Category Archives: Accessories

So many uses for garden stones.

I’m sure that all of us have used or at least have considered using some sort of stone in the garden at some stage in ones gardening career to date. Garden Stones have so many good functions and can be used for all kinds of reasons. I will try and touch on these and in doing so will relate to how I have used them and what is out there in the market.

Garden stones can be used as stepping stones, for paving driveways or patios, in rockeries, pebbles for walkways and then there are just plain old decorative stones and boulders.

Stones are a huge industry now and in the landscaping world are mostly referred to as aggregates and in a lot of parts of the world when the construction industry slowed or slows down traditional quarries that supply stone for laying foundations for roads and housing can get affected by the downturn but the clever ones survive by adapting and supplying landscaping stones or aggregates to cater for all needs.

A Sample of decorative garden stones - they come in all shapes and sizes.

A Sample of decorative garden stones – they come in all shapes and sizes.

 

Whether you are looking for concrete, granite, limestone, sandstone, slate or even garden pebbles in your local garden center you can find a stone in every size, shape and finish for every need and to fit every garden no matter what the size.

My first encounter with using stones in the garden came about by accident really before they became popular. I had a garden shed at the back of my garden and where I live it can be quite wet most of the year. Walking to the shed or even the very rare dry but windy day to hang some clothes on the line became an ordeal in that I had to have the appropriate foot wear on or else my slippers or shoes would get wet from the long grass (the fact that it was wet was my excuse to not cut it!). My eureka moment came when I was doing a clean-up of the garden and came across some left over concrete garden slabs I had used the previous spring to lay a foundation to put the dogs kennel on.

With the help of my friend we managed to lift them up and place them as garden stepping stones from where the lawn started to the shed at the end of the garden. What a difference they make and what a simple solution.

Since I laid the stepping stones they have since been replaced with a more decorative stylish limestone garden stones. While I am on the topic of lawns and stones one of the simplest uses for any kind of stone and a good way to separate the lawn from the flower beds is the use of garden edging stones. These can be stones you find on a beach to any shape of sized stone to build a type of small barrier along the edging of the grass. Another effect is to dig a small trench a few inches wide and fill this in with some red or golden granite gravel which can give a lovely clean lawn edging.

garden edging stones effect

Garden Edging Stone effect

The size of one’s garden really dictates how much stone if any that can or should be used and if you want to go for a low maintenance garden where the thoughts of cutting the lawn or doing the weeding really doesn’t appeal to you for some small garden ideas you could try a gravel garden.

 

A few simple steps to lay a gravel garden with garden stones and get some exercise at the same time:

  1. Outline the area you wish to have as the gravel lawn then ding out the existing grass to a depth of about 4 inches.
  2. Flatten down the remaining soil and level at the same time. You might need a compactor for this part depending on the size of the area.
  3. Spray or treat the soil with weed killer to prevent any weeds from future growth then lay a layer of sand on top of the soil and flatten down.
  4. Lay a weed membrane and peg this down.
  5. To stop the gravel from spilling out into flower beds or any patio area you may have at this stage you may decide to put in some lawn edging with some decorative garden stones to match the gravel you lay.
  6. Now you can grab your garden cart or wheelbarrow and spread your gravel. The type of gravel you use is very much a personal choice but there are a few things just to consider:
    1. If the gravel is too small say 10mm or less this can get stuck in the soles or grips in your shoes as you walk on it and also the neighbourhood cats might see it as kitty litter! Yikes!
    2. Light stones don’t stay light forever and get dark and dirty easy.
    3. Try using 20mm garden stones.

It is as easy as that and if you don’t want to make the garden too dull and bland you can accessorise and have stepping stones for garden paths that lead to some lovely garden water features.

pet memorial garden stone

An example of memorial garden stones for pets.

Something that is forbidden in a lot of countries but luckily it not in mine is the burying of pets in the backyard or on your grounds. A slightly morbid topic but something surely a lot have encountered, considered or done. When our family dog Ben, who was in the family for 12 years and all the kids grew up with him, passed away there was never going to be anywhere else but the back garden where he was laid to rest. To mark his final resting place we had a nice memorial stone made up and it is only when you are in this situation that you realise that memorial garden stones are a huge business and you can even get memorial garden stepping stones or plaques made up and that people actually give these to celebrate the loss of a loved one or a pet loss gift! Wow.



Plants for sale Oh sorry Flowers for sale!

So why don’t we see any high street plant shops instead they are full of flower shops! What is the difference between a flower and a plant anyway? A plant is in a pot and grows on your windowsill and flowers just appear in a vase on your mantel piece, right? Plants for sale anyone?

Flowers in vase ...magic!

Flowers in vase …magic Roses!

What if I said that a flower is a plant …confused?

Yes a flower is part of a plant and most plants produce flowers. When we use the word ‘flower’ we are referring to the plants that produce pretty flowers that are used as decorations. The ‘flower’ is the reproductive part of the plant. Nearly over with the botany lesson ….All plants have roots, stems, leaves, flowers or fruits, but yet not all plants flower.

So perhaps this is the reason that we see flowers for sale instead of plants for sale more often and more flower than plant shops…flowers are more attractive and have become renowned the world over as a perfect way to woo a woman or a good way to say I’m sorry! There is a flower for every occasion.

SOME OF THE KEY EVENTS AND THE PERFECT FLOWER THAT MIGHT BE USED FOR THIS SPECIFIC OCCASION:

Weddings: Seasonal flowers.

Birthdays: seasonal flowers – but the birthday person’s favourite flower is the best idea.

Christmas:  Poinsettia, Christmas cactus, Amaryallis and not forgetting mistletoe!

Easter: Daffodil, Calla Lilly, Carnations and white roses.

Valentine’s Day: Red Roses.

Funerals: White carnations, white daisies.

Have you ever planted some flower bulbs, spring comes they flower look pretty winter comes and as one would expect they wither and die. Next year, nothing, what did I do wrong not one but all the bulbs I had planted –nothing. Yet in some parts of the garden, sometimes the worst part of the garden year on year up pop the same flowers. This is because some are annuals and some are perennials.

Learn all about annuals, perennials & flower bulbs in this great book.

Learn all about annuals, perennials & flower bulbs in this great book.

As you would expect annuals are plants that last one year, they grow from seeds, bloom or flower in one season and die – they need to be replaced each spring. Examples of annuals would be; Marigold, daisy, petunia and viola.

Perennials live more than two years. They flower year on year until they hit maturity which can be between 3 – 5 years. Perennials flower for shorter periods than annuals no longer than 5 weeks.

 

Perennials are not only the one of the most reliable ways of guaranteeing colour in your garden every summer but are cost effective too. All you need to do to keep your perennials healthy is cut them back down to ground level in the autumn and look forward to seeing them blooming again the following spring. Examples would be; Day lilies and Hostas.

I seemed to have opened a can of worms here on myself as I am writing this more things and questions are jumping into my mind. Another thing which I have to think about and I’m sure not a lot of people would be able to answer is:

Is a tree a plant?

The answer is yes it is – a tree is a woody plant with a stem or trunk. Then I ask myself well what are bamboo plants – bamboo is a plant also. Yikes. A tree really has a lot to do with size and dimensions and I suppose its shape. Shrubs or bushes have been called trees on occasion but in fact they are not either, as they have multiple stems and are much shorter in height. On a final note just to throw a spanner in the works a banana tree is not a tree at all in fact it is apparently the world’s largest herb!!

Plants for sale...come on in

Plants for sale…come on in!

I went off on a bit of a tangent there but swiftly reverting back to what I was writing about flowers and plants for sale and a florists store on the high street or buying flowers online automatically jumps into mind. I recently came across a unique and brilliant concept that I had never seen before and hopefully will see more of. A lot of people have and will continue to have a sort of cottage industry growing seeds to bloom into wonderful flowers in their own garden and then selling to make some extra income. To some this is the ideal job or hobby and make money from it, it won’t make you a fortune and can be quite seasonal.

Selling can take place in one’s own garden or at farmers markets or like the novel idea I saw in a communal allotment on a pick and pay basis.  It is marketed as a U Pick flower patch. This is basically an extension to the ladies garden where her overheads are low, she just needs to buy the seeds and plant them and give them some TLC. The public then wander around and if they see what they like they pick and you pay per stem. She had growing some lilies, daisies, pansies, zinnias, snapdragons, carnations and a few sunflowers. It is a novel and fresh idea and cutting your own flowers brings that added sense of satisfaction and will deffo keep me going back, it is a bit like going to pick the Christmas tree- you are in control.

wooden garden planter

Wooden garden planter – ideal for growing your seeds.

This has similarities to organic vegetable farms where you pick your own veg and pay by weight – this could have been where these all started from someone planting or having their own vegetable garden and expanding the business. I love it. I hope to see more of these popping up.



The best ideas for gardening gifts.

Relaxing in the garden is the perfect and enviable way to relax and unwind especially when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. You could be taking in the sun’s rays while reading your favourite gardening book or magazine or just taking in the peaceful sounds of nature while digging a bed, pruning the roses or watering the flowers. Having a great garden, allotment or space is the secret to being able to relax and de-stress.

No matter what the size or shape of your garden be it for your parents, sister, brother, friend or even neighbour gardening gifts make the ideal present for all occasions. Having the latest accessories and garden gadgets will make them or you the envy of the entire neighbourhood!

A great example of gardening gifts for women

A great example of gardening gifts for women

Shopping for gifts for gardeners couldn’t be easier whether it’s gardening gifts for men or gardening gifts for women your local gardening centre is a haven of ideas as is the internet with websites to suit all, gardening tools alone could keep you in gift ideas for years. Remember a simple rule of thumb when giving gifts – give a present that can be used by the person you are giving it to. Not only will it be well received and appreciate but they will feel that you have put a lot of thought and effort into finding the perfect present for him or her.

Every Mother deserves a wonderful gift from time to time and if your Mom has green fingers, gardening gifts for Mom can put you in the good books and put a smile on her face. From gardening gloves to garden statues, garden sheds to garden gnomes,

Solar light garden gnome

Solar light garden gnome -peekaboo

or even getting personalised gardening gifts like a tool belt embroidered with her name or initials or tools with her name on them give that personal touch an added sense of caring. Of course gardening gifts wouldn’t be complete without plants, flowers are the most popular gift for woman so why not go a little bit further and present her with some seeds so she can plant that perfect rose and give it its own name.

Often a lot of people enjoy the garden but not necessarily gardening, like I said earlier relaxing or unwinding in the garden listening to the birds or just the peace and tranquillity getting away from the mundane chores. Choosing gardening gifts for men or gardening gifts for Dad can be harder so for that special occasion perhaps garden furniture will best suit his needs and aid in the time spent in the garden admiring his garden water features or garden statues that he or you have built up over time with the endless hours spend on and in the garden.

A look at some of the great affordable garden water features on the market

Some of the affordable garden water features on the market

Affordable gardening gifts

Affordable gardening gifts – free standing garden fountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probably the most unique gardening gifts that I have come across as of late are gardening holidays.

These are designed for people of all ages who have a great interest in gardening but not the best knowledge with the main emphasis on having a relaxing time chatting with people with a mutual interest rather that formal teaching. Visits are usually planned to local gardens – big and small, some open to the public others not, where you get a change to meet the owners or head horticulturists and pick their brains. If you have run out of ideas this will make an ideal

I could go on and just list a ream of ideas for him or her but we all have those nature loving friends or family who are happiest just pottering in the garden, for those special people they deserve a gift with a lot of thought and effort. Many regular gardeners are always on the lookout for new quirky garden accents such as garden ornaments or garden statues or an unusual knick knack to brighten up their garden or become a talking or focal point. Unusual gardening gifts might go along the lines of a sun dial, rice bag planters, outdoor wall clock, garden flags, a flower press, hanging tea light holder, metal or copper flowers, and weathervanes. Some unusual garden furniture might be hanging chairs or hammocks to outdoor giant bean bags I suppose it all depends what you class as unusual.

DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OR SHAPE OF YOUR GARDEN BUT MORE SO FOR SMALLER GARDENS HAVING A MAIN FOCAL POINT SUCH AS GARDEN WATER FEATURES OR GARDEN ORNAMENTS CAN REALLY SET YOUR GARDEN APART. IN TERMS OF A GARDENING GIFT THESE ARE BIG GIFTS SO IT HAD BETTER BE A SPECIAL OCCASION OR SPECIAL PERSON …..OR WHY NOT JUST TREAT YOURSELF. ONE OF THE BEST PRESENTS TO YOU COULD BE AN OUTDOOR HOT TUB. YES PLEASE.

The ultimate of garden accessories

The Ultimate of garden accessories – man’s best friend.

I cannot believe that I have spoken about gardening gifts for this long and not yet mentioned the word BBQ – man’s favourite garden accessory. With the old stereotype of men as grill-masters still living on. But as it happens women put in up to 70% of the BBQ leg work – like buying the food and preparing the salad/food and then the men take all the glory by cooking it! Or in most cases burning it. BBQ accessories can make great gardening gifts for men.

Thanks for s reading and I hope you find some nice gardening gifts – if you would like similar tips or advise direct to your inbox subscribe below.