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Guide to Gardening - below we will cover


Garden Tools

Assessing you Garden

The importance of Light

Researching light levels

The importance of water

Bog garden

If your soil is too extreme

Test your garden's drainage

Check the height of your water table



The most important Garden Tools


Some of your tools will be in constant use, so when you buy your tools, look for the name Lasher as their products offer quality workmanship, ease of use and reliability for years to come.


Basic tools for cultivating -




Hand Trowel

Hand Fork


Deadheading & Pruning


Long handled Pruners

Pruning Saw



Garden Hose

Watering Can



Stiff Broom

Sprayer for feed or weeds

Gardening Gloves


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You wouldn't dream of moving into a house without taking a look at the area. It's the same in a garden. Before you can grow anything, you need to know what sort of conditions you have. Then you can choose plants that are suited for them. There really is no need to waste money on plants that will hate your environment.


You'll need to know what sort of soil you have, how much light there is and the prevailing weather conditions. Is it a windy site, a particularly cold one or is it sunny and sheltered?


Assessing your garden
Just like you, your garden is unique and has character. It is this character, a distinctive set of conditions that work together, which determines what you can grow successfully.

Understand your garden's character and you're well on the way to becoming a blossoming gardener.


We'll look at the following range of conditions and show you how to discover what they are in your garden:





Soil type


The importance of light
Put bluntly, plants die without sunlight. Sunlight is the 'engine' that powers growth - a process called photosynthesis. In the wild (which is where most garden plants come from) light levels vary. Being cunning little chaps, different plants evolved to thrive in different levels of light. Clearly the amount of light your garden gets will have a big impact on what plants grow well.
The overall amount of light received depends on aspect, the direction your garden faces. Use a compass.

South-facing gardens get the least light and can be damp

North-facing gardens get the most light

East-facing gardens get morning light

West-facing gardens get afternoon and evening light


Researching light levels
As the sun moves through the sky, light levels change.
Spend a sunny summer's day in a deckchair watching the sun, noting down the following:

Areas that are in full sun all day

Areas that are in shade for about half the day

Areas in permanent shade

And remember, that glass of wine is only a thirst quencher and all in the name of good gardening!


Plants need water
Just like you, plants need water. There must be a constant supply because plants are like giant wicks. Water is sucked from the soil by roots, drawn up the stem and lost through the leaves.

The amount of water in the soil is influenced by:

Local annual rainfall

Time of year

Soil type


The water table - the point in the soil at which water drains away

Shady or south facing corners often have damp soil


Plants have evolved to take advantage of variations in moisture content. So on wet soil you can plant a bog garden and grow moisture-loving plants; on free-draining soil you can create a gravel garden full of drought-tolerant species.


Bog garden
An area that is often linked to a pond, where marsh and other moisture-loving bog plants can be grown. A punctured buried liner will keep the soil permanently damp, but it will also prevent it from becoming too waterlogged.


If your soil is too extreme?
Improve moist soil by digging in lots of bulky organic manure. To dry it, install a drainage system.

On free draining soil, improve moisture retention by digging in bulky organic manure (wonderful stuff!) or installing an irrigation system. Be patient though, as this won't happen overnight.


Test your garden's drainage

Dig a number of holes about 30cm (1ft) deep at random points across the garden

Fill with water

Leave to drain away naturally

If it takes more than 24 hours to disappear, drainage is poor


Check the height of your water table

Dig a 60cm (2ft) deep hole at the lowest point

Watch it for a couple of days in winter (when the water table is at its highest)

This will show you at what point plant roots will be in standing water - important since many drought-tolerant species die if they have 'wet feet'.



Soil is far from dull stuff. It is made up of humus (organic matter) and three different types of particle: clay, silt and sand. It provides a plant with an anchor for its roots, its water and its nutrients.


It's worth checking if the topsoil layer is only a few centimeters thick, subsoil can cause problems:

If it's clay - water logging in winter

If it's sandy or chalky - dehydration in summer


But don't despair, reach for the 'old faithful' - (well-rotted) bulky organic manure - and you can improve things greatly.




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