Hints and Tips

A few tasty tit bits to help you get the most from your garden

Winter planting – can I plant anything in winter?

Winter planting is basically ok IF the soil is soft and pliable. With cold snaps and snow then planting of any plant is a waste of time and money, however if there are reasonably balmy days with a good run of temperatures in double figures 10 degrees upwards, then you will have some success. The best plants to plant in winter are bare rooted ones and trees as the sap is down. Save planting more delicate plants and perennials until spring.

In the trolley are three shrubs which will survive winter planting as they are decidious – Viburnum, Hydrangea, Dogwood.


January Reminders

January is the start of the new year and a growing year – so it’s a good time to plan ahead. Thinking about your garden plan and layout now could save you works later in spring and summer as the weeds and plants grow.

Create for yourself a checklist of things you LIKE in your garden and things you want to move or change – take into consideration where the sun rises and sets to help you. Draw a simple plan of your garden to divide the areas up and so you can create a focus on one area at a time. Now is the time to think about the STRUCTURE of your garden for the coming growing seasons.



Does Snow Affect Bulbs?

So it’s getting colder in the garden – snow is here… here are some wise words from Monty Don


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know which plants to plant in my garden?

The best solution for any prospective gardener when faced with the daunting challenge of planting up a new area is to take your time and look around at other gardens – you can photograph the ideas that you love, taking into account the colour, height, texture and shape of the plants you see. When you see a plant that you love there are plenty of online references which you can find out more about each plant or even just pop down to your local garden centre with your pictures and ask them. The most important features when choosing to plant are; space to grow, position in sun or shade, watering opportunities, and most of all – whether you actually like the plant. The Gardening Companion offers a shopping companion service where we will guide you on buying the right plants for your space.

My garden feels overwhelming – how do I manage it without cutting everything down?

Most plants and shrubs have a ‘shelf life’, knowing how to prune back is really important when trying to keep larger shrubs under control. One rule of thumb is to only cut back AFTER flowering. Some plants need a hard cut such as Hydrangea Petiolaris and Pyracantha, whereas hedging shrubs, such as Privet, deal with little and often trims much better. Taking the time to prune regularly can actually save you time and money in the long run, so when your lavender has stopped flowering don’t be afraid to trim off all the heads – be careful not to cut into the old wood as it doesn’t flower on the old straggly stems. Sometimes we just need to take out plants which are overtaking the rest of the garden to give the other plants a chance to flourish – in Life Coaching terms you may want to think of aspects of your own life which are over-taking other ‘less important’ areas. The Gardening Companion can offer you a session to discuss your priorities in the garden and help you to decide which area to focus on first.

What is the difference between an ‘Informal’ garden design and one done by a design company?

At the Gardening Companion our aim is to have you at the heart of your garden.  We take together all of your thoughts, ideas and preferences and create a visual sketch board of ideas for you to work from. From there we discuss the plans with you and alter suggestions to your taste and budget. All plans are drawn  in pencil on sketching paper and plants named. Plants recommended are easily available and not difficult to grow or rare. We work to your budget and size of garden so that you can have full control over how the project develops. The real cost is our time and as such we bill you accordingly, rather than having computer aided design and expensive materials. We then either can do the planting up for you or, for the heavier work, we will discuss how you can utilise local suppliers to your best advantage.

How do I book a session?

Fill in your contact details on the contact form or email us directly. We will try to get back to you within 24 hours.

What are the costs involved?

Depending on which service you opt for you will be offered a package price or an hourly rate. Clients at a greater distance will be charged a fee on top for extra time and travel costs (for London this is usually an extra £100 per day).

Can I just book seasonal sessions?

Yes, by all means, we recommend the first year for there to be at least 4 sessions for gardening advice so that you can experience your garden across the year and be able to see what needs to be done in each season – preparing planting up for the following year.