Author Archives: Nick Stuart-Miller

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?

Bury Hill gardening calendar – November gardening tips

November gardening tips

November gardening tips

Winter is approaching

November sees the last of the leaves fall, frosty days and nights and often freezing rains – oh the joys of the British winter! Protecting your garden should be your priority now.

What to do in the garden in November

Plants and Flowers

Get any other plants that can’t withstand the cold inside the greenhouse now. Keep lawns and flowerbeds free from fallen leaves. Plant out winter bedding plants.

Fruit

You can prevent winter moths from damaging fruit trees by wrapping grease bands around their trunks.

Vege

You can still enjoy your own vegetables at this time year. Grow hardy winter salads in the greenhouse such as Winter Gem, winter land cress, and corn salad.

 Top 5 gardening tasks for November

  •  Raise any containers on your patio to ensure they don’t get waterlogged
  •  Get your tulips in the ground
  •  Insulate outdoor containers from the harsh weather – wrapping them in bubble wrap will do the trick.
  • Feed the birds! It’s a tough time of year for many birds so why not give them a helping hand?
  • Make the most of bonfire night to clear your garden debris.

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

Bury Hill gardening calendar – October gardening tips

October gardening tips

October gardening tips

The weather turns colder

October will feel noticeably colder, time to get those jumpers on when out in the garden! This is a wonderful time of year with frosts appearing and blankets of golden leaves from the trees on the ground. However there is still garden work to be done!

What to do in the garden in October

Plants and Flowers

Move more delicate plants into the greenhouse to protect from early frosts and cut back on those perennials that have started to die down.

Fruit

Reap the rewards of your autumn fruit by harvesting apples, pears and grapes.

Vege

Time to think of spring vegetables for next year! Spring cabbage should be planted out now.

 Top 5 gardening tasks for October

  • Trim back on overgrown hedges
  •  Prune climbing roses to ensure excellent flowering next year
  •  Collect the final seeds from your garden for next year
  • Give your lawn a final mow 
  • Give you garden a mini makeover by laying lawn turf on tired lawns

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

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – September gardening tips

Gardening calendar September

September gardening tips

Autumn days are upon us…

September brings cooler weather and shorter days. Now is the time to enjoy your autumn harvest of fruit and vegetables and start to think about planting for next spring too.

What to do in the garden in September

Plants and Flowers

Plant your spring flowering bulbs now to have them ready for early flowering next year.

Fruit

Enjoy the abundance of autumn blackberries and raspberries and get creative with them in the kitchen.

Vege

Get the last of the potatoes out of the garden and ensure you have protected any leafy vege such as lettuce with bird proof netting.

Top 5 Gardening Tasks for September

  •  Separate herbaceous perennials.
  • Gather and plant seeds from perennials as well as hardy annuals.
  • Protect your ponds from being clogged up by autumn leaves by covering them in netting.
  • Pay attention to your houseplant watering – the cooler weather means you can cut back.
  • Have an ‘end of summer’ clean of your greenhouse, pots and sheds to have everything ready for the coming months.

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

Prevent weeds from taking over your garden!

During the summer months, weeds can become a particular problem. While the warmer weather, combined with the rainy days that we have come to enjoy as a typical British summer, are ideal growing conditions for plants and flowers, they are also ideal growing conditions for pesky weeds which clutter your garden and can be harmful too.

Weeding your garden can be time-consuming, and even the most avid gardeners would agree that they’d rather spend their time tending to their beloved plants and flowers rather than having to spend their precious gardening time trying to keep on top of weeds.

So naturally, the ideal solution is not to have to pull out weeds, but to prevent them from growing in the first place!

While it might be impossible to completely eradicate weeds from your garden, there are certainly some things you can do to ensure they are kept to a minimum.

So if you want to prevent weeds from taking over your garden, try these helpful tips.

Try not to disturb the soil.

Many weeds live below the surface of your garden, and if left undisturbed are unlikely to see the light of day. While it may be necessary to turn over soil from time to time keep it from compacting, done too frequently and you risk exposing weed seeds to sunlight and stirring them into action! Instead, a high-quality organic mulch can do the trick and will encourage earthworms to keep the soil loose and nutrient rich – with the minimum input from you.

Suppressing weeds with a mulch is extremely useful when it comes to weed prevention. Mulches effectively smother weed seeds in the soil, preventing them from rising to the surface and being exposed to sunlight. Mulches also have the benefit of keeping the soil cool and helping it to retain moisture. Late spring is an ideal time to do this.

Weed at optimum times

If weeds to appear in your garden, to make life easier for yourself it’s a good idea to do so after a heavy downpour. When the soil is soft and wet, it will be less difficult when pulling out even more stubborn, deep rooted weeds, and can ensure you get the whole weed out, rather than breaking off the top part, only to discover a regrowth a week later!

Choose close plant spacing

If you plant the plants, shrubs and flowers you do want in your garden close together, there will be fewer gaps for those pesky weeds to emerge. When thinking about your garden design, choose plants that compliment one another and it won’t look like you have squeezed in too many.

Careful watering

Another way to prevent weeds from taking over is to avoid giving them the care they need to grow! Be careful to water the plants you want to flourish while depriving weeds of the same. Drip or soaker hoses, placed beneath a layer of mulch can work wonders, and depriving weeds of water can reduce weed-seed germination by 50 to 70 percent, so it’s definitely worth a try!

Using the above strategies can help dramatically reduce the number of weeds appearing in your garden and provide you with effective solutions to making them easier to remove when they do. So if you want to prevent weeds from taking over your garden this summer, why not give them a try?!

 

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – August gardening tips

August gardening calendar

August gardening tips

Hazy days and warm summer nights…

Keep to a strict watering schedule in August and make sure you’ve got garden helpers on hand if you are planning to spend some time away from home. Prune summer-flowering shrubs to keep them neat and encourage further growth.

What to do in the garden in August

Plants and Flowers

Collect seeds from garden plants which can be used for next year’s garden. Keep soil nourished by topping up with high grade topsoil and green manures.

 Fruit

Pruning fruit plants is essential at this time of year, and make sure you cut out old fruited canes on raspberries. and pot rooted strawberry runners too.

Vege

August is a great time for harvesting veggies so keep an eye on your vegetable patch, sweetcorn, broccoli, and lettuces should all be ready to enjoy.

 Top 5 GardeningTasks for August

  • Deadhead your flowering plants on a regular basis.
  • Watering! Pay attention to all your plants and flowers and don’t let them dry out – but do try to recycle water where you can.
  • Keep ponds and water features clean and free of dirt and debris, and top them up with water if needed.
  • Reap the rewards of a well thought out vegetable garden and eat what you grew!
  • Give soil a helping hand by adding composts and green manures to keep it healthy.

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

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – July gardening tips

July gardening tips

Summer is in full swing…

July is one of the warmest months in the calendar and when gardens can be enjoyed for lazy summer reading, lunchtime BBQ’s and evening soiree’s. This is the time where you’ll want your garden looking it’s best and in order to do so you need to be on high alert for weeds, pests and parched plants.

What to do in the garden in July

 Plants and Flowers

 Keep weeds at bay by weeding regularly, keep plants and flowers well watered in the summer’s heat, and deadhead any flowers that need it to keep those blooms coming.

 Fruit

 July should see the first crops of fruit plants and trees flourish. Protect them with netting to avoid all that hard work going to waste by them being devoured by cheeky birds or pesky snails. Apricots, peaches and nectarines should be ripe for the plucking in July.

Vege

 Juicy courgettes should be ready to be harvested now – make sure you get to them before they turn into marrows.

 Top 5 gardening tasks for July

  • Keep your eye on wilting plants and flowers, particularly delicate climbers such as clematis and treat them accordingly.
  • Pay attention to ponds and water features and clear any algae or debris that has built up in them.
  • Get ahead of the game by ordering catalogues to peruse and plan for spring next year.
  • Give your grass a good lawn feed to keep it lush and healthy looking.
  • Don’t forget about your houseplants – keep them well watered and make sure they are cared for if you go away on holiday too.

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

 

What are Mulches and how can they help your garden?

Uses of garden mulch

Mulch is something that many gardeners use to improve their outside space, in fact some swear by it. But what exactly is mulch and what can it be used for?

Here you can find our quick guide to help you understand the importance of mulch and what it can do for your garden!

So what is mulch?

Simply put, mulch can be any type of material that you use in your garden to help your soil retain moisture, improve its condition, reduce weed growth, keep it at the optimum temperature and improve its fertility. Mulch is spread over the surface of the soil to protect and enhance it, and can also be used to improve your gardens aesthetic.

Mulches can be both organic and inorganic.

Some examples of inorganic mulches include:

  • Rocks
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Rubber chippings

Some examples of organic mulches include:

  • Compost
  • Newspaper
  • Leaves
  • Straw

There are advantages and disadvantages to each, and so choosing which type of mulch you use in your garden will depend on certain factors. Inorganic mulch is more long-lasting and durable so you will have to replace it less often. Organic mulch breaks down and decomposes which will mean you have to keep adding to it – however organic mulch will boost your soils fertility where inorganic mulch will not.

When it comes to organic mulches, choosing the right kind for your garden is important and usually comes down to what you want it to do.

Bark mulches, for example, are ideal around the bases of trees and shrubs, and if you want to give your garden a neat yet rustic look, they are also among the most long lasting of the organic mulches. However if you plan to do a lot of digging, bark mulch will soon become more of a hassle as you’ll have to move it  every time you want to dig in new plants.

Compost is a hugely versatile mulch and can be used on any part of your garden, compost is perfect if you need to give your garden a much needed boost as the nutrient rich material will help to improve it’s condition, and encourage your plants and flowers to grow.

Newspaper is ideal for keeping your soil moist and cool and will help to suppress weeds too. Simply put your damp, shredded newspaper around your plants then cover with a layer of compost to keep your garden looking smart. Remember newspaper will need replacing but one layer should last a growing season.

Straw can give your garden a rustic look and works particularly well in vegetable gardens. A layer of straw will last a whole growing season and is easy to work with if you need to move plants or bed in new ones. Additionally straw will attract garden insects who will create their homes here and keep pests under control.

Synthetic mulches are some gardeners preferred choice because of their functionality and durability. However, they can become a bit of an eyesore. To combat this you can simply cover plastic sheeting or fabric in a thin layer of compost or bark tt – instantly giving your garden a more natural look.

It’s important to note that if you chose to use plastic sheeting this can get very hot in the summer months, and ensuring there are holes cut into the sheeting to allow water to get through is important, otherwise your soil can dry out and the nutrients die.

At Bury Hill we are proud to offer a well-rotted mushroom compost which is ideal to be used for mulching, being particularly effective for rose beds, tree & shrub planting and breaking up heavy soils.

Remember, whichever type of mulch you use, it’s not set in stone – you can renew and replace your mulches so why not experiment and see which one works best for you and your garden?

 

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – June Gardening Tips

Bury Hill June Gardening Calendar

June gardening tips

Warmer weather arrives and summer flowers take centre stage…

June should see longer days, warmer weather, and all that hard work you have done in your garden in the first part of the year should really start to pay off. The extra warmth and light should see your garden burst into action, but watch out for weeds which love the more temperate weather too!

What to do in the garden in June

Plants and Flowers

Check on your climbers and any tall flowers and make sure you have provided support for them to continue to grow. Prune back spring flowering shrubs. If you want flowers in your garden all summer long plant some late-flowering ones such as Calendula, Candytuft, or Clarkia.

Fruit

June is a great time to check in on your tomato plants and pinch out the sideshoots to stop them growing unmanageably tall.

Vege

Early crops of lettuce and radish should be yours for the taking! You can also plant nutritious broccoli, and herbs such as coriander and parsley can still be grown from seed at this time of the year.

Top 5 Gardening Tasks for June

  • Hoe borders and watch our for cracks in the patio where pesky weeds can grow.
  • Remember to try and be as efficient with your water as possible – though be sure not to let plants and flowers dry out.
  • For an instant garden refresh get some bright hanging baskets and containers out.
  • Grassy lawns will need to be mowed once a week.
  • If June is particularly warm protect greenhouse plants by blocking out the sun.

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

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – May Gardening Tips

May gardening tips

May gardening tips

Summer is nearly here!

As your garden starts to blossom and bloom, you’ll know that summer is right around the corner. Now is the time to start sowing and planting out bedding, and you’ll need to put a regular slot in the diary for cutting the grass too. Here are our May gardening tips.

What to do in the garden in May

Plants and Flowers

Keep an eye on more delicate plants and flowers in case unseasonable weather should strike. Sow pretty poppies, bright cornflowers and scabious which will make your garden hum with life from appreciative bees and butterflies.

 Fruit

Now the warmer weather is here why not get tropical and sow some melons?! Believe it or not some varieties of melon will grow well even in the temperamental British climate. Try the orange sherbet variety for optimum results.

Vege

Start digging up earthy potatoes for a delicious accompaniment to summer salads.

 Top 5 gardening tasks for May

  • Get summer bedding all planted at the end of the month (unless the weather remains very chilly).
  • Get the most out of your watering by doing so early in the morning or after sunset so the hot rays of the sun don’t evaporate it before it has absorbed.
  • Ventilate your greenhouse and prevent it from getting too hot by opening doors on warmer day.
  •  If you have hedges that need trimming remember to check for birds nests before you start.
  • If your daffodils are looking a little overcrowded, take some out and plant them elsewhere.

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