Although the weather this week hasn’t been the best, there are signs that Spring is on its way, and one of the first signs of Spring is often the appearance of Snowdrops!
Snowdrops are on the Snowdrops CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) list of plants. You should always buy Snowdrops from a reliable stockist.
Recently we purchased some “Snowdrops in the green” to plant alongside some established bulbs for a client where we felt that they needed some extra, more mature plants.
“Snowdrops in the green” are snowdrops that have been lifted from the ground while they are still in leaf, but the flower is about to go over. This is done because they establish more readily than stored snowdrop bulbs.
If you’re thinking of planting these kinds of Snowdrops then it’s important to handle the plants carefully when transplanting and to plant them as soon as you get them, in order to to stop any deterioration, You should definitely do this within 72 hrs of delivery.
Sometimes, Snowdrops can be quite tricky to get established. They don’t always come up in the first year and they are an expensive bulb to buy.
We planted 2000 bulbs back in November in this area, but in order to ensure that our clients had ample snowdrops to look at this year, we also decided to plant to Snowdrops “in the green” as an extra, at our own expense, as we were not happy with the rate that the snowdrops were growing at from the current bulbs for this year’s crop. There are various reasons for bulbs not growing. It could be down to “bulb stress” or perhaps they have decided to stay dormant until next year due to later planting. So after consultation with our client, we decided to add more.
Here is Tony, demonstrating planting a clump of Snowdrops in the green.
Here are some guidelines for planting bulbs in the green:
- Choose a semi-shade where the bulbs will not dry out.
- Ensure that the soil is rich with well-rotted organic matter.
- Plant about 75 bulbs per square metre, try and plant in drifts if possible.
- Ensure that the bulbs are planted at the depth they were previously grown. The stalks will be white where they were in the ground. This is normally about 8-10cm.
- Wait until the foliage has completely died back before mowing if they have been planted in grass areas.
- Established snowdrops can be lifted and divided after flowering.
Take a look at a time lapse of our hard work planting Snowdrops!
If you are looking for help or guidance with planting bulbs for different times of the year on your property then please do get in touch as we’re always happy to help and advise, and we look forward to seeing those snowdrops appearing in the next few weeks too!
Any seasoned gardener knows that mulching can be beneficial for your garden, but if you’re wondering what mulching is, and how it can help your garden then keep reading!
Mulch is the commonly used term for any kind of material which is laid or spread as a covering, over the surface of soil or compost.
Mulching is the gardener’s friend and has many benefits including improving soil texture, reducing weeds, helping soils to retain moisture in the summer and acting as a barrier to other crops.
Mulching in the spring is beneficial as it feeds and warms the soil.
However, believe it or not, mulching in the winter is just as vital for your garden and is something which can have a huge effect on your plants.
Wondering why? Well, when the temperature drops and the freezing conditions hit, it’s just as important to mulch now, as it is in the spring.
Mulches used can either be Biodegradable or Non-Biodegradable. Biodegradable mulches include wood chippings, straw, rotted manure, and garden compost.
Non-Biodegradable Mulches include pebbles, shingle. Gravel, stone chippings, slate, sea shells, crushed CD’s and glass. All of these are more decorative and can make a nice feature of your garden.
The reasoning behind winter mulching is to keep the ground frozen by shielding it from the warmth of the sun. This will keep the plants dormant and the beds watertight. When the ground freezes and thaws, the soil expands and contracts. This will loosen roots and break away from the plant where they are anchored underground, pushing the crown up to the surface.
Freezing temperatures and drying wind can damage the exposed plants, so mulching during the winter helps to protect them. Most plants are dormant in the winter so not growing.
here is also a thing as too much mulch, like in this photo! Too much mulch applied over the root ball or resting against the trunk can cause problems for trees, especially when there is a large range in particle sizes.
Roots often grow up and into the mulch causing stem girdling roots which can kill trees. This is especially troublesome on trees planted within the last 10 to 20 years. In addition to causing problems described below, mulch can also hide decay and dead spots on the lower trunk and major roots. Decay in this portion of the tree can cause the tree to become unstable. Keep mulch about 12 to 18 inches from the trunk for any size of tree.
Give mulching a go and you’re guaranteed to see improved grass, plants and greenery come summer.
We’re always happy to advise on whether your plants need mulching, and if you need help with mulching in your garden then please do get in touch as we’re happy to carry this out for you. Why not give us a call to get booked in on 01438 728176.
Tony and Karen have been interested in getting into beekeeping for quite a while, and whilst on holiday last year, they visited Quince Bee farm in Devon which fuelled their passion for the hobby.
Coincidentally, one of our clients who owns one of the Gardens we maintain in Bramfield in Hertford was interested in having an Apiary built in their Garden and so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to help out our client and indulge in our new hobby too!
It’s always best to get expert advice when it comes to beekeeping and so we contacted the local bee association, who came along to our client’s site to give advice on where the best place for an Apiary would be.
Ideal Hive Locations include easy access to tend your hive, a nearby water source for bees to access, patches of sunlight available, minimal wind, and good drainage so that Bees don’t get wet. Hives should ideally be South East facing and have good ventilation around them.
The local beekeeping association were extremely helpful, and so we would always recommend contacting your local association if you are considering taking up beekeeping. We have now joined our local association.
Having chosen the site, we mapped out the area which was ideal for an apiary and laid a hard standing area with paving for up to five hives, with a work area next to each hive. We’ve also laid a base for a shed to hold all of the equipment needed.
It’s always important to consider the flowers which are planted around an Apiary, as you need flowers which will be a good source of nectar and pollen. Hawthorn Whip flowers often act as a “magnet” to bees who can easily access their pollen, and so we planted two hundred Hawthorn Whips around the area to create a bee friendly hedge, and then we also added a gate around the hives for protection.
Also, in this garden we have prepared a very large area to sow wildflower creating a huge sway of plants for the bees. We can’t wait for it to grow, as it will look so beautiful once it’s all in bloom!
Although these different areas have been created, bees don’t start actively building their colonies until the Spring and so currently the area is in cultivation in readiness for the first hive in April/May.
Tony and Karen are starting a beekeeping course in March, along with their clients and one of his sons, so that they are all equipped once the Apiary’s are started.
We look forward to sharing on our blog and social media channels how we’re getting on and how the Apiary’s are going, so keep an eye out for our updates.
If you’re interested in finding out more about building an Apiary on your property then we’re always happy to assist!