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  1. The daffs are out, the sun is shining and it’s time to get back out in my garden. Maybe you want something new for your garden for this year? At Heart of a Garden we’ve got some great things to the help you out.

    You could consider a new sculpture to create an attractive focal point from your patio. Our Garth Williams’ contemporary art range is very popular, including Garden Flames and Dance sculptures.

    garden-flames-sculptures-2

    If you’ve got a walled garden or yard, you could consider something from our Wall Art range, including our metal butterflies, owls and lizards.

    If you’re looking for something a little more active, you could consider a rain chain, wind sculpture, or garden clock.

    And finally don’t forget the wildlife. We have a range of nest boxes, feeders and bug habitats to keep your garden healthy and active.

    Enjoy the spring!

    Alison
    www. HeartofaGarden.co.uk 

  2. garden-bird-feeders-heartofagarden

    Like most people, I get a lot of enjoyment out of watching the birds visiting my garden and from knowing that they are benefitting from my help at the same time. 

    There are several ways you can make your garden much more tempting to them, ways that will help them not only when food is scarce in the winter months, but all year round.  One such way is to think long term and to grow lots of wildlife friendly plants and flowers which will provide the birds with a natural source of food.  

    At the times of year when these natural sources of food are less available to the birds we can help by providing them with food on a bird table or in some hanging feeders, along with some fresh water. In winter a high energy food is best as it helps the birds survive the cold temperatures and fat balls are ideal.  Either buy them from the shop (remove the nets before putting out) or try making your own with our lovely easy recipe.

    Nice and Easy Fat Balls Recipe 

    fat_ball_bird_feed_recipe_heartofagarden

    Ingredients:

    • A pack of lard (don’t use cooked fat)
    • Mixed pack of bird seed

    For hanging fat balls:

    • String
    • Small yogurt cartons, coconut shells or pinecones

    Method:

    • Cube the lard and add it to a bowl.  Add a couple of cups of bird seed and mix together with your hands aiming for an even mix of seed throughout the mixture.
    • Either form into balls and then place in the fridge to harden.  When ready just place on the bird table or in a hanging bird feeder.
    • OR press into a yogurt carton or coconut shell, place in the fridge to harden.  Hang it of the bird table, trees or bushes with string.
    • OR use a pinecone with the scales opened up and press the mixture into the spaces between the scales.  Tie some string to the top of the pine cone and hang!

    pine_cone_bird_feeder_heartofagarden

    Other foods suitable food for birds:
    Sunflower (black if possible), nyjer seeds, millet, chopped peanuts (unsalted), oats, raisins (poisonous to dogs), hard cheese, bacon rinds, breadcrumbs, pasta, rice, boiled potatoes. Fruits – apples, pear, plums, soft fruits. 

    Hygiene:  To prevent disease, regularly clean out feeders and tables and only use fresh food.

    Water:      Remember to always place fresh water out for the birds too.

    Wildlife Friendly Gardening:

    • Grow plants which have fruits and berries.  For example the berries on holly and ivy are an excellent source of food for birds in the winter months.
    • Avoid using slug pellets and pesticides.
    • Leave some fruit on the trees and bushes over the winter months.
    • Leave cutting back your herbaceous plants as long as possible so the seeds heads and berries remain for the birds.
    • Create a wild area in the garden and allow plants to grow such as nettles and brambles which will create great hiding areas as well as food for the birds

    Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy watching the birds from the comfort of your home!

  3. This summer has passed by far too quickly, maybe because here in the Lakes I’ve been waiting for it to arrive with only a few days here and there of what I consider summer weather – days when you wake up and see blue sky tempting you outside for breakfast, then time for some gardening or pottering and maybe a quick sunbathe, finishing the day off with a bbq in the warm evening air – I’m dreaming and anyway when would a day like that would arrive when I wasn’t working! There was one good thing, it rained so much the garden loved it and I’ve hardly had to do any watering, saving lots of time!  Oh well…maybe next year will be better as September is now here and the coolness of the mornings and evenings tells me that autumn is not far away.

    crocosmia in the late summer garden - Heart of a Garden

    BUT I love late summer… there are so many flowers with beautiful warm colours in my small garden -nasturtiums, hypericum, potentilla, clematis, Japanese anemone’s and my favourites – crocosmias.  Crocosmias come in various sizes and shades of red and orange.  They spread quickly so need to be kept in order…I have to pull lots up every year and keep just a couple of neat clumps but I wouldn’t be without them!  Tomatoes are still ripening in the greenhouse and if you’re lucky to have a vegetable patch or allotment I’m sure you’ll have a glut of runner beans and courgettes!  I miss the mass of roses that were out in June and July but there are still a few in bloom. 

      hypericum in the late summer garden - Heart of a Garden  

    GARDEN JOBS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER
    Divide perennials. 
    Now is the time of year to divide perennials that have outgrown their plot. Dig up the plant and with a spade divide it into 2 or more clumps depending on the size and then re-plant around the garden. A great way to get extra plants for free!

    Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs. 
    There’s an excellent choice in the garden centres and nurseries at the moment so you should find good quality bulbs. Try to plant by the end of September.

    Collect seeds from perennials and hardy annuals
    Cut stems with seed heads and place in a warm, dry place such as greenhouse or sunny windowsill.  When dry, store the seeds in a paper envelope or small cardboard tubes (see our Seed Saver tubes) and store in the refrigerator or somewhere cool and dry until ready to be used.

    fennel in the late summer garden - Heart of a Garden