Latest posts by chrissieB

Best Free Garden Design App

Posted: 28/06/2017 at 13:19

Can I just repeat that there IS free 2D/3D modelling software for design and it's called sketch up, link below

Its not an app and it isn't labelled as specifically garden design as like most of the professional packages it can be used for any design purpose eg architecture, lighting, theatre etc as well as for gardens.

However it isn't an app as obviously given the functionality it's quite memory hungry.

You could use this for creating planting planting ing plans but it only has a limited image library and you would have to decide how to use the functionality to build up your plans as it doesn't have dedicated tools or functions for this. If memory serves me right you can upload your own photos into it and you can of course create your own 3D plants although not for the faint hearted. I think there is a Sketch-up for Dummies guide which probably provides a good grounding in how to use the software.

Mile a minute plant...

Posted: 28/06/2017 at 09:05

Technically you are supposed to offer anything cut from a neighbours plant back to them so you would be within your rights.

Am I right in guessing that your council is now charging to take away garden waste and that's why you want to now give them the cuttings. if so I would simply politely explain your reasons for no longer wanting to dispose of them yourself.

But re neighbourly relations, would only ask whether this means you won't need to use the council service or will only Ned maybe say bin rather than two? Only because if you do have space in your bins then it would seem a little churlish not to dispose of the cuttings in yours and only give the excess to your neighbours to deal with.

its not the same issue re overhanging plants but my neighbour and I often 'use' each other's paid for garden waste bins when our own our filled (asked and arranged in advance of course) that way we can manage with fewer between us, saving us both money and space.

Best Free Garden Design App

Posted: 28/06/2017 at 08:52

There isnt anything free as to be truly useful it would have to be quite sophisticated and have a large amount of internal resource e.g. Plant database etc. 

It may be that you need to break down what it is you want to use the app for as there may be something suitable just not labelled as for garden design -  is it a tool to help design spaces and structures to scale, or is  it planting designs and plant data which you want?

Google have a 3d package called sketch-up - not easy to use without practice but there are user guides available and it can be used to create plans and 3D designs. It's not specifically for gardens but obviously can be used for that. It has some plant images available as well, some professional designers use it instead of buying a CAD package. I haven't looked at it for some time but am sure it is still available - there was always a paid for pro version as well as the free one.

Alternatively not an app but if you have access to excel than you could format the cells to be squares (by having matching column and line widths) and then use this as your squared paper to draw to scale. Obviously has limits re shapes etc but may help check scale and dimensions.

Am not aware of any apps or packages for planting design with embedded databases of plants. I keep meaning to explore some if the plant apps available but haven't got round to it yet, but I think most are for identifying plants rather than design?

There was a GW BBC free software some years ago but is was very clunky and not terribly useful, I guess the fact they don't offer it now free or to buy suggests it's not cost effective to develop anything other than the various garden planner tools on offer.

Rookie Gardener

Posted: 28/06/2017 at 08:36

Any ground cleared of weeds is going to get quickly covered again if it is left bare. If you won't be doing any planting until next year then you really do need to keep it covered in the meantime especially if it's unlikely that anyone else will do much weeding in the meantime.

Maybe wait to clear until you can plant it or if already cleared cover it in weed membrane - if you covered it in black plastic that will do the work for you and you could just dig it over and clear any roots when you remove the plastic in a yard time to plant.

Anyone have/ keep a gardening journal?

Posted: 28/06/2017 at 08:20

I keep a garden journal but more diary style than anything organised under headings - so I suppose my only repeated heading is the date. I re-started it when we moved in last year and simply jot down any ideas, thoughts, discoveries, what's flowering or happening in the garden, reminders to look things up etc..I used an old notebook I already had for my first one and now use it as an excuse to buy nice notebooks for when I need my next one (I love stationary so usually have several waiting ti be used)

i make an occasional note about the weather but nothing very structured - have thought I might be a bit more disciplined about this but hasnt happened yet..

I have a long to do list at the back of the journal - I find that easier as that way it is all (or mostly) in one place rather than lots of separate lists throughout the journal.

if I note down any jobs or notes to buy/move a plant etc amongst by jottings, I put an asterisk aganist them so it's easy to find them when I flick through.

I have an RHS diary but haven't used it as my journal as mine only has one page per week and that isn't enough for me. 

When I fill up one book, I simply start another - I don't worry about each book been a strict calendar year. It is great been able to look back when you did something or when a plant started and finished flowering last year. When I started my latest book recently - I read through the finished one to capture any jobs which weren't on the long list and ideas I wanted to make a note of or update on, in the new book so I wouldn't forget them. It was quite satisfying to read through and 'tick off' everything I had got done or scribble down a little update against a previous idea.

Dont make it too complicated or it might feel like anither job to do. Maybe make notes each day about what feels relevant and useful to you and then you might find that you naturally start to use certain headings etc. Or want to be able to look up certain information (like the weather).

lupin invasion

Posted: 27/06/2017 at 14:30

I hate to disrupt your pure English garden a bit more but I always thought that hollyhocks came back with the crusaders 🤔

Border along our long drive; What to do?

Posted: 27/06/2017 at 14:24

 having pulled my back last week wrestling with an old laurel tree you have my sympathy and good luck  🙂

Border along our long drive; What to do?

Posted: 27/06/2017 at 08:49

We haven't found a car .....yet, Nannybeach 

We have found lots of plant labels telling us what lovely treasures are no longer a form of Chinese torture designed especially for gardeners 🙄


Posted: 27/06/2017 at 08:28

I think you just have to develop the right mindset and accept that it's there and probably always be. We have horsetail in part of our garden too, it appeared after we had successfully cleared the area of another weed - alkanet. So we simply seem to have swapped one thug for another! 

I am working on the theory that if I keep pulling it up, it will lose its enthusiasm and gradually visit less often. Am not even thinking about trying it dig it up given how deep it's roots are said to grow- I have plenty of other weeds which are 'worth' digging out Such as the aforementioned alkanet.

i just have a regular horsetail blitz every so often and pull it up by hand. 

PS it contains lots of silica so is apparently good for cleaning pans - not sure how and haven't tried it. It also has lots of traditional herbal uses from poultices to shampoo. 

Border along our long drive; What to do?

Posted: 27/06/2017 at 07:59

I obviously can't see how bad the border is but the gardener probably suggested machinery as most people won't be willing or able  to pay for  the amount of time it takes to clear weeds and brambles properly by manual labour. Its also very time consuming to work around existing planting if a border is very infested with weeds. If brambles have taken over then it may be more cost effective to use machinery to clear them and the border completely so you have a blank canvas or accept it will take several applications of glyphosate over several months.

We are restoring a neglected garden and out of interest I have been logging the time we spend in the garden on various jobs. We have been steadily clearing a border similar in size to yours where alkanet, couch grass and brambles had taken over. Our log shows we have spent over 100 hours clearing it and digging it over. we are not in the flush of youth but reasonably fit and able so get a resizable amount done in each session - weve had to clear each section several times and dig down a couple of feet to clear roots and like yours have also had to work around tree roots.  we were shocked when I totted up the hours. We are now on what I call maintenance weeding but still a higher level that I would hope for in a cared-for garden, partly because we can't afford dense planting so have lots of bare soil and we have been clearing organically i.e. by hand so still fighting stubborn pockets od perennials and years worth of alkanet seeds in the soil.

I'm not saying all this to depress you, but do be realistic about how much time (or money if labour is bought in) it will take to clear/restore a border where weeds have started to get the upper hand espevially if you aren't happy with a more relaxed/shaggy look (maybe the country look you describe it as been currently).

As other members have suggested there are lots of plants that will survive in shade and many that will act as reasonable weed suppressants. Some of the tough do-ers used in municipal planting may also be a good choice such as cotoneaster, hypericum, ivy (as ground cover).

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