Monthly Archives: September 2016

Autumn and Winter Garden Maintenance

Autumn and Winter maintenance for Gardens

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Whilst the summer clings on for dear life, we’re definitely turning the corner into Autumn and that will be closely followed by Winter (and then Spring again, hurrah!)

As the grass cutting comes to an end (the last cut date can vary greatly -depending on the weather – last year, grass was still being cut into November) – it is time to ensure that your mower is cleaned, serviced and stored away safely for next year.

Other tasks that need attending to in the garden over the Winter are

  • Pruning (deciduous) trees and shrubs to keep them growing fresh for next year – once a tree or shrub has lost the majority of its leaves, it can be pruned back to encourage fresh growth next year and to stop it from getting too straggly.

If you have evergreen trees, these don’t generally need pruning in the same way – but you can trim them to maintain a nice tidy shape and remove any dead or dying branches.

 

  • Rake up and remove dead leaves from lawns and patios – as per our earlier blog post – this not only allows the ground to continue to live – but it also prevents a build up of dead leaves in drains and on patio areas.

 

  • Dig over any borders and/or around trees and shrubs. You should leave a nice brown soil for the winter – add a bark chip or manure cover to the border to allow both protection over the winter and extra nutrients for the Spring.

 

  • This is also the time to be planting spring bulbs – whether in borders or in pots – daffodils, tulips and crocus can show early signs of colour to help to cheer both the mood and the garden in the mid winter – you can get advice from your local garden centre on which varieties would be best for your individual situation.

 

  • If you have a pond, you should try to keep this clear of dead leaves and debris too – and particularly when the weather gets really cold, be sure to make sure that any resident wildlife can still access the water – you might need to break the ice regularly.

 

  • If you have an outside tap, you might want to ensure that it’s protected, as much as possible, from any hard frosts that might show their faces over the Winter – hessian sacking or something similarly robust can be tied around the outside tap to help prevent it freezing up. Check that your hosepipe is free of water before you put it away for the winter too.

 

  • Over the winter, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to water your garden – unless we have an unseasonal heatwave!

 

  • Of course, Winter is also the time to make plans for the garden for the forthcoming year – so if you want to extend a lawn area, or add in features of interest – a seating area, an arbour or a rose garden, now is the time to start planning where it will go, how big it will be and when you’ll start on it – all over a warm cup of tea – whilst you’re indoors!

Don’t forget we are happy to help you get rid of all those leaves and anything else you might need doing around the garden over the winter.

Just give us a call.

Chicken or Eggs

Chickens or eggs?

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As we all strive for a more natural, back to nature approach to our lives and a desire to eat local and free range products, chickens are an increasingly common sight in residential gardens – they’re no longer just for farmers!

 

So, if you have been considering getting chickens for your own garden, here is a bit more information to help you make up your mind –

How much space is needed to keep chickens?

Each chicken requires a space of 25cm Sq as a minimum for their sleeping area, and 3m sq for their exercise area – if your garden is big enough, you can get a chicken coop (pre fabricated, or DIY Build) for your feathered friends. However, if you love your luscious green lawn, Chickens are probably not for you – they will destroy it! This is equally true of your neighbours garden – so if you decide to get chickens – make sure that the dividing fence is secure and that your chickens won’t be able to get into their garden (it makes for much better neighbourly relations!)

 

Can I legally keep chickens in my garden?

You might need to check with your local authority – the rules differ between local councils. Before committing yourself to homing some chickens, you should ask the local Environmental Health team if there are any restrictions. You may also want to check the deeds for your property to ensure that no exclusion clauses exist in relation to the birds.

After that, it’s probably a neighbourly thing to do to check with your immediate neighbours that they have no objections to you keeping chickens.

If you intend to get more than 50 chickens, you’ll need to register with DEFRA.

 

How will you look after your chickens?

Whilst chickens are hardly high maintenance, they do rely on your for EVERYTHING they need. You will need to consider where you will purchase their feed from, how you will keep them safe from foxes, who will clean out their sleeping quarters? (regularly – to avoid complaints of smell!) If you have regular holidays, or weekends away – who will look after the chickens for you? You will also need to harvest the eggs regularly (if your chickens are happy!) – so another job to add to the list.

 

What sort of chickens should we get?

The answer to this question lies in not only the space that you have available but also what you want to achieve from your chickens – Leghorns need less space on the whole and produce large white eggs. Rhode island reds are prolific layers too – producing a brown egg. Orpingtons are another good layer – another (light) brown egg.

 

If this has piqued your interest in homing some chickens, more information and advice can be found on the British Hen Welfare Trust Website – http://www.bhwt.org.uk/