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Category Archives: Garden

Take Care for Houseplants

Ignored houseplants may not bite the dust, but rather at some point or another they can look exceptionally pitiful or wiped out, get to be distinctly chaotic and canvassed in clean or irritations. Normal consideration regarding cleaning, irritation control, preparing and trimming will pay nice looking profits.

In brief

Dismissed houseplants may not bite the dust, but rather eventually they can look extremely pitiful or wiped out, get to be distinctly messy and shrouded in clean or nuisances. Normal consideration regarding cleaning, bug control, preparing and trimming will pay great looking profits. Standard preparing ought to incorporate the evacuation of leaves that hint at infection, have turned yellow or kicked the bucket. With blossoming plants, evacuating blurred sprouts will urge new bloom buds to open and proceed with the show.

Solving pest problems

A number of pests can attack your houseplants. Common ones include scale insects,white fly and mealybug. Control can be quick and easy – simply spray an effective insecticide solution onto your plants to protect them for up to 3 weeks. A systemic insecticide spray controls root pests and those on stems and leaves and is watered onto the compost.

Keep plants clean

Plant leaves that are kept clean and free of dust will absorb all the available light and so ensure your houseplants remain strong and healthy. Dust the leaves of smooth-leaved plants with a soft, damp cloth. Support the leaf with the palm of your hand and gently clean. A hand shower fitted to bath taps is a useful tool for washing down large plants or plants with many small leaves.

Cacti, succulents and hairy-leaved plants should not be sprayed or washed. Instead use a soft, dry brush to remove the dust.

Add an extra shine

For an extra glossy finish you can find leaf shining products that add a sparkle to your display. Don’t shine hairy-leaved plants, only those with thick, leathery leaves. Only shine mature leaves, not the new ones.

Room to root

As plants grow, their roots will gradually fill the pot and the plant will need very frequent watering, as there is little free compost available. If you want the plant to get bigger it’s time for a larger pot and repotting.

But flowering houseplants usually flower much better if they are kept slightly potbound, but in time these will probably need repotting too.

Repotting

The best time to repot houseplants is when they are actively growing – usually in spring, but also in early summer.

  1. Water the plant thoroughly before you start.
  2. Select a pot just one or two sizes bigger than the existing one and put a layer ofPotting Mix into the new pot.
  3. Knock the plant out of the existing pot and place the rootball into the new one.
  4. Fill the space around the rootball with Potting Mix Root Boosting Compost and lightly firm.
  5. Water thoroughly to settle the compost, and then place out of direct sunlight for a few days.

About Successful Houseplants

You needn’t bother with greenfingers or unique hardware to have flourishing houseplants. Rather, a bit of cherishing consideration and a couple of fundamental realities are all you require..

A large portion of the mystery of achievement is understanding that distinctive houseplants have diverse necessities. In the event that you watch your plants you will soon realize when water is required and when clouding is advantageous. The essential prerequisites for all plants are light, stickiness, water, warmth and nourishment. The harmony between them is the way to predictable achievement.

Warmth

A reasonably consistent temperature is best and wild temperature fluctuations should be avoided. So too are cold draughts and frosty winter windowsills. Most houseplants are happy at around 70°F (20°C), but some only thrive at colder temperatures. For example cyclamen prefer a temperature range between 50°F to 60°F (10°C to 15°C); Cineraria even colder.

Light

Adequate light is essential, but many plants with large thick green leaves can survive in shady corners for some time. Flowering plants and foliage plants with coloured or variegated leaves, need good, bright light. Only cacti and succulents appreciate direct summer sun at mid-day. In winter unshaded sunlight should have no scorching affect on any plant.

Humidity

Most forms of home heating produce an atmosphere which is too dry for the majority of pot plants. Central heating in winter will create a warm atmosphere which is as dry as the Sahara Desert. You can either spray your plants with fine droplets of water regularly or create a micro-climate around their leaves by grouping or by packing moss between the pot and its decorative container.

Water

Although correct watering should be easy, it is responsible for the death of more houseplants than anything else. Too much water poured regularly into the compost can cause plant roots to suffocate and rot. Remember to check that the composts is drying out with your finger before watering. Frequency of watering will vary throughout the year, depending on the plant’s growing conditions.

Food

Like all living things, plants need to be fed regularly when actively growing. Fresh compost will contain sufficient nutrients to last for around 6 weeks, so supplementary feeding is soon essential. Avoid feeding during a plant’s resting period. With most foliage plants this is in the winter – with flowering plants this is after the normal flowering period.

Steps to Make Houseplants Happy

Houseplants are immaculate to liven up the rooms of your home – the inconvenience is, they now and again turn yellow or shrink, and you have no clue why. Take after the simple strides in this venture and you’ll give your houseplants the most obvious opportunity to remain green and sound.

A solid houseplant has the correct blend of light, soil, and dampness. As it were, it lives in a place that is much the same as home. A decent tip is to make your plants agreeable by mirroring their local surroundings. It merits exploring where your houseplants originate from and what makes them flourish.

Ingredients

  • Moisture controlling compost
  • Ready to use plant food

Other useful items

  • Trowel
  • Moss, mulch or pebbles
  • Watering can

Step 1

Follow your plants’ changing watering needs. Plants vary their water needs over the seasons. When they’re actively growing, they need more water. Watch what your plant is doing and increase or decrease its water accordingly.

Step 2

For proper watering, think of your plant as a sponge. There’s no need to let your plant completely dry out before you flood it – that can be stressful. If you think of your plant as a sponge, you want to keep it moist enough to be able get a drop or two of water with a gentle squeeze.

Step 3

Maintain moisture in your plant soil. Place a little moss, mulch, or even some pebbles around the base of your plants to retain moisture in the container. If your schedule is a little hectic, and watering becomes an issue, try using a moisture-retention soil.

Step 4

Need for feed. Feeding will produce bigger, lusher plants with more blooms. Ready to use plant food comes in ready to use convenience so there’s no mixing, measuring or mistakes!

Step 5

Keep clear of bugs. As with all plants, houseplants can be attacked by a range of bugs. Use the latest insecticide in plant care which works by hitting existing pests, protecting against new attack to create stronger-resistant plants.

Prune Wisteria

Wisteria, what a hypnotizing marvel. Flawless pendulous sprouts trembling in the breeze, floating a powerful scent as you go underneath a course of brilliant green clears out. Or, on the other hand a woody mass of foliage as firmly tied as a chunk of fleece after a little cat has been playing with it. To guarantee that your Wisteria is a bounteous blossomer you should ace the specialty of customary pruning.

When to Prune Wisteria

Wisteria should be pruned twice per year to maintain a strategic distance from a mass of woody vine and huge amounts of foliage. Twice yearly pruning will support most extreme blooming and enhance the general strength of your Wisteria. The following are the best circumstances for pruning your Wisteria to occur?

Winter Pruning

The first pruning session of the year should be done in late Winter. February is the ideal time as the leaves are absent, the plant is deciduous and lying dormant. The aim is toprepare the vine for the growing season to come and ensure that any tangled stems are sorted and tidied before the leaf buds break open. The February Wisteria pruning also gives the opportunity for any support maintenance to be done to the arch, pergola, wall or any other support mechanism around which the Wisteria has been trained. Far easier to repair broken fence panels without the weight of leaves, than in the middle summer when the mass of flowers and leaves mean that you battle to hold the vine in place.

Mid Summer Pruning

The second pruning should occur in Mid Summer, sometime between July and August is the ideal time as this is the period immediately following the flowering season. The plant has expended it’s early energy and is ready to be refreshed and revived for new growth. Summer Wisteria pruning allows you to control its size and gives greater opportunity for training the Wisteria, to follow the path best suited to your garden, whether that is over a pergola or scrambling up a wall and delicately framing, rather than obscuring, the windows.

How to Prune Wisteria

Wisteria is a hardy vine and will, generally, be forgiving if a spot of light pruning turns into a hard cut back. However here is our guide to how to prune your Wisteria.

February Pruning

As February is the time you will be able to see all the stems of your Wisteria vine, now is the time to trace back to the main stem and sort out the shape of your plant.

Pruning Young Wisteria Plants

If your Wisteria has only had one or two summers of growth, February gives you the chance to create a strong framework in the plant. Cut back the main stem to a height of approximately 75cm and then untangle the side branches, before cutting back by about a third. Train the Wisteria to grow where you want it to, by tying into a supportive structure and removing any unwanted growth.

Pruning Mature Wisteria Plants

If your Wisteria is a more mature plant, February pruning keeps its size in check. Cut back new growth and main branches to just two or three buds to keep the plant neat, tidy and ready for the forthcoming growing period. Hard pruning may be required if there are dead stems to deal with, or particularly woody areas of the vine causing gaps in the foliage and flowering. In this case cut back to the first healthy stem you come to.

Summer Pruning

When flowering has ceased, this is the time to untangle and reduce the amount of new growth. Mid Summer pruning controls the Wisteria and creates a strong plant that may even flower for a second time in the early Autumn.

Start at ground level and remove any unwanted growth at the base of the vine. This will give strength to the main stem and concentrate the plants energies into its core. Whippy side shoots should then be cut back to no more than 5 buds. This will control the size of your Wisteria and prevent it from getting out of hand and tangled.

If a second flush of blooms appears, you will need to prune the Wisteria again when they finish to retain control of the vine’s growth.

Tips to Take Care for Orchids

Orchids are perceived everywhere throughout the world as images of affection and excellence (no big surprise they make such extraordinary endowments). To such an extent, that they frequently advance onto the wrists of prom-dates and as focus pieces at extraordinary occasions.

Most orchids are tropical plants living as epiphytes – this implies they develop on trees and between rocks, not straightforwardly in the dirt.

Orchids are for the most part strong and easy to develop and keep up, yet are a wonderful expansion to the home or garden. The Orchid family (Orchidaceae) comprises of more than 750 genera, and more than 30,000 distinct species to browse, which is developing in number year on year.

Here is some counsel to develop orchids effectively in your home and additionally a prologue to explore different avenues regarding all the more difficult types of orchid accessible both from this nation and further abroad.

Choose Your Orchid Species

We strongly advise that you purchase flowering orchids as buying from seed can result in a long wait as it can take as long as five years for a flower to be produced from a seedling. Also, ensure that you always check the label for each species requirements before you purchase to ensure you are considering a good match for your house or garden. Below are three of the most house-friendly species easy to find at your local supermarket, garden centre or florist.

  1. Phalaenopsis are indoor orchids that are often referred to as moth orchids and produce vibrant flowers that stay fresh for months. They begin flowering at the end of winter to spring time so now is a great time to pick up an orchid for your home.
  2. Cattleyas require twice the light that Phalaenopsis need in order to do well in the home. They usually last between two to six weeks and flower once a year in the spring or autumn. They are beautiful flowers commonly used in corsages.
  3. Dendrobiums are beautiful orchids that typically flower white or lavender or a combination, and do so in autumn and winter. The flowers can bloom for three to four weeks and are perfect for the home and very easier to look after.

Consider Your Orchid’s Environment

To care properly for your orchid you will firstly need to be certain you can offer the environment to which it is best suited, to ensure it can grow and bloom to its full potential.

You will need to consider whether you have enough room allocated to your orchid for it to grow fully in, and if not, whether you have a second suitable location to move it to (this is greatly dependant on specie size).

Secondly, depending on the species of course, orchids can require either cool, intermediate or warm temperatures to grow, so make sure that you can offer the correct temperature requirements for your chosen species.

Light

Avoid strong, direct sunlight, if you are growing them on a south-facing window make sure it is well shaded.

Temperature

A cool room temperature is best, avoid placing orchids near heat sources, such as radiators. Ideally aim to maintain a temperature between 65-85f (18-30c), with as few sudden temperature changes as possible. Be wary of colder days as low temperatures can result in the leaves of your orchid turning yellow in colour and proceeding to drop off. If this happens remove dead foliage and continue caring as normal.

Air Circulation & Humidity

Orchids prefer humid climates and atmospheres. Place the pot on a tray or saucer filled with gravel and water. Remember to keep the saucer topped up with water, but not so it is in contact with the base of the pot.  Humidity can also be increased by misting your orchid with water from a spray bottle or a product such as Miracle-Gro Orchid Mist.

The health of your orchid can be hugely improved by simply ensuring your maintain a good air circulation in the room. A well air circulated room can also aid any pest of fungal infection your orchid may contract.

In the summer months try to keep windows open to allow gentle sunlight to reach your orchid(s), encourage a bust of crisp carbon dioxide, and promote water evaporation.

Compost for Orchids

Orchids are not grown in ordinary compost. They need an open structure, mainly consisting of bark with added peat. This will help hold the orchids upright, without allowing the roots to become too damp, which can cause root rot.

Watering Orchids

Orchids don’t need a lot of water in the compost, and prefer to be kept on the dry side. Never leave an orchid sitting in water, this is the easiest way to kill it. Water should run through the pot and drain away. If you choose to water by submersing the pot, make sure the plant fully drains before returning it to its growing position.

For best results check the label for the plant’s water requirements and act accordingly. Aim to ensure that the plant is evenly moist at all times and not wet. A general guideline is to water your orchids every five to twelve days depending on species.

Feeding Orchids

For best results, feed your orchid every 2-4 weeks. Ensure that you do not overfeed your orchid as that can cause damage. We recommend using a fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, such as Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Concentrate. It is best to use a high-nitrogen fertilizer when new shots are coming out, and one with more phosphorous and potassium later on.

Tip: Water your orchid well before feeding.

Orchid Aerial Roots

Many orchids will produce a mass of aerial roots, generally silver-green in colour. These take in moisture and help the plant ‘breathe’. Never cut these off and do not cover them with compost or moss.

Re-potting Orchids

When you re-pot your orchid remember to only go up one pot size, water well before removing from its current pot, cut any damaged or rotting roots off, then simply re-pot with a suitable compost such as Orchid Compost. Try to keep the orchid at the same height in the pot as it was before, and lightly water in.

Tip: Orchids like to grow in small cramped places in trees and between rocks, so don’t worry if they look pot bound. As a general rule re-pot every 2 to 3 years, but only go up one pot size at a time.

Tip: Standing the pot on a saucer of gravel and water removes the need for regular misting, misting can lead to water being trapped in the leaves, causing rot and disease.

Orchid Pests

Mealybugs and Scale Insects are the most common orchid pests. Cotton buds can be used to physically remove these pests, alternatively you could apply an insecticide suitable for indoor use.

About Cactus

Unfathomable and different, it is difficult to give general minding tips to the desert flora and succulent gathering. Rather, we should start by recognizing your species. From little and sensitive to bigger and all the more striking, there is a desert flora to suit each home. The most normally known identifier of desert flora plants, is their capacity to store water for drawn out stretches of time. Prickly plant are referred to numerous as one of few plants that can get by in the dry situations of sweet land. What individuals don’t know is that it isn’t as easy to care for a prickly plant as you think.

Distinguishing Your Cactus

A wide range of prickly plants are succulents, however the characterizing element of desert plants are there areoles, which are not found in succulents. It is imperative to distinguish the particular types of prickly plant you are anticipating keeping. For instance, while numerous succulents develop in low dampness, high temperature, sunny atmospheres, as found in wild west movies joined by cowhands and tumble weeds, a few succulents really develop in the rainforest, (for example, Epiphyllum). Along these lines, it is essential to be aware of the local condition in which your succulent flourishes, to give the most ideal developing conditions and accomplish the best outcomes.

Different Cactus Types

  • Aporocactus Flagelliformis – Rat’s Tail
  • Cereus Peruvianus – Peruvian Apple
  • Opuntia Microdasys – Bunny Ears
  • Schlumbergera Bridgesii – Christmas
  • Hatiora Gaertneri – Easter Cactus
  • Disocactus Ackermannii – Orchid
  • Echinocactus Grusonii – Golden Barrel Cactus

Creating the Ideal Environment for Cactus

Once you have identified your cactus type, you need to create the right environment for it. You are looking for an open and free draining pot, this will prevent waterlogging and best recreate the ideal habitat for your succulent. Cactis and succulents can be stored on a window sill all year round in the most part, however certain species such as Rhipsalis need to be positioned in a semi-shade environment, so ensure that you adhere to the requirements of your cactus. In terms of temperature, it is ideal to have a minimum of 8-10°C (46-50°F) at night time.

Watering & Feeding Your Cactus

The appropriate ways to care for your houseplant varies depending on the time of year. From April, water frequently and allow excess to drain away. In winter however, watering can be reduced. The key is to allow the compost to dry out between watering sessions, this applies all year round. If possible, water using tepid rainwater as the minerals in tap water can build up and cause deposits, damaging the leaves of succulents.

Some species of dessert-cacti can be left without water between November and February, so do your research to ensure your water correctly. During this time, winter-flowering succulents will need to be keep warm and be watered regularly, followed by a resting period in the summer. In the summer months try to provide adequate ventilation for your succulent(s). Finally, in terms of feeding, do so once a month throughout April to September.

Pruning Cacti

Depending on the specie of houseplant that you have, pruning can help you make the most out of your cacti. Not always a necessary process, but when needed pruning can help maintain a fresh shape and look to your cactus. The occasional tidy can neaten outgrown specimens and thin over crowded areas. To further look after your cactus, the occasional dust can help keep the houseplant looking fresh, use a clean dust cloth when necessary.

Potential Cactus Problems

There are a number of things to look out for when growing cacti and actions you can take to limit potential problems. Here are the most common:

Cactus Planting Conditions

As emphasised throughout this article, the conditions in which you grow and care for your cactus greatly affect their health. Watering especially deserves particular attention, for example, too heavy watering can cause stunted growth and cause blistering. While, not watering enough can result in limited growth and shrivelling.

As well as temperature and watering routines, humidity and brightness should also be monitored to prevent potential problems. In situations where humidity is too high or the area is too bright, Cactus Corky Scab can be a result. Signs such as brown patches are an indicator, these then gradually shrink and form a scab. To prevent further scabbing, subtly reduce the humidity and light – however do not do so abruptly as this can cause undesirable affects.

Cactus Pests & Diseases

White patches may indicate Mealybug, while bronzed patches may be indicative of glass house red spider mite. Scale insects can be spotted on sighting of patching visible on the stems and leaves. Rot is a common problems amongst the succulent family, with diseases such as Erwinia, fusarium and botrytis often causing infection in under or over watered plants. Another cause can be cold temperatures. If you suspect your cactus may have contracted one of these common diseases, treat with a fungicide as soon as possible.

How to Watering Your Houseplants?

Watering your houseplants is a simple employment to do, however did you realize that it’s really the most widely recognized reason for plant passings. This is brought on by a lot of water being emptied routinely into the fertilizer, which can bring about plant roots to suffocate and decay.

The principal thing you have to do is to ensure you inquire about the houseplants you have. They won’t really all like a similar watering administration so find them and discover what each unique plant favors. Some may should be watered every day while others may lean toward somewhat drought in the middle of their waterings.

Just a couple plants require for all time wet conditions. These incorporate azalea, umbrella plant (Cyperus) and Acorus.

Before you start watering your plant, make sure you always use tepid water that has been allowed to gradually come to room temperature. Don’t use freezing cold water straight from the tap.

Azaleas, citrus trees, heaths and heathers are lime haters and in hard water districts try to use rainwater. Alternatively, add a teaspoon of vinegar to a gallon of hard tap water and allow to stand overnight before watering ericaceous specimens. It is also a great idea to collect rainwater using a water **** which will fit nicely into most gardens and are great for the environment.

Before You Start Watering

Always check the plants soil before you water it, do this by gently pushing your fingers into the soil to a depth of 2cm, making sure not to do any damage to the roots. The chances are if it’s moist then it doesn’t need a drink and you’ll be doing more harm than good by watering it again. But the golden rule is, check what that particular plant prefer. If it’s a cactus after all, dry might be just what it needs! Keep in mind, that by overwatering your houseplants, you can cause the roots to rot.

Check the water in your area. Some tap water is softened and this may contain too much salt, other water is too hard. The water you’re using may also be too cold as most houseplants do like room temperature water. Consider using rainwater that you’ve collected or even distilled water.

Most plants with stems can be watered from above in the normal way. However, some plants grow better when watered from below. The stems of African violets, for example, are soft, flesh and hairy, and the growing crown can easily rot off if regularly wetted.

Similarly the tops of cyclamen tubers should be kept dry to reduce the risk of grey mould disease attacking flower and leaf stalks. These plants are best watered from the saucer below, tipping away any excess after 15 minutes.

Before you start watering your plant, make sure you always use tepid water that has been allowed to gradually come to room temperature. Don’t use freezing cold water straight from the tap, as this will harm the roots of the plant, especially if it originates from a tropical climate.

Watering From Above: Ideal for Most Plants

Equip yourself with a good watering can with a long spout.

  1. Place the pot in a saucer and pour tepid water onto the compost.
  2. After 15 minutes tip away any excess water left in the saucer under the pot.

Watering From Below: Ideal for African Violet, Gloxinia and Cyclamen

  1. Pour tepid water into the saucer below the pot.
  2. Leave until the surface becomes moist (approx. 15 minutes), then tip away any remaining water.

Keep an Eye on Your Houseplants

If they start to wilt or the leaves turn yellow or start to drop, it’s probably a sign there’s something wrong. Check everything against what you know about that plant: its soil, its position, the amount of light it’s getting and of course, how much or little you’re watering it. Also, be mindful of the quality of the air in your home.

If your houseplant has dried out too much and isn’t absorbing the water you’ll have to water it little and often until it’s reabsorbed some moisture.

Too Much Water

If you start to see the leaves wilt and turn soft, and finally look old and young leaves fall. You might also notice rotting of stems and plant crowns, or the roots are brown and rotten. Make sure that you are smart with the amount of water you are using for your plants.

Too Little Water

If you start to see leaves wilt and plant shows little growth, or leaf edges brown and dry, then you need to water your houseplant more. Old leaves will fall first if this is the case.

Things to Remember

Houseplants should bring a little joy into our lives and not be a source of stress or hard work. Make sure you spend a little bit of time learning about your houseplants as this can save you a huge amount of time and money in the long run.

Don’t let your plants become regularly stressed for example by always letting them get to wilting point before you water and don’t assume that they’re all the same. Like us, they’re different and their needs will vary from plant to plant.

Houseplants are a plant that are accessible to everyone and they’re a really great finishing touch to your home however small or large. We’d love to know how you’re getting on with your houseplants and if you’ve got any tips please share them with us on our social media sites.

 

Making Your Own Compost

Making your own particular fertilizer is getting more prevalent, because of the inexorably green-cognizant society. Home-made garden compost contains loads of supplements that plants love -, for example, nitrogen and carbon. When you add it to your garden soil, it will make a change and improve it notwithstanding to grow plants!

Fertilizing the soil your kitchen and garden waste will give you an ecologically benevolent wellspring of natural matter – and it’s free! It will take around 4 months to deliver fertilizer that is exquisite and brittle and prepared for planting your blossoms, products of the soil.

Why is Composting Important?

Waste such as food and grass, accounts for around 35% of household waste that ends up in a landfill, where it breaks down and creates the powerful greenhouse gas, methane.As well as improving the environment and freeing up space at your local landfill site, compost is extremely practical for gardeners.

Compost helps soils ability to retain moisture, improves soil fertility and the general health of plants. Compost is essentially an organic fertiliser, so you will have no need for chemicals…another important benefit!

How To Make Compost

You will need a compost bin, old dustbin or similar, with holes in the bottom and garden &/or kitchen plant waste. The worms and micro-organisms needed to break it down into compost will find you! You will also want to use a compost bin that prevents unwanted scavengers! The compost bin ideally needs to be 150-250 litres and should be easy to fill and empty.

Step 1

You’ll need a sunny corner of your garden to put your bin (or you can build your own from recycled timber – look on the internet for ideas). It needs to be placed on the soil, as you want worms and other micro-organisms to come up through the soil to help, and for any liquid to drain away. It will also need a cover to keep the warmth in and the rain out.

Step 2

This is the most important part! You’ll need to keep adding equal amounts of nitrogen-rich green waste (grass clippings, green leaves, weeds, vegetable kitchen waste) and carbon-rich woody waste (prunings, wood chippings, torn-up paper, cardboard, straw or dead leaves).

For every wheelbarrow load or bucketful of cut grass, you should mix in the same volume of sawdust, shredded cardboard or other woody waste. Avoid meat, fat and cooked food otherwise you’ll just attract foxes, rats and other vermin; also worms don’t really like an excess of citrus remains. For a more detailed list on what you should and shouldn’t compost, click here

Any large pieces of material, should be cut into smaller pieces or even shredded; the smaller the pieces, the quicker they will rot down.

 Step 3

Composting is a biochemical process whereby organic matter is decomposed by naturally-occurring micro-organisms. Keep the compost heap moist, warm (wrap with a piece of old carpet in winter) and aerated, as these are the conditions that worms and micro-organisms love. Turn your heap occasionally with a garden fork to let the air in, making sure that you mix all the outside ingredients to the inside.

If you find that your compost isn’t rotting down quickly enough – it’s always slower in winter – then add a compost accelerator.

Step 4

When the mixture is brown and crumbly and smells a bit like a damp wood, then you’re ready to use in the garden!

Tips to Watering Acid Loving Plants

With regards to watering rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and other lime-detesting, corrosive adoring, ericaceous plants, they require some additional care and consideration. This is particularly valid in the late spring.

Clearly, you’ll say, plants require watering – particularly in summer. Be that as it may, ericaceous plants are more particular than most. Numerous ericaceous plants are extremely shallow established. Unquestionably rhododendron, camellia, azalea and pieris don’t deliver profound, looking roots. This implies they are near the dirt surface and, subsequently, extremely inclined to drying out, dry season conditions and high temperatures in summer.

This implies you have to play it safe to guarantee the dirt doesn’t dry out and plants are watered routinely (more often than not an intensive watering once every week) at whatever point delayed dry periods are likely. More normal watering – likely every day amid hot climate – will be required for plants developing in compartments as fertilizer dries out snappier, particularly in earthenware and different permeable holders.

Mulching around the plants with a lime-free ericaceous compost or bark will help conserve soil moisture, insulate the roots from heat and sun, and keep weeds down at the same time.

Although allowing the soil to dry out at any time of the year can cause problems with these plants, this is especially true in summer. This is the time when rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias are setting their flower buds for the following year’s floral display.

It has been shown with camellias, for instance, that allowing them to dry out for for just 24 hours at any time during June to mid-August will affect flower bud production. Then, come spring, the flower buds either don’t open, fall off or partially open and then fall off. So, keep the soil moist and feed with an ericaceous plant feed throughout this period.

Which water?

If your tap water is ‘hard’ or limey – for instance if it furs up your kettle or produces limescale deposits – watering with it will make the soil or compost more alkaline, and lead to plant problems. To get over this, use a liquid ericaceous feed at the same time as watering or use water saved in a waterbutt. Or you can try to acidify the compost. The best way to do this is to apply sulphur chips twice a year – once in spring and again in autumn.

Hardy Annual Seeds

Solid annuals are the ideal method for making bright summer fringes rapidly and effortlessly. You just sow the seeds where you need the plants to bloom, with no requirement for growing inside in pots with warmth.

Numerous plant specialists don’t have the offices to develop half-strong sheet material plants, for example, begonia, occupied Lizzie, lobelia, petunia and salvia from seed, as they should be sown inside with warmth. Others might not have any desire to purchase youthful plants to develop on, or spend a fortune purchasing bigger plants prepared to plant out. That is the place strong annuals come in.

Hardy annual seeds are sown directly outside. There’s no fiddly sowing seeds in containers in propagators, pricking out the young seedlings, hardening off the plants and planting out. You simply sow the seed directly in the soil where you want the plants to grow and flower.

There are dozens of varieties to choose from, including Calendula (pot marigold),Eschscholzia (Californian poppy), Godetia, Linaria (toad flax), Lobularia (sweet alyssum),Nemophila and Nigella (love-in-a-mist).

Sowing Hardy Annuals

There are two basic ways of sowing hardy annuals.

You can either mark out areas of the bed with a bamboo cane or stick or dry sand and then broadcast sow drifts of each variety over the soil in each area. This gives a natural, ‘cottage garden’ look.

Alternatively, you can sow in rows in these marked out areas. This can make it easier to distinguish between flower and weed seedlings, as you know where the flowers have been sown. It does create a more rigid, formal look.

Hardy annuals can be sown any time in spring, providing weather and soil conditions are conducive for germination and most can also be sown in early autumn, for earlier flowering the following year.