Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails

I don’t like slug pellets.  Slug pellets have had a disastrous effect on the wild food chain – as well as killing slugs and snails, slug pellets harm hedgehogs, song thrushes, and other creatures.  Slug pellets kill these dear animals in the most cruel, drawn out, and painful manner.  Nothing could induce me to use slug pellets in my garden, allotment, or anywhere for that matter – however large the slug or snail population had become, and however many of my precious plants had been eaten. 

Heralded as the world’s most prestigious horticultural event, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show 2017, opens to the public from Tuesday 23rd May 2017 until Saturday 27th May 2017.  Visitors will be treated to exhibits showcasing the latest new plant introductions, alongside beautiful gardens, which demonstrate the latest ideas in garden and landscape design, many of which feature new, rare, unusual, and interesting plants, grouped together with much loved old favourites.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is the world’s most prestigious flower show.  Award winning garden designers from all over the world, together with their teams, made up of some of the best landscape architects, project managers, builders, technicians, horticulturalists, artists and crafts people, have been working for the past three weeks to turn The Royal Hospital’s grounds at Chelsea into a sea of gardening ideas and innovation.  

It’s an exciting and romantic time in the garden, with lots to do this month, and so much to look forward to in the garden!  Take time out to relax and enjoy the wonderfully scented flowers of Daphne, Sarcococca, and Hamamelis.

Prune Buddleja davidii now.  If you’ve got an old, and maybe rather neglected, specimen then start to rejuvenate your plant now, by removing any old dead wood and cutting it back hard.  

I love the excitement of the garden at this time of year, with colourful, cheery spring flowers emerging and the promise of so much more to come.  This is such an invigorating and inspiring time, with so much to see and do in the garden!

Prune Figs. The latex that figs readily emit when you prune is an irritant, so it’s advisable to wear gloves whilst pruning or tending to your plants, and then wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve finished.  

2015 has been a truly amazing year for fruit!  This year it seemed that every apple tree I came across had produced an abundant crop of beautiful apples.  A bountiful harvest is wonderful, yet preparing apples for cooking can sometimes be harder work than you first anticipate, particularly if you have arthritic or over-worked hands, or just if you have a lot of other food preparation to do.  

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015

The Great Pavilion at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show extends to an area equal in size to three football pitches; during Chelsea week it’s filled with a glorious array of interesting, new, rare and beautiful plants and stunning floral exhibits created by top plant breeders, growers and nurseries.  Here are some of the Gold Medal winning nurseries from this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show:

W & S Lockyer – Auriculas

Bill, Joan, and Simon Lockyer are specialist growers and breeders of Florist Auriculas.

The garden is fascinating at this time of year.  I love the wonderful sound of the birds singing, and I just relish the scents of honeysuckle, roses and other flowers; even the scent of the grass is so relaxing.

If you get time to put your feet up it’s the ideal time to pre-order bulbs, corms, and tubers from specialist nurseries to plant this autumn.  

This is such an exuberant and joyous month with Roses, Clematis, Peonies and Philadelphus flowers blooming, the garden feels decadent and luxurious.  I hope you can enjoy time in your garden or at your allotment this month, there’s so much to do, see and enjoy!

If you are wishing you could brighten your garden with some containers, but are away a lot, or find watering difficult, don’t despair you have plenty of options: Lavender, Pelargoniums and Verbena cope well without a regimented watering regime, and Sedums and Sempervivums look beautiful and don’t require any additional watering.  

I just love this time of year when everywhere is developing a beautiful shade of green! Every year it’s like a revelation, as hedgerows, trees, lawns, everywhere, turn the most beautiful shade of fresh, new, positive, wonderful, green.  There are many jobs you can do now to keep your garden or allotment looking beautiful, here are some ideas to get you started:

The Chelsea chop, so called as it’s carried out around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show, is simply a term to describe cutting back herbaceous, perennial plants, reducing the plants’ height by to up to a half, before flowering.  

The end of summer is often a magical time bathed in golden light and sunshine.  Here’s hoping the month ahead is a lovely time, there’s certainly a lot to do to keep you busy!

It’s the perfect time to prepare and sow new lawns.  It’s important to remove all weeds, particularly perennial weeds, before you start your lawn preparation.  It’s the perfect time to evaluate your lawn and sow grass seed in any bare patches or lay turf if needed.  

With April sunshine and showers, let’s hope we see lots of rainbows this month!

Sowing seeds is a wonderfully cost-effective way of gardening and a quick and easy way to provide a valuable source of nectar, pollen and food for insects.  If you would like to grow more plants beneficial to bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects then now is a good time to sow the following seeds under cover: Cosmos bipinnatus and Verbena bonariensis.

Although it’s still jolly chilly outside, the daylight hours are lengthening each day, which means there’s more time to be outside enjoying the garden!

There are so many beautiful plants and flowers to be enjoyed at this time of year, many of them scented to attract pollinating insects.  As there aren’t as many insects around in winter the scent is often incredibly powerful as well as sweet; look out for deliciously scented Sarcococca confusa, Sarcococca hookeriana, Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’, Hamamelis mollis, and, my favourite, Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’.  

The end of summer is often a magical time, bathed in golden light and sunshine.  There’s certainly a lots of lovely things you could do in the garden, or at your allotment during the month ahead!

Vine weevils are a real pain, especially if you’ve got lots of container grown plants.  The adult vine weevils damage plant leaves, leaving a notch-shaped, irregular edge to the leaves, resulting in a rather ragged looking, tatty plant.  

With April sunshine and showers, let’s hope we see lots of rainbows this month!

Sowing seeds is a wonderfully cost-effective way of gardening, and a quick and easy way to provide a valuable source of nectar, pollen, and food for insects.  If you would like to grow more plants beneficial to bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, then now is a good time to sow Cosmos bipinnatus and Verbena bonariensis seeds under cover.