Green Fingers I Wish

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maintain Your Hedges

A well-maintained hedge provides a good, smart boundary to a garden, but if left unchecked, a hedge can soon lose its shape and end up casting unwanted shade. With a good pruning schedule you can keep hedges under control without too much effort

Most evergreen formal hedges like to be trimmed two or three times a year, while they are actively growing. Pruning informal hedges depends on when they flower. Lavender, fuchsia, roses and other plants that flower on the current year's wood are best pruned in early to mid-spring, while those that flower on old wood, such as forsythia, deutzia and berberis, should be pruned when the blooms fade.

Hand shears are fine for short runs of hedge, but if it is long, invest in an electric, battery or petrol-powered hedge trimmer. It will make light work of the job and won't leave you with tired arms. If you use an electric trimmer, make sure it is plugged into a safety socket fitted with a residual current device or circuit breaker, so that the engine will cut out if there's an accident. When trimming keep the cable away from the blade, ideally draped over one shoulder rather than trailing on the ground.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lawn Cutting a Real Chore This Year

I don`t know what it is about this summer, but cutting my lawns seems harder than ever.

I`ve moved into a new home, and the lawn isn`t exactly what I`d call ideal, it goes up at the side, making it hard to cut the grass. The thing is though, the mower I have (a `hover`)struggles to cut. It`s as though the grass/soil is constantly damp.

Perhaps that`s down to the lousy weaher we`ve had this summer, hardly any sunshine to speak of, rain, rain, and more rain. I`ll be glad when winter comes and I can forget the cutting for a while.

Here`s hoping to a decent summer next year...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Climate Friendly Gardening

Tips on protecting the planet by starting in our gardens.

Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilisers - they require large amounts of fossil fuel to make and emit nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more powerful than CO2

Add home-made compost (about a bucketful per square metre) to boost the amount of water and nutrients that soil can retain - and avoid store-bought, peat-based composts

Go manual - buy a push mower and a watering can

Choose sustainable wood for your garden furniture

When you're paving, consider lower-emission alternatives to concrete. Made from recycled and reclaimed materials, they have catchy names like pulverised fuel ash or ground granulated blast furnace slag.

Get low-carbon outdoor lighting, such as solar lights or LEDs

Check with your water company or council whether there are grants available for water-saving equipment like rainwater butts

Recycle wastewater from the kitchen and bathroom for use in the garden and toilets. R

Discover plants that can withstand long spells of heat, including French honeysuckle, Lavender, Iris, and Salvia, and water infrequently but thoroughly, at the base of the plant

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bin Shortage Delays Garden Waste Bin Distribution

Delays getting garden waste bins to residents in Leeds are being blamed on a national and international shortage of wheeled bins.

About 116,000 households across Leeds have already received a brown bin and receiving fortnightly collections of their garden waste.

Residents affected by the bin shortage have been contacted by the council and they will receive another letter later in the year to confirm the new date of delivery of their garden waste bin.

During April to June this year alone, residents using their brown bins and household waste sort sites composted 8,270 tonnes, compared with 6,560 during the same period last year.

This performance by green-fingered residents has exceeded council chiefs expectations and boosted their aims to convert as much household garden waste as possible into compost rather than burying it in landfill sites.

By collecting garden waste separately and composting it, the amount of waste going to landfill will be reduced significantly and will contribute towards Leeds ambition to become a zero-waste city.