Category Archives: Topsoil Tips & Advice

Backgarden flower bed with fence

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

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?

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 – 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

What is the difference between topsoil and loam?

 

Getting the right kind of soil to ensure that your garden flourishes, is so important, and one of the many questions we frequently get asked is to explain the different between Topsoil and Loam Soil – and how to know which should be used in a garden.

Every gardener knows that for their plants and flowers to have the best chance of success the soil they are planted in must be rich in organic matter, free from harmful chemicals, kept moist, and turned over as much as possible.

Many gardeners who feel their soil needs a little boost will simply head to their local garden centre and buy only topsoil to try to improve their soils nutrient level and help their garden grow.

The problem with this, however, is that to take care of your whole garden you must dig a little deeper. Loam and topsoil are often banded together, however, while they share some similar qualities they are not the same thing, and it is important for gardeners to understand the difference. So, what is the difference between topsoil and loam?

Topsoil

In your garden (as you may guess by its name), Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil, or rather, the first 12 inches. Topsoil will be dark and rich in organic matter due to leaves and other vegetation that will have decomposed on the surface. However, topsoil can also contain sand, clay, and silt.

Loam

Loam is a classification given to soil rather than a standalone type. When soil is described as loam soil, it is because particular qualities it contains – a mixture of sand, silt and clay. You can also get different types of loam depending on the percentages of sand, silt and clay found within it. You may hear soil being referred to as ‘sandy loam’ or ‘clay loam’ for example because it has a greater percentage of one material then normal.

When it comes to commercial Topsoil and Loam Topsoil, Topsoil tends to have a looser consistency – this is to help with draining so when you water your plants the water will quickly reach the roots and retain a great amount of moisture, but also drain away well so as not to build up and drown your plants and flowers. Good quality topsoil often contains decaying organic matter, rich in nutrients to feed your soil. Loam soil contains little or no organic matter, however, it is popular with gardeners, landscapers and green keepers alike because of its ability to retain water and nutrients.

What is important to remember is that when you ask for topsoil in your garden centre, you may be given something that is not loam soil as well – and therefore not as beneficial to your garden as it could be! A mix of organic matter plus the benefits that a loamy soil provides is ideal..

So, now you know, next time you buy, make sure to be clear so you can rest assured you are getting the very best kind of soil to help your garden grow.

At Bury Hill, all our premium grade topsoils and loams are blended using high-quality natural soils, selected sands and grits and organic compost from known sources. So whatever your gardens needs, we will be happy to help!

The Best Trees For Small Gardens

Find the perfect tree for your cosy outside space

As all experienced gardeners will tell you it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts. Having a small outside space doesn’t mean you can’t turn your garden into a little piece of paradise all of your own.  Just as with any garden, it takes carefully planning and a little bit of research to find out what works best and how to make the most of it.
Many people may fear that a beautiful blooming tree is but a pipe dream if their garden is a little on the petite side. However, they need not worry. There are plenty of small tree species available that you can stick in a corner or even a plant pot that will provide leafy shade, beautiful blossoms and generally look pretty fantastic.

It was National Tree Week at the end of last year.  This first came about in 1975, and is the UK’s largest tree celebration officially launching the start of the winter tree planting season. To celebrate these life-giving plants, if you have always wanted to grow a tree in your small garden, now is the perfect time to do it.

Here are 5 of the best trees to buy for a small plot.

The lovely Japanese loquat is ideal for small gardens, it stays relatively compact in size as it grows, and you can prune it back to suit your space.  It’s evergreen which means it will stay looking lovely in your garden all year round. In summer it produces glorious yellow fruit which you can eat. Be aware that it is not a huge fan of the cold so try to plant it somewhere sheltered and protect it from frosty winters.

A strawberry tree is another excellent choice that will provide you with tasty fruit that you can make into jam (if the birds don’t get to it first of course!) and bursts of delicate white flowers come autumn.

Acer griseum AGM which is otherwise known as the ‘Paperbark Maple’ is another smart choice. This beautiful small tree is particularly noted for its bark flaking and curling which creates a rather appealing textured effect. These trees tend to stay narrow making them perfect for smaller gardens, and you can expect a rich and colourful burst of foliage come autumn which will cheer up and outside space. In fact, there are many varieties of AGM

If you are looking for a tree that will be the pride of your garden come summer try the Koelreuteria paniculata ‘Coral Sun’ AGM which grows to about 6m high and 3m wide. This tree will bring a ray of sunshine into your garden when the weather is at it’s warmest with gorgeous yellow midsummer flowers. It’s yellow and orange leaves come autumn are also very appealing.

For a tree that is easily kept in check, the Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ is a good choice. Delicate pale pink blossoms appear in spring, and the columnar shape of the tree means it won’t take up too much room in a small plot.

Of course, there are much more different types of trees to buy for a small garden. For more inspiration, why not take a look at some advice on trees for small gardens from the Royal Horticultural Society?

When buying a small tree, there are some considerations to take into account. Measure your garden space and think about how much room you want your tree to take up – height and spread are both important factors.  Consider your neighbours and factor in any other buildings nearby which might impact its growth or damage the property. Think about seasons and how your tree can complement other plants and flowers in your garden depending on when it blossoms or when its leaves change colour.

Whatever you decide making sure you garden is ready for its new arrival is important. If you are planting your tree in the ground give it the best start in life by making sure your soil is in the best condition it can be. At Bury Hill we offer a range of top quality topsoils,  specialist soils and compost and mulches to keep your garden flourishing all year round!