How to look after your garden in winter

Lawns

Just because your perennials have gone into hibernation to protect themselves from the cold snap of  winter, that doesn’t mean that your lawn should be left to fend for itself too.

Here are a couple of hints and tips to ensure your grassed garden lasts the winter blues and comes up growing luscious and deep green in the spring:

Tend to the lawn

Although it tends to rain more often during the autumn and winter months, you should still take the time to give your lawn a once-over with the hose if there is a particularly unusual spell of severe drought. Anything can happen with the weather these days!

Look after your plants

As with your lawn, your growing plants may need watering. Make sure you aim your water towards the stem or base of the plant in the colder months – if you water the head or leaves and the temperatures drop then they could freeze and suffocate your plants. If you have a lot of plants to water, consult stockists such as Easy Watering to find a wide range of hose connectors to connect your hosepipe to your sprinkler or hose gun. Plus, if you don’t fancy braving the elements, you may even consider investing in an automatic watering system instead!

Prepare for the snow

Because the frost will claim most of the free-flowing water in your garden (including the remaining droplets in your soil), it’s important to hydrate your garden as much as possible before the cold snap hits.

To keep your plants warm on even the frostiest mornings, cover your bed with a layer of mulch, so that the soil is not exposed and your plants and flowers are given a fresh layer of nutrients to see them through ‘til the spring. Mulch is ideal for protecting plants with shallow roots, as they are usually more susceptible to fluctuating winter temperatures.

And finally, if you have any trees in your garden, make sure you shake the snow from their branches as much as possible; this will prevent them from buckling under the extra weight.

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5 Tips To Improve Your Small Garden Pond

This is the time of year for gardening advice, and as such, there are tips on spring flowers and planting available everywhere from local gardening magazines to the Martha Stewart columns. However, despite this breadth of advice and suggestion, the nature of spring gardening advice is actually pretty limited. Most of it is focused on planting methods, the best spring seeds, and how to prepare your patch for the planting season. But what about the finer details of making your garden look nice this summer?

A small garden pond is a perfect example. Generally, one might think of a decorative garden pond as a relatively low maintenance item, and for the most part this is true. Of course, occasional cleaning is needed, but you don’t exactly need to worry about planting a new pond each spring. But, if you’re looking for the minor improvements you can make for the simple sake of atmosphere, here are 5 fun ones to consider.

1. Bring In The Lilies

Lilies and lily pads are just about synonymous with the image of any nice garden pond, so if you don’t already have these “installed,” so to speak, it might be time. In fact, this can even give you the feeling of planting something with regard to your small garden pond. A few lilies and lily pads simply make a garden more pleasant in the simplest of ways, and make your pond look cared for, but not at all artificial.

white lily

Beautiful white water lily flower

2. Welcome The Birds

Usually when people consider the animals associated with garden ponds, the mind goes first to goldfish and the occasional frog or toad. There may also be a dragonfly buzzing around now and again. But you can bring in some additional wildlife by situating a bird feeder in close proximity to your pond. This adds one more natural touch.

3. Consider Some Overhang

This one’s not too tricky, but it can be a bit of a project. You may want to check out My Smart Buy for some new hedge trimmers, or grab some garden shears at the nearest outdoors shop. Once you have your tools, try shaping the trees and shrubs surrounding your pond to style some atmospheric overhang. You may need to plant something new, but a leafy roof to a garden pond can be very pleasant. Be careful not to create too much shade or plant anything that will drop leaves and pollute the water though.

4. Use Garden Furniture

A simple garden bench or small outdoor table by the pond may make things look a bit more artificial, but it also gives you convenient places to relax while you enjoy your garden pond. The more often you are tempted to sit out next to the pond, the more interesting wildlife moments you will observe.

5. Work On The Borders

Finally, try to make the borders of your small garden pond more appealing. Whether this means a stone walkway surrounding the pond, a few hedges or bushes on the borders, etc., you have plenty of options. This frames your pond and makes it more of an attraction in your garden.

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Fish Pond Supplies Shops in Yorkshire

A Day Trip to Bradshaws Pond Supplies, York 

Bradshaws Pond Supplies

Bradshaws Pond Supplies, York

There are already 101 reasons to visit the ancient city of York, York Minster, the National Railway Museum and the Shambles being just a few. But if you’re anything like me then you’ll want to make a trip to Bradshaw’s pond shop – a pond lovers paradise! Their shop is just a short, 10 minute drive from the city centre (more info on their contact page). I’m planning a second pond in a shaded part of the garden and needed some advice on the best way to approach it. The guys at Bradshaws are always very clued up on anything pond related, I’ve spoken with them on the phone before placing an order but it was good to speak with them face to face this time around. As well as advice on my second pond I needed to treat my original pond to a new pump. I was tempted to go for a hozelock pond pump after seeing a review in Gardeners World, after speaking with the Bradshaws guy I decided to go for one of these pond pumps – it fitted my budget my Koi seem to be enjoying it.
All in all, I’d recommend dropping in to the Bradshaws shop if you’re anywhere near York, I’ve never met a group of people more clued up on ponds than these guys and their selection of products is amazing. Otherwise you can always visit them online (or download a copy of their catalogue and browse offline!).
P.S My favourite page has to be the pond calculator page! It lets you know exactly what type of pond pump to buy, how much pond liner you need, what volume of water your pond holds and how much pond sealant you might need. http://www.bradshawsdirect.co.uk/calculators

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Small Garden Ponds with edible plants

By stocking your small garden pond with carefully selected plants including edible herbs, you can create a habitat that fulfils several functions at once.

Garden Pond functions:

The small pond is a habitat for local frogs and insects, it helps to cool a small section of the garden for sitting and makes an environment for water plants to grow adding to biodiversity and interest.

Water Celery functions:

Variegated Water Celery is a colorful, low spreading plant typically planted in water gardens partially submerged at the margins. The colorful, serrated leaflets of the Variegated Water Celery pops with beautiful pink tips! About mid summer, tiny white flowers in umbels bloom.

Also known as the Flamingo Plant or Java Dropwort, it’s a popular favorite for Koi ponds since it makes a nutritious snack for hungry mouths. Some gardeners recommend rotating two planters – keeping one in the pond for koi and another kept away from koi and allowed to grow back – to maintain a constant supply on hand.

Though it is a lovely ornamental plant, the Variegated Water Celery is fast growing so take care in placement and expect plenty of spread. When placed properly, the Variegated Water Celery makes an excellent ground cover and a great choice for bog filters.

Good hiding spot for tadpoles; food; good cover for pond surface reducing green algae.

Lomandra longifolia functions:

Lomandra longifolia is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Beetles.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Edible Uses:

Flowers – raw. A flavour of fresh peas. Both sexes are used though the male flowers are easier to harvest. White leaf bases – raw. A flavour of green peas, they are refreshing and enjoyable.

An indigenous plant from the New South Wales area of Australia, and therefore likely to attract beneficial insects; habitat for local frogs; provides shade for seedlings on hot days if your small pond is Australian.

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Growing Herbs in a Small Pond

Everybody knows that even small ponds require water plants, in the form of oxygenators and marginals, floating plants and filtering aquatics, but how many actually grow useful plants as one as decorative and functional ones in the garden pond?

I discovered quite by accident really, that one of my favourite herbs – the Vietnamese Coriander, normally grown in soil, and which has a lovely piquant aromatic flavour, also grows very well in several inches of water. Even when there is a thick covering of ice in the winter, the plant dies back but recovers again next year from some of the woody stems left underneath, eventually growing into a thicket of leaves that need to be harvested regularly to prevent it taking over.

vietnamese coriander and bogbean flower

Vietnamese Coriander and bogbean flower

So that’s one useful herb for growing in the pond, and another I’d like to mention is more obvious, and that’s watercress. Some of the garden centres, aquatic centres and pond shops seem to have a form of cress which is sold as an aquatic plant, or you may get given some from a neighbour, but I think it’s more important to get the right variety for culinary purposes so what I do is this. When I buy a bag of watercress in a plastic bag from a supermarket for use in salads, if there are any stemmy parts with white roots already growing out, I throw one or two pieces in the pond. They look a bit sad floating there on their sides, but in few days will find their feet and start spreading. Watercress is a useful water plant for filtering harmful nitrates out of the pond water in any case, but if it spreads well then you can cut and wash some for eating purposes, and the tiny white flowers are quiet attractive too. Like the vietnamese coriander, the watercress seemed to survive a frozen winter last year as well, but in previous years I have had to start all over again, which is easy enough given the method I have already mentioned.

So there are two edible plants which can be grown in a small garden pond. I wonder if you can suggest any more please?

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