15 March 2013

English Garden Tips & Trends

With Spring taking it's time this year
to show its lovely face,
I am chomping at the bit for some warmth and sunshine :)

I've collected pages from magazines and such over the years
to remember English garden tricks and tips
for when I return 'home' to a garden I can play in

Here's a few ideas...

- Plant 'biodynamically' by checking the lunar calendar
to see when the water table will be closer to the surface
similar to the ocean tides

This makes for better root development and
requires less 'watering in' new plantings

- If growing seeds, place a used tea bag at the bottom of each pot
to hold moisture and to give trace nutrients
Use more tea bags for larger pots

- Dig a square planting hole, not round, for better root development

- Liquid feed all berry and flowering plants with tomato fertilizer, which contains potash,
to improve flowering and productivity

- Square pots are less tippy than round ones in the wind

- Consider the 3 R's: Repeat, Rhythm, Regularity when planting a new border
Limit color and number of species used
Mirror plantings across pathways when possible

- Pebbled and stoned areas are more rain-friendly than harder surfaces
Not only do they look more attractive, but also allow rain to soak right through them
(England has mastered rain-management here)

Here's a list of current trends:

Peat moss is harvested from bogs and fens 
in the Republic of Ireland (70%) and within the United Kingdom (32%)

Peat has been THE affordable and reliable growing medium in the UK since the 1940s,
but with an increased awareness of the importance of peatlands
and its unique supporting habitat,
gardeners and nurseries search for better alternatives

Although I believe xeriscape is a newer idea here than in the US,
there has been a need for it,
as parts of the country were in a drought last summer with a 'hosepipe' ban 

The roots of this movement seem to be from Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf

Increasingly popular prairie or meadow gardens
grow grasses and North American natives such as
California Poppies and Echinacea/coneflower

Other European influences are obvious in grander gardens,
such as French potagers (kitchen gardens)
and Italian parterres with ornate clipped topiaries

In the last month, the Royal Horticultural Society rolled out its
revised RHS Plant Hardiness Rating System based on extreme temperatures
America has something similar with their USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

RHS gives plants distinguished 'Award of Garden Merit' (AGM) based on local trials
This label helps customers select reliable plants with good general performance and form,
are reasonably resistant to pests and diseases, and are fairly easy to grow

AGM Trial Site at RHS Wisley Garden

RHS members can order seeds for a minimal price,
with over 700 varieties from which to choose
including annuals, shrubs and trees
The list varies annually

Such a brilliant way to keep quality plants in circulation around the country

The elderly population grew up during World War II 
and endured difficult living conditions post-war as well
They had their hands in the soil to grow their own food,
and this generation is the keen gardener of today

They are the members of local garden clubs in villages

There is some concern that the gardening enthusiasm will wane 
as the older generation passes on
Efforts are being made to foster gardening interest in the younger generations

In a local garden, children planted up shower caps, socks, and pajama bottoms

Adopt a beehive, grapevinelavender row, or cherry orchard
to support local farmers and to receive product

The US and the UK share similar trends, such as
an effort to use fewer pesticides/go organic, a concern about the drop in bee population,
and more mindful planting to attract birds, bees, and insects to the garden

In America,
you find permanent sprinklers, mulched gardens,
and almost no use of peat

In the UK, you see 'water butts' collecting rainwater,
more use of top dressing (easier when there is no mulch to move aside),
moss in the lawn (I think its pretty, but I guess it is undesirable),
nurseries selling annuals in styrofoam containers (?!),
and garden-waste-only bins for curbside trash pickup

Growing in bags is seen in England, but not in the US

With England's perfect growing conditions
of cool summer temperatures, frequent rain,
and long daylight hours (closer to the North Pole)
it is no wonder this is the Garden Island

But no matter where you live
there is no question gardening is
food for the eyes
and the soul

Do you have any unusual garden tips to share?

- all photos by me -

Related Posts:
England, The Garden Island (incl gardens to visit)
A Rose By Any Other Name... (different name, same plant)

(an unsponsored post)


O meu pensamento viaja said...

Great post!

Ali said...

Some great tips there, especially the ones about square holes and plant pots.


Liene said...

These days pinterest means I have a million garden ideas I would like to try. This year I will settle for one, salad in a pallet. I've salvaged a pallet which I will place plastic and soil in, then plant salad in the rows. Hopefully this will cut down on watering and weeding, plus it is a temporary garden so if it doesn't work I'll just try something else next year!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

L: I'd love to see a photo of your pallet salad idea if you have a link to share :) Sounds really interesting

PURA VIDA said...

this post just brought a smile to my face!

Tina in CT said...

As usual, beautiful pictures and sound advice.

flowers on my table said...

Hello Laura, lovely post, with great tips. I like the tea-bag one. Epsom salts seems to be the great gardening booster,according to Pinterest.
I am sure you will have a wonderful garden when you finally get one. I think that people do seem to radiate towards gardening as they get older, so I wouldn't worry too much about the young generation.
Have a wonderful weekend and a happy St. Paddy's day! Love Linda x

Jeanie said...

This is a fabulous post and I'm going to save the seeding and planting tips. It'll be awhile before we see anything so bright and cheery outside here, but we'll be starting seeds inside next week and this is great info!

Spring IS almost here!

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I had forgotten about the teabag trick, I had already read about it. Thanks for reminding me! Being French, I'll be trying my hand at my first potager this year! I'll try not to expect too much of it as I guess I'll make many mistakes!

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

I really miss my garden in the winter, thank you for the reminder of what I've got to look forward too! :) x

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Great ideas!
I might have to borrow the tomatoes in a bag idea... I'll have green tomatoes in no time.

likeschocolate said...

I would one day love to do a tour of English gardens sans children. Then go for afternoon tea and scones.

Natasha In Oz said...

Lots of great ideas here-many thanks for sharing them all!

Best wishes and happy Spring,
Natasha in Oz

ann said...

I love this post. I love English cottage gardens. I was never drawn to xeroscaping. I want the English garden, but I must get real: Colorado--drought--doubt it.

Dave D said...

"food for the eyes
and the soul"

Lovely comment.

Gillian said...

So many great images here, and lots of tips. Thank you.

I love the English country garden look but sadly I'm not very good at gardening. I only came across the term "xeriscaping" a few weeks ago but it seems to be quite popular in drier parts of the US.

Gillian x

Noelle the dreamer said...

Laura, I'd love to see a book with your photos! Keep us abreast if you ever pursue the idea as your photos merit it!
Your mention of little or no gardening in the front garden brought much debating (hubby and I grew on each side of the North Sea) and we came to the conclusion, privacy must have been foremost in our mothers and grandmothers minds a syou mentioned. I can only remember Bobonne scrubbing the front steps or polish the brass lettre slot, house numbre and door bell(and only when no one was around to see her).
Thanks for a lovely tour of the English garden!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Thank you, Noelle, for your kind words! I'm glad I guessed the privacy issue correctly - I've been trying to figure that one out for a while :)

Linda Metcalf said...

I would love to have Moss growing everywhere...but here in my little corner of Kansas we have temps in the summer of up to 120 degrees and last year we had so little rain that we are still suffering from it. You in the UK are very fortunate indeed! I have visited many times and the flowers and lushness amaze me.

Ann said...

Great tips...
Love those images
so colorful and beautiful.

designchic said...

So much great advice - love the beautiful images!

Kamila Bleax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kamila Bleax said...

These are beautiful! <3


flowers on my table said...

Hi Laura, many thanks for your comments. I agree with you about longing for the better weather. One of my most favourite things is to take my coffee into the garden, but it is still a little chilly for that, and I think we have snow forecast for tomorrow. I do hope you are faring a little better? Linda

Privet and Holly said...

I could implement all
of these awesome tips,
but not get the results
of an English garden,
as Nature's hand, there,
makes all of the difference,
I think! I do love the idea
of a wild meadow and
just going with the natural
flow, but I also love the
cottage gardens and the
kitchen gardens. It is all
just so beautiful. Here's
hoping spring finds you
sooner than she is finding
us -- 18F for our high today!

xo Suzanne

Wendy said...

Love the post, tips and gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing.

Attic Clutter said...

beautiful post (:)

Amela Jones said...

Is there any further reading you would recommend on this?

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