Zest 4 Leisure have always offered a popular range of timber garden furniture and this week at GLEE, the garden industry's leading trade show, David Coton had the opportunity to review their new products for 2018.
Shade can be a very important element in garden design. It's also fairly essential if we have a repeat of the recent hot spell. Somewhere to relax in comfort, away from the intense sun.
You may have seen a recent episode of Alan Titchmarsh's new series 'Love Your Garden'. Shade played an important role, due to the featured family's children having a medical condition that meant they could not play in bright sunlight.
The garden design guru solved this problem by building a pergola (or more accurately, instructing a gang of men to construct the pergola he had suggested).
A corridor of dappled shade was the result, in which the children could happily run around.
Pergolas are a fantastic way to introduce shade and they range from rustic timber to a plethora of more contemporary designs.
They are simple structures consisting of vertical posts supporting cross beams and combine architectural elegance with functionality.
Freestanding to create an area of protection from the harsh glare of direct sunlight, or attached to the house, they can form a link to another part of the garden or focal point.
A pergola also adds height and can be an excellent way to support climbing plants.
All the major manufacturers of timber garden structures including Rowlinson, M&M, Forest and Grange, have pergolas to suit every location. Click here to see manufactured garden pergolas
The wood is pressure treated to ensure rot resistance and from simple arches, pergolas can range greatly in length and style.
In addition to those designed to create a corridor, there are radial versions that fan out from a corner and circular ones.
Others have shaped, domed or rounded arches. There's a pagoda inspired pergola and even one called 'The Pod' that featured in an earlier 'Love Your Garden'.
A decking kit can be included for a seating area, alternatively slabs or gravel may be laid for a path.
Planting isn't as difficult as you may think. Above can be a canopy of roses with their stems trained up and over the timber, other good choices would be a clematis, honeysuckle, wisteria or jasmine. They can be helped on their way with a side trellis.
Below there's a wide selection of plants that enjoy dappled shade.
Hardy geraniums do well in partial shade, also think about the three h's - Hydrangea, Heuchera and Hosta. The fragrant Mahonia and aromatic Skimmia also prefer these conditions together with perennials Dicentra and Ligularia.
Most garden centres stock Pergolas or you can go online to buy one and get it delivered to your home. Click Here to see a wide selection of Garden Pergolas For Sale
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.