Posts Tagged ‘RHS’

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.

The Hedging Network: A Focus on Robert Hughes

Here at Hedges Direct, we’re passionate about introducing our customers to reliable, experienced landscapers and garden designers in their local area. In order to pair up our customers with local planting professionals, we created The Hedging Network, which allows you to locate and choose from our database of approved horticultural experts. Having worked with these companies on previous projects, we’ve built up strong, trusting relationships and we’re confident in the knowledge that our quality products are in the hands of professionals. So, now when you see The Hedging Network’s ‘Approved’ badge, you too can be confident that the expertise and reliability demonstrated by your local landscaper or garden designer, sufficiently meets the standards expected of The Hedging Network.

This is the first article in our new ‘A focus on…’ series, which hopes to shine the spotlight on some of our Approved members. To kick start the series, we interviewed one of the founding members of The Hedging Network, Robert Hughes of Robert Hughes Garden Design. A two time RHS award winning Landscaper turned Garden Designer from Cardiff, who is currently living his dream working through a long list of design projects and show gardens. We managed to grab a few minutes with him, in between projects, to gain a snippet into his busy schedule –

 

  1. How did you get started in the industry?

I graduated in Product Design in 2003.  I decided to enter landscaping industry after being inspired by the exciting, architectural and daring designs created by Diarmuid Gavin on Homefront in the garden around that time.  From then on I gained experience by building gardens whilst studying at home in order to achieve my dream to become a Garden Designer.  I established my company in 2008 and went on to win my first RHS Silver gilt medal with my first garden in 2009.

A focus on Robert Hughes Garden Design 2

  1. What does a typical day look like?

Having only recently given up the tools, my days are now much more relaxed. After a cup of tea to start the day and get the brain ticking, I sit at my desk with the views up to the local mountain and let the creative juices flow.  I’m usually juggling up to 10 projects at any one time so I will spend a few hours on one project and leave those ideas to incubate, I’ll then work on another project at a different stage and every now and again I’ll make a trip out to meet my clients to discuss the designs.

 

  1. Which of your projects have you most enjoyed working on, and why?

My most enjoyable project to date would have to be my recent RHS Cardiff show garden, ‘Office box’.  I’m always working towards reaching my goal of exhibiting my own style, having my own personal edge.  This garden is the closest garden I’ve created to date which really speaks of my personal taste and demonstrates my capabilities.

A focus on Robert Hughes Garden Design

  1. What’s your number one gardening tip?

Well I’m more of a hard landscaping expert so I think I’ll focus on that.  A common mistake most people make is using a jet wash to clean the algae from their patios.  This opens up the stones pores and means that the patio will probably go green twice as quick next time around.  There’s some products on the market which help prevent the growth of Algae.  Solve the problem before it arises and keep on top of cleaning off any dust, dirt or leaves to keep those patios looking like new.

 

  1. What are you working on next?

Along with many other exciting projects I’m currently working alongside a local Architect firm to create a contemporary garden which will complement their bold statement of a reimagined 1960’s contemporary house in Penarth, South Wales.  I am also currently seeking a sponsor to work alongside and start making plans towards exhibiting another show garden at one of next year’s prestigious RHS flower shows.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into his expertise. Stay tuned for the next installment in the series, coming in 2016 and head over to our Hedging Network to see what horticultural experts are in your area.

For landscapers and garden designers, if you would like to become an approved member of our reputable Hedging Network, please contact trade@hedgesdirect.co.uk or give us a call on 01257 263876 and ask to speak to a member of the Trade Team.

Greening Grey Britain

Since Easter this year, the RHS have been campaigning to Green Greying Britain and recently, more and more people are joining the crusade to transform our front gardens into sustainable spaces instead of just plain old paving. With over a third of London’s gardens now being completely paved over and many other parts of the country losing their green spaces to concrete, it’s more important than ever to do your bit to get Britain green again.

Earlier in the year, Sean Murray, winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, had the chance to showcase his idea for a sustainable garden at Chelsea and more recently, Simon Fagg, revealed his Spiralling into Control show garden at RHS Tatton Park. Both garden designers managed to incorporate the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign to create gardens that were both sustainable and functional, without forfeiting aesthetics.

Spiralling into Control show garden

Why Greening Grey Britain is important

Often people forget the part that their own garden plays in the larger environment and so don’t consider the damage that paving over their space can cause. Gardens host a huge range of benefits for the environment, local wildlife and our physical and mental well-being, and as our climate continues to change, we need to do everything we can to protect Britain against the negative impacts of losing our green spaces, particularly in urban areas.

Not only does paving take away all the ornamental value of your front garden but it can contribute to increased temperatures and the risk of flooding. The rise in urban temperatures is triggered by hard surfaces, such as paving and concrete, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night, resulting in ‘the heat island effect’ which not only makes it difficult to sleep but also results in poorer air quality – gardens are able to regulate temperatures much more easily. And, whilst turf, soil and plants can all absorb rainwater, paving does not and can cause up to a 50% run off increase into street drains, which often cannot handle this volume of water, resulting in floods.

How you can help in Greening Grey Britain

Many people pave over their gardens simply for practical reasons without realising that there are plenty of options that allow a parking space as well as room for plants, shrubs and turf. Here’s a few simple things you can do to join the campaign to get Britain’s green spaces back:

– Choose space saving plants

Climbers and wall shrubs are the perfect solution to add some greenery to small spaces, and Ivy screens and Pleached trees can provide both ornamental and environmental value, when the need to create a parking space may mean compromising your garden.

– Garden for wildlife

In short, the more plants you have, the more value your garden will hold for wildlife. However, it’s understandable that often space is limited in front gardens, which is why planting a hedge is a great way to encourage wildlife without taking up too much room. Wildlife friendly hedges can provide food and shelter for a variety of different species, including birds, insects and hedgehogs.

– Choose permeable paving

This type of paving, as seen in the Spiralling into Control show garden, reduces the risk of flooding as the permeable materials absorb rainfall, reducing the impact of run off.

By making these small changes to your front garden and incorporating the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign into any plans you have to alter your front garden, we can work together to make sure we don’t lose the green Britain we all love.

Hedges Direct at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

Hedges Direct were recently involved in the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, working with luxury furniture company, Chic Teak. You can read more about our collaboration with Chic Teak here but we didn’t want our visit to Tatton Park to be all work and no play, so we made sure we had chance to wander round and see what else was going on. Here’s the biggest themes and trends we spotted at the show:

– Topiary

It’s no surprise that topiary was a popular choice at Tatton Park, with topiary standards providing instant impact and structure to both show gardens and exhibitors – our own Box topiary spirals and balls even featured in the show, used to decorate the Chic Teak stand. Under-planting topiary was also a re-occurring theme; topiary planted in either large containers or along beds surrounded by bright border plants provided a burst of colour that complimented the varying heights and shapes of topiary.Topiary at Tatton Park

Topiary standards– Bee friendly plants
Bee friendly borders popped up all around the show, highlighting the importance of choosing plants for pollinators in order to reduce the decline in bee numbers. These bee friendly plants not only have practical uses, supplying essential nectar and pollen to bees, but the range of colours, shapes and fragrances proves that the aesthetic value of these plants is in no way compromised.

Bee friendly plants

 

Bee friendly garden

– Wildlife gardens
It’s not only bees that were given the spotlight at Tatton Park; there were plenty of other wildlife species that featured in the show gardens and exhibitor stands. Creating a home for nature in your garden was a common theme with bug boxes, hedgehog habitats, and bird houses making an appearance in several of the gardens.

gardening for wildlife

wildlife friendly garden

– Perennial grasses
Many of the show gardens included perennial grasses which gave the designs a natural, more relaxed look and added texture to the planting schemes. The Light Catcher Garden and A Quiet Corner (both awarded gold) were heavily punctuated with sections of perennial grasses.

perennial grass

– Instant hedging
Instant hedging seemed to be the go-to choice for many garden designers, using this fast and effective hedging unit as a way to create an attractive backdrop for their designs. Instant hedging was also used as a canvas for some of the exhibitor stands, including the Chic Teak stand which featured our Hornbeam instant hedging.

instant hedging

instant hornbeam hedging

– Pleached and espalier trees
Although these tree training methods only made a small appearance at the show, the use of pleached trees and espalier trees demonstrates how these age-old training methods are still valued as significant horticultural skills.

pleached hedging

pleached trees

– She Sheds and Man Caves
There were plenty of sheds dotted around the Tatton Park Flower Show but they definitely didn’t look like your average shed. The trend to use your garden shed for leisure as well as storage and gardening is definitely on the rise, with one mirrored shed even containing a disco ball.

Shed

– Roof gardens
More and more roof gardens are appearing as urban gardening continues to rise. The tall, outdoor table and chairs from Chic Teak are perfect for small spaces such as roof gardens and plenty of sheds and garages at the show, like the one displayed in the Spiralling out of Control garden, featured green roofs channelling the Greening Grey Britain campaign.

 

chic teak furniture

greening grey Britian

Let us know your top trends from the Show on our Facebook page or share your photos with us @hedgesdirect.

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