposers.
If you want to take it a step further, consider creating leaf piles in your garden. These leaf piles not only provide additional shelter, but they also become hotspots for foraging birds and small mammals. By piling up leaves in a designated area, you can create a buffet for hungry creatures, while adding an element of natural beauty to your garden.


Attracting and Feeding Birds Throughout the Chilly Month

As the temperatures drop and winter approaches, it's important to remember our feathered friends and provide them with the nourishment they need to survive. Birds require extra food during the colder months, as it helps them maintain their body heat and energy levels. By attracting and feeding birds in November, you can ensure that your garden becomes a sanctuary for these beautiful creatures.
One of the simplest ways to attract birds to your garden is by setting up bird feeders. Choose high-energy foods like sunflower seeds, suet, and mealworms to entice a variety of bird species. Place the feeders in a sheltered area, away from predators, and keep them well-stocked throughout the month.
In addition to bird feeders, consider planting bird-friendly plants that provide a natural food source. Native shrubs like hawthorn, blackthorn, and honeysuckle produce berries that birds love. These plants not only offer nourishment but also provide cover and nesting sites for our feathered friends.
Remember to provide a fresh water source for birds to drink and bathe in. Use a bird bath or shallow dish and keep it clean and topped up with water. You can also add a small heater to prevent the water from freezing during cold spells.


Maintaining Your Pond for Winter Frogs and Newts

As the temperatures continue to drop, it's important to take care of your pond to ensure the survival of winter frogs and newts. These amphibians rely on a suitable environment to hibernate and survive the colder months, so maintaining your pond is crucial for their well-being.
One of the first steps is to remove any fallen leaves and debris from the pond. Leaves can quickly accumulate on the surface and decompose, releasing harmful chemicals into the water. Use a net or pond skimmer to remove any leaves and keep the water clean.
Next, check the water levels and top up if necessary. As the weather gets colder, evaporation can occur, and you want to ensure that the pond has enough water to sustain the frogs and newts.
If your pond has a pump or filter system, make sure to clean and maintain it regularly. This will help keep the water clean and clear of any debris that could harm the amphibians.
Finally, consider adding a pond heater or aerator to prevent the water from freezing completely. Frogs and newts need access to oxygen during the winter, and a frozen pond can be fatal to them. These devices will help keep the water oxygenated and provide a small area of open water for the amphibians.


Planning Ahead: Planting Spring Bulbs for Early Pollinators

Now is the perfect time to start planning for the arrival of spring and the return of our beloved pollinators. By planting spring bulbs in November, you can ensure that your garden will be buzzing with life when the warmer weather arrives.

Spring bulbs, such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips, are not only beautiful additions to your garden, but they also provide an early source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These hardworking creatures are essential for the pollination of many plants and play a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

When choosing spring bulbs, opt for varieties that are known to attract pollinators. Look for bulbs that have single flowers rather than double, as they are easier for pollinators to access. Native species are also a great choice, as they are well-suited to the local environment and provide the most benefit to local pollinators.

To create a vibrant and pollinator-friendly garden, plant your spring bulbs in clusters or drifts rather than individual spots. This will create a more natural look and make it easier for pollinators to find and access the flowers.

 


Concluding Thoughts: Preparing Your Garden for a Wildlife-Friendly Winter

November is a critical month for wildlife, and by implementing these gardening jobs, we can ensure that our garden remains a haven for all creatures big and small.

By understanding the importance of wildlife gardening in November, we can appreciate the impact our actions have on the well-being and survival of our garden's wildlife. Providing shelter, maintaining ponds, attracting birds, and creating a paradise with autumn leaves are just a few ways we can make a difference.

Remember to take the expert tips we've shared on board and create cosy shelters for garden creatures. Building hedgehog homes, nesting boxes, insect hotels, and log piles will provide a safe and warm environment for wildlife during the cold months.

Make the most of the abundance of fallen leaves and create a wildlife paradise in your garden. Leave certain areas untouched, create leaf piles, and watch as your garden becomes a bustling hub of activity for insects and small mammals.

Attracting and feeding birds throughout the chilly month is crucial. By setting up bird feeders and planting bird-friendly plants, you can ensure that these beautiful creatures have a sustainable food source.

Finally, don't forget to plan ahead and plant spring bulbs for early pollinators. By doing so, you'll be providing an early source of nectar and ensuring your garden is buzzing with life when spring arrives.

 


Don't make these mistakes when mowing your lawn for winter

mistakes-mowing-lawn-winter

Don't Make These Mistakes Mowing Your Winter Lawn


As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it's important to start preparing your lawn for the winter season. One of the most common mistakes people make is not knowing when to mow their lawn for the last time before winter. It's easy to assume that once the leaves start falling, it's time to put away the lawnmower. However, this can actually do more harm than good to your lawn. In this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of knowing when to mow your lawn for the last time before winter and the mistakes you should avoid to ensure a healthy lawn come springtime.


When should I do my final mow?

Once grass stops growing should align with a temperature drop. This will be between October and November. However, with the fluctuating seasons and warm winter sun, sometimes you may experience a delayed growth with grass continuing to sprout even into December

What if my grass keeps growing in Winter?

Cut your grass when it exceeds 3 inches

When to cut my grass?

You should not remove more than one-third of the grass height

What's the earliest I can mow my lawn?

Perform the first grass cut of the year in spring, around mid-March. From there on, mow the lawn at least once every week. Try to keep your grass' height the same all throughout spring. For most lawns, the ideal height would be 2.5 - 4cm.

Is it too early to mow the lawn UK?

Lawns should generally be mown weekly or fortnightly between March and October.

Should I put grass clippings on bare spots?

Leaving grass clippings on the lawn can actually be healthy for the grass, as it helps build a strong and nutrient-rich soil. This practice is known as “grasscycling,”.

Is it better to cut grass before or after rain?

Is mowing before or after rain better? It is always better to mow before rain if possible. If your grass is dry, but you see rain on the way, it is a good idea to mow the yard before the rain arrives.


When to Mow Your Lawn Before Winter Hits

As the winter season approaches, it's crucial to properly prepare your garden for the colder months. One of the most important aspects of winter lawn care is knowing when to mow your lawn for the last time before winter. Many people make the mistake of assuming that once the leaves start falling, it's time to put away the lawnmower. However, this can actually do more harm than good to your garden.

To ensure a healthy lawn come springtime, it's important to understand when is the right time to mow your lawn for the last time before winter. The general rule of thumb is to stop mowing your lawn once it stops growing. As the temperature drops, grass growth slows down significantly. This means that your lawn will require less frequent mowing.

Typically, the best time to mow your lawn for the last time before winter hits is in late autumn or early winter. This is usually around October or November, depending on your location and the climate. By this time, grass growth has slowed down enough to justify stopping regular mowing. However, it's important to pay attention to the condition of your lawn and make adjustments accordingly.

 

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If you live in a region where the winters are mild and grass growth continues throughout the year, you may need to continue mowing your lawn sporadically. In such cases, it's best to mow your lawn when the grass height exceeds 3 inches. This will help prevent snow mould and other lawn diseases that thrive in long grass during winter.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with harsh winters where the ground freezes, it's crucial to stop mowing your lawn early enough. Mowing your lawn too late in the season can leave it vulnerable to winter damage. The last thing you want is to have a freshly cut lawn that gets buried under a layer of snow.

Additionally, it's important to remember that while mowing your lawn, you should not remove more than one-third of the grass height. This is crucial for maintaining the health and integrity of your lawn. Cutting the grass too short can weaken it and make it more susceptible to winter stress and damage.

 


Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Preparing Your Lawn for Winter

Preparing your lawn for winter is essential for maintaining a healthy and beautiful garden. However, many people make common mistakes that can have a negative impact on their lawn's well-being. To help you avoid these pitfalls, we've compiled a list of the most common mistakes you should avoid when preparing your lawn for winter.

  1. Neglecting to remove debris: One of the biggest mistakes people make is failing to remove leaves, branches, and other debris from their garden before winter. This debris can suffocate your grass, prevent sunlight from reaching the soil, and create an environment for disease and pests to thrive. Be sure to rake up fallen leaves and remove any debris before the first snowfall.
  2. Over-mowing: While it's important to mow your lawn for the last time before winter, over-mowing can be detrimental. Cutting your grass too short weakens the roots and leaves your lawn vulnerable to damage during the winter months. Avoid scalping your lawn and aim to cut it to a height of around 2.5 to 3 inches. This will help insulate the grass and protect it from the cold.
  3. Failing to aerate: Aeration is the process of creating small holes in your garden to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the grassroots. This is especially important before winter when the soil becomes compacted. Compacted soil can prevent proper water drainage and lead to waterlogged roots. Consider renting an aerator or hiring a professional to ensure your garden gets the aeration it needs.
  4. Forgetting to fertilise: While grass growth may slow down during winter, it still requires nutrients to stay healthy. Fertilising your garden before winter can help strengthen the roots and provide essential nutrients for spring growth. Use a winter-specific fertiliser with a slow-release formula to nourish your garden throughout the colder months.
  5. Neglecting to water: Even though it may seem counterintuitive, your garden still needs water during the winter months. If there is a lack of snow or rainfall, be sure to give your garden a deep watering once every three weeks. This will help prevent the roots from drying out and keep your grass hydrated throughout the winter.
  6. Failing to control weeds: Weeds can wreak havoc on your garden, even during winter. Before the first frost hits, take the time to control any existing weeds in your garden. Pull them out by hand or use an herbicide to prevent them from taking over your garden during the colder months.

Avoiding these common mistakes will ensure that your garden stays healthy and vibrant throughout the winter. By properly preparing your garden for the colder months, you'll set the stage for a beautiful and lush yard come springtime. Don't let these simple mistakes derail your winter garden maintenance. Take the time to care for your garden now, and you'll reap the rewards when warmer weather arrives.

 
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Is it too Late to Mow in November?

Many homeowners wonder if it's too late to mow their lawn in November. The answer depends on various factors, such as the climate and the condition of your lawn. In general, it's best to mow your lawn for the last time before winter sets in, which is usually in late autumn or early winter.

If your lawn is still actively growing and the grass height exceeds 3 inches, it's not too late to mow in November. However, you should aim to mow it before the ground freezes and the first snowfall. Mowing your lawn too late in the season can leave it vulnerable to winter damage, as freshly cut grass can be buried under a layer of snow and suffocate.

It's important to pay attention to the condition of your lawn and make adjustments accordingly. If you live in a region with mild winters where grass growth continues throughout the year, you may need to continue mowing your lawn sporadically. In such cases, mow your lawn when the grass height exceeds 3 inches to prevent snow mould and other lawn diseases that thrive in long grass during winter.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with harsh winters where the ground freezes, it's crucial to stop mowing your lawn early enough. The last thing you want is to have a freshly cut lawn that gets buried under a layer of snow. So, if it's already late November and your lawn is still actively growing, it may be best to leave it be until the following spring.

Remember, when mowing your lawn in November, it's important not to remove more than one-third of the grass height. Cutting the grass too short weakens it and makes it more susceptible to winter stress and damage. Aim to cut your grass to a height of around 2.5 to 3 inches to help insulate the grass and protect it from the cold.


The Importance of Winter Lawn Care

Taking care of your lawn during the winter months may not be the most glamorous task, but it is essential for maintaining a healthy and vibrant garden come springtime. Many people assume that once the temperatures drop and snow starts falling, their lawn doesn't require any further maintenance. However, neglecting your lawn during the winter can lead to a host of issues, including disease, pest infestation, and weak, patchy grass.

One of the primary reasons winter lawn care is so important is because the condition of your lawn going into winter can directly impact its health in the spring. By properly preparing and maintaining your lawn during the colder months, you can ensure that it will thrive when the warmer weather arrives.

One crucial aspect of winter lawn care is preventing snow mould and other diseases. Snow mould is a fungal disease that thrives in cold, wet conditions, and can cause unsightly patches and damage to your lawn. By mowing your lawn to the correct height and removing excess thatch, you can prevent snow mould from taking hold.

Another reason winter lawn care is vital is to protect your lawn from pests. Many insects and rodents seek shelter in lawns during the winter months. By properly maintaining your lawn, you can reduce the risk of infestations and keep your garden healthy and pest-free.

Regular maintenance throughout the winter can also help to prevent weeds from taking over your lawn. Weeds are opportunistic and can quickly take hold in neglected lawns. By regularly checking for and removing weeds, you can prevent them from spreading and keep your lawn looking its best.

Watering your lawn during the winter months may seem counterintuitive, but it is still essential. If there is a lack of snow or rainfall, your lawn can become dehydrated and suffer from winter desiccation. By giving your lawn a deep watering once every three weeks, you can help prevent root dehydration and keep your grass healthy throughout the winter.

Overall, winter lawn care is crucial for maintaining the health and appearance of your garden. By taking the time to properly prepare and maintain your lawn during the colder months, you can ensure that it will bounce back in the spring, ready for a season of growth and beauty.

So, as you start preparing your garden for the winter season, don't neglect your lawn. Remember to mow it for the last time before winter hits, avoiding common mistakes such as over-mowing and cutting the grass too short. Pay attention to the condition of your lawn and adjust your maintenance routine accordingly.

By giving your lawn the attention it needs during the winter, you'll set the stage for a lush and healthy garden in the spring. Don't underestimate the importance of winter lawn care – your lawn will thank you with vibrant, green growth when the warmer weather arrives. So grab your winter lawn care tools, wrap up warm, and get ready to give your lawn the care it deserves. Your garden will reward you with a beautiful landscape come springtime.


11 Garden Facts you didn't know

11 Garden Facts you didn't know

11 Interesting Facts About Your Garden

  1. 20'000 slugs live in your garden 

  2. Hydrangeas can change colour from PH levels in soil

  3. Vanilla Beans are from an orchid variant

  4. Apples and Strawberries are types of Roses...

  5. Baking soda can sweeten tomatoes

  6. Butterflies prefer weeds to flowers

  7. Music helps plants grow

  8. A sunflower is not just one flower

  9. A teaspoon of soil contains more organisms than people on the planet

  10. Pumpkins are fruits

  11. Peanuts are not nuts

 

1. 20'000 slugs per average UK garden.

Over 390 billion slugs live in UK gardens. There are on average up to 20'000 slugs per garden in the UK, 200 per square metre!

2. Hydrangeas can change colour from PH levels in soil

A more alkaline soil (PH 7+) will result in pinker blooms, while more acidity (<PH7) will produce blue blooms. Blue tones can be found by adding organic matter to your soil, like egg shells and coffee grounds. Overtime the balance will change. 

3. Vanilla Beans are from an orchid variant

The vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia) produces vanilla beans and is the only orchid that produces an edible fruit. The vanilla orchid is not the only interesting variety; oncidum hybrid (Sharry Baby) is said to smell like chocolate, the cymbidium Golden Elf smells lemony, and the phalaenopsis violacea has a cinnamon scent.

4. Apples and Strawberries are types of Roses...

Apples, strawberries, pears, peaches, cherries, raspberries and more of the rose family and cousins of the classic red rose.

5. Baking soda can sweeten tomatoes

By reducing the acidity of the soil, tomatoes sweeten their taste. However, it is a delicate balance where a high PH can produce a healthy plant with no tomatoes. The balance of acidity and sugar determines the sweetness and smaller varieties will prove to be sweeter on average. Genetics play a large role in natural sweetness but some say baking soda works. 

6. Butterflies prefer weeds to flowers

Trading beauty for scent, butterflies will navigate towards nectar regardless of how visually appealing your garden may be. Research by the Smithsonian Institute, discovered popular flowers have been bred for enhanced colour and size, but at the cost of fragrance in the process. Therefore, untouched and non-selectively bred weeds, like dandelions and clovers, are actually more interesting to butterflies. As a bonus a natural weed garden will not contain pesticides, even better for our pollinating friends. 

7. Music helps plants grow

As Prince Charles discussed, "I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them; they respond." As with most fables and tales of time, the story is based on some fact and adapted over the years. Studies have shown, vibration, like music, or a voice can affect plant growth. As shown on Myth Busters, the comparison of a silent greenhouse to one with a vocal soundtrack, found that plants with vibrations grew more. 

Studies from 1848, by Gustav Fechner in the book Nanna (Soul-life of Plants) stemmed the subsequent research into the matter. A 2007 paper from South Korea's National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology proposed that two genes involved in a plant's response to light—known as rbcS and Ald—are activated by music played at 70 decibels (conversation level). The higher the frequency, the more active the genetic response. However, a Canadian research paper revealed seed germination was only influenced at 92 decibels. 

Marini of the Korean research states, "Plants exposed to wind produce a growth-retardant hormone called ethylene, which causes the plant to be shorter and to have thicker stems. So plants exposed to wind can better survive very windy conditions." Wind or vibrations could therefore be one and the same in their influence of plant growth adapting to potentially volatile environments and requiring a genetic growth response to survive. 

8. A sunflower is not just one flower

The classic brown center and even the yellow petals are actually 1,000 – 2,000 individual flowers. The large petals are individual ray flowers, which do not develop into seed. Pollination and seed development are contained to the brown area taking about 30 days from the time the last flower is pollinated to maturity.

9. A teaspoon of soil contains more organisms than people on the planet

If you ever wondered how organic material decomposes so quickly in the garden, especially in non-domestic areas, the level of organisms existing in that space may explain it. 

Table 1: Relative Numb​er and Biomass of Microbial Species at 0–6 Inches (0–15 cm) Depth of Soil
Microorganisms Number/g of soil Biomass (g/m2)
Bacteria 108–109 40–500
Actinomycetes 107–108 40–500
Fungi 105–106 100–1500
Algae 104–105 1–50
Protozoa 103–104 Varies
Nematodes 102–103 Varies

10. Pumpkins are fruits

Similar to avocados, pumpkins not vegetables but fruits, because they produce seeds. This also works the other way with Rhubarb, a vegetable.

11. Peanuts are not nuts

Peanuts are actually legumes like beans and lentils. This may explain why they have more protein, niacin, folate, and phytosterols than any nut... as they are not nuts. This demotion of nut status comes directly from the National Peanut Board.

Growing Wellness | How Gardening can Benefit Your Mental Health

Growing Wellness | How Gardening can Benefit Your Mental Health

Growing Wellness: How Gardening Can Benefit Your Mental Health

Gardening is a fantastic activity for your mental health. It has been proven to reduce stress, increase positive feelings, and improve overall well-being. Research by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) found that living with a regular view of a green space provides health benefits worth £300 per person per year.

This article explores the many ways in which gardening can benefit your mental health, as well as providing practical tips and advice to help you get the most out of your gardening experience. Whether you're just green or an experienced green thumb, we'll provide you with all the guidance you need to maximise your hobby and reap the mental health benefits.

 

The benefits of gardening on mental health

Research has shown spending time with plants and being in outdoor environments can have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing.

 

1. Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Firstly, plants themselves have the ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Simply being around greenery and natural elements has a calming effect on our minds. This can help to lower our heart rate and blood pressure, leading to a greater sense of relaxation and tranquillity.

 

2. Physical Calming of your Body

Gardening can be a low-intensity exercise and mindfulness practice. Digging, planting, and weeding all require physical effort, which can help to release endorphins and improve our mood. Focusing on the act of tending to plants and being present in the moment can serve as a meditative practice, towards mindfulness.

 

3. Boost your Mood to Fight Depression

Sometimes, the British weather can put a downer on your spirits. Being outdoors and connecting with the natural world can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve your self-esteem, and boost overall mood.

 

4. Gardening with Friends

Finally, gardening can also provide social benefits. Joining a gardening community or participating in group gardening activities can make you less lonely or feel isolated, especially if you live alone or away from family.

With so many benefits, no matter the weather, gardening could be your solution to a happier, healthier life. So why not grab your trowel and get gardening for the sake of your mental well-being?

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How plants can reduce stress and anxiety

The National Institute for Health Research found that people who spend time in the garden report better physical and mental health levels than those who do not [1]. More interestingly, the specific health benefits were similar to those of the wealthiest and poorest countries, suggesting a multitude of long-term benefits for life expectancy.

 

Green Neighbourhoods

Research has shown that plants have a remarkable ability to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Being in the presence of greenery and natural elements has a calming effect on our minds, helping to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Just imagine the feeling of sitting in a peaceful garden, surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers, feeling the weight of the world melt away. It's like a natural therapy for the soul.

The Natural Environment Survey shows a positive correlation of improved wellbeing based on people's reported contact with the natural world, including parks and fields.

But how do plants actually have this effect on our mental well-being? Well, studies have found that simply looking at plants can induce a relaxation response in our bodies, releasing endorphins and promoting a sense of tranquillity. The colour green is particularly soothing to the eye and is often associated with feelings of calmness and harmony. It's no wonder that so many meditation and relaxation apps use nature sounds and imagery to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Furthermore, plants have the incredible ability to purify the air, removing toxins and releasing oxygen. Breathing in clean air has a direct impact on our mental health, improving our mood and cognitive function. So, by filling your living space with plants, you're not only creating a beautiful environment but also promoting better mental wellbeing.

The Global Centre for Clean Air Research at the University of Surrey, reported trees and hedges reduced pollution by diverting, diluting or capturing pollutants. Small leaves, high foliage and either evergreen or semi-evergreen varieties were best.

Whether it's a small potted plant on your desk or a full-fledged garden in your backyard, surrounding yourself with plants is a simple yet effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. So, why not bring a little bit of nature into your life and let the plants work their magic on your mental well-being?

 

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Gardening as a form of exercise and mindfulness practice

Gardening is not just a hobby; it's also a great way to incorporate exercise and mindfulness into your daily routine. When you're out in the garden, digging, planting, and weeding, you're engaging in physical activity that can help release endorphins and improve your mood. Plus, being active in the fresh air and sunlight is beneficial for both your physical and mental well-being. It's a win-win situation!

But gardening is more than just exercise. It can also serve as a form of mindfulness practice. When you're tending to your plants, you're fully present in the moment, focusing on the task at hand. This helps to quiet the mind and bring a sense of calm and tranquillity. As you engage with nature, you become more in tune with your surroundings, and the worries of the day seem to fade away.

So, the next time you're in the garden, take a moment to appreciate the physical effort you're putting in and the mental clarity it brings. Gardening is not only good for your plants, but it's also good for your body and mind. Embrace it as a form of exercise and mindfulness practice, and reap the numerous benefits it has to offer.

 

The positive effects of exposure to nature on mental wellbeing

Being exposed to nature has a multitude of positive effects on our mental well-being. Spending time in natural environments, whether it be a lush green forest or a peaceful garden, has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Being in nature allows us to disconnect from the demands of daily life and connect with the beauty and serenity of the natural world.

Exposure to nature has also been found to improve our self-esteem and boost our overall mood. It provides us with a sense of awe and wonder, reminding us of the vastness and beauty of the world beyond ourselves. This can help to put our own worries and problems into perspective, leading to a greater sense of contentment and happiness.

Furthermore, being in nature encourages physical activity and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Whether it's going for a walk in the park or tending to plants in the garden, being outdoors encourages movement and can improve our physical fitness. This, in turn, has a positive impact on our mental health, as regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

The social benefits of gardening

Gardening isn't just a solitary activity – it can also provide numerous social benefits that contribute to better mental health. Joining a gardening community or participating in group gardening activities allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who share your love for plants and nature. By engaging with others who have similar interests, you can form meaningful connections and combat feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Being part of a gardening community provides opportunities for social interaction, whether it's attending workshops, joining gardening clubs, or volunteering at community gardens. These activities not only allow you to learn from experienced gardeners and exchange knowledge and tips, but they also create a sense of belonging and camaraderie. The shared experience of nurturing plants and working together towards a common goal fosters a supportive and uplifting environment.

In addition, gardening can also provide a platform for social activism and community engagement. Many urban gardens focus on sustainable practices, organic gardening, and food security. By participating in such initiatives, you contribute to creating a greener and more sustainable community while engaging in meaningful social interactions.

So, don't underestimate the social benefits that gardening can offer. It's not just about plants; it's about connecting with others, building relationships, and being part of something greater than yourself. Get involved in the gardening community and reap the social rewards for your mental well-being.

 

Gardening for those with mental health challenges

For those who are dealing with mental health challenges, gardening can be a powerful tool for healing and finding solace. The act of nurturing plants and watching them grow can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and overall well-being. Gardening offers a peaceful and therapeutic environment where individuals can escape the stress and pressures of daily life, allowing them to focus on the present moment and find a sense of peace.

Gardening can also serve as a form of self-care, providing a healthy and constructive outlet for managing emotions and reducing anxiety. The physical activity involved in gardening can release endorphins, improving mood and promoting a sense of calm. Taking care of plants and witnessing their growth can also create a sense of hope and optimism, offering a tangible reminder that even in the face of challenges, growth and renewal are possible.

Additionally, gardening can provide a sense of connection to the natural world, offering a sense of grounding and perspective. Spending time outdoors and connecting with nature can be incredibly grounding and soothing for individuals with mental health challenges, offering a sense of peace and tranquillity.

In summary, gardening can be a powerful tool for those with mental health challenges, providing a safe and therapeutic space for healing and growth. By engaging with nature, nurturing plants, and finding solace in the act of gardening, individuals can find comfort, resilience, and renewed hope. So, whether you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health challenge, consider giving gardening a try and experience the healing benefits for yourself.

 

 

[1] Thompson, R. (2018). Gardening for health: A regular dose of gardening. Clinical Medicine, 18(3), 201-205. https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.18-3-201

10 Ways to Prep your Garden for Winter in Autumn

autumn gardening with original organics

Garden prep for Winter in Autumn, a top 10 tip guide

As autumn starts to arrive, it's time to start thinking about preparing your garden for the cold winter months. This guide will help you get your garden ready for the winter season, with our top 10 tips for prepping your garden in autumn. From mulching to pruning, these tips will ensure your garden is ready to face the colder temperatures and shorter days ahead.

Follow our top 10 tips

  1. Clear up fallen leaves
  2. Remove summer bedding plants
  3. Prune trees and shrubs
  4. Cut back perennials
  5. Protect tender plants from frost
  6. Add mulch to garden beds
  7. Plant spring-flowering bulbs
  8. Inspect garden structures
  9. Clean garden tools and equipment
  10. Plan next year's garden

 

1) Clear up fallen leaves

With the arrival of autumn, the ground is carpeted with the beautiful hues of falling leaves. However, those leaves can wreak havoc on your garden if left to accumulate. It's important to clear up fallen leaves before winter sets in. Why? Because leaving them on your lawn or garden beds can smother your grass and plants, creating a breeding ground for pests and diseases.

But don't just throw those leaves away! They make excellent compost material. Gather them up and add them to your compost bin or create a separate leaf pile to decompose. The resulting leaf mould can be used as a nutrient-rich mulch or soil conditioner in your garden next year. So, grab a rake and get to work clearing up those fallen leaves. Your garden will thank you come spring! We have a wide variety of composting solutions here. 

 

Considering organic composting? Did you know Worms are free garden helpers that can be harnessed for your composting needs?

 

original organics wormery

Includes all the below features in a ready-to-go kit for all your composting needs.  

  • Tiger Wormery with trays, drainage sump tray, tap and lid
  • Approx. 250g Bag Live Worms or a Worm Card Voucher*
  • Approx. 1.5kg Lime Mix (to neutralise acidity)
  • Approx. 300g Coir Block (to use as bedding to start your wormeries)

 

2) Remove summer bedding plants

Now that autumn is here, it's time to bid farewell to your summer bedding plants. As the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, these plants start to wither and lose their vibrancy. Removing them from your garden not only tidies up the space, but also allows you to prepare for the next growing season.

Start by gently lifting the plants from the soil, being careful not to damage the roots. You can then compost the plants, turning them into valuable organic matter for your garden. Alternatively, if the plants are still healthy and show no signs of disease or pests, you can try to transplant them into pots and bring them indoors to extend their lifespan.

Removing summer bedding plants also gives you the opportunity to assess the overall health and condition of your garden. Take note of any areas that may need extra attention or improvements, and start planning for new additions in the coming months. With the right care and preparation, your garden will be ready to shine in the spring! Shop Plant protection here.

 

3) Prune trees and shrubs

As autumn settles in, it's time to turn our attention to pruning trees and shrubs in our gardens. Pruning is an essential task that helps maintain the health and shape of these plants, as well as promoting new growth in the coming months. Start by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches to prevent the spread of diseases and pests. Make clean cuts just above a bud or branch collar, and remember to use sharp, clean tools to avoid damaging the plant.

It's also a good time to thin out any overcrowded areas and improve air circulation, which can reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Pruning can be a bit daunting at first, but with a little practice and knowledge, you'll soon become confident in shaping and maintaining your trees and shrubs. So, grab your secateurs and get ready to give your garden a fresh and tidy start this autumn. Your plants will thank you for it!

Find a full selection of garden tools ready to help you complete your tasks, from machinery to high-quality everyday gloves.  

 

4) Cut back perennials

As the days grow shorter and colder, it's time to give your perennials a little TLC. Cutting back these plants in autumn helps them conserve energy and prepare for their winter dormancy. Start by removing any dead or decaying foliage, as this can become a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Cut back the stems of the plants to just a few inches above the ground, making clean cuts with sharp shears. This will not only tidy up your garden beds but also promote healthy regrowth in the spring. As you cut back your perennials, take note of any areas that may need dividing or replanting. With a little care and attention now, your perennials will reward you with a burst of colour and growth when spring arrives.

5) Protect tender plants from frost

As the colder temperatures of winter approach, it's important to take steps to protect your tender plants from frost. Frost can cause damage to delicate plants and hinder their growth come spring. To protect your plants, start by covering them with frost blankets or horticultural fleece. These materials create a barrier between the plants and the cold air, trapping heat and preventing frost from forming on the leaves. Alternatively, you can use cloches or plant protectors to shield individual plants from the harsh weather. Remember to remove the covers during the day to allow sunlight and air circulation. Additionally, consider moving potted plants indoors or into a greenhouse to keep them warm and sheltered from frost. By taking these measures, you can ensure that your tender plants survive the winter and thrive when warmer weather returns. 

 

6) Add mulch to garden beds

As autumn sets in, one important step in preparing your garden for winter is to add mulch to your garden beds. Mulch serves as a protective layer that helps to insulate the soil and plants from the cold temperatures. It also helps to retain moisture in the soil, preventing it from drying out during the winter months.

To add mulch to your garden beds, start by removing any weeds or debris. Then, apply a layer of mulch around 2-3 inches thick, making sure to leave a gap around the base of the plants to avoid rot. You can use a variety of materials for mulch, such as shredded bark, compost, or straw. Just make sure the mulch is well-rotted to avoid attracting pests or diseases.

Adding mulch not only protects your plants, but it also adds a neat and tidy appearance to your garden. So grab your wheelbarrow and get mulching to ensure a healthy and thriving garden come spring.

Need some help? Our Electric mulching lawnmower is here for a healthier lawn. 

 

7) Plant spring-flowering bulbs

Now is the perfect time to plant spring-flowering bulbs in your garden. Planting bulbs in autumn allows them to establish their root systems and go dormant over the winter, so they can burst into bloom when spring arrives.

Choose a variety of bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, or crocuses, to add a vibrant splash of colour to your garden after the long winter months. Before planting, ensure the soil is well-drained and free from any weeds or debris. Dig a hole at the recommended depth for the specific bulb, usually around two to three times its height, and place the bulb with the pointed end facing upwards. Fill the hole with soil and gently pat it down to remove any air pockets.

Remember to space the bulbs according to the recommended distance, as overcrowding can inhibit their growth and flower production. Water the bulbs thoroughly after planting, and continue to water regularly until the ground freezes.

By planting spring-flowering bulbs now, you can look forward to a stunning display of blooms that will bring joy and beauty to your garden when winter finally ends.

8) Inspect garden structures

As autumn settles in and the winds start to pick up, it's important to take the time to inspect your garden structures. This includes any fences, trellises, arbours, or other decorative elements that may be in your garden. Inspecting these structures now can help you identify any damage or wear and tear that may have occurred over the summer months. Look for signs of rot, loose screws or nails, and any areas that may need reinforcement. Taking the time to repair or replace these structures now will ensure they can withstand the harsh winter weather ahead. Additionally, inspecting your garden structures provides an opportunity to consider any changes or additions you may want to make in the coming year. Perhaps you've been dreaming of adding a new pergola or expanding your garden bed borders. Use this time to brainstorm and plan for next year's garden projects. By inspecting your garden structures and making any necessary repairs or improvements now, you can enjoy a well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing garden all year round.

Whilst you inspect your garden, you may want to add or replace some damaged items. Check out our range of garden statues. 

9) Clean garden tools and equipment

With the autumn season in full swing, it's time to give some love and attention to your trusty garden tools and equipment. Cleaning and maintaining your tools not only helps to prolong their lifespan, but it also ensures they perform at their best when you need them. Start by gathering all your tools and giving them a thorough wipe-down to remove any dirt, grime, or debris. Use warm soapy water and a scrub brush to get into all the nooks and crannies. Don't forget to clean the blades of your secateurs, shears, and pruners, as well as any shovels or spades. Once they are clean, make sure to dry them thoroughly to prevent rust. You can also use a lubricating oil to keep any moving parts in good working order. As you clean your tools, take the time to inspect them for any signs of damage or wear. Replace any worn or broken parts, and sharpen blades if necessary. By taking the time to clean and maintain your garden tools and equipment now, you'll be ready to tackle any gardening tasks that come your way, and you'll ensure their longevity for years to come. So roll up your sleeves and get cleaning, your tools will thank you!

How are your gutters looking? A leaf-filled trough will cause many issues in the future if not protected. Why not try our hedgehog gutter brush?

 

10) Plan for next year's garden.

As you wrap up your garden preparations for the winter, it's the perfect time to start dreaming and planning for next year's garden. Use the quieter winter months to research new plants, design changes, or additions you'd like to make to your outdoor space. Think about what worked well this year and what didn't, and use that information to make informed decisions about your garden's future. Consider the colours and themes you'd like to incorporate, and envision how you can create a beautiful and functional space. Browse gardening magazines, websites, and social media for inspiration, and make a list of plants or seeds you want to try. Take note of any supplies or equipment you'll need to invest in for next season. By taking the time now to plan for next year's garden, you'll be well-prepared and ready to hit the ground running come spring. So grab a cup of tea, curl up with some gardening catalogues, and let your imagination run wild. The possibilities are endless!

Find our full garden range here and be inspired. 

 

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