What we’ve been up to
We have recently become agents for McCauley trailers, and are beginning to sell them on their behalf. Now that we are coming into the summer months, we have been out and about doing some work for Hart county council. Now that it’s slowly getting warmer, we have also been getting into some more tree surgery works!
Top tips for May 2016
April wasn’t exactly the warmest we’ve ever had but nevertheless the garden has sprung into life and there’s plenty to keep us busy as summer approaches.
Now is the best time to get planting!
As the spring bulbs fade and the risk frost has passed, planting out bedding can begin. Don’t be tempted to cut down or tie up the foliage of the spring bulbs to tidy up your borders. Instead, deadhead them and let them die down naturally. Half-hardy and summer bedding plants will need to be hardened off by leaving them out during the day and taking them back undercover during the night. Do this for about seven to 10 days to acclimatize the plants to the sun, wind and rain before planting outside.
Getting creative this summer
Get creative with your hanging baskets and tubs! To make them look their very best always use a good quality compost and add to it slow release fertilizer and water retaining crystals. Plant up around the sides of hanging baskets to give more impact, more quickly. And as the plants flower, keep deadheading them throughout the season to prolong their glorious burst of colour.
Don’t forget the veggie patch!
Runner beans are easy to grow and they’ll love the warm, moist soil of May quicklyrunning up their supports. Plant them now for a delicious homegrown crop of runner beans later in the summer. If space is limited grow tomatoes in a bag of compost. The choice of tomato that you can grow is huge – from cherry to beefsteak – and you’ll be harvesting them in a matter of weeks. Encourage wildlife into your garden such as frogs, toads and hedgehogs by building simple log piles at the back of borders. They’ll repay you for the shelter by eating pests, such as slugs and snails, in your garden.
We were recently mentioned in the local news. Here’s the article!
Autumn and Winter is when the majority of the commons maintenance work takes place. This is the best time to avoid disturbing wildlife. During this busy period the pond in the north-east corner of the common was extended. An overgrown and silted up area situated next to the original pond was cleared and re-profiled. The extension will take a couple of years to settle, but in time, will become a honey pot for biodiversity. As part of this work approximately one hectare of trees were cleared to allow ligh to both the older part of the pond and the new extension. A further hectare of birch scrub was also removed in the north of the common and some biologically important oak trees were haloed. This will prevent established trees being out-competed by younger trees, allowing them to continue to grow into important biologically rich trees. This is a continuation of similar works that have been going on around the site. National Grid replaced a number of insulators on the electric pylons and had to clear a small area of trees and scrub to be able to safely use the winch equipment to do this. All of this work took place in a short four- week time period. This presented a few logistical challenges, with all the different organisations working on site at the time, some in different parts of the common. Everyone involved worked effectively and a lot of work was achieved in a short space of time. As Autumn progressed a local coppice contractor worked on an area at Potbridge end of the common. Chipped material from this work was put into wet, muddy parts of paths to try and stabilize them. Coppiced areas are great for ground flora and we expect primroses and foxgloves to be out in this area over the coming Spring. Over 2000m of ditches were cleaned out across the common before too much rain arrived. Nine old narrow railway sleeper bridges were replaced with plastic pipe culverts in the narrow strip of the common from the canal to the meadows between adjoining fields. Any ‘sloppy’ or soft areas on this path were graded down to firm ground with the differ used for the work on the way out. The culverts are much wider than the old bridges as it gives walkers and riders better options for finding a way through. Hopefully with the ditches restored this route will stay drier. Enjoy walking, riding and being out and about on the Common in 2016.
Things you can be getting on with this month
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast for late frosts and take action to protect tender plants if the temperature drops.
- Take time to admire the beautiful blue carpets of bluebells that will be in flower at the beginning of the month – The Wildlife Trust Bowdon Woods Nature Reserve near Newbury or the National Trust’s ancient woodland at Hinton Ampner in Hampshire are worth a visit.
- Start sowing a few seeds of salad and stir-fry leaves every two to three weeks and you’ll get a regular supply throughout the summer.
- Trim lavender – cut off old flower heads and about 2.5cm of new growth.
- Apply weedkiller to the lawn and give it a good feed with a high nitrogen fertilizer to encourage strong growth.
- Harden off tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins plants so that they can be planted out in June.
- Tie in stems of rambling and climbing roses horizontally to produce more flowers.
- Start mowing the lawn regularly.
- Keep on top of the weeding in your flowerbeds and veggie garden.
- Treat houseplants to a wash and brush up. Wash dust of the foliage and give them a weekly feed from now until the autumn.
- Check for nesting birds before clipping any hedges.
Enjoy the garden! The weather is warming up and the days are long so make sure you have logs to throw in the garden fire pit or chimenea to keep off the evening chill. Give us a call if you need to stock up.