Gardening gifts for mother’s day
Tuesday 26th February 2013, 1:32PM GMT.
From seed collections to fashion-conscious gloves for the green-fingered and innovative tool ranges, no gardening mother should be without a gift on Mothering Sunday.
There’s a plethora of choice, whatever your budget, from small seed collections and mug toppers for under a fiver to more extravagant floral fragrances and practical tools which are easy for mum to manage as well as dad.
Here’s just a few of the gifts on offer:
£5 or under
If your mother’s cuppa always goes cold when she’s working in the garden, treat her to a MugTopper, a clever accessory that creates an airtight seal on the top of a mug or glass, preserving the heat inside a warm drink and ensuring a cold drink stays cool, even in the sun. It also stops insects getting inside a drink. Four designs feature a rose, a bow, a mouse and a cat on top of each (£4.99 for a set of four, from www.apollohousewares.com).
Wild flowers have become much more popular in recent years and if your mother has an area of garden which she’d like to transform into a mini meadow, there are endless possibilities with collections of flower seed mixes from meadowinmygarden.co.uk. This innovative range contains seed mixes, using annual and annual/perennial seed combinations chosen for their beauty, low maintenance and cost effectiveness of their results. There is a seed mix suitable for various specific soils and aspects, open spaces, under tress, nooks and crannies, as well as tall species ideal for bouquets. For full details of the ranges, which start at £2.99, visit www.meadowinmygarden.co.uk.
£10 or under
If you want to say it with roses, B&Q is launching a limited edition Amazing Mum rose on March 1 to raise funds for the charity founded by Prince Harry, Sentebale. The pink rose launches as part of activity to support the B&Q Sentebale Forget-me-not Garden which will be unveiled at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. (£7.98, available in 50 stores. For details, go to www.diy.com). A donation of 20% of the purchase price will go to Sentebale.
Birds, bees and butterflies are featured in lifestyle artist Katie Alice’s vintage-inspired tableware and this floral-patterned porcelain tankard mug from her English Garden collection may provide inspiration for the gardener. (£6, from www.english-table.com and selected garden centres)
If you miss phone calls or text messages when you’re tending the garden, Briers’ new Pruner Pouch offers a solution, comprising secateurs and a pouch complete with a mobile phone pocket. Fitted with a belt clip, the Pruner Pouch enables you to stay contactable while you’re out gardening. (£10.99, www.briersltd.co.uk)
Mothers who save their own seeds would welcome a pretty, eco-friendly gift of a set of five stylish recycled cardboard seed saver tubs from the new Eco range from Burgon & Ball (£6.95, www.burgonandball.com)
Orchids are still a hugely popular gift idea and if your mother has three, you could buy her the ideal container to show them off. Ebertsankey has just launched the Luzern 3, a contemporary single pot made of injection moulded plastic, which houses three separate plants and is available in fuchsia, white and granite. (£8.99 from good garden centres and DIY stores. For more information, visit www.ebertsankey.com)
£20 or under
Bird lovers can welcome visitors to their home with an unusual ornamental Birdies Wall Pocket, which can be filled with different flowers and foliage with each season. Designed in California, it’s made of rustic metal with three charming blue birds, which are often referred to as Blue Birds of Happiness, perched on the edge of the pocket (£18.95, www.home2garden.co.uk).
A gardener can never have too many gloves, but Ethel gloves are designed to specifically fit the contours of a woman’s hands – so they’re comfortable and pretty at the same time. The Jubilee, a creamy fleur-de-lis pattern against a royal blue background, is a timeless classic, made from two-way stretch Spandex with reinforced fingertips and is machine-washable. (£13.50, www.ethelgloves.co.uk and Amazon)
Gardening shoes don’t have to be boring any more thanks to a new range of designs from Back Door Shoes, including a pretty red and cream roses print. These shoes have no air holes in them so don’t let water through but are washable and ideal for just popping out on to the patio or up the garden without getting your feet wet (£20, www.backdoorshoes.co.uk).
£30 and under
Keen vegetable gardeners who are going away later this year may appreciate the new Growbag Waterer from Hozelock, which keeps plants watered for up to 14 days. By simply placing a growbag on top of the waterer, the integral capillary matting transfers the required amount of water from the reservoir to the compost. (£24.99, available from leading garden and DIY stores)
If your mother loves to keep the flowers she has grown, this new flower press from Nether Wallop will preserve many of the pretty blooms as keepsakes. The kit comes with acid-free blotting paper, cardboard separators and full instructions. (£29.95, www.netherwalloptrading.com)
To really pamper your mother, look no further than the Alison Claire Natural Beauty range, all with long-lasting natural scents. Featuring an anti-ageing cream containing natural moisturisers, orange and patchouli hand cream, peppermint and witch hazel foot cream, rose geranium body lotion and mango body butter, it is beautifully presented in a pink and white gift box lined with pink tissue paper. (£55, www.alisonclairenaturalbeauty.com)
Gardening mums often end up doing the spade work but there is help at hand for the more labour-intensive jobs such as hedge-trimming. Check out the new Bosch AHS 45-15, a lithium-ion battery-operated gem of a machine, which is light, easy to use and doesn’t have any of those awkward wires which always seem to get in the way (£89.99, B&Q, information at www.bosch-garden.co.uk).
Best of the bunch – Bergenia
Also known as ‘elephant’s ears’ because of its broad foliage, this spring-flowering perennial adds drama to borders and does well in virtually any soil and situation, in sun or shade.
It works well as ground cover under shrubs, spreads rapidly in favourable conditions and provides colour nearly all year round, as the leathery rich green leaves turn red in autumn.
In spring, hyacinth-like spikes bearing white, pin, red or purple bell-shaped flowers appear. Good varieties include B. x schmidtii, which has dark bronze-green leaves that serve as a terrific backdrop to the clusters of raspberry-pink flowers which can last from late winter throughout spring.
B. ‘Ballawley’ is flushed with red and bronze-purple leaves in winter, followed by bright crimson flowers in spring, and is brilliant in a woodland garden or the front of a herbaceous border.
Remove tattle leaves in spring and divide clumps every four to five years to maintain vigour.
Good enough to eat – Sowing peas
You may only have peas of the frozen variety, but once you have grown your own, you’ll never venture to the freezer again. You can now sow round-seeded varieties of pea such as ‘Feltham First’ or ‘Meteor’ under cloches, but if you live in a cold area, start them off in small pots or modular trays in the greenhouse or coldframe.
They should be sown thinly in 10cm drills about 2.5-5cm deep, aiming for one seed every 5cm each way. Alternatively, sow single rows with seeds 5cm apart or triple rows with seeds 12cm apart, allowing 60cm between adjacent rows or bands. All but the dwarf varieties will need supporting with twiggy branches called pea sticks, or with pea and bean netting tied to posts.
In April, plant tall varieties in the border alongside their supports and make outdoor sowings in colder areas. Seeds will germinate at 4C but you’ll probably have more success at 10C.
By May, the earliest crop should be ready and pods should be picked frequently as leaving them on the plant for too long will shorten the cropping season.
Other good varieties include ‘Kelvedon Wonder’, a wrinkle-seeded dwarf variety which produces an early crop from a spring sowing, and ‘Waverex’, which produces pods with very small sweet peas, or petits pois.
Three ways to… rejuvenate weed-infested plots
1. If you’re going to use weedkiller, apply it in late spring and early summer, when weed growth is young and most affected by weedkiller
2. Cut down large brambles, sycamore seedlings and elder bushes close to the ground and paint them with brushwood killer when new shoots appear.
3. If herbaceous plants have been engulfed by weed, dig them out and move them to a weed-free nursery bed, then treat the ground to remove perennial weeds before replanting them back in their original spot.
What to do this week
- Dig up, divide and replant snowdrops to increase their numbers.
- As weather conditions improve, ventilate cold frames containing seedlings and cuttings from autumn to harden them off.
- Sow slow-growing bedding under cover, including gazania, lobelia and pelargonium as well as perennials and grasses which you want to flower this year
- Plant lily-of-the-valley crowns.
- Prune out stems of blackcurrants infested by big bug mite.
- Continue to force rhubarb outdoors under buckets of straw.
- In the greenhouse, sow broad beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers, leeks, lettuces and onions.
- Prune winter jasmine as the flowers fade.
- Repair broken fences and trellis before plants spring into life.
- Trim winter-flowering heather when the flowers fade.
- Spike lawns with a fork to improve surface drainage.
- Prune summer-flowering shrubs.
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