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12 Months, 12 Gardening Tricks for An Easier 2018

Both for amateur and professional garden designers at all levels, a new year brings something of a blank canvas to work with. 12 glorious months for garden designers to work their magic and bring their own unique masterpieces to life.

So with this in mind, we thought we’d share a selection of tips, tricks and hacks we’ve recently come across from some of the leading garden designers in the UK. 12 simple yet effective ideas – one for each month of the year perhaps – to help ensure all garden designers at all levels get the very most out of their 2018 outdoors.

1. First up, when you have clay pots that are losing their lustre due to salt deposits, all you need is a mixture combining equal parts water, rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. Place the mixture into a spray bottle, generously dampen the affected area and give it a good scrub with a plastic brush. When it dries, the salt deposits will have disappeared.

2. If you’d prefer not to get all manner of dirt and grime under your fingernails, simply run them over a bar of soap before you get started. Which will leave something of a seal behind to prevent dirt from getting under, after which you can simply wash it out for pristine post-gardening nails.

3. A favourite among savvy garden designers – spray a little vegetable oil (or any cooking oil) on the string for your strimmer, before installing it in the machine. Doing so will actively prevent the line from breaking or jamming while in use, believe it or not!

4. If looking to make life easier for yourself, you could always transform any long-handled tool you use on a regular basis into a measuring stick. Simply use a tape measure and a permanent marker to add measurements to the handle of the tool, in order to have a handy measuring device on-hand at all times.

5. Set yourself up a handy garden twine dispenser using nothing more than a standard clay plant pot. Place the ball of twine or string into the pot, pull a length out of the hole and then turn the pot upside down. Position it wherever you like and you’ll have an effective twine dispenser to play with throughout the year.

6. Hold onto plastic milk bottles throughout the winter, which can be quickly and easily transformed into protective covers should the weather take a turn for the worse. Simply cut them in half and use the bottom to protect smaller and more fragile plants with their own mini-greenhouses.

7. For garden designers looking to make a quick and easy hose guide, all that’s needed is two clay plant pots and a metal bar. Stick the metal bar in the ground, thread one pot over the pole facing down followed by a second facing up. The result – a handy hose guide to protect your plants from damage.

8. If you find yourself dealing with an aphid infestation, getting rid of them can be as simple as blasting the plants in question with a jet of water directly from the hose. Alternatively, organic insecticidal soap can get the job done.

9. Or for something a little different, simply wrap a generous amount of sticky tape around your hand, with the sticky side facing outwards. After which, it’s a case of patting the leaves – on top and underneath – in order to manually remove the little blighters with no further treatment being required!

10. Next time you stem or boil vegetables, hold onto the water you use to cook them. Wait until it cools down and use it to water the potted plants around your garden. Packed with incredible nutrients, it really can be pure gold for their health and development.

11. Another favourite among garden designers worldwide, leftover tea and coffee grounds can be perfect for acidifying the soil of acid-favouring plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries.

12. Last but not least, one of the fastest and easiest ways of drying herbs is also something of an unknown. Place your herbs in a single layer on a sheet of newspaper, positioned on one of the seats in your car. Close the doors, ensure the windows are likewise close and leave them to it. Along with drying quickly and effectively, the herbs will also make your car smell pretty

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