What makes a high or low maintenance garden

English cottage garden.

The style of garden and what plants you grow are key to knowing how much effort it’ll take to maintain. (ElenaMorgan via Getty Images)

Spring is the prime time when homes with impressive gardens pop up on Rightmove but, if you dream of some gorgeous outside space, whether it’s in the city, the suburbs or out in the country, it’s important to know how much work is involved in keeping a garden looking good.

Size isn’t a reliable indicator of maintenance – you could have several acres of fuss-free land, or a smaller garden that constantly needs working on. More important is the style of the garden and the plants you grow.

With many people opting to tend their garden themselves – both as a way to cut costs but also as a mindful exercise – we asked several gardening experts their advice on what makes a garden high and low maintenance.

The Merry Gardener Peter Merrywest says areas that attract weeds make for time-consuming upkeep.

“Weeding definitely is my no.1 highest maintenance job within a garden. That being said, I would say the rockery, stoney paths, block paving and wide empty borders are exceptionally high maintenance,” he says. “I would really aim to fill up the borders which will crowd out the weeds and reduce your weeding time.”

MT O’Donnell, publisher of Scotland Grows Magazine, agrees and suggests that bare soil should be filled with cover plants or, for even easier maintenance, wood chip. “Pack gaps in borders with sprawling ground cover plants like ajuga replans, saxifraga and stachys byzantina. 

Read more: Top tips to invest in a property and the features that sell a home

“They will happily spread amongst the borders to help suppress weeds. Bare soil can

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When to plant begonia tubers

If you’re wondering when to plant begonia tubers, you’ll be happy to know that you have some flexibility in terms of when you can plant these dainty perennials. But you still need to make sure that the timing is right for these beautiful flowers to bloom. 

While some may say that begonias are a tad old-fashioned, there’s no denying that these classic flowers are a welcome addition to any hanging basket or garden border ideas. In fact, they’re perfect for those looking to bring their cottage garden ideas to life. 

However, to reap the rewards of begonias, you first need to plant them, and with the help of experts in the field (or should we say the garden), we’ve got all of the information you could need on when to plant begonia tubers. 

When to plant begonia tubers

‘Begonias are great for beginner gardeners and those with more experience, giving beautiful splashes of colour in your garden throughout the summer,’ explains Mollie Higginson, Sales Manager at New Leaf Plants and Founding Member of the Young People in Horticulture Association.

Begonia flowers bloom between July and October, so planting begonia tubers follows the same timeframe as planting summer bulbs. Of course, there is a slight difference; summer bulbs are bulbs, while begonias are planted as tubers. 

begonia tubers in pots

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench, suggests, ‘March-April time is the perfect time to plant Begonia tubers in pots, as the soil is just starting to warm up. Make sure that you don’t plant them too early on in the year when it still isn’t warm enough for them even to be inside, as they won’t grow properly.’

Thankfully, this gives you a fairly large window to tick this task off your list of jobs to do in

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How to plant cherry trees

Knowing how to plant cherry trees the right way is essential for them thrive in your garden.

Delicious to graze on straight from the tree, cherries are such wonderful fruits to grow. They also produce the most magical blossom in the spring, so make sure to include at least one cherry tree in your backyard ideas.

‘Cherry trees are one of the best fruit trees as they are low maintenance and easy to grow,’ says Tammy Sons, owner of Tennessee Nursery.

This makes them particularly well suited to beginners when planning a kitchen garden. So take the time to learn how to plant cherry trees properly, and you’ll be on track for a bumper harvest.

Cherry tree covered with blossom surrounded by daffodils

(Image credit: Getty Images / Jacky Parker)

How to plant cherry trees – step by step

Learning how to plant cherry trees is easy if you know how to plant fruit trees of other varieties. ‘It’s a very similar process,’ says Suzanne Fellows from Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply.

Follow these simple rules, and you’ll be planting your own backyard orchard in no time:

  • Begin by digging the hole for your tree. ‘It needs to be about three times as wide as the tree’s roots and deep enough to allow planting at the same depth the tree was in the field,’ says Fellows. ‘Note the change in color on the trunk.’
  • You can add some compost to the soil, but don’t overdo it. You must ensure this is mixed in with the soil outside of the hole, otherwise the roots will confine themselves to the planting area and the tree won’t grow as strong.
  • Place the tree in the planting hole. ‘Position the graft to the north, and don’t plant so deep that the graft will be covered in soil,’
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a month by month calendar |

Knowing when to plant vegetables is essential if you’re looking to grow your own edibles. Growing your own vegetables from seed is a great way to give a supply of fresh organic produce as part of a healthy diet, but it is also highly rewarding and good for wellbeing. 

While you can buy seedlings and plug plants from garden centres and online suppliers, planting vegetables from seed is the most economical way of growing produce, plus it also offers the opportunity to try all sorts of different vegetable varieties. However, with a dazzling array to choose from, it can be tricky to know where to begin.

Whether you’re in the process of creating a kitchen garden or simply want to grow a few veggies in containers on your patio or balcony space, this handy vegetable calendar will help get your kitchen garden ideas get off to the best start.

Some harvested carrots in a trug with other veg

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

When to plant vegetables – points to consider

Planning when to plant vegetables can be confusing as there are a huge array of vegetable garden ideas, plus there are vegetables that can be planted in every month of the year, right through from January to December. 

A vegetable calendar is a great place to start when planning a kitchen garden as it will help you know when to buy seeds so that you don’t miss out on growing your favorite vegetables, plus will it help you organize crop rotations on your patch. It is also a handy source of inspiration for what to plant.

Exactly when to plant vegetables will depend on your climate and weather conditions, so while a vegetable calendar is a handy guide planning tool, it is also important to keep a tab on temperates in your region. 

Throughout the gardening year it’s a

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for a bumper crop |

Knowing when to plant pumpkins is important as they have a long growing season. You need to prepare well ahead for the fall arrival of plump, orange pumpkins, ready to carve for Jack O’Lanterns, or varieties to roast for pies, add to stews and soups and many other culinary uses. 

Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, Cucurbitacae, and are actually considered a berry. Cucurbita pepo is the type of pumpkin used to make the jack-o-lanterns seen on Halloween, but there are many different sizes, shapes, colors and flavors.

Once you know how to grow pumpkins you can try many different varieties that you won’t generally be able to find at the grocery store.

Basket of assorted pumpkins and squashes

(Image credit: Clare Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo)

When to plant pumpkins 

Because they have a long growing season, it is important to plant pumpkins as early as possible as part of your vegetable garden ideas.

‘It is best to wait about 2-3 weeks after the last average frost date in your area, or until soil has reliably warmed to 70 °F,’ says Shannie McCabe, horticulturist for Baker Creek Seeds based in Mansfield, Missouri.

Since there are a range of frost dates depending on where you live ‘it is best to get online and research the average last frost date for your region,’ Shannie adds. 

pumpkin growing among the leaves in a garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What is the best month to plant pumpkins?

The best

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How to keep slugs out of the garden and off your plants

Slugs can be a gardener’s worst nightmare. You spend months nurturing and caring for your garden and then a slug can come along and undo all your hard work in the space of an afternoon.

So how do you keep slugs out of your garden?

There are a variety of different methods, but you want something that isn’t going to harm you, your pets, wildlife or others around you.

Online lifestyle magazine, Homes and Gardens, believes they have they have a number of sustainable and safe solutions.

Watford Observer: There are number of sustainable ways to keep slugs out of the garden that won't impact you or others.There are number of sustainable ways to keep slugs out of the garden that won’t impact you or others. (Image: Getty Images)

The best ways to keep slugs out of your garden

According to Homes and Gardens, these are the best ways to keep slugs out of your garden:


Homes and Gardens said if you are looking for a “guaranteed” slug control method, then nematodes are a great option that will target the slug without harming any other wildlife. 

The online magazine explained: “Nematodes occur naturally in the soil and seek out and kill specific target pests.

“They attack the pest by entering its body and releasing a bacterium which quickly and effectively kills it.

“The nematodes then reproduce inside the dying pest and release a new generation of hungry nematodes, which disperse and search for further prey, protecting the area for up to six weeks. 

“Nematodes have the advantage of targeting slugs beneath the soil, where most of them dwell, rather than just those on the surface.”

Nematodes are readily available online including on places like Amazon.

Copper Tape

Using copper

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A Beginner’s Guide and Expert Tips

Hydroponic gardening is a great way to grow food—without soil—in smaller spaces. Here’s what you need to know.

Whether you’re interested in growing a small food garden at home or looking at larger-scale farming, hydroponic gardening provides a way to grow fresh, nutrient-rich food, free of pesticides, in a quickly changing world with limited resources. That’s because hydroponic gardening relies on water and nutrients instead of soil, a finite resource, to grow plants.

Growing hydroponically has the added benefit that it can be done in places that were previously off-limits to gardeners and farmers, like small spaces and areas without healthy soil. It also typically uses less water than traditional gardening and farming. Different types of hydroponic gardening systems are available, making it accessible to anyone who would like to grow some of their own food—hello, year-round leafy greens and herbs!

“Hydroponic gardens are a part of the future of agriculture,” says Lance Beecher, PhD, aquaponics, aquaculture and fisheries specialist at Clemson University. “With limited space and resources, mainly water, hydroponics can fill a niche within agriculture where food can be grown in areas not thought of before and provide fresh food to places where people need it the most.”

If you’re curious about the easiest foods to grow at home or want to create a container garden or vertical garden, rest assured that you can grow your own food regardless of how much space you have. Consider some of these hydroponic garden kits so you can have a fresh and continuous supply of sustainable food.

What is a hydroponic garden?

Because a hydroponic garden uses water instead of soil, plants can grow indoors, year-round, in less space than traditional soil-based gardens. This means if you live in a tiny apartment or don’t have an outdoor area, you can

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House Republicans want to plant trees to combat climate change, but will it work?

Kevin McCarthy

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy at a news conference on Tuesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As most of the United States is contending with extreme heat, wildfire smoke or flash flooding, and a growing number of Americans say climate change has “made things worse” in their lives, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has an answer to those who worry that his caucus’s promotion of expanded fossil fuel production might exacerbate climate change: Plant trees.

“We need to manage our forests better so our environment can be stronger,” McCarthy said last month at a natural gas drilling site in northeast Ohio, as wildfire smoke hung in the air.

Republicans have previously embraced tree planting as an environmental fix: Plant trees, which absorb carbon dioxide, and you can keep producing the planet-warming gas by burning fossil fuels.

In 2021, House Republicans proposed to incentivize growing forests, and the bill’s author, Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, recently told the Associated Press he expects a similar bill to pass the GOP-majority chamber this year.

To some voters worried about climate change, Republicans seeking climate solutions might seem like progress. But is it a valid solution to climate change?

The climate role of trees

Aerial view of an illegal logging operation in Humaitá, southern Amazonas State, Brazil

An illegal logging operation in Humaitá, Brazil, September 2022. (Michael Dantas/AFP via Getty Images)

Like all plants, trees absorb and store carbon dioxide as they grow. However, when trees die, are cut down or burn, carbon dioxide is released. According to the World Resources Institute, forests absorb 16 billion metric tons of CO2 every year, but they emit about half that much.

Deforestation, in which trees are chopped down or burned to clear areas for human uses such as housing and farming — or for their natural resources like lumber and palm oil — increases emissions. Stopping deforestation is an important

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‘Neighbour won’t let me get fence in my own garden, he dislikes how they look’

A woman has taken to social media to share how her neighbour has been doing everything in his power to stop her from installing a fence between their gardens because he doesn’t like how they look

privacy fence to keep her dog in her garden (stock photo)” title=”She wants to install a privacy fence to keep her dog in her garden (stock photo)” layout=”responsive”/
She wants to install a privacy fence to keep her dog in her garden (stock photo)(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A woman has reached her wits’ end after her “entitled” neighbour made it his mission to stop her from installing a fence between their gardens. She explained how she has an “old but active” dog and has been struggling to keep her confined to her garden without a fence – and decided to go out and buy one to put an end to her problem.

However, as soon as her neighbour heard about her new fence, he marched over and claimed she doesn’t have the right to install it because he likes how his garden looks without one. Taking to Reddit, she said: “About a year ago my family moved states for work. We got a nice house in a good neighbourhood and most of our neighbours are kind and sweet.

“However, the neighbour right next to us has been nothing but a problem since we got here. He is a retired doctor and because of that, he thinks that everyone else should cater to his every word. The first problem we noticed with him was with my little dog.

He doesn’t want them to install a fence between their gardens (stock photo)(Getty Images)

“She’s old and wouldn’t hurt a fly but she does get excited when meeting new people and loves to

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5 decor swaps to keep your home cooler this summer

As the temperature outside rises, the annual quest for a cooler home begins — but without spending a fortune on our utility bills.

Try incorporating these home-cooling design moves. By swapping out heavy textiles for airy fabrics and setting up effective cross-ventilation, you can create a cooler house without touching the thermostat. Here’s how to design your way to a chill, summer-ready house.

1. Ditch the fuzzy rugs.

If your home is full of cozy wool rugs or fluffy shag rugs, give them the summer off. Roll them up and store them safely, making sure they are protected from bugs and out of direct sunlight so they won’t fade.

Then, embrace a bare hardwood or stone floor, which is cooler underfoot. For those spots that need a rug, such as beside the bed or under the kitchen sink, swap in a flatwoven rug in a natural fiber.

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2. Invest in cooling window treatments.

Gauzy, lightweight curtains might create a summery vibe in a room, but because they let lots of sunlight filter through and won’t help cool the space. To lower your energy bill, invest in shades that have a white plastic lining on the outside of the window as this reflects back as much light as possible.

3. Create cross ventilation.

For those who don’t have central air conditioning, cross ventilation is your best friend on hot days and will help keep the fresh air circulating.

To start, open two windows (or a window and a door) that are located across the room or even across the house or apartment, depending on the size of your space. Set up a fan next to one window, so it will help propel the fresh incoming air throughout your home. The more powerful the fan,

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