bring your grass back to life

How to bring your lawn back to life in 5 easy steps

Bringing a lawn back to life after a long stint of cold, damp weather is a hugely rewarding but challenging process. As a general rule, when the first signs of spring begin to appear, it’s time to focus your attention on the lawn to get it primed for summer.

So, if your lawn is looking a bit patchy or brown, and sunshine alone won’t bring it back to full health, follow this guide to get it looking like a key feature to be proud of once again.

Bring your lawn back to life in 5 easy steps

1.Get rid of winter weeds and dry blades

Dead, dry blades, fungi and moss can all build up on our lawns during the winter and extended cold spells. Snow mould in particular only rears its head during extreme weather, so watch out for that in your garden. It’s time to get your wire rake out of the shed to get rid of this debris to make way for spring growth and reseeding if necessarily. Think of this raking, otherwise known as ‘scarifying’ the lawn, as exfoliating your lawn of the dead cells and dirt to celebrate the spring season.

2. Reseed to freshen up a sparse lawn

Shaping your lawn from seed is inexpensive and straightforward. Whether you are sowing seed to start from scratch or fill in patchy areas on an existing lawn, sowing is a much cheaper option for larger spaces – just don’t get expect instant results.

The right watering strategy is key: water your existing lawn well, sow your seeds and don’t water again until you begin to see the shoots coming through. Watering too early risks washing the seeds away and increases the chance of mould setting in.

How To Sow Grass Seed – A Complete Guide

3. The more your mow, the thicker your grass will grow

As soon as the cold winter snap seems to be over, and your grass seedlings are dry and established, start mowing at least once a fortnight in spring and once a week in summer to prompt full and thick regrowth. Remember to collect your clipping to store in a your compost bin. If you don’t have one, a thick black bin bag will do!

4. Feed your lawn regularly

Nothing brings existing foliage in the garden back to life like a good quality feed. Some feeds are designed specifically for the lawn, which are great if your lawn is moss and weed-free, and others have added ingredients to kill unwanted fungi, weeds and moss for quick results. Some are designed for the spring to promote new growth, and others are for toughening up your autumn grass in time for winter.

Not all feeds are pet-friendly, so check the packaging beforehand or ask the supplier. Chemical-free weed killing alternatives include boiling water – which may also affect your grass so it’s not ideal – vinegar, salt and sugar.

Whatever feed you choose, spread from April through to September for extended growth and health. Try a liquid feed from later spring into summer to feed as well as moisten your lawn during dry spells, then opt for a gentler feed which is low in nitrogen in autumn which won’t speed up growth and leave new shoots susceptible to winter frosts.

5. Aerate your lawn in late spring and early autumn

Your lawn can becoming compacted through use and different weather conditions, which restricts the absorption of air, water and nutrients at root level.

The concept and process of aeration is simple: take a strong, long-handled fork out of storage, put on a pair of boots or wellies with thick soles and use your weight to dig the fork down into the lawn to create small holes. Leave a set of holes every two feet or so until the entire lawn has been aerated.

Your work will stimulate new growth, improve water drainage and de-compact your lawn below surface level. Timing is key: aim to aerate in late spring and early autumn, when your lawn is established but when very hot weather hasn’t made the soil dry and hard to dig.

Why, How and When to Aerate a Lawn in the UK

Revive your lawn this spring with Bury Hill

Now’s the time to invest in a high-quality grass seed mix that has been blended for your specific use. Bury Hill supplies Limgrain grass seeds which have been treated with a transparent coating made from seaweed extract which ensures fast germination and strong root growth.

Find out about our package options and delivery prices by clicking through to our Grass Seed page.

Earth planet. Vector color vintage engraving illustration

Gardening experts share their best eco-friendly tips for 2018

Here at Bury Hill, we’re celebrating Earth Day 2018 on 22 April, so we’ve compiled 22 top tips to start your eco-friendly garden! We enlisted help from leading gardening experts and personalities in the USA, UK, and Ireland to share their advice.

The following guide is perfect for novice gardeners and anyone looking to fine-tune their eco-friendly footprint. Here’s the industry insights and trends you should be looking out for in 2018…

1.Create a pollinator-friendly garden – Toby Buckland, BBC radio, and TV host

As people become more aware of the need to care for our environment, BBC radio and TV presenter, author and award-winning garden designer, Toby Buckland, has reported seeing a ‘rise of interest in pollinator-friendly gardens’. This type of garden focuses on the use of plants and flowers with a high nectar count to assist pollinating insects. We recommend marigolds, wallflowers, and honeysuckle to create a bee-friendly patch.

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2.  Create your own compost:

Composting is an easy eco-friendly habit to adopt in the garden. Creating your own compost reduces the amount of rubbish you add to landfill and improves the quality of your soil to encourage plant growth. Bury Hill offers a range of mushroom composts to nourish your soil – a perfect mulch for beginners!

3. Organic soil conditioners:

To be a successful organic gardener, the quality of your soil must be a key focus. With this in mind, invest in an organic soil conditioner to create a better environment for your plants and flowers to flourish.

4. Organic deterrents:

Invest in organic deterrents early to limit garden pests and reduce the impact they have on your garden. Rather than reaching for harsh chemical-based garden products, consider using organic alternatives like eggshells, coffee beans and baking soda which are all non-abrasive.

5. Collect rainwater – there’s plenty of it!

Water your plants and vegetables without touching a tap! Water butts are perfect for collecting rainwater throughout the year and come in a surprisingly wide variety of styles and sizes. You’re sure to find one that is the perfect fit for your garden – a simple way to help protect the environment.

6. Water plans at the right time of the day:

Select the right time to water the garden to reduce the volume and frequency of your water use. The benefits of this are twofold: a reliable plan reduces garden maintenance time and reduces your use of resources, which, if you don’t have a water butt, will take a chunk out of your water bills, too.

7. Invest in plants native to your area:

Investing in a planting scheme that is native to your area promotes a healthy ecosystem. Native plants, by nature, adapt to their environments. They require less maintenance and provide a natural habitat for birds and smaller animals – what more could you ask for?

8.  Limit your use of electricity in the garden:

There are plenty of sustainable and solar-powered alternatives to garden lights and features. Why not add solar-powered light features to a statement wall or water feature and set the perfect scene for a garden party in the evening? As we become more environmentally conscious as consumers, expect to see more companies investing in beautiful and innovative garden features at affordable prices.

9. Plant trees that are particularly efficient at reducing CO2 emissions:

Certain trees are better at reducing CO2 than others and are therefore more beneficial to the environment. Trees such as pine, oak, and black walnut are all particularly good investments for this aim – and are brilliant for creating shady spots to relax under with a good book!

10. Grow your own fruit and vegetables in the garden:

Try growing your own organic vegetables and fruit as a sustainable way to eat off the land!. With a variety of useful gardening resources available to help you get started on your vegetable patch, there’s no excuse not to start growing your own this summer.

11. Reduce plastic usage – Tom Brown, head gardener at Parham House, West Sussex

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Head gardener at Parham House, Tom Brown, highlights the importance of reducing plastic usage: “I expect a great deal of plastic alternative products to come at us thick and fast over the next twelve months”. By swapping plastic products to environmentally-friendly alternatives, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and how much you spend, too.

12. Reduce, reuse, recycle and rebuy:

In 2018, there is more need than ever to adopt regular recycling habits to limit your impact on the environment. Our top tips include:

  1. Share cuttings/seeds from plants with friends and family

  2. Use old yoghurt pots as traps for snails

  3. Invest in wooden garden tools to reduce plastic usage.

British events and home-grown flower farmers and producers are preparing for a revival, according to Tom at Parham: “British Flower Week celebrates our home-grown flower farmers and producers in June each year. With our minds on Europe and the provenance of our food and flowers, the UK flower industry is poised for a revival through small, artisan producers and large-scale flower growers increasingly brought to our attention.”

13. Remove weeds from the source to prevent competition for resources:

Weeds prevent plants from receiving existing resources in the ground, hindering their chances of growing to their full potential. Removing weeds at the roots prevents the same plant from growing in that spot again, giving your flowers enough room to bloom.

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14. Awareness of biodiversity in the garden – Peter Dowdall, ‘The Irish Gardener’

Peter Dowdall, also known as ‘The Irish Gardener’, has noted the increasing “awareness of the importance of our gardens in terms of biodiversity”, with a particular focus on creating an animal-friendly environment throughout the seasons. As Peter explains, “gardens and gardeners can help to slow this and more and more clients are seeking designs which have a high level of pollinator-friendly plants.” Immediate tasks include attracting insects and bees with colourful flowers, building bird houses and installing water features.

15. Water features to attract birds and smaller animals

Installing a water feature is a great way to prompt great biodiversity in the garden, and makes a great addition to any garden space. There are a variety of options to suit all types of gardens, ranging from artistic water installations and waterfalls to small, subtle fountains and traditional stone tables. It won’t be long before you will be spotting birds bathing from your kitchen window!

16. Buy organic alternatives to garden products

With a large focus on organic products, gardeners will never be stuck for sustainable options to use in the garden. These items are ideal to minimise theimpact on the environment while also ensuring a healthy environment for your plants to grow.

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17. Automate the use of resources – Ahmed Hassan, Celebrity landscaper & TV host of DIY’s Yard Crashers

Leading American gardener, Ahmed Hassan, highlights the importance of keeping up with the latest technologies, particularly automation tools, to give gardeners the freedom “to control whether our sprinklers need to run while also saving on utility bill’. It is becoming increasingly important that we all take advantage of digital apps that control our resources as we advance into a technology orientated future. “There are literally convenience tools for automation that exist to make all the bells and whistles outside more efficient, work when they’re needed and save us time or energy.”

18. Improve air circulation:

Just like humans, plants need air to survive and grow. Regular maintenance of your soil, preferably with a premium grade layer of topsoil, creates the perfect conditions for growth. It’s also worth noting that worms are a friend to you in the garden as they help to break up dense clumps and aerate your soil as they go about their business.

19. Use mulch:

Mulch, which is an organic mix used to cover the top layer of soil, helps maintain soil temperature, reduce weed growth and to nourish the garden bed. Mulch ensures optimal growth conditions for your plants and flowers and is, therefore, an essential for any organic gardener.

20. Viewing gardens as therapeutic spaces:

We often underestimate the healing effects of being in the outdoors. Tom Brown highlights that “gardens as therapeutic spaces will also feature highly, designers are increasingly looking at the health and healing qualities of a beautiful outdoor space as part of  recovery.”

“Keep your eyes on Matt Keightley’s garden at Chelsea this year which highlights the benefits to well-being using plants and gardens.”

21. Invest in long-lasting gardening equipment:

Investing in durable gardening equipment and tools is the best way to reduce your plastic usage over time. Wooden and steel alternatives may expensive in the short-term, but the long-term environmental and reliability benefits far outweigh the immediate costs.

22. Enjoy your organic garden with friends and family:

It’s now time to sit back and enjoy all the hard work you have done to create your eco-friendly garden. We recommend hosting summer garden parties or drinks – it may even encourage your guests to create their own eco-friendly garden!

By following these industries influenced top gardening tips, you will quickly be on your way to making your own eco-friendly garden – just in time for summer too!

Gardening for beginners

5 top gardening tips for beginners | Bury Hill

Have you always been interested in starting your own garden but you don’t know where to start? Do you dream of pottering around in your own garden but lack the experience to feel confident outdoors? As the season of new beginnings, spring is the perfect time to cast aside your doubts to begin your gardening adventure.

At Bury Hill, we have compiled a list of our 5 favourite tips, from choosing a layout to caring for and maintaining your garden, to help gardening beginners blossom into experts.

1.Plan your layout before you begin

There are a number of factors to consider before going to the garden centre to buy flowers and shrubs. By planning in advance, you can cut down on extra costs, avoid impulse purchases and select plants that are suitable for your soil type and levels of light in your garden.

What you should do before going to the garden store:

  • Research the various types of gardens to find one you would like to recreate

  • Create a sketch drawing of a layout for your garden

  • Set a budget to avoid impulse spending

 2.Select the right plants

With a design layout in mind, it’s time to consider your what type of plants you would like to grow in your garden. This may seem like a simple task based on colour preferences and flower types, but there are a variety of other factors you need to consider, such as:

  • Season: The time of year will affect your plant selection. For more information on preparing your garden for spring and summer, plants for each season, take a look at top tips gardener’s guide.

  • Soil: The type of soil you have naturally or import into your garden plays a bigger role in plant selection than you might think. Factors such as Ph levels, aeration, drainage and minerals influence the type and quantity of flowers you can grow.

To boost the health of your soil and encourage plant growth, mix a high-quality soil conditioner into your topsoil.

  • Resistance to disease and parasites: Many plants can resist diseases and parasites that affect their health and growth life. To avoid complications with more disease-prone flowers and plants, look for those with higher resistance.

 3. Invest in the right equipment and tools

As a beginner gardener, it is worth investing in necessary gardening tools to make gardening tasks easier. There are an endless supply of tools available, but not all of them are necessary for beginner gardeners. We recommend the following:

  • Gloves: A basic necessity for all gardeners. Not only will they protect your hands from scrapes and cuts, they will also prevent you from getting infections.

  • Hand trowel: This useful tool has many uses, from moving plants, composting and weeding. It is a must-have for all beginner gardeners.

  • Spade: A durable spade is mandatory for digging larger plots and planting shrubs and trees.

  • Rake: A necessary garden tool to help with garden maintenance, removing fallen leaves and loosening soil.

4. Garden Maintenance

Arguably one of the most important steps for all gardeners, maintenance ensures your plants stay healthy, whilst reducing competition for nutrients and light sources.

-While there are a variety of steps you can do to keep your garden in top condition, we have found the following to be absolutely mandatory:

-Water plants 1-2 times per week to ensure enough moisture reaches your plants and flowers. Naturally, the amount and frequency of watering will change depending on the season.

-Use mulch to reduce the growth of weeds in your garden. When spread over the surface of your soil, it acts as a protective barrier to retain moisture, prevent weeds and maintain ideal soil temperature.

-Weeds are an unwanted but unavoidable feature of every garden. By regularly removing weeds from their source, however, you can prevent them becoming an even bigger problem.

 Enjoy the work you have done in your garden

You have invested a lot of time and energy into creating the garden you have always wanted, now it’s time to enjoy it.

We recommend:

-Investing in garden furniture so you can spend afternoons reading in your garden.

-Sharing seeds and clippings from your favourite plants with friends so they can grow them in their garden.

-Taking photos of the various stages of your plants and flowers in bloom to track progress.

-Helping friends and family by sharing tips and advice that has worked for you.

 Looking for more gardening advice?

Are you a complete beginner or a more experienced gardener? Follow Bury Hill’s blog for more tips and advice on how to create and maintain your perfect garden.

 

Top Organic Gardening Tips for Green Living

The basic premise of organic gardening is to minimise the use of manufactured chemicals by working working within the natural systems and cycles of our gardens. Although it may seem counterintuitive to describe your garden as ‘inorganic’, gardeners often use chemical fertilisers and treatments which can affect water, reduce soil fertility and lead to toxic deposits.

At Bury Hill, we understand the value organic gardening can bring to your garden, so we have combined a list of our top 5 organic gardening tips to help you make the most from your garden.

Fresh carrots

1.Prepare your soil:

Organic gardening means treating the soil with the same care you would plants and flowers. Start be ensuring the soil is properly conditioned using a trusted soil conditioner – this will create the perfect environment to facilitate plant growth.

Soil compost is a mandatory addition to all gardens as it adds nutrients to your soil, grows plants with fewer pest problems and reduces your carbon footprint. We advise making your own organic soil compost by following our guide.

2. Water plants effectively:

It is necessary to ensure your plants always have enough water to retain moisture, and facilitate plant growth.

We recommend watering plants and flowers early in the morning as there is no breeze and its still cool outside. This will allow the water to travel down to the roots of the plant without too much water being lost to evaporation.

3. Alternative ways to protect your plants:

Pest control is an important factor to consider when maintaining your flowers and vegetable garden. Traditional pesticides, however, often cause damage to the environment and can affect soil health. Organic homemade pesticides are a safer option for keeping pests at bay.

You can make your own using foods found in your cupboard:

  • Coffee wards off slugs

  • Eggshells prevent slugs, snails and caterpillars

  • Garlic, tomato, rhubarb: The smell of these foods deters a lot of insects

4. Control weeds:

Weeds compete with your plants and flowers for nutrients, water and light. To prevent them from taking over your garden completely, there are some necessary steps to follow:

  1. First, pour boiling water on weeds to soften and kill the root

  2. Use sharp tools, such as weeding knives and trimmers, to remove weeds

  3. Always remove the roots from the base to prevent future growth

5. Crop rotation:

Crop rotation is a key factor for maintaining soil fertility, reducing the build up of pests and controlling weeds. By implementing a crop rotation system, you ensure optimal soil conditions for your plants.

Follow our easy 3-step guide to crop rotation:

  1. Divide your plot into legumes, root, leaf and fruit

  2. Rotate each section once a year

  3. Make note of the layout of your plant bed each year and take photos to track growth progress

By following these organic gardening tips, you will get maximum benefit from your garden with minimum impact on the environment.

child-friendly gardening checklist

Child-friendly gardening checklist for spring

It’s always exciting to see our gardens wake up once again after a long winter slumber. Spring is an active season for plants and gardeners in the UK. It’s a great time to inspire the next generation of gardeners to get outside and lend a hand to start growing their own flowers, fruit and veg.

Spring is a time for sowing seeds, watching wildlife and maintenance in the garden. A cool breeze may be lingering, but the garden still needs tending. We’ve put together the following guide, which lists child-friendly jobs, planting and activities by month to help your whole family enjoy your garden space.

March

Spring has sprung, busy days have begun!

Jobs to help with

Regular bug watches! Keep an eye out for slugs and snails

Cover bare borders with good quality topsoil

Rake up leaves and stick them in your compost bin

What to plant

It’s time to get summer bulbs in pots for summer colour

Sow herb seeds thinly in a tray or large pot

Sow lettuce seeds early indoors

Clear an area for wildflowers then spread a wildflower seed mix

Clear weeds to sow hardy annuals, like ‘Ladybird’ poppies

April

Prepare for April showers and sunshine

Things to do this month

Dig in a 5cm layer of good quality topsoil along borders

Help plant hanging baskets with bright blooms

Keep on top of weeds! Spread woodchip if needed

Continue your good work

Plant herb seedlings into separate pots or into the soil

Water your newly-planted fruit trees regularly

Add a soil conditioner before summer planting

Tie tomato plants to stakes for straight growth

Look out for frogs and frog spawn in the pond

May

A marvellous month for green fingers!

Now’s the time to

Find a good soil conditioner to break up heavy soil

Begin picking lettuce leaves for lunch!

Bundle herb sprigs into drawers for freshly-scented clothes

Spring sowing and planting

Sow sunflower seeds in a sunny spot outdoors

Pick a spot on a fence or wall for wallflower plants

Plant delicate indoor seedlings outdoors

Gather the first flowers of spring into a lovely bunch

3 ways to attract wildlife into the garden

Make a dark, warm hedgehog hotel using a wooden crate filled with leaves left turned upside down, with a small air hole and an entrance.

Place a small strip of carpet, or any other thick fabric, along a border to attract slow-worms. Often mistaken for baby snakes, these lizards are becoming an increasingly rare sight in the UK.

Create a makeshift bird feeder by stuffing melted fat or lard (an adult must be present) peppered with nuts and seeds. Finally, attach some rope to the container and hang it from a tree that is in plain sight from your house.

Make your garden look and feel great in time for spring with a nutritious topsoil and soil conditioner. All our premium grade topsoils and loams are blended using high-quality natural soils, selected sands and grits and organic compost from known sources, using local materials where possible. If you would like to place an order, visit our topsoil delivery information page.

 

Backgarden flower bed with fence

5 top tips to transform your garden in time for Spring/Summer

Rejuvenating your garden!

As we leave the last of the winter months behind and venture towards spring, it’s the perfect time to begin reviving your garden. While the harsh weather conditions are bound to have left their mark on your plants and flowers, our expert tips are sure to return your garden to its former glory in time for spring/summer sunshine.

1. Give some TLC to your garden tools

Having spent the last few months in storage, your garden tools are sure to be in need of some TLC.  You will need to remove excess debris and mud from spades, trowels and shovels, and other tools will require more extensive care:

  • Maintain tools with bare wooden handles by applying a thin layer of linseed oil.

  • Tools which have become blunt through lack of use can be sharpened using a fine metal file.

  • The handles of garden mowers should be oiled and loosened to prevent them from seizing up.

2. Refresh old paint on fences and gates

Now is the ideal time to repair and paint any broken fences and gates and to prepare them for the warmer months. You should always paint on a day when no rain is forecast and consider painting on a day when the temperature is unlikely to reach above 10 degrees celsius. To prevent your new paint being damaged by mildew and rot, we recommend adding a layer of protective treatment to the fence before you begin work.

Consider bright colours, such as yellow and red, to add a pop colour to your fence and transform your garden into the perfect area for the summer months.

3. Plant seeds for flowers now

Early spring is a great time to tactically plan how you would like your garden to look for the upcoming months. By planting seeds of flowers and plants early in the season, you’ll ensure you garden will be in full bloom by peak summer.

  • Bluebells and daffodils can be planted at the end of winter for spring bloom

  • Plant Lilies now to show off your borders in the summer

  • Dahlias planted in June will be full bloom come autumn

4. Set up a composting area

A composting area is the perfect way to dispose of old fruit and vegetable skins and garden waste, and provide much-needed nourishment for your plants and flowers. We recommend selecting a composting corner and invest in a suitable bin to store your compost. If you’d like to use compost straightaway, check out our soil conditioners made from five-year-old compost to boost your plant and flower growth.

5. Hunt down and remove garden pests

Over the winter months little garden pests are sure to have set up home in your garden. In Britain’s wet climate, slugs and snails can destroy your plans for a colourful garden. By naturally removing them in late winter to early spring, you’ll ensure that slugs and snails won’t become more of a problem later in the year. Top tips:

  • Spray plants with diluted soapy water to deter bugs and insects

  • Scatter coffee around plants to prevent slugs and snails getting too close to the stems

  • Keep caterpillars away by spreading oregano and thyme around your plants

By following these expert garden tips you are sure to reap the rewards by summer time, and you can sit back and relax to admire your work.

Gardening tools on garden soil texture background top view

A Gardener’s Guide to Organic Soil Conditioner

As avid gardeners ourselves, we understand the satisfaction of discovering easy techniques and multi-purpose materials which help to keep our gardens healthy.

Here at Bury Hill, we select the best materials and complementary products that we would buy ourselves. One such material, one which you may not have used until now, is our organic soil conditioner: a great peat substitute and nutritional all-rounder that’s ideal for improving all types of soil.

If you have sandy soil which requires a lot of organic matter to improve its health, or temperamental cloggy wet clay soil which is a challenge all year round, soil conditioner is the perfect ingredient for your problematic beds and borders.

How organic soil conditioner is made

Good quality soil conditioner takes time to make, often with a 5-10 year process to utilise the nutrients stored in organic matter. Organic soil conditioner, as the name suggests, is free from artificial substances. It’s produced using 5-year-old composted waste matter, which is then screened to 10mm, making it easy to rake and spread. It’s this natural process which gives the conditioner its dark rich colour and near neutral pH level.

What are the key benefits?

When we talk about using soil conditioner in the garden, we’re simply referring to using organic matter.

Whereas manure provides some nutrients when combined with existing topsoil, however, soil conditioner is most effective when used to help ‘hungry’ plants.

Using your soil conditioner as mulch for your beds and borders – around trees, shrubs, flower borders and vegetable plot – will feed your plants, protect roots from cold snaps, lock in moisture and quash rapid weed growth.

How to use organic soil conditioner

For best results, spread a thick layer approximately 3-4 centimetres deep across the soil, using a fork or spade to incorporate the conditioner into your existing topsoil. This will instantly improve soil structure and fertility.

Due to its excellent nutrient content and water retention properties, soil conditioner promotes root growth while remaining a safe, sterile and stable organic matter to mix into your soil.

Tip: Ensure soil is moist rather than frozen when applying conditioner to a suitable area outside, preferably cleared of weeds beforehand.

Storing soil conditioner for longer-lasting performance

To maintain freshness and performance, store your organic soil conditioner in a dry, frost-free place undercover, away from pesticides and other garden chemicals. Always reseal the bag after use and avoid breathing in dust whilst spreading and storing your soil conditioner.

If you wish to place an organic soil conditioner order, please use our postcode finder to determine delivery and pricing.

Money-Saving Gardening Tips

10 Money-Saving Gardening Tips Part two

Last year, we took you through our top 10 money-saving gardening tips for our thrifty customers, from money management to researching your landscape supplier properly. However, a gardeners work is never done, and every season presents fresh opportunities to plan ahead! So, if you’re a beginner looking to cut costs or you need a tips top up, you’ve come to the right blog.

1. First, preserve leftover seeds

Seed packets may be small on size but many are big on price – the rarer or more popular the flower, for example, the more expensive they are to grow from seed. One of the easiest ways to cut down on seed expenditure every year is to store all your packets and leftover seeds (because you will always have some left over). Airtight plastic containers and glass jars are best, in a cool dry area away from direct sunlight.

2. Or, collect seeds to use again next year

Collecting flower and vegetable seeds at the end of their growing season will keep your seed collection topped up every year without having to head to the gardening centre. It’s not difficult to do, and some plant seeds are easier than others to harvest. Here’s a quick list of seed-saving vegetables to consider:

  • Peppers

  • Melons

  • Squash

  • Aubergines

  • Cucumber

  • Tomato

The smaller the seed, the bigger the hassle. But trust us, storing home-grown seeds is very satisfying – and frugal!

3. Learn how to take and grow cuttings

You don’t have to wait until a flower or fruit has lost its luster until you can start creating money-saving tips. As soon as plants begin to grow additional stems and shoots, there’s potential to take cuttings to grow on, sell or barter with friends. Here’s a quick tree cuttings guide, for example, to note:

  • Softwood cuttings: late spring, early summer

  • Semi-hardwood: midsummer after flowering

  • Hardwood: end of summer

4. Buy mulch in bulk

If you’ve decided that you’re a minimalist gardener – more interested in materials and practicality- consider using attractive materials in bulk like woodchip and bark to spread around the garden. Bulk buying is often a cheaper, easier and quicker solution for this type of garden project.

5. Shop comparitably

There are plenty of online comparison sites to choose from, selling everything from garden furniture and features to tools and lawnmowers. So shop around to find the cheapest prices on the market, alongside seasonal deals and sales.

6. Avoid overplanting

It’s easy to burden a big flower or vegetable bed with too many plants all at once to achieve a mature, lively scene straight away. As a rule, start with the bigger plants at the back and work your way forward in size until you reach the front, leaving enough room around each plant so they’re not constantly competing for light and nutrients.

7. Test your soil

If you go on a spending spree before testing your soil – what nutrients your soil lacks and its pH – your plants may not be suited to the conditions and will eventually wither, no matter how much you feed them. Test your soil and plan a planting scheme accordingly, like you would with shady and sunny spots in the garden. Consider using specialist soils to give your beds a boost.

8. Try natural, DIY feeds

We’re big fans of trying natural products in the garden when you can. Our pH-neutral organic soil conditioner, for example, is used by customers who want to improve their soil without potentially damaging chemicals.

Natural options to include in the garden include:

  • Making your own weed killer

  • Making your own compost

  • Save your grass clippings to use on your lawn as a DIY feed

9. Get free advice or speak with an expert

If you’re looking for extra ways to be creative in the garden, there’s a wealth of free knowledge online, at your local library or in free magazine supplements to get you started. Alternatively, as we pointed out in our earlier post, investing an hour or so with a landscaping expert to discuss your project to avoid mistakes is often good value for money over the long-term

10. Finally, use water wisely

Rather than add to your water bill during the summer when tending to your garden, collect water from other sources where you can. Installing a water butt, or leaving open containers around the garden to collect rainwater, is quick and easy. Additionally, watering directly on the soil rather than higher up on the leaves ensures water goes to where it is needed and adding two to three inches of mulch to your soil locks in moisture for longer.

For more even more evergreen tips on how to keep your garden looking great for less, revisit our first money-saving blog.

If you’re interested in any Bury Hill product or service listed in this blog, please call our team on 01306 877 540 for more information, or use our postcode delivery finder to receive an estimated price for your order.

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – December Gardening Tips

December gardening calendar

December gardening tips

Will we see snow this year? 

In December we can expect plenty of frost, cold rain, even sleet and hail, and of course beautiful winter snow too! The December days are very short and with the temperatures falling you’ll no doubt be glad to hear that December can be a quiet month in the garden – however there is still some work to do!

What to do in the garden in December

Plants and Flowers

Take care not to over water your houseplants – however if you have the heating on make sure that they don’t dry out. Clip acers, birches and vines at the beginning of the month to prevent bleeding.

Fruit

Now is the time to check on open-grown apples and pears and prune back where necessary.

Vege

Your veggie garden just keeps on giving! Seasonal treats such as leeks, parsnips, and of course the humble sprout should be in abundance now.

 Top 5 gardening tasks for December

  • Make sure any structures set up to protect your garden are securely in place – check on them regularly, particularly after adverse weather.
  • Make sure your greenhouse heaters are functioning correctly
  • Check your pond daily to ensure it doesn’t freeze over. Also insulate outdoor taps otherwise they could freeze and get blocked too.
  •  Take hardwood cuttings of climbers and fruit trees.
  • Grow herbs such as basil and coriander on the windowsill.

For helpful tips and advice throughout the year you can Download our full 12 month calendar here

Loam Soil – Everything You Need To Know.

Loam soil means your garden will flourish

For those of us who simply want to pot some plants, to plant some shrubs, and flowers and keep our gardens looking neat and tidy, sometimes gardening can be tricky. It can quickly become overwhelming when we’re faced with gardening terms and decisions such as which soil is best, and all the things we need to do to ensure our gardens stay healthy.

While you don’t need a degree to be a good gardener, educating yourself on some aspects will help you to make sure that your garden flourishes.

One of the most basic rules of gardening is that if you want your plants to do well, you need great soil to plant it in.

This is where you may have heard the term loam soil come in.

Loam soil is what many gardening experts say you should aim for as it provides optimum conditions for most plants and flowers to grow in.

Good soil is soil that contains a healthy mix of plant boosting nutrients, that has good drainage but also retains moisture well enough that roots get a chance to suck it up, that is moist and crumbly but neither too wet or too dry, too clumpy or too soft! Yes getting the perfect soil can be tricky.

Loam soil is the ideal for growing most plants. It usually contains

- around 50% sand,
- 30 – 50 % silt, and
-10 – 25% clay

These numbers don’t have to be exact. As long as there is the same amount of sand and silt with about a 10th to a quarter of the soil’s makeup being clay, you should have a good enough mix for plants to thrive.

The reason why this mix works is that sand particles help to keep the soil loose, they are the largest of the three particle types and break up the soil well making it easy to work with. They also don’t hold onto too much moisture thus making it easy for water to drain right through the soil when it rains, or you choose to water your garden.

Clay particles are very small, however, they retain moisture far better, therefore are needed to ensure your soil stays moist enough that plant roots can access the water within it.

Silt particles help to mix the two.

The mix of particles in loamy soil means that it is rich in nutrients too, this keeps the soil healthy, and healthy soil means healthy plants. The pH balance is near to neutral, and the consistency of loam soil allows for lots of movement, so water, air and nutrients can move freely within it, again resulting in those hungry roots being easily able to reach what they need.

How do you know if you have loam soil in your garden?

Some lucky gardeners already have loamy soil in their gardens. It’s easy to test whether you have by picking up a handful of your garden soil and squeezing it between your fingers. If the sand content is too high the soil will sift through your fingers, too much silt and the soil has a more powdery consistency, too much clay and it will feel sticky and won’t absorb water well.

If you have loam soil, you should be able to form a loose ball of soil in the palm of your hand.

I don’t have loam soil – how can I create it?

You’d think just by adding more sand, silt or clay to your soil would result in loamy soil in your garden. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this.

To achieve loamy soil, you must carefully and consistently tend to your garden. Working in some good quality organic matter each season to your existing soil will help you choose the optimum soil conditions for your garden.

Alternatively, for a fast solution, you can buy loamy soil to add to your garden for instant and impressive results.

At Bury Hill, we pride ourselves on providing a fantastic range of loamy topsoils which can be ideal to help your garden flourish. So whether you are a novice gardener or have been doing so for years, why not browse our great variety of premium grade topsoils and loams to give your green space a real boost in time for next years planting season?