Local Builders

This post is sponsored by Horsham Building Contractors

When you want some building work done on your home, it pays to find a company that can do a first-class job. It may cost a little more but will pay off in the long run, especially if you have anything complicated or major to accomplish.

It’s always better, in my opinion, to choose a local builder who specialises in your type of job. If you want a new house built, then find someone who can show you some projects and preferably where you can speak to previous clients. It doesn’t matter if the properties are completely different to yours, but what is important is that construction companies can work with your architect, follow the brief and produce an excellent finish. When a new house is constructed, you want it to be as close to perfect as possible and not full of faults and problems as you’ll find in many of the big builders’ houses.

Of course most of us can’t build a bespoke house because of the lack of land or finance, so it’s more usualy to employ an extension builder or one who does smaller tasks to improve the home or even for complete house refurbishment.

So again pick the right company for the job and check out their credentials, get proper quotes and ask questions before you decide to go ahead. You’ll probably have to wait a few weeks or even longer for the job to be started as good builders tend to book up well in advance.

Tree Surgeons

So I cheated with my first blog and reused an article I wrote back in 2016 on my first (now defunct) blog, just to get started here.

But now I want to talk (write) about looking after the trees in your garden. We use a Milton Keynes tree surgeon called Gaz for all our tree work and he’s great at doing an annual inspection and advising us on the best course of action to look after our precious “big plants” as we call them.

This year we’ve had quite a lot of tree work done in the garden. We have a lot of space so a lot of trees and one thing we had to tackle was leyland cypress removal. Boy do they grow – and not only upwards but outwards too, darkening the garden and stopping the growth of many of our precious plants. These specimens were grown into a hedge, presumably originally planted because they grew fast and quickly provided a barrier. But therein lies the problem. These monsters cast shade and make everything dark, taking the goodness and light from everything around. So they had to go so Gaz and his team tackled them for us.

It took a whole day to remove those monsters but it certainly pays to use qualified tree surgeons because they know what they’re doing and get the job done efficiently. We had a 10 foot hedge and about 8 other specimens. First a “tree monkey” climbed up the tree and cut off the top branches. Then when there was just a trunk left they cut that down at the bottom, just leaving the stump. The wood can’t be used for anything apparently, so they chip it and send it off for biofuel. The other option is to burn it in situ but that can cause horrendous ash, as we discovered before when we tried that option! Our poor neighbour took the brunt of it and much of his property and cars ended up covered in white.

Of course, if you want to have a specimen tree and have tons of room, a leyland cypress might be a great choice, though I understand that no-one really knows how big these hybrids can eventually grow and whether they become unstable after a number of years. I think ours were over 30 years old and huge, so goodness knows what they’d be like after 100 years.

Pots and Baskets in the Garden

As I write this, it’s D-Day, 6th June 2016. I’ve spent 2 weekends repotting and sprucing up around 50 pots and baskets. They don’t look very spectactular at the moment but in a month or so they should be looking pretty good.

pots just filled
Pots just planted

I’ve bought plants from three different sources – Ferring Nurseries, Homebase and Newbridge.  Specimens include double petunias – both regular and trailing, trailing fuscias, double begonias, both regular and trailing, pink antirhinums and geraniums.

Of course there are quite a few other plants in there too.

There are some that survived from last year, including quite a few of the geraniums (pelargoniums). There’s also a trailing plant with yellow flowers that hangs in a cone-shaped basket on the front of the garage. It came through last year and is still thriving. It doesn’t look anywhere near as good as it did but given that it’s a dark corner without much sunlight, it brightens up the area. I’ve trimmed back all the dead branches and watered it profusely. It doesn’t bear close inspection but from a distance it gives some good colour.  I’d like to add a couple more plants into the basket, but unfortunately there are so many roots that it’s impossible to plant anything more.

I bought 8 New Guinea impatiens from Newbridge, 2 packs for £10, which is pretty good since I’m sure they’ll grow into big plants in a few weeks. They had more expensive specimens which were bigger, but since they grow so fast there didn’t seem much point in paying more. I’ve planted each one in its own container to give plenty of room to spread and I’m hoping for lots of blooms in varying colours.

One of last year’s disappointments was a ball crysanthemum I think I got at the old Water Gardens. In fact I bought one for myself and one for my daughter and they were fantastic. I can’t remember the price but they were certainly very reasonable.

The disappointment came this year when both of them were completely dead. I can only presume that they aren’t bred to survive more than one year. I shall definitely look out for more this year though.

Oh and I just remembered that I bought 2 packs of 6 double petunias at the village shop this morning, just to fill up those remaining pots.

Of course I’ve still got the odd spot to fill, but that always seems to be the case. I’ve bought a couple of new shrubs and will report back when I’ve found out their names. The idea is to build up a nice collection of shrubs that go from year to year and save me buying quite so many bedding plants.

As well as the freestanding pots, I’ve refilled the heavy ones that sit at the front of the house. Of course the deer will probably eat half the plants but the beauty of this blog is that I’ll get a reminder which ones they like and which ones they leave alone!  At the moment the only ones I can remember that they don’t touch are hydrangea and antirrhinum.

Back soon with a little more detail.