13 Nov

Garden Dispatch # 3

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of useful and interesting resources for gardeners and landscape designers.

The 101 of Growing Hedges for Big & Small Gardens

No matter what the size of your gardens is, hedges make a good choice when it comes to mark borders of your heaven. Hedges have many benefits when compared to stock fence panels. Hedges are beautiful and environmental-friendly. They attract birds by providing them safe perching places. They also act as wind barriers and crime-deterrents. Check out this comprehensive guide on growing and maintaining evergreen hedges.

Featured Plants: Yucca rostrata, Washingtonia filifera,  Pellaea mucronata

Yucca rostrata is a drought-tolerant and low-maintenance plant suitable for xeriscaping projects. The plant is characterized by spiky blue-grey leaves that form a nice symmetrical rosette.

Washingtonia filifera is an evergreen palm tree and is known for its beautiful large fronds. This drought-tolerant plant makes a nice specimen tree in gardens and landscapes.

Pellaea mucronata makes a good low-growing plant that can be used in garden landscapes as filler as well as attractive foliage plant. Pellaea is equally good for hanging baskets because of its delicate stems that are usually covered with small and fresh-green leaves.

Pellaea Mucronata

Pellaea mucronata

Article: Mulch or No Mulch

To mulch or not to mulch – Read this interesting article on pros and cons of mulching.

How to…

How to make clay containers

Brittni Mehlhoff gives step-by-step guide to making your own clay pots and containers to hold small plants.

DIY Clay Planter

DIY Clay Planter

How to make moss checkerboard

Follow these simple tips on making a nice moss checkerboard by Janell Hobart.

How to grow moisture loving plants in a dry climate

If you are living in a region where summer is long, hot and dry, growing moisture loving plants like ferns or air plants can be a bit tricky. However, there are several quick and easy ways to maintain appropriate level of humidity for your plants and keep them healthy and happy in hot and dry summer. Discover some simple and practical tips for growing moisture-loving plants in a dry climate.

Featured Garden: Garden of Designer Chris Moss

Designer Chris Moss has used his own garden in Stockwell, south London, as a mood board. A dark and bright combination works so well here that he shows clients round to persuade them of the logic of black. Have a look at Chris’s garden.

chris moss garden

Beautiful combination of black and green

06 Nov

Design Ideas for Beautiful Garden Gates

04 Nov

Ornamental Grass for Gardens and Landscapes: Festuca glauca

The plant featured today is Festuca glauca – a low maintenance and lovely ornamental grass. It is a semi-evergreen grass that forms tight mounds of silver-blue foliage. The needle-like foliage of Festuca glauca changes it colors from blue-green to silver-blue and from steel-blue to brown throughout the year. Because of its unusual texture and color of its foliage, and attractive tufted shape of the plant, Festuca glauca has become a popular grass for gardens and landscapes. It is often mass planted in rock gardens or mixed with succulents to form beautiful landscape designs.

Festuca glauca can also be grown in containers, garden borders or simply as a pot plant. The ornamental value of Festuca glauca is doubled by delicate inflorescence.

Festuca glauca requires a well-drained soil under partial sun. It has tremendous ability to survive long spells of drought. In colder climates, the foliage is usually cut back in harsh winter in order to get fresh foliage in spring.

Festuca glauca can grow up to 10 inches and is easily propagated from clumps divided from the mother plant. When grown in pots, it should be repotted every 3 to 4 years or transferred to ground permanently.

Popular varieties of Festuca glauca include: Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, Festuca glauca ‘Blue Glow’, and Festuca glauca ‘Blaufuchs’.

30 Oct

Fall-Blooming Bulbs: Colchicums

While the fall season has come and most trees are turning their royal green attire in to a cover of orange, red and yellow. It is time to enjoy beautiful show of fall-blooming Colchicums.

Colchicum flowers

Colchicum / Meadow saffron / Image by ukgardenphotos (flickr)

Colchicum is a genus of fall blooming bulbs known for their lovely white, pink, and purple flowers. Colchicum are loved by gardeners because of their refreshing and lovely flowers that appear in the months when very few plants bloom.

Usually known as Autumn crocus or Meadow saffron, Colchicum is a low growing plant that sprouts from small bulbs and produces small stems (10 to 15 cm high) terminated by a star-shaped flower. Since it does not produce any foliage, Colchicum is also described as naked lily.

Autumn crocus

Fall flowering Colchicum / Autumn crocus/ Image by Manuel Martin Vicente

Colchicums make excellent plants for cold climates where they can be grown in a rich and slightly moist soil. Most species benefit from partial sunlight and occasional feeding. The bulbs can be planted in late summer.

Bulbs of Colchicums divided rapidly and can be separated and stored for planting next year.

28 Oct

5 DIY Ideas to Upcycle Your Old Fence Panels

No matter how hard you work to preserve your fence, there will come a time when certain fence panels become broken or too worn out to continue their purpose. It can be very annoying having to replace your fence and then having the broken ones lying around, so why not consider upcycling your fence panels. This allows you to get more use out of your fence panels and you may find they are very useful for something you never even knew you needed. You should look on an old fence panel as a few pieces of wood and from there think of all the wooden items you have/need. This is much easier that simply thinking of reusing fences. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling in your mind, but you may be able to think of many more that are more specific to your needs so start thinking of innovative new ways to prolong the life of your fence panels.

Construct useful wooden boxes from old fence panels

Although these wood panels may no longer be suitable as a barrier around your garden, they may still be viable in your outdoors area. You can use the panels to construct wooden boxes of various sizes and for various uses. For this kind of endeavour you are likely to want to have a handsaw, nails or screws, and a hammer or a screwdriver (preferably electric). It will also be useful to have rulers, pencils and tape measures to ensure that you can get a neat looking box that all fits together well. Making an open topped box is relatively simple and you can use it to hold flowers and plants.

Make outdoor furniture from used fence panels

Furniture for inside such as tables, chairs and outdoor furniture can all be constructed from the remnants of an old fence with a certain degree of skill and a lot of hard work and dedication. This is likely to be a big project to undertake but it will be worth it if you are able to pull it off. You will need to make precise measurements in order to ensure that any furniture you build is safe and you might want to look into paints, varnishes and extra coats to add to the wood to make it more comfortable to sit on or at. There are a lot of different designs of chairs and tables out there so be sure to properly evaluate how much wood you have and what you yourself will be able to make; if this is your first time doing any woodwork, it will probably be best to stick to a simple design as opposed to any carving or intricate shaping work.

Design picture frames from fence panels

If your old fence panels are still in relatively good condition appearance wise, they could be used to make cheap and attractive picture frames. Like most of the projects mentioned above, this is all about sizing but it is still a relatively simple task to undertake. You are likely to need measuring tools, a handsaw, sandpaper, a hammer and maybe a paintbrush and some paint.

Create garden decor from fence panels

Wooden welcome signs can add a very cosy and homely feel to a building, so why not try utilising your old fence panels in this way? These can be constructed in a similar way to picture frames and using similar tools, but allow for more creativity through the decoration of the sign once you have created your wooden base.

Recycle old fence panels

If you are less adventurous with your upcycles, you can always just store your fence panels somewhere dry so that you can use them to fix up other panels. It is likely that some of the wood will be salvageable so in the future, you could use this to mend parts of other fence panels if they too begin to wear away or break. In fact, if you want a more kitsch and unique look for your garden, you could use the wood from old fence panels on new fence panels that are a different colour or different kind of wood to create a kind of patchwork design. Some people have even been able to use these old panels to make a gate on the fence, so there are a lot of ways to upcycle old fence panels into your existing fence.

Fencestore is a great website to know when you need to buy new fences to replace all the old fence panels that you have upcycled.

Upcycling your old fence panels can turn out to be great for your wallet, great for the environment and great for whatever you end up using them for, so be sure to consider trying out some woodwork and making the most of those old, unused fences.