Interest in growing herbs has increased sharply over the last few years, many are used in cooking and others have valuable medicinal qualities. Nathan James Dodd gives you advice on what herbs to choose and how to grow them.
Useful throughout the year, here's our guide to Potting Sheds and what to look out for when buying one.
A Potting Shed is in essence a practical place and it can greatly enhance your gardening.
Hall's and Rowlinson's Potting Sheds have plenty of light and staging but before buying there are several factors to take into consideration.
The first and most obvious question to ask is how much use is it going to get? If you're a very keen gardener raising the majority of your vegetables and plants from seed, the answer will be lots and you'll consider one of the larger sheds in the range. If you have a small garden and think a potting shed would be a useful but only intermittently used space, clearly a smaller shed would be more appropriate.
Another consideration is how much storage space is required. Potting sheds double up as storage areas, not only for materials that you will regularly need for raising seedlings and transplanting, for example compost, vermiculite, watering cans and pots but also perhaps larger gardening equipment such as mowers, bamboo stakes, rakes etc if you don't have other suitable storage areas. You might also like to relax in there, so is there room for a chair?
A further aspect to consider is of course price. Most people have a budget but, however much you can afford, you should be able to find a shed that satisfies most your requirements in a selection of sheds that start at a modest 6ft x 6ft model manufactured by Halls and range upwards to the impressive Corner Potting Store by Rowlinson that combines a spacious storage area with a greenhouse section.
So once a decision has been made, here's a range of Potting Sheds to choose from:
Halls Potting Sheds come in five sizes, from a compact 6ft x 6ft potting shed up to one measuring 10ft x 8ft. All have as standard horticultural glass glazing, full length slatted staging, stable door, opening window and are traditionally built from the highest quality Scandinavian FSC timber.
The Rowlinson Potting Store and Shed is a greenhouse that also has plenty of storage space. There's a tongue and groove floor, solid board roof and potting benches are included. Glazing consists of three opening and seven fixed windows, and to maximise light there's also five glazed roof panels..
The Corner Potting Store is an impressively good looking variation, with the greenhouse section emerging at right angles to the shed portion. It can be built to fit into left or right hand corners and has very useful double doors.
Whatever you decide, there will be scope for further improvement and improvisation. Extra staging, potting benches and work stations, wall hooks for secateurs and small tools, close to hand containers with labels, pencils and twine, perhaps a shelf for books and odds & ends.
You can also think about hooking up electric cable for lighting and even plumbing for a water supply. You might well end up spending more time in there than you imagined, so make sure the potting shed will satisfy your future as well as current needs.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.
Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..
There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.