Blog – Floral & Hardy "Another Fine Mess... into a Fine Garden" ... from Concept to Creation Sat, 19 Sep 2020 14:20:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Getting Ready For The Autumn Glow Sat, 19 Sep 2020 14:13:40 +0000 Read the full article...]]> September brings a wind of change to our garden spaces and regardless whether you are a newcomer to gardening or a seasoned ‘old hand’, there is always something that needs to be attended to and prepare for the next part of the gardening cycle. 

Your garden may resemble a colour palette like the dolly mixtures in an old fashioned sweet jar with pots, hanging baskets and borders awash with an array of higgledy piggledy colours throughout the warm summer months,  but as the cooler days and nights creep in, the garden begins to take on different shapes and colours, shedding leaves and flowers, preparing itself for the longer months ahead.

Designing a garden to suit your lifestyle and interests and look aesthetically pleasing all year round takes some planning. For the new gardeners wondering what tasks for the winter might be after all the summer blooms begin to fade, it may be worth you thinking now about how you want your garden to look next spring and plan from there.

If you are looking to have a plethora of brightly coloured spring flowering plants then consider planting out a mixture of Spring bulbs. How would Springtime look or smell without the colours and scents of the golden cheery Daffodil, brightly coloured Tulips, a magical coloured carpet of Crocus or the beautiful white with a hint of blue,  star shaped flowers of Puschkinia (Russian Snowdrops)?   And, by planting woodland favourites such as the glorious English Bluebells (not the Spanish variety as they will invade other varieties of plant), the soft yellow hue of the Winter Aconite and the gorgeous scented Lily of the Valley, they will thrive in damp, shady areas of your garden, rooftop garden or balcony garden and create a visual carpet of colour from early spring. Importantly, these plants will also attract bees and other pollinating insects to your garden too.

It is always a good idea to save some seeds from the seed heads of your summer plants and sow them ready for planting out in the spring. It is a great time to think about sowing spring seeds now either in a greenhouse, portable garden greenhouse or coldframe or simply on your window sills if you don’t have access to a greenhouse.

If your garden space has a bit of a dark, shady corner or area that looks like it needs a bit of brightening up,  then consider planting a spring flowering Clematis that will be able to withstand cool and windy conditions and you will benefit from a beautiful array of foliage and flowers. 

Since we invest so much time (and hard earned cash!) into our gardens it is really worth considering how we protect some of our more vulnerable plants from succumbing to the early winter frosts and by using a horticultural fleece or even recycling old newspapers can help protect the more vulnerable plants in your garden from the cold snaps. 

So as the colours around us begin to change from the effervescent summer shades to the glowing reds and golden browns,  there is plenty of preparation to be done for the season ahead ready to look forward to a spring fiesta of flowers. 


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Creating a Garden for the Family Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:38:31 +0000 Read the full article...]]> How much more important have our garden spaces become during this unprecedented period? From balcony to back yard to small or larger garden spaces, never have we had so much time to nurture, develop and spend time in our outside spaces. Having to spend time homeworking and homeschooling, domestic routines have turned upside down and access to the outside space we have has become a key part of our daily routine. So how can we make the best of our garden or outside space and really make it work differently? 

For families experiencing lots of time together, it may be that the outside space needs to be adapted to accommodate all the families needs – by splitting the space into ‘zones’ for example can offer areas just for the children or the adults, and when considering the needs of the family, there are lots of ways the space can be utilised for all.

Som ideas that can be incorporated into such a plan could be:

  • Having a mud kitchen! 
  • Incorporating a raised area for the adult area 
  • Adding some shelving or hooks to hang plants, garden objects or garden lights
  • Making a visual impact using vertical planting
  • Dedicate a small area for the children to grow plants, maybe instead of a sandpit have a ‘growing pit’ 

And there are many types of natural material that can be used in the garden to make it a sensory and fragrant space. Using different sizes of logs for example to double up as the border edging creating the different zones and as ‘stepping stones’ across the garden.  Constructing a wooden pergola that also could be cleverly used as ‘monkey bars’ for an active teenager. Using turf and wood chip in floor areas is a safer option than creating too many hard surfaces; especially thinking of much smaller members of the household, using artificial lawn may not the best option, depending on the grade, as it can result in giving some quite nasty friction burns compared to the grass stained knee on the traditional turfed grass lawn when there is the occasional tumble. 

So establishing what the outside space is going to provide, planning what is going to go into the garden is important.

Planting – particularly with our little ones in mind, it will be important to include plants that are ‘child friendly’ such as the ‘poached egg plant‘ (limnanthes douglasii) and 

  • Nasturtium
  • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum)
  • Pot Marigold (Calendula) 
  • Amaranthus.
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Chives
  • Borage
  • Lemon Balm

Planting such a glorious array of plants will delight the children as they watch them grow and burst into a colourful, fragrant bed. Be imaginative and try recycling old toys or shoes and have fun turning them into individual bespoke mini planters! Introducing wildlife friendly and bee friendly plants will enhance any outdoor space whether it is a garden or a balcony, and by having mini planters or vertical planting schemes will give much more capacity to grow more plants.

There is much to be gained from growing plants even if the space you have seems too small, having imagination and creativity will enable you to make the most of being out in the fresh air and watching your garden grow. 


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Great Plants For Screening Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:17:52 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Great Plants For Screening


You may have the very best neighbours but would still sometimes like some privacy, or maybe have an unsightly area you wish to block from view.

No matter how good your neighbours are it really is lovely to have a private space in which to relax outside. This, of course, can be achieved with walls and fencing as well as other man made structures. A more natural screen can be created using some well thought out planting.

If you are unsure which plants would work best for you, then here’s a quick guide to some of our favourites. Don’t forget, here at Floral And Hardy we offer a range of services, including help with your garden layout. With years of experience of planning gardens of all shapes and sizes, we can help you plan your space to offer maximum privacy.

You may have an ugly wall or fence you wish to disguise, maybe a road passing your garden, or enthusiastic children next door on their trampoline. Whatever it is, there will be plants to help you create a screen.

Hiding a wall or fence. 

An ugly block wall can be brought to life by letting a rich, dark green ivy cover it, you’ll need to check its growth, as ivy can be rather keen, but you’ll soon be seeing that the wall has faded out of your view. Ivy could be quite destructive to a wooden fence, a better choice would be a gentle climbing plant such as Pyracantha or Jasmine. Careful positioning of trees which will grow taller than the fence or wall could also help with shielding from the neighbours.

Natural screening.

Probably the most popular plant for creating a natural screen is Bamboo. Bamboo has many advantages: A hardy plant, suitable for most climates across Britain, they will flourish in pretty much any soil type and cope with varying amounts of light. They are woody by nature, but also evergreen and so are up to the task of screening all year round. Depending on how much you want the Bamboo to spread, pick your variety carefully, some can be quite invasive and run out of control without careful maintenance. The prolific nature of Bamboo makes it perfect for creating a screen naturally, but also quickly.

Other good natural screens can be grown using Laurels, some varieties of Holly, Ligustrum, good old Buxus and even some Magnolias.

Planting in pots.

Many of the plants already mentioned above have varieties which will thrive in pots or containers if you don’t have a garden suitable for planting in the ground. In fact, several Bamboo varieties would benefit from being in pots which restrict them from spreading out of control.

You could also consider hooking pots onto walls, fencing, or trellising with both evergreen and seasonal plants to take the eye away from an unsightly area.

And don’t forget grasses, there are plenty of tall and dense varieties, such as Pampas, Feather Read and Big Bluestem which would all work well in helping to add some privacy to your outdoor space.

Contact us today and let’s start planning  your perfect, and private, garden.

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Plant out your Pelargoniums! Summer is coming! Thu, 18 Jun 2020 13:41:20 +0000 Read the full article...]]>

Summer is coming and with the long awaited re-opening of garden centres and nurseries on the 13th May after almost two months of closure, gardeners are ‘champing at the bit’ to restock depleted garden supplies and begin planning the planting out of the summer bedding. Most gardeners will have a greenhouse or somewhere to nurture new plants from seed and overwinter plants, but whatever the garden space, we will no doubt be looking to design the planting up of various styles of containers, hanging baskets and summer beds whilst taking in the all colours and types of plants available down those garden centre aisles.


So what to plant for a spectacular summer garden display? Plants such as Pelargoniums will be easy to grow and will always make your garden look pretty good all summer without too much maintenance and at the end of summer these can be overwintered in any frost free environment. They are slug resistant too, so if you find your garden is a slug paradise, it is best to consider plants that aren’t quite so tasty to slugs such as Fuchsia, Lobelia and  Antirrhinums (Snapdragons).



Plants that will attract slugs include Impatiens (Bizzie Lizzie), Verbena, Pansy, Petunia and a heaven for slugs is a bed of juicy Marigolds and although all these are a good meal for slugs,  the pollinators are attracted to them too. Often a bed of Marigolds will be planted adjacent to vegetable gardens because these plants attract the pests and predators away from the veggie patch.




So how do you decide on the plants for your summer garden? 

Something to consider would be how much time you have to maintain your garden space. If you have oodles of time then plants such as Mesembryanthemum (Ice Plant) which produce colourful, long lasting flower heads will need regular deadheading as do the gloriously scented Sweet Pea which will bring you great rewards for your hard work, but will need regular deadheading and removal of seed heads throughout the summer.  Petunia, Surfinia and Verbena all need to be maintained throughout the season to keep them all flowering regularly and looking great.

Another important consideration for your summer planting is how the light works in the garden – is it in deep or partial shade, dappled shade, full sunlight – all these need to be taken into consideration for the success of your summer garden planting.  Most bedding plants will not thrive under a dark shady spot – but the fun and colourful Impatiens (Bizzie Lizzie), Begonia, Pansy, and Viola will tolerate dappled and partially shady spots along with the Nicotiania, Antirrhinum and Fuchsia.

Is your garden a seamless extension to your living space? If so, you may be considering a particular colour theme and styling to your summer garden; will it be a garden space with a mass splash of ‘paintbox colour’ plants of varying heights and fragrances? Or is the colour palette more muted and streamlined and dedicated to a single colour such as a mass of beautiful blue flowering plants or calming white flowers against differing shades of green foliage. 


Choosing a single colour theme such as white and blending plants such as Orlaya Grandiflora (White Laceflower), Delphinium Grandiflorum ‘Guardian White’ which bloom early to mid summer and the beautiful Leucanthemum ‘White Breeze’ to attract the bees and the butterflies to your garden will result in an elegant and chic garden.


Whatever the summer garden plan, with renewed access to garden supplies and plants, the results of careful choosing and planting will no doubt bring joyful results for the long sunny, summer days ahead.

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Water Water Everywhere! Thu, 18 Jun 2020 11:46:42 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Water gardens and water features appear in all styles of garden designs and landscapes and historically have been a magnificent and opulent installation in garden landscapes. In fact for centuries now, water has been a key feature in a garden which we know by looking as far back to the 9th and 10th Centuries and earlier,  to the gardens designed by the Chinese.


The Chinese garden typically is enclosed by walls and includes one or more ponds, some rocks, trees and flowers all connected by winding paths. The inspiration for the Chinese garden design comes from all the surrounding trees, rocks and water and is seen to be a symbol and celebration of the natural world and expression of harmony between man and nature. 


The Japanese merchants who travelled to China during this period brought many of the Chinese gardening techniques back to Japan and began to develop their own garden style and hence, the Japanese water garden evolved.  The elements of a Japanese water garden are well known –  the trees, flowers, texture, colour water, stone, sky and earth with water symbolizing renewal, calm and wonder. 


It was the Italian Renaissance period that revived the popularity of the water garden with some of the most famous gardens emerging in the late 15th Century amongst the large villas of Florence and Rome. The inspiration for these garden designs came from the classical ideas of ‘order and beauty’. The intention of the design was to give pleasure through the view of the garden and towards the landscape beyond;  for contemplation and the sights, sounds and fragrances of the garden.


These gardens became more and more grand; designed symmetrically and filled with statues and fountains, grottoes and secret gardens. This style influenced the rich and affluent society of Europe including our own English gardens.


The Renaissance garden broke down the barriers that the Medieval gardens had been built upon – the design broke down the walls between the house, garden and allowed the view to look to thelandscape beyond. With the garden composed of many facets,  the main features included secret gardens, a ‘sacred’  wood that would be filled with statues of animals and legendary creatures, medicinal herbs and plants, and of course the water features – some designs included ‘water tricks’ which were concealed fountains that would drench the unsuspecting visitors! 


One of Europe’s most famous gardens are those of the Palace of Versailles in France containing some of the most elaborate of water gardens; this fabulously famous garden landscape influenced the rich and affluent British nobility and the fashion for canals and water fountains became popular in Royal Palaces and country houses.

(Famous water gardens in the UK include the oriental water garden at Cliveden, there is also Westbury Court Garden, Studley Royal Water Garden, Stowe and Harewood House).


But for most of us, we don’t have the luxury, the budget or the space to develop  and design gardens containing large waterfalls, fountains, canal and sacred woods; but the influence of water in a garden can bring a real sense of peace and calm; it is comforting and sometimes cooling to sit by on a hot summer’s day. The beauty of developing a water garden (sometimes referred to as an aquatic garden ) lies in the natural inhabitants of the water, from the plants to the pond life and if the feature is suitable – some of the most beautiful ornamental fish. Ordinarily the water or aquatic garden would be fairly shallow to house the aquatic plants that do not necessarily need deep water to survive and therefore construction of the garden can be less disruptive than expected. 


So from small interior water gardens to naturally inspired and larger exterior water garden designs, history shows that we have always revered the sound, sights and splashes that water gardens bring us.

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Keep Calm and Carry on Gardening! Wed, 29 Apr 2020 07:10:09 +0000 Read the full article...]]> The 27th April sees the start of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) National Gardening Week celebrations. The RHS introduced this initiative to celebrate all things fabulous about gardening back in 2012 with the theme of ‘ getting the nation growing’ (coinciding with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee) by engaging schools, communities, gardeners with support from the garden trade and has grown successfully year on year and is now in its 8th year. Each year focuses on a different aspect and theme with this year being no exception. With the current situation that we as a nation are facing, the theme of ‘Get Fit in the Garden’ for 2020 could not be more apt.

Gardens bring a wealth of benefits to us all no matter the size, design or location of your garden space. From large urban gardens, to country cottage to city back yard or balcony, the health and well being benefits of being outside, from relaxing on a garden lounger to the physical work of weeding, planting, digging, clipping and not forgetting the vitamin D boost from being outside in the fresh air, are essential to keeping yourself happy and healthy. 

Growing different varieties of flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees can be inspiring and rewarding and in particular for encouraging younger people to enjoy the process – who doesn’t like getting their hands dirty and working outside with nature? Importantly your garden space should bring you joy and not be a burden or responsibility that makes it a real ‘chore’ to maintain and upkeep.

The design of your garden should have consideration for all your and your family needs. During the National Gardening Week there will be many opportunities to access information and advice virtually  even if it is impossible to get to your local garden suppliers in person. 

Think about what you want your garden to give you? A colourful array of summer bedding, or a plethora of beautiful containers and hanging baskets. Maybe a celebratory rose or two – it is a perfect time to think about planting a stunning rose bush – remembering to give lots of water whilst it establishes itself.

Be imaginative in your planting – if you don’t have the luxury of a greenhouse utilise your window sills to plant seeds or have fresh herbs growing for your culinary use.

 Don’t forget that you can bring the outdoors inside!  Choose plants that can be grown indoors – there is always a huge selection of houseplants to make you feel that you have some lush green and colourful life indoors such as the traditional rubber plant (ficus elastica robusta), Swiss cheese plant (monstera deliciosa),  pin stripe plant (calathea ornata ) or zebra plant (calathea medaillon), bromeliad Achaea primers and calathea eternal flame.

National Gardening Week may just be the inspiration you are looking for to consider redesigning your garden space. Making your garden work for you and your household is as important as the interior of any home or indeed if you have a commercial property, providing an external or internal ) sensory, fragrant and green space will add value holistically, proving a place creating positive well being and sense of calm and opportunity to watch change as nature unfolds during the different seasons. 


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What Vegetables to Plant When (and Where!) Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:34:08 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Whether you’re just starting a vegetable garden or have been growing your own vegetables and herbs for years, it’s important to know what, when and where to plant. With this guide, you’ll be able to grow all your favourite produce, whether you’re limited to a balcony or have a sprawling garden in the countryside.

A Month-By-Month Guide to Growing Vegetables


Despite it being one of the coldest months of the year, there are still several vegetables you can sow, either outdoors, in pots or in a greenhouse. For those with a nice, sunny porch, January is the perfect month to plant carrots. For early roots, make sure you scatter seeds in pots!

January is also the best month to buy seed potatoes and encourage the potatoes to sprout before planting. If you’ve ever bought a bag of potatoes and left them too long without baking or boiling them, you’ll notice tiny, green shoots growing out of them. Those are sprouts! To encourage sprouting, stack several seed potatoes on top of each other in a cool, bright place like your windowsill.


As spring nears (though it may still seem far away) February is a great month for planting window boxes filled with quick-to-grow herbs as well as rocket. This is also the perfect time to move your seed potatoes outside into large pots. Just make sure they’re getting plenty of sunlight.

You can look forward to flavourful sauces later in the year as February is also the perfect time to plant garlic and shallots. If you’re patient, you can also plant rhubarb now to harvest later in the summer.  


If winter has subsided quickly or if you’re in a warmer part of the country, you can start scattering leek seeds in March. Around the second half of the month, you can also sow cauliflower and radish.

If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry! Radishes are one of the easiest (and fastest!) vegetables to grow. They’re low maintenance and will be ready to harvest in around 4 weeks.


If you have pots or containers, make sure you plant beetroot in April. While it might seem premature to think about autumn, you’ll be happy you planted early as beetroot is a delicious, hearty vegetable that’s incredibly versatile to cook with.

For those planting directly in the soil in their back garden, April is the month. Get your gardening gloves ready because you’ll be able to plant brussel sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, spinach, kale and parsnips. While you’ll certainly be busy getting your hands dirty, check back with us in April for a more detailed guide on getting your garden ready and in tip-top shape for spring.



By May, the cold days will be well behind you and you’ll be ready to plant cucumbers, peppers and aubergines in large pots in your garden or on your patio or balcony. By early May, your soil will be ready for fennel seeds and by late May, you’ll be able to plant enough herbs to stock your whole cupboard! This is the perfect time to sow coriander, dill, caraway, chives, chervil and parsley.


Like May, June is ideal for planting young herb plants, especially in window boxes. Not only are they a great decorative piece, but after a few months, you’ll notice the difference in your cooking as well. We recommend planting mint, rosemary, sage, thyme and tarragon, either in one large planter or several smaller pots.

By now, you’ll likely have planted most of your summer vegetables, so it’s time to plant winter cabbage, winter squash and autumn cauliflower.


As summer heats up, you’ll be reaping the benefits of all your hard work earlier in the year. July is a great month to take stock of what worked and what didn’t and to start thinking about the autumn harvest and autumn planting.


September and October are your last chance to plant winter cabbage and autumn planting onion. This is also the best time to order plug plants of overwintering salad plants. As opportunities to work in the garden diminish, take this time to tidy up your beds before it gets too cold.


To make sure your garden is as active as possible over the winter, sow plenty of onion, shallots, garlic, spring onions and pak choi. While pak choi is quick to mature and can actually be harvested throughout the winter, onions, shallots and garlic have a long growing season and will look after themselves during the winter frost.

For more month-by-month guides and top tips, follow our blog throughout the year!

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20 Fastest Growing Herbs and Vegetables For Your Garden Wed, 29 Aug 2018 11:40:16 +0000 Read the full article...]]> 20 Fastest Growing Herbs and Vegetables For Your Garden

If you’ve been curious about growing your own vegetables and herbs but have hesitated because it’s rumoured to be time-consuming and laborious, we’ve got great news for you…it’s neither! Well, it doesn’t have to be.

While gardening is often an exercise in patience, with these 20 vegetables and herbs, you won’t have to wait very long to cook and serve up your own fresh, home-grown produce.

1. Radishes

Not only do radishes grow quickly (they’re ready to harvest just four weeks after sowing!) but they’re easy. Because of their size, they’re suitable for any size garden – yep, even a tiny balcony in the city – and, with several varieties available, they can be planted and grown throughout every season.

2. Spring Onions

If you’re nervous about growing your own vegetables, spring onions are a great place to start. They’re ready to eat just 20-30 days after being planted, can grow in small, odd spaces and can even grow through autumn and winter.

3. Basil

Basil only takes 8-14 days to germinate and leaves appear just 2-3 weeks after that. Time for homemade pesto!

But, in order to get a good harvest, the soil must be at least 10° C but ideally 21+° C. What’s more, the soil should be moist and well-drained and the seeds should be planted in a location that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

4. Parsley

Used in a range of dishes from stuffing to tabouleh, parsley is a wonderful herb to grow in your garden in well-drained soil or in pots with compost. In either case, plant in early spring in the sun or partial shade. Within three weeks, your parsley will begin sprouting.

5. Chives

Not only is this perennial easy to grow, but their purple blossoms make them a welcome addition to any garden. Simply place them in the ground or in a pot in a location that allows for 4-5 hours of sunlight a day and you’ll be able to harvest just 30-60 days later.

6. Rocket

Rocket is a cool-season crop, meaning it grows best in the spring and autumn. Seeds can be planted in late winter or early spring (once the soil is neither frozen nor too wet) and the leaves can be harvested in as little as four weeks, once the leaves are about 4 inches long. But, avoid picking all the leaves so that the plant can continue to grow until it reaches full maturity, 45-60 days after planting.

7. Coriander

If planted in early spring when the soil temperature is between 13- 22° C, the seeds will germinate within 2-3 weeks and will produce leaves for harvest within four weeks. Pick the leaves by cutting entire stems when they’re ripe, just before they fall to the ground.  If the coriander is being grown for seeds, allow 45 days before harvesting.

8. Lettuce

Lettuce is widely considered one of the most care-free crops. It’s highly productive in a limited space, is virtually pest and disease free and matures in just 45-55 days. Of course, development depends on the variety, with looseleaf and butterhead taking the least amount of time and romaine taking up to 85 days. For maximum production, start your lettuce seed indoors a few weeks before the last frost date.

9. Mint

Mint grows from a seed to a mature plant in just 90 days. At this point, you can cut the mint down to one inch above the soil and, after another 1-2 months, you’ll have another plant up to two feet tall.  Because mint grows and spreads so quickly, we recommend containing it to a pot.

10. Spinach

Depending on how cold your region gets, you can plant from autumn to early spring. In either case, it’s important that you seed as soon as the soil is workable, giving the spinach a full six weeks of cool weather before harvesting.

11. Courgette

If you plant the seeds at the end of spring, allowing the plant to grow for two months in warm soil), you should be able to harvest just 42-52 days after planting. After flowering, the squash can grow up to one inch per day, meaning you can harvest later if you want a large courgette. But, don’t wait too long as it could become too seedy and therefore unpleasant to eat.

12. Bok Choy

Bok choy is considered easy to grow as it’s relatively tolerant to frost. Plant the seeds in a sunny location with good drainage between March and Mid-August and you should be able to enjoy your bok choy just 4-6 weeks later. If planted just after the last frost, you can harvest in April.

13. Beetroot

Beets can be harvested 7-8 weeks after planting, once the bulbs are between the size of a golf ball and a cricket ball. For best results, plant the seeds in well-drained or well-rotted garden compost. If you notice that your plants aren’t growing well, water them in, especially in the case of a dry spell.

14. Cucumber

Not only do cucumbers grow quickly with just 50-70 days between planting and harvesting, but at peak harvest time, you’ll be picking ‘em every few days. Best of all, they can be grown easily both indoors and outdoors in pots, in growing bags, or in the ground. Of course, this depends on the variety.

If growing indoors, plant the seeds between February and March and make sure your home (or greenhouse) stays warm. If growing outdoors, plant the seeds between May and June, depending on your region and climate.

15. Chervil

Chervil should be planted in a cool, shady position outdoors anytime between March and August. While seedlings will appear after just three weeks, it’ll take nine weeks before the herb is ready for harvest. Make sure to cut the leave before they flower though! Afterwards, they’re inedible.

16. Potatoes

Potatoes take between 70 and 120 days to grow before they’re ready to harvest. We know…this is considerably longer than the other vegetables and herbs on this list. But, they made the cut because they’re so incredibly easy to grow. Simply plant seed potatoes indoors from late winter and set them to sprout before planting outdoors between March and late April. Growing potatoes is often regarded as ‘fail-proof’ and with enough water, you’ll end up with a great harvest for roasting, mashing and boiling.

17. Oregano

When planting your oregano seeds, opt for a location that’s sunny, well-drained and moderately fertilised. Plant 6-10 weeks before the last predicted frost and within 5-10 days, you’ll see them begin sprouting. Oregano tastes best just before blooming, which is in June or July. Depending on when the final frost was, this could be 3-5 months after planting.

18. Dill

After planting dill seeds in the ground or in pots from mid-spring to mid-summer, you’ll be able to harvest 90 days later. To increase growth and delay flowering, pick young leaves regularly.

19. Fennel

Fennel should be planted in fertile, well-drained soil around the same time as the last frost. It grows best in full sun and, if conditions are right, it should germinate within 7-10 days. But, they won’t be ready to harvest until late summer or early autumn once the bulb is the size of a small tennis ball.

20. Sage

While, when grown from a seed, sage takes two years to reach mature size, it takes just three weeks for the seeds to germinate. While – yes – your patience will be tested over the course of 24 months, it will be rewarded as sage’s flavour increases as the leaves grow and its variegated form adds lovely touches of colour to any garden.

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Our Top 6 Exclusive Long Narrow Garden Ideas Revealed Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:51:09 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Our Top 6 Exclusive Long Narrow Garden Ideas Revealed

Here at Floral and Hardy, we come across many people that are convinced they will never get their dream garden for various reasons. These reasons can be because the garden is too small, too narrow or does not receive enough sunlight. However, Floral and Hardy are of the opinion that you should never lose faith when it comes to your garden design and we’re confident we can produce a dream garden for every client, no matter what the garden’s shape or size.

Long narrow gardens can be particularly problematic for our customers as they’re unable to see how they can fit everything they want into limited space.

Here at Floral and Hardy though, we’re experts in garden design and are not short of long thin, garden ideas.

Here’s our top 6 exclusive long narrow garden ideas:

1. Smokin’ in Wimbledon 


In this garden in Wimbledon, we created an angular design to give the illusion of more space. The design consists of squares and rectangles interlocked. You can see the flower bed, lawn and patio come together at angles.

To make the garden more practical, we installed an awning and, even more exciting, a bespoke smoke house! We made sure the awning was retractable to avoid any blocked lighting into the kitchen. The smoke house most definitely makes for the best BBQs ever. Jealous? We don’t blame you!

2. Sizzling in Selsdon 


This Selsdon garden has been designed to be family-friendly and match the development within the rest of the home.

We included a classic wooden playground for the children and the garden also features gorgeous lighting so the outdoor area can be enjoyed when the sun goes down.

3. Long Thin Suburban


We transformed this suburban garden from a rectangular lawn into a family’s paradise. The brief instructed us to make sure there was space for the children to play, as well as a dining area near the house. The client also wanted a workshop at the end of the garden.

As you can see, we really made the most of the space in this garden and the outdoor space is anything but cramped.

4. Small But Perfectly Formed


From an ugly patio and boring square lawn, we transformed this small garden into a wonderland!

The spiral patio makes the garden totally unique and, in our opinion, a little bit magical!

5. Garden Design Carshalton


We created this tranquil garden under the brief that it should be a relaxing space that is easy to maintain.

We included lots of evergreen shrubbery with a few colourful plants and stained the fence so it disappeared into the greenery. Good thinking!

6. Inside Out


This long thin garden is part of an eighteenth century cottage. Before our transformation, the garden could not be used easily, however we made it a space in which the owner could entertain guests on the weekends and relax in after a busy day. We like to think of the garden as an extra (outdoor) room of the house. A contemporary oasis. Perfect.

More long narrow garden ideas from Floral and Hardy 

Please contact us if you’d like us to come and assess your long narrow garden. 



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5 Tips to Help You Plan a Small Garden Layout Wed, 18 Jul 2018 14:11:19 +0000 Read the full article...]]> While it can be tempting to purchase and plant flowers off the cuff, it’s not a smart option in the long-run, especially if you’re dealing with a small garden. Instead, you should take the time to create a plan. This way, the finished product will be thoughtful, cohesive, easier to maintain and more functional. Of course, it’s sure to be more visually appealing, too.

Whether you’re making a few small changes or a dramatic overhaul, use these 5 tips to help you plan your small garden layout.   


1. Clean Up and Take Stock!

Before you start visualising your new space, you have to consider your current space. What plants do you want to keep and which need to go? Do you have a shed that you can transform? How’s your soil? By asking these important questions before you start creating a plan, you’ll have a better idea of what is (and isn’t!) possible.

After you’ve considered what you have, get rid of what you don’t want or need and do a general tidy up. If you have existing plants, give them a good trim and clear out any weeds. Declutter your balcony. Remove broken pots or planters. Mow your grass. By cleaning up your garden, you’ll not only motivate yourself to transform it further, you’ll be able to see what you have to work with.


2. Determine Purpose and Theme

When dealing with a limited amount of space, you have to carefully consider who will be using the space, for what and how you want it to look overall. Think of your garden as an outdoor room and make it work for you.

If you’re an entertainer, you’ll need to organise your layout in a way that allows for a seating area and possibly even an outdoor kitchen. If you’re keen to create a space that your children can enjoy, you’ll need to find room for a trampoline or playhouse.

Once you’ve decided how you want to use your garden, it’s time for the fun part! How do you want it to look? Do you want to create a Japanese zen space to help you escape from the city? Do you want to plant a vegetable garden? Are you looking for something sleek and contemporary? Your theme will dictate what materials you use, your colour scheme and even what plants you choose to incorporate.


3. Make Your Plants Work For You

While (as mentioned) your theme will influence what plants you choose, there are several other factors to consider. We’ll start with the most practical. First, how much time do you have to maintain your plants? Second, how much natural sunlight do you get in your garden? These two questions will help you focus your efforts and create a garden that isn’t just beautiful, but feasible.

Next, consider how much space you have. If you don’t have a lot of space on the ground, build up! Take advantage of hanging plants, trellises and fences. If your soil isn’t up to par, build your own flower beds! These are especially great for small vegetable gardens.

Finally, use a variety of plants to create texture. Play with colour and height. If your garden is a canvas, plants are the paint! Use both horizontal and vertical planes. Consider how close together plants will be. Pay attention to symmetry (and lack thereof)!

4. Choose a Focal Point

Capture and guide visitors’ attention by creating a focal point. Since we’re talking about small gardens, bear in mind: This doesn’t have to be something large! It could be a particularly interesting plant, a pop of colour, or even a garden accessory like a mirror.

This focal point doesn’t have to be at the centre of your garden, but you should build outwards from it, effectively funneling attention towards it.

5. Link Your Spaces

Remember when we likened your garden to a series of outdoor rooms? Just like inside a home, these rooms have to be linked. But, instead of using hallways or corridors, you’ll use different materials to signal when one ‘room’ ends and another begins.

Consider using structured hedges and carefully placed pathways to create ‘openings’ that encourage exploration of your garden and keep people moving throughout it. Not only is this practical, but it will make your garden look bigger.

If you want more help planning your small garden layout, contact Floral & Hardy! We can help with everything from inspiration to design and no project is to big (or small!).

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