For your plants to survive and flourish, it is vital to match the right plants to the right conditions, so make sure you know what your growing space is like before buying. Is it sheltered, damp, and shady… or exposed, dry, and sunny?
Think about what you want to grow and how much time you have to look after your plants. Some plants need less attention than others, but all plants require some care. Consider the time of year for your flowering display, too. Some plants look good when in flower but don’t add anything else for the rest of the year. Combine these with other plants whose flowers, stems, or foliage add interest across other seasons. Look for plants with a good shape that can be used as a focal point to anchor a changing display... >
1 Measure half the weight of fat to bird seed; use a hard fat such as suet, drippings, lard, or white vegetable fat. Melt the fat in a pan, stir in the seeds, then spread onto a baking tray to the same depth as the cutters. Cool slightly, then press cookie cutters into the mix.
Remove the filled cookie cutters and leave to set. To hang them, cut lengths of garden twine, make a hole at the top of each seedcake with a skewer, thread through and knot the twine.
Watching birds in your outdoor environment is both fascinating and relaxing. Add a decorative touch while looking after your feathered friends with these delightful feeders made from cups, mugs, and bowls.
1 Paint the saucers and poles in a variety of colors. Envision how they will work with your cups and bowls, when choosing your colors, and try matching or contrasting the colors of the saucers and poles. Leave to dry and then add a coat of marine varnish, if you like, for extra protection against the elements.
Drill a hole in the base of each of your seed holders. This will help rainwater to drain away so that the birdseed doesn’t get too waterlogged. Make a masking-tape cross where you want to drill for a clean finish and to prevent slipping.
Planted with nectar-rich plants, this hamper will keep bees and butterflies supplied with food. You’ll enjoy watching the different species of beneficial insects that come and tuck into this fast-food feast.
■ TIME IT RIGHT Early spring is a good time
to plant your hamper so that insects coming out of hibernation have an early food source. Add spring and fall bulbs to the planting to extend the season.
Agastache ‘Black Adder’
Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’ Centranthus ruber ‘Coccineus’ Digitalis grandiflora Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’ Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’ Erigeron karvinskianus Gaura lindheimeri Helenium autumnale ‘Sahin’s Early Variety’
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ Linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went’ Monarda ‘Cambri... >
Create your own patch of wildflower meadow in an old vintage drawer. Your wildlife haven will attract lots of beneficial insects and is both simple to make and easy to maintain.
TIME IT RIGHT Plant in early spring so that insects coming out of hibernation have an early nectar source. If you want to grow wildflowers from seed, sow these in either early spring or early fall.
Paint your drawer with exterior paint and finish with a coat of marine varnish for extra protection, if you like. We painted our drawer to contrast with our display table.
Drill several drainage holes in the base of the planter, spacing them evenly across the area.
3Cut to shape some thick black plastic to line the drawer, which will protect the wood and prevent it from rotting... >
With its living succulent roof, this attractive insect house has lots of different rooms to encourage helpful, beneficial insects likes bees, ladybugs, and lacewings to seek shelter in your garden.
TIME IT RIGHT Make your insect house from spring to early fall, when the plants for the green roof will be actively growing so they can root in, and before insects start looking for places to hibernate.
FOR THE INSECT ROOMS bamboo poles & pruning shears small logs & electric drill & drill bits bark & sticks pinecones
corrugated cardboard terra-cotta pots woodland moss
Jovibarba hirta Sedum album Sedum dasyphyllum Sedum hirsutum Sedum sexangulare Sedum spurium ‘Variegatum’ Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Hookeri’
The insect house is made out of a single-bottle wooden wi... >
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Readily available and inexpensive, terra-cotta flowerpots are perfect for decorating with paint, decoupage, and other craft materials. Group your decorated pots together for a stylish effect and to show off your creativity.
TIME IT RIGHT You can create your decorated pots all year round, but prepare them under cover if the weather is harsh or wet. Paint and glue may not dry properly in freezing conditions. As well as plants, you can fill your pots with other items; try pinecones for a festive look in December.
Decorated pots look great when grouped together. The plants we used here (from left to right) are: Cynara cardunculus, Echeveria sp... >
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The color of this elegant window box planter was created by mixing black pigment with the cement. Experiment by adding different colored pigments to the mix to create a unique work of art for your windowsill.
. TIME IT RIGHT This project involves more effort
than some others but is well worth it. Allow one day to construct the mold and cast the concrete, and 48 hours for the concrete to cure. Make under cover if raining and protect the curing concrete from freezing temperatures.
Concrete may crack without reinforcement if the edge width is too narrow for its size. Our box edges were 1in (2... >
With their exotic and unusual appearance, and fascinating ability to obtain their nutrient needs by trapping and feeding on insects, carnivorous plants make a bold impact. They are also surprisingly easy to look after, once you understand their needs.
TIME IT RIGHT Plant mid-spring to summer to enjoy the carnivorous plants at their peak of interest.
They will die back in winter, then start growing again in spring. If possible, allow one week for the potting mix to reach correct acidity before planting.
Darlingtonia californica Dionaea muscipula Drosera capensis Sarracenia flava Sarracenia ‘Juthatip Soper’ Sarracenia moorei (flava x leucophylla)
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea
sphagnum moss (optional; if dried, soak for at least 1 hour and squeeze ou... >
Low-growing succulents and other alpines are perfect for displaying in a box planter. This miniature alpine
landscape would make a stunning centerpiece for an
outdoor table and should be admired at eye level.
TIME IT RIGHT Early spring is the best time to plant. You can also do this in summer, but it will require more watering. The plants will offer color and interest all year round.
Place a layer of gravel over the base of the box planter for drainage. Succulents need good drainage and do not like to be sitting in water, which will cause their roots to rot. Add a layer of gritty potting mix with a little general-purpose fertilizer added, filling to halfway up the container.
— Project Steps
Lay out all your plants and roughly position them so you have a feel for how ever... >