Whether it's a bleak December or the more mild weather we are becoming used to, you can still spend useful time in the garden. David Coton suggests the jobs that can occupy the shortening days.
A pond must have plants to increase bio-diversity, enliven it and add interest, and one of the best ways to fill a pond with plants is to use aquatic baskets, Here's Dan Everton's guide to achieve the best results.
A pond basket is specifically designed to allow water to enter the aquatic compost contained inside it and not allow the compost to escape.
The dimensions of a basket should reflect the eventual size of the plant as sizeable plants need large baskets to stop them falling over
I would also recommend that only one species of plant is used per basket, this is because one type of plant will always dominate and the others will suffer. You may notice pre-planted baskets that have various plant varieties, these are great if you want to decorate your pond quickly for a garden party or similar but eventually you'll find one of the plants will take over to the detriment of the others.
You will want to line the basket with a hessian or synthetic hessian liner. This allows water to get to the compost but stops the compost from leaching from the basket clouding your pond. Synthetic hessian will last longer than traditional hessian.
Fill your pond basket between half and two thirds with aquatic compost. You do not want to fill it completely as there should be room to top it up with gravel.
Next you need to create a gap in the soil for your plant to slot into. Carefully remove your plant from the pot.
Place your new pond plant into the gap you have created, surround the roots with soil and then top up the basket, leaving a gap for gravel. Adding gravel also stops fish from digging out all of the compost which is a common complaint from new pond keepers.
Gently water your newly planted basket, this will help to compact the compost down, you should be able to add a little more compost into the basket after this. You can now top the soil with gravel.
Your basket is now ready to add to the pond. One exception is water lilies, these will need to be lowered over the space of a few weeks, dropping slightly deeper each week.
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A full guide to pond plants.
Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.
Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.
It was quite an honour for GardenSite to be asked to supply the Christmas Tree to Birmingham New Street Station this year, and to celebrate we're offering a Champagne High Tea to the winners of a seasonal selfie competition.
With Storm Caroline reeking havoc many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies at some time regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite.co.uk can help with an independent insurance quote and claim.