150 year old Olive tree comes to Richmond

Some may say that to have 4 people and a rather large crane involved are a little bit overboard for a tree but this was no ordinary tree, this was a 150 year old olive tree, direct from Italy, weighing over a tonne. And it was due to have a new home in a leafy Richmond.

I remember getting the call from the client saying he had just bought an Olive tree and could I help him to plant it, yeah no problem I said, a few phonecalls down the line and I started to realise that I couldn’t just pick this up and plant it in the ground.

So a full size crane was hired, we got digging, then the tree was elevated over the top of the roof of the house and precision dropped into the perfect hole we had created and filled with all the neccesary ingredients to give in the best start over here, a mixture of feed, sand, gravel and high grade compost were all the the list.

When finished and perfectly in situ it looked like the tree had always been there, the next step is to create a bed of beautiful Lavender and Rosemary to make it feel more at home.

April in the garden

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”– Abraham Lincoln

At long last, spring has arrived! Is it just me or has this winter really dragged on? As you look out in your garden, does the nagging question of “where do I even begin” sound familiar? There is so much to do in every corner this month that it is difficult to know where to start.

In my opinion, the first and most important thing to do is to stand back for a moment, and simply enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has given us…. Listen to the birds as they sing you a spring melody, I’m really enjoying having Mr Robin back working alongside me on a daily basis, it just makes it all a bit more enjoyable to be serenaded whilst at work.

Don’t worry too much if your garden doesn’t seem to be flourishing as you have been hoping – this is all down to the cold of the last few months and it will pick up quickly as the weather warms up.

The weather at this time of the year is everything mixed into a day. Bright sunny mornings will pass into rainy afternoons and end in sharp frosts. You will need your wits about you just to keep abreast of it. Consequently, April is not too late to prune roses sharp, especially if they are encouraged along by a week of warm weather. Sometime there will be a finger numbing frost that will cause more damage than ever.

Other Jobs to do this month:

Keep on top of the lawn

Mowing regularly will help strengthen your grass and discourage coarser grasses, apply a spring lawn fertiliser to encourage good, strong growth. If moss is a problem choose a combined fertiliser and moss killer. After a couple of weeks lightly rake the lawn with a spring-tine rake to remove dead moss and old plant debris.

Lawn in Teddington

Yes, it’s boring, but keep those weeds under control before they take off. Pull up the root wherever possible. Actually this can be quite therapeutic and the end result makes it well worthwhile.

Before your evergreen hedges like yew and holly have a chance to get growing (and assuming the frosts have passed), grab this last opportunity to prune them to the desired height.

Dead-head daffodils as soon as the flowers fade and leave foliage for a minimum of six weeks, or until it yellows. During this time the daffodils carry all the nutrients down to the bulb and they will be needed for fabulous flowers next year.

For Fun

Start a herb garden near the back door with young mint, rosemary and tarragon plants. Sow seeds of hardy herbs like parsley and chives in nearby patches. Get the kids involved in the planting and the subsequent cutting for the cooking pan or plate.

If your child(ren) prefer flowers then sow hardy annuals like pansies and nasturtiums which are very dependable and offer plentiful flowers.

March in the garden

Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth


March sees spring bulbs out in force with days often being bright and sunny, if a little windy. Buds are appearing all over the garden, as are the weeds! The days get longer as the clocks go forward and life starts to slowly reawaken from the long sleep of winter.

This seems to be the time of year more than any other when I really notice how in sync we are with nature, spring feels like waking up after a long sleep and starting to feel full of energy and vitality again, so too in the garden as bulbs are forcing their way through the soil and buds are forming on the tree’s. New life is visible everywhere, people seem happier and the birds seem to sing that little bit louder.

The sun is here starting to warm the earth, it is all starting to happen under the ground, there is always something new to experience in the garden this month. With spring being probably the busiest season in the garden, there is much to do but be warned that late frosts are still likely to be careful not to put anything tender to risk.

The early spring sunshine brings to life yellow and blue planting schemes, my favourite for pots and baskets. Note as you look around for wild flowers, drifts of bluebells with pale yellow primroses, daffodils and forget-me-nots, nature never gets it wrong.


The Lawn

The lawn is likely to show real signs of growth this month. Start mowing with blades at their highest settings and slowly lower over the next few weeks to prevent stressing your lawn. Now is a great time to start making repairs to any worn or damaged areas of your lawn.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)

Prune the butterfly bush Buddleia davidii hard back to a framework of older wood at 60-120cm. Shoots will already be starting to grow but don’t worry. Cut hard back to the size you require, even if it leaves the plant entirely leafless. This plant will come back time and time again and is one of the garden’s fastest and most prolific growers. Flowers will be on the ends of this year’s growth.


Roses

Use clean, sharp secateurs to prune bush roses (hybrid teas and floribundas) now, if you haven’t already done so. First cut off all dead, damaged or diseased stems and thin, spindly twigs. Note that hard-pruning increases strong growth, so cut back weak shoots hard (to leave only about 1in of last year’s growth) cutting above an outward-facing bud; leave about 2-3in of last year’s growth on stronger stems. Shrub roses need less radical pruning. Take out about one third of the oldest and thickest branches at their base, using a pruning saw. Tidy up the remaining stems by trimming over the top to reduce height by about 4in.

Other things to do this month

· Prune bushes and shrubs to encourage new growth

· Feed fruit trees

· Plant summer bulbs around the garden borders

· Plant a spring container

· Clear debris and old stems from beds and borders as well as weeds and follow with good mulch of compost or bark

· Divide and replant congested perennials

· Dead head any early spring flowers and bulbs as they die off

· Remove weeds and reseed lawns if needed

· Spring clean paths and driveways removing stubborn weeds

· Now is a good time to plant or move evergreens, as the weather warms up and root activity commences, but before new shoots have opened.

Spring is so very nearly upon us, so happy March Gardeners.