A Cumbrian fellside garden that’s always a pleasure to work in. If you’re wondering what the circular structure is, that’s our bespoke casing for a septic tank using natural stone and a ‘distressed’ wooden lid with a heavy duty rope handle.
As we near the end of January 2014 in Cumbria we’re still experiencing mild but wet weather. These winter months can be a quiet time for landscape gardeners.
That’s largely do with the wet weather of course, but there are other important factors to take into consideration. A typical scenario goes something like this: While you’ll have often heard it said that winter is a good time for garden planning and preparation, as you stand looking out of your window watching the rain pour it’s understandable that a new fence, pruning your wisteria and your fruit trees, planting your rhubarb and ventilating your glasshouse are not high on your list of priorities.
Landscape gardening is a year-round job, one of the challenges contractors face, though, is getting that message across, and sensitively – most people have more important things on their minds. Up and down the country we’ve experienced such high levels of rainfall people have real concerns about flooding. Concerning climate change, what’s happening up there in the high fells of Cumbria has an impact on what happens down here in countless hamlets, villages, towns and our border city, Carlisle. When we’ve extremely wet or dry weather, the knock-on effects are far-reaching, eroding our collective psyche as well as the foundations of our iconic stone walls and buildings. We all have to adapt in this world we have made, speaking of which, the book The World We Made is easy-to-read and, by the way, uplifting. This from BBC Gardening (it’s well worth reading the full article if you’ve time, the different points of view are interesting, and the section ‘What You Can Do’ is helpful.)
• Almost a quarter of all front gardens in NE England have been completely paved over. It’s estimated that London has lost the equivalent to 5,200 football pitches by householders paving over their front gardens.
• Paving, tarmac and concrete increase the amount of rainwater than runs off by as much as 50 per cent, leading to flooding.
• Most concrete paving, also marketed as ‘Reconstituted Stone’, uses Portland cement to bind the aggregates and sand. Cement production is one of the most energy intensive manufacturing processes in the world. The process also gives off a cocktail of air pollutants such as dust, dioxins and hydrocarbon compounds.
• The UK produces about 12 million tons of cement per year.
• The production of concrete in the UK is responsible for 2.6 per cent of carbon emissions, compared with 28 per cent from transport (excluding international aviation and shipping).
Landscape gardeners have a role to play here, if afforded the opportunity, and this includes keeping up to date with planning regulations, knowing what’s fact and what’s fiction and, above all, encouraging or introducing our customers to sustainable gardening which must allow for, say, permeable paving and alternatives to paving. This is the way forward. For more information: Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens.
Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnut’s only good they say,
If for logs ’tis laid away.
Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold
Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
it is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E’en the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winter’s cold
But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by.
The firewood poem was written by Lady Celia Congreve, first published in THE TIMES newspaper on March 2, 1930
Desert island vegetables, what’s yours? Here’s mine.
It’s early January here in Cumbria, and save for an awful lot of rain and strong winds recently, it’s still pretty mild out there. There’s still time to plant garlic, if you fancy giving it a shot, here’s the basic info. you’ll need.
1. Don’t use garlic bulbs from a supermarket, order some from your local nursery or by mail order.
2. Order your garlic to plant between September to March.
3. This post explains how to plant garlic in a pot. All you need, apart from a pot, is some good multi-purpose compost, a bit of fertiliser to mix in with the compost, and your garlic cloves.
4. Say you’ve a 12″ diameter pot, choose one with a good depth to it too, you can place 8-10 cloves in it, with as much space between them as possible.
5. So you’ve done that, and you haven’t planted the bulbs too close to the edge of the pot, right? That’s because they need to swell.
6. Water well, and keep the compost moist.
7. Place the pot somewhere where it will get the most sunlight.
8. Yes, an indoor sunny kitchen windowsill might work, but you’re more likely to produce leaves, which can be used to flavour your food, nonetheless.
9. Enjoy harvesting your garlic in late Summer, and meantime keep your pot weed free and watch out for garlic pests and diseases.
We’ve been looking around for birdhouse ideas, and came across some unusual birdhouses, like this one.
The Tornado is a unique modern birdhouse designed to make a statement, while still blending in with the natural environment.
The layered front and square opening provide an interesting counter to most birdhouse shapes, with a natural and warm wood.
The face is made of cedar which will develop a slightly weathered, silvery look throughout the years. It has been finished with teak oil to preserve its appearance and protect it.
The opening is 1 1/2″ to accommodate most small birds.
The back is removable to facilitate easy cleaning each season. Screw the back to whatever surface you wish to mount it on, then slide the shell onto it. Screws will be provided.
Also available in BLACK
-Pine (may be used for the shell)
-Semi-Gloss Exterior White Paint
-Provided Screws for mounting
For more pictures and to purchase online: The Tornado Birdhouse, available on Italic Home, Etsy.