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Gardening Guides

We are passionate about helping and inspiring our customers to create beautiful gardens, so with the help of the HTA and the RHS we can now provide a series of interesting and informative leaflets designed to provide practical information on a range of popular gardening topics and issues.

These useful and handy gardening guides are packed with colourful images, handy hints and tips, step by step projects and a list of what you will need to get you started.  Whether you are an the amateur gardener who wants to learn more about gardening or an experienced gardener who would like some ideas to make the most of your outdoor space, then feel free to browse our plant guides, gardening know-how leaflets and grow your own guides.


Hanging Baskets & Containers

Anyone can try container gardening - from a couple of window boxes to a roof terrace or a patio filled with pots and tubs, containers are a great way to brighten up your outside space. You can provide the best conditions and position for particular plants to flourish because you can control the planting environment in a pot or basket, so you may decide to fix one on a house or garden wall or suspend one from the beams of a porch or the branches of a tree. Colourful and satisfying, pots and hanging baskets don’t take long to prepare and provide months of pleasure.


Seeds & Cuttings

Gardening can be as easy or hard as you want it to be. You can have instant colour in your beds and containers by pick up some wonderful plants in flower, or you can get a little more involved in raising and nurturing plants. This guide will help you watch tiny seeds evolve into beautiful border plants or help you bulk up your existing plants by taking cuttings, which also have the added benefit of saving you money!


Gardening for Kids

Gardening isn’t just for grown-ups or just for those with gardens. There are hundreds of ways children can have fun both in and outdoors with gardening, all year round. From miniature gardens to planting bulbs, from weeding and digging alongside adults to having a little spot all of their own – gardening can occupy them for a long time and even give you a little break. A good way to get children interested in gardening is to stimulate their senses with brightly coloured flowers, aromatic foliage, scented blooms, tactile leaves and fast-cropping edible plants. It may be necessary for you to explain things initially, making suggestions and putting forward ideas, but in the end the child should feel it’s his or her project.


Gardening for Wildlife

Encouraging butterflies, birds and other wildlife into the garden creates a wonderful, relaxing environment and goes a long way to protect the survival of creatures. Many small steps can be taken to encourage wildlife into your garden if you think about the needs of birds and insects and choose plants for nectar and seed heads. Improve the environment by adding a pond, hedge or nest box or just change the way you garden – put down your chemical spray gun, let the lawn grow and don’t be too quick to tidy up as piles of leaves and old wood is home to many insects!


Planning a Herbaceous Border

A herbaceous border is a collection of perennial herbaceous plants arranged closely together to create a dramatic effect through colour, shape or large scale. A great border design can take some time to plan and involves a range of plants in order to look lush and exotic.  Once established it should provide an eye-catching display in your garden for a number of seasons.


Pests & Diseases

There are a number of gardening techniques to help keep pests and diseases under control such as good planting preparation and plant feeding, correct pruning, general garden hygiene, and leaving an air space of at least 5cm behind supports for plants grown on walls or fences.  Wherever possible the growing area should be kept open with good air circulation allowed to flow.  Plants will be encouraged to grow well and produce natural enzymes in their leaves that naturally control many pest or disease attacks, as the main aim should be to break the life cycle of the pest or disease, to halt the possibility of repeated infestation.


Organic Gardening

Gardening organically means growing plants without manufactured fertilisers and other synthetic chemicals for feeding, pest and disease control, soil conditioning or weeding. Many organic techniques are simply good practices and compatible with other forms of gardening. Alternative treatments are often more expensive, not so readily available and can be less effective, so reduce yield and quality, and some techniques may not be visually appealing and more effort needs to be given to planning, preparation, vigilant maintenance and understanding wildlife in gardens.  Although organic gardening is beneficial to the environment, provides a more attractive home to wildlife and, by cultivating fruit and vegetables organically, you’ll know your tasty produce is chemical free.


Ponds & Water Features

A garden pond offers tranquillity, a growing environment for interesting plants and provides a home for wildlife such as frogs, toads and insects such as dragonflies. When designing your pond, ensure that it does not look artificial and out of place in your garden.  You may consider a formal pond built from concrete and edged with paving or tiles, an informal pond with a slightly irregular curved shape and perhaps boulders or rocks placed around it or a shallow wildlife pool with gently sloping edges and lots of plants in and around the water.


Plants for Sun & Shade

Just like people, some plants love sun while others flourish in cooler, shadier conditions. Most gardens have a combination of sunny spots and shady corners, so choose your plants carefully to make the most of the different areas in your garden. Many sun-loving plants have thick, silvery coloured leaves with hairs to reduce water loss, whilst numerous flowers are well suited to a dry, sunny site, giving you the opportunity to create all kinds of interesting displays. There are a few varieties that release scent for those warm summer evenings.  Alternatively, shade provides a wonderful opportunity to grow many marvellous plants. While some varieties do not flower well in shade, many plants originate from woodland, so you can create fascinating effects with foliage.


Growing Roses

Roses look wonderful, smell terrific, are easy to grow and hardy, which means they can be left outdoors and flower year after year. Give them plenty to eat and drink, some tender loving care, appreciation and you’ve cracked it! There are wide variety of cultivars and colours to choose from, so the first step is deciding where to plant them in your garden.


Growing Trees

If you want to add a sense of stability and permanence in your garden, you may consider planting a tree. Trees can create shade, wind breaks, privacy and focal points in your overall garden design and they are also a haven for birds. You’ll find all kinds of different sizes, colours, fruits, leaf shapes, barks and flowers, but before planting a tree, however, it’s important to remember that a large-growing variety may disrupt the foundations if it’s planted within 30m of a house. Deciduous trees will not provide so much screening in winter when they have no leaves.


Growing Perennials

If you like the idea of flowering plants that come back year after year, then plants such as Oriental poppies, cranesbills, hostas and peonies are all referred to as ‘herbaceous perennials’ – plants that die back in autumn and grow again the following year. Whether you choose to plant your beds and borders entirely with the many types available or mix them with bedding plants, shrubs and bulbs, they create real colour, depth and variety, easily and quickly, and they won’t cost the earth. You may like to draw up a plan first, so that you can use some of the easily grown plants of different heights and flowering times to create real interest in your garden.


Growing House Plants

There’s nothing better for brightening up an indoor environment than a well-grown houseplant and they are available in a vast range of forms from tiny gems suitable for the smallest windowsill to rampant growers for the largest hallway. They offer lush foliage, beautiful blooms and interesting forms. Some thrive in damp bathrooms, others need a sunny spot, so make sure you choose a houseplant that will tolerate the conditions in which it is to grow. Take care when transporting houseplants to protect them from cold, drafts, wind or excessive heat as failure to do so can lead to plant deterioration or even death, and the effects may not fully show themselves until some time after you’ve bought it.


Growing Climbing Plants

Plants that climb or ramble add a vertical dimension to a garden by transforming walls and fences, they will effectively disguise dead trees or stumps, sheds or unsightly areas, they’ll happily clamber over trellises, and they bring colour to the dullest corner or the straggliest thin hedge. Fragrant climbers such as jasmine, scented roses and honeysuckle can help mask the smell of dustbins, while evergreen climbers provide cover all year round.


Growing Shrubs

If you want to create shape and structure in your garden, shrubs are a great investment! These permanent bushes can provide foliage, fragrance, flowers and fruit, depending on the type of shrub you buy. With careful planning, you can enjoy beautiful shrubs all year round.


Growing Ornamental Grasses

Grasses have blended into the background for years, but now hundreds of different kinds are available to gardeners. They offer diversity of form, colour and foliage, and many bear attractive ornamental flower and seed heads that can be dried. Grasses enliven plantings with their rustling movement and varying textures, adding extra depth and structure. Dramatic effects can be achieved by planting ornamental grass as individual living sculptures or en-masse in large swathes. Equally, grasses can form a very visual display when inter-planted with foliage and flowers in beds or containers.


Growing Salad

Growing salad crops may not seem possible if you are restricted to a small planting area, but if you’d like to use your growing space for plants with colour, interest and mouth-watering flavours, salad crops could be the perfect choice for you. Nothing tastes as good, or is as fresh or rewarding as food you have grown yourself, so why not encourage the whole family to get involved. Children will enjoy sowing seeds, watering plants or picking the crop, not to mention eating the healthy harvest!


Growing Fruit

A succulent harvest of ripe berries in summer and orchard fruits in autumn is a wonderful bonus for gardeners, with very little effort required. Fruit trees have the added bonus of beautiful spring blossom and ballerina style trees can be grown in the smallest space, while berry fruits can be grown against a sunny wall or fence and strawberries are suitable for containers or hanging baskets.


Growing Herbs

Herbs have been grown for centuries for their culinary, medicinal and ornamental properties. An essential ingredient in many dishes, herbs can be cultivated and picked fresh from the garden, however small the plot. These ornamental plants range from those grown annually from seed, such as basil; to more permanent perennials, such as mint and tarragon; and shrubs including rosemary, lavender and bay. They have a multitude of uses – infusions from the leaves or flowers can help relieve a range of ailments; leaves, stems, seeds or flowers can be used fresh, dried or frozen to flavour sweet and savoury dishes; dried herbs can be added to pot pourri; and some work as insect repellents.


Growing Tender Vegetables

Many of the most worthwhile vegetables you can grow at home are known as ‘tender plants’ and will not survive outside in cold weather without some form of protection. They are best sown indoors on a warm, sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse and then the seedlings can be planted outdoors when the risk of frost and bad weather has passed. Vegetables that are classed as tender include marrow, courgette, pumpkin, squash, beans and sweetcorn.


Growing Root Vegetables

Sweet, nutritious and excellent in soups and stews, root vegetables are key players in the autumn garden and the winter table. Root crops are easier to grow than you might think, and with our simple planting tips, you'll be harvesting your own beetroot, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, swedes and turnips in no time!


Growing Hardy Vegetables

Hardy vegetables are crops that prefer cool growing conditions and include brassicas (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and spinach), bulbous vegetables (garlic, onions, shallots and leeks) and perennial artichokes and asparagus.