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As summer heats up and your gardening chores are crossed off your list, it’s nice to find a shady spot to sit and enjoy the season. You know, most homes can be enhanced with a shade garden, but a lot of gardeners are reluctant to develop these areas because they think it’s too hard for the plants to grow there.
First, you’ll need to define your shade areas, and that information will help you with the next step of choosing your plants accordingly.
By knowing about how much sun and shade each area receives, you’ll be able to match your desired plants and shrubs with their specific needs. If you still feel at a loss in creating your shade garden, why not stop by your local garden center for some assistance and ideas – we’ll be happy to help you get started. To all of our customers, Urban Growers officially will close for the season Wednesday, Oct.
Lawns, paths and hedges are all a major part of the framework of a garden – they are the backdrop and the foil.
Areas for sitting or sunbathing could be hard surfaced or gravelled instead and surrounded or patch-planted with low-growing plants such as chamomile and thyme.
Grassed areas can be established in three ways: seeding, turfing and cutting the natural cover regularly. For most grassy areas, hard-wearing recreational rye grass mixtures are a better choice than the less competitive fine grasses intended for bowling greens. When sowing a lawn it is a good idea to include seeds of companions such as dowers, chamomile, creeping thyme, daisies, yarrow and other scented and pretty turf plants. Turfing is the most expensive way to get an area grassed, but is less work than seeding and gives more rapid results. Cutting the natural groundcover regularly is the slowest method of getting a good sward, but produces the most ecologically balanced mixture of plants with the minimum work and expense. Scarifying with a wire rake in the autumn or spring is hard work but benefits the sward if done once every few years. The regular cutting of grass is best done with a rotary mower that can collect the clippings. Although the design and shape of lawns and grass paths must be aesthetic and practical, they also need to be kept neat.
Using a nylon line trimmer first greatly increases neatness as it can be used not only to do the edges and to cut around trunks and bits the mower cannot reach, but also on the awkward and difficult spots, further simplifying the work for the mower.
Because hedges need to grow densely, the ground must be well prepared and weeds controlled for the first two or three years until the hedge is well established. Young hedges benefit from a temporary screen to reduce wind damage, but do not make this too close or dark or it may kill the foliage.
March sees the beginning of spring which, for the first time, will be marked by Garden Re-Leaf Day next Tuesday (13th).  Not only will the day herald the beginning of the gardening season, it will also offer an opportunity to raise funds for Greenfingers, the garden industry charity that creates gardens at children’s hospices around the UK.  Watch for a team of Grosvenor gardeners out and about in the community near you! As the gardening season begins, it is time to get out in the garden, enjoy the first blooms and plan for summer. The forecast looks quite settled and mild for the rest of the month so you have plenty of time to get started. Bolster the health of your lawn with a spring feed and give it the best possible start to the growing season. If you are a novice gardener and want a quick fix but don’t know where to start, simply plant up pots of bulbs ready for flowering during the summer and choose from our large selection of seeds.  Sow them now – summer is not far away!
All your plants will benefit from a good feed now to help strengthen their root system ready for the flowering and growing season - shrubs and trees will too.  A slow-release fertiliser will give good all-round results.
Existing clematis will enjoy a good pruning this month and take a look at your roses too and remove any damaged stems. Looking for the Good Life in your garden?  Turn an unproductive area of lawn into a veritable feast on a plate by growing your own fruit and vegetables.
Leave your early seed potatoes to stand in a cool, bright position and begin to sow crops outdoors including broad beans, lettuces, leeks, beetroot and radishes.  Please do feel free to ask us for more advice if you need it – we are here to help. And don’t forget our Good Life Weekend later this month, which coincides with the clocks springing forward by one hour too so we can really make the most of our gardens even later into the evenings. How to design your garden for easy care using the tips I’ve learned (that sometimes go against tradition!). Tips to care for your seedlings and then how to plant them in your garden so they’ll thrive. Buy our Real Food Recipes for Weight Loss eBooks as a pair, save $ and learn how eating real foods can help you reach a healthy weight! Copyright Note: While the copyright at the bottom of the page covers everything on An Oregon Cottage, permission is not required to use one image and no more than 2 lines of text IF you clearly provide a DIRECT LINK back to this source wherever the image appears.
No content on this site, including text and photos, may be reused in any fashion without written permission.


One of the important considerations in growing successful vegetable gardens is being able to select the right location in the backyard. Several vegetable gardening tips have to be regarded before one could engage into planting.
While you’re resting in that shady spot, why not consider how your beautiful yard could be even better with the addition of a shade garden.
Take it from me–if you want to be successful in shade gardening, you just have to know two things. There are so many shade-loving or tolerant plants to choose, from azaleas and astilbe, to trillium and wax begonias and many plants in between.
In very small gardens, give serious consideration to dispensing with grass altogether, saving the need to buy and store a grass cutter as well as liberating ground space. In the largest gardens grass is a sensible groundcover because it is relatively easy to keep neat and tidy, though can be time-consuming if poorly planned. Seeding gives you a choice of grasses and the option to include companion plants; it is not expensive but is quite hard work. The former prefer limy conditions and produce a tough sward productive of grass clippings and resisting weeds and disease. Of course if you are a recidivist and desire pure grass, then you can choose this, but mixtures are more interesting and ecologically sounder as well as staying greener in droughts. The area still needs to be dug, enriched and levelled, but much less thoroughly, and weeds can often effectively be ignored — many will be killed by the disturbance, by burying and by the grass cutting that follows.
The procedure is the same as that for regularly maintaining or improving an existing sward and basically consists of making the conditions most suitable for grasses and unsuitable for everything else.
Acid-loving weeds can be discouraged and the tougher grasses aided by liming heavily twice a year with calcified seaweed or dolomitic lime. Cylinder mowers are not as good in damp conditions or with longer growths and mowers that do not gather the clippings build up too much thatch. With areas near the house the cutting needs to be weekly; further away and in orchards you can get away with fortnightly and in wild areas once or twice a year, but then these are no longer swards. A nylon line trimmer is also good for trimming grass to different heights depending on the situation.
They are much more ecological than fences as explained earlier as they warm the garden and provide a nesting habitat as well as decoration. Cut back the sides and top hard each and every winter until the hedge is nearly at its required size, then cut back again in late spring and once more in late summer for the neatest effect.
Our popular Good Life Weekend returns on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March from 11am – 3pm so if you have any queries at all about creating an Edible Garden or improving your yields, simply call in and ask one of our experts.  You can even ask about raising chickens and see the mini travelling farm!
I'm Jami and I'm passionate about simple whole food recipes, easy DIY projects, do-able organic gardening, living simply and finding joy in everyday life & its imperfections.
The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. One of these is looking for the right spot where the vegetables could get plenty of sunshine in order to thrive. As the sun moves throughout the day and light filters through the trees or other blocking structures, different areas of the garden take on a new look. Whether you favor old-time favorites like bee balm, columbine or foxglove, or are looking for funkier plants like coleus, hostas or jack-in-the-pulpit, you can create not only a shade garden that’s right for both you and your shady space, but a lovely place to find respite from the sun on a hot summer afternoon. If they are in poor condition they draw attention to themselves instead of enhancing the rest of the garden.
Grassed areas do compete with the plants in them, but grass clippings can be collected to use as a mulch (they are especially good for roses, shrubs and soft fruit) and to suppress grass around and underneath trees. The area needs to be dug, de-weeded, levelled and raked to a seedbed, removing all stones and rubbish. The fine grasses can make a showy sward but do not take hard wear and prefer acid conditions, which in turn favour mosses and turf weeds.
Concerned gardeners should be aware that much turf comes from unecological sources such as old meadow land, and that it is frequently pre-treated with inorganic fertilisers and herbicides.
If the area is too rough for a mower or contains hidden junk, use a nylon line trimmer or brush cutter for the initial attacks.
Patches of clover which stand out green in times of drought are blended in by sowing clover seed in the remaining areas, as clovers are of immense benefit to the lushness of sward. This frequency of work means that a few minutes saved each time adds up to many hours in a year, so careful planning and possibly redesigning can be well worthwhile. It is really worthwhile reducing the amount of edging that needs clipping by amalgamating small beds and borders into bigger ones.
For example, either side of a close mown path in a wild area or orchard the grass can be trimmed a foot or so high so that it does not fall over the path.


Most hedging plants are best spaced at about a foot to two foot apart — closer for small hedges and wider for tall ones. Being able to know what kind of vegetables to plant is also necessary since some types tend to require large spaces to grow. For example, an area that is dark in the morning may be bathed in sunlight by afternoon, or vice versa.
Then ground rock dusts, ground seaweed and lime or calcified seaweed must be incorporated to enrich the soil. Oversow with tough grass seed and keep strimming till the growth becomes a rough sward, then mow once a week from early spring to late autumn, returning the clippings. This same feed can be used annually in spring, but I use diluted urine instead and sprinkle this on the turf during light rain. With a nylon line trimmer the height of cut is so adjustable that chosen plants can be left standing alone after others around them have been cut hard back. Informal hedges can have scented flowers, but clipping them into a formal hedge removes the flowering shoots and thus also any fruits.
Like everything in the garden hedges benefit from monthly sprayings with seaweed solution during the growing season.
The first flush of weeds can be raked or flame-gunned, then the area sown in spring or autumn with grass seed.
Give the young grass a cut and a roll when it is more than toe high; thereafter mow regularly and walk on it as little as possible for a whole growing season. If you like you can reduce the height of the cut gradually, but I prefer to keep it set as high as possible. It is absorbed rapidly and is converted by the sward into lush growth that can soon be removed as clippings for mulching elsewhere. Do the same with odd little corners where you have to push the mower in and out several times. Cutting grass and weedy areas with a nylon line trimmer can thus encourage bulbs, primroses, cowslips and violets as the area can be kept neat without becoming overgrown and choking out these treasures. Informal mixed hedges are rarely pruned or cut once established; they are effectively just long, narrow shrub borders which take up a lot of space but produce a beautiful flowering screen.
Sloping the plants over at a 45-degree angle gives a lower, thicker base and interweaving can increase this, giving a low, dense hedge from fewer plants.
The latter helps in the successful growth of vegetables through the excess water it tends to drain and the warmer soil it provides, while the former contributes by reducing the weeds that weaken and kill the plants.Vegetable Garden Planning - Tips to ConsiderIn order to prevent possible problems during the growing season, vegetable garden planning has to be done prior to planting.
Rosette weeds such as plantains and thistles may survive scarifying, cutting and soil improvement treatments, but they can be hand pulled with a sharp knife severing deep underneath at the same time – they rarely regrow. Long paths should be made just to fit a given number of passes without leaving an odd strip which you have to go back over and finish up at the wrong end.
In heavy shade where ivy often predominates as groundcover, weeds such as nettles growing up through it can be eradicated and returned as shreddings at the same time. This task generally involves proper site selection where accessibility and water availability is of prime consideration. Arranging your plantings so that there is a shrub or fruit bush deserving a mulch near to hand each time the grass box gets full can halve your working time. Aside from that, crop selection and the garden layout also have to be deliberated during vegetable garden planning.
If you have to take the clippings far, a wheelbarrow will consolidate several loads in one trip. The latter takes into account the family’s general preference with consideration to how they’ll use the vegetables, while the former is focused onto deciding how large the garden area has to be. This usually involves taking a look around the location, determining shaded spots, as well as identifying the sun’s movement in order to gain optimal gardening results.Vegetable Garden Ideas - Layout DesignsSome of the basic vegetable garden ideas that help complete the area’s layout design is the incorporation of rows and blocks.
Planting in straight rows normally involves placing stakes at each of the garden’s end, running a string along it for row definition, and then planning a path between every row that has been created.
Blocks, on the other hand, are close rows that help gardens produce more in less area by eliminating the lanes between the rows. The other effective vegetable garden ideas include planting in containers especially for limited green spaces.



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