Posted by Craig | Posted in allotment | Posted on 07-10-2013
As soon as the first weak rays of summer sunshine break through the thick spring clouds, we Brits are out in our gardens flipping sausages in shorts before you can say, “it’s only spitting”. With that in mind, keeping our gardens in check becomes a top priority for hosting successful barbecues – here are a few simple tips to help you maintain a well-manicured garden without too much strenuous grunt work.
What to grow
Ferns: Ferns are pretty plants with frond-like leaves that flourish under a combination of shade and sunshine, so they grow particularly well in the UK.
Clematis: These gorgeous plants produce large flowers that come up year after year. Clematis is easy to contain but grows quickly – and can be trained to grow up trees, trellises and around other plants.
Honeysuckle: Another climber, honeysuckle gives off a beautiful evening fragrance. Honeysuckle flowers are small, delicate and plentiful.
Castor oil plant: With glossy, green, jungle-like leaves, castor oil plants grow quickly, but their roots remain relatively contained, so they won’t cause any trouble below the soil’s surface.
Petunias: These brightly coloured flowers are perfect for hanging baskets. They come in a variety of shades (although purple tends to have the strongest fragrance); they grow quickly and result in a beautiful, vibrant floral display.
What not to grow
Ivy: Although beautiful and leafy, ivy should never be left to grow up the side of your house. This thirsty little plant sucks moisture from brickwork, causing damage to the structure of your home that may not be covered by your Swiftcover Home Insurance.
1. If you have reoccurring weeds growing near a beloved plant, you can still use a weed killer without causing any unintentional damage to surrounding plants. Simply cut the bottom from a two-litre fizzy drink bottle, place like a bell jar over the weeds and push into the soil. Squirt weed killer through the bottle top, screw the cap into place and leave until the weeds are dead.
2. If your hanging baskets seem to dry out too regularly, place a layer of water-retaining crystals (available from most garden centres) beneath the soil. When watered, they swell and keep the compost moist so you can water them less frequently.
3. Deter slugs and snails from munching on your potted plants by wrapping copper wire around pots. Sounds strange? It is, but it works!