Monthly Archives: April 2016

Cutting hedges and nesting birds

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As Spring is well and truly upon us, the birds and bees are getting busy, doing what nature intends.

Many of you will be enjoying watching garden birds feeding and gathering nesting materials – it’s one of nature’s wonders. You might be lucky enough to have birds nesting in your garden – sparrows, robins and blackbirds love nesting in the thick growth of a hedge or tree.

 

For this reason, you shouldn’t be tempted to cut your garden hedges in between March – August, as this is when the birds will be nesting and babies will hatch and then fledge. It is a criminal offence to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

Even if you haven’t seen birds nesting in your hedges, you should images (6)still avoid cutting the hedges back.

Some birds nest in trees too – so additional care should be taken if tree work is needed. Where possible  – just avoid cutting any trees or hedges until late summer when the breeding season ends.

 

So, instead of doing those arduous garden jobs, why not sit back with a cuppa and a biscuit or perhaps a glass of wine and watch nature taking its’ course?

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Artificial Grass???

Is artificial grass the perfect low maintenance solution?

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It’s something that we hear quite a bit “I’m going to astroturf the lot and be done with it” – so many people get frustrated with having to keep their lawns looking nice, and this seems to be the easier option.

With artificial grass getting cheaper and cheaper, there are less and less barriers to getting this in your own garden – but is it right for you?

So, let’s look at the pros and cons of installation of artificial grass –

Positives –

Low maintenance – saves time on the weekly grass cut. Ideal for people with mobility problems who find cutting the lawn difficult and for holiday home owners who may not always be on site to cut the grass.

Environmental Issues – with hosepipe bans being threatened each year, just maintaining a lush green lawn becomes harder work – artificial turf doesn’t need to be kept watered. It also doesn’t need to be fertilised – so if you are concerned about the use of fertilisers, this could be a solution for you.

Swimming Pools – those areas around pools that might get muddy and encourage mud and dirt into swimming pools can be frustrating and pool owners find themselves cleaning pools twice to get rid of the muddy residue.

 

Negatives –

The quality can vary dramatically – the old adage “you get what you pay for” is particularly true with artificial grass.  Some of the “grass” tiles that are available will look patchy within a couple of months and if the artificial grass isn’t laid correctly, the old grass could even grow through the tiles.

The Feel of the grass under your feet – if you love walking barefoot in the garden, then the artificial turf will feel quite different and you almost certainly won’t get the same enjoyment. In fact, some artificial turf can get quite hot if you have it in a sunny spot – so you’d have to wear sandals anyway!

No daisies -most of us will have spent lazy summer afternoons making daisy chains with friends, children or grandchildren – daisies don’t grow in artificial grass. Add this to the fact that worms won’t live underneath the artificial turf, if you like to see the garden birds – they might not be so keen to come into your gardens.

Maintenance – You still need to maintain the artificial grass – although you won’t need to mow it, you will need to maintain it- cleaning it, removing debris etc. Depending on the laying of it, you might need to clean it quite thoroughly if it is somewhere that gets waterlogged -the water won’t be draining away quickly like with natural grass.

 

If cutting your lawn is causing you problems, if it’s taking up more time than you like, then why not ask the Grassman team to come and do it for you. We can call when you’re at work, so that you’re not inconvenienced by us -we’ll come and cut and go – leaving you to enjoy the benefit of our hard labour. Call us today – 01295 271712

Hanging Baskets

 

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Planting your hanging baskets

Now that Easter is out of the way, and the weather is (hopefully!) warming up a bit – it’s time to start thinking about planting our hanging baskets and garden planters.

This is one of the garden tasks that you can involve the whole family in, and can be relaxing and therapeutic too.

The Grassman team thought that we would share a couple of easy steps to making your hanging baskets look great – so get a cup of tea and read on.

What you will need ;

Hanging Baskets

Basket liners

Compost (Bedding plant compost is fine for these)

Plants – bedding and trailing plants needed – and colours to suit.

 

The first step is to get your basket and put the liners inside – there are a range of liners, felt, moss, plastic – choose which is preferable to you. (We’d always recommend the most natural liners – but beware that moss liners can sometimes be a target for nesting birds!)

If you place your baskets into a bucket (on a garden table) it makes it a little bit easier to work with – and saves you bending down.

Once the baskets are lined, you can put your compost in – don’t fill right to the top – leave around 2-3cms at the top of the basket.

Next is the fun bit – planting! Be careful not to overfill your baskets with plants – remember that each of those small plants you put into the basket needs some growing room – so it will be a couple of weeks before your baskets look ready – just in time for the summer, hopefully!

Start at the centre of the basket with a taller plant (begonia, geranium, gerbera etc) and then the trailing plants around the outside – you can mix these up – with combinations of trailing ivy and trailing lobelia for example – these are both prolific and will soon cover your basket liners!

Next fill in the middle gaps with colourful plants – Petunias are great as are verbena, but if you are unsure, just ask the staff at your local garden centre, and they will help you choose some plants that are suitable for your baskets.

 

Once all the planting is done, you’ll need to give the baskets a good drink of water. The baskets should then be watered once a day at least – and when the summer arrives, you should try to water them in the morning (before it gets too hot) and in the evening, once it has started to cool.

You can add water gel capsules to your baskets if you like – these will help to retain the water for when the plants need it – but if you are able to water them at regular intervals, they aren’t necessary.

 

We’d love to see how you get on with your baskets – so please share photos (in progress or in bloom) on our Facebook Page.