Browsing Category: "Home and Gardening"

How To Get The Gardening Bug Without Garden Bugs Biting

Gardening in the summertime is one of life’s little pleasures. You can escape the usual stress and strain of your day-to-day existence, working happily on creating your own touch of Eden. It’s easy to while away hours, enjoying the blooming flowers and perhaps even tending to your vegetables.

Then, it happens. You know it’s a possibility, but somehow, in the pleasure of tending to your crops, you forget. You go back indoors, back aching pleasantly, hands covered with dirt. You head for the shower, shrug off your shirt, and then you see them. Bites. Circular, red blobs where some bug has had itself a feast of your delicious blood. As soon as you see them, they begin to itch. The itch, pain and discomfort continue for days, long past the point your calm happiness from gardening has evaporated.

It’s a fact of life that being outside means that you’re going to get bitten. Try and see it as a compliment – these bugs are saying you’re tasty! Well, it’s a nice idea if you can see it like that, but it more likely just makes you murderous. The bugs, flies, wasps, mosquitoes and everything else have got to go.

  1. Bug Spray

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These have a dual purpose. First, they can make you a less attractive feast. Secondly, you can bring about violent revenge should anything try and bite you anyway, as they are instantly poisoned.

If possible, try and find sprays that do not include a chemical compound known as DEET. This has been shown to cause a whole host of problems. If you would rather keep things as natural as possible, diluted neem oil is a good idea.

  1. Stay Above Ground Level

If you tend to sit down to weed a particularly stubborn flower bed, you’re putting yourself at a level most insects can find you. At least give them a fight. Stay upright as much as possible, or use something to kneel on when working at ground height. A large tarpaulin can put a protective layer between you and the things that fancy a nibble.

  1. Go All In

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[Photo courtesy of Jim Gathany/wikimedia.org]

If you’re covered in bug spray and crouching on a tarpaulin, but still ending the day covers in bites, it’s time to think bigger. Companies that specialise in mosquito control can help eradicate the idea garden of the issue, through a variety of methods. If you’ve young children, this is particularly worth thinking about. You don’t want to discourage them from going outside.

  1. An Old Wives Tale

It’s not possible to say if this really works or why, but there’s plenty of evidence on a colloquial level that people swear by it. If you fill a plastic bag with water and hang it around where you’re working, bugs may well leave you alone. There’re theories that the water disrupts the many-eyed insects and confuses them. Or perhaps it does nothing- no one knows for sure. It is, however, an easy and inexpensive idea if you’re at the point where you’re trying anything.

Employing the above can help reduce the discomfort creepy crawlies may be unleashing on you. After all, your garden should be a place of pleasure, not pain!

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Enjoy Your Garden All Year With These 6 Tips

A lot of effort goes into gardening. We cut back, mow, weed, and prune. We water and fertilize plants, and then we repeat and do it all again. We nurture tiny seedlings until they bloom into sturdy flowers and vegetables. We put down bark to keep weeds at bay. And we put up netting and pellets to detract birds and pests.

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When it all dies away in the winter, the garden can look bare and dull. But there are several steps you can take to make the most of your garden throughout the year.

  1. Plan

The trick for planting an all-year-round garden is to plan. You need to carry out a little research. Look for plants that bloom at different times of the year. Perennial plants work well because they don’t die after one season. The flowers die away, but the roots remain active under the soil. They regrow year after year.

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  1. Cultivate All Weather Plants

Not all plants and flowers bloom only in the spring and summer months. Some do well in all weather, such as foxgloves, verbenas, and geraniums.

  1. Winter Blooming Plants

When choosing your plants, include some that bloom in the winter months. Examples are snowdrops, winter flowering pansies, and crocuses. In that lull after Christmas, it’s always cheery to see the first snowdrops and crocuses poking through the frozen earth.

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  1. Prepare Your Garden For The Next Season

Gardening is a year-long commitment. It’s not something that is confined to the spring and summer months. There is work to be done throughout the year, even in winter. Make sure you keep on top of maintenance tasks. Prune trees and dig over beds. Keep on top of weeds. Get your garden in good shape for the coming season.

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  1. Look For Inspiration

Visit public gardens and greenhouses for inspiration. Learn from the professionals by reading descriptions of the varieties of flowers that are growing. Ask for suggestions for your own garden. Most gardeners are only too willing to share their knowledge and advice.

Garden centers will also be able to offer advice. Their trade slows down during the winter months. They are always seeking ways to attract buyers during autumn and winter.

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  1. Create Shelter

Make the most of your garden throughout the year by building a shelter. This could be a simple canopy attached to your home. Or, it could be a more complex structure such as a gazebo. This will allow you to enjoy the garden throughout the year, despite the weather. You may need to wrap up and take a blanket. But there’s nothing nicer than sitting in the garden on a brisk autumn morning with a warm mug of tea. Canopies and gazebos are also useful during the summer months, as they provide some shade.

Gardens are not just for summer. With a little thought and planning, you can create a cheery space for all year. Don’t be ruled by the weather. Stagger your planting and opt for varieties that bloom at different times. Look for hardy perennials and enjoy the explosion of color during the long winter months.

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Is Your Home Summer-Ready?

Spring is drawing to a close, and summer is within touching distance. You may be thinking about spending lazy days in the garden, but is your home ready for summer? Here is an essential checklist to prepare you for the warmer months and ensure you’re all sorted and ready to relax in the sunshine.

Prepping your garden

Most of us get excited at the thought of spending free weekends in the garden. Are you planning to get friends and family around? Are you looking forward to playing with the kids in the open air? If so,  it’s a good idea to get your garden prepped and ready now. Start by having a good clear out and getting rid of any loose patio tiles, weeds, and dead leaves. Give decking and paved areas a sweep and then jet wash them clean. Mow your lawn on a dry day, and plant your seeds. When the weather warms up, dust down your patio furniture and give the barbecue a thorough scrub. If you’re eager to add some color or create an entertaining area, look for inspiration online. You can convert a modest decking area into a chic dining space. Add a rattan table and chairs set, some oversized lanterns and a couple of patterned floor cushions.

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Spring cleaning

Nothing prepares you for summer better than a good, old-fashioned spring clean. Now is the time to declutter. Tackle those boxes that have never been unpacked and be ruthless. If you have items that are in good condition, give them to charity, or organize a yard sale. Visit the tip and get rid of anything you don’t want. Once your rooms are clear, get your rubber gloves out and clean from top to bottom. Open the windows and let the fresh air in. You may not enjoy cleaning, but you’ll feel much better when it’s done. Pack away winter clothing to give you more closet space.

Maintenance checks
Before summer arrives, it’s a good idea to get any DIY jobs completed and to book some essential maintenance checks. Finish off painting jobs and put those shelves up in the spare room. Call a service man to carry out appliance repair, and book boiler and air conditioning checks. Replace broken appliances that cannot be salvaged. If you’re looking to save money on energy bills, go for products, which have a high energy rating. If you’re expecting hot weather, it’s particularly important to get air conditioning units serviced.

Interior design
If you fancy brightening up your home in time for summer, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a difference. Invest in finishing touches, such as lamps, vases, and cushions to inject some color and give your home a new look. Look through some magazines for ideas.

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If your home is not quite ready for summer, don’t worry. You’ve got time to work through your to-do list. Investing time and effort now will enable you to put your feet up and enjoy the warm weather when summer arrives.

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Are You Really Getting The Most Out Of Your Garden? Here’s A Few Tips To Make Sure You Do

Our gardens can often be something we don’t think about. Until we want to sit out and use them. However, like any part of your home your garden should be very much a part of it. It should be a place that is an extension of your rooms. Somewhere that you can utilize all year round. So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some tips and advice to make sure you get the most out of your garden.

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Do you have an area to sit and relax

Does your garden have different areas for different things? Perhaps. A lawned portion and some flower beds. These are all garden zones and most likely will have different features and plus points. But what most people require is a place to sit and relax. Somewhere you can enjoy the evening sun, or drink your morning coffee. If your garden hasn’t got particular zones, then it’s worth trying to create some. If you can create a space where you can sit and enjoy the garden. You will find that this part of the garden will be the place you use the most.

What do you want from your garden?

The next thing you need to do is decide exactly what you want to achieve from your garden. Do you want it to look appealing? Then you may want to read these 10 Quick Tips About Landscaping that will take your garden to the next level. If it’s more about having an entertaining space for friends and families, then make sure you have the right areas to do that in. If it’s a place where you want your kids to play safely, then think about all the aspects that need to go along with that. Once you know what you want from the garden, you will be able to create the perfect place for you. This means you will make more use out of it.

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Is there a place to store things

Some gardens can be a bit of a dumping ground for one thing or another, so this is where you may want to consider investing in a shed or space to store things. This will transform your garden almost straight away as you will be able to see what you have to work with. A shed could also become an outside room that you retire to from time to time. She sheds are becoming the new man caves.

Why consider alfresco dining?

Eating outside may not have been high on your priority list before but why wouldn’t you want to enjoy the good weather? Cooking outside on the BBQ and then enjoying the food you have prepared is one of the life’s simpler pleasures. The problem is you may not have an area to cook and eat in so if this is something you want to do more of then work on the garden to create it. A BBQ doesn’t take up too much space and all you need is a nice table and chairs to enjoy the food and drink on.

I hope these tips help you get more out of your garden.

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