Easy to Implement Garden Tricks and Tips!
Owning a garden is as good for your mind as it is for your body, allowing you to grow plants that will help you live a healthy life. Some people are afraid of getting into gardens, treating them like they need online courses in the craft, when really anybody can get their green thumbs cranking. We decided to pull together the easiest garden tricks and tips just for you to check out.
Recycle eggs to give your garden a calcium boost.
Depending on where you are your soil could be deficient in any number of properties. You can get soil test kits at a local garden store to get a rough read out of your nutrient profile. If you find yourself lacking in calcium we have just the tip for you!
Also, if you have a nice and sturdy blender you can mix in your used egg shells and have them blended down to a fine powdery dust. Now sprinkle this dust atop your soil and you will be giving your garden an instant influx in calcium! However, if you can’t find a soil test kit there are also other signs of calcium deficiency that you can research to keep an eye on. We’ve always felt bad throwing out eggshell after eggshell and this technique gives us a chance to get rid of that poor feeling while not even needing an inventor kit to figure out how.
Recycle an old wooden pallet for a vertical garden.
For those of you who work in retail or a warehouse then you no doubt are familiar with those large, ugly wooden pallets that shipping companies use to move their freight. These pallets typically have a short shelf life and end up recycled or thrown in the garbage rather quickly due to how poorly they are treated. All you need to do is prop the pallet up against the wall with the bottom facing out. Here you’ll see slots from which you can staple on durable cloth fabric. Fill that fabric with peat moss and your potting soil and you now have a hanging garden that is easy to water and surprisingly rustic in decor.
That’s right, you can make your own rainbook garden, how chic! Round up your old rainboots and make your very own unique mounted garden, such as the one pictured below. Be sure to drill 3 to 5 holes in the bottom of the boots for drainage, then spray paint the outside with your choice of color and let it dry. Hammer up the boots from inside, arrange on wall or fence as you please, fill the base with potting soil and pot the plants you want. That’s it!
Why dish out a ton of dough on a bird bath when you can make your own! All you need are three simple things: a plant stand, a water tray from a large planter, and a fern. Simple enough, seriously.
Here’s a thought – why not make a coffee pot terrarium as it’s simple and totally chic! Fill your container with an inch of sand, then scatter river rocks over the sand and place the moss over the rocks in the back and work from back to front. Yup, that’s it. You can also do this with an aquarium, big or small.
Green Onion Trick.
Did you know that you can grow green onions from fresh ones? Buy fresh and new green onions from the store, cut the bottoms off and lay them out to dry. Then you can plant them a few days later and they will sprout.
Wine Bottle Edging.
Once you empty some wine bottles, you can then use them for edging and borders. This will help to make your garden look more attractive and very unique. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Save your heavy fruiting plants with epsom salt.
When you grow plants that fruit heavily, like tomatoes or peppers, you tend to run into a host of nutrient problems. Tomatoes and peppers as well as other heavy flowering plants all tend to suck your soil dry of the available nutrients, leading to limited access to magnesium. Therefore, if you are committed to keeping your plants healthy then reach for a container of epsom salt and mix it into your soil. A tablespoon of epsom salt into the potting soil when you first plant your heavy flowering garden plants should do the trick. Once the plants are grown up and ready to start giving off fruit, add a sprinkle onto the topsoil and water it in.
Use orange peels as seedling starters.
Here’s a total lifesaver if you are tired of using peat moss or little soil pots, reach instead for an orange or lemon! First cut the citrus fruit of your choice in half and then hull out one of the halves (eating it, of course). Then add in a sprinkle of soil and the seedling of your choice. You can directly transplant the citrus seedling into the soil and the fruit will compost over time. This is a great, bio-degradable way to keep your garden going while improving it all the same. Try a variety of different fruits to see how they all respond. Bonus: your seedlings will look adorable.
Create a tiny greenhouse with a recycled soda bottle.
We don’t really condone drinking 2 litre bottles of soda at any point in time, but if you happen to have the containers handy then we have a neat little trick for you. Making a humidity dome is a great way to get your seedlings growing when they are still young. Clean out an empty 2 litre soda bottle and cut it in half. Place the bottom half of the soda bottle over your plants, effectively sealing your plant inside of it. To kick start the growth of humidity all you need to do is spray the insides of the bottle with a little bit of water. Now sit back and watch your Eco friendly greenhouse get to work!
Use your car to quickly dry out herbs.
Ugh, if you have ever grown herbs then you know what it is like to wait forever for them to dry so you can use them in your kitchen. Avoid expensive drying racks and other expensive inventions and instead utilize something you already have: your car! As long as you don’t mind your car smelling like whatever herb you are drying, this is an easy and free way to quickly dry out your herbs. Lay down a sheet of paper in your car, newspaper works best, and then lay out whatever herb you are drying out in a single layer. Roll the windows up, close the doors, and let the herbs dry out. Whenever you go back to your car you are likely to find some herbs dried to perfection.
Get rid of aphids with simple tape.
Aphids are pretty much the most common problem we run into in the summer months with our garden. These little bugs love to get up and under our plants in order to feed off of our hard work. However, this is crucial, if you leave aphids unattended long enough they can do some major damage. Rather than reaching for some toxic soap to spray them away, grab a roll of heavy duty tape. Wrap that tape around your hand with the sticky side out and then gently rub your hands over your plants. Soon you’ll see that your tape is picking up aphids by the handful — literally!
Use coffee filters in your garden containers.
When you keep plants indoors to grow you have to water them pretty consistently. Unfortunately every time you water your plant you will end up losing some of the soil out of the bottom of your container. You can avoid this little problem by first lining the inside of your garden pots with clean coffee filters. The coffee filters will allow you to drain your water without letting the soil escape alongside it.
Make biodegradable planters out of toilet paper rolls.
Don’t waste your hard-earned cash on getting tiny planters ever again and save a couple bucks by making your own biodegradable planters out of toilet paper rolls! It’s a lot of fun and environmentally friendly.
Start a seedling in a lemon rind.
Doesn’t just have to be a lemon, oranges or grapefruit work too! All you need to do is poke a hole in the bottom of the peel for drainage, fill up with potting soil, add two seeds and a bit of water. (FYI, you can also do this in an eggshell).
Gardening without a yard.
Make your very own vertical herb garden using a shoe rack. Quite nifty. This shoe rack garden is perfect for stopping cats from digging or if you don’t have a yard to plant in.
Watering plants for when you’re away.
Don’t you hate having to ask people to water your plants when you’re going away on a trip? Or maybe you’re just forgetful? Well there is a solution for keeping your plants from drying out. Just shove a tightly rolled paper towel into the soil of your plant and then drape the remaining end into a glass of water. That’s it.
No More Rusting.
Now if you store your gardening tools in builders sand, this will help to keep them from rusting. Be sure to fill a terra-cotta pot with builder’s sand (which is sold at any hardware store), then stir in some mineral oil nut just enough to dampen the sand. The mixture will clean the tools and prevent them from corrosion and rust. (If the pot has a hole on the bottom, just cover it up with some duct tape.)
Soak Seeds First.
Be sure to soak your seeds in warm water for 24 hours before you start sowing as this is a great and free way to help you get your plants ready to take root and grow strong.
This will save you loads of time and will create less mess. Swap out plants seasonally, or whenever you want really, by planting them while they are still in their pots. No fuss!
Create your very own garden markers using stones that you found outside, all you need is a few colored sharpies to color the markings. See? Totally easy.
Or Mark With Plastic Forks.
Or you can even use plastic forks that you just have laying around. Better for the environment anyways so you’re killing two birds with one stone.
No More Slugs.
Here is where having leftover beer is going to help your garden! It will kill slugs…. Those pesky buggers are difficult to kill and that’s where beer comes in, does the job for you. You just need to pour a cup and leave it in the garden.
6 clever ways to use mirrors to make your home feel bigger and brighter
Positioned correctly, a mirror can create light, texture, space and character.
Using mirrors creatively in your home can make them not only useful for checking your appearance, but also for capturing light and projecting it into those darker corners, creating textural and spatial illusions, and highlighting your favourite accessories and ornaments by reflecting them into your vision from different angles.
HOW TO USE A MIRROR TO...
1. Improve light
Placing a mirror in the correct place in a room allows you to optimise natural light. To do so, place the mirror adjacent to a window to perfectly catch the angle of light and bounce it throughout the room.
2. Create texture
Mirrors can be used to create texture in two ways. The first is by installing a textured mirror frame which adds a three dimensional level to the wall. These can act as statement furnishings in any room.
The second way to add texture in a room is to position the mirror so it reflects a textured object already in the room – a rustic, wooden coffee table, vase or faux fur throw, for example.
Think about where you spend most of your time in that room and what angle you'd like to see. In the living room, for example, when sitting on the sofa you might like to be able to see a vase which is positioned on the surface behind you. In that case, you can position the mirror opposite the vase and directly in your eye line.
3. Show off the garden
Remember that mirrors aren't just for the indoors and, when we've put so much time and effort into creating a designer garden, why not reflect it and enjoy it from more angles?
Garden mirrors can be placed in numerous places to create a powerful effect. For instance, against the perimeter of the garden amongst blooming shrubbery can create the idea of a secret gateway.
Alternatively, you can place a set of three smaller mirrors along a wall to make your seating area feel bigger. Mirrored panels on the ground amongst borders can also make them appear fuller, denser and more lush.
4. Dress a mantel
Use the 'rule of thirds' when hanging an overmantel mirror. Simply take the height of your mantel shelf, double it, and you have the ideal height for the mirror to go above it. The width of the mirror should not be wider than the mantel itself.
Once you have chosen the shape, colour and texture of the mirror that best compliments the room, the mirror should be positioned symmetrically without touching the ceiling.
5. Create the illusion of space
The bigger the mirror, the more space it will appear to create. Think carefully about the angle of the room you want to reflect – placing a mirror opposite a window, for example, will bring both natural light and greenery into a smaller room.
In a room where you are likely to entertain, a larger mirror can increase the atmosphere in the room by giving the illusion of more guests.
6. Decorate your hallway
A statement mirror in the entrance way of a house gives the immediate feeling of uplifting light as soon as you enter.
5 ways to maximise space in your home
We'd all like lots of space in our home but the reality is that we're often limited with the room we have. But there are lots of design tricks that can help a space look bigger, whether you just want to give your home a overhaul or inject a few fresh touches for the new season.
1. MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
It's well known that putting mirrors up in your home is an easy way to make any room appear larger and more airy'.
By reflecting the light, mirrors really help to open up the space – instantly adding depth. Choosing a mirror without a heavy frame will enhance this effect even more, so try opting for designs with intricate details.
To take this a step further, you could also invest in mirror furniture such as end tables or a chest of drawers, which will help increase the illusion of light and space even more.
Top tip: Place mirrors in darker areas of rooms to bring light to every corner.
2. FIFTY SHADES OF BEIGE
Dark colours can easily make a space feel small. Avoid this, and keep your home feeling fresh and bright by opting for neutral and airy tones which will help bring light into a room.
Remember to keep the colour palette soft with whites, beiges, light blues and greys to maximise the space.
You should also complement this with similarly toned rugs and carpets to fit in with the theme and further increase the illusion of space.
Top tip: To give the impression of having a high ceiling, try painting it a lighter shade than the walls to draw the eye upwards.
3. KEEP IT CRYSTAL CLEAR
Styling your home with key transparent pieces will help make your rooms appear less cluttered. It is a simple concept, if you can 'see-through' certain items of furniture then your space will feel much more open. Glass tables, storage units and tableware are perfect to help achieve this effect.
Top tip: Voile curtains are a better alternative to thick, opaque styles as they will not block out light or take up too much wall space.
4. BE STORAGE SAVVY
Clever storage solutions are a must for any room with limited space. Bonus points if you can find a multi-purpose item - a foot-stall that can act as a coffee table or a stool, which has additional space inside.
Top tip: An ottoman with storage is the perfect place to store out-of-season throws or extra bedding for a foldout sofa.
5. GO HIGHER AND HIGHER
Adding the perception of height to your room is a great way of making it seem like you have a larger space.
The best way to do this is to draw the eye up with standout pieces such as bold paintings and statement lighting.
Top tip: Tables and chairs that are set on legs will also elevate the room to help create a more spacious environment.
8 ways to bring more natural light into your home
Natural light is a must-have feature for a family home, a new survey reveals.
Natural light can make a home lighter and brighter and give the feeling of more space. If you want to flood your home with natural light, these eight top tips are a great place to start.
1. Introduce lighter colours to your walls by banishing statement wallpaper and dark block colours in favour of a soft shade of white paint. Shades of white will make a space feel brighter as it reflects the natural light entering the room, rather than absorbing it.
Avoid using brilliant white paint on walls as it can make a space feel cold, an off-white shade will create a much warmer effect. Another trick is to paint the ceiling a couple of shades lighter than the walls to create the illusion of height and space. Choosing a paint with a satin finish will help reflect the light more than matt paint.
2. Go glossy in your kitchen and bathroom with shiny surfaces on units, again this will reflect light filtering into the room and make the space look brighter and bigger.
In other rooms, adding furniture and accessories with a reflective surface can help diffuse light. Metallic, glass and mirrored accessories can all help to make the most of the light available and add stylish touches throughout the home.
3. Flooring can also be transformed into light-friendly reflectors by choosing wooden, ceramic or stone floors with a polished finish, which will reflect much more light than carpets. If you prefer a carpet then stick to light, neutral colours.
4. Don't forget the impact that the greenery outside your home can have on the light levels inside. Turn your attention to your garden and trim any trees, bushes or climbing plants that are growing around your doors and windows.
5. While you're outside, give your windows and glass doors a thorough clean to ensure as much light as possible can filter through the glass and into your home.
6. If you have the budget, then the best way to increase the natural light in your home is to install large new windows and doors. Bi-folding doors are a particularly good choice as they can transform an entire wall of your home into glass for breath-taking views and ultimate light levels.
7. Boost brightness with artificial light that will enhance, rather than take over, any natural light coming into your home. Pay particular attention to areas where light from the windows doesn't reach such as awkward corners, corridors or alcoves.
Installing dimmer switches will allow you to have greater control over how a space is lit, enabling you to gradually alter light levels as the natural light in your home alters throughout the day.
8. Remove dark furniture and accessories in favour of lighter shades wherever you can, particularly if they are blocking light from windows and doors. Pay particular attention to blinds and curtains, as heavy, dark window treatments can block light from entering your home.
This is the ultimate houseplant cheat sheet
Find out which plants are best suited for each room of the house.
Have you ever wondered if that peace lily you have in your living room is in the best place it can be? Or perhaps which plant is best suited to your bedroom? Well, we've got just the tool you'll need.
Keep up with the trend of bringing the outside in with this easy guide:
12 of the best plants for kids' bedrooms
'Choose plants that have something quirky about them, even verging on the macabre.'
Houseplants shouldn't just be limited to the living room. When it comes to children's bedrooms, choose plants that 'have something quirky about them, even verging on the macabre', A good approach is to choose plants that can be dotted in among their books and bits and pieces.
And of course, 'choose varieties that can take a fair bit of neglect,' they advise. With this in mind, take a look at these 12 plants ideal for children's spaces.
Common name: None
Light: Moderate light
Care: Allow to dry out between waterings
Tips: Tuck aerial roots back into the pot
Common name: None
Light: Good light; avoid direct sun
Care: Tolerates high humidity; mist daily
Tips: Avoid roots becoming soggy
How to Make Moss Graffiti
Moss graffiti, also called eco-graffiti or green graffiti, replaces spray paint, paint-markers or other such toxic chemicals and paints with a paintbrush and a moss "paint" that can grow on its own. As people become more eco-friendly and environmentally aware, the idea of making living, breathing graffiti has become a more green and creative outlet for graffiti artists. It can also be considered another form of guerrilla gardening.
One or two clumps (about a small handful) of moss
2 cups of buttermilk
You can also substitute with yogurt (vegan yogurt can be used)
2 cups of water
1/2 tsp. sugar
Corn syrup (optional)
If the mixture is at a consistency where you feel it will drip, add corn syrup until the consistency you desire is reached.
Use a paintbrush to apply the moss-paint to the surface on which you wish your design to grow.
If possible, check back weekly to either spray the design with water (to encourage moss growth, especially if you live in a dry environment) or apply more moss-paint.
Guide to fencing: hedges, walls, trellis, panels
There are lots of stylish ways to mark out your border.
Hedges, walls, trellis, panels - there are lots of stylish ways to mark out your border. Read on for expert advice and tips in this ultimate how-to guide:
1. THE RIGHT TYPE
Garden fencing is used to mark your boundary but can bring other benefits. A solid 1.8m high fence, such as our Chesham or Featherboard options, with a sturdy lockable gate will keep children and pets safe and provide security and privacy.
Windy locations need fencing that will allow the air to flow through so there's less wind resistance. A good example of this is semi-solid fencing, such as Venetian slatted panels, which also let in light and cast interesting shadow patterns around the garden.
Acoustic fencing, made from heavy duty timber posts and interlocking boards, minimises noise pollution. The design is based on acoustic barriers used on motorways, but the thick tongue-and- groove-style boards make it look like residential garden fencing.
The average fence is 1.5m-2m high. No planning permission is required for a barrier under 1.8m unless it's next to a highway or footpath and then the height can't exceed 1m without planning consent.
Every county, parish and street differs so it's best to check with your local council to see if there's a restricted height limit. Don't forget to incorporate the gravel board that the fence panels sit on into the height as well. Historic areas and listed properties may also have specifications on the type of fencing that's permitted.
An easy way to calculate how much to buy is by using a fence company's online calculator to work out how many panels, posts, gravel boards, fixings and how much cement you'll need. Remember to allow for corners and gates. A simple sketch or plan of the area will help make a quote as accurate as possible.
In recent years fencing has become so secure that hedgehogs in suburban areas aren't able to move between gardens very easily. We've now introduced a new hedgehog-friendly gravel board with a hole at one end, large enough to allow hedgehogs to pass from garden to garden without compromising the integrity of the fence.
2. STYLE GUIDE
The main purpose of fencing may be practical but the material you choose to make your boundary will enhance the look of your garden and home.
Horizontal Venetian fencing that has closely spaced slats has a modern look, while palisade wood fencing has a more rural feel.
And fencing doesn't have to be limited to wood. Where a garden extends to a field or wonderful view, you could use galvanised wire cattle fencing and a prickly hedge for security so the view isn't lost.
Black steel railings work well in town gardens and more formal areas but will only provide a boundary rather than security because they can easily be scaled.
Hedges suit a traditional setting and can be bought in a variety of heights, which is also useful for screening a fence straightaway. Small shrubs will do a similar job but grow more slowly. Avoid the temptation to use bamboo–although less expensive and fast-growing, it's extremely invasive. Shoots and roots will spread quickly throughout your garden and to the neighbours' garden – even breaking through concrete over time.
Low brick walls are another option and look lovely with a brick capping – Wienerberger has a fantastic range – but bear in mind they take longer to construct than fence panels so labour costs are high. One of my favourite fencing suppliers is Hillhout. It's a Dutch company and always has unusual products such as coloured trellis panels and contemporary black fencing.
3. Material selection
Panelled wood fences are constructed in two ways: panels either slide into concrete posts or are screwed into brackets fixed to wooden posts. The common problems with failing fences are rotten posts or posts that haven't been installed correctly so the wind has blown them over.
If you decide to repair or build your own panelled fence make sure the post hole is deep enough – around 60cm is about right with gravel at the base to allow for water drainage and to stop the bottom of the posts from rotting. Use a spirit level to check the posts are straight and then pour concrete –a pre-mix post-mix concrete from DIY shops is fine – into the hole to fix them in place. I always leave a 30cm diameter around the post to give it a good anchor.
Slide or screw the panels into place making sure the brackets and screws are made of galvanized or stainless steel that won't rust. Screws around 7cm-10cm long are usually robust enough for fixing a six-foot panel into a wooden post. Panels need to be raised 5cm from the ground so they don't rot, or sit them on top of treated or concrete gravel boards.
Putting up wooden post and panel fencing can be a DIY job because panels simply screw into place. I prefer to use concrete posts because they last longer but as they're heavy to handle the work is best done by a fencing contractor. Reputable firms will show you a portfolio of their work.
Upright posts and panels that run in a straight or set line is a sign of good workmanship as is good quality timber. Make sure you buy wood panels that have been treated and come with a long guarantee against rot. Look for those that have been pressure treated with preservative; most manufacturers refer to this as Tanalised.
In general, specialist fencing suppliers sell the best quality materials and are open to the public as well as the trade. Search online for firms in your area. Remember that cheaper panels, such as larch lap, will only last around five years depending on the elements, whereas a vertical, feather-edge, heavy duty panel can last for 12-15 years.
It's a good idea to get professionals in at the start and then maintain the fence yourself. On average it costs around £80-£100 per panel fitted with posts, labour and concrete but this can vary. Although some panels come treated I still think it's important to treat a fence every two years with an off-the-shelf product from a brand like Cuprinol or Ronseal. If you're growing creepers such as honeysuckle or jasmine up the fence, prune them regularly otherwise the weight will drag on the panels.
Camouflage with plants
1. If you inherit a tatty fence that belongs to your neighbour don't draw attention to it by painting it. It's better to disguise it with planting instead.
2. After asking permission from your neighbour, run galvanised wires along the length or fix trellis panels to the face. These can be painted in a pale green/grey colour. Then plant fast- growing climbers, such as roses or clematis, to quickly wind through it. Position them at least 45cm away from the base of the fence as they'll need light and air to get established. Choose a trellis with robust batons to support vigorous climbers as some can reach 12m or higher. The Mexican potato plant is a fast-growing semi-evergreen climber and provides a green covering with white flowers that continue to flower until the first winter frosts.
3. If your fence runs along the north- facing side of the garden, this will create shade for most of the day and needs careful planting with shade-tolerant shrubs such as Viburnum davidii or Sarcococca hookeriana.
Fan-trained morello cherry trees will also do well, with white flowers in spring and plenty of fruit for the blackbirds. Peach trees can be trained to bear fruit on a sheltered, south-facing fence.
4. Finally, fencing can also be used to separate different parts of the garden. I like to use an open trellis through which you can see intriguing glimpses of pathways and distant views.
Moss graffiti is set to be a big garden trend for 2017
Garden art is taking over...
With spring around the corner we bet you've been itching to get back out into the garden. In the meantime, we've been busy scouring Pinterest to find the best gardening and outdoor trends for the season, and other than fairy gardens, there's one concept we keep seeing pop up over and over again: Moss graffiti.
The idea is simply creating words using moss to decorate your garden wall or fence.
Tackling a project like this would take both time and patience, but the finished product would be worth it. Take a look at this easy tutorial for making your own and get inspired by some of our favourite creations below.
How to grow succulents indoors and out
The best way to think of succulents is as 'fat plants'. Parts of them, usually their leaves, swell up with water and this stops them from drying out in arid conditions.
Cacti are the most obvious examples but sedums and sempervivums are also common. They all share that fleshy, tender look and often have grey-green leaves, though there are plenty of others with leaves in colours that range from black and red through to yellow. Because they come from hot, dry places they tend not to be hardy, so if left outdoors over winter they're likely to be killed off by frost.
Succulents make fantastic houseplants. They like dry air – so are perfect for our centrally heated homes – and don't need to be watered very often. They require lots of light, however, so place them near or on a windowsill and make sure their roots are very well drained.
For a lovely display try gathering different coloured but similar-sized, rosette-forming sempervivums together in a shallow white bowl. A good place to start is with echeverias; maybe mixing red-pink Echeveria agavoides 'Lipstick' with grey and purple Echeveria agavoides 'Vashon'.
If you have more space try rubber plants. They also need light so make sure they're somewhere near a window and, if you can, have more than one in a room. Two look good, on either side of a window, or a line of three or more can make architectural shapes along a wall.
Place these houseplants outside in summer, as long as there's no danger of frost, so they can get some fresh air. In winter the biggest danger to succulents is too much water, so make sure the containers are really well drained to avoid the roots sitting in water.
If you do have a disaster and the plant looks as though it's dead, don't write it off straightaway. Succulents have the capacity to rise again, so give the plant some tender, loving care and wait at least four weeks to see if it revives.
THE OUTDOOR TYPE
Hardy sempervivums and sedums, many of which will survive unprotected in frosts, are the most common succulents for planting outdoors, but do check the label.
As with the indoor variety, the best sempervivums have interesting varieties of tight rosettes. Sempervivum calcareum has grey-green rosettes with lovely contrasting red tips, and Sempervivum 'Moerkerk's Merit' is silvery- green with a soft velvet sheen.
Sedums are small- to medium-sized evergreen perennials, which are perfect for the front of the border and look amazing when planted en masse across a whole bed. Try the grey-purple combinations you get with Sedum 'Ruby Glow' or the tiny ground cover stonecrop Sedum cauticola.
These outdoor plants really look after themselves. In the spring cut back any dead or damaged stems or leaves right down to the base, but otherwise they're very low maintenance.
If you don't mind spending some time looking after them, tender succulents can look amazing outdoors.
The plant that every garden designer loves is Aeonium 'Zwartkop', which has almost pure black rosettes of leaves on the ends of strong stalks. This purpley-black mixes beautifully with so many other colours such as the lime green leaves and flowers of euphorbia or grasses, or the pink flowers of Lychnis coronaria – creating a dramatic, exciting look.
Other amazing succulents are agaves. Exotic and impressive, they have spears of fleshy leaves coming from a central point. Two favourites are the smaller grey-leaved ones such as Agave parrasana or Agave parryi, which look great individually planted in terracotta pots and displayed in a regimented line. Alternatively, if you have space, try the Agave americana, which has huge grey-green spears that form the perfect centrepiece in a more jungle-style garden.
CARING FOR TENDER SUCCULENTS OUTDOORS
The main thing about tender plants is that they need protection during winter. If they're kept in pots they should be brought inside into a greenhouse or a sunny place in the house. If the pots can't be moved or the plants are in the ground, it's best to wrap their tops with bubblewrap to keep the frost off and to create an umbrella to shield the base of the plants and the roots from the worst of the rain.
How to care for your orchids: maintenance tips and what not to do
Find a solution below to these common ailments.
There are over 25,000 types of orchids, and contrary to popular belief, they are extremely easy to look after.
To a certain degree, the orchid actually appreciates negligence, and while bringing instant colour to your home, with the right care, they can give a long-lasting flower display. Get some top maintenance tips below, including how to make your orchids last longer.
GENERAL CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Is your orchid shedding its flowers, or has it turned yellow and limp? Find a solution below to these common ailments.
Problem: If your orchid sheds flowers or flower butts, this is an indication that your plant hasn't got enough water or sunlight.
Solution: Give it a more luminous surrounding, and soak its roots once a week.
Problem: Yellow leaves can be caused by exposing your orchid to too much sunlight.
Solution: Place your orchid in light surroundings, but not in direct sunlight e.g. a side table near the window would be the perfect location.
Problem: Limp leaves are indicative of a water deficiency or, in contrary, water excess. If the orchid's roots are grey, this means your orchid is suffering from water deprivation.
Solution: It's best to soak your orchid in a bucket or sink for 10 to 15 minutes. If the orchid roots are brown, this indicates that your orchid was given too much water. Sometimes, the orchid will grow new roots (after its bloom).
3 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR ORCHIDS LAST LONGER
WHAT NOT TO DO…
Fabulous potted plants that will make the ultimate style statement in your home
Plants are perfect for bringing a touch of nature to living spaces, as well as calm and serenity to our busy lives. Inject some colour and greenery into your home
7 Ways to Clear the Clutter and Find your Life
Is clutter taking over your life?
Maybe it is and you don’t even realise it. As a personal productivity coach I work with clients helping them organise their lives to work more efficiently and achieve more of what they want from life.
On one occasion I was working with a business owner who was experiencing a lot of stress and feeling very overwhelmed. We started by clearing her office of clutter. While we sifted through the mountains of paperwork and the many notebooks on her desk, she found a check for 1,800 euro that she had forgotten to cash. Her life was so disorganised and out of control that she did not miss that check.
If you can relate to my client and have had a similar experience, it may be time to take back the control. Clearing the clutter can be a clever place to start.
1. Start small
Just like creating new habits the trick is to start small. Don’t try to tackle too much all at once; it usually ends in frustration, dissatisfaction and ultimate abandon. Choose a small area or one drawer to get started and schedule time to complete the task. It usually works better to schedule time rather than have a physical plan because often the de-cluttering takes longer than expected. If you spend hours trying to de-clutter a space to not achieve it can turn the expedition into a negative experience.
2. Make sure everything has a place
One of the reasons we allow clutter to accumulate is because we don’t know where to put it. We move things around from surface to surface not quite knowing what to do with them. Create a place for everything and if necessary go out and buy more storage containers. But be careful, the more storage containers you have the more you will fill.
3. One in two out
You have probably heard of this tactic before. Every time you buy something new, throw out or give away two things, this will ensure the quantity of items you own decreases over time rather than the gradual creep of belongings. It also prevents you from buying unnecessary things as you know you will have to throw out some possessions when you get home.
4. Become a charity King or Queen
Know that every time you donate clothes, books or toys to a charity shop you are helping people. Rather than let things clutter up your drawers they could be doing good in the world. Separating yourself from your belongings becomes easier if you are doing it for a purpose.
5. Remember objects don’t define the person
For years I kept a snowboard in the corner of my sitting room as it represented the person I wanted to be — bold and carefree. I live in a country that doesn’t have mountains with snow. I wasn’t very good at the sport and at best I could go snowboarding once a year. Sounds ridiculous when you look at it objectively, but for me it represented a part of my life I didn’t want to let go of. Selling my snowboarding gear was a liberating experience. I felt the moment I let it go out the door I matured. I am who I am and don’t need an object to express my personality.
6. Create rituals to prevent clutter creep
If you manage to de-clutter and get things under control, how are you going to prevent the clutter from coming back into your life?
Create rituals. Do the washing up straight after dinner, get the children to tidy their toys before bed, tidy up time comes before lunch every day. By creating rituals for certain events they become so much a part of your everyday life they don’t feel like a hassle. These little rituals just like brushing your teeth before bed become semi-automated and help to keep your life under control.
7. Music and celebration
Turn on your favorite music and get started. Music can uplift and inspire, it can turn the most mundane task into something enjoyable. When you have finished acknowledge your achievements and reward yourself, something you should do with all areas of your life. Great things deserve recognition and celebration. Treat yourself and admire your hard work.
If you have any more de-clutter tips I would love to hear them