Browsing Category: "Home and Gardening"

Winter Doesn’t Last Forever: Get Your House Ready For Summer 2017 Now

You may think that the winter season is never going to end, but there are only a few months to get ready for the summer, and this is without mentioning any bikini figure! You need to think about getting your house ready for the hot season, and this isn’t something that you can delay too much. It is important to start planning right now with this list of summer essentials for your to go through.

Make Sure You Have All You Need To Keep The House Fresh

It might seem odd to think about keeping cool when the weather is still cold outside, but now is the right time to check the state of your air conditioner system, fans, and your swimming pool. If you don’t have any air con, it is time to consider an A/C installation to prepare for summer. As you still have a handful of months left before the hot months arrive, it is good to get in touch with expert engineers to service your pool and keep your cooling systems up to date before the summer rush begins.

Look After Your Garden Now To Find Freshness In Summer

You’re sitting inside, looking through the window to see only cold, gray rain. Taking care of your garden might well be the last thing you want to do with your time. But it is essential to maintain your trees and plants throughout the cold months to help them be strong and healthy for when you will need their shadow and their freshness. While you don’t need to spend every week kneeling outside in the wet grass and the mud, a monthly list of maintenance tasks should include:

Summer Garden, Garden Bench, Green Lawn, Iron Trellis

[Photo courtesy of jensullivan113/pixabay.com]
  • Mowing the lawn,
  • Trimming the trees so that they can grow strong and high in summer,
  • Pruning flowers and fruit trees to ensure a beautiful and vibrant garden,
  • And protecting your precious plants from the frost and the rain.

Prepare For A Change Of Interior Décor

[Photo courtesy of pexels.com]

Winter is naturally characterized by a change of décor inside your house: A warm blanket lies on the sofa to keep you warm in the evening; a series of tall mugs is piled up in the sink for a hot cup of tea; and every room has received a touch of warmth with scented candles and fluffy cushions. Everything is there to provide a cozy sensation. But soon the time for bbq parties and summer drinks will come: You need to rethink your décor to bring back a sense of sunny freshness inside your home. There are many options to do so on a budget: You can choose to hide all reminders of the winter months away, such as blankets, heating units, and candles, or you can decide to bring touches of bright colors inside the house with picture frames, funky cushions, and decorative plant pots. Just remember to check every room to make note of the wintery elements to store away during summer. And why not already plan your first bbq party of the warm season? Maybe you could celebrate the arrival of spring around a grilled burger with friends, so if you start now, you could prepare your DIY décor.        

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Creature Comforts: Be A Friend To Wildlife This Winter

Winter can be tough for all of us it’s cold, dark and the last thing you want to be is outside when you can see icicles hanging from the trees. However, animals and birds aren’t so lucky so it’s important we do all we can to help them through the colder months. Food is often scarce for many animals in winter so why not help hedgehogs by leaving out some tinned meat? Make sure there’s a small bowl of fresh water visitors can drink from and that visiting birds to your garden are rewarded. By following a couple of the ideas listed not only will you be assisting animals at a difficult time, but be able to enjoy the variety of wildlife snuffling around your garden.

Beautiful Bird Table

Pop a lovely, wooden bird table in the centre of your garden and scatter breadcrumbs, seeds, peanuts, cheese, and fruit you’ll be able to find grocery online as well as buying mealworms from your garden store. Birds often find it hard to get enough food at this time of year as berries, insects, seeds and worms have either died or are covered by a thick layer of snow. Once the word has gotten out that there’s food your bird table will be filled with hungry feathery visitors. However, bear in mind these are all wild animals and will get lazy quickly if they receive regular handouts, which makes them unwilling to source their own food so it’s important to limit how much is given.

[Flickr Image Courtesy of Tony Hisgett]

Help Squirrels Go Nuts

Despite what many people think these fluffy tailed creatures don’t actually hibernate instead they collect a store of nuts to munch on in their cozy, dry drey’s, or nests all winter. The gathering starts in early autumn and only ends when they’ve found enough to eat so you can help them out by leaving nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds as well as sliced apple, carrot and even spinach or beans. A regular small handful of these foods will see squirrels safely through till spring.

Break The Ice

Many animals don’t possess the strength to make a hole in water that’s frozen over so when people think they’ll be alright often wildlife struggle to find enough to drink. Check your water bowl, or dish regularly as it could have frozen overnight and make sure to refill it regularly as you don’t know how many animals are using this precious water source to survive. If you have a pond you also need to make a hole as overtime toxic gas can build up and harm any fish or frogs living in the water. Don’t use a sharp item as you may injure any fish swimming near by instead take a pan of boiling water and pour it on the surface and the ice will then melt.

Let Your Garden Grow

Now isn’t the time to be doing any weeding, burning or leaf clearing in the winter months simply let your garden rest and grow wild. Don’t worry when spring comes you’ll be able to clean up but for now compost heaps, piles of leaves and even overgrown brambles can become the perfect winter retreat for many a creature.

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A Haven For Wildlife: Encouraging Birds And Animals Into Your Garden

Gardens are not just about flowers and growing food. They can be a great way to learn about wildlife; something particularly important if you have a family. And they are a great way to help maintain species of birds and animals.

Bird, Finch, Feeder, Bird Feeder, Niger Seed

[Photo courtesy of DroolingDogs/pixabay.com]

Regardless of your outdoor space, there are simple steps you can take to encourage birds and animals to visit or set up home in your garden.

  1. Create A Pond

Creating a pond is the quickest and simplest way to introduce wildlife. Once your pond has been built, you can fill it with your choice of fish. There are many different varieties to choose from, depending on the areas you live in and the space available, etc. Butterfly koi are a popular choice as they are known for their beauty and stunning colors.

Ponds will attract other wildlife such as frogs and insects. It is important to monitor and clean your pond regularly to ensure it is a safe environment for fish and other animals. The plants and grasses surrounding your pond will also attract visitors.

Greenfinch, Bird, Foraging, Garden

[Photo courtesy of Oldiefan/pixabay.com]
  1. Garden Design

When designing and maintaining your garden, think carefully about the animals you wish to encourage. Birds like trees and bushes for nesting. If you have the available space, try creating zones. Some birds may prefer not to come close to the house, and so a quiet space towards the back of the garden may be preferable.

Frog, Water Frog, Animal, Green, Nuphar Pumila Leaf

[Photo courtesy of Couleur/pixabay.com]
  1. Frogs

Frogs like ponds, as mentioned, but they also like piles of leaves. When raking your garden next fall, leave a few piles of leaves in a dark area to encourage frogs. Ensure you leave some space in walls or fences for them to enter.

  1. Birds

To encourage birds into your garden, put up a bird table and several feeders. A bird bath is also important. Vary the seeds and food that you provide to attract different species. To ensure they keep coming back, feed birds daily, particularly in the winter months when food will be scarce. It’s always pleasant to watch a garden full of birds, and you’re helping them at the same time. Try setting up some nesting boxes to see if any of the birds set up residence.

  1. Insects

Insect hotels provide a safe environment for insects to hibernate in the winter months. They are made up of several compartments or suites to allow insects to choose a warm place to stay. Encouraging insects into your garden is good for them and the environment. Some like dry environments and others prefer the damp. So try to establish insect homes in several areas.

Bee, Flower, Pollen, Color, Blue, Purple, Orange

[Photo courtesy of NickRivers/pixabay.com]
  1. Bees

Bees are vital pollinators for our gardens but, unfortunately, their numbers are declining. Insect hotels make a safe place for solitary bees. Introduce some bee-friendly plants to your garden. Bees like flowers such as white clover, bluebells, alliums, and buddleia, etc.

Encouraging wildlife into your garden is a win-win situation. You’re providing a home and food for them to help them thrive. And you get to observe them in their natural habitat. Many will contribute to the garden by pollination, turning over soil, etc. So, it’s good for you, and it’s good for them.

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Garden Maintenance – Keep On Top This Winter

You may think now that winter season is here, you can sit back and leave you garden alone. Unfortunately – that’s not the case. There are still a few things you have to do if you want your garden to survive this winter.

Lawn

Although it may be cold and icy, and you have perhaps even seen mini icicles on the lawn, this isn’t an excuse not to cut the grass. True – it’s not growing as it would in the spring and summer time. But there is still slight movement, and if you want to keep your garden looking fabulous, you need to keep looking after it.

Garden, Spade, Soil, Gardening, Work, Plant, Spring

[Photo courtesy of walkersalmanac/pixabay.com]

There are many ways you day decide on cutting your grass. But as it is the winter, a machine is best because it is the quickest and most efficient way. There can in all sorts of brands, sizes, and power, so get your own model that works right for you.

Watering

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean we no longer have to water our plants. There may not be any bright, colourful flowers, but that is not to say that there is no life. Things are still growing, and they are going to get thirsty. So give some water! Do in during the day when the sun is up so they have no risk of freezing over.

                         Vision Protection Hedge, Privacy, Hedge, Door, Input  

[Photo courtesy of Antranias/pixabay.com]

Plant A Hedge

Hedges are a great alternative to fences as they effectively filter strong, damaging winds. A mixed variety of native plants provide the perfect habitat for birds, insects and small mammals such as hedgehogs, as well as giving year round interest from flowers, seeds, berries and colourful tones of foliage.

Eradicate Weeds

Weeds have been having a wonderful time during this mild winter, quickly germinating and getting ready to cause all the havoc again in spring. Hoe through the roots of annual weeds and dig out the roots of the more stubborn ones to stop them in their tracks. This will save a whole lot of time and effort in spring time.

Early Potatoe Chitting

Begin the process of chitting early potatoes at the end of the month. The best way to do this is to stand the tubers in a recycled egg box with the end that has the most buds uppermost, and place in a bright, cool, frost-free area.

After a couple of weeks, shoots will begin to sprout, get these to about three or four per tuber to get the most productive crop.

Prune Wisteria

As beautiful as this plant may be, wisteria can be a bit of a nightmare and needs pruning in summer and winter to keep it manageable.

If you don’t bother to do this, wisteria naturally produces a very messy mass of foliage and barely any flowers. So prune the whippy growths back to five or six buds in late August, and prune further in January or February to two or three buds. Don’t worry if you missed the summer prune, it’s simple enough to spot the elongated stems.

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