Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Spring bulbs

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

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Last autumn, we did some forward planning.

packs of spring bulbs

It was November to be precise – and we went to our local garden centre and chose a selection of spring bulbs.

dolly tub to be planted with spring bulbs

We had two of these lovely old galvanised dolly tubs originally used for washing clothes. They make such great planters in terms of looks and the fact that they don’t shatter after a frost.

spring bulbs being planted into a dolly tub at the beginning of November

Their large size & depth also provides the necessary space to have layers of bulbs which allows a succession of flowering and gives continued interest over many months.

shoots from snowdrops coming through the soil in early January

The first green shoots appeared in January when the snowdrops popped their noses above soil level.

snowdrops in the snow in late January

Snow drops in the snow – an exquisite sight!

Multi-coloured crocuses flowering at the beginning of March

They were followed in late February by the crocuses – a wonderful shot of colour after a long, drab winter.

Daffodils flowering in mid-April

April saw the daffodils in their prime…

Spring bulbs flowering continuously from January to May and beyond

…and the tulips arrived in May.

Tulips with daffodils flowering at the beginning of May

It’s been a real success – starting with the simple beauty of snowdrops and ending with a gorgeous mix of colour, scent and forms. Here’s a list of the bulbs we planted if you’d like to try it yourself. After each layer, add a little extra compost to cover the bulbs before adding the next layer:

Bottom layer (planted first) – Tulips Triumph Mistress of Darkness

Layer 2 – Narcissus Spring Fragrance Mixed

Layer 3 – Crocus Vernus Mixed Colours

Top layer (planted last): Snowdrops Single

Gardening for Wildlife

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

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Cottage garden with borders, paths and shedImage credit: Kellan

Nothing beats sitting in your garden on a sunny afternoon, listening to the birds sing and watching other little wild creatures shuffle in and out of your garden. To encourage more wildlife info your garden, there are lots of tips and tricks you can implement so your garden is even more welcoming.

Starlings eating on a bird tableImage credit: pjs2005

Bird Tables

Having a bird table is a wonderful addition to a garden: you’ll have so many different bird species fluttering in and out of your garden throughout the year. There are many different types, from free standing bird tables, through wall mounted, ground feeding and small ones hanging from trees or fences. Place yours in front of a window so you can watch the birds even when the weather is chilly, and keep it stocked up with bird feed throughout the year to ensure you have your fair share of feathered visitors.

detailed view of a log pileImage credit: Martin Bamford

Log Pile

Piles of logs not only allow your wood to dry out for the best log fires in your fireplace, but they also allow biodiversity to thrive. It’s a great location for growing different mosses, and encouraging small mammals, insects and amphibians. Build it in a pyramid shape if you’d like to attract hedgehogs too, but never set it alight without checking for wildlife.

frog popping its head out of a pondImage credit: Dan Zen

Pond Life

Ponds are great for wildlife, and they’re really easy to construct. Make sure the edges are shallow: that’ll allow easy access for little creatures like frogs and newts. Install plants around the edges to shelter the pond life, and keep it clean with pond cleaners that aren’t made with too many chemicals.

Virginia creeper growing on a wooden fenceImage credit: Laura Bernhardt


Climbing plants are not only beautiful, but they also provide excellent nesting habitats. There are lots to choose from but good ones are roses, honeysuckle and clematis. If you have a bit more space, plant a hawthorn hedge, blackthorn or hazel: the hedge will provide nesting sites along with nuts and berries for wildlife during the harsh winter months.

Bee on lavenderImage credit: Alden Chadwick


Encourage bees with pollen and nectar-producing plants like lavender. The Royal Horticultural Society can advise on the best plants, and you can also provide a dry nesting box for bees: one with a see-through window would allow you to watch them at work!

The garden is an amazing place for wildlife if you can create the perfect environment. With just a few easy steps you’ll have a garden bustling with life!

Create the perfect World Cup atmosphere with Birstall

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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yellow football against a blue skyImage credit: Joe McCarthy

The World Cup only comes around once every four years; here we take a look at the top three garden accessories from Birstall Garden and Leisure Centre to help you make the most of the worldwide football celebration while it’s here.

Whether you’re creating a World Cup haven in your garden with the television outside, or watching the games inside and continuing the party in the garden afterwards, these top three products will make sure you enjoy every moment!

Weber Spirit Classic e210 gas bbq

With all of England’s World Cup games kicking off in the evening, the Weber Spirit Classic barbeque will keep all your guests satisfied with some top-notch food flavour; with two stainless steel burners the compact design has a 26,000 BTU per hour input giving a sleek yet powerful grill capable of cooking all your favourite food to perfection.

Camelot hexagonal easy-up gazebo

It’s impossible to guarantee the British weather, but you can be sure that you’ll always be dry when you’re enjoying your World Cup party with the Camelot – hexagonal easy-up gazebo. The pull down mesh nets, weatherproof frame and UV resistant canopy offer complete comfort and guarantee your World Cup celebrations won’t be called off because of the rain.

patio heater

With many of the World Cup games going on into the early hours of the morning, a patio heater is a much-needed garden accessory to keep you cosy all the way through until extra time. A ThermoFilm gas patio heater uses a high-grade stainless steel burner which heats an area of up to six metres while making only a quiet whisper, so you’ll be toasty warm without being distracted by any excess heater noise.


Get these World Cup garden must-haves now and enjoy them all summer long!

Established in 1969, Birstall has 45 years’ experience kitting out gardens & outdoor spaces and was the first online garden retailer in the UK, 15 years ago.

The Best Patio Accessories

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

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set of rattan outdoor furniture with orange cushion covers

So you’ve cleaned up your patio, touched up the landscaping, and set up your new outdoor furniture, but something is still missing. Just like your indoor living spaces, your outdoor living space needs some patio accessories to pull everything together and bring your own personal taste to the area. Patio accessories allow your indoor spaces to flow naturally into your outdoor living space. They can also serve as organisational and functional aids.

cream garden lounger orange garden lounger green garden lounger

Sofa and chair cushions are a must-have for patio furniture, but you don’t have to stop the colour train there. Using weather-resistant throw pillows, simple centrepieces and other accessories can add a splash of colour that complements your outdoor furniture and your yard as a whole. Finding ways to incorporate colour into your outdoor living space makes your patio seem more like an extension of your home and invites family and guests to make good use of the space.

rattan patio planters rattan patio planters

Little touches can make a big difference in terms of style when accessorising your patio. Accessories turn the patio from a rough outdoor slab to a finished, inviting living space. Selecting potted plants that complement your existing landscape bring nature right up into your living space while giving the area a more intimate feeling. Lighting, water or fire features, and an outdoor bar can all add to the ambiance and style of your patio.

large patio umbrella rattan deck box

Many patio accessories can serve a dual purpose of style and functionality. Umbrellas and sail shades can be used to add colour and shield your patio from the elements. Storage benches and boxes can be used as extra seating and are a good place to keep your pillows and cushions tucked away when not in use. Potted plants and water features not only brighten up the space, they help to keep the area cooler on a hot day.

set of four rattan club chairs pair of rattan chairs stacked into a sphere

Your patio doesn’t have to be a strictly functional space just because it’s located outdoors. You can turn your patio into an attractive outdoor living space that matches the rest of your home in style and taste. Patio accessories are the key to bridging the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces and making your patio feel more like part of your home. Patio accessories can be used to define your patio space as a sophisticated visiting spot, a relaxing getaway, or both because of their versatility and endless options.


Author biography: In her former life, Tiecen worked in sales and marketing for a large insurance company. Before starting a family, she decided to switch gears and pursue a career that would give her a little more time at home. She finished up her degree from California State University in 2008, and started picking up work as a corporate web content writer. Her background in sales has allowed her to craft natural, informative content that is SEO rich and customer friendly. Tiecen now enjoys writing content for companies like RST Outdoor.

On the Fence

Friday, July 5th, 2013

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Exterior view of our new wooden garden fence

Justin’s been putting off this little job for about 8 years!!

Our old rotting, tumble down garden fence

Our garden fence had almost completely disintegrated. Even the best bits were being held together with old branches & string!

Our new wooden garden fence unfinished

And then, about 2 weeks ago, he got up and started building – just like Noah with the prospect of heavy rains looming.

Our new wooden garden fence from outside

He’s just finished and here are the results.

Our old rotting, tumble down garden gate Our brand new garden gate

A new gate and trellis for climbers also appeared.

corner of our back garden showing a wooden stool and garden tools

A cup of tea was well-deserved after all the efforts – time to sit back and admire his new creation (he never wants to see another plank of wood in his life though!!).

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