Category Archives: Garden Workshops

Dividing perennials – from the ground up

Dividing perennials gardening workshop

This workshop will be held on Saturday 9th April at 10.00am.
Dividing perennials is something most gardeners can and should do to increase the number of plants they have. And also to improve or maintain the plant’s health and vigour.

It is in theory a simple exercise. But when faced with digging up a prized plant that has established itself, many gardeners decide not to take a chance.

Many perennials will start to fade as the centre of the plant tires. Growth continues only around the perimeter. Splitting them and creating “new centres” will encourage new and vigorous growth. You’ll therefore have more, and more healthy, plants.

The wide variety of perennials available also have a wide variety of flowering times that you’d prefer not to impede. And a variety of root structures that you’ll not want to damage. So it’s straight forward, except it isn’t quite as as easy as it sounds.

In this gardening workshop I’ll explain the things to watch for, and show practical examples of several different types of perennial and how they are dealt with. I will also demonstrate some basic rules about when to divide and how to care for different plants.

The dividing perennials garden workshop will cover:

What is a perennial
What can and can’t be divided
When best to divide, season and weather
What plants to divide
The different types of root structure to look for
How to get the most from each type
Which plants are easy, and which need more care
What plants can’t be divided easily
How to treat plants that can’t be divided
What soil or growing medium to use
What containers to use

Dividing perennials
Dividing perennials – you’ll see how to divide what plants and when to do it.

About the dividing perennials gardening workshop, and further gardening workshop events

Each gardening workshops can only host a limited number of guests on each occasion, on a first come or invitation basis.

Events will be presented by myself, and other local garden enthusiasts with particular passions and specialist knowledge.

This gardening workshop will be held on Saturday 9th April. Book your place by sending your details below.

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Poisonous plants in your garden – from the ground up

Poisonous plants in your garden workshop

Poisonous plants in your garden
This workshop will be held on May 14th

Parents, especially mums, fear that children might find poisonous plants in your garden, and worse, come to harm from them.  And they are right to be concerned as there are lots of very common plants with dangerous leaves, seeds and sap.

But knowing what they are and quite what level of risk they pose can put your mind at rest, and allow you and your children to enjoy the garden without worry.

The poisonous plants in the garden workshop will introduce you to the most common plants that pose a risk, and show you how to recognise the most dangerous ones that are perhaps not so common, and may not even be in your own garden.

poisonous plants in your garden
Foxglove, a common cottage garden plant, can be harmful

Remember that in the vast majority of cases your child would have to sit down to three courses of plants to cause much harm, but there are few that can be quite nasty.

Many of these plants contain substance used in medicines, and so contact with or ingestion is dangerous.

Some parts of plants are dangerous to your pets. Unlike your children, they won’t learn to avoid them. Know what can hurt your pets and protect them.

The poisonous plants in your garden workshop will cover:

The most dangerous plants likely to be in your garden
How to recognise them
Handling poisonous plants
Do you need to remove them
How much has to be consumed to cause illness
The most dangerous top 10
How to treat ingestion of berries or leaves
How to treat contact poisoning

poisonous plants in your garden
Wolf’s bane or monkshood was used to kill whales

About the poisonous plants in your garden workshop, and further garden workshop events

My garden workshops will only be able to host a limited number of guests on each occasion, on a first come or invitation basis, and are intended to impart and share knowledge, not as a commercial venture. They are an introduction to me. This workshop will cost £2 per person.

Some events will be covered presented by myself, but I also hope to introduce other local garden enthusiasts with particular passions and specialist knowledge.

This garden workshop will be held on May 14th

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Pruning roses and dogwoods – from the ground up

Pruning roses and dogwoods  gardening workshop

Pruning roses and dogwoods
This workshop will be held on Saturday March 12th at 10.00am.

Pruning roses and dogwoods is best done before they start producing new shoots and leaves. This is usually late winter, and so could be anywhere between early February and mid-March.

As fresh growth appears it is time to take action, so that your roses and dogwoods provide you with the best displays of colour in flower, leave and stem.

The pruning roses and dogwoods gardening workshop will also discuss how to take some of the stems you remove and use them to propagate more plants. This workshop will look at several different approaches to building up your stocks of roses and dogwoods.

pruning roses and dogwoods
Glorious winter coloured stems of dogwoods

The pruning roses and dogwoods gardening workshop will cover:

Signs that pruning is needed
Equipment needed
Where to make cuts
What to look for to remove
The effect to look for in a finished shrub
Further maintenance
How to use the cut stems to propagate
Different techniques to use to increase your stock
What results to expect
Checking progress of your cuttings
How long to wait for your new plants

pruning roses and dogwoods
Taking back dogwoods stems for new growth and best colour

About the pruning roses and dogwoods gardening workshop, and further garden workshop events

My gardening  workshops will only be able to host a limited number of guests on each occasion, on a first come or invitation basis, and are intended to impart and share knowledge, not as a commercial venture. They are a free introduction to me.

Some events will be covered presented by myself, but I also hope to introduce other local garden enthusiasts with particular passions and specialist knowledge.

This gardening workshop will be held on Saturday 12th March

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Making a compost bin – from the ground up

Making a compost bin –
from the ground up

Making a compost bin – from the ground up.
Making a compost bin must be the first consideration in any garden. It will provide a place to lose all the natural waste generated. And no matter how much it is neglected, that will turn into good useful compost or soil conditioner.

The product of the compost heap is where I start my thinking. I need mulches for beds of perennials, which protects and nourishes as well as conditions the soil. I also need soil conditioner for vegetable beds and for any new flower beds. And I need the finer components to bulk out other composts when potting on seedlings or divided perennials.

So if there was no compost heap, I would be facing a hefty bill from the garden centre.

Home made compost limitations

Compost from the heap is not a complete replacement for purchased compost. You still need that assured standard throughout the year. My personal favourite is B&Q’s own brand Verve, which I tried after reading it was rated number one by Which? magazine. I have not since had cause to try anything else.

But making a compost bin and the implied management of it can put people off. It will take space, and it will take time to “turn”, as we are continually told in the garden media.

But I think there is a way that is relatively simple to manage – including the required “turning”. And it takes a fraction of the time that a standard compost bin might.

I have tried this in the smaller of my two bins, and it really works.

Rather than having a set amount of space and filling it all with garden waste, you have a longer and thinner enclosure. This is two to three metres long, by up to a metre wide, depending on the space available and the amount of material likely to be added. Making a compost bin using easily available wooden pallets is easy. One at the closed end, and two or three along each side secured together with some of that surplus timber that every household seems to have.

Pallets: perfect for making a compost bin

Using the 1.2 metre “europallets” gives a good length but not the height, so are easier to lean over to manage. Pallets used to deliver paper to printers are also OK.

Filling starts at the closed end and after a month is “rolled” into the middle section. Meanwhile any new material is added at the first stage. One month later the process is repeated, with the contents of the middle section rolling to the open end. Then move section one to the middle, leaving an open space at section one to start filling again.

Some points to remember that may not be obvious.

  • Leave the bottom open to allow worms and insects in.
  • If under a canopy or in shade, leave the top open, but if in full sun or exposed form some sort of cover, something like carpet. there are times to cover, and times not to. This extract from Gardenweb sums up the conflict.
    If the weather forecast is calling for 25 millimetres (or more) of rain and your pile already had adequate moisture, throwing a piece of plastic over it for the weather event will do little, if any, harm and will likely save some grief in the long run.If the pile had adequate moisture to begin with, throwing a tarp over it will not add more moisture and make the pile too wet, this is not logical.
    In extremely dry or windy weather, throwing a tarp over it may conserve what moisture it had.
    If the pile is made up of very dry leaves, covering the pile with a tarp for a few days seems to help those leaves absorb the moisture, through the high humidity.  But a tarp thrown over a pile isn’t a ziploc bag, so water may be needed.
    There are numerous reasons why one might want to cover a pile, as there are numerous reasons why one might not want to cover a pile.
  • When adding to the compost pile try to mix the addition by the composition, some nitrogen based, some carbon based etc.
    The “what to compost” section at eartheasy.com has a great table explaining the various components.
Making a compost bin
Like this, but longer, open one end, closed at the other

Keep it balanced for good compost

That may then imply that some materials wait for a while before being added, either next to the compost bin, or if there is just too much put it in your green garden waste recycling bin.

To the obvious question “do I use this myself?” The answer is no.  I inherited compost heaps in a particular place, and had no need or desire to move them. But I did clean them up and make a two bin arrangement that takes just an hour or so each month to turn. I move new usable compost into tonne bags, rolling the next section forward and filling up from an adjacent bin. But I enjoy the workout!

Making a compost bin will be part of a garden workshop later in the year, as will what to do with all those leaves in autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sowing seeds – from the ground up

Sowing seeds garden workshop

This workshop will be held on Saturday March 5th at 10.00am. Sowing seeds is something most gardeners recognise as a potentially rewarding and money saving exercise. But when I first started sowing seeds, every one success was tinged with three failures.

That led to seeds often being left in the packet, where they are pretty much guaranteed not to grow.

Over many years I have discovered some things that make a difference, making sowing seeds a rewarding task and not a frustration.

The wrong timing, temperature and light levels have in the past left me with empty seed packets and seeds trays filled with dormant soil.

And then the continual debate as to whether the trays should be left a little longer just-in-case, or the contents consigned to the compost heap and trays put to better use.

Finding the right tools and equipment, significantly at the right price, has made sowing seeds an enjoyable experience, and a rewarding one with large numbers of plants to use in the garden to give to friends.

The sowing seeds garden workshop will explore gathering seeds through growing on after germination.

The sowing seeds garden workshop will cover:

Sowing flower seeds
Collecting and storing seed
What soil or growing medium to use
What container to use
Where to find the best information for growing from seed
When to start sowing
How to sow
How best to water
How to start germination
– Temperature
– Moisture
– light

How to improve germination, and prevent problems
What to do when the seeds start growing
When to pot them on (prick out)
Planting out

Sowing seeds garden worshop

About the sowing seeds garden workshop, and further garden workshop events

My garden workshops will only be able to host a limited number of guests on each occasion, on a first come or invitation basis, and are intended to impart and share knowledge, not as a commercial venture. They are a free introduction to me.

Some events will be covered presented by myself, but I also hope to introduce other local garden enthusiasts with particular passions and specialist knowledge.

This garden workshop will be held on Saturday 5th March

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