Friday, 30 January 2015

Weatherproof Your Garden

It’s been a typically British winter so far – by which we mean unpredictable. Mild one minute followed by freezing conditions the next, it’s no wonder if your garden’s looking a bit shell-shocked. The idea of weatherproofing your garden might sound really difficult, but it’s just a case of using the right types of plants to last all seasons. The folks at Wonderlawn, who produce state-of-the-art artificial grass have designed this handy infographic which gives you 5 top tips for which plants will last throughout our changeable weather.

Monday, 19 January 2015

4 Affordable Ways to Give Your Garden a Makeover

Regardless of the size and location of a garden, there’s something calming about sitting back and putting the feet up in a well-maintained outdoor space that offers the opportunity for relaxation. Unfortunately, all gardens don’t offer this opportunity. Whether you consider yourself to be a green-fingered expert or a complete novice gardener, there are plenty of affordable ways that you can give your garden a makeover. Let’s explore 4 of them.

1.       Tame the Plants

One of the easiest ways to improve the look of your garden is to tame the look of your plants and shrubs. The best thing about this tip is that it will not cost you an absolute thing only an afternoon in the sun, given you do it at the right time of year of course! Dead and unhealthy looking plants can completely bring down the look of your garden and leave the overall space looking neglected and unattractive.

If you have plants in your lawn that have outgrown their space but are still healthy, the best thing is to transplant them to an area that’s more conducive to their size. For overgrown bushes and plants, simply tame them using a hedge trimmers or clippers.

2.       Add a Mini Raised Garden

If you don’t have space for a vegetable garden, or if your current one has being neglected, it might be time to consider adding a mini raised garden to your outdoor space.

Raised gardens are a great idea as their design makes them perfect for keeping weeds out and the soft, clean soil is ideal for vegetable growth as it is free of troublesome rocks and debris. The nutrient rich soil also makes themperfect for the growth of soft fruit plants which grow in the UK and a large variety of plants.

3.       Build a Garden Border

Polishing off the look of your garden is important to its finished look, and a nice garden border is the perfect way to do just that. It’s not an expensive project to complete, as all you’ll need is some cement pieces or brinks to separate the garden beds and trees from the grass.

As well as making your garden appear neater and finished looking, garden borders help to prevent gravel and grass from entering your flower and vegetable beds.

4.       Consider Creating a Pathway

Another very simple, yet effective, way of giving your garden a polished look is to create a pathway that leads from one end of the space to the other. For this project, there are all kinds of affordable materials that can be used, some of which include stones, wood and bricks. The type of material that you choose will determine what method you will have to use to lay down the pathway.

Instead of opting for a full path that leads from the front of the garden to the back, many people choose to use stepping stones as these can add a little more quirkiness to the design and layout of the area.

As you’ll have already gathered, updating the look, the practicality and functionality of your garden does not have to cost you an absolute fortune. All you need is the willingness to change the drab features of your current space and update them with some of the structures that are mentioned above.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Garden Fences: A Guide


Garden fencing can help to create a more private garden area.  Fences come in all range of sizes and styles, meaning budding gardeners can create a personalised environment that’s as unique as their garden.

However, fences are not just about building boundaries, but can add real character and style to your garden.  At the London Vegetable Garden, I like to ‘compartmentalise’ my garden, using fencing to create different areas to enjoy.

As an avid vegetable grower, I like to have a dedicated vegetable ‘patch’ in my garden, but I also like to plant flowers and shrubs to create a more visually-appealing area; and a fence panel between these two areas helps to break up the space and create ‘compartments’ in the garden.

However, fencing can also be used to foster growth and create a ‘living fence’.  Trellises create a framework for climbers to grow up on and can become living, thriving fences that help separate garden areas in a visually striking manner.

However, if you just want something plain and stylish, there is a wide variety of decorative fence panels that can create a unique atmosphere.  Take a look at these decorative fence panels, offering a wide range of styles and looks.  

If you’re looking to create more privacy in your garden, looking to separate different areas, or simply looking for new fencing to make a statement, you’ll find everything you need at Fence Supermarket. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Bringing the Outdoors Indoors: Plants in the Home at Christmas

Log fires, blankets, television and far too many chocolates and wine: at Christmas, it’s often easy to hunker down and hibernate, as we shut out the outside and focus on the warmth and comfort of life indoors.  Yet bringing the outdoors inside can be a hugely rewarding and enjoyable feature of the home at Christmas too.

There can be no grander visible symbol of bringing the outdoors indoors than the traditional Christmas tree!  But there are plenty of other subtle ways that you can bring the outdoors indoors, creating a subtle harmony through plants and flowers, whether as decorations, or gifts for loved ones.

Lavender makes a wonderful addition to the home, all year round.  Based within the bedroom, lavender provides a wonderfully soothing aroma and calming effect.  As well as helping to reduce headaches (perfect during a busy party season!), anxiety and even rheumatism when consumed in tea form, lavender can also help to lull you into a deep sleep when the plant is placed in the bedroom, making it the ideal plant for the bedroom, and a perfect present for friends and family.

Mistletoe grows on willow and apple trees, and it is a plant that has strong cultural connotations with Christmas.  Why?  It is supposed to possess mystical powers that bring good luck to the household, warding off evil spirits.  In Norse mythology, it was also used as a sign of love and friendship; hence the Christmas custom of kissing under the Mistletoe.  Whatever you use it for, it makes an aesthetically pleasing addition to the home at Christmas – perfect for bringing some festive cheer.

Herbs also make a great year-round addition to the home.  Based in the kitchen, temperatures and conditions can fluctuate wildly, but herbs are hardy things and there is nothing better than picking fresh herbs to add to dishes, especially at Christmas, when leftovers are ripe for experimentation and flavouring.  Kitchen herb gardens make a great present that any cook will love and cherish.

And finally, what about the humble holly?  Added to conifer twigs, holly is traditionally used as a wreath to display on the front door, but you can create some wonderful centrepieces that last for the duration of Christmas and drape these on shelves, fireplaces or tables to bring some festive merriment into the home.

So there we have it: just a few simple ideas that show how bringing the outdoors, indoors this Christmas can help to both liven up your home, and make some great gift ideas for friends and family.

If you have any additional ideas, we’d love to see them!  Comment on this post or visit the Facebook page.

In collaboration with Betta Living

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

How To Keep The Perfect Summer Garden

With what promises to be a ‘flaming June’ upon us, we can finally enjoy our gardens. With the evenings getting longer, not to mention warmer, we can turn towards colour and variety in our gardens - providing we know how to look after them!

Good vibes

A survey reported in The Telegraph has found gardening can help us feel renewed. Recent research carried out by the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) showed that more than just shy of two-fifths (39%) of those questioned said that being in a garden make them feel healthier, while 79% think having access to a garden is needed to ensure good quality of life.

This can become increasingly helpful as we become older. The ritual of planting out and caring for our gardens, window boxes or allotments can aid these good feelings.

Summer gardens are usually at their best when flowers are in full bloom – offering colourful and inspiring displays for all to see. This is why property developers such as McCarthy & Stone pay close attention to their landscaped gardens and ensure there is always a pleasant outdoors atmosphere for their homeowners to enjoy - McCarthy & Stone properties are listed on Zoopla if you’re interested in seeing what they have to offer.

What to grow?

This Royal Horticultural Society article gives excellent tips on June chores to make the best of our gardens throughout the summer. Different plants can thrive in shade or sunshine so it’s important you understand the type of garden you have before following these tips to keep the perfect summer garden:

Sunny or south facing  
Consider planting roses, honeysuckle, lavender and bedding plants like marigolds and sunflowers. Hanging baskets brimming with lobelia or trailing fuchsias are a summer must-have.

Shady nooks or north facing
This presents more of a challenge so opt for hostas, evergreens and plants which offer interesting foliage as these thrive well in shady places. You could also consider ferns, foxgloves, hedera, impatiens, begonias and the beloved arum lily.

Taking care of your plants and flowers
Deciding what to grow in your summer garden is only half the battle – you must also make every effort to care for your plants and flowers so that they stay looking fresh and beautiful.

Our top tips for summer garden tending are: 
  • Water at cooler times – to avoid water being evaporated by the sun before it has time to do its job, water your plants in the evening when the sun’s glare is reduce 
  • Control pests – check for signs of pests such as slugs, snails and greenfly and use necessary repellents to protect your plants from harm
  • Secure your plants – climbers such as sweet peas and trailing roses can benefit from being securely fixed to canes to keep them secure when there are strong winds

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Hozelock Reviews: Pico Reel and Wonderweeder

Be it balcony, patio, or small garden, the gardener who operates within compact spaces is constantly looking for ways to use space efficiently.  For me, space has always been a premium, and while my beautiful Peak District garden is a world away from the limited confines of my Hackney balcony, I remain a gardener held accountable by space.

The transition from balcony to allotment to garden has allowed me to expand the plants, flowers and vegetables I can experiment with growing, but this journey has also eaten up more space as I amass more and more garden tools, equipment and machinery!  That’s why I love solutions that are as compact as my garden, and Hozelock has come up trumps.

When I moved in, I inherited a cracked old watering can that does ‘a’ job.  I’d often considered a hoze for the hot summer months, but found them to be too large to warrant a place in the garden.  However, the Hozelock Pico Reel is the answer to my prayers.

A finalist in the RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year 2014 (high acclaim indeed), the Hozelock Pico Reel strikes the perfect balance between form and function.  Its compact size and reel allows you to leave it by the tap, or roll it up and store it in your shed – perfect for gardeners with small plots, like myself.
Lightweight, non-drip and compact, the hose still packs 10m of length, allowing me to water my garden thoroughly, without compromising on space.

In addition to the Pico Reel, I’ve also been experimenting with the Hozelock Wonderweeder.  Every gardener knows that gardening is backbreaking work, especially when it comes to weeding patios, driveways and paths!  However, help is at hand with the Wonderweeder.

Its unique design allows you to weed standing up (wonderful!), whilst the tool is refillable and also protects your plants thanks to the protective cone that sits around the nozzle.  Again, its compact size means you can store it easily inside or out when you are done with it.

So there we have it: two great space-saving pieces of kit from Hozelock that are helping me to keep the garden going without compromising on space.  Visit for more details!

Nutscene Twine

One of the many things I love about gardening is its timeless appeal.  While the years pass and trends change, gardening remains a simple, age-old pastime that connects us with the past and the very nature we live in.

One of the timeless tools I use is my grandfather’s old pocketknife.  A constant companion, I enjoy the feeling of family history in my hand, the smooth shape and workmanship reassuring in my hand as I open bags of compost, dig weeds out of tight cracks in paths and cut all manner of strings, twine and ties.

And it’s twine, too, that is an oft-used companion in the garden.  From lashing together my annual runner bean cane network to holding up fragile plant stems, there seems to be a hundred and one different ways that twine comes in handy in the garden.

I was thrilled to receive a selection of Nutscene twines in the post the other day.  This great British brand heralds from Dundee, in Scotland, the birthplace of the jute industry.  The brand dates back to 1922 and is derived from the company’s renowned Greentwist™ twine, which when tied around a plant cannot be seen, thus ‘not seen’!

I’ve long been a fan of Nutscene twine, not only because of the quality of the product and its many uses in the garden, but also because again, it holds an inherent link to the past: the twines are still produced on the original machinery that they were 92 years ago, operating out of a small mill yard in the heart of Angus, Scotland.

Whether you’re one of nature’s old romantics, like me, or simply appreciate high-quality and useful British garden tools, Nutscene Twine is a firm favourite of the London Vegetable Garden blog.  Check out the website to discover a wide range of twines and garden tools:


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