Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

It’s Snow Joke!

The weather forecast this weekend is screaming snow and ice. Whilst for some that brings happiness and plans for winter walks are being made, others see the news of snow and start to panic about the survival of their plants and their ability to cope with these extreme weather conditions unaided. Fear not, not all plants are pansies! Some plants have adapted to such extreme weather and built up their own protection, this is known as ‘hardiness’.

Hardiness relates to a plant’s ability to survive outside during winter. Initially, when choosing a plant species, one must ask themselves “will this species endure the conditions in my area?” The main conditions to be considered are wet and cold temperatures, which the UK is of course familiar with! Certain plants will take to a variety of cold conditions as some will be able to take a light frost, whereas others can withstand freezing temperatures for a considerably long time.

The origin of a plant can impact its ability to survive in harsh conditions. Plants native to the UK have adapted to unusual environments and external factors, such as harsh climates, whilst other plants can thrive in a diverse range of locations and are able to adjust to different environments. A great number of these native plants are deciduous and have therefore adapted over thousands of years to attain features that ensure their survival. Deciduous plants shed their foliage during the winter season, whereas their alternative evergreens keep their leaves and so are exposed to the effects of freezing. Evergreens however shouldn’t be disregarded as their thick structures can, more often than not, cope with cold temperatures. Especially when planted to maximise their exposure to the sun or sheltered to protect them from winds.

See RHS‘s hardiness scale…

Rating Temperature ranges ºC (ºF) Category Definition
H1a warmer than 15 (>59) Heated glasshouse – tropical Needs to be grown as a house plant or under glass all year round.
H1b 10 to 15
(50 to 59)
Heated glasshouse – subtropical Can be grown outdoors in summer in sunny and sheltered locations but generally performs best as a house plant or under glass all year round.
H1c 5 to 10
(41 to 50)
Heated glasshouse – warm temperate Can be grown outdoors in summer throughout most of the UK while daytime temperatures are high enough to promote growth.
H2 1 to 5 (34 to 41) Tender – cool or frost-free glasshouse Tolerant of low temperatures but will not survive being frozen. Except in frost-free inner-city areas or coastal extremities requires glasshouse conditions in winter, but can be grown outdoors once risk of frost is over
H3 -5 to 1
(23 to 34)
Half-hardy – unheated glasshouse / mild winter Hardy in coastal / mild areas except in hard winters and at risk from sudden (early) frosts. May be hardy elsewhere with wall shelter or good microclimate. Can survive with artificial winter protection.
H4 -10 to -5
(14 to 23)
Hardy – average winter Hardy through most of the UK apart from inland valleys, at altitude and central / northerly locations. May suffer foliage damage and stem dieback in harsh winters in cold gardens. Plants in pots are more vulnerable.
H5 -15 to -10
(5 to 14)
Hardy – cold winter Hardy through most of the UK even in severe winters. May not withstand open or exposed sites or central / northerly locations. Many evergreens suffer foliage damage and plants in pots will be at increased risk.
H6 -20 to -15
(-4 to 5)
Hardy – very cold winter Hardy throughout the UK and northern Europe. Many plants grown in containers will be damaged unless given protection.
H7 colder than -20 (< -4) Very hardy Hardy in the severest European continental climates including exposed upland locations in the UK.

Gardeners who have stayed in one location over a number of years become familiar with their conditions and have maintained gardens that thrive throughout the year. For those who are new to a location, we advise becoming familiar with your seasonal changes by noting down signs of first and last frost, along with frost frequency, rainfall and wind direction. Or, why not get to know your local garden enthusiasts (easily spotted at your local allotment or found tending to their front gardens on a daily basis!) and ask for their findings to compare to the RHS rating descriptions.

A number of gardeners have the tendency to look past the initial stage of research and opt for their favourite species with no regard to ‘hardiness’. Before choosing a plant for your garden, ensure you gather all the information you need in regards to the species and your area specific conditions. This will stand you in good stead and allow you to watch your plant establish through the thick and thin of the unreliable UK weather.

January Garden Advice

January is a time for new beginnings and when we make resolutions we hope we are going to stick to. So why not make some goals for the garden? Even though the weather is never pleasing in January, It’s a perfect time to be making way for Spring on the horizon.

“Enjoy the fresh air, on dry sunny days, and check your winter protection, stakes, ties and supports are still working after any severe weather. Also put out food for birds and leave some garden areas uncut, a little longer, to provide shelter for wildlife in your garden.” Taken from RHS

Now is still a good time to plant bare roots, if you’re planting a bare root hedge, rose or shrub, then the method is a little bit more involved, but just as easy. Bare root hedging offers a great, cost-effective solution to hedging at home. Generally, bare root plants are deciduous so they can seem slightly disappointing when they arrive as the plants will be dormant. However, what you really get is a substantial root system and a decent amount of stem (depending on the age/height) and side shoots. Once you plant your bare roots and spring arrives you will soon see your plants flourish and realise you have made a fantastic investment!

Make yourself some goals for the year, even if it’s just tidying one area of the garden that often gets abandoned or why not try and make yourself a new BBQ area ready to entertain guests in the Summer. Here’s a few things you can be doing:

 

We know staying in where its’s warm is much more appealing, but gardening is a very sneaky way to shift them mince pies and enjoy the outdoors, gardening burns a lot of calories! Make sure you are leaving out food and water for birds that need them. Don’t trim your hedges too much so wildlife still have nesting spots and instead of clearing up any left over fallen leaves, make them into cosy piles for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs have really struggled this winter and they need help, please read this blog post featuring environmentalist writer Clive Harris, recently interviewed by The Ecologist, on what you can do to help them with his ‘Ultimate guide to looking after hedgehogs’. Read Clive’s blog here.

So get up, get a rain coat on and some wellies and get outside! Your gardens will thank you come Spring.

If you have your own gardening tips you would like to be featured in our blog, please share them to our Facebook or tweet @hedgesdirect

We would also love to see any new hedges that have been planted, send us your photos.

Happy Gardening!

Lawn Care For Snowy Weather & Enter Our Winter Wonderland Competition

It is generally thought that there is little you can do to look after your turf in the snow and to a certain extent this is true, but there are still several precautions you can take to ensure your high quality turf is damaged to a lesser extent by the extreme weather.

The best solution to prevent the snow from damaging your grass lawn is to cover it up with an over-ground cover or to install an underground heater; however for most of us this isn’t possible (and seems a little extreme!) so these tactics are typically reserved for football or cricket pitches.

Instead there are simple actions that we recommend to help protect your roll on turf from the worst of the damage:

  1. First off the better the quality of your lawn turf and the more effectively you use fertiliser to increase the strength of your roll on turf throughout the year, the better its chances of survival in harsh weather conditions.
  2. Avoid walking across your lawn when the snow has settled.  We know that it’s fun creating footprints or snow angels, but the downside is that this can cause compaction of the snow in to the turf which damages the frozen tufts of grass beneath.
  3. Furthermore, when your lawn turf is soaked through following a thaw avoid walking on it, as this can cause compaction and damage to the delicate grass leaves. This is particularly important during the first year of establishment of your roll on lawn turf as, like a young child, it is more vulnerable to extreme changes in its environment.
  4. Watch out for the development of diseases such as snow mould, which you can’t see until the snow has melted away. The best thing to do in this case is to ask for advice and take action to remove the disease as soon as you see it forming. See more detailed information below to know what you are looking for.

Spotting Snow Mould

This is one of the severest lawn turf diseases and it is hard to manage.  Although it can be found throughout the year the most obvious time is following a snow thaw, hence the name snow mould.

The disease starts out as small patches of yellowish, dying grass, which eventually turn brown. These patches increase in size and may start merging together as the disease spreads.  In wetter conditions a white or pink fungus may also start to grow at the edges of the patches.

 

If you are concerned about snow mould then the best thing to do is to get in the experts but there are also actions you can take yourself:

  1. Help your lawn turf to dry out quickly after wet weather by airing it out.  Raking or spiking your roll on lawn turf will help with this, as will pruning back overhanging hedges and trees.
  2. Improve general airflow over your grass lawn by removing any dead leaves in the autumn

There is only one fungicide available to homeowners for the control of the disease, which is trifloxystrobin. It can be used throughout the year and in frozen conditions but the disease can build resistance to it so it is best to use it sparingly (about twice a year) and in conjunction with other fertiliser methods.

 

Competition Time!

Enter our Winter Wonderland Competition for your chance to win an amazing set of our garden hand tools!

 

 

(18.12.17 Competition now closed- well done to Sue Caton)

Self-Care Week, Garden Feng Shui & Superstar Sea Buckthorn

This week is self-care week, which I bet most people need every week, especially with the harsh weather now making the early morning commute that less desirable. However it is not all doom and gloom, this time of year is one of the busiest and best times for events, socialising and enjoying all the festivities. So naturally we are all going to start feeling a bit tired and worn out. General advice like taking a long bath, finding yourself a quiet space to sit with your thoughts for an hour are drilled into us and we find ourselves spending money on a super fruity, vitamin packed smoothie that promises to make you feel like a spring chicken again, only to disappoint. You don’t need to go to such extreme lengths and effort to have a bit of ‘me’ time to get yourself feeling like you again.

 

If one of your main hobbies is gardening or just horticulture in general, then there are so many ways you can combine this with your health. For general well-being, try introducing some plants into your home, some of them have qualities that most people don’t know about. For example, Aloe Vera is great for air purification, the plant continuously releases oxygen through the night so it’s a good one to keep in the bedroom as it keeps the air very clean. Usually we read not to keep plants in the bedroom due to release of CO2. Another champion and one that might surprise you to have in your home is, English Ivy. Although more commonly used to climb up the sides of our homes, English Ivy (Hedera Hibernica) is a great air purifier, The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that English Ivy can remove up to 78% of airborne mould in just 12 hours, taken from metro.co.uk. Most commonly know for its calming effect is the Lavender plant, used widely in lotions, candles and room sprays. Lavender is a market favourite for helping people who struggle with sleeping issues. Other air purifying plants include the Spider Plant, Peace Lily and Lady Palm. To view more plants that have health benefits, visit here.

If you are thinking about doing some re-development in your gardens, keep in mind what you can interpret in your designs that can turn your gardens into a ‘peace garden’. Adding a water feature, no matter the size, can be really beneficial in achieving a bit of zen and it will make your gardens a place you can sit and relax to the sound of trickling water.

Now I think it would be a bit rude of us to not mention the incredibly talented Sea Buckthorn hedge. This is a very interesting plant, the berries are edible and nutritious (15 times more vitamin C than an orange according to Wikipedia) but bitter and oily, the oils are used in cosmetic production. In China it is used a great deal as a herbal medicine for coughs, digestion, blood circulation and pain. There is also talk of cancer fighting properties found in Sea Buckthorn. Although it’s not well known, it has a lot of uses, Sea Buckthorn berries have long been used in India for their many health benefits and are most commonly used in herbal teas. A powerful antioxidant, Sea Buckthorn is known as nature’s most balanced fruit. Bursting with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals such as, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, K, P and Omeaga 3, 6, 7 and 9. Studies have shown that Sea Buckthorn can help with cardiovascular, memory, growth, anti-inflammatory, and skin health.

 

It is very prickly and is great as a vandal proof barrier hedge – the thorns are hidden amongst the berries so it could take an intruder by surprise. The leaves are an attractive grey colour, which is a common colour for coastal plants. The berries are bright orange and there are loads of them – it makes a spectacular display in Winter and the berries are often retained throughout winter. It is resistant to salt spray so that explains it’s name but actually as long as it is grown in full sun it will grow in any soil other than heavy wet soils. It is used to stabilise river banks and on steep slopes, it’s good as a windbreak and its roots fix nitrogen in the soil so it’s of great use in poor soil areas.


What a champion of a hedging plant! Hedges Direct hope you all have a fun and enjoyable weekend, even if it consists of a TV box set marathon, put your feet up, you deserve it!

 

The Landscape Show 2017 & Why To Choose Hedges Direct

The Landscape Show 2017

Recently Hedges Direct attended the annual Landscape show. “A trade event dedicated to qualified garden designers, landscape architects and contractors. It is a platform for them to network and source market-leading products to use in high end projects worldwide.” taken from landscapeshow.co.uk. The team chatted to many landscapers about what we do how we can help. It was great for the team and the day was filled with giving and receiving advice and knowledge, we also gave away a free bottle of bubbly to a lucky winner! We can’t wait for 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So why do Landscapers use Hedges Direct?

Here at Hedges Direct we pride ourselves in the highly established relationships we have with landscapers across the country. With over a decade of experience in the horticultural industry and a wide range of the finest suppliers and growers, we are confident that we can provide landscapers with everything they need for projects large or small.

Availability

Our friendly staff are on hand 6 days a week (7 in peak seasons) to offer immediate, bespoke quotes guaranteed to beat our competitor’s prices and unrivalled advice should you need it. Available by phone or email and if you’re busy at the time but want to talk to our staff, you can request a call back and one of our team members will get back to you within the hour.

Our range of fantastic Stock

We have a wide range of stock to satisfy even the most diverse of your customer briefs. Over the past ten years our product range has grown to successfully achieve an increasing range of project objectives. We now supply over 100 hedge plant species, and almost all are available in every root type; cell grown, pot grown, bare roots, root balls and professionally maintained instant hedge units for an immediate garden feature. We have all heights of hedging from 10cm to 9m and even larger specs available with this years’ addition of extra tall root ball plants in our most popular species. We know that our landscapers are faced with large garden projects which is why we offer discounted pallet deals so they can achieve these big projects when restricted to a budget.

In addition to our wide selection of hedging, we offer pleached, topiary, ornamental trees, turf, and a selection of the best planting essentials in the market.

We have a great relationship with some of the finest growers in the industry. When you order from us you can rest assured you will receive high quality plants as they are grown in perfect conditions by professionals with generations of experience. With this supply base, we are able to source external products so if we don’t stock what you’re looking for, we can source it for you.

We offer simple, quick and convenient delivery solutions

It’s important for landscapers that delivery is prompt and on time with no hassle, the last thing they want is to turn up to a new job and be stood twiddling their thumbs waiting for the plants to arrive.

Using our experience in dispatch and logistics, we can assure our landscapers that our delivery is made accurately and on time. Most orders are despatched within 3-5 working days with the option of next day delivery available, just call us on 01257 263873 when placing your order to see if we can get your plants to you the following day. We can guarantee landscapers AM delivery at no extra cost or at a time more suitable to them at a location of their choice. We don’t require a signature upon delivery so we can deliver them to the project location before you arrive. We take great care in selecting our currier partners so our plants arrive to you in perfect condition. We like to save landscapers money whenever we can so for order over £50, delivery is on the house!

Ive been delighted with Hedges Direct, they’re reliable in both their delivery arrangements and the quality of their stock. Deliveries on the day and at the time that I needed them”  Helen Voisey, MSGD & BALI Registered Designer, Helen Voisey Garden Design, Leeds.

 

The Hedging Network!

You may have already heard about the The Hedging Network through one of our email newsletters or read about in numerous trade publications. As a nationwide supplier of hedging plants (amongst other things) we are regularly asked by our customers for recommended horticulture experts in their area, and until now, we did not have a complete referral solution. The Hedging Network was created to bring together a selection of reputable and experienced landscapers and garden designers from around the country, in order to display their contact details in one location.

Joining The Hedging Network allows your company details to be visible to the thousands of potential customers browsing our website every day. As an Approved Member, our Sales team are able to refer customers directly to you when placing their order. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from Approved Members and it’s completely FREE to join!

In addition to your contact details being visible within our database, a direct link to your website will also be included so that browsing customers can easily access more information if it was needed. An Approved Member has full access to our approved badge which can be displayed on your website so you can showcase your membership and advertise that your company demonstrates the high level of quality service and expertise required to meet The Hedging Network criteria. We also broadcast our new joiners on our social media pages, reaching even more clientele.

We’re a social bunch at Hedges Direct and continuously share the relationship we have with our Approved Members through our various social media accounts. Our Approved Members frequently send pictures of the projects they have completed with our products, which are then shared to our thousands of social media fans and followers. These posts include a link to your website and a mention of your relationship with us to exhibit the high level of trust we have with your services.

 

Hedges & Pollution

Recently we have been featured in an article by the evening standard on pollution within the city and how hedging can help tackle the problem of air pollution. The harmful impact of urban air pollution could be combated by strategically placing low hedges along roads in a built-up environment of cities instead of taller trees, a new study has found. Hedges are often better than trees at soaking up air pollution, with their lower growth heights they can trap toxins from an exhaust pipe level. Scientists and professors have said that councils should consider planting hedging between pedestrians and the streets, if the pavement size permits. Despite their potential to improve air quality in the most polluted parts of towns, hedges are more commonly found in the suburbs rather than the city.

The use of trees in helping pollution levels is still vast and should not be dismissed, more a continuation of planting, however it is said that hedging has been neglected and their benefits overlooked.

 

“Dr Kumar, of Surrey University, told BBC News: “The big thing about hedges is that they are right down at tailpipe level.

“The emissions from vehicles starts to dilute very quickly as you move away from the road – so any hedge that acts as a barrier slowing down the airflow and catching pollutants on the leaves is going to offer people in homes better protection.”” Taken from BBC news article.

The main areas affected by pollution and in need of new ways to eliminate toxins are mainly in the city,

“Urban air quality continues to be a primary health concern as most of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas (54% in 2014), and percentage is projected to rise to 66% by 2050; this is coupled with the fact that one of the main global sources of air pollution in cities is traffic emissions.” Taken from The Tree Council

Professor Kumar said scientists were currently investigating which species of hedge plant made the best pollution absorbent. At Hedges Direct we would suggest species like Western Red Cedar due to its dense leaves. Not only will it help the environment, it is also very attractive when it’s fully matured with its vibrant fronds that are mid-dark green. Other species like Yew, Portuguese Laurel and Lonicera Nitdia would be a valuable choice also.

How to plant a bare root hedge

Bare Root hedging offers a great, cost-effective solution to hedging at home. Generally, bare root plants are deciduous so they can seem slightly disappointing when they arrive as the plants will be dormant. However, what you really get is a substantial root system and a decent amount of stem (depending on the age/height) and side shoots. Once you plant your bare roots and spring arrives you will soon see your plants flourish and realise you have made a fantastic investment!

Bare root hedging is one of the most cost effective methods in hedging planting. They cost less to grow and once they are planted they are left in the fields for years (until ready for purchase) instead of being re-potted year on year. As this root type is only available when the plants are completely dormant, from November to late April/early May, they can only be delivered and planted during this period (exact dates of the season depend on the weather each year). Please watch our video on how to plant a bare root hedge, we have used Yew hedging to demonstrate.

It is important to note that there is a failure rate attached to bare root hedging plants – 10% for most species. However, we find that when planted with Rootgrow all plants establish better, with a low failure rate.

Rootgrow contains Mycorrhizal fungi which is a living organism, essential to all plant root development, which enables plants to extract nutrients and absorb moisture more efficiently – it’s like Yakult for plants! Rootgrow will improve your hedges disease and drought resistance, soil condition, fruit and flower production and the shock caused by transplanting, planting with Rootgrow will result in triple the growth rate compared to none treated plants. Hedging planted with Rootgrow will experience better, earlier growth with fewer losses. Only one treatment of Rootgrow is needed to support the plant for its entire lifetime. For more information on the how to use Rootgrow, please watch the video on how to use Rootgrow Gel, which is what we used in our demonstration video.

 

 

For the love of dog! Prune Dogwood now to get radiant colour in winter.

Dogwood varieties are invaluable in winter, their fiery colours and stunning architectural displays are emphasised by the surrounding dismal weather, bare beds and colourless plants. They truly come into their own over winter taking centre stage in any winter garden design.

Dogwoods aren’t just for Christmas! These vibrant plants need to be nurtured in order for you to get the best of their wondrous winter display. Brighter colours are emitted by new growth therefore strategic pruning allows this plant to re-establish throughout the year, ready for winter.

The ideal time and method to prune Dogwood for a winter spectacle is in late March to mid-April, just before the new growth develops. Cut back almost a third of the stem, we suggest keeping the stems about 5-20cm above ground level. It’s a hardy plant so it can withstand such a harsh prune and has a fast growth rate you can cut into the back rest assured that it will grow back. Take a look at the image below of a trimmed Dogwood hedge.

Take a look at our ultimate guide to Dogwood hedge plants for more information on this colourful shrub.

Plant For A Spring Spectacle

As we turn our backs on winter it’s time to focus on spring and if like me, you’re eager to see new leaf growth, flowers and fruits, Hedges Direct have a great selection of plants with spring interest to satisfy our impatience.

For those wanting features as soon as possible, species such as Blackthorn, Flowering Currant and Forsythia boast beautiful flowers early in the season, so early that new leaves haven’t started to appear yet! Gorse also produce early spring flowers, but being evergreen, its buttery yellow flowers stand out next to the spiky green leaves that remain year round.

The UK didn’t have a white Christmas but you can bring this stunning colour to your garden in spring as Dog Wood, Hawthorn, Pyracantha, Viburnum lantana, June Berry and Wild Cherry, all produce white flowers in different shapes and sizes.

Alternatively, brightly coloured flowers appear on Hypericum, Berberis, Purple Leaf Sand Cherry, Weigela and Potentilla. To get the most of your flowering plants, there are some great tips on pruning spring flowering shrubs in this short video from Gardener’s World Magazine.

You can also access fantastic spring colour with the long awaited new growth of Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, which offers beautiful displays of red glossy leaves.

Christen the season with catkins! These long, hanging fruits dangle from the branches of Alder, Hazel, Hornbeam and Willow, attracting a range of British birds and other wildlife to your garden.

The species mentioned above are just a handful of spring spectacles. We’ve included a list of our entire collection of plants that offer fantastic interest in spring below:

 

Replacing a 20 year old conifer with a Beech hedge – Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd.

Replacing a hedge may seem a daunting task and a 20 year old, fully established conifer hedge, is as pretty much as daunting as it gets. Luckily for one customer, Tony Work and his team from Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd were on hand to help.

Green Garden Services 1964 Ltd are one of our approved members of The Hedging Network and with over 60 years of gardening experience they are highly qualified and have a strong passion for what they do. Located in the South East of England, they cater for anyone looking for professional gardening services in West Sussex.

Their replacement process began by cutting away the thick foliage of the mature conifer hedge. After heaps of leaves and twigs were removed and loaded into the trailer, the exposed main tree stem is taken from the ground and disposed of.

Tony Work explained we are sure that the old hedge of 20 years did not grow too well due to the planting was direct from the growing pot which should have been broken up so the roots could travel & find their own space”.

Top Tip: Potted plants are cared for in plastic containers which forces the root system to take the shape of its restricted space. When planting pot grown plants it is important to break up the root system so that its structure no longer takes the shape of its container, thus allowing the roots to fully form in their new positions. You can do this by simply shaking off excess soil and freeing the roots with your hands.

The team then placed each pot grown Beech plant in their new position however keeping them in their pots and above the soil. This is to ensure that the spacing between the individual plants is even before they go in the ground.

The plants have been positioned in a double staggered row. When fully grown, this planting method creates a thicker hedge as it will have a substantial depth compared to a hedge initially planted in a single row. Large stakes are then positioned 1.5 metres apart with string tied to each one to ensure the plants are planted in a straight line.

Beech plants have an average to fast growth rate reaching around 30-60 cm per year. A complete Beech hedge will display fantastic bursts of bright green in spring before transforming to a coppery colour in autumn. Alternatively, you can get a Purple Beech hedge for a richer, unique looking feature in spring that will showcase autumnal foliage later in the year. Beech is a native species and therefore offers additional wildlife value.

Tony Work and the team at Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd have a number of ongoing projects so keep your eye out for our blog to see more of their work. You can get their contact details or find local horticultural experts in your area with our Hedging Network.

If you’d like to share your planting process with a chance to be featured on our blog, or are a landscaper, grounds maintenance company or garden designer and want to become an approved member of our Hedging Network please contact trade@hedgesdirect.co.uk.

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