News

AUTUMN/WINTER

So, how are your pots looking? Plants that have been in situ all summer but still have some life in them, will benefit from a thorough water and feed now, to give them some renewed vigour ready for the months ahead and before the first frosts.

 

winter pots

Don’t forget to deadhead them and it’s also worth removing some of the existing flowers. A small sacrifice now will give a longer flowering time into autumn.

If the plants are “passed their best”, now is the time to remove them and refresh the compost before planting new autumn bedding or permanent planting.

Maybe include some spring bulbs as well – ready for next year.

 

Download the Autumn/Winter ARCH Newsletter

SUMMER COLOUR IN THE GARDEN: June/July

Now that summer is with us and the frosts are over, we can enjoy the summer bedding that we cannot grow in the colder months. There are numerous varieties i.e. bizzy lizzies, petunias, lobelia, the list is endless and usually in bold colours.

sunflowerHowever, like many plants some bedding prefer full sun, for example geranium but then others, like fuschia do prefer some light shade. It is worth remembering this as well as remembering to feed them fortnightly, so that you can get the most from your summer bedding and make it last until the colder autumn months.

Hurrah, summer has arrived and everything is growing like mad!

With plenty of rain and warmer soil temperatures, everything is flourishing including of course, the weeds. I have previously mentioned using alternatives to chemical weedkillers and having recently used table salt on a customer’s patio – between the cracks in paving, I can say it worked wonders.

We pulled up the worse of the weeds first, exposing any stems that were difficult to get out from underneath and then just sprinkled along the cracks with the salt – easy. However, as we all know new weeds will always grow but if you catch them young, then no other weed control is needed.
It is the beginning of the BBQ season now and everyone is appreciating their outside space. If you have an event coming up and you need some extra “kerb appeal”, then let us know, we would be happy to help. As we enter the height of the gardening season, there are plenty of gardening events in and around the area, with open gardens, plant fairs and shows. Well worth a visit to get some ideas for your own space or just to enjoy an afternoon tea, in lovely surroundings – see the back page “Garden Visits” for more information. If you are planning to go away over the summer months and you are worried about your plants. Please note that we do offer a “Holiday Watering Service”, should the need arise.

Happy Gardening!

Download the Summer ARCH Newsletter

SPRING COLOUR IN THE GARDEN: April/May

Spring is the most anticipated season of the year. After the long dark days of winter, very often cold and wet, we look forwards and into spring to lift our spirits.

peonyThere is nothing more rewarding than seeing the daffodil bulbs emerging from the ground and, no matter what the weather is, they delight us with their cheery yellow flower heads.

However, there are many more plants that can delight in this

season, not just bulbs. There is the yellow flowers of forsythia and kerria, almost mimicking the yellow of the daffodils but also Peony, Magnolia, Osmanthus, chaenomeles, Dicentra and primroses.

 

Download the Spring ARCH Newsletter

WINTER COLOUR IN THE GARDEN: February/March

It is very tempting in the winter months when the days are short and cold, to close the curtains on the garden and hibernate until spring. However, it doesn’t need to be that way.It only takes a single, brave flower to cheer you and warm the coldest day. Winter colour in the garden can be provided by evergreen shrubs to give both colour and structure, shrubs choisya and eonymous are both hardy and have surprisingly bright foliage, made brighter by a dull day. There are also shrubs for scent, even in the winter. Planted by the front door they provide a welcome fragrance, examples are winter honeysuckles, Christmas box and daphne.

winter 2016Other reliable sources of colour are winter flowering bulbs. Succession planting is the best – snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and by the time the tulips arrive, spring will have arrived. Bulbs can also be planted in pots near the windows or doors, together with some winter bedding – pansies and primroses.

Something else that is often forgotten in winter is trees, apart from the silhouettes they can give against the sky, the bark of maples, birches and prunus can really come into its own during this time.

We mustn’t forget the Christmas Rose or hellebores with their evergreen foliage, they come into flower when it is needed most and with so many new
varieties, showing variegated foliage and a host of different colour flowers, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

There is generally less grass cutting to worry about in the depths of winter, so you can sit

back and watch the wildlife going about their business. Birds will enjoy any berries you have, these are commonly found on cotoneaster and pyracantha. They may nest in the shrubs during the spring but will feast on the fruits in the winter. Ivy is another good cover for them, during the harshest of weather, it always amazes me how they survive.

So pull back the curtains, sit in a warm, comfy chair and see how much colour you can actually see on a cold winter’s day. There will be frost on branches, spiders webs on frosty mornings and watching the succession of flowers through winter helps time to pass and before you know it the snowdrops will be up and we will soon be on our way to spring!

September/October 2015

By the time you are reading this, autumn will be on the way. Although there is always the chance of an Indian summer, something we would all enjoy, whether working in the garden or enjoying it from your window.
shrubAutumn gives the gardener plenty of opportunities. As the season changes it is time to think about refreshing those summer pots and baskets. You can use evergreens, cyclamen, primroses or pansies. It is always worth under planting with spring bulbs i.e. crocus or tete-a tete, they are a nice surprise come March!

Speaking of bulbs, autumn is the ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs – daffodils, crocus, aconite, bluebells – both in pots and borders. The problem is remembering where the gaps were last Spring! Should you need us to supply any bulbs then just let us know and we can arrange this for you.

Meanwhile continue to enjoy your garden, with the autumn colours of dahlia, chrysanthemum, rudbeckia and fabulous grasses.

 

 

July/August 2015

Summer is well under way now and there should be lots of colour in the garden – be it in the way of pots on the patio, flowering borders or perhaps you prefer the more subtle foliage colours.

To keep everything flowering for as long as possible please remember to deadhead, feed and water as necessary. After all we do ask a lot of our plants at this time of year!
Whilst people generally think of gardeners as just mowing lawns and weeding, since writing last time the team have cleared a couple of overgrown gardens and uncovered a number of plants the clients didn’t know they had – always a bonus! As well as planting a bog garden and laying a new slab path. This makes our work varied and interesting. Have you got a project that you need help with, why not see if we can help?
Back in January the team attended a practical RHS course at Hyde Hall to learn more about pruning roses and wisteria. I’m pleased to say that everything that was pruned, has bounced back and is flourishing. This shows that sometimes a bit of hard pruning works wonders!
Standalone FarmHampton Court Palace Flower Show is my favourite RHS show, which I visit every year. I have been lucky enough to have built a Show garden there for the BBC and last year dismantled the RHS “In Bloom” garden before delivering it back to Standalone Farm in Letchworth. This year we delivered the winning Letchworth Scarecrow (see last Newsletter for details of the competition) from Northfields School, to the Hampton Court Flower Show Scarecrow competition.
Finally, those that follow us on Facebook will know that we have been mentioning the fact that the garden needs watering. It has been an extremely dry period, with the hottest July day recorded. It’s times like this we all need to think about storing water i.e. water butts, so that we can save the rain when it does fall. Not only is the rain water softer on the plants, some plants actually prefer it. Let me know if this is something we can help with. Should you be going away over the coming months and you are concerned about the watering of your garden, this is a service we can offer you, so that your plants are still looking good on your return.

ARCH Franchise

The benefits of an ARCH Gardening Franchise is simply a “ready made business” or a “business in a box”. Not only a business model but a brand that has proved itself.    Successful ARCH franchise owners will have a logo, company website, systems & procedures, uniform and office back up from day one. This option means that the operator is ready to start much quicker than “going it alone”. If you know anyone who would be interested please do pass on my details for an initial no obligation

Team News

Did you know that the ARCH team are DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked? This is the latest government service that replaces the previous one known as a CRB check, which is a procedure that safeguards employees and customers from potentially dangerous or fraudulent individuals. Melanie, one of newest staff members, has just been issued with her Certificate.

May/June 2015

Since I last wrote, the team have been busy doing some early season clearances on gardens, plating new borders as well as starting the regular mowing for the year.

Team News

We have another team member – Melanie who is RHS trained, and after her first few days with us, has expressed her love of her work and her passion for plants.

We recently had a ton of soil conditioner  (a mixture of horse manure and top soil) delivered to a client for the girls to work into the soil. Maggie came back to the Unit afterwards in raptures over its quality – how’s that for passion!

We also have to say congratulations to Louise who has recently passed her latest RHS exam.

STOP PRESS! – AWARD NOTIFICATION!

AwardsIt was announced at the beginning of May that ARCH Community Group have been nominated for their work at the Letchworth Community Garden in The Wynd, for a Comet Community Award. The awards’ presentation took place on Friday 15th May where we received our finalist certificate. Thank you everybody who has been involved with the garden and look forward to the season ahead.

 

 

 

March/April 2015

Team News

Now the season is well under way, the ARCH team has 2 new members. Namely Louise and Maggie. They are passionate gardeners and plant fanatics (like the rest of the team) and are looking forward to working in your gardens. If you haven’t met them already I’m sure you will over the course of the season with Sharon, Vicky and Marian. If you know of anyone else that may be looking for part time gardening work, who is passionate about plants please pass on my details as we have gardens waiting for their love and attention.

Herts Air Ambulance – Summer of Open Gardens 2015

Would you love to show off your garden for a good cause and support your local Air Ambulance Charity? They are looking for gardens of all types and sizes that will provide pleasure and inspiration to others.

If you are proud of your garden and would love to take part during the months of May to September, please get in touch with them on 0345 2417 690 or email mel.hitchcock@EHAAT.uk.com

 

January/February 2015

Team News

The ARCH Gardening Team took the opportunity during January, one of our quieter months, to brush up on some of our gardening techniques and knowledge.    So on a cold wet morning we arrived at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden at Hyde Hall in Essex to undertake a course on Pruning Roses and Wisteria.    Weather aside, it was a very informative day and gave the Team the opportunity to fully understand not only how to prune but why we prune! If you are unsure on how to prune roses,please don’t hesitate to ask your ARCH gardener for advice. ARCH prides itself on employing staff who are RHS trained or working towards gaining these qualifications.
ARCH always appreciates feedback from it’s customers and recently we had to remove a diseased hedge that was suffering from Honey Fungus. We initially sent off root samples to the RHS for confirmation of the disease, then removed the hedging and replanted with more resistant shrubs to replace it. Our customer Mrs I wrote “many thanks to you and your team for their splendid work.
I am so delighted to see things growing in my front garden!!”

November 2014

Team News
Moira, who joined us a few months ago, has taken over the administration in our very busy office and enjoys talking to, and assisting both existing ARCH customers and potential new customers. Moira works part-time and will respond to your enquiries as quickly as possible when she is in the office. During a recent busy period, Moira kindly donned one of our ARCH t-shirts and became a temporary gardener, helping her to put some faces to names which she says she “really enjoyed”. On her first day it poured with rain for the whole day, however she still managed to work with a smile on her face. One of our lovely customers swopped jackets with her, putting hers in the tumble dryer and provided a warming hot chocolate and biscuits to keep her going!

 

 

July 2014

Phew, a heatwave and no hosepipe ban – we can really enjoy our gardens this year!

 

poppyThose of you with water butts will be grateful for the infrequent downpours that we have had recently if only to top the butts up. However, many of you would have seen me post on Facebook, the need to water your pots and hanging baskets even if we have had rain. Any that are situated against house walls or have large leaves, the rain water wont reach the soil so they will quickly dry out. They need to be checked and watered every day, maybe twice.

Another constant job during the summer is deadheading. When the flowers have finished on roses, bedding plants such as cosmos, petunias, etc or herbaceous plants such as lupins or foxgloves, the heads can be cut off to stop seed being produced and encourage new flowers to be formed. However, should you want seeds of foxgloves or poppies, for example, then it will be worth leaving them on and collecting/distributing them when ready.

I find that the above 2 jobs are just the excuse to wander around the garden in the evening or early morning, just to see what has changed and get to enjoy working with nature.

Don’t be tempted to plant any trees or shrubs during the heatwave, unless the ground is well prepared with organic matter and you are able to water frequently. The plants will get a better chance of survival and thriving in future years if you wait until the autumn.

June 2014

It’s arrived – summer and some lovely warm days! Have you been out enjoying your garden? As the plants are putting on so much growth this year they are needing support. Everything from herbaceous to the usual climbing plants – including roses, clematis, honeysuckles. However, apart from being tidy, this can give the garden a new perspective and can give the garden both height and width.

 

A fence is generally the first ideal structure, as most gardens have one! A climber can be trained along, using vine eyes screwed into the post and with wire twisted along, to give the plant something to grow along and tie in as necessary. Add some trellis to add some interest to the fence – be brave and even paint it a contrasting colour!

 

In the border you can use metal obelisk for a formal look or make a wigwam from bamboo canes for a cheaper option and more rustic look. This will allow you to grow annual, scented sweet peas throughout the summer in amongst your permanent border plants.

 

Do you have a shed or a garage in the garden? Again this is a ready made structure for climbers to sprawl over.

 

Then there are the larger structures – arches and pergolas. If you have a sunny, south facing garden a pergola with a grape vine climbing over during the summer months can give some welcome shade from the sun as well as a crop of grapes. That’s surely a way to impress your friends!

 

I did mention this last month but please remember to water your garden regularly and include a feed for your pots and basket bedding. Containers dry out very quickly at this time of year and even it we have had rain, you may find that your pots are still dry, so it is worth checking them on a daily basis and on really hot days, you may need to water twice – morning and evening.

May 2014

Summer is nearly here and as I write this the birds are singing and there is blue sky – wonderful! pink flowerEverything in the garden is a bit earlier in flower than the past couple of years, thanks to all that rain and mild weather over the winter. We are now seeing the benefits as nature takes control.

 

The risks of frosts are almost over and by the time you read this you will be ready to plant out your summer bedding into your beds, troughs and pots. Remove all old plantings and refresh the compost before replanting and it’s worth adding some water retaining crystals. Have you a colour theme – perhaps red, white and blue for the World Cup – or perhaps a special occasion that you want the garden to look good for? There is nothing like bedding to cheer up any space. I would always recommend that you mix any bedding plants with some herbaceous planting, for a longer display i.e. a lavender planted in a pot, together with some contrasting bedding. It saves having to change all the plants every year.

 

Even though we are all wanting a hot, dry summer our gardens still need some moisture. Anything that has been newly planted i.e. trees and shrubs need to be watered well during dry spells. Pots, baskets and containers dry out very quickly at this time of year and even it we have had rain, you may find that your pots are still dry, so it is worth checking them on a daily basis.

 

It is a busy time now in the garden. Shrubs that flowered earlier in the spring i.e. forsythia and ribes can now be pruned to keep them in shape. Weeding needs to be done regularly and lawns need to be mowed weekly. However much you decide to do in the garden, please do remember to enjoy it!

 

 

April 2014

By the time you read this, Easter would have been and gone. However, the Easter weekend is traditionally the start of the main gardening year. So, did you get into your garden?

Fuschias

They love the shade

After the mild, wet winter there is plenty of weeding to be done. If you can get the weeding under control now, then mulch the borders with some organic matter i.e. bark, sterilised horse manure, etc, then the weeds will stay under control and the moisture kept in. You will then be ready for summer.

It is also a good time to plant where you have spaces – is there room for a flowering shrub or perhaps a few perennials. If your garden is hot and sunny, a couple of lavender are a possibility or, if it is shadier, then a fuschia. The number of plants available is never ending but chose something that will suit the soil and position, as well as the colours you enjoy.

 

Grow your own

Are you inspired to “Grow Your Own”? We are being increasingly asked to make vegetable plots for customers. It’s not too late to start growing now – either from seed i.e. runner beans or buy plug plants from the garden centre i.e. tomatoes. You don’t need a big garden either. A large pot is sufficient to grow a few beans, beetroot, etc. Just chose the varieties that have been bred to be picked whilst small.

It’s still a bit early for summer bedding plants, as there could be frosts up until the end of May. So if you are tempted to buy any tender plants, keep them covered with fleece if a frost is forecast.

 

March 2014

I’m happy, Spring has sprung! According to various calendars spring is now officially here and I am hoping that the “March Winds and April showers” we have been experiencing lately will calm down to some dry, warm days so that we can get into your gardens.

With the ground so wet but with the temperatures being so mild, we are at least a month ahead on the same time last year in the garden. Bulbs are putting on a fantastic show and the blossom has already started flowering. It is an ideal time to take stock of your display and see where your gaps are in the border. The garden centres are full of spring bulbs already in flower, so you can get an instant spring garden. It is always best to plant in large groups, rather than odd bulbs planted individually – you get a much better display and an immediate impact.

Think ahead with your planting

Get in touchThinking ahead now is the time to plant summer flowering bulbs – alliums, lilies and dahlias. There are a number of varieties and it is worth seeking out the best bulbs for your garden now, all ready for the warm summer ahead. Again, it is worth planting lots together to get the “wow” factor!

Remember, if you need any advice we are pleased to help.

 

 

Lawns

lawnLawns will have suffered with all that dampness over the winter, with moss being a major problem. If you want to improve your lawn, let us know and we can arrange for our lawn expert to pop round and give you some advice, as well as apply any treatments needed.

 

 

 

January / February 2014

A belated Happy New Year!

As usual the weather has been playing a major part in our working

week and this winter is no exception – mild but so very wet. Those of you with well drained soil, that has had organic matter added over the years will see the benefit in that the water can drain away a lot quicker and your plants will not rot off as easy. Those with clay soil that hasn’t been improved, may see some plants rotting off. This shows the benefits of mulching the soil every year with compost, leaf mulch or sterilised horse manure (less weed seeds). It is also interesting to see how some lawns are still growing, as it has been so mild.

 

It may be winter but there are a number of plants that are “looking good”. Here are a few we’ve seen on our travels:

bush

berries

 

 

 

 

 

 

AREAS COVERED:

ARCH started trading in Stevenage 10 years ago but due to the expanding business, we now cover: Baldock, Biggleswade, Hatfield, Hertford, Hitchin, Letchworth, Potters Bar, Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and all the villages in between.

 

 

November / December 2013

Merry Christmas from the ARCH Team and we look forward to working with you in 2014!

This is the last newsletter for 2013 and how the year has flown by. As a gardener reflecting on the year, the harsh winter seemed to last forever, well into April with a late Spring, giving everything a late start. But then, it all woke up together and we had a fantastic summer, lovely long, warm days. Finally the autumn has given us a fantastic fruit crop – apples in particular this year. As I sit here, I am now wondering what the winter has in store for us!

As in previous years, the ARCH team are working all year round, clearing leaves, pruning fruit trees and roses, clearing snow, fixing sheds and fences and generally anything else that can be done before the spring arrives once more!

arch-vouchers-gift1Gift Vouchers

As Christmas fast approaches don’t forget we offer ARCH Gardening Vouchers. These can be redeemed for garden maintenance work in the garden – either for yourself or a family member/neighbour. I’ve had a call from a lady in Australia who has a relative in Letchworth needing some gardening – so we’ve gone international!

 

 Don’t forget your pots!

I know it’s generally cold and dark at this time of year, with the shortest day yet to come, but a couple of pots with some bright bedding, underplanted with bulbs can make all the difference to your front door area. Cheering up not only you on your return but your guests over what is traditionally a busy time.

 

October 2013

It’s certainly chilly out there now that autumn has arrived and we say “good bye” to our wonderful summer.

autumn-plant

Still flowering in my garden! – including Penstemon, Roses, Cosmos, Sedum and Fuschias

However, you can enjoy the colours of the leaves, as they are wonderful now.  It is also a good time to plant for autumn colour, perhaps an Acer or Cotinus depending on the size of your garden.  Preferably where you can see it from your window and benefit from the view.

Looking ahead

The rains have returned and I hope that the water butts are filling, ready to use next summer.  That’s the thing with gardeners, they are always looking forward towards the next seasons and planning.  As we know this is the best time to plant spring flowering bulbs and I can’t wait to see their welcomed heads above the cold soil next year.  That’s spring and summer 2014 thought about, now back to today!

Lot’s of leaves?

Leaves are falling quickly and although fantastic colours they can cause problems if not cleared from your lawns, borders and paths.  However, they make great mulch and so if you have room it is a good idea to build a leaf bin (separate from a compost bin), for large numbers or bag them in black sacks – with a few holes punctured in them – and placed out of the way for a year.  You will be left with black, crumbly mulch, at no cost.  It will depend on the variety of leaf as to how quickly they break down but it makes wonderful mulch, which is generally weed free.  This is an example of working with nature in your garden.

I posted on Facebook, just this week, pictures of flowers still flowering in my garden – they included Penstemon, Roses, Cosmos, Sedum and Fuschias – all proof that winter has not arrived yet!

 

September 2013

Happy Birthday to ARCH Gardening – officially 10 years old this month! 

Arch gardening is 10 years old

Arch gardening is 10 years old!!!

For those of you who don’t know, I started the business from my garage – a lady and her mower, when I moved to Stevenage 10 years ago.  The rest, as they say, is history!

The weather has certainly changed since I wrote the August newsletter.  A lot cooler, more rain and Autumn is certainly upon us.  Whilst I am sorry to see the end of our glorious summer – and as I love the heat, found it wonderful – the autumn gives us so many more opportunities in the garden.

We can start clearing some areas and seeing what areas didn’t quite perform this year.  Then we can plant ready for next year.  It is an ideal time for planting, the soil is still warm and the autumn rains are here, keeping it damp.  The new plants will quickly send their roots down and get established quicker.  I often think that we service our boilers, service our cars – so why not service your garden once a year?  After all you are looking at it 365 days a year, even if you are not in it!

Another area that can do with some attention is lawns.  They really have suffered with the coldest winter and then the heat this summer.  If you need any advice on how to improve your lawn, just let the team know.

Last month I mentioned that if you want any spring bulbs September/October is the traditional time for planting.  So don’t forget, if you need any just let the team know and we’ll get them for you.

 

Look after your Lawns

Look after your lawns

Don’t neglect your lawns

Another area that can do with some attention is lawns.  They really have suffered with the coldest winter and then the heat this summer.  If you need any advice on how to improve your lawn, just let the team know.

Last month I mentioned that if you want any spring bulbs September/October is the traditional time for planting.  So don’t forget, if you need any just let the team know and we’ll get them for you.

August 2013

So, how is your garden looking after all that hot weather?

august-flowers

How does your garden look?

There have been some fantastic downpours between the hot days and gardens have put on an enormous amount of growth. I hope that you are managing to enjoy your garden this year, it really has been a great summer. Now that the holiday time has arrived, you can finally get outside and enjoy your “outside room”.

With the warm temperatures we generally experience at this time of year, please check your ponds and water features as evaporation can be a problem, so keep them topped up.

Remember also, that oxygen levels in fish ponds could be lower than normal, so it is advisable to keep your pump running, even at night. This will help with the oxygen and keep your fish happy!

Keep watering, especially newly planted areas, pots and baskets. It is surprising how quick pots dry out.

Looking ahead, if you want any spring bulbs September/October is the traditional time for planting. Please let us know and we shall ensure that we can obtain them for you.

 

July 2013

The heatwave is here to stay, the forecasters predict as I am writing this.  I personally love the heat – such a welcome relief after that long, cold winter.  I am sure that this hot weather wont be lasting as long as that winter!

Water your garden

Holiday watering

Watering has never been so important.  Watering morning or evening is best, as the evaporation is slower and the plants will get what they need.  If watering pots, it is worth putting a saucer underneath so that water running through is saved and again the plants can take up what they need.  It is crucial to water any newly planted shrubs, trees or herbaceous plants.  Even if any mature plants are looking “tired”, with the leaves matt instead of glossy and pointing down rather than upright, then it is time to get the water to them and a lot of it!

As for lawns, yes they are all looking brown/yellow and dead.  However, it has not died but has gone into a dormant state from which it will recover when the weather breaks, so watering is not so much a priority.  Feel free to run a mower over your lawn to keep it tidy but leave it as long as possible as this will help protect it during this time.  As someone pointed out to me recently, the best thing for a lawn during this type of weather involves the use of a deck chair and a glass of wine!

 


June 2013

Summertime has officially arrived and for a couple of weeks it felt wonderful!

So how are your gardens looking?

bee

Bee’s on the decline?

Have you gone for a lot summer bedding in your pots and baskets – geraniums, petunias, lobelia, etc? If so, don’t forget to water, feed and deadhead on a regular basis.  This will help to keep them in tip top condition.  Remember, that they dry out much quicker then plants in your beds and borders, so even if there has been a light rain shower the compost may still be dry, as it would have run off the foliage.

I’ve just picked my first sweet peas of the year and the scent is fantastic.  Have you ever thought about having more scented plants in the garden?  There is lavender (English lavender being hardier than the French, with our colder winters), various thymes, stocks, roses, the list is endless.  I also love the old fashioned pinks, rather than carnations, as their scent is far stronger.  They generally need a warm position in the garden, ideally near a seating area or window where you can appreciate the smell on a daily basis.

There is a lot of talk in the media about the decline of our beneficial insects, bees in particular.  An easy way to attract bees to your garden is to grow the “correct” flowers.  As we know, bees pollinate all our flowers but they prefer a simple, single flower rather than the recent introductions of frilly, doubles, as it is more difficult for them.  So if you are at the garden centre looking for some new additions to your garden, look for single flower varieties.


May 2013

Welcome to May but feels like April, with the April showers we are having!  With everything still 2-3 weeks behind due to the weather, there is still lots to do in the garden, so here are some ideas for you:

There is more welcome colour in the gardens now.  The shrubs are beginning to fill out and we are seeing leaves on the trees at last.  With all this activity, now is a good time to put in supports for any herbaceous plants, peony, delphinium, asters, etc.  Also, tie in any climbers to wires or supports to stop them from flopping.

How is your lawn looking – tired, mossy and full of dandelions?  Now is the time to treat them with weed, feed and mosskiller.  Once the weeds have died off it can be reseeded.

April 2013

I am often asked what can be pruned at this time of year.  As people venture into their gardens for the first time since last summer, there is a tendancy to cut back anything that happens to be in the way!  However, I would say “stop” and “think”.

Ask yourself when does it flower, if it is a spring flowering shrub i.e. forsythia then to cut it back now would cut off the flower buds.  So this shrub is best left until after flowering i.e. May.  As a rule of thumb it is best to prune shrubs shortly after flowering, thereby allowing them to recover and put on new growth.  Shrubs to be cut back now include:

  • Garrya Elliptica
  • Winter, shrubby Honeysuckle
  • Viburnum bodnantense
  • Jasmin nudiflorum

Grow you own?
Are you tempted to “Grow Your Own?”  Now that the soil is drying out and warming up, it is an ideal time to dig over your plot – be it a new area or an existing plot – adding plenty of organic matter to improve the soil.  You are now ready to sow seeds directly or plug plants.  What will you grow?

 

March 2013

Brrrrr…!!!  What a difference a week makes – one week wearing a t-shirt as it was so warm, then the next watching the snow fall!  However, wherever possible the team have managed to get out and about into the gardens, making some visits for the first time since last year so there has been plenty for us to do – clearing, tidying and planting.

planting pots and containers

Planting pots and containers

So how are your containers looking after this winter?  Either on the patio or elsewhere in the garden.  Have they cracked due to frost damage?  If you had seasonal bedding, does it need refreshing? If you have permanent plants how are the compost levels and nutrients?  Now is the ideal time to replenish the soil ready for the year ahead.  After all, looking after a plant in a container, I always think, is like having a child – you need to feed and water it as it can’t set it’s roots out and find its own!

If you are lucky enough to be able to grow rhododendrons and camillias in your garden, they would benefit from an ericaceous mulch at this time of year.  This all helps keep the soil ph levels correct, as well as reducing weds and retaining moisture.

Easter is traditionally the start of the gardening season and is a great time to visit flower shows and gardens over this period to get ideas and inspiration for your own plot.  As Easter is early this year, you can take advantage of this and get ideas to plan for summer and those long warm evenings in the garden!

Don’t forget, we now have a new phone number – please change your records accordingly.

 

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2013

A new year, with a new logo. As some of you will know, 2013 sees the 10th year for the ARCH Gardening business! quite a milestone! 01462 686491 / 07801 546990 We also have a new landline telephone number, so please keep this handy now that Spring is just around the corner!

The new season is almost upon us and as we look forward to spring bulbs, warm weather and sunshine. It is also time to see what has been happening in the garden during the winter months. Has the snow and frost damaged any shrubs? Are the beds clear of weeds and mulched ready for the summer? Did you get around to clearing the patio? These are all jobs that the team can help with, just give us a call or speak to your ARCH gardener.

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