Garden Survival Guides

  1. Making the most of your garden in summer

     Living outdoors

    There’s nothing quite like fresh air to give you an appetite and with the warmer weather already here, what could be nicer than the thought of dining alfresco or taking in the night air with a few friends.

    Whether your idea of heaven is an intimate meal for two under the stars or entertaining family around the BBQ, we have plenty of ideas to help make the most of your outdoor space this spring and summer.

    Dinning alfresco under the gazebo / summer house

    If you want to create an inviting space in your garden that’s going to provide a shady spot during the day and a retreat for evening entertaining, look no further than a gazebo. Both sophisticated and versatile, gazebos offer part shelter from the sun and can be made warm and inviting in the evening, if dining alfresco is what&rsq

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  2. Top 5 gardening blogs to read in 2011

    Now that the UK temperature is getting to the dizzy heights of Celsius in the double-digits, it’s actually a pleasure to stop hiding away in my various garden sheds (I have two) and into my garden for a spot of horticulture.

    It’s at this time of year that I turn to the online gardening experts for a) inspiration on what to plant, b) to tell me that I'm too late to plant what I was going to plant or c) I can plant what I was going to plant but not where I wanted to plant it.

    Every self-respecting gardener would consider the BBC’s Gardeners’ World blog as their first stop for a quick online read but are there any other good gardening blogs out there? Yes, there are.

    So what better way to kick off your gardening exploits than by checking out my top 5 favourite gardening blogs (in no particular order).

    Carrots & Kids 
    A great blog from Debbie Webber, a countryside mum with lots of kids so there’s a nice combination of posts on ch

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  3. British Summer Time brings garden thieves out of hibernation

    British Summer Time (BST) officially starts this Sunday, March 27th at 1.00 am GMT when the clocks ‘spring’ forward to 2.00 am BST. We lose one hours sleep but we get more daylight in return. An exchange I’ll happily accept.

    The longer days, coupled with the fantastic weather we’ve had recently, mean that many of us will be out and about in our gardens in greater numbers. Unfortunately, so too will the thieves - at least according to claims-data recently released by insurance group Aviva.

    Aviva’s claims-statistics for the past 10-years show that after British Summer Time begins, thefts from gardens, garden sheds and garages increase rapidly by 25%. Apparently garden theft slowly increases from the beginning of March and peaks in July/August at which point it is almost 50% higher compared to January.

    Typical targets are the usual items we all sometimes leave unsecured in our gardens: garden tools, bicycles, lawnmowers, even our kid’s toys. The average haul net

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  4. 5 tips to keep your bicycle secure

    Here's a conversation I overheard recently: “It’s a Dawes Geneva” she announced proudly to her friend at the school gates. There was no doubt that it was a fine looking cycle. "It's fully-loaded too with a wicker basket, panniers and a tail rack. What? Oh! About £700.” she added in response to her friend’s quizzical look.

    This is a common discussion this time of year; school mums, dad’s and office workers upgrading their city hybrids after several winters-worth of riding have abused their old ones.

    The more sportier amongst us might start thinking about a new carbon-framed road bike with maybe a Shimano 105 group set (or Campagnolo if you’re of the Italian persuasion) for the long summer rides ahead - north of £1,500 will get you one of those beauties.

    So bikes are not cheap - at least not the ones we all seem to be aspiring to these days – and with their growing popularity as part of our fitness and

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