News & Blogs

Preparing Your Garden For Summer

It’s safe to say I got a little too excited by announcing Spring was here in our March blog!  Snow is still falling in some parts of the country and as I write this, it’s just a mere 2 degrees. On the same day last year it was in the early 20’s. 

April is an exciting time in the garden; warmer soil and April showers bring ideal growing conditions for our plants. Whilst your perennials may not start flowering, you can most definitely see a daily change in your beds or pots. Shrubs getting taller and thicker with leaves and buds appearing on trees and wildlife returning.

April Gardening Tips:


Dead Heading

March and April see the bloom of shrubs and flowers such as Camellias and daffodils. In order to ensure a longer, fuller bloom next year make sure you start dead heading. Once you see the flowers start to turn, take your secateurs and carefully snip each one at the base of the flower/top of the stem. This will help focus the plants energy on the remaining healthy flowers and also help it to prepare for next year. This tip generally applies to most of your garden throughout the year. 

Sow Some Seeds

Hardy annuals simply are the annual flowers that are the most cold and frost resistant. Try Marigolds, Sweet Pea or Pansies. These plants will always do better being planted in beds and borders rather than pots. This is due to the amount of soil surrounding the roots. The more soil, the warmer the roots will be.

Lawn Care

Although I have mentioned lawn care in previous editions, it really is important to spend time caring for your lawn to help it to look it’s best and survive a long hot summer (British weather depending). Did you know that your lawn can lose up to 25% of its coverage each year! Remember to aerate, weed and top dress your lawn. When mowing, start at a high setting and gradually move down.

Flowers of the Month:

Peacock Orchid

 These perennials come in packets of bulbs and are common in garden centres. Expect to pay a couple of pounds for a pack of 20. These highly fragrant flowers grow up to 90cm tall and are great for providing height in your beds. Flowering from July to November, you get a decent return in terms of bloom time. Very easy to grow in well drained soil, fertilised soil. Get them planted in April for best results.


I look at sunflowers and see something fun! Great to grow with kids and get them into gardening. For best results, start in April and sow a few seeds every couple of weeks. These can take anywhere from 11-18 weeks to start appearing. By doing this, you will see a healthy batch that keep coming throughout the summer and autumn. There are many different types of sunflowers which range from 50cm to 3 meters. If you are going to have a family competition, try not to cheat and give yourself the taller variety!!


Job of the Month:

The team of Chris and Leon completed this small new build, garden design transformation in February this year. However, we needed to wait until last week for the planting to come into stock. 

The team split the levels and created a step using softwood sleepers. Constructed a pergola area and trellis screening area using treated timber and laid raj blend sandstone. We finished off the other areas using Cotswold self binding gravel. This is laid on top of a weed suppressive membrane and planted through. 

The planting here is a mixture of grasses, cotton lavender and achillea to provide height and alpines called Saxifraga which are creepers and will grow to be a bed of green with white flowers. We also planted up the sleeper beds with a mixture of summer bulbs such as Dalia’s and Peacock Orchids. 

Looking forward to popping back in a few months to see the garden come to life. 


March Your Garden into Spring: Top Tips & Ideas for a Fresh & Bright Garden

Well! What weather we’ve had to kick March off! Blue skies, birds singing, warmer weather, I’m going to say it… Spring is here! Our customers, teams and anyone I speak to seemed to have a smile on their face over the last week which is lovely to see. 

I’ve been a little preoccupied with internal decorating (which I do not particularly enjoy) the last few weeks but I’m definitely getting out in the garden this weekend to start the journey to a flourishing garden this year.

Although, I did pop to a garden centre briefly last Sunday and picked up a couple of Azaleas. For decades I’ve watched the first golf major of the year at Augusta National in the States, which is held in April. ‘The Masters’ is known for their Azaleas and if you’re a bit sad like us golfers, it’s something we all get excited about! So I thought I’d give them a go!

Planting: Pick of the Month – March

I have to kick off with the Azalea. You get many, many types of these beautiful shrub, but I’ve gone for a Azalea Japonica. Fairly inexpensive, a bushy evergreen that will grow to about 60-70cm in height and will have an large bloom of amazing red, pink, purple and white flowers, depending on the colour you’ve gone for. Happy in partial or full sunlight and best to plant in early spring or autumn. Flowers in Late March to May

Daphne is another beautiful evergreen shrub that tends to flower in February. I particularly like these as they provide some late winter colour and the smell of the flower is incredible. Preferably kept out of direct sunlight and planted in rich soil a Daphne will grow to approximately a 1m spread. These are also available in good garden centres now. I’m proud to say that this image is mine from home!

March Gardening Tips:

1: Seed sowing:

Towards the end of March, providing the frosts have disappeared and the temperatures are rising, you can start sowing hardy annual seeds such as Cornflower, Californian Poppies, Nigella and Nasturtium. 

2: Bulb Planting:

Get a head start by planting some summer bulbs indoors such as Gladioli, Agapanthus and Lilies in pots ready for transferring to your beds in a few weeks time. By doing this, your bulbs will have a stronger root system and the result being a longer, fuller bloom.

3: Start Mowing Your Lawn:

Hopefully you aerated and top dressed your lawn in February. But if not you can still  do this in early March. Start seeding the damaged areas and give it a mow on a high sweating for its first cut of the year.

4: Prune Evergreen Shrubs:

Pruning evergreens in the winter is not best practice as it has less foliage in which to help it survive. With the longer, lighter and warmer days, pruning now will help encourage new shoots to grow and maintain healthy roots. 

Project of the Month: Rowlands Castle, Hampshire

It’s safe to say that the team of Alex and Jack not only battled though the elements but also the tricky site conditions in a recent garden design project in Rowlands Castle. 

The garden, split on multiple levels required a set of oak steps to lead to the top level of the garden (26 in fact!). These were infilled with Cotswold self binding gravel to create a safe non slip step.

Alex and Jack also created an amazing Purbeck natural stone wall with what’s known in the trade as ‘double weathered’ pointing. These are tricky to get right and are very time consuming but well worth it in the end.

Finally, we laid Raj Blend Sandstone to compliment the walling and finished with stone grey easy joint. 

Enjoy and thanks for reading!


3 Top Tips to Keep Your Garden Looking Great This February

My wife will tell you that the winter months are not kind on my outlook and general positivity. The dark mornings and early nights are a bit of a mood hoover for me and what with the ‘C’ and ‘L’ words that are on everyone’s minds, I feel I’ve morphed into the character and personality of Victor Meldrew (If you can remember him) this winter. 

However, February is always a turning point in the year for me. You see the first signs of daffodils taking over roadsides and roundabouts which marks the transition between winter and spring. The nights become a little lighter and there is a sense of optimism and excitement for the spring and summer ahead. I’m sure many of us feel that more than any previous years we can remember. 

The aim of this short blog or newsletter is to help others get the most out of their garden throughout the year. Whether it be a large plot with borders, beds and climbers or a simple courtyard with a few pots, we’d like to offer some tips on the best way to prepare for the season or month ahead and provide a variety of specimens that could work in the space you have.

My 3 Top Tips:

1: Understanding your soil:

Before investing in new plants or shrubs, it’s important to understand the type of soil you have in your garden. There’s a sense of joy when you see something you’ve planted thriving but also disheartening when you see your plants struggle and your hard work not be rewarded. 

Testing your soil for its type and pH (it’s acidity or alkalinity) is a fundamental beginning to a flourishing garden. Your soil may have a proportion of clay, making it heavy and wet, not ideal for plants that like free draining soil. Some may have very Sandy soil, which almost drains too well and retains little moisture. Somewhere in the middle is ideal. This soil is referred to as ‘loamy’. 

Testing kits can be bought in most good garden centres and the process straightforward. Remember, it’s easier to plant the types of flowers and shrubs that like the soil you have than to change the pH of your earth. 


2: Get the best out of your lawn:

Your lawn is the biggest living organism in your garden and also takes the most punishment throughout the year. Therefore, it’s vital in the winter months, with less traffic to take some simple steps to help it look great in the months ahead. 

Wait until the garden has drained well and isn’t too soggy underfoot. By using a garden fork, push 6 inch holes into your lawn and give it a good wiggle around to open up the holes. Complete this process every 6 inches. By doing this you are aerating the soil which in turn helps create a thicker more healthy looking lawn. Once you have finished, immediately spread sharp sand, horticultural sand (not building sand) or a sand and soil mixture and work into the holes with a stiff broom to ensure the holes do not close up to quickly. 

3: Fertilize your beds:

With not a huge amount happening in your beds in February it’s the perfect time to add the all important fertilizer to your planting areas. 

You should really be looking towards organic based fertilizers that contain ingredients such as blood, chicken manure, hoof & horn, fish & bone and seaweed. These natural nutrients are released at a slower pace and therefore, available to plants longer which in turn provides a more sturdy, robust  plant rather than one that has been rushed by chemical additions. Remember to add these a good few weeks before planting to allow the nutrients to work its way into your soil.

February Flowers:

Iris ‘Harmony’

This perennial enjoys well draining soil and full sunlight. Perfect for growing in a raised bed or pots and flowers end of winter to early spring.

Camellia X Williamsii ‘Contribution’

Quick Tips:

  • February is a hungry month for wildlife. Make sure you have plenty of food and water out for your birds.
  • This is your last chance to make sure all of your tools are in working order for the year ahead. Make sure your mower or hedge cutter has been serviced, petrol (if required) is topped up and stored safely, strimmer wire is stocked up! 
  • Now is the time for making a plan for what you would like to plant this year based on your soil varying sunlight. Always go to the garden centre or online with a clear idea of what you are after, this will save you time and money, and put you on track for results you’ve been after!

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first Balfour Landscapes blog. We’ll see you in March for number 2. 

Happy gardening!