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Celebrating Garden Wildlife Week in the UK: Some advice from our local plant expert at City & Bloom Manchester 

garden wildlife week birds

Celebrating Garden Wildlife Week in the UK:

Some advice from our local plant expert at City & Bloom Manchester

garden wildlife week

It’s Garden Wildlife Week in the UK, a time to celebrate and appreciate the incredible biodiversity that can thrive in our very own backyards. From chirping birds and fluttering butterflies to buzzing bees and curious hedgehogs, our gardens have the potential to become vibrant havens for wildlife.  

We spoke with Mark Thorley from City & Bloom, a vibrant initiative in Manchester that celebrates the beauty of urban gardening and brings the community together through the transformative power of plants; they gave us advice and some tips on how we can encourage more wildlife in our own personal outdoor spaces. 

Join us as we embark on an exciting journey to explore the wonders of garden wildlife and learn how we can make a positive impact on the natural world around us. 

1) How can I create a wildlife-friendly habitat in my garden using plants?

To create a wildlife-friendly habitat in your UK garden, focus on planting native species that are well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions. Native plants provide food sources and shelter for UK wildlife. Incorporate a mix of trees, such as oak, birch, and rowan, which offer nesting spots and food for birds.

Plant native wildflowers like foxgloves, primroses, and meadow cranesbill to attract pollinators and provide nectar sources. Include shrubs like hawthorn, blackthorn, and dogwood, which offer berries and nesting sites.  

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2) Are there any plants that are particularly beneficial for pollinators?

Absolutely! Many plants in the UK are highly beneficial for pollinators. Some examples include native wildflowers like foxgloves, bluebells, cornflowers, and red campion. Herbs such as lavender, thyme, rosemary, and borage are also attractive to pollinators.

Planting a diverse range of flowering plants that bloom throughout the seasons will ensure a continuous food source for pollinators in your garden. 

3) How to attract birds to my garden?

The melodious tunes and vibrant colours of garden birds can bring joy to any outdoor space. During Garden Wildlife Week, take a moment to: 

  • Set up bird feeders and provide a variety of seeds to attract a diverse range of bird species. 
  • Provide fresh water in a birdbath or shallow dish. 
  • Create nesting spots by installing bird boxes or leaving natural nooks and crannies for birds to make their homes. 
  • Enhance the garden with native trees and shrubs that offer both food and shelter for birds. 

4) What plants attract butterflies to the garden?

Step into a world of enchantment and encourage the captivating beauty of garden butterflies. Here’s how you can welcome them into your garden: 

  • Plant a colourful array of nectar-rich flowers like lavender, buddleia, and marigolds to entice butterflies. 
  • Provide specific host plants, such as milkweed for monarch butterflies, where they can lay their eggs and nurture their caterpillars. 
  • You could also create sunny resting spots by incorporating flat stones or basking areas where butterflies can soak up the warmth. 

5) Which flowers attract bees?

Celebrate the essential role of bees as pollinators and guardians of our food system. Join the buzz by: 

  • Cultivate a bee-friendly garden with a diverse selection of flowering plants, including sunflowers, asters, salvias, and bee balm. 
  • Native wildflowers like poppies, foxgloves, and native grasses.  
  • Flowers that bloom in different seasons to provide a continuous food source for bees. 

Avoid using harmful pesticides and opt for organic gardening practices to safeguard bees and their habitats. You can also provide a shallow water source, like a shallow dish with pebbles, to offer bees a place to drink and cool down. 

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6) How to make a hedgehog-friendly garden?

Hedgehogs, with their prickly charm, are valuable allies in the garden, helping control pests and promoting a healthy ecosystem. Here’s how you can create a hedgehog-friendly haven: 

  • Leave patches of your garden wild and untidy, providing hedgehogs with shelter and safe spaces to hibernate. 
  • Avoid using slug pellets and other toxic chemicals that can harm hedgehogs and their food sources. 
  • Install hedgehog highways by creating small openings in fences or adding low-level gaps to allow hedgehogs to freely roam between gardens. 

7) What are some low-maintenance plant options that still attract wildlife to the garden?

If you prefer low-maintenance plant options that attract wildlife, consider native species that thrive in the UK with minimal care.

Native grasses like tufted hairgrass and Yorkshire fog provide habitat for insects and small mammals. Perennial flowers like purple coneflower, yarrow, and oxeye daisy are not only low maintenance but also attract bees and butterflies. Shrubs such as hazel, holly, and guelder rose provide berries and shelter for birds while requiring minimal attention. 

8) What are some native plants for wildlife gardening?

Enhance your garden’s biodiversity by embracing wildlife-friendly gardening practices: 

  • Incorporate native plants that provide food, shelter, and nectar for a wide range of wildlife. Choose from native wildflowers, grasses, and trees like poppies, foxgloves, native grasses, and oak trees. 

You could also include: 

  • Native wildflowers like poppies, black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, and goldenrod. 
  • Native grasses such as switchgrass and little bluestem, which provide shelter for small mammals, birds, and insects. 
  • Native trees and shrubs like oak, birch, dogwood, and elderberry, which offer food sources, nesting sites, and protection for wildlife. 

Make sure to also create a water feature, such as a small pond or birdbath, to attract various species and provide a refreshing oasis. We recommend limiting the use of chemicals and pesticides to protect the delicate balance of your garden’s ecosystem. 

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Mark also mentioned No Mow May to us, but what is No Mow May? 

No Mow May is an exciting movement that encourages homeowners and gardeners to let their lawns grow freely without mowing them during the entire month of May. By abstaining from mowing, we give nature a chance to thrive as wildflowers, native grasses, and other plants bloom and provide essential habitats for pollinators like bees and butterflies. This initiative not only creates stunning visual displays but also contributes to the preservation of biodiversity and supports the health of our ecosystems. 

To learn more from Mark, you can find them or one of their helpful colleagues in the store, situated on the 3rd floor in Afflecks Palace. You can also head over to our Instagram or Facebook page to see what products they can recommend, and other neat tips to create a thriving garden for wildlife.  

As Garden Wildlife Week unfolds, let’s celebrate the magic and diversity of the natural world in our very own gardens. By making small changes and embracing wildlife-friendly practices, we can create thriving habitats for birds, butterflies, bees, and hedgehogs. Remember, creating a garden that welcomes and supports wildlife requires a combination of food sources, water, shelter, and the right plants. 

Let this week serve as a reminder that our gardens hold the power to support and preserve the wonders of wildlife. Together, let’s embark on a journey to protect and cherish the rich tapestry of British garden wildlife.  

Happy Garden Wildlife Week! 

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Top Gardening Tips for a Full Bloom this Summer!

gardening tips for a summer bloom

Top Gardening Tips for a Full Bloom this Summer!

picking the right plants

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy your garden, with the sun shining and the birds chirping. But how do you ensure that your garden is in full bloom during the summer months? Here are some tips and seasonal plants that will help your garden flourish this summer. 

1. Choose the right plants for your garden

The first step to a full bloom this summer is to choose the right plants for your garden. Consider the type of soil you have, the amount of sunlight your garden gets, and the amount of water your plants will need. Some popular summer plants include sunflowers, petunias, marigolds, and zinnias. 

2. Start early!

Start planting your summer plants early to give them time to establish themselves before the heat of summer arrives. Consider planting your seeds indoors or in a greenhouse a few weeks before the last frost, and then transplant them outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

3. Water your plants regularly

Water plants regularly to keep them healthy and hydrated during the hot summer months. It’s best to water your plants in the early morning or late afternoon to prevent water evaporation during the hottest part of the day. 

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deadheading flowers

4. Fertilise your plants

Fertilise your plants with a balanced fertiliser to give them the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Consider using a slow-release fertiliser that will gradually release nutrients over time. 

5. Deadhead old blooms regularly

Deadhead your plants regularly by removing spent blooms to encourage new growth and more flowers. This will also prevent your plants from going to seed too quickly, which can cause them to stop producing new flowers. 

6. Add some shade

If your garden gets a lot of direct sunlight, consider adding some shade to help your plants stay cool and hydrated. You can do this by planting taller plants to provide shade, or by using a shade cloth. 

7. Consider container gardening

If you don’t have a lot of space for a full garden, consider container gardening. You can plant your summer plants in containers and move them around your patio or balcony to get the right amount of sunlight. 

container gardening
sunflowers

Now, let’s look at some seasonal plants that will help your garden bloom this summer:

8. Sunflowers

Sunflowers are a popular summer plant that are easy to grow and come in a variety of colours and sizes. They love full sun and well-draining soil and can grow up to 12 feet tall. 

They can be planted directly in the ground in late spring, after the last frost, or they can be started indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost date and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

9. Petunias

Petunias are another popular summer plant that come in a range of colours, from bright pink to deep purple. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

Petunias can be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June. They can also be started indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

petunias
marigolds

10. Marigolds

Marigolds are a classic summer plant that are easy to grow and come in a range of colours, from yellow to orange to red. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

Marigolds can be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June. They can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

11. Zinnias

Zinnias are a colourful and long-lasting summer plant that come in a variety of sizes and colours. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

They can be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June, depending on whereabouts in the UK you are! They can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

zinnias
dahlias

12. Dahlias

Dahlias are a stunning summer plant that come in a range of colours and sizes, from small pom-poms to large dinner plates. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

Dahlias should be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June, depending on whereabouts in the UK you are! The tubers should be planted about 6 inches deep and 18-24 inches apart. They can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

In conclusion, with the right plants, regular watering and fertilisation, and some shade, your garden can be in full bloom this summer. Consider adding some of these seasonal plants to your garden to add some colour and vibrancy for a full bloom this summer! 

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How to design your garden with Custom Renovations/ Custom Landscape Designs

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How to design your garden for spring 2023

with Custom Renovations/custom landscape designs

how to plan a garden layout custom landscapes
Custom Renovations/Custom landscape designs

As spring 2023 approaches, most of us will be looking to revamp, redesign, or redecorate our outdoor spaces, so we can spend more time basking in the warmer weather. 

If you’re planning a big design project, it can be difficult to know where to begin, like garden layouts, pathways, seating, and planting – what comes first? Whether you’re starting with a blank canvas or want to make some custom choices for your existing space, Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Designs can help you every step of the way!  

From assessing your garden and drawing up plans, to final executions and finishes, Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Designs specialises in maintenance and soft landscaping, driveways, landscape design, garden patios and paving, fencing and decking, and garden extras. You can expect unique design, the best materials, and professional service every time.

With a dedicated team for each service, they can tailor everything to your requirements. They also can visit monthly or weekly to maintain your garden and offer hedge-cutting services, using the latest self-powered tools then all waste produced will be removed and recycled from site. For more information on their list of services, get in touch with them today to see how they can help you transform your outdoor space!  

Last year, Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Designs approached us to provide them with select pieces from our luxury Aruba garden furniture collection for a client who had recently undergone a home extension. Here’s what they had to say: