All posts filed under: Home and Garden

Your May gardening to do list

  Now that we’re spending more time in our homes, those of us lucky enough to have one are appreciating our garden more than ever. Here’s how to keep yours at its best at this time of year.   Pruning … Prune early flowering shrubs like weigela, ribes, philadelphus and deciduous magnolias. Cut back flowered growth to strong young shoots lower down the plant and around a quarter of older stems. And cut back flowered shoots of choisya for the chance of a second flush. Prune back Clematis montana and armandii, as well as honeysuckle and other vigorous climbers Lightly prune evergreen topiary and hedges with pruning shears. Cut back flowering stems and yellowing foliage on spring bulbs (around six weeks after flowering). Until then, keep watering and feeding bulbs to prepare them for next year. ( Growing bulbs like tulips in a pot is a good way of avoiding having to look at the foliage as it dies back as you can move it away.) Tidying… Keep on top of weeds – pulling out dandelions while they’re …

Business Focus in Lockdown

SE Magazines caught up with one of their lovely customers, John from Alexandra Nurseries in the May issue of SE22.  At Alexandra Nurseries in Penge we are proud of our place in the community and delighted to find people feel the same. Our existing customers, neighbours, friends and newcomers have been keen to support us with kind words and custom! Of course this would be one of the peak times in our industry and it has hit us all hard, including our loyal growers, nurseries and suppliers. We have found the relationships built from 8 years of trade; of trust, loyalty and flexibility – both ways around – have kept us in good stead.  Small independents have been able to suddenly downsize, re think how to operate and market and between us we are just about keeping each other going. Moving into ‘Amazon’ territory has been very challenging especially for a small shop with no existing online sales operation! We have all become perhaps too familiar with a click and collect climate and expect our stuff tomorrow! …

The green gym

Here is how to look after your body while you garden Now that the weather’s warming up, it’s tempting to get outside and throw yourself into some serious pruning and clearing. But after a day’s hard gardening, you can end up with backache and other pains. In fact spring is when physiotherapist Jacqueline Knox sees most gardening-related injuries. But this can be avoided, as she explains. Step one is to build up slowly: ‘If you’ve done no gardening all winter, increase your capacity gradually,’ says Jacqueline co-author of ‘Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness’, published by Timber Press. Gardening is wonderful exercise, building strength and flexibilty, but approach it as you would other exercise, explains Jacqueline. ‘Warm up by doing some squats or walking briskly round the garden in order to prepare your muscles for exercise.’ And vary your activities. ‘One of the most common faults of gardeners is not alternating activities,’ she says. ‘If you’re on your knees planting, get up after 20 minutes and do some pruning or leave the lawn half …

Eco gardening – how to make compost

Eco gardening – how to make compost If you’re looking for a green way of recycling your garden waste, composting could be for you. It’s also hugely satisfying knowing your veg peelings and egg boxes are going to good use. It can take six months or more, but you’ll eventually be rewarded with crumbly brown compost to feed your garden with nutrients. Here’s what you need to know: What to compost: You need to be selective about what you put in in compost. Meat, fish, dairy products or cooked food can’t go in. Horse manure is fine but not dog or cat faeces. Avoid weeds with tap roots that regrow such as dandelions, seeding weeds, diseased plants and anything treated with pesticide. There are two types of organic material that can be used: green (wet, nitrogen-rich) and brown (dry, carbon-rich). You need about 2:1 brown to green. Examples include: Brown, carbon-rich ingredients Straw and hay. Woodchips, sawdust, wood ash – in moderation (untreated wood). Dried grass clippings and dry leaves Hair and animal fur 100% …

The Hardy Cyclamen – Little Winter Wonders

For winter colour and interest, you can’t beat the hardy cyclamen. These little gems will brighten up the darker months with a sprinkling of pink and white. They die back and lie dormant in warm weather, popping up again when temperatures drop. Despite their dainty appearance, they flower away through frost and snow and when happy will eventually self-seed and spread around, carpeting shady spots. Flowering from late December, Cyclamen coum flowers are a sign that a fresh New Year is on its way. The rounded, dark green leaves with white or silver markings appear first, so they’ll already have been growing from October. These tiny cyclamen look wonderful en mass, and are perfect for naturalising around the base of deciduous trees and are gorgeous with snowdrops, crocuses and other shade lovers such as ferns. The flowers of Cyclamen coum tend to be magenta pink, but come in a range of pinks to pure white. For something more unusual try varieties such as C. coum ‘The ‘Pewter Group’ which have a silvery coating on the …