Tag Archives: Gardens

Autumn Pruning – some Questions and Answers

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Plews Weekend Blog

Our regular blog has moved back to the website – or more precisely moved onto the new website!

you can find it here –

http://plewsgardendesign.co.uk/autumn-pruning-questions-answers/

We’re still sorting out a few wrinkles but  you shouldnt have any problems still following the blog; if you do please drop us an email and we’ll do our best to sort it.

To celebrate our new website, there’ll be a special offer in the October monthly e-newsletter; you can sign up and find out what it is on the website: http://plewsgardendesign.co.uk

Your feedback is appreciated

Marie, Nathan and all the Team at Plews Garden Design

Resolving Your Gardening Issues

Plews Garden Design Team including Sharpe

Plews Garden Design Team including Sharpe

Rose gardens – can you smell the scent of paradise?

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Hever Castle rose garden

Hever Castle rose garden

Roses are one of those flowers that need to have a perfume. There’s such a choice from delicate through to musky that it seems a waste of the olfactory sense not to have aromatic roses. Roses have a long history in our gardens, and while Rose gardens waver in and out of fashion; roses themselves never totally leave the worldwide top ten favourite flowers list.

Southsea rose garden -Rosa rhapsody in blue

Southsea rose garden -Rosa rhapsody in blue

This is a small selection of some of the rose gardens we’ve visited in the last year or so. They are gardens which are purely a rose garden, or are a separate rose garden within larger gardens. Unfortunately the internet doesn’t yet have a ‘scratch and sniff’ facility, so you’ll need to use your imagination, but the warm sun certainly brought out the exotic and subtle scents for us to enjoy when we visited these rose gardens.

Southsea rose garden

Southsea rose garden

Southsea Rose Garden in Portsmouth has been developed on the site of a Victorian fort – ‘Lumps fort’ on the esplanade. High walls surround the roses, and this helps retain their delightful scent, as Portsmouth is notoriously gusty! Not all rose varieties like the salty air but this garden has a selection well beyond the trusty Rosa rugosa. Good use is made of the brick pergolas with roses climbing up and over these; and the axis of the main avenue has the sea beyond as its focal point.

Southsea rose garden - pergola

Southsea rose garden – pergola

The Rose Garden in Greenwich Park lies next to the eighteenth century Rangers House, at the top of the hill; more Blackheath than Greenwich. The arc shaped beds give a long vista of roses and allow a strolling between borders with opportunity to stop and sniff.

Greenwich Park rose garden

Greenwich Park rose garden

Greenwich Park rose garden - Rosa loving memory

Greenwich Park rose garden – Rosa loving memory

We visited after the ‘Run for Life’ in aid of cancer and were particularly pleased to find that our favourite rose for scent and colour combined was Rosa ‘loving memory’.

Greenwich Park rose garden -sniffing the roses

Greenwich Park rose garden -sniffing the roses

In Nymans rose garden (a rose garden within a larger garden) it was interesting to see the use of some companion planting; in this case, Nepeta, or catmint.

Nymans rose garden - underplanting with nepeta

Nymans rose garden – underplanting with nepeta

Roses, like many plants, thrive when planted in a community rather than as a single species. Nepeta offers both aesthetic companion planting with soft foliage and purple blue flowers complementing all the roses in the garden, but also ‘true’ companion planting, as it helps deter pests.

Nymans rose garden

Nymans rose garden

Still with the companion planting, we spotted this standard rose surrounded by lavender in Hever Castle gardens, although not in their delightful walled rose garden.

Hever Castle garden - rose underplanted with lavender

Hever Castle garden – rose underplanted with lavender

At Penshurst Place, the rose garden also sports companion planting. Furry leaved Stachys byzantina offers a silver ground covering carpet with purple flowers spikes in summer.

Penshurst Place rose garden - underplanting with stachys

Penshurst Place rose garden – underplanting with stachys

Paired with white flowering standard roses this is a subtle combination and one to copy in any sunny border; perhaps one rose at each end of the border with Stachys below, then the rest of the border filled with Santolina, Lavender and white Lychnis coronaria: lovely.

Penshurst Place rose garden - sundial

Penshurst Place rose garden – sundial

The silver foliage planting I’ve just suggested as a design idea for a south facing border would look good all year as, except for the rose, the planting is all evergreen. The bees would love it too.

Happy sniffing!

Marie Shallcross, Senior Partner, Plews Garden Design
Resolving your Gardening issues with inspirational ideas and flexible solutions

Sitting in the garden enjoying the sun or sitting on a cool veranda in the shade?
“In Your Summer Garden with Plews Garden Design” – the newest in our series of Gardening Almanacs makes good reading wherever you are.

Hever Castle rose garden - falling petals

Hever Castle rose garden – falling petals

Patriotic Gardens or how to find Summer Planting Inspiration

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red pelargonium,blue front door

red pelargonium,blue front door

How does your garden grow: colourful in the spring and then all green in the summer? If you missed out on using last year’s Diamond Jubilee as planting inspiration why not celebrate sixty years since the Queen’s Coronation instead?

The plants below flower during the summer months so will brighten up your garden. Plant them in combination: for example, one white rose at the back, three blue delphinium and five low growing red dianthus at the front.

Red roses

Red roses

white iris

white iris

geranium johnsons blue

geranium johnsons blue

red dianthus

red dianthus

white rose

white rose

blue delphimium

blue delphimium

red cytisus (broom)

red cytisus (broom)

white lily

white lily

blue eryngium bourgatii

blue eryngium bourgatii

Some more planting combinations

red persicaria, white geranium, blue pansies

red persicaria, white geranium, blue pansies

white cosmos, red scabious, blue eryngium

white cosmos, red scabious, blue eryngium

You could even have Coronation colours in the vegetable garden with red strawberries, blueberries and white currants…well, at least until you ate them!

Marie

Plews Garden Design offers design and build gardens and planting designs for borders. Drop us an email with your query.

The Carpet in your Garden: Spring Lawn Tasks

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a pretend four leaf clover

a pretend four leaf clover – do you know what it really is?

St Patricks Day is March 17th. St Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland, the country also known as the Emerald Isle because of its lush green countryside. Four leaf clovers are lucky plants for the Irish but it’s also good to have some in your lawn.

Ah yes, The Great British lawn; the emerald carpet in your garden; if you’re getting the mower out this weekend, keep the first cut 4mm or more high. Or is the lawn not in a fit state for mowing?

mown lawn, with stripes

mown lawn, with stripes

Lawns can take a lot of damage over the winter. The weather varies from wet to freezing and surrounding trees and other deciduous plants dump leaf litter all over the grass, inspecting your lawn for the first time in the New Year can be a dispiriting sight.

The most apparent, but easily remedied problem will be the leaf litter. Simply grab a soft plastic rake and get to it. Bag the leaves up in black bin bags (try to keep evergreen leaves out of the mix), perforate the bags a few times, and store them somewhere shady. These leaves will compost down and create great mulch for your beds for next year. You could also add the leaves to your compost bin to counteract too much moisture, kitchen waste and grass.

lawn in process of being scarified, bare patches where moss was

lawn in process of being scarified, bare patches where moss was

Once the leaves are swept and cut, you may notice your lawn is more moss than grass, or contains large swathes of dead dry grass. If so, you need to ‘scarify’ your lawn. This is where the layer of ‘thatch’ that develops from dead grass stems and moss is ripped out by using a hard metal rake or scarifying machine. Periodically reducing the thatch in your lawn is important, as a depth of more than 2cm will start to suppress the growth of grass stems, allowing weeds and moss to triumph. If scarifying by hand, mentally split the lawn up into 2m x 2m blocks, as this helps to focus your efforts – it can be hard work! This task is best done when the lawn is as dry as possible.

compacted lawn in need of spiking

compacted lawn in need of spiking

Once you have finished scarifying your lawn, aeration is the next task to be done. This is where a garden fork or special tool is used to punch thin but deep holes into the lawn, allowing the free flow of air and moisture in the soil, and aid in surface water drainage. There are revolving aerators which work by being pushed along by the user, but I have found these to be ineffectual in practise as they do not penetrate far enough into the ground. However, rentable mechanical aerators are very effective, and recommended for severely compacted lawns. You should be aiming for at least 5cm into the soil.

After all this, your lawn will probably look pretty bare – the perfect opportunity to re-seed and fertilise your lawn. There are grass seed mixes for most types of lawn; a mix predominantly containing rye grass will be harder-wearing. Liberally apply grass seed to any bare areas – and water twice day morning and evening if the weather is dry.  Do not walk on or mow these areas for up to 2 months to allow the new seedlings to establish themselves properly. You should see new shoots after 8-14 days.

spiked and scarified lawn next to untouched lawn

spiked and scarified lawn next to untouched lawn

The nitrogen required for new green growth can be applied to your lawn as a feed, or by growing some four leaf clover in among the grass. For more on St Patricks Day, four leafed clovers, spring tasks and spring planting ideas have a look at our new eBook.

And if you decide to lay turf rather than sow seed, make sure the edges of the turf strips are butted up tightly together or this is what happens.

newly laid lawn with edges of strips separating - not laid by Plews!

newly laid lawn with edges of strips separating – not laid by Plews!

Herbs – A Potted Garden History

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willow-tree-by-moat

willow-tree-by-moat

Herbs are a wide ranging subject and one which is best discussed over various blogs. An herb is generally considered to be a plant with medicinal, culinary or cosmetic uses. However, it can also be defined as any annual, bi-ennial or perennial plant which has a soft stem that dies down in the winter. For example, herbaceous perennials are plants such as border or hardy geraniums; the top growth above ground dies back overwinter to sprout up again the following spring. In this blog we’re interested in the former definition where an herb is a plant specifically noted for a use other than the purely ornamental or indeed edible.

Many plants can be functional in other ways, for making furniture or baskets, but these are not usually considered as ‘useful herbs’ in the same sense, although some are useful to us in more than one way. For example, willow (Salix) is used for baskets, fencing, cricket bats, reducing pain and curing headaches. Willow bark was mentioned (ie written on clay tablets) as being used for pain relief, especially for rheumatism, over 5000 years ago by the Sumerians. The Sumerians lived in the ‘land between the two rivers’ the fertile river plain of Mesopotamia.

nettle-urtica-dioica

nettle

So the benefits of herbs have been documented for thousands of years. They were in use long before then as archaeological evidence shows at Neolithic sites. In Iraq, the Shanidar cave discovery of Neanderthal bodies included plant remains which were very likely used for medical purposes as the species found are known for their healing properties. By the by, the discovery of this cave and its 60,000 year old inhabitants inspired Jean Auel to write the novel ‘Cave of the Clan Bear’.

Early humans were hunter-gatherers and their diet was largely plant based. By a process of elimination they would have discovered not only which plants were edible and which were poisonous, but also which plants healed. This could be something as simple as rubbing dock leaves (rumex obtusifolius) on nettle stings (urtica dioica) to take away the heat and itching. It’s a simple remedy that we have probably all tried at some time, especially as children playing among undergrowth, in fields and on waste land.

Nettles are an incredibly useful plant and are most definitely herbs as we are defining the term. They have been used in cloth manufacture from the Bronze Age until the early twentieth century; and are rich in vitamins and iron. Nettle has anti- inflammatory properties and was used to treat arthritis.

replica-bronze-age-loom-from-crannog-centre-scotland

replica-bronze-age-loom-from-crannog-centre-scotland

Herbal remedies for ailments have been well documented. The Egyptians, Greeks Romans, Indian and Chinese provide us with many uses for herbs, culinary and medicinal, and there was a great swell of Herbals in Europe with the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. These herbals were largely based on research rather than just repeating earlier works; for example there may be detailed descriptions of different types of soil and which might be suitable for a particular plant.

Herbals document both the plants themselves and the ailments which they can help treat; the herbal remedy is generally referred to as a ‘simple’. This means that it is a remedy to be prepared at home, by a non-professional, and doesn’t require complicated equipment. Some of the remedies can be complicated or time consuming to prepare, but the term still applies. ‘Housewives simples’ is another term used, often disparagingly by the (male) professionals, but it is also a descriptive one, as it was the woman of the household who would have been in charge of her family’s health.

Many of these simple remedies are still in use today and some have led to the development of modern drugs. Aspirin was developed from Willow bark and the flower heads of Meadowsweet, both of which contain salicylic acid.

Interestingly, Meadowsweet (filipendula ulmaria) is named not for the meadows it inhabits but for its use as flavouring in mead and beer. It’s been in use in this way for 5000 years or so, as pollen was found in the remains of a mead like drink in Bronze Age burial sites in Fife.
Plews can offer garden designs to include a separate herb garden or mixed borders with a range of plants. Or have a look at our recipe for herby lavender biscuits: yum.

english-lavender

english-lavender

The Garden in Winter: digging

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roughly dug soil

roughly dug soil

“To dig one’s own spade into one’s own earth! Has life anything better to offer than this?” (Beverley Nichols)

January is the digging month, or so the saying goes. But why has it got that reputation? Why do we try and dig the soil in a cold, wet, snowy month?

Perhaps the digging, working in and on the garden, is a celebration in itself, an acknowledgment that the days are getting longer now the Winter Solstice has passed (in the northern hemisphere anyway). Any small ray of sunshine, especially when it’s frosty, is a greater pleasure than in the summer, when we expect warmth.

The sun, casting low shadows through bare branches, shows us a different aspect of the garden, so long as we take the time to stop and look. Gardeners have time to stop and look when it’s January. Come March, unfinished digging takes on a manic bent as indoor seedlings grow apace, threatening to be ready for transplanting before the soil has become a fine tilth. But in January, there’s time a plenty to watch the Robin hopping ever nearer, wondering if a worm has been brought to the surface by the spade. There’s time to do the digging that you didn’t have time for in the late autumn.

tools lined up in potting shed

garden tools lined up in potting shed

Ideally the flower borders and vegetable beds were covered with organic mulch in the autumn so there was no bare soil. But if your soil isn’t perfect yet, then leaving that heavy clay exposed to the winter elements may be useful. In January the clods of clay soil can be roughly turned, knowing there will be a frost in a day or two, helping to break down the lumps into more manageable, friable soil. Add plenty of organic matter (OM), and if the soil is very heavy clay, add some grit as well, to help open it out and improve drainage. Too much wet is not so good for clay, as it soaks up the water like a sponge. Certainly if you have clay soil so wet it sticks to your spade like glue and looks like the stuff you used in pottery class then digging is forbidden until its drier.

Of course you may garden on a sandy soil. The winter rains will wash through your soil without any problem but they’re washing away precious nutrients at the same time. Adding lots of homemade compost will help with water retention. Sandier soils are often dug in the spring, but sometimes you run out of time with seeds to sow as well, so winter digging to incorporate organic matter is a worthwhile activity. Adding homemade or bought compost (both of these are OM) to the soil adds nutrients and increases worm & micro-organism activity. As well as facilitating water retention compost helps to lock the nutrients in to the soil so the plants can more easily access them. The options are to dig the OM into the soil at root level or to lightly fork it into the top layer of soil and let the worms and micro-organisms do the work for you.

Too much water and most plants will drown and die (unless they’re specially adapted like water lilies, for example). Plant death has been one result of the havoc caused by the many floods in 2012. Major flooding aside, you may, like some of our clients, garden in a high water table area, where the normal winter rains bring a period of standing water to your garden. This is where the ground has become so sodden that the water is unable to drain away.

water logged soil

water logged soil

A frequent problem in gardens with heavy clay soil, it can be resolved. A heavy clay soil will stick to your wellies when it’s wet and in a dry spring and summer it cracks. Add lots of OM and grit as an absolute minimum. We also suggest raised beds as being useful in these situations, as can terracing the garden if you’re on a slope. Extreme measures may mean incorporating land drains. Another solution is to grow plants which cope with and thrive in these conditions, although, truth be told, we find most clients prefer us to improve the growing conditions so they can enjoy a range of plants.

On a more prosaic note, may be digging in the garden has more to do with needing exercise to keep warm, if you have to be outside anyway; pruning is a more stationary task. Or perhaps in these modern times perhaps the digging is to use up calories we gained over the recent festivities. How many calories you burn depends, among other things, on your weight and whether the digging is ‘heavy’ or light’. As an example, at Plews, in an hour’s heavy digging, lightweight Marie would burn about 400 calories, whereas as larger, weight-training Nathan would use over 800. Both the workers would require chocolate biscuits from our nice clients though…

Resolving your gardening issues: Plews Garden Design: inspirational ideas; flexible solutions

For more on Winter Gardens and Gardening, why not take a look at our eBook? There’s a special January offer about this in our E-newsletter, you can sign up on the website or send us an email.

tools deckchair WP

 

 

Summer Garden visits: Antony House Garden

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AntonyHouseWP4White rabbits, topiary, flowers and wonderful scenic views make this garden a magical experience.

AntonyHouseWP3

Antony House in Cornwall is almost hidden away, a National Trust garden tucked into a peninsula corner of Cornwall, near the Torpoint ferry across the river Tamar into Devon.

The gardens were used as a set for the Tim Burton ‘Alice in Wonderland’ film – but we didn’t see any white rabbits or red queens on our visit.

AntonyHouseWP5

AntonyHouseWP8

However, we did see some beautiful daylilies (Hemerocallis) as Antony House holds a National Collection. Although each bloom only lasts a day, each stem has many flowers so it is a delightful plant to have in the border. Daylilies are fairly tolerant of most soil types although prefer slightly acidic (a pH of less than 7) and can be grown on Britain, New Zealand and most of United States.

AntonyHouseWP7

Hemerocallis do like their fair share of sun; about half a day’s worth but as hardy perennials will repay you with a long flowering season year on year with little effort on your part. In New Zealand they may flower for six months from October to April; in Britain you can expect more like three months of flowers from May through to late July.

AntonyHouseWP6

The grounds were landscaped by Humphrey Repton (1752-1818) round about 1800. Repton liked a soft transition of house to garden and designed lush woodland planting at Antony House and a parterrre. The gardens appear in one of his Red Books of garden designs.

AntonyHouseWP2
Whilst we’re not quite a Repton or a white rabbit, Plews can design and build you a magical garden, and help resolve your problem with rabbits and other unwelcome visitors.

AntonyHouseWP1

Winter Gardens, Glasshouses to walk through

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IndoorWinterGardens1WPThe Oxford dictionary defines a winter garden as a noun, which is either a garden of plants, such as evergreens, that flourish [outside] in winter, or a conservatory [or glasshouse] in which flowers and other plants are grown in winter.

Winter Gardens  as large glass houses filled with tropical plants  offer a sheltered place to enjoy a garden away from the frost outside.These indoor winter gardens were largely instigated in the nineteenth century, by those plant collectors par excellence who flourished, particularly, but not exclusively, in Britain. They were helped along by the great strides that were taking place in the manufacturing of both glass and cast iron as part of the Industrial revolution; and by the dropping (or should that be smashing?) of the window tax.IndoorWinterGardens4WP

Lush planting of palms and cacti; higher light levels and warmer temperatures make such glass houses a welcoming location on cold winter days. There would seem to be more of these Winter Gardens in the northern areas of Britain which would make sense. Greenhouses are used to extend the growing season of borderline hardy plants and to enable the cultivation of tropical species that would not survive the cold wet winters that Britain enjoys.

Sunderland Winter Garden Water Sculpture

Sunderland Winter Garden Water Sculpture

The winter gardens in Sunderland have a botanical collection of over 2000 plants from around the world. Their extensive collection includes many important food plants, for example, tea, coffee, citrus and date palms. These latter two are traditional Christmas fare – who doesn’t have an orange in their stocking and who can remember being told off for spitting date stones into the fire on Boxing Day?

The Peoples Palace in Glasgow is another nineteenth century Winter Garden, set in the fifteenth century Glasgow Green, the oldest public space in Glasgow. Duthie Park in Aberdeen was originally opened in the 1880s, and the Winter Garden glasshouses, destroyed by storms in 1969, and subsequently rebuilt, now house the second largest collection of cacti and bromeliads (air plants) in Britain; second only to the Eden Project. Duthie Park Arid House also has a talking cactus…

Sheffield Winter Garden

Sheffield Winter Garden

There are more modern versions too, built in the last hundred years. One of the most spectacular must be that in Sheffield, big enough to host some 5,500 domestic greenhouses inside its wood and glass. It doesn’t have greenhouses inside a greenhouse, of course, what a waste of space that would be when there are 2500 plants all in need of a home!

Does your winter garden look like a wonderland? Check out this video on our YouTube Channel

Holly: a useful Christmas evergreen in your garden

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WP espresso coffee cup

WP espresso coffee cup

This year’s weather has had a detrimental effect on the coffee bean crop: bad news for coffee lovers. Strictly speaking, coffee is from the beans of the Coffea shrub, a tropical evergreen. But there may be an alternative evergreen growing in your garden. Did you know that certain Holly leaves can be brewed to make a caffeine rich drink?

The leaves of several species of Holly (Ilex) contain caffeine and are used to make a stimulating drink. Holly is a species of both evergreen and deciduous broad leaved trees, shrubs and climbers ranging across both tropical and temperate zones. Whilst many readers will be thinking of either the European Holly (Ilex aquifolium Europea) or the American Holly (Ilex aquifolium opaca) it is the tropical and sub tropical species that are the richest (if that is the phrase) in caffeine.

WP holly variegated

WP holly variegated

The best known caffeine drink from Holly is yerba maté, made from the leaves of Ilex aquifolium paraguayensis. This South American sub tropical species grows naturally in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. Although the Spanish ‘yerba’ suggests it is an herbaceous plant, it is an evergreen tree. The leaves are not the prickly edged ones most Europeans and North Americans think of when visualising holly, but are glossy green with softly serrated edges. The berries or fruits are dark purple/red; an attractive contrast to the leaves.

As well as containing caffeine (rich in anti antioxidants), Holly leaves have anti-inflammatory properties and a high levels of vitamins. The beneficial properties of yerba mate don’t stop there. If normal coffee keeps you awake, may find these particular caffeine rich Holly leaves more to your taste. Although there are high levels of caffeine, enough to give you that ‘buzz’, the brew doesn’t seem to cause the ‘jitters’ that some people find an unwelcome side effect of coffee drinking.

The Maté tree has also been cultivated in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, where the refreshing brew is a popular drink. Yerba mate has quite a grassy taste, so not what you’d expect from coffee, more as you would expect from green tea; but with that caffeine ‘kick’ of course.

And as for the decorative and wildlife friendly uses that Holly can be put to in your garden, well, that’s another blog…or why not have a read of our eBook?

For more tales of Christmas evergreens, planting ideas for your winter garden, and a gallery of photographs and original sketches, why not add our eBook “In Your Winter Garden with Plews Garden Design” to your Christmas present purchases? Available from Amazon and Smashwords in formats to suit PC, iPad and Kindle.

If you would like some garden design advice, so your winter garden looks like a wonderland, get in touch: info@plewsgardendesign.co.uk

WP Holly 'ferox'

WP Holly ‘ferox’

Water in the Garden

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Water has been something of a headliner in Britain this year. Too much water covering the soil and most plants will drown but what about the soil itself?

If, like some of our clients, your garden is in a high water table area, you may find the winter rains bring a period of standing water to your garden. Or your concern may be for the flooding that you’ve suffered this year and the effect it will have on your garden and the plants not just in the short term, but next year.

Standing water is a term more scientifically used to describe a permanent feature, for example, a brackish water pool in a peat bog (dystrophic standing water, if you’re interested in the scientific definition). The standing water can be a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) if providing a habitat for interesting or rare fauna (animals, including invertebrates) and flora (plants). For example, standing water which is classified as eutrophic water is very rich in minerals, plant and animal life. Many of these are large lakes and are worryingly under threat from pollution, especially from the over use of agricultural fertilisers which then seep into the water.

The term standing water also covers the small pond in your garden and the reservoir that was at very low levels this spring and is now full. You may not be bothered about your pond lapping at the lawn edges but you may well be concerned with the longer term effect that those other puddles of standing water in your garden will have on your plants, from the lawn to the apple trees.

If you have well-drained soil, the water will find its way through even though it takes awhile. And because your soil is fundamentally free-draining there should not be too much damage to your plants and lawn in the longer term. So those of you on a light, sandy don’t need to worry about the plants drowning. However, you do need to worry about the nutrients being washed away with all the excess water. Plan to add plenty of organic matter (OM) once the threat of standing flood water has gone. This will improve the overall water retentive equalities of your soil as well as replacing those essential Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) minerals needed by all plants.

Those of you with heavy clay soils, the sort that sticks to your wellies and might be better used to make pots than grow carrots, have a problem. NormallyI wouldn’t suggest going near your wet clay soil with a spade, but this is one of those times when you should. If you have any choice plants that you really don’t want to lose – and assuming we’re not talking about a 30 foot tall tree or a well established shrub – then digging it up for the short term is a solution. Put it in a pot with some good, peat free potting compost so it can, quite literally, breathe again.

Next look to your soil and the worms living in it. Why worms?

Extract from eBook –worms…
“Worms are brilliant. But why are worms so important? Briefly, their burrowing in the soil to move around creates channels for air to circulate and water to drain through. Some of the tunnels can be a few feet deep, this especially important for those who garden on heavy, clay type soils as such deep and constant activity really improves the soil quality. Plants need air at their roots in order to breathe and they need water; soil air and soil water fit in the spaces between the soil particles. Worms help to create those spaces and maintain them.”

And worms can drown in standing water. You may not be able to rescue them individually, but by planning to add plenty of OM to your soil once the floods subside you’ll give them a better chance of survival next time. And those worms who survived the overdose of water will thank you for the yummy worm food which OM is by helping to spread it through your soil; which is of course good for your plants too.

If you have a wormery, and you know that a lot of rain is forecast, it is a good idea to provide a cover as even worms in a wormery may drown (I have seen this, not a pretty sight). A slightly raised waterproof cover is best, as a tightly fitting plastic tarpaulin could suffocate the worms if you forget to remove it.

There are many reasons why you might have a problem with standing water in your garden; from an underwater stream to next door’s extension and huge patio. We can help with resolving the issue, beginning with a consultancy or advisory visit and possibly progressing on with a redesign to include raised beds and rain gardens.

Marie

Our eBook “In Your Winter Garden with Plews Garden Design” would make a great present – downloads are available for kindle, iPad, & PC on Smashwords and Amazon

For garden advice visits or design and planting ideas drop us an email with your needs: info@plewsgardendesign.co.uk