Saturday, 30 November 2013

Quote for the week......

“One word can end a fight; one hug can start a friendship; one smile can bring unity; one person can change your entire life!” - Israelmore Ayivor

How to plant and grow bulbs, corms and tubers

"Planting bulbs, corms and tubers is an easy way to ensure colourful displays in your garden, particularly in spring before the rest of the garden has woken from its winter dormancy. Bulbs can be planted in containers or borders, and look particularly effective when naturalised in grass. Thompson and Morgan have detailed information about bulbs, corms and tubers to suit all sites and soils"


When to plants bulbs and tubers
What soil do bulbs prefer?
Which way up should bulbs be planted?
Growing bulbs in containers
How to plant bulbs in grass
Planting depths for bulbs and tubers

For more information please visit the Thompson and Morgan website.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

20 things to do with sticks - probably the world's oldest toys!

"Why do you love trees? We love them for lots of reasons, one of them being that they give us sticks!

The ultimate 'toy' to spark a child's imagination, sticks have a special magic power - they can become anything. A marshmallow fork, a pair of antlers, a magic wand, part of a den, a musical instrument, a vital piece of a space rocket......."


  For more FREE ideas for fun stick adventures please visit the Woodlands Trust Nature Detectives.

Potential £1 million grant fund for park ideas

"Nesta, The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund have opened a £million grant fund to back the best parks innovations, called Rethinking Parks. Against a background of public sector budget cuts for discretionary services such as parks, Rethinking Parks aim is to find new business models that will enable parks to thrive for the next century.

Voluntary and community sector organisations and public sector organisations with innovative ideas for how to make our public parks financially sustainable may apply for grants of between £50,001 and £100,000 as well as non-financial support to carry out their innovative ideas to make the UK's public parks financially sustainable" 

For more information go to the Rethinking Parks website here.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

FREE Vegetable Seed Sowing Guide

Thompson and Morgan seed growing guide - what to sow, when to sow it and where to sow it.


To download as a PDF please visit their website here

Giving something back to nature.....


Source: Recycled Art Foundation

How to grow raspberries with Thompson and Morgan.

Barrow and District Disability Association - Santa's Grotto


Quote for the week.....

“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar” – Bradley Millar




FREE A to Z of Autumn Hedgehog Tips

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and BritishHedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) have together produced a free seasonal guide on how to make your autumn garden hedgehog-friendly.


You can view and/or download the guide on the Hedgehog Street website here

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Armchair gardening

Winter  - a good time for a little armchair gardening, planning for next year.

Carefully plan your vegetable garden for next year so that you ensure good crop rotation to avoid a build up of pests and diseases.

Consider sourcing seeds for next year - reflect on what worked well this year and what didn't.

Take an inventory of tools and equipment that you may need for next year.

Growing fruit trees in planters and containers

There are a wide range of fruit trees that can be grown in planters, containers and pots. Among the varieties include;  apple, apricot, cherries, peaches, pears and plums.


If you would like more information, please visit the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website here.


Various jobs around the garden in winter. Advice from Thompson and Morgan

"Wash down all of your garden tools and give them a wipe of linseed oil on the wooden and metal areas to help prevent rusting.

Choose a dry day to clear out the garden shed in preparation for the spring.

Check the security of your shed. This is particularly important in winter when you visit it less often.

Repair fences and apply a wood preservative to prevent them from rotting.

Get rid of slimy patches on the patio and paving by scrubbing with a broom or blasting with a pressure washer. For an easy alternative try a liquid patio cleaner.

Group potted plants together in a sheltered spot in the garden to give them some protection from the winter weather.

Check tree ties and stakes to ensure that trees are still secure following strong autumn winds. Tighten or loosen ties if necessary.

Wash and disinfect bird feeders and bird tables. Clean out bird baths too.

Hang fat balls and keep bird feeders topped up to attract birds, who will in turn eat pests in your garden.
Build or buy a compost bin.

Continue to collect fallen leaves and add to leaf bins or compost bins to rot down.

After pruning your fruit trees use the twigs for pea sticks or shred them and add them to your compost bin.
Turn your compost heaps to mix the ingredients and help the contents to decompose.

Cover compost bins with a piece of old carpet or some plastic sheeting to prevent the compost becoming too cold and wet to rot down.

Plant bareroot native hedges to encourage wildlife and create attractive boundaries around your garden.

Make a pile of old logs in an undisturbed corner of the garden to provide shelter for toads and other wildlife.

Collect brightly coloured stems and berries for your Christmas decorations""

Helping our garden buddies

When the temperature drops to freezing, place a bowl of water out every day for the birds and other wildlife. 

Make sure that ponds and birdbaths are not frozen over.

Check apples you may have stored. Put those that are past their best out for the birds.

Attract birds into your garden and areas where pests are known to be a problem. Put out food for birds - seeds, nut and fat balls will provide the ideal diet; they will reward you by eating pests such as aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails.



Don’t be too tidy, leave perennial plants until the spring to cut down as they provide habitat for over wintering creatures, and seed heads for the birds to feed on.


Clear out bird boxes ready for spring.


Maintain planters and improving soil

December is a great time for weeding and improving soil.

Weeding done now will save time in the spring as perennial weed roots thicken and can spread over the winter months, making them more of a problem if left until next spring.



Digging over soil will help to allow worms and frosts to break up any clumps of heavy soil. Winter rain can also wash many nutrients. To help reduce this you can keep unused soil covered with leaf mould or fresh autumn leaves.

Tips and advice for gardening in December/January

Useful guides for gardening in December/January.


Thompson and Morgan: http://www.thompson-morgan.com/what-to-do-in-the-garden-in-december
Garden Organic: http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/todo_now/archive/dec-jan/
RHS: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Grow-Your-Own/jobs-to-do/December
Gardeners World: http://www.gardenersworld.com/what-to-do-now/week48/
Vertical veg: http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/


How to grow the best salads for the lowest cost

Monday, 18 November 2013

Quote for the week....

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” - Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Autumn colour in the undergrowth


Barrow defib appeal event


FREE trees from Woodlands Trust

To celebrate National Tree week (23 November - 1 December) Woodlands Trust have over 3000 FREE tree packs to give away to schools, community and youth groups next Spring. Apply before 10 January 2014 for the chance to receive a free tree pack to plant next year.


For more information on how you can apply, please visit their website here.

A little ruffled today


Grow Wild funding to help you create a community space

With Grow Wild you could get between £500 and £5,000 to create a community site in your local area. They are looking for local groups and organisations across the UK to come forward with exciting and inspirational ideas to give neglected and uncared-for sites and spaces a new lease of life. We’re particularly interested in hearing great ideas from groups of young people.


A Grow Wild community site is a place where local people use UK native plants to create a space for everyone to enjoy. They are awarding £500 to £5,000 for each Grow Wild community site. At the moment, your Grow Wild site might be an unloved, neglected and run down area that you’d like to reclaim for the local community. You just need to tell us how you want to turn it into an inspiring space for everyone. With their funding, people from all over the UK will be able to create stunning sites that everyone will love and use.

For more information please visit their website here

Meanwhile in the poly tunnel........valued volunteer Alex busy re-potting cuttings