All posts filed under: Home and Garden

Winter window boxes

Now’s the time to smarten up window boxes for the winter season. Here’s how: Make a plan A visit to your local garden centre is a great way to get inspiration, but do some planning first. Measure your container for a rough idea of how many plants to buy. And think about the style and colour of your house – exterior and interior – you might fall for an orange plant, but will it clash from inside your sitting room? Thrillers, spillers, fillers You could block plant a simple row of white cyclamen or dusky pink heather– contemporary and stylish. But for more variety, it’s useful to think ‘thrillers’, tall evergreen plants for structure, ‘spillers’ like ivy to trail down containers and ‘fillers’, for the gaps. Compact evergreen shrubs such as pretty small-leaved hebes make good structural ‘thrillers’ as does Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ – go for symmetry here, one or three. For something bright and festive Skimmia japonica ‘Nymans’ has jolly red berries, Gaultheria Procumbens pink ones and Solanum Capsicastrum has cheery orange …

Homemade Feed The Birds, Pinecone Bird feeder

Feed The Birds, Pinecone Bird feeder As the ground freezes, birds are looking for calorific food. This practical and attractive Pinecone covered in seed is perfect. You will need: * A large pinecone * Fat – I used lard * A plastic jug or bowl * Bird seed * Garden string Step 1 Put your fat into your plastic jug or bowl and melt the fat in a microwave Step 2 Dip the cone into the fat several times, so that the cone is generously coated Step 3 While the fat is still not set, sprinkle liberally with bird seed. Step 4 Tie the garden string to the cone, so that you can hand it from a tree. Now sit back and enjoy the birds! For details of Jessica’s workshops please e-mail Jessica

Honour your Ceiling

I was once told, when walking outside, ‘look up’. Great advice; all that aesthetic beauty to see, instead of uneven paving. Why then, inside our homes, do we give so little attention to the humble ceiling? A well-decorated ceiling can elevate a room, giving it that ‘wow’ factor. It provides an opportunity to add layers, to enhance your chosen scheme, and to be as bold as your creativity allows. The belief that a white ceiling makes a room look taller is often a misconception unless you seek the all-white minimalist look. I recently completed the smallest bathroom redesign imaginable, and, by painting walls and ceiling in the same non-white colour, I successfully blurred their boundaries. The result is a bathroom, not limited by its modest proportions and which feels spacious and harmonious. Ceiling fashion has changed over time, from the elaborate ceilings of the renaissance periods to ‘swirled’ or ‘stippled’ artex, woodchip and, heaven forbid, polystyrene tiles of the 70’s and 80’s! Today’s smooth ceilings bring a myriad of opportunities with a little imagination. Cornicing, …

Give your garden the autumn wow factor

The warmth of summer may be a distant memory, but autumn can be a spectacular month – especially on those bright clear days when everything glows. It’s a joy to see autumn trees in the park or countryside but there are plenty of smaller trees and shrubs that’ll light up your own garden with fiery shades of red and gold. There are shiny hips and berries a plenty in October too. Here’s my pick. Trees My new favourite tree for autumn colour is Parrotia Persica (Persian ironwood) whose large leaves turn from yellow to brilliant orange and pink– followed by clusters of bright red flowers. It also has striking grey peeling bark when mature and looks particularly stylish as a multi-stem. It’s spreading and can eventually get quite big (up to 6m) so it does need space. Amelanchier lamarckii is a smaller and more easily sourced tree that is also grown as a multi- stem. As well as stunning golden orange autumn leaves, it has white spring blossom and summer berries. Similarly acers (Japanese maple) …

Homemade Autumn Table Decoration

You will need: A wet oasis wreath base, I used 14inch Greenery of your choice, I picked mine from the garden Flowers of your choice, I used crystamums Munchkins and/or miniature guards Cocktail sticks, secateurs and a chopping board Step 1 Prepare your oasis wreath by soaking it in cold water. Step 2 Place the damp base on a chopping board, to avoid staining any surfaces. Step 3  Cut your foliage into 4/6inch piece, using your secateurs. Step 4 Place them into the oasis, working in a clockwise direction to make an even base Step 5 Add your munchkins using the cocktail sticks Step 6 Finish your creation by adding flowers. You can now enjoy the warm glow of autumn in the comfort of your own home! This article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of SE22 magazine.