Fiveways Gardens....January 2015

Happy New Year to you all and here's to 2015 giving us a hot, sunny summer with acres and acres of blue skies - last summer was great, but ever the optimist I'm sure we'd all cope with an even lovelier one!

Until the lazy days of summer, there are a few things to get on with. For instance, how about a new garden project for this year? Something I've been interested in doing for several years now, but haven't had the opportunity to, is a living wall. Well, luckily for me, a new client has just given us the go-ahead to create one in her small courtyard garden in the centre of town. I was at a workshop run by the Association of Professional Landscapers at Coblands Nurseries in November, where they show-cased an innovative design for living walls that are readily applied to the smaller gardens and courtyards that we regularly overhaul. My client is in her 70s and is as mad about plants as I am, and was thrilled to see this modular panel system that will allow her to plant up to 49 individual plants in each square metre of wall. She'll be able to swap plants in and out as she chooses. I obviously couldn't resist the temptation and have ordered us one here at Lilybud, to trial too. I'll be planting ours up in spring and I'll share anything of interest with you, and maybe some of you will get inspired to add to the small but growing collection of living walls and green roofs in Fiveways. I think these green modular panels are going to be a fantastic solution to bring life and interest to those side returns that are often a little uninspiring, as they're equally good in shade or sun.

With the leaves off the trees and shrubs it's worth checking for dead, damaged or diseased branches and pruning them out. With less foliage in the way at this time of year, you can see more clearly what you're doing. If the plant in question is too big for you to deal with, then get a gardener in and get them to incorporate a general tidy up too. Lots of gardeners have little work at this time of the year so you shouldn't have trouble finding someone good - experienced and qualified. Tasks that you know are a good idea, but somehow never get round to doing, could be handed over - maybe think of it as a post-Christmas treat for yourself. Cleaning pots ready for spring and summer planting, cleaning, oiling and sharpening tools, clearing dead leaves from ponds, lawns and paths, sorting the compost and even tidying out the shed are all jobs that you could ask a gardener to do. Redefining lawn edges is also well worth the effort. There are some great products on the market that are excellent at keeping your lawn area clearly defined. There are edges out there for all budgets, including plastic, timber, brick and steel.

Best wishes



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