Sunny days, rising temperatures and frequent showers make April a perfect month for gardening, with lots to do and longer days to enjoy - but beware the late frosts!
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Is it just me or do other people get seduced into buying way too many spring bulbs when they visit the garden centre this time of year?
On a recent trip to our local garden centre, accompanied by my 11 year old daughter, I walked through the doors and was immediately presented with an enormous display of inspirational images showing spring flowers in more colours than I imagined could be possible. This set my all too easily influenced mind off on a high speed frenzy, imagining sitting in my garden with a cup of tea on a bright spring morning, surrounded by tulips, daffodils, crocus and snow drops in rainbow hues.
As we set to choosing the varieties we liked best and rapidly filling a trolley, what my racing imagination, and my over enthusiastic child, failed to point out to me was that there was no possible way we would need this amount of bulbs for our rather modestly sized garden. Well, an hour later, having spent a small fortune but not actually buying what I originally went to the garden centre for, I unloaded the car and prepared to start work. The size of the task at hand gradually dawned on me and said 11 year old, who had earlier been so keenly offering to help with the planting, had completely disappeared – nowhere to be found!
I did manage to plant an impressive amount of bulbs that afternoon – by myself – but ran out of steam and have been popping a few more in every now & then since. I might even have to donate some to a friend or relation as I don’t think I can physically fit many more in. I just keep telling myself it will all be worth it once winter is over and garden bursts back into colour – I will be ready & armed with that cup of tea!
Bulb planting is hard work but the right tools can make it easier. Below are my top 5 bulb planting tips and a few of the products that we stock, and I would recommend for the job(something I would definitely not recommend for the job is an 11 year old girl!).
My Top 5 Bulb Planting Tips ...
- When planting bulbs in lawns or other hard areas, soak the ground really well with a sprinkler the night before.
- If possible always sharpen your bulb planting tool prior to starting work
- Generally, bulbs should be planted two to three times deeper than the size of the bulb, and roughly the same distance apart
- Once planted water in well, and cover with a loose mulch to keep the soil temperature consistent
- Because bulb foliage should ideally be allowed to die naturally rather than being cut back, mix bulbs with perennials to mask the dying leaves
DeWit Crocus or Small Bulb Planter - £15.25
This beautifully crafted small bulb planter is ideal for planting smaller bulbs such as crocus, grape hyacinths and snow drops in lawns and borders.
An absolute must have tool for planting bulbs in the lawn. Takes the back breaking work out of bulb planting. Just position, press down with foot and remove plug.
Perfect for planting a variety of bulbs and perennial plants in flower beds and borders.
Thank you once again to Niki Preston, aka The Two Fingered Gardener, for reviewing one of our best selling products. The Darlac Multi-pick really is a versatile tool, as Niki has found out!.....
The last few weeks has seen me bobbing about the garden with my multi pick in hand looking for anything that needs picking up. I have found loads of uses for this great tool. It is especially useful for grabbing things out of reach, picking up discarded plant pots and generally helping to end bending down or over stretching in your garden.
This product is extremely lightweight therefore easy to carry around, the gripping trigger is gentle yet firm so doesn’t need any strength in your fingers or wrists making it ideal for those with arthritis. I really thought the rubber pads on the end for grabbing were great, soft for any delicate things such as soft fruit picking. I even discovered they are great for helping planting up delicate new plants. If like me you struggle to bend down meaning you can’t get to plant in holes in your borders, this tool is brilliant for holding the plant gently and gently popping in the hole, no damage, no bending, job done. I then realised it can also help if you have any wayward climber tendrils that you just can’t get at, the multi pick with it’s soft pads acts really well as an arm extension and you can pull back the tendrils ready for tying in.
Another handy thing is that the soft rubber pads can be removed to reveal harder ridged pads that can be used for things that need a firmer grip, such as picking up plant pots or pruned rose stems that have fallen out of reach. One idea that is a real asset to any of the more squeamish gardeners is snail picking. I hate touching snails, I just go all girly and run away, not helpful when they are eating my flowers! Now though the little blighters are picked up with ease and disposed of quickly.
This tool then has many uses just let your imagination run wild. I would recommend every gardener to get one, they are not pricey yet well made with endless uses, go on treat yourself.
Tip - We use our Multi-pick when we are out picking blackberries as it allows you to get to the best berries that are out of reach and everyone else has had to leave behind!
Welcome to the first of our guest blogs that has been written for us by Niki Preston aka The Two Fingered Gardener. Niki really is a true inspiration to everyone, gardener or not, and she has very kindly agreed to test some of our products and write reviews. Here is what she had to say about one of our most popular pruning products - The Darlac Snapper ....
My name is Niki Preston, also known as The Two Fingered Gardener. I am a freelance disabled garden writer and garden product tester. I was thrilled to be asked by Emma at Garden Gear to write a blog and carry out some product reviews so here is the first of what I hope will become many reviews.
Having always struggled with deadheading I was really impressed when I tried the Snapper tool. This is a very lightweight pruning tool with varying handle lengths according to the task at hand. I tried out the shortest Snapper as I mostly wanted to use it for deadheading. The amazing thing about this product is the fact that it holds on to the stem once it has been pruned, a total garden boon to me as I am unable to bend, only having two fingers can make picking up thorny rose stems a real prickly painful operation. No more, just snip and pop the waste into a trug. Fantastic! When I first got the tool I did wonder whether I would actually be able to use it as it looked like it needed both hands, one to squeeze the trigger and one to steady the pole. However after a long hard think and a trial run I soon realised that I could hold the handle in both hands and due to the lightweight nature of the pole it didn’t need steadying at all. I can deadhead my verbena hanging baskets now, no more hoping someone else will cut them in the right place. After a bit of deadheading I decided to tackle the lilac which was in need of dire pruning, usually a task left to James, my husband. The Snapper allowed me that extra height and reach to successfully prune several branches and flower heads. James had a go too, he was desperate to give it a try, it has now become his favourite garden tool! This was not meant to happen. I have to keep trying to get it back off him. The gentle squeeze action required to operate the trigger means that this is a perfect tool for weak wrists and is ideal for wheelchair users as it allows a longer reach and the capture system enables more pruning with far less clearing up afterwards. The 360 degree rotating action means that no matter where you nee to prune/deadhead you can always reach no matter where the plant has decided to grow. Truly a useful versatile garden pruning and deadheading tool that any gardener would love to own.
The Darlac Snapper is available in various lengths including two telescopic versions. For more information please take a look at the Darlac Snapper category on our website.
Welcome to Garden Gear
Welcome to our website. Garden Gear offers a wide variety of garden- related products including tools, accessories and gifts or presents for gardeners of all ages. We know that gardening is always a pleasure but when you have good quality and innovative tools to help it can become just that bit more enjoyable.
Our tools are always high quality and value for money which is why we stock the full range of Darlac gardening tools and equipment. In stock now is a large range of products for watering & irrigation including sprinklers and micro irrigation systems.
We offer a fantastic choice of garden products for children - from tools and gardening gloves specifically designed for little hands, to children’s garden games and educational items to encourage youngsters to learn about life in the garden.
We also have an exciting array of gifts for gardeners and non-gardeners along with a stylish range of outdoor living and homeware items.
At Garden Gear we pride ourselves on our first class customer service and fast delivery times. We always aim to post items within 24 hours of ordering and if you need next day delivery just get in touch and we will let you know if it possible.
Spare parts are available for many of the tools featured and we are always happy to offer advice and answer any questions you may have – just get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org find us on Facebook or follow @garden_gear on Twitter.