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Top Gardening Trends for the Summer

Soil Conditioners Hertfordshire - photo of a raised garden bed

Gardening has never been so popular – and that’s official! Data released by Google shows there has been a 39% increase in garden-related searches year on year. But how is this likely to be reflected in the months ahead, when we start planting and growing?

Madingley Mulch are specialists in soil conditioners and composts, as well as a wide selection of other outdoor gardening supplies. We serve customers in Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, and our home county of Cambridgeshire. Here we look at the most likely trends for budding horticulturalists this summer.

 

Low-Maintenance Flowers, Fruit and Veg

Everyone has been spending a lot more time in the garden – and that includes novice gardeners who may be looking to grow their own flowers, fruits and vegetables for the first time.

There is likely to be an emphasis on low-maintenance, easy-to-grow species. In terms of flowers, this means species like sunflowers, sweet peas and marigolds, while radishes, peas, beans and potatoes will be an attractive option for vegetable patches.

 

Don’t Forget the Youngsters

It’s not just the adults that are spending more time at home, children will be too with the summer holidays coming up. That is why it is important to make a space for them to call their own in the garden, where they can have hammocks, playhouses, tyre swings and other play equipment. In addition, if you give them their own growing patch they will be more likely to eat vegetables if they grew them themselves.

This area could be fenced off to give them, and you, more privacy. Different areas can be screened off with picket fences, fencing panels and other products which we at Madingly Mulch can supply from our base near Cambridge.

 

Growing in Small Spaces

Increasingly, people with smaller gardens and balconies are also looking to make the most of their outside spaces. This is why dwarf hybrids and small trees that can be grown in pots and on balconies have been growing in popularity.

Raised beds (above) have also become more popular because not only can they be accessed more easily, but also placed on a hard surfaces like concrete, slabs or wood. Madingley Mulch are exclusive suppliers of Denise’s Delight, a high-quality soil conditioner which mixes horse manure, Black Fen soil and other plant nutrients and which is ideal for this type of planting.

 

Inside Outside

More and more people are treating their gardens as an extension of their houses. This is why interior and exterior design should work in harmony. However, what does this mean from a planting perspective?

One way of achieving this is to choose species which can grow indoors as well as out, such as succulents, potted palms and peace lilies. Vertical gardening is another way of integrating the outdoors with the indoors, as well as making use of limited space.  You can do this by taking full advantage of hanging and wall planters, shelving and wall pots. Climbers and crops like strawberries and herbs can also be grown vertically.

 

Outdoor Gardening Supplies from Madingley Mulch

As well as providing soil conditioners, compost and fencing products to gardeners in Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, and our home county of Cambridgeshire, Madingley Mulch can also offer friendly, experienced advice to gardeners.

Our home delivery service operates in Cambridgeshire and the surrounding counties, and drops off orders in Ely, Huntingdon, Newmarket, Saffron Walden, and many other locations.  Delivery is free within a 15 mile radius of our operation just outside Cambridge. There is a standard £20 delivery charge applied up to a radius of 24.5 miles.

If you need an order delivering beyond this area, call us on 01954 212144 for a custom delivery quote, either by our bag lorries or via our nationwide palletised delivery for our specialist products that you can’t source locally.

Owing to high demand, delivery times may be slower than usual. If you would like to know more, call us on 01954 212144 or click on this link to find out more about our products and prices.

How to Create the Perfect Courtyard Garden

Here at Madingley Mulch, we know small can definitely be beautiful when it comes to courtyard gardens. With the right plants, furniture and garden paving, our customers in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk have created some incredibly relaxing spaces. If you’d like to make the most of your courtyard garden, just follow these five top tips. 

 

Don’t Try to Fit Too Much In

This is the first and most important rule when working with a small and enclosed area, as one big central feature will have much more effect than lots of little ones, which can easily make the space seem cluttered. A small shed or storage container will keep the whole area tidy and well maintained.

 

Create the Illusion of Space

Choose light, neutral colours that reflect space instead of dark or bold colours that will make it seem smaller. And don’t go in for lots of pretty patterns – keep colour schemes simple and minimalist.

You can also create the impression of space with diagonal paving slabs, while water features also work well in courtyard garden design because they reflect the sky.

When it comes to plants, grow upwards, as creepers and climbers up the side of fences and walls won’t take up much space at ground level. Raised beds can be used to create growing areas which can double up as seating.

 

Look After Your Plants

In a courtyard garden, there’s nowhere for poorly plants to hide. If you use good quality compost, soil conditioner or mulch, you can help the earth in your beds retain moisture and reduce weed growth in summer, and also protect plant roots in winter. And try to match your plants to the conditions. For instance, if you have a shady courtyard, then hostas should be able to thrive.

At Madingley Mulch we exclusively supply Denise’s Delight, a mix of Fen Soil, horse manure and other plant nutrients, and Tony’s Tonic, a mulch which can either be spread over the soil or dug in. Both these products will help your patio plants to flourish.

 

Choose Landscaping Materials Carefully

In a courtyard garden, the style, quality, colour and finish are more important than ever. Paler paving and decorative stones will make the garden look bigger – and keep it cooler – than darker slabs. Choose grouting which is a shade lighter than the slabs, and recess it slightly so that it doesn’t dominate.

We stock a wide range of garden paving stones. Our Premier Riven and Indian Sandstone slabs both come in a variety of shades, while our Old Grey Courtyard Paving is ideal if you want to create a weathered effect. 

 

Make it an Extension to your House

Make sure it is easy to get from the house into your courtyard garden, as this will encourage you to use it as an outdoor living space. Use pathways and lighting to draw your eye down from the garden from the windows or patio doors.

Choose comfortable seats, and then place them in the sun or shade depending on your personal preference. With carefully positioned lighting or controlled outdoor fires, your courtyard garden can be used all year round, even in the darker winter months.

 

Courtyard Garden Materials from Madingley Mulch

If you’d like to redesign your courtyard garden, Madingley Mulch supplies a wide range of materials, including fencing, decorative stones and garden paving, which we can deliver to Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk. Visit our shop to browse our extensive range or ask for advice from our friendly, knowledgeable staff or feel free to give us a call on 01954 212144.

Top Tips on Creating a Japanese Garden

Decorative Stones Essex - Photo of a japanese-style garden

Japanese-style gardens have become increasingly popular in the UK. With their focus on the integrated design and simplicity, they offer a stark contrast to the flower-packed traditional English equivalent.

Here Madingley Mulch, who supply decorative stones and other outdoor gardening products to customers across Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, provide some top tips on how to bring a flavour of the Orient into your garden – and you don’t need to break the bank to do it.

 

Keep Plants Simple

Colour isn’t a priority in Japanese gardens, so you don’t need to spend a lot on plants with vivid flowers. Common varieties of wisteria, hydrangeas, irises and peonies can all be used in moderation to provide colour all year round. If possible, plant odd numbers of each species as this will help create an asymmetrical look.  One of the key drivers of any oriental garden is that it should imitate nature wherever possible, so avoid rigidly shaped flower beds and straight lines.

If you have space, flowering cherries and magnolia trees will provide your garden with plenty of shade and fragrance. Adopting a low management approach will mean you don’t have to spend hours and hours maintaining your new creation.

 

Make Good Use of Gravel and Decorative Stones…

Many Japanese gardens include water features, such as fountains, ponds, bowls or even waterfalls. Oriental culture believes that the sound of running water has an extremely soothing effect on the mind, helping you to use your garden as a place of quiet meditation.

However, if you don’t have the space or the money to splash out on this type of garden design element, then consider laying down some decorative stones or gravel instead to simulate the appearance of water. The Japanese call this a ‘dry garden’.

 

…and Pathways Too

The Japanese also have a long tradition of creating ‘stroll gardens’ which make extensive use of paths and bridges. This version was originally created by wealthy aristocrats who wanted to make sure that visitors could appreciate the full beauty of their garden from different perspectives.

However, it is simple enough to introduce this key element into your own space. To follow the traditions, your pathway could take the form of a simple loop around a pond or water feature, or it can consist of a network of stepping stones, wide paving or a gravel path.

 

Everyone’s Cup of Tea

Another variety of Japanese garden is the ‘tea garden’. Oriental tradition dictated that homeowners should be able to enjoy a cup of tea in their garden, so a small building with an upturned roof was created for that very purpose. It also protects the owner from the heat of the day or a sudden downpour. Your teahouse doesn’t have to be too intricate – any wooden structure with beams and a roof will be ideal.

 

How Madingley Mulch Can Help You Build a Japanese Garden

Madingley Mulch has all the outdoor gardening supplies you need to help you create a little bit of the Orient in your back garden. If you need to create a new garden path or simulate a water feature, we can supply a wide variety of decorative stones to customers in Essex and Suffolk, as well as our home county of Cambridgeshire. These include 10 and 20mm gravel, pebbles, cobbles (between 20mm and 150mm) and paving slabs, which can be used for stylish patios as well as garden paths.

To find out more about what we stock in our online shop, simply click here. If you have a bulk order, we offer free delivery within 15 miles of our base on the edge of Cambridge. If you live between 15 and 24.5 miles away a standard charge of £20 applies.

We can arrange deliveries further afield as well. Among the places we deliver to regularly are Huntingdon, Royston, Ely, Saffron Walden and Newmarket. However, due to the current high demand for our products, it may take around two weeks for us to fulfil your order.

Five Top Watering Tips for Gardeners

Bark Mulch Suppliers Cambridge - image of a watering can being used to water flowers

The onset of summer usually means warmer weather and many of your plants will need a helping hand if they are to continue to flourish. Bark mulch suppliers Madingley Mulch, who are based on the outskirts of Cambridge, have compiled these five helpful tips for gardeners who may be worried about how much water their plants should get and when.

 

Pick Your Time to Water

The best time to water is either in the early morning or evening. Both times allow the water to run down into the soil and reach your plants’ roots without losing too much excess water to evaporation. This would be more likely to happen if you water during the heat of the day.

If anything, the early morning is better because it will make the water available to your plants throughout the day, ensuring they can cope with the heat of the sun. Watering in the early evening means any leaves have little time to dry out before night comes, which increases the chance of your plants suffering from a fungal problem such as mildew.

Always ensure you water the stem or root of your plants, rather than the foliage, as this will ensure the moisture goes where it is needed most.

 

Pick Drought-Tolerant Plants

If you are worried about the size of your water bill, then some types of plants retain moisture better than others. If you have your own vegetable patch, cabbages, leeks, parsnips and carrots need very little watering. Some perennial herbs such as rosemary and sage shouldn’t need much attention, even in warm summers.

Other plants which can thrive in hot conditions include hebe and lavender, and any species with silver or grey-green leaves. This is because they can reflect the sun’s rays better and won’t need such regular watering. Lawns, trees and mature shrubs can be left unwatered as they will always recover when rain does finally arrive.

For the record, the plants which will need a lot of moisture include any seedlings, cuttings and young plants, particularly if you are growing them in your greenhouse. Tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce and celery are all quite thirsty, while annual flowers need regular watering too because of their shallow root systems.

 

For How Long?

Generally, plants should be given a thorough soaking – for at least 20 seconds. This is important because it allows the water to go deep into the soil, and it allows your flowers and shrubs to set down stronger and longer roots.

If you have a hose pipe, use your nozzle or shower attachment to give a wide, gentle spray. Fast, narrow jets can damage both the soil and younger plants.

 

Use a Water Butt

Installing a water butt is a relatively cheap way of ensuring that your plants can continue to get a regular supply of moisture without using the mains supply. Most houses have a drainpipe or downpipe system, and all you need to do is install a diverter so any rain will fill up the water butt.  All water butts have a tap which you can use to fill up your watering can.

Another ‘green’ alternative is to use ‘grey water’ which is recycled from bathrooms and kitchens. This is particularly useful if there is a hosepipe ban in force, but for hygiene reasons it’s advisable not to use this water source on your vegetables or anything you eat.

 

Lay Down Some Mulch

Another way of ensuring that you don’t need to worry too much about the time and expense of watering the garden is to improve the condition of your soil. A mulch will help improve your its ability to retain water, as well as suppressing any weeds. This is important because these unwanted species can deprive your plants and garden of valuable moisture and nutrients. As specialist bark mulch suppliers, we can provide composted, landscape and premium bark for gardeners in and around the Cambridge area.

We also stock a number of soil conditioners, including Denise’s Delight, an exclusive mixture of Black Fen soil, well-rotted horse manure, wood shavings and other plant nutrients.

 

Bark Mulch Suppliers Madingley Mulch

Madingley Mulch supply paving slabs, fencing, decorative stones, any many other gardening items to customers across Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, as well as mulches and soil conditioners. If you would like to know more about any of our products then you can call us on 01954 212144 or click on this link and fill in the online form.

We run a weekly delivery service to towns and villages in the area, including Huntingdon, Ely, Royston, Newmarket and Saffron Walden. However, due to the current high demand for our products, it may take around two weeks for us to fulfil your order.

Top Tips on Dealing with Fallen Leaves

Fallen leaves are a problem which all gardeners face at this time of year – but what’s the best way to deal with them? Here Madingley Mulch, garden mulch suppliers based on the edge of Cambridge, offer some top tips on what to do about this natural ‘windfall’.

Rake Them Up

You should always leave your lawn clear of leaves. Left unattended, they will create the perfect conditions for mould to thrive. A leaf-free lawn will also ensure the grass will grow more healthily in the springtime. Collect up the leaves with a high-quality universal rake or a leaf blower.

You should also keep leaves out of ponds and other water features. This is because the leaves will eventually sink to the bottom, decompose and form an unattractive sludge, which will encourage algae and other unwanted plant growth. Consider covering your pond with wire mesh (particularly if it’s close to a tree) or removing the leaves regularly with a device such as a dipping net.

Leaves can be left to decompose in flower beds, but only in moderation. While they return valuable nutrients to the soil, too many of them will block out the sun and can encourage diseases in prolonged spells of wet weather. The basic rule of thumb is if you can’t see the plants for the leaves, then you’re going to have a problem.

Mow Them

The alternative is to leave your leaves where they are and effectively mow them into the lawn. Put your machine on its highest setting so the leaves are shredded into tiny pieces, which then decompose within the surface of the lawn, providing an excellent soil conditioner.

Use Them as Compost

You can also add the fallen leaves to your compost heap or bin. To gain the maximum benefit, ensure the leaves are moist (but not wet) and mixed with green material such as grass clippings or waste vegetable matter. The compost should then be turned over once a month to allow the oxygen to circulate and help with the decomposition. Over time the leaves and waste will break down into a thick compost which can be spread over your beds, providing valuable nutrients for your plants and flowers.

If you don’t have the problem of clearing up fallen leaves, or don’t have the time or space to create a compost heap, then you can still give your plants a boost.  Madingley Mulch supply a range of soil conditioners, composts and mulches to gardeners across the Cambridge area which have proved highly effective in suppressing weeds and retaining moisture within the soil. These include Denise’s Delight and Tony’s Tonic, both of which contain a mix of horse manure, wood shavings and other plant nutrients.

Use Them as Insulators

Leaves make excellent insulators for colder areas of your home, such as basements, garages and garden sheds. Collect them up by whatever method you prefer, let them dry out and transfer them into bags. Packed tightly together, these will keep the immediate environment warm. Once winter is over you can still use them as part of a soil conditioner or compost.

Madingley Mulch – Garden Mulch Suppliers from Cambridge

As well as mulches, soil conditioners and composts, Madingley Mulch also stock a wide range of other outdoor gardening supplies. If you need any fencing, decorative stones or pebbles, edging, paving or patio slabs, then we are the people to contact. Follow this link to visit our online shop.

We offer free delivery on all orders within a 15-mile radius of our operation just outside Cambridge. There is a standard £20 delivery charge applied up to a radius of 24.5 miles, and we can also deliver further afield as well. Our weekly delivery routes include St Ives, St Neots, Huntingdon, Newmarket, Ely, Haverhill and Saffron Walden. Due to the coronavirus situation, we are currently aiming to deliver all orders within 2-3 weeks depending on product availability.

Encouraging Wildlife to Thrive in Your Garden this Winter

It can be tempting to clear everything away in your garden for the winter months – but while you have tidied up your plants and shrubs, what about the wildlife that lives there? They will be having a tough time coping not just with the lower temperatures but also the lack of food.

Madingley Mulch, suppliers of mulches, compost and soil conditioners to customers in the Cambridge area, have identified these key ways in which gardeners can help birds, amphibians, insects and small mammals to survive through the winter.

Feed the Birds

Birds really are gardeners’ feathered friends. They allow your garden’s eco-system to thrive, eating pests which damage your flowers and shrubs, and helping with plant pollination.

Leaving out nuts, seeds and fat balls will help most species to survive and thrive over the winter. It’s best to buy purpose-built feeders, as squirrels, pigeons and other creatures can all get to the food first if it’s left on a traditional bird table. Don’t forget to leave out a bowl of water too, as birds and other animals still need to drink even when it’s cold.

Beware of Iced Ponds

Figures suggest there are roughly 2 million garden ponds in the UK, and as well as being home to fish and amphibians they also provide other creatures with a reliable source of drinking water. However, if your pond does freeze over, not only does this source disappear, but the ice can cause a build-up carbon monoxide, methane and other gases in the water which can be potentially toxic to some forms of wildlife.

Melting a hole in the ice by placing a saucepan full of hot water on the surface will be a genuine lifeline to all the wildlife which uses the pond. You can also float a ball on the pond’s surface which will keep the water around it moving and making a freeze over less likely. You should avoid breaking the ice with a hammer, or pouring boiling water directly onto the ice, as this could send shockwaves through the pond which could harm wildlife.

Remember: Amphibians like toads and frogs also like to seek shelter in warm compost heaps, so take care when you turn these over.

Looking After Insects

Insects which don’t go into hibernation needmess’ and flowers to survive the winter. The insects that do fly still need a source of pollen, so if you have any ivy don’t cut it back too hard as this is one of the few plants which flowers in winter. Other insects overwinter in the hollow stems of perennials, so don’t prune these too vigorously either.

Leave out piles of rotting logs in damp or shady areas of your garden, putting fallen leaves in any cracks. This arrangement will provide shelter for centipedes, woodlice, beetles and other insects, as well as a valuable supply of food for birds.

Hedgehogs and Other Mammals

Hedgehogs will appreciate a supply of fresh water and food over winter. Dog or cat food is a good option, but you should avoid a fish-based recipe as well as milk or bread – all of these can upset hedgehogs’ stomachs or cause dehydration.  Check bonfires before lighting them as these prickly creatures appreciate the warmth and shelter they offer.

Badgers enjoy lightly cooked meats, fruit, peanuts and cheese to supplement their diet. As well as nuts, squirrels also like sunflower seeds and chopped carrots, while mixed seeds can be left out for smaller mammals.

Don’t Forget to Mulch

Laying down some mulch on your flowerbeds – or replenishing an existing layer – will also help wildlife. It is a ready-made breeding ground for stag beetles and other small insects. As the materials break down and decompose, they will enrich the soil and nourish your plants at the same time.

At Madingley Mulch we supply a range of composts, mulches and soil conditioners from our base on the outskirts of Cambridge. These include Denise’s Delight and Tony’s Tonic, which – thanks to their mix of wood shavings, horse manure and other nutrients – have proved highly effective in helping plants flourish all the year round.

Soil Conditioners, Mulches and Compost from Madingley Mulch

As well as soil improvers, Madingley Mulch stock a wide range of other gardening, landscaping and building supplies for the keen horticulturalist. These include aggregates, decorative stones and cobbles, paving slabs, fencing and turf.

You can visit our online shop by clicking on this link. We operate a weekly delivery service, and this is free if you live within 15 miles of our base on the outskirts of Cambridge. If you live up to 24.5 miles away, then a standard £20 charge applies, and we can arrange deliveries further afield as well. At the moment, we are aiming to deliver all orders between two and three weeks of them being placed.

Prices slashed!

All Bulk bags reduced by a minimum of £10

Plus 10% off when ordering 4 + Bulk bags

Check out our current offers!