Anyone who grows some of their own food will know that success is a moveable feast!
Two years ago my attempt at growing tomatoes outdoors was a failure. The garden is very windy and the ground just didn’t get warm enough for the plants to develop, so in 2015 tomatoes were indoors, link to the feature.
However growing indoors allows access to juicy morsels to unwanted creatures without the usual predators to control them. Always wanting to use natural deterrents I keep a pyrethrum based spray handy. However disaster struck when I inadvertently used the wrong spray.
What happened? I noticed a couple of little flies in the conservatory, the kind that lay eggs in the soil and the grubs eat the roots and the plants die. So I rushed around looking for the pyrethrum can, found it and sprayed assiduously all the plants and seedlings. To my absolute horror I realised I had used a weedkiller spray instead. I rushed around again, found the water spray and desperately watered.
To no avail, within 24 hours little brown spots had appeared on some of the leaves and over the next week everything was on the way out. There was nothing for it but to start again.
I contacted Delfland Nurseries who raise organic vegetable plugs and they sent me basil, chilli, sweet peppers and squash replacements. I resowed tagetes, nigella and limnanthes to serve as companion plants. If you are keen to find out about using plants as decoys to insects like black fly and attract pollinators like bumblebees and overfills, have a look the guide provided on the Thompson & Morgan website, from which you will see basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes, as are chives and mint.
We grow a lot of companion plants every year and will do the same this year – nasturtiums, a great space filler and colourful companion plants germinate without any help from us from last year’s seed!
Half the plugs Delfland grow are organic own vegetable plugs and each month you can choose a ‘selection pack’ of brassicas, salads, glasshouse or herbs and more. Here’s a link to the ordering options.
For those of you who find the planning of seed sowing and remembering to keep to the schedule a hassle, will find these plugs so useful when you have run out of space for early sowings or when you don’t want a whole packetful of plants from seed raising.
Delfland now have bedding and other plants for sale as well as ready-made hanging baskets and pots planted in various colour schemes – now that appeals to us!
This has to be one of the best websites we have found for gardeners who enjoy growing their own vegetables. Delfland provide really good quality plants and great service. Do have a look!
Val Reynolds, Editor
Climbing strawberries with a fruiting period from June to September, now there’s a thing!
In 2008 we wrote an article about the Thompson & Morgan strawberry Mount Everest. It grew well for us and our readers. We had six plants to grow and hoped for great things, especially to make jam.
This year we will be trying Strawberry Skyline with climbing stems and dangling fruit from every runner! The perfect option for anyone short on space, the climbing habit also brings other added benefits – you can get to the fruit before the slugs do, there’s no need for straw to keep the ripening fruits off the soil, and no back-breaking bending to pick your crop. Plant in the soil under trellis or pea netting, or grow on the patio with the T&M Towerpot® climber system for easy access to the fruits. We will be using the Towerpot this year in the conservatory and in the greenhouse as a comparison.
Our 2014 strawberry growing was not a huge success. Here in Cumbria we have a shorter growing season than further south. So in 2015 we decided to grow our strawberries in the glazed entry hall to offset the lower temperatures outside.
For Flamenco another T&M everbearing strawberry, we used strawberry bags. They grew well, had a wonderful harvest which the mice and slugs relished so they were moved into a glazed link between the stables and the coach house*. They did well there.
We tried Eternal Love a variety from Lubera that went on and on fruiting right up to the first frosts. We have kept a dozen runners to grow on, the fruit tasted really good. This year we are trying another Lubera variety, Fraisibelle. All kinds of soils and conditions seem to suit it from light to heavy soil, partial shade to full sun.
As always we travel optimistically and have visions of rows of strawberry jam in the larder! We managed some what we called freezer jam. Much simpler than conventional jam making, although it produces a soft rather than a very firm set. There are easy instructions on the Certo recipes webpage. The ‘jam’ is so tasty and delicious on ice cream, cereal, and in cakes. We always make sure there is always some Certo in the cupboard year round. So this year it’ll be delicious freezer strawberry jam again and maybe even ice cream made from unsprayed homegrown fruit!
*Why not come and visit us? We have converted our 1700’s old stone built coach house into a self contained warm and cosy cottage for holiday lets, short and long, any time of year. Here is a link – we grow many different companion plants and insect attractive flowers to maximise our fruit and veg in the kitchen garden. Do come! We love talking gardening!
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
The delicious red fruit used to be one of Britain’s most beloved. But are you one of those who think tomatoes don’t taste quite as good as they used to? This may be because three quarters of the tomatoes bought in this country are now imported.
British Tomato Week has been set up to raise awareness of flavoursome British tomatoes, and help spread the word that when it comes to choosing the best, buying fresh, home-grown British tomatoes is a great place to start.
To celebrate British Tomato Week Lancaster London Hotel are offering a Tomato Week themed Afternoon Tea priced at £30 per person, which will include savoury delights made with the freshest British tomatoes, including Tomato bread, Tomato scones and Tomato sorbet. Looks yummy!
Island Grill restaurant on Hyde Park has created a special three course set menu, priced at £12.50 for two dishes or £15.50 for three courses.
However, like me, you might have some tomato plants on the windowsill or in a greenhouse. Many gardeners manage to grow them outside but up here in Cumbria the wind and lower temperatures mean indoors is the only option. I did try some outside last year but the plants were pretty much an unproductive experiment.
So this year I purchased two Ailsa Craig plants. Noted for the exceptional flavour of its fruit, which ripens early in the season this well known gardener’s favourite produces medium sized tomatoes with a uniform size and shape and an excellent deep colour.
Another popular tomato popular with gardeners and which has an RHS AGM*, Alicante, was available from a local nursery and I have placed both varieties in a glazed entry hall.
They are growing apace, in fact one Ailsa Craig has grown half an inch in 24 hours I noted this morning! I only know that because I marked the support strings yesterday just to see what rate of growth might be in the sunny and warm hall. I didn’t expect such a surge!
I have another three pots of a tomato Crimson Crush, a new entrant on the tomato market from Suttons in the conservatory that only has sun from about noon and I’ll be interested to see if there is any difference in growth rate. They are going into grow bags.
I know of course I may well be awash with tomatoes and there is a limit to how much time I want to spend bottling and making tomato puree, so much of the crop will go straight in the freezer in bags. To remove the skin easily I just dunk them in hot water, the skins slide off moreorless immediately.
If you are growing tomatoes let us know the variety and their progress … we will probably try different varieties next year.
Val Reynolds, Editor
*Award of Garden Merit
It’s this time of year that seems to stimulate the need to replace worn out gardening stuff and this month I decided to look into replacing my somewhat worn, but much loved, gardening gloves. They have given sterling service, comfortable, not clammy, light, easily washed clean in the machine.
I wanted a similar lightweight feel and sensitivity and came across this stylist design from Ethel Gloves. They have all the plus features characteristics of my old gloves – two way stretch moisture wicking fabric made from bamboo – plus the added advantages of the wrist cover and a tab to hang them by, genuine goat skin leather palm and reinforced leather fingertips.
I’m rather smitten, in fact they seem almost too good for using the garden but I expect I’ll make the effort!
My gardening slip ons have reached the point of no return with the sole worn thin and the heel at a dangerous angle … Have to say these have taken at least 12 years to reach this state of wear. So I was pleased to come across a range of garden shoes made by a husband and wife team. Titled Backdoor Shoes there is a choice of design and sizes.
I chose the bluebell design and have been happily trotting around in all weathers. Waterproof, washable with removable, washable insoles. Designed for both men and women they are lightweight and very comfortable. Chris Evans was given a pair with the grass design by his wife for Christmas and he loves them.
Their website give more details.
Val Reynolds, Editor
Save time at Christmas – let your fingers hit the keyboard!
I really don’t have the time to wander round shops searching for suitable gifts at Christmas, and judging from the retailers, I’m just one of hundreds of thousands who think the web is a wonderful place to wander round instead.
So where to start?
We tend to keep all the Christmas catalogues that arrive in the post and use the ones we like best to choose our gifts. Here are the mail order catalogues we chose this year:
Lakeland, Wiggly Wigglers, Thompson & Morgan
What a range of goodies! You may need an evening or two to go through their website, but it’s well worth the time.
Christmas is a time for indulgence and our favourite edible gifts this year were Finlandia fruit jellies and the Glacé fruit tray – the thought of both make your mouth water! Makes a great change from after dinner mints.
Five minute origami will suit a five year old who loves making things. A nearly impossible jigsaw puzzle will infuriate a brother! A Christmas themed set of skittles will get the teams lined up, to win of course! And we can all dip into the tins of biscuits while we compete for supremacy! There is always a slice of delicious Country Fare Glacé fruit cake on hand.
Only one of the many items we ordered was out of stock and we were able choose another equally scrumptious alternative.
One big feature is the Lakeland no quibble return policy which works! And they make shopping so easy, you can phone and order, visit one of their many outlets, click and collect, send orders in the post, or order direct on line.
Why Thompson & Morgan?
Nothing marks the start of the gardening season like the first seed sowing of the year. You could give the gardener in your life all they’ll need for the earliest start in 2015. For the fastest seedlings in small batches you’ll want to treat them to the T&M Premium Seed Kit with its seven tray heated propagator. Both the flower and vegetable selections have something for pots, baskets and open soil. The kit includes plant labels and pencil. We use our seed propagator all the time now, wouldn’t be without it – it gives peace of mind – it is so reliable.
Alternatively you could always order some plug plants to be delivered in time for the best planting period. We have ordered gifts from T&M for several years now and love their indoor plants. This year we particularly like the Christmas Cactus, only £12.99.
What about a standard Bay Tree to give a classy look to your front door? Every outdoor plant we have ordered from T&M has done well, some are now more than 7 years old – for instance the lemon tree in a pot, now safely in the cool greenhouse.
Order before midday on 19th December for guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas.
Why Wiggly Wigglers?
Here we have a real success story, a farmer and his wife provide a real joy of a catalogue to browse through. Everything a bird feed enthusiast might want, bird nesting boxes, garden composers, composting worms – the worms do the work by the way! We have ordered a terracotta bird nesting box and some roosting pockets for some young children to put up in their garden.
This year we have ordered Goat Sock Gifts. To be on the safe side rather than buy the wrong size sock, why not, in view of the possible very cold weather ahead, buy some bed socks. Honestly they are really so good we each have two pairs to make sure we always have cosy feet every night. Can’t praise them enough. They come in one size which seems to suit everyone we know.
Great British Florist is part of the Wiggly Wigglers organisation and they offer the most beautiful bouquets and wreaths. To receive a monthly bouquet of seasonal British flowers you can subscribe to the monthly flower delivery. This would be an absolutely fantastic gift for someone who just loves fresh flowers that haven’t been flown halfway round the world. We really urge you to look at the website and get more information about their flower club, flower workshops, wedding packages including natural flower petal confetti. Do have a look on the Christmas page on their website – we’ve just ordered a Christmas posy for the Christmas Day table and a wreath for the front door – look for the one with brussel sprouts as part of the design! Last date for guaranteed delivery for Christmas is 22 December – don’t miss out, you won’t regret it!
Gifts for ourselves – two witch hazel bushes, one yellow and one red. I remember a huge hedge of witch hazel plants with a most wonderful perfume in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens and have always wanted one since. We heard they were on the Lubera were selling them – Lubera has a most wonderful plant list.
Grown in Switzerland, all their plants are hardy, useful in Cumbria as we can’t cope with tender plants without a lot of care. Recently we now have a damson tree, two pointilla bushes – they provide a most unusual tasty fruit, six raspberry plants both gold and red, and strawberry plants. For more information go to their website – we will soon be writing more about their plants in a separate feature – We Love Lubera!
We always look for unusual decorations for this time of year and found a lovely tealight decoration on the Notcutts website. The Circle of Friends costs just £8.99 and looks wonderful on a windowsill.
Finally, something for us at Christmas when we’ve had enough food, games and alcohol, a jigsaw to push our brains in active mode! A jigsaw puzzle that will take a lot of time giving lots of fun: a copy of the Heye Jigsaw – 2,000 pieces, Napoleon’s Winter, designed by Jean-Jacques Loup. Here’s a link to browse through.
We already have copies of Loup’s Noah’s Ark – we loved it so much we did it twice, and the Spaghetti puzzle, both of which we had a great deal of fun and frustration but what a sense of achievement when we completed it with a touch of regret that we didn’t have it to work any more! We might just contemplate the 4,000 piece Crazy World Cup for next year, but then there is the House of Horror, and the Orchestra designs! Decisions, decisions! By the way we found a source of the Heye puzzles in East Yorkshire, http://www.jigsawpuzzlesdirect.co.uk 01287659036.
We are really looking forward to retreating into puzzle mode and forgetting the wintry weather outside. Can’t wait for Christmas Day now!
Right, that’s everything done … now for a swig of that damson gin we put away a month or more ago. It must be ready by now!
We wish you all a very Merry and Happy Christmas.
Val Reynolds and her team
Making light of physical garden work
Our garden has long but not very wide borders. We decided to clear them of unwanted plants and make them deeper and add curves to add interest and decide on a more varied planting. One unwanted plant with very deep roots is Centaurea Montana and some of the beds need a second deeper dig to remove new growth.
The soil is easy to work and after I had a look at our garden tools I realised most of them are heavy, suited to my husband, not me. Also I managed to break the wooden handled spade I have used for years when digging up strawberry plants in a friend’s garden – her soil was quite compacted and harder to work than ours.
When I found it was as expensive to replace the handle as to buy a brand new fork, I had a look at the Fiskars Garden Light range on their website. My husband had recently bought the edging tool which I found light and easy to use and wanted to see what else was available.
Weighing only 1.4 kg each, I decided on the fork and spade. Each have lightweight, plastic coated aluminium shafts designed to reduce back strain and make garden work lighter. Just as attractive with regards to weight, the rake and patio broom just had to be added to the list!
I already had Fiskars secateurs and multi purpose scissors Cuts+More – a really useful item to have around the garden and indoors – see list of features below.
We did consider a garden shed to hold the tools and found some quite suitable ones on the web. In the end we decided another shed would be one too many and instead we utilised one end of the new woodstore. It gives easy access while protecting from the weather all our Fiskar tools. The pair of Fiskars scissors on the left hand side was bought about 1970 is still in use – simply love it!
I have to say I’m delighted with this tool storage, easy to access, shielded from the weather that cost virtually nothing. Now what more could be squeezed in! I’m thinking of a brand new hoe, maybe …
Val Reynolds, Editor
The Cuts+More is designed to cope with
Trimming, pruning, opening packages
A power notch to cut light rope
A wire cutter for cutting light wire without damaging the blades
A twine cutter to cut twine cleanly and quickly
A pointed awl tip for piercing holes in cardboard, plastic, matting
Titanium-coated, take-apart knife for cutting sheets of polythene, cardboard and sheeting – this is particularly useful
The cover includes an integrated ceramic sharpener and tape cutter
And a bottle opener for a well-earned drink in the shed at the end of the day!
Photography by Pintail Photo © PintailPhoto
We have just harvested our potatoes from the planter bags we started in April. We left harvesting for a month once they were ready and decided to move them out when there was a risk of frost.
We had a reasonable crop – we love to eat our own grown veg and Desiree potatoes are popular with the family.
We did nothing other than use fresh compost from B&Q and kept them from drying out, so regular checking and watering was a must.
Our bags were 14 litre and gave us a lot of potatoes but nothing like the T&M crop – 80 tubers in one 8 litre bag!
Details of how it was achieved
The method, hit upon during technical trials at the Thompson & Morgan seed and plant specialist’s Ipswich HQ, opens up potato growing to everyone – even those without a garden. The small but durable bags will sit happily by the front door or on a deep window ledge.
More than 80 tubers were harvested from just one of these bags, nearly treble the number harvested from each tuber in the larger sacks. The results came from Thompson & Morgan’s new Potato Jazzy – an exclusive new generation first early bred for maximum yield and flavour, but the impressive results don’t stop there.
Amateur growers tested the method this summer, too, when T&M horticultural director, Paul Hansord, challenged his local gardening club to a grow-off: three tubers of Maris Peer and three 8 litre bags – biggest harvest wins. “As with our technical trials, the club results were hard to believe. If I hadn’t cut the top growth from the winning entry and emptied out the crop myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. It was like the tubers were trying to burst out of the bags.” said Paul.
Gwynneth Hogger took the winner’s cup for producing an astounding 17.5lb of quality potatoes – a trophy well deserved!
Getting the most from the 8 litre potato growing bags is easy:
• Mix Chempak® Potato fertiliser with your compost before planting
• Set one tuber per bag and do not compact the compost
• Fill the bag with compost in one go – no need to top up
• Water evenly and do not allow to dry out
• Try auto irrigation to prevent over or under watering
Beat your neighbours to the first potatoes of the season – Harvest 12wks after planting!
Try the 8 litre potato growing bags, beat Gwynneth’s 17.5lb harvest across three bags, and win £100 of T&M vouchers. Send a photo of you and your 2015 harvest to: email@example.com – winners will be notified in July next year. Good luck!
For the widest selection of tuber varieties and the 8 litre bags (20 for £9.99) visit www.thompson-morgan.com or call 0844 573 1818 for your free copy of the 2015 Kitchen Gardener’s Catalogue.
You can imagine at In Balance we are planning on doing the same and have put in our order right away for bags and Jazzy the potato variety and of course make sure we get the bag of the Chempak® potato fertiliser!
Val Reynolds, Editor
Bird watcher or cyclist? History buff or rambler? These are some of the reasons why we moved to an unspoilt part of Cumbria, a peaceful and relaxed spot where, from our garden, we can see Brough Castle on the site of the Roman fort, Verterae.
If you enjoy that kind of holiday, then please consider joining us at Coach House Cottage in Church Brough, Kirkby Stephen. This one up, one down old coach house has been updated and offers comfort and privacy, whilst we live in the adjoining converted stables.
Facilities are all new. We created an open plan kitchen with a fridge/freezer, electric hob/stove, microwave, toaster, slow cooker, tv, Freeview and wi-fi. Cutlery, crockery, glass, linen, tableware and cookware is provided. There’s full double glazing throughout, internal insulation and central heating, plus a smoke alarm link to the centralised system.
Upstairs, reached by a staircase from the sitting area is the light, airy double bedroom with en suite shower room. Open beams above and a truly comfortable bed! Bed linen, bath towels, tea towels are provided. Throughout you’ll find comfortable furnishings and some period country items.
There is ample parking in the courtyard and you have private sitting space in the walled kitchen garden with views of the farmland and hills beyond.
The cottage entry door is opposite the door into our house, we share the main entry door. Your privacy is assured, however – both buildings have solid, thick stone walls!
Worried about the weather so far north? Last winter gave us very little snow, which melted within a few hours. Yes, it rains at times – this is Britain, after all! – but when the sun comes out the light is so beautiful it can have an emotional effect. In fact, we get enough sun every day to have made installing the solar panels worthwhile.
So with Coach House Cottage as your base, what can you do around here?
Church Brough village is a three minute walk away. Brough takes about 15 minutes.
The cottage is on the 100 mile Lady Anne pathway from Skipton to Penrith and close to both the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast route. An extensive footpath and bridleway network right on the doorstep means you can explore little known unspoilt countryside seldom meeting other walkers, unlike the Lake District.
For cyclists, Cycle Route 71 is about two miles away and beautiful, unspoilt countryside all around makes it a pleasure to ride.
For golfers, there’s a choice of two local courses – the Appleby (Gary Wolstenholme’s favourite) and the Ravenstonedale course, close to The Black Swan which was voted the pub of the year 2013. A bit further afield, there are top quality courses at Penrith, Alston Moor, Barnard Castle and Hexham.
For gardeners, we encourage your input into our on-going development of our kitchen garden, the big lawned rear garden, a small patio and small walled area, as well as the courtyard. We love talking about gardening especially the demands of this northern location. Throughout the summer, there are many local garden open days, both in small villages and big country house gardens.
For bird watchers, there is a good range of birds in the immediate vicinity and, in our garden alone, we’ve spotted curlew, peregrine falcons, goldcrests, oystercatchers, great spotted woodpeckers, heron, house sparrows, long tailed tits, cole tits, buzzards and possibly a golden eagle! There is an RSPB golden eagle hide at Riggindale, Haweswater, just over 20 miles away.
For nature lovers, a trip to the North Pennines, which an area of outstanding natural beauty just on our border, is a must. There is a field centre at Bowlees Visitor Centre and several nature reserves and wildflower meadows to visit in both the North Pennines and the Eden Valley.
For explorers, there’s a wonderful mix of moors, dales, scenic villages and market towns nearby without ever going near a large town.
For country lovers, we have a string of local shows and events throughout the summer, all within 20 miles, such as the Brough Hound and Terrier show, the Alston Sheepdog Trials, agricultural shows at Skelton, Penrith, Brough, Appleby, Ravenstonedale, Wensleydale, Crosby Ravensworth, Dufton, Moorcock and Alston, plus Harness Racing in Appleby and Horse Trials at Hutton in the Forest.
For train enthusiasts, the Settle to Carlisle railway is close by as are other restored stretches of defunct, railway routes such as Warcop and Alston should be of interest, as would be Kirkby Stephen’s railway museum and enthusiasts’ centre.
For antique hunters, there are regular auctions at Hawes, Penrith and Barnard Castle.
Finally, a bit about the history. The cottage formed part of what was the Church Brough Rectory estate. The rectory, servants’ hall, stables, coach house, barn and glebe land were privately acquired and converted into four separate properties. The coach house and stables are linked by a glassed entry with separate internal access to the two dwellings.
Located on a bridleway, immediately behind the self contained cottage is a flight of stone steps to St Michael’s, a church with Norman origins. Turning left out of the cottage you pass a well on your right. Take a right turn onto the little used lane/Roman road (see photo 5) with its metamorphic sandstone sides leading to the village green and Brough Castle from which there are fantastic views of the surrounding area. The farm beside the castle has a well-known ice cream parlour and tea room.
Brough lies at the foot of the Stainmore Pass that crosses the Pennines. The Romans built a military road from York to Carlisle and a chain of forts one of which was Verterae. A 1,000 years later the Normans built a castle on the Verterae site. Over the years the castle was destroyed, rebuilt, burned down and in the 17th century it was rebuilt by Lady Anne Clifford. A 100 mile pathway that follows the route Lady Anne Clifford took to visit her many castles from Skipton, passes through Church Brough going on to Penrith. Market Brough, the northern part of the village, was an important centre of trade from 1330 when a charter for a weekly market was granted. There are multiple sites of historical interest. Castles of note are at Carlisle, Brougham, Brough, Raby, Barnard Castle, Middleton, Shap Abbey and Pendragon Castle, plus Roman fort sites and, of course, Hadrian’s Wall.
A practical note: there are two hospitals within 35 miles away and major supermarkets within about 20 miles, although Sainsburys, Tesco and ASDA deliver on-line orders. Our local market town, Kirkby Stephen, is just three miles away and you’ll find it unspoilt and undeveloped.
Depending on time of year our rates are from £350 to £495 per week. Short breaks are available. To check availability you can either call Val Reynolds on 017683 42530 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More images on http://coachhousecottage.bksites.net/
So sorry but we are unable to accept pets.
Val & John Reynolds
Here is some recent feedback from our guests this year:
We had a wonderful time at the cottage. First impression on walking in is that everything is clean, neat and looks new. I have not slept so well in years the bed is so incredibly comfortable and large. We found the whole place very welcoming and well appointed. We both like walking and it was so great to be able to leave the front door and walk in stunning scenery without having to use the car. The pubs we went to for lunch provided really good food, people were friendly and helpful. At the end of each meal we had out I never once thought “I could do better than that at home” as so often happens on our walks at home when we try a new place. On the days we did use the car it was so great to drive and find a parking place. I am so used to the overcrowded road conditions and parking wardens so keen to fill their quotas of greater London. So we had a great holiday. Dave, London, UK
Very comfortable retreat in the North Pennines. All mod cons and very attractive, stylish decor. Ideal location for people who love peace and quiet, within easy reach of wonderful walking areas. J & K, London, UK
A quirky, comfortable holiday retreat for two. The Coach House Cottage is very well equipped and beautifully furnished. The peaceful location in a wonderful area for walking and exploring. J&A, Brittany, France
We had a fantastic time at the Coach House Cottage. The local area has plenty of things to do, walking being our favourite. We loved the fact that the cottage was so well equipped, everything we needed was provided. M&S, Doncaster, UK
We came across a most useful video on YouTube entitled How to Create Perfect Hanging Baskets throughout the seasons. Having put some hanging baskets together we came to realise there is more to success than meets the eye, this video has given us insights to hang on to.
Most gardens require some level of year-round maintenance, and whilst these fundamentals are key to keeping a garden looking neat and tidy, it’s the finishing touches that can make your garden a truly beautiful haven to enjoy every time you step in to it. Whatever season or sized garden you’re planting for, hanging baskets and planters offer you a really simple way to dress your garden with bursts of colour and fragrance the whole year through.
Whether you’re looking to dress-up a country estate, town garden, urban balcony or roof terrace, the Blacksmith range of wrought iron hanging baskets, wall mangers, troughs and planters come in a wide choice in sizes and styles, that once planted, will add whole new floral dimension to your outdoor space throughout the seasons.
In this short film wellknown gardener and horticulturist Martin Fish shows you how to achieve seasonally beautiful hanging baskets.
Tips To Remember:
- Use a multi-purpose compost; this has a light texture and will encourage growth for a broad range of plants
- Use a slow release fertilizer to provide feed for the plants for several months
- To the compost add some water retaining gel to help keep the compost moist and plants watered
- Keep the soil about an inch below the rim of the basket to enable to you to water your basket well and to prevent compost spilling
- You must remember to keep your plants well fed so, feed monthly with a liquid feed to help promote a full and showy bloom throughout the season.
Summer Basket Plants
- Trailing Lobelia – Masses of frothy flowers that will go through the summer
- Geranium – Gives the basket its height, with pink flowers
- Helichrysum – Delicate silver/grey foliage plant
- Scaevola – Delicate unusual flat shape flower foliage plant
- Trailing Petunia – Bright pink flowers
- Begonia – Pink flower, glossy foliage plant used for bedding to fill the spaces within the compost and give that fuller effect
All Seasons Basket Plants
- Selection of Evergreens – Coneflowers, Variegated, Grasses, Sages, Heathers
- Trailing Plants – They will grow over the edge with their graceful habit
- Ajuga – Grow blue flowers in the spring, these remain looking good 12 months of the year
- Crocus and Daffodils – Bulb plants that will push up through spring
- Edible Crop Baskets Herbs Basket – Marjoram, Thyme, Parsley, Chamomile
- Fruit and Vegetable Baskets – You can grow lettuce, tomato or strawberries