Thursday, January 5, 2023
Monday, December 12, 2022
It's very cold out at the moment with many parts of the country covered in snow or severe ice and although many plants we grow in our gardens are tough as old boots, frost, cold weather and cold winds can be fatal to some plants. Typical frost- and cold-sensitive plants include most summer bedding plants and annual herbs, such as basil.
Temperatures below zero will always affect tender and cold-sensitive plants – and sometimes even hardy ones during prolonged periods of cold, or if they are grown in containers. Frost and excessive wetness at the roots can be a fatal combination.
New leaves are most prone to damage, which can cause complete dieback on tender plants or just severe leaf browning or blackening. Excessive severe cold can also kill the roots of plants – especially when growing in very wet or waterlogged soil or compost.
Damage occurs when the water in plant cells begins to freeze and expand – damaging the cell and rupturing the cell wall. These plants become limp, blackened and often turn brown or slightly translucent.
During particularly long spells of very cold weather, even hardy plants and evergreens can become damaged when the soil becomes frozen and their roots are unable to take up water.
Treatment and control
If your plants are damaged by frost, there is still a chance that they will survive and become healthy again. However, trying to avoid frost damage in the first place is advisable.
If frost has damaged your plants, then:
- Cut back frost-affected stems to undamaged buds or growth points – this will encourage new growth.
- In the spring, once the risk of frost has passed, feed your plants to promote healthy growth.
- Smaller plants can be dug up and moved into a greenhouse or on a windowsill – often this will encourage a full recovery if the damage has not been too severe.
Try to avoid frost damage by protecting your plants when severe cold weather is forecasted:
- When buying pots and containers for your patio, ensure they are frost proof to avoid cracking. These will benefit from additional insulation from fleece or bubble wrap.
- Avoid planting tender plants in frost pockets – these are the areas that are lowest in your garden where cold air will descend.
- Mulch soils with bark, manure or straw to stop it freezing, causing root damage and preventing water uptake.
- Protect the crowns (central growing point) of ferns and palms with fleece or straw. Tie the leaves together to stop snow and rain freezing in these delicate growth points.
- Plant out tender plants when all risk of frost is over at the end of May or beginning of June depending on location.
- Improve drainage of soil to prevent waterlogging.
- Don’t feed plants in winter, as soft new growth is more susceptible to frost damage.
- Harden up slightly tender plants by feeding with sulphate of potash in early autumn.
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Looking for jobs to do in the garden in December?
As well as protecting plants from frost with insulation around, you could also use bubble wrap, which is ideal if you have any left over from Christmas presents.
Hint - ask for new garden tools or a lawn mower!
Don't forget to clear debris - this is vital to prevent slugs and snails from setting up home in those lovely warm and damp conditions.
So, what other gardening jobs should we be doing in December?
Our new December Hints & Tips is now available - please visit
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
How to care for Poinsettia
No Christmas home is complete without a Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrina), with their colourful, brightly coloured bracts they add a festive feel to your home and make an ideal present.
• Cold conditions and draughts damage the foliage on these plants, so be careful where you position them in your home. For example, allowing the leaves to touch a cold window will cause leaf drop.
• To keep it blooming, the temperature should be a minimum of 13 °C -15°C and up to 18°C during the day.
• They like indirect sunlight, so near to a sunny window sill, free from draught, in a warm room is ideal.
• Water your poinsettia when the soil feels dry to touch or just pick up the pot, if it’s light, it will need watering.
• Do not let it sit in water in the saucer. Overwatering is the quickest way to kill your poinsettia.
How to care for Cyclamen
Indoor cyclamen flower profusely through the festive period. With showy blooms in shades of red, white and pink, they form an essential part of any Christmas display.
• Cyclamen are easy to grow with a little care and will flower for six to eight weeks.
• They are happy in cooler bright rooms.
• Keep away from direct sunlight.
• Water when the soil begins to feel dry and directly into the soil, avoiding direct contact with the leaves and stems.
• Deadhead regularly by tugging them away gently as this will prolong flowering.
How to care for Amaryllis
The word Amaryllis means ‘to sparkle’ and it certainly does that! Amaryllis are popular at Christmas due to the colourful blooms. It’s also a traditional gift for your loved ones and can even bloom on Christmas day.
• Amaryllis are best suited to indirect sunlight / part shade. Too much sunlight can burn the foliage, however not enough, may reduce the flowering period.
• It’s a tropical plant and loves a warm temperature of approx. 20C. Once the leaves and bud have emerged, you can move it somewhere cooler.
• When initially planting the bulb, water it thoroughly. After this water less often until the growth starts to appear. Keep the soil moist but not water logged.
Choose an appropriate location for your Christmas tree
Watering your Christmas tree
Recutting the stem on the Christmas tree
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The mulled wine is on the hob and Bing Crosby is on the speakers, which can only mean one thing - it’s time to decorate the Christmas tree. One of the highlights of the festive season, it’s something all the family can get involved in, from picking up the tree to adding the final bauble. Here are some of our tips for making your tree look full, twinkly and full of Christmas magic.
To begin, decide on the lights you want to use on your tree. If your theme is traditional, white lights will give you a classic and inviting look, whilst coloured lights work really well with more contemporary and modern themes. Begin draping your lights in a spiral, working from the very top of the tree to the bottom. Make sure you push the lights into the foliage to hide wires and create depth. Depending on how big the tree is, you may need two or three packs of 100 lights. Plenty of twinkling fairy lights is one of the secrets to a spectacular Christmas tree.
As a general rule, you should use 100 lights for every foot of your tree. For example, if you have a 6ft tree then you should aim to decorate with 600 lights, 700 for a 7ft, and so on and so forth. You can always add more if you're looking to create a dazzling effect.
Next, add ribbons, garlands, string beads or tinsel at this point. Mix and match different sizes and textures to add interest and help the tree look full. Thick organza ribbons look great towards the bottom of the tree, whilst you can drape more delicate beads around the top branches. Here is where your festive theme starts to creep in - using accenting tinsel to your baubles is a simple way to add interest and depth to your Christmas decor.
Now you can add your ornaments and baubles to the tree. It’s worth investing in a few packs of generic, ‘filler’ baubles to help fill out the tree and create a luxurious, full look. Baubles are a great way to add drama or bold statements, but if you prefer a simpler look, then glass or plain solid colour baubles are a lovely choice too.
You can then add your favourite ornaments in prominent places on the tree to stand out. Place the baubles systematically around the tree, either side to side or top to bottom - this helps you space them more evenly.
Finish off your tree with clip on decorations, such as birds, foliage or reindeer, and of course your tree topper of choice. Remember: the best way to decorate a Christmas tree is to do so to your tastes and interests, rather than what you think a Christmas tree should look like. Now, your tree should look beautifully decorated, full of sparkling lights and magical baubles. Grab yourself a nice mulled wine, sit back, and enjoy your handy work!
Keep Your Christmas Lighting Costs Low with Energy Efficient Christmas Lights
Every year when Christmas lights start to pop up in the neighbour’s garden or on the high street, it’s always an exciting sign that the festive period is upon us. Whether you choose understated fairy lights or go all out with a light-up Santa for the lawn, the sparkle of Christmas lighting always creates quite a buzz.
However, this year in particular with the cost of living crisis, many households across the UK will need to make lifestyle changes and cutbacks in an attempt to lower their energy bills. With many ‘non-essentials’ having to take a back-seat, you might be wondering, can I afford to have Christmas lights this year?
But, fear not! With our wide range of affordable, energy efficient Christmas lights, you can still enjoy the magic of the festive season, while keeping costs low.
Take a look at some of our examples below: