Mirror, mirror on the wall (or the fence, or the trellis)…

Black garden mirror

I love to use mirrors in the garden, to reflect light and add a feeling of extra space to my small patch, which is only 25’ x 35’, so every little helps! I’ve had my mirrors for years, and they’ve stood up to the weather well, although maybe they’re just a little bit tarnished now. Only three are specific “garden mirrors” – the rest are from junk shops, car boots, pound shops etc. (Did I mention I was a thrifty gardener?), but they all serve to add a touch of mystery. So would you like to come with me and take a look through the looking glass?

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Caring For Your Water Feature

Stainless Steel Spiral Water Feature from Primrose

Whether you have grabbed a bargain tabletop water feature or splashed out on a large stainless steel fountain, you will need to care for your feature to ensure it stays at its best.

Water features require different care depending on the season. During spring and summer when the days are hot, water can evaporate quickly so you must keep an eye on the water level in the feature to prevent it running dry. Remember that the pump must always be submerged in water – if the fountain is left running but is without water, this can cause considerable damage to the pump and prevent it working properly in the future.

Likewise, in winter it is important to make sure that the water in the fountain is kept above freezing point. Water expands when it freezes, so if it is allowed to freeze within the feature, the pressure can cause a lot of damage, potentially preventing the fountain from working properly. If you have an outdoor water feature that you can bring indoors, the temperature inside your home should be high enough to prevent the water freezing. However, if you want to leave the feature outdoors, you should remove any water at the start of the winter, or alternatively try Primrose’s Fountain Frost-Free, an eco-friendly and safe product which you simply add to the water to prevent it freezing, enabling you to continue enjoying the feature throughout wintertime.

Fountains can also be prone to algae growth, particularly outdoor fountains; the supply of water together with plenty of sun provides optimum growing conditions. This can cause the water in your feature to turn green. To avoid this, make sure you change the water regularly to prevent any build-up of algae. You can also buy a water feature cleaner which will keep the water clear and free of algae. Primrose recommends Ambienté Fountain Safe as an economical, effective and safe fountain cleaner. This can also be combined with Ambienté’s Stainless Steel Water Feature Cleaner, a fantastic, innovative product designed to prevent limescale buildup on stainless steel features and to keep them shiny and clean.

Spring Time And Solar Power For The Garden

Solar Butterfly Garden Lighting

At last, the sun is shining! We’ve had a couple of weeks of wonderful weather already lately, which I have been thoroughly enjoying, as I hope you are. Now is the perfect time to get planting ready for summer and strawberries are a great investment of your time at the moment. Not only do you get the satisfaction from seeing them grow well, but once the berries are ripe, they are also delicious (particularly in a cheesecake!) This year we are growing our strawberries in one of these strawberry
barrels
, although we’ve also got some in a couple of hanging baskets. Fingers crossed they’ll be a success, we’ll let you know!

Of course, gardens are more than just a place to grow things, they’re also places to sit down, relax and enjoy the beauty around us. At this time of year, one of the best ways to enhance your garden’s natural charm is by taking advantage of solar power. Many garden features and decorations can be powered by the sun and this has a lot of knock-on benefits, for example lower costs as solar energy is free unlike electricity. Solar products can also be placed anywhere outside (as long as the panel is in the sun) whereas mains powered products need to be placed near the house to be connected to the electricity.

Solar lights are one of the most attractive and varied solar garden products available. Some, like the colourful butterflies in the picture, are very pretty and unusual, but if you prefer something a little less extravagant, this set of four lamps is classy and also ideal for lighting up a path or patio area. From table lights to light strings with 50 LEDS, there is such variety available that there will be something for anyone’s taste.

Solar doesn’t just stop with lighting, however. Many water
features
come with a solar option, but if you already have a water feature that runs off the mains, you can still save some money (and the environment!) by turning it solar with a solar pump kit.

In addition to decorative items, energy from the sun can also be used to run more practical items. An outdoor clock is perfect when you need to keep an eye on how much time you’ve spent in the garden, but solar clocks that absorb the sun’s rays can often provide an extra power supply for LEDs on the clock, so it can still be used on balmy nights when the sun has gone down. Even pest control devices which chase away those pesky cats or moles can be powered entirely by solar energy!

So versatile, so eco-friendly, so cost-effective – have you tried solar yet?

Tidying up the Garden

Green Garden Lawn Edging

Well it’s already February! The time has gone quickly and the snow from December is just a memory now. It’s also starting to get warmer down our way, we’re creeping towards Spring, so now it’s time to think spring cleaning for the garden!

I expect that after a few months of abandoning the garden and hiding inside away from the weather, your garden is looking like it needs a little TLC… So here are a few tips on how to get it back into shape! Weed Wand from Primrose Gardens

You can keep your garden looking neat and tidy by mark the boundaries of your flower beds with some stylish, affordable border edging. Border edging comes in a range of styles and looks great running along the edge between your lawn and flower beds. It’s flexible and can fit any length edge and is also a great way to prevent loose soil etc from spilling over from your flower beds onto your lawn.

Weeds can be the bane of a gardener’s life, and I’m sure a few will have popped up over the winter. It’s important to take special care when removing weeds that have grown up around your plants, but weeds growing on your driveway and patio can be dealt with very quickly and easily with a number of weed-killers such as sprays or an eco Weed Wand – instantly creating a much tidier area.

There are a great number of products to make it easier and quicker to clear up your garden. For example, if there are a lot of leaves and detritus clogging up your garden, a handy way to deal with this are leaf grabs which can scoop up the leaves in large volumes. And what do you do with all these leaves and other garden waste? Make compost! Composting is fantastic as it is not only great for the environment, but also provides a neat and free way to dispose of a lot of your garden waste (though don’t compost weeds!). Take a look at one of our earlier posts for how to make great compost.

Finally, where do you put all your garden tools, pots, planters and everything else when they’re not in use?

Storage is vital in any garden and will keep your tools and other items safe and protected while at the same time neatening up your garden. Greenhouses are useful storage areas as well as ideal environments for plants that require more warmth and shelter than our British weather can provide. Sheds are the traditional garden stores, though you may like to consider plastic garden stores instead since they are fully weatherproof and not liable to rot or succumb to damp. Many can also be opened by the roof as well as the doors, allowing easy use.