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Perfect Plants

  • Making a case for conifers, but are they good or bad?

    Carefree conifers, are leylandii friend or foe?

    Did you know that there are almost as many leylandii conifers in the UK as there are people? The numbers are estimated to be in the region of 55 million. That’s a lot of fuel to fire up hatred, but why do we love to despise this plant, which is correctly called x Cuprocyparis leylandii? It’s all about perception, but also size. People do tend to plant this tree inappropriately, then they neglect to keep them under control.
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  • What can I do in the garden in March?

    March is a great month in which to get to grips with the garden

    If you have a growing schedule, there will be a lot of green dots for March. This really is the month in which to get organised outdoors if you want to achieve the very best during the forthcoming gardening season. Let’s look at some gardening tasks and fire up enthusiasm for everything to come:
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  • Taking the mystery out of pruning apple trees in the garden

    How do I prune my apple and other fruit trees?

    The pruning of apple trees and other fruit trees doesn’t need to be a mystery. In fact, it’s not set in stone. There are favourable times to prune, depending on your needs. Just remember that fruit trees producing stone fruit such as plums, peach, apricots and cherries are best pruned outside of the winter season – in other words, avoid the dormant period. Why? Because this tends to reduce the risk of silver leaf disease and other infections. Plum trees don’t really require a great deal of pruning anyway, once they have been encouraged to grow into a good shape. Just take out any old wood or badly crossing branches in early spring right through to mid-summer and that’s really all they should require.
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  • Are garden shrubs popular?

    Which are the best shrubs for my modern garden?

    So, where are we with shrubs in these days of creative design, modern, sleek lines and contemporary spaces? Plants have an age-old appeal and it’s only natural that trends come and go. Have shrubs gone? Well, for a while they declined in popularity, but it seems that the tide of opinion is turning. The group of plants that we refer to as shrubs is a huge and diverse category of botanic life and one that would definitely have featured prominently in your great-granny’s garden. Continue reading

  • I think my old fashioned garden might need updating

    How do you recognise a 1970s garden?

    What does the term ‘old fashioned’ or ‘outdated’ mean, in terms of gardens? It’s very easy to spot garden styles, just by the planting. Walk through a public park that hasn’t been updated for a few decades and look at the plants. There might well be some overcrowded ‘dwarf’ evergreen conifers that are now four metres high or so. Lots of shrubs. Some Acers, if the soil is right. Definitely rose beds, maybe Cordyline, pampas grass and perhaps some empty winter beds that will soon be filled with summer bedding. Is this an outdated style?

    pampas grass growing in a garden Pampas grass was popular back in the 1970s and 80s and it does have a place in modern gardens, in the right situation.

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  • How to deal with a sloping garden or a difficult site

    What can I do with my difficult garden? Steps to success...

    A garden doesn’t need to be spacious or flat in order to be beautiful and rewarding. In fact, some of the most interesting and difficult gardens are those that represent a challenge in one form or another. Dealing with a steep slope, for example, brings a set of problems that might need imaginative thinking. Terracing is the obvious answer, but rows of steep steps leading to narrow, flat areas can look cramped, uninviting and daunting. Continue reading

  • Biggest is best - why we should love trees just a little bit more

    Love trees? Why we should appreciate the biggest plant

    We should all love trees a little bit more. We’re all capable of appreciating things, but perhaps we don’t always bother to notice what’s going on. Just look around at the natural surroundings. Whether you live in a city, a town, a village or in a rural retreat, there is nature to enjoy. And the largest living species within nature is a tree. It’s easy to take trees for granted and it’s often only when they are under threat, or after they have gone that we miss them the most.

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  • 7 Steps to increase the value of your home through your garden

    Our love affair with homes (and gardens): how to increase the value of your property.

    Many of us love to watch Kirstie and Phil (did you know that Phil Spencer’s middle name is Cuthbert, how cool is that?); Homes Under the Hammer; Love It or List It; Grand Designs; George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and a selection of the ever-expanding range of property-related programmes on TV.

    Channel 4 has around 12 or so entertainment outlets based around homes and what you can do with them. Similarly, albeit to a somewhat lesser extent, there are garden-renovation shows too. It proves that there’s a general love affair with homes and gardens, and a compulsion to improve. Part of this is in a bid to achieve a more enjoyable and comfortable lifestyle, but much of it on television is about increasing value and being able to make a profit.

    homes and gardens property programmes on tv the word home made from turf and flowers Home turf! The garden is a vital part of your home and, with the right treatment, it can increase the value of your property.

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  • 3 easy steps to the 'no dig method' of gardening and why it can work for you

    The 'no dig method' of gardening is a growing trend, try it before the main vegetable planting season arrives

    So, here we are, more than three quarters of the way through January already. Grow your own enthusiasts and those with an allotment will already be champing at the bit, eager to start sowing and growing. Let’s look at what you can be getting on with right now.

    It’s a great month for preparing the plot. For some, this means digging. This helps to bury weeds and loosen the soil. Digging the vegetable garden or allotment in order to prepare for spring  growing and sowing is the traditional way to go about things, but with the benefit of ecological understanding together with science, it might not be necessary.
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  • Six tricky house plants and how to prevent them from dying!

    House plants - are yours dying to join the trend? 

    Everyone is loving house plants at present. But some of them will give up on life and turn up their toes with relative ease. Others can live just about anywhere, with the minimum amount of care. So why bother with the tricky set? It’s all about shape; structure; size; beauty. And that most elusive quality: extraordinary desirability.

    How can you not only stop your desirable and trendy house plants from dying, but help them to thrive? Continue reading

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