Sandilands Gardens

Landscaped gardens for living

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Compost Korner

The muddy meanderings of a Birmingham based landscaper and plantsman. For rants, tips, advice and bags of enthusiasm check out my blog - I'm always writing something seasonal or topical :-)

A new year in the garden..Where to start?

Posted on: January 15th, 2012 by Jon No Comments

Faced with a gar­den in Jan­u­ary and how to approach it, its not sur­pris­ing so many of us sim­ply close the back door and promise our­selves we attempt some­thing in March! But we miss a trick if we don’t use this pre­cious time before the grow­ing sea­son kicks off. More time spent now on gar­den house­keep­ing, the less time will be wasted on it later on, when you can do the fun stuff!
First up…cut down and remove every plant you don’t like and be rid of it. There are always some that seem to sur­vive year to year and yet have no func­tion or plea­sure to them. This makes space for your new plants which will keep the gar­den evolv­ing. read more tomorrow..Jon

Happy New Year!

Posted on: January 1st, 2012 by Jon No Comments

Best wishes to all our blog fol­low­ers and clients for a bloom­ing mar­velous 2012!

Jonathan, Tina and team..

Making the best of time off at Christmas!

Posted on: December 27th, 2011 by Jon 1 Comment

I am sit­ting con­tem­plat­ing a few hours in my own gar­den today. Decem­ber 27th and a week before the Team is back to work, the Sun is out and a few Christ­mas pounds to shift! My project today is to clean the green­house out. I don’t try and keep it warm through heat­ing, but with the door closed, Peren­ni­als, pan­sies, cycla­men and vio­las can develop so much quicker in the rel­a­tive pro­tec­tion of a cool glass house.
The Chillis have finally given up the ghosts so it’s time for a thor­ough clear out. I might also sow some sweet peas, to steal an early march on the grow­ing sea­son.
I have to say, I always get excited when we get passed the longest day…

Frost tonight?

Posted on: December 1st, 2011 by Jon 1 Comment

Not sure it will be well below freez­ing tonight, but it does bring to mind all those ten­der plants that need pro­tec­tion.  After last year dec­i­ma­tion of Cordy­lines and even the usu­ally hardy Phormium Tenax and Cookianum it does make you a lit­tle jumpy when Shi­fali tells us it may freeze.

Tomor­row I will go out and buy a roll of Hor­ti­cul­tural fleece to wrap my Ery­si­ums up, and the Tree Fern, at home here in Abbots Road, amaz­ingly didn’t suf­fer at all last year, even if it took longer than usu­all to show its pretty fronds in late April. Most things I plant now are tough enough to work through a win­ter and come out the other side, pro­fes­sion­ally it is now a mis­take, in my hum­ble opin­ion, to plant up with any­thing but a small pro­por­tion of ten­der shrubs.

Stay warm Jon

Too late to plant bulbs??

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 by Jon 1 Comment

Some­one asked me today about how late you can plant bulbs in the ground, and still get flow­ers in the spring.  A lit­tle depends on the con­di­tion of the bulb itself, is it firm and with­out mould? I have suc­cess­fully planted Tulips up to Mid Decem­ber, and Daf­fodil and Nar­cisi bulbs even as late as Jan­u­ary, but the best tip I can get is to get them in the ground as early as pos­si­ble, with some bone meal, and a rea­son­able well dug hole. This will enable the bulb to start its growth sub-teranneanly into good soil, full of nutri­ents, which will mean it is more likely to flower in future years. In the first year the Nurs­eries have given the bulb all it needs to flower well year one, it is the fol­low­ing years that a poorly planted bulb will strug­gle. J

Winter/Spring Hanging Baskets

Posted on: November 27th, 2011 by Jon 3 Comments

Thought I would share some trade secrets on Win­ter hang­ing bas­kets with you today. Most peo­ple make up or buy Sum­mer Hang­ing Bas­kets in May and take them down in Octo­ber when they are spent. But this is only 6 month of the year. When you need extra colour is in the darker, older months when you need cheer­ing up!  Some peo­ple buy the bas­kets filed with Pan­sies with one or two flow­ers cling­ing on and have to wait until the end of March when they really start grow­ing and ful­full their poten­tial.  Those in the know plant a strong mix­ture of mini shrubs with win­ter flow­ers, berries or fol­liage that zings (usu­ally smaller spec­i­mens of the well known win­ter inter­est shrubs) mixed in with Ivy, forget-me-nots, mini conifers, helle­bores and early mini bulbs that come through in Jan-March. try Shrubs such as Vibur­num Tinus, Skim­mia Rubella, Heathers and  herba­ceous such as Helle­borus Niger,  Euphor­bia Mar­tinii and fol­liage shrubs such as Euony­mous For­tunei Emer­ald Gai­ety. Now you addd the Pan­sies and Vio­las to give extra colour…then stand back. The inter­est looks good imme­di­ately and yet in mid spring the bas­ket will come to life andd you will end up want­ing to keep it up until the end of May. Indeed this year I was in a quandry as to whether I should take them down at all! All those shrubs can then be plant­ing in con­tain­ers or directly into the bor­ders to grow on..

Chuckingham Palace

Posted on: November 26th, 2011 by Jon 2 Comments

I have to say, Lyn Field’s chick­ens are thor­oughly spoilt! After build­ing the chicken enclo­sure she has brought in 9 ladies…soon to be joined by another 3 (Speck­ledies) and they live quite the life of lux­ury in Rus­sell Road, Mose­ley. I will take some pic­tures this week so have a look at the pho­tographs on Rus­sell road past project to have a look.  But what plea­sure they bring to her life!  Every­one should have some!

Here’s look­ing a you kid!

Mulching the borders! Now is the time!

Posted on: November 23rd, 2011 by Jon 8 Comments

I have been hard at work today on my old client Gary’s garden..reminds me now is the time to get the manure on the beds…so impor­tant! Will go into more detail later..Jon

No time to rest on your laurels!!

Posted on: November 22nd, 2011 by Jon 1 Comment

As quickly as it arrived, the sum­mer and all the colour it pro­vides has vir­tu­ally dis­ap­peared leav­ing our bor­ders bereft of vir­tu­ally any colour except for fallen leaves, fungi and blue tits for­ag­ing for seeds and other autumn treats. Faced with the dreaded ques­tion, what can you rec­om­mend for my gar­den that will cheer me up with win­ter fast approach­ing? And des­pearatly try­ing to avoid the stock answer of ever­green shrubs, grasses and Pa…no I can’t say it. Ok Pan­sies. (more…)