Filed Under (Birmingham) by admin on 25-08-2013


Alan and Bob Garden Maintenance

0121 4214973 or 0121 4229535 Mob 07531850659

Hedge Cutting
Lawns Maintenance
Trees Felled / Lopped
Jet Washing



We also provide a weekly or fortnight service at a fixed price so you can sit back and enjoy your garden. Fully insured – Also see us in the yellow pages.

I just dug up an old tree stump that was in a yard and now theres a big hole.Can i just throw grass seed in the hole and cover it back up with dirt or is there a certain way of planting grass seed?

Don’t cover the seed. Put the dirt in first, throw the seed on top, and pressing the soil to make good contact.

Grass seed needs light to germinate, and if it’s buried completely, nothing will happen until the soil is disturbed, or washed off enough that light gets to the seeds.

Hi, I’m looking to plant a privet hedge at the front of my mid terrace property and wondered if anyone could recommend a good species please?

There’s not much sun at the front as there’s a big tree blocking light. I’m ideally looking for something that is evergreen and mid-green in colour that reacts well to being trimmed.

Thank you.

Privet is normally grown as a hedge and comes in two varieties – Golden (Ligustrum ovalfolium Aureum) and Green (Ligustrum ovalfolium). It is the green one that you are referring to. It has oval rich green leaves, is fast growing and will make a dense hedge which you can keep trimmed to the height you want. It is normally evergreen but may lose leaves in very cold winters although I have never seen that happen here in the South UK. It is shade tolerant so will be quite happy where you are thinking of growing it. It also reacts well to being trimmed at any time, although you should keep the top narrower than the bottom so the bottom gets some light. It has creamy white flowers inJuly that are attractive to insects.

For hedges 3-10ft plant 12-15" apart or for a denser hedge plant in a staggered double row with 15" between rows and 18" between plants. A very good supplier that I have used over the years for hedging is Buckingham Nurseries at Bare root green privet works out at £1.15 each for 5-49 plants. If you are going for bare roots best to get planted up in the next two months. Keep them well watered during their first year. Don’t go for the other suggestions I think green privet will be ideal.

I was wondering how you make a frog pond,a turtle pond or a fish pond because my family eventulally wants to have ponds in our yard when they get better jobs and a better house and when they can afford it,I live indiana,what are some frog and turtle species native to Indiana that can live in ponds in back yards,I think frogs,fish,and turtles should be separated and not live In the same pond because fish eat tadpoles and small frogs,and big frogs eat fish,And turtles eat frogs and fish,I know in nature they all live together but if I have small yard ponds,they should not all be in the same pond,and I know they all have different needs,and I would rather to have a pond with these animals than have them as pets in a Aquarium or a tank because they carry germs and salmonella,I had these as Pets before. Frog Pond-What Frogs are Native to Indiana?how big and Deep would the frog pond need to be for frogs such as Bullfrogs and toads,how would I need it to be to be for it to be attractive to frogs and toads to make a new family?how would I need it to be for them to be able to hibernate in the winter? How else would I need my yard to be to attract frogs?do I need a garden?do I need bushes? Turtle Pond-can turtles come on their own like frogs can?if I had a pond for turtles,would I have to have a fence around it?how would I need it to be so the turtles can hibernate in the winter?how would I need the pond to be set up? Fish pond-how would I prevent turtles and frogs from getting in here?i already know how this would need to be set up.

You won’t keep the frogs and turtles out of the fish pond.
Can’t be done.

Keeping the pond from freezing solid should be enough for your turtles to hibernate… they don’t really hibernate, so much as get really slow…

I have a frog pond… by the simple expedient of digging a hole for one of those plastic garden pool tubs that you get at the big box store. It’s full of tadpoles.

In Indiana, your soil might be clay enough for you to dig a pool and let the rain fill it… stock with water lilies and wait for the frogs to show up.

In my last garden, I dug out a seep spring and stocked it with gold fish. And pond lilies, pickerel weed, iris, and other water plants.
The frogs and salamanders came on their own.

Filed Under (Landscapes) by admin on 16-11-2013

I am planting a meditation garden, that has moderate to deep shade. I already have Kentucky Bluegrass and Hostas installed, but am looking for some other ideas for color. Suggestions, anybody?

Here are just a few suggestions:

Coleus-has lots of different foliage colors…
Fuchsia-lots of choices…
Vinca minor (periwinkle)-a few options…
Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (creeping Jenny, moneywort)-to trail with gold leaves…
Bacopa/Sutera-ground cover, available with white, pink, lavender or blue flowers…
Lobelia-provides an abundance of flowers, annual and perennial varieties; ground cover or upright plants…
Impatiens-lots to choose from…
Dicentra (bleeding heart);_ylt=A0S0201EIkRI3ZYAOPGJzbkF?p=dicentra&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Polemonium (Jacob’s ladder)-get the variegated kinds, so pretty!;_ylt=A0S0207LIkRIkOoA5ZiJzbkF?p=polemonium&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt;_ylt=A0S020rYIkRIzhcAh1qJzbkF?p=polemonium+brise&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Corydalis-so pretty ususally you find the blue and yellow kinds;_ylt=A0S020nzIkRItWQBYhmJzbkF?p=corydalis&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Heuchera (coral bells)-lots of foliage colors to choose from…
Tiarella (foam flower)-a few choices
Heucherella (foamy bells)-a cross of Heuchera and Tiarella;_ylt=A0S020mdIERI92IBGBOJzbkF?p=heucherella&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Lamium maculatum (dead nettle)-to allow to trail…
Torenia (wishbone flower)-pretty…
Begonia-lots of choices…
Hedera (ivy)-good for filler, be sure to get non-invasive kind!
Campanula (bell flower)-lots to choose from….
some Ornamental grasses will do well
Erodium (heron’s bill)…
Geranium (crane’s bill) – true geraniums…
Pelargonium peltatum (ivy geranium)…
Pelargonium x hortorum – fancy leaf types…
Viola and pansy
Pulmonaria (lungwort)…
Digitalis (foxglove)…
Helleborus (lenten rose)…
Trollius (globeflower)…
Abutilon (flowering maple)-lots of options;_ylt=A0S020q.IERIJBkAQguJzbkF?p=abutilon&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Ceratostigma (leadwort)-great blue flowers!
Sambucus-nice lacy foliage, look for purple leaf varieties or gold ones!;_ylt=A0S020qoIURIoBcAdaKJzbkF?p=sambucus&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Viburnum (snowball bush)-can’t beat them in full bloom;_ylt=A0S0204AIkRIzuYA_aqJzbkF?p=viburnum&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Thalictrum (meadow rue)-nice dainty flowers;_ylt=A0S02079IkRItOgA2zqJzbkF?p=thalictrum&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Acer (Japanese maples)-many to choose from!

You will want to double check with a good local nursery to see if these are good in your area. You can also add a few mixed containers on different height levels to add instant color and pop. I change mine up about every 3 months so that they are fresh and providing the bulk of "color" in the shady areas. These can be assorted shade annuals if you want. You can also add some specimen plants in pots and if they are elevated will create a nice focal point.

Good luck!

Filed Under (Gardeners) by admin on 16-11-2013

I live in North Yorkshire (England) when will the danger of frost be past and it be ok to put bedding plants in?

You answered your own question! When all danger of frost is past it is o.k. to plant.

How long should I wait until I start raking leaves off my lawn after I just planted fresh grass seed? I planted the seed about a week ago, but there are a lot of tress in my yard, so its starting to cover the lawn…. When would it be OK to start raking them off? I also have a blower, but I assume it would not be good to use that just yet because I dont want to blow the seeds off/away. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Won’t leaves block sunlight though from hitting the seeds/ground?

A thin layer of leaves over your newly planted grass seed is a plus. It will keep heat and moisture in the seeds for sprouting purposes. In fall leaves are put over some of the garden projects like a mulch to help keep warmth in the roots. Then the leaves are removed in the spring and put into the compose pile.

We have a big fish pond in our patio with a palm growing through the side of it. The ants are under the palm. It’s to big to take out. The ants are taking over my patio. My 2yr old can’t be out there for to long cause he gets bites all over him! I need an organic soultion so it won’t harm my boy, the fish or the plam.

You can put around your fish pond (and around the anthills if you know where they are) a mixture of 50 percent borax (sold in laundry aisle of supermarkets) and 50 percent confectioner’s sugar and place near anthill. The ants are attracted to the sugar and carry the fatal borax/sugar combination back to the nest to feed the queen and other ants. Soon all ants will be dead. Do not put this mixture where children and pets can ingest it. To get rid of anthills, pour 3 gallons of boiling water down them. This is best when done when the ants are active and at the surface. Do not do it near flowers or they will die.

I have a large bush that is too hard to cut with a handsaw. I don’t want anything too big or dangerous-just a nice easy to use electric saw. Can anyone recommend something?

If it’s a one off job, why don’t you just hire one

I have some Emerald Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis) trees that I just bought and haven’t yet planted. I want them to grow as quickly as possible.

Does anyone know if Miracle Grow works for trees, especially this type of tree, or if not, is there anything to do/use that would make this type of tree grow faster?

A word of caution. The first year plants struggle to get established, the second year may see a spurt of growth, and the third year they leap. You can not use a whole lot of fertilizer the first year or the second. You can use some the third. Next make sure that the surrounding area is free of grass for a couple of feet diameter so that the grass will not suck up the nutrients(saw this on a gardening show where the trees did not grow well with grass on their root structure). And last make sure your pH is good for plant growth, plants can not absorb nutrients if the pH is off. Miracle grow makes two kinds of fertilizer; regular and acid loving. Make sure you use the right one.

Filed Under (Landscapes) by admin on 30-10-2013

We just moved into our new house in October. The previous owners didn’t like the grass in the back yard, so they cut the lawn out and reseeded. There are two large locust trees in the backyard that provide a great deal of shade, which explains the thin grass growth. I am hoping to plant some hostas and various perrenials along the foundation of our house. There is one thing that worries me though. The ground bordering the back of the house is bare, and grass is present about 1 1/2 feet from the house. It’s like a grassless border. Since grass isn’t growing there, does that mean nothing else will?

Locust will tolerate soils that are to poor, compact or dry and hot for any other tree. The roots of the tree are probably taking all the moisture, out competing any other plants. Your soil should be tested.

You can do a visual survey by digging a small hole. First look at the hole and take some soil in hand. Check your soil’s texture by picking up a handful and squeeze gently: If it feels sticky and stays in a tight mass, your soil is likely too high in clay. If it feels harsh or gritty and won’t hold any shape or crumbles it is likely too high in sand. If it feels smooth or floury and won’t hold any shape, it’s likely too high in silt. If it molds into your hand yet crumbles apart when squeezed, it has the perfect texture. It is loam.
If it formed a sticky ball try to squeeze it upward to form a ribbon. Measure the length of the ribbon. Now wet the soil in your palm til muddy. Rub the soil against your palm with your other fingertips. Is it smooth, gritty or both?

1 inch gritty ribbon is sandy loam
1 inch smooth ribbon is silty loam
1 inch both is loam

1-2 inch gritty ribbon is sandy clay loam
1-2 inch smooth ribbon is silty clay loam
1-2 inch both is clay loam

GT 2 inch gritty ribbon is sandy clay
GT 2 inch smooth ribbon is silty clay
GT 2 inch both is clay

Black color indicates high organic matter; gray indicates medium organic matter. Red, tan or blue color indicates little organic matter and high clay. Blue color indicates that there is no oxygen in the clay. Therefore, no roots will grow in blue clay. Normally, the organic matter is mainly in the topsoil. Forest soils have a one to four inch thick layer of dark organic matter on top of mineral soil.

Amendments will depend on the soil type and organic content.
Because of the large trees you may need to water more than 1 inch per week to maintain a healthy grass under the trees.

Black locust (Robinea pseudoacacia) has a shallow, aggressive root system spreading by producing root suckers. The tree leafs out late and is early to shed its foliage again. This makes it a great companion to all bulbs like scilla, tulips, narcissus, iris, and anemonies.
Locust can be glorious in spring when the sweet scent of the flowers drifts out accompanying the heavy buzz of bees high in the tree. My trees attract four species of woodpecker including a family of pileated woodpeckers. The locust are a great backdrop for my rose garden. I grow hostas, pulmonaria, azalea, peonies, lilies, fuschia, dahlias, and roses amidst hundreds of spring bulbs. The crocus just finished and the anemonies are up with the pulmonaria and narcissus. Nothing I have tried had trouble due to allopathy from the trees only competition for the available water.