How to Create a Japanese Inspired Garden

japanese themed gardens

Japanese themed gardens create a calming space to unwind after a long day. Using a combination of simple elements and spiritual design creates an impressive tranquil haven, perfect for any size of garden.

If you’re looking to create your own zen garden, follow our tips for inspiration.

Paths and Bridges

japanese themed gardens bridge

Bridges and stoned pathways are often used within Japanese themed gardens. The stone symbolises the element, whereas bridges insinuate peace and serenity. Depending on the space you have to work with, a small bridge can be perfect to easily separate two areas.

Water Features

japanese themed gardens fountain

Similar to the use of bridges, water features bring a sense of tranquility and peace. However, less is always more! Make your water feature the main focus of your garden to achieve an authentic design.

Let’s Talk Plants

japanese themed gardens plants

Japanese themed gardens are often styled to one colour scheme. Reds, greens, and whites are most common. When it comes to picking which plants to use in your garden, Azaleas and Peonies are perfect!

Each plant’s used for their calming colours, an essential aspect for any zen garden.

Read More from J Parker’s

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

It’s incredible the difference a few care steps can make to your fresh flowers. Fresh flowers are the perfect way to bring life and colour into the home, but sadly they don’t last forever. Discover how to keep your flowers looking fresh and lively for weeks with our simple cut flower tips.

Before you put your flowers in a vase:

  • Remove the foliage around the bottom of the stems. If any foliage that lies in the vase water can cause fungus and make your flowers wilt quicker.
  • Cut the bottom of your flower stems at a 35 degree angle. This will stop your flower stems from lying flat against the bottom of the vase, which will keep your cut flowers fresher for longer.

After your flowers are in a vase:

  • Keep your vase filled with water! All flower and foliage stems should be submerged. Flowers stay fresher, longer when they can get a drink!
  • If your flowers came in a basket or other container with foam, add fresh water every day.
  • Immediately remove dead or wilting leaves and stems from fresh flower arrangements.
  • Watch your water. When it gets cloudy it’s time to change it out.
  • First remove any dead or dying flowers from the arrangement.

For certain varieties:

  • Tulips grow a few inches after they are cut and will continue to grow toward the closest light source.
  • Hyacinths should not be cut down off the bulb. They actually last longer if left on the bulb.
  • Do not put Daffodils in a vase with other flowers. They secrete a substance that kills other flowers when in the same vase.

How to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees

Apple Tree

Enjoy bountiful harvests year after the year by growing your own fruit trees. From large apple trees to patio pot pear trees, anyone can grow their own fruit. Since the proper planting is critical for long-term success, discover when and how to plant bare root fruit trees below.

When to Plant Fruit Trees

The best time to plant bare-root fruit trees is towards the end of winter or the first half of spring, once the ground is no longer frozen so it can be easily dug but before new growth starts.

How to Plant Fruit Trees

For optimal growth, it is essential that fruit trees are planted correctly. Follow our step-by-step planting tips below.

Upon delivery

Open the packaging and put your hand inside the bag. If the roots feel damp you need to do nothing for the time being. Keep them in the bag and check them daily – if they feel as if they are drying out take the trees out and dunk the roots in a bucket of water for a few minutes and then put them back in the bag. Until planting, store the trees in their bags in a cool place out of the sun and wind.

Steps for Planting
  1. Dig a hole about a spade’s depth and around 3ft (1m) wide. A square hole is better than a round one as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground.
  2. Add a few inches of compost and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork. Make sure to mix the compost in amongst the regular soil.
  3. Place the tree in the centre of the hole and a cane across the hole so you can check that this line is level with the soil around your hole as trees shouldn’t be planted deeper or shallower than they were first grown.
  4. Remove the tree and put in a thick wooden stake a couple of inches from the centre of the hole and on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hammer this firmly into the ground.
  5. Place the tree back in the hole close to the stake and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mix back around the roots. Gently firm this in, being careful not to damage the roots. When it’s half full, pull the tree up an inch and then let it drop again as this helps the soil to fill in around the roots.
  6. Fix the tree to the stake with the tie, leaving enough room for the tree trunk to grow but not so much that it wobbles about. Also add a protective tube around the trunk if animals are a problem.
  7. Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.

Check out some of our other blogs!

How to Create Your Own Sustainable Garden

Creating a sustainable garden has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, and it’s easy to see why. Not only will it make it easier and cheaper to maintain your garden, it can also make a positive impression on the environment.

Thinking of starting your own sustainable garden? Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

DIY Compost

First things first: Kitchen waste. According to Wrap.org, we throw away a shocking 6.6 million tonnes of food each year. Instead of throwing your scraps into the bin that will just be wasted in landfill, you could create your own compost!

Not only is it easy to do, but it’s great as an extra additive to your flower beds. To start your own compost pile, find a shady area of the garden to place your bin. Creating the perfectly balanced compost takes a variation of additives, not just kitchen waste. Regularly supply your compost bin with grass clippings, weeds, prunings, and manure to feed the micro-organisms.

Save Your Water

Instead of using the main water supply to keep your garden hydrated, use collected rain water. Not only is this great for the planet, but it’s easy on your water bill too! Leave a few buckets out in the garden to collect what would otherwise be wasted rain water and use it on your garden beds and planters.

Keep It Organic

Using organic compost and fertilizer is more important than you might think. Organic fertilizers release nutrients as they break down, which soaks into the soil and improves the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients.
Over time, this will make your plants healthier and much more hardy.

But, that’s not all. Non-organic soil and fertilizer can be incredibly damaging to your gardens environment. Soil without organic matter is all man-made, lacking in the necessary nutrients to help your plants thrive. Filled with damaging materials like Rockwool, Perlite, and expanded clay aggregate, it’s clear to see that non-organic soil and compost should be avoided where possible.

A Plant for Life

Trees are a brilliant investment for both your pocket and your health. Firstly, planting a tree is a great way to improve your immediate environment. Not only do plants and trees improve air quality and soil quality, but they also help reduce your overall carbon footprint.

Trees can last for decades. They provide homes for wildlife, offer food sources to pollinators and are beautiful additions to any garden. Do your future self a favour and plant a tree.

Perfect for Pollinators

And lastly, our final tip for creating a sustainable garden is to grow the perfect plants and flowers for pollinators. Wildlife such as bees and butterflies use the energy from flowers like Lavender and Alliums to get from A to B, so it’s essential to give them the opportunity to fuel up before taking off on their next adventure.

Want to Learn More About Your Garden? Read Our Related Articles

When is it too late to plant Tulips?

Bright, bold, and colourful, Tulips are one of the most popular spring-flowering bulbs that gardeners plant in autumn. Many gardeners may think that you need to get all your bulbs in the ground by October, but this isn’t the case! If you haven’t finished your tulip planting yet, don’t worry, keep reading to find out how long you can plant tulip bulbs.

Why you shouldn’t plant Tulips too early

Tulip bulbs are always so eager to get growing. If you plant them too soon, they’ll send their leaves up right away. This will only freeze them in the winter.

When should you plant Tulips?

Wait to plant tulip bulbs until mid-autumn, up until 6 weeks before a ground-freezing frost is expected. Sometimes, even December (or even later) works best if you live in mild winter areas.

What if i don’t plant them by Christmas?

If you missed planting your bulbs during autumn/early winter and you’ve got a pack of tulips or daffodils laying around in January or February, plant them and take your chances. Here are our top tips for winter bulb planting:

  • Clear away snow and loosen soil, if possible.
  • If the ground is totally frozen, scatter fertilizer sparingly and over a larger range than normal.
  • Place bulbs on top of the soil. Do not press them in, as this will damage the bulb base, where roots form.
  • Cover with 2-4 inches of aged mulch or finished compost (go for the thicker layer if planting during the height of winter).
  • Renew mulch covering often with a fresh 2 inch layer.

Check out some of our other blogs!

Top Tips for a Pet Friendly Garden

Keeping your furry friends safe is always a first priority, and when it comes to your garden, you want to make sure that they will be safe and happy outdoors. When it comes to create a pet friendly garden, there are a few things to know before you get started.

From avoiding potentially harmful plants to discovering pet-friendly garden hacks, we’ve got everything you need to know to create the perfect pet-safe garden.

Research Harmful Plants and Flowers

Before putting anything in the ground, it’s best to research on the plants to avoid having in your garden. For example, if your family dog likes to dig up your flowerbeds, then it’s best to avoid plants and bulbs such as Hyacinths, Daffodils, Crocus, etc.

However, if you have a cat that likes to chew on your indoor flowers, try to avoid picking plants like Irises, Lilies, and Ferns. There are quite a few toxic plants and flowers to avoid, so do your research before starting your displays.

Safety is Key

Before letting your pet outside, it’s best to assess the overall safety of your garden. Is there a pool? A shed filled with dangerous tools? Reduce access to these areas with a fence.

It’s also a great idea to use organic or pet-safe mulch and fertilisers when gardening. If your pet ingested anything else, it could cause serious harm.

Protect Your Borders

If, like many cats, yours likes to do its business in flowerbeds… it’s time for that to change. To avoid this, you can designate an area of the garden for your cat to use. Establish this early on when the cat is young to ensure it doesn’t get stuck in a habit.

If your dog loves to dig up your newly planted bulbs, try raising your beds out of their reach. That way, they can’t get to your plants, and it’s less of a worry when you let them out.

Wildlife Protection

Cats are natural hunters. They love to jump and chase and catch, but unfortunately, this isn’t great for local wildlife. If you’re cat is an outdoor cat and you have bird feeders or bird baths in your garden, try putting them elsewhere.

This could be higher up on a tree or anywhere that your cat could easily reach.

Learn More Great Garden Hacks on Our Blog!

How to Create a DIY Vertical Garden

Vertical garden

Vertical gardens are a great addition to urban gardens, especially for those with less outdoor space. DIY vertical gardens are not only great to look at, but easy on the pocket too!

To create your own vertical garden, all you need are a few supplies and your plants of choice. Follow this handy guide to get started.

Pick and Plan

DIY vertical herb garden

First things first, you need to choose what type of DIY vertical garden you’d like to create. Is it purely for aesthetic? Or would you like it to have more of a function? There are plenty of choices to make, from herbs to ferns, so do your research and pick something that suits your needs.

Secondly, you need to think about where to place your garden. Depending on the plants you choose, they will be able to thrive in full sun or full shade. If you have a south-facing garden, you’ll want plants that will thrive in full sun, and vice-versa for north-facing gardens.

Choose Your Plants

DIY Vertical garden with potted plants

Next, pick your plants! Now that you know what habit you should be looking for, you can easily choose which plants will suit your garden. Whether you choose herbs, ferns, perennials, or succulents, there’s bound to be a variety of plants that you love and look great!

If you’re wanting more functionality than aesthetic, vertical herb gardens are a brilliant way of introducing foliage to your outdoor space whilst also serving a purpose. Grow herbs like basil, chives, or dill easily in your DIY vertical garden, as they need little attention to grow and thrive.

Time to DIY

Creating your vertical garden

Now all you have to do is put all your components together! Whether you choose to go all-out with a used palette, or go for something simpler, like this IKEA planter, make sure you choose something that suits your abilities and garden space.

If you’re not as hands-on, you can buy easy to use vertical garden planters from online stores such as Amazon, or IKEA. These make it easy to create your garden but is still within budget.

Finished Your Vertical Garden? Here’s Some More Handy Guides to Boost Your Garden’s Potential!

How to Store Dahlia Tubers – A Beginners Guide

dahlia tubers in crates

Understanding when and how to store Dahlia tubers can be tricky for those who are new to gardening. Dahlias are incredible summer flowering plants that bring joy to those who grow them. Growing from a tuber (a dry clump formation of roots, rather than a bulb or plug), Dahlias are perfect perennials that flower throughout the whole season.

However, once the summer season is over, there’s a process you should follow to protect the root and ensure that the plant doesn’t rot. If this is your first time storing dahlias, then this handy guide can help you go from A to B without any fuss or confusion.

Step 1 – Lift the Root

pulling a dahlia tuber

Lift your tubers before the first frost of the autumn season to avoid root rot. To lift the root, you need to dig gently around the base. Be careful not to damage any of the root as you dig. Shake off the soil and cut the dahlia stems down and dispose of the leaves.

Step 2 – Rinse & Dry

purple and pink dahlias

Rinse gently with water until most of the soil has washed off. Leave in a warm area, with the tuber placed upside down, to dry.

Step 3 – Pot and Cover

a bee sitting on a pink dahlia

Once the tuber has dried, place in a pot and cover with dry compost. Store in a dry, cool area until the weather warms once again and repeat the cycle.

Gardening Tip 💡 : If you know that your dahlias are in a warm, safe spot in your borders and aren’t at risk of rotting throughout the winter, cover the area with a thick layer of mulch for an added padding of insulation.

Now you’ve learnt how to store Dahlia tubers, how about learning something else?

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How to Grow Indoor Amaryllis

indoor amaryllis christmas gift

Loved by beginners and experts alike due to their superb flowering potential and minimal effort, it’s the well-loved Amaryllis bulb. Hippeastrum or Amaryllis bulbs are very easy to plant and will flower indoors during the winter months, producing spectacular showy flowers in a huge range of colours and shapes.

Indoor Amaryllis makes an excellent potted plant and are available in two different bulb sizes – the standard 26cm+ bulbs which will produce two stems per bulb, or our giant 34cm+ Amaryllis bulbs which are the largest on the market and will produce three stems per bulb.

We have a wide range of popular Amaryllis bulbs to choose from, which you can find here.

How to Plant Your Bulbs

To plant your indoor amaryllis, all you need are rocks for drainage, multi-purpose compost, a medium to large sized pot, and the bulb itself. Place your rocks at the bottom of your pot. All you need is a shallow layer which helps with drainage. Next, fill your pot with soil halfway and pop your bulb into your pot.

Put compost around the bulb so that it’s anchored in place, but don’t fully cover the bulb. Leave the tip poking out the top so that it grows properly.

Aftercare

Once you’ve planted your bulb, try not to over water it. This will cause the bulb to rot.
After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.

Follow our simple step by step guide here or click on the link below to watch our garden expert Jeff Turner in our video tutorial on planting these winter flowering beauties!

How to Prune Your Roses

pruning roses

Roses are a hardy plant and are often happy to grow undisturbed, so it can be difficult to tell when to prune your roses. However, light pruning at the right time of year helps to promote healthy growth and flowering as well as helping to maintain a sensible size for your rose plant.
To see your beautiful roses effortlessly bloom year after year, it’s best to prune them at the start of each year. But when? and how?

Keep reading this rose pruning guide to find out how and when you should be pruning your roses.

When Should You Prune Your Roses?

single yellow rose after pruning

Your pruning window may be slightly different depending on where you live. For example, if you live in the south, you can get away with pruning in mid-February. If you live further north, you should probably wait until March when the weather is warmer. Pruning can also depend on the type of rose plant.

Rose Shrubs should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England, or in the second week of April when you get further north.

Climbing Roses shouldn’t be pruned for two years after planting and then only sparsely, removing unnecessary growing tips. It’s best to prune this rose type in autumn.

How to Prune Roses – Best Methods

pruning roses in the garden

For most roses, you can prune in late winter. Take care to remove dead/diseased wood and deadhead faded blooms which can be done with your annual pruning. Cut no more than 5mm above a bud with a clean, sloping cut away from the bud so water cannot gather. Keep your secateurs sharp for a clean cut.

Pruning Tip 💡 – Use fertilizer on your roses once you’ve pruned them to encourage healthy growth throughout the year!

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