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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?

BucketBarrow URBAN88 Wheelbarrow Kit

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?

 

Maze 55 Litre Composting Cart

The perfect companion to the small and portable composting cart to follow around the garden with 55L of capacity for plants, soil, tools everything you need.

  • Stays low to the ground to make the collection of compost easier
  • Can sit under the composter to collect nutrient-rich liquid
  • Easily transports ready-to-use compost around your garden
  • Strong and sturdy design
  • Removable handle for storage

 

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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