Isle of Wight Wildflower Meadows by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

The Isle of Wight has long been recognised as benefitting  from both a mild coastal climate and fertile soils favourable to the gardener

“In general such is the purity of the air, the fertility of the soil, and the beauty and variety of the landscapes, that this island has often been styled the Garden of England” – The History of the Isle of Wight, Sir Richard Worsley. 1781

This is one of a series of articles and anecdotes largely based around our work on the Isle of Wight and occasionally further afield

Tim Brayford Landscapes-Wildflower Meadow

The Wildflower meadow

“This lucid fount, whose murmurs fill the mind

The verdant forests waving with the wind

The odours wafted from the mead, The flowers

In which the wild bee sits and sings for hours

These might the moodiest misanthrope employ

Make sound the sick, and turn distress to joy”

(Garcilaso de la Vega, 1501 – 1536)

 

For those fortunate enough to have sufficient space, be it an under used  pony paddock, hay field or even a larger sized lawn there is the opportunity of establishing a wildflower meadow.

Wild flower meadows were traditionally areas of unimproved grassland that were kept for hay making rather than being constantly grazed. In consequence these open sunny areas have played host to a broad range of grassland flora and fauna and are important feeding zones for Bees and other pollinators.

Tim Brayford Landscapes-Wildflowers attract wildlife

The pressure to raise agricultural production during the 20th century led to the loss of these biologically diverse areas as grassland was improved, fertiliser added and vigorous cultivated species such as Italian Ryegrass sown.  In the past 100 years up to 97% of these traditional hay meadows may have been lost.

With a growing realisation of the value of wildflower meadows a growing number of people have become enthusiastic about re-establishing them on land that they own and in some cases there is funding available through Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme, details of which may be obtained via their local offices.

But funding is only part of the challenge of establishing a new meadow, past agricultural practices which have been successful at raising yields of grass grown may be the exact opposite of what is now required.  Bold steps may have to be taken such as destruction of the existing sward by ploughing or with herbicides, fertility reduced by removing hay or silage several times in one growing season and sowing parasitic Yellow Rattle to weaken the grass further.

Meadow Cranesbill

Tim Brayford Landscapes-Meadow Cranesbill

It is only when conditions start to become unfavourable to grass growth that sowing of wildflower seeds  becomes advisable and even then do not expect instant results.

As these plants are of unimproved origin the seeds may not all germinate together and there may be some unwelcome intruders such as Ragwort, Nettles and Docks which will need attention.  Maintenance tasks will need to be attended to with a cycle of late summer hay cuts followed by light grazing of the aftermath and again as growth commences in the spring after the ground has been rolled or harrowed.

When your wildflower meadow has become established you will be able to enjoy the marvellous scents of the flowers and the sight and sound of the creatures that have come to live in the naturally bountiful grassland that you have created.

Wild Flower Meadow in May 1

Tim Brayford Landscapes-Wild Flower Meadow

 

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

Tim Brayford – The Isle of Wight’s B.A.L.I. Award Winning Garden Designer

The Isle of Wight has long been recognised as benefitting  from both a mild coastal climate and fertile soils favourable to the gardener

“In general such is the purity of the air, the fertility of the soil, and the beauty and variety of the landscapes, that this island has often been styled the Garden of England” – The History of the Isle of Wight, Sir Richard Worsley. 1781

This is one of a series of articles and anecdotes largely based around our work on the Isle of Wight and occasionally further afield

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A garden in spring

National Award Winning Garden Designer and Landscaper

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. Based on the Isle of Wight our services encompass the initial ideas through to landscaping and aftercare.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A tranquil seating area

We are experienced in a broad range of projects including the design & planting of entire gardens or the addition of individual features like lawn seeding & turfing, raised beds, water gardens & pools, ground shaping & cultivation, installation of irrigation systems, tree, shrub & herbaceous border planting, establishing  wildlife gardens & ponds, wildflower meadows.

Tim Brayford Landscapes-A shady path leads to a focal point

We undertake specialist maintenance work such as fruit, shrub & rose pruning and offer professional garden advice and hand drawn garden plans which are a particularly good starting point for the more elaborate projects. We also have a mini-digger and mini-tractor available for hire with various attachments available.

Typical before & after of the gardens that we create – please see our website pages for more examples!

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

Garden Ideas by Award Winning Designer Tim Brayford

The Isle of Wight has long been recognised as benefitting  from both a mild coastal climate and fertile soils favourable to the gardener

“In general such is the purity of the air, the fertility of the soil, and the beauty and variety of the landscapes, that this island has often been styled the Garden of England” – The History of the Isle of Wight, Sir Richard Worsley. 1781

This is one of a series of articles and anecdotes largely based around our work on the Isle of Wight and occasionally further afield

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A tranquil seating area amongst herbs & grape vines

Garden Ideas

 Your initial  thoughts

Start by assessing your future needs for your garden, who is going to use it and for what purpose. Does it need dividing up into tranquil areas for more mature family members or perhaps play areas for children or pets, do you want to attract wildlife like garden birds ? And what about maintenance, do you simply want areas of grass or do you have the time and skills to develop the classical country house borders of mixed shrubs and herbaceous plants?

Develop a theme

Thinking in terms of the overall look if your house is of a striking contemporary design you may find that architectural plants with bold foliage and areas of gravel and paving in finely dressed stone or concrete may be suitable, whereas if you live in a traditional country cottage fragrant honeysuckles and roses with winding paths in brick or roughly hewn paving slabs are preferable.

 

Tim Brayford Landscapes – The blank canvas, after the initial clearance of the concreted over surface!

What to do next

Keep a notebook of your initial thoughts and perhaps do a rough sketch as well. Take a walk around your garden, taking a hard look at things that are past their best. Are paving slabs loose or broken, does the pond leak, are existing plants to your liking, over-mature or gappy? Are the existing features where you would like them to be, are there views that can beneficially be opened up or things that require hiding from view? These are the sort of questions that you need to ask yourself.

Marking Out

The next stage is to get out into your garden and mark out what you intend to do, some sticks and string are useful or the kind of marker paint that is used on building sites. This is available in a variety of colours, you can use a different one for paving, ponds, planting, or lawns etc. Take care to allow plenty of width for paths, space for seating on paved areas and lawns if required, and allow plenty of space for plants to grow and mature into. Take a few photos from different angles of what you have marked out for future reference.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Allow plenty of space for plants to mature into

Take time to reflect

Now refer back to the notes that you made earlier, is what you wish to do practical, does it fit the available space, can it be achieved and is it possible within your budget?  Do any of the features need moving around from where you initially placed them, do others need to be added or even discarded? Again, these are the kind of questions that you need to be asking yourself. If at this stage your thoughts have turned into a bit of a fog you may benefit from some advice from a professional garden designer, otherwise you are now ready to proceed to with your project.

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

 

Garden Design by National Award Winning Designer Tim Brayford

The Isle of Wight has long been recognised as benefitting  from both a mild coastal climate and fertile soils favourable to the gardener

“In general such is the purity of the air, the fertility of the soil, and the beauty and variety of the landscapes, that this island has often been styled the Garden of England” – The History of the Isle of Wight, Sir Richard Worsley. 1781

This is one of a series of articles and anecdotes largely based around our work on the Isle of Wight and occasionally further afield

Tim Brayford Landscapes – The result of good garden design

Garden Design

Having an overall design plan for your garden is a good idea. Why? Well because doing things piecemeal can lead to some very expensive mistakes. What is even more costly is having to do the same work twice due a lack of clear intentions and directions from the outset. At Tim Brayford Landscapes we can offer a range of garden design services from the initial consultation meeting, where we can use our years of experience to help you plan your garden, right through to full plans.

If your ideas for your garden are fairly straightforward then a verbal consultation may be all you need but many clients require a much more detailed plan. We are able to offer our plans either in the form of a simplified computer generated schematic diagram or for most complex projects they are hand-drawn. We feel that this gives much more scope for the plan to relate to the intricacies of the design.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – The blank canvas – see above for afterwards!

We will measure the plot involved and discuss with the client what they need from the garden. If appropriate we will draw a draft plan, sometimes with two or three options and a view. When the client has made the final decision on their design, with advice from ourselves, then the plan is completed. If a detailed planting plan is needed then we can supply this too.

We do, of course, go on to implement many of the plans but some clients enjoy doing the work themselves. Please note that copyright of the plan remains with Tim Brayford Landscapes.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – More blank canvas

Tim Brayford Landscapes – the end result-  a tranquil seating area set amongst herbs & grape vines

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

 

 

Pruning Apples and Pears by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

The Quick Guide to Winter Pruning

If in doubt…Don’t! Well, you have to agree, that was quick. But I think we can do better than that. Apples and pears will quite often fruit reasonably well if you just leave them alone but they will get to a stage where overcrowding of branches and disease will cut down the on the reason we grow them; the fruit.

Why do we prune? We need to prune to encourage fruiting ‘spurs’, clear out any dead or diseased wood and generally shape the tree to an attractive form. We’ve all seen children’s drawings of trees, generally a cup on a leg, and for ordinary bush forms, which is what we shall deal with here, that’s not far off the ideal.

Stand back and take a good look at your tree. Is it the shape you want? Does it interfere with paths, buildings etc? Don’t be afraid to tackle it, you’re the boss!

Taking out branches which cross over the middle of the cup is a good idea as it keeps the air moving through the tree when it’s in full leaf and helps to prevent fungus diseases. If your tree has several branches in this position remove only one or two each winter as a severe removal of a large mass of branches will result in the tree producing a lot of compensating growth the next year and very little fruit. The same goes for branches which need to come out to improve the shape. Remove any branches which are diseased or have died back to where you are sure the growth looks clean.

RULE 1. Stagger removal of large branches over several winters.

RULE 2. Cut cleanly, using a pruning saw or good loppers, leaving a very small ‘stub’, which should heal over by itself.

Now come in close and look at one major branch at a time to assess it’s fruiting ability. Most varieties produce fruiting spurs which are clusters of small, knobbly twigs with fat flower buds on.(Growth buds tend to be thinner and pointed) What you are aiming for is a framework of  branches with a good coverage of spurs.

Example: Apple tree pruning – avoid taking too much off!

What you may have are branches covered with lots of whippy growth about 6 to 12 inches long (showing my age there I’m afraid!), these will need to be shortened to two buds long, in other words  where two leaves were in the summer. If  it is very crowded you may need to remove some altogether, spacing them out along the branches about 5 to 6 inches apart is good. These will then start to produce flower buds over the next summer.

RULE 3. Shorten small whippy growth to encourage fruiting spurs.

This is a much simplified guide to winter pruning but it gives you the basics to tackle your fruit trees, if you decide to pursue this topic further there are many good books available or call in an expert, we’ve been keeping trees performing well for years!

Word of Caution – If someone comes to prune your fruit trees with a chainsaw, show them the gate… If that’s what they need then they’re taking off too much!

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

The Wilder look by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

The Wilder Look 

A successful garden will  contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of life.  It may play host to a broad range of flora and fauna enhancing local biodiversity and collectively benefiting the wider world environment by absorbing CO2. Here are just a few examples from gardens on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere. 

Meadow Cranesbill

A stumpery

Spindle berries

Midsummer meadow flowers

Woodland and Bluebells

Leave some wood to decay for fungus to grow on

Yellow rattle is an essential plant in a wildflower meadow

Damselflies are attracted to pond side plants

Fritillaria naturalised into a boggy pond margin

Wild Cowslip

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and we are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. We have a wide experience of landscaping works ranging from the initial ideas through to making gardens and their aftercare. We recommend starting with an initial verbal consultation followed by an illustrated written report of our proposals. Once these have been approved we are able to provide costings for the project and arrange for the construction work to commence. We work closely with our clients throughout to ensure that their new garden enhances their outdoor living experience.

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

 

 

Attracting birds and other wildlife by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

The Isle of Wight has long been recognised as benefitting  from both a mild coastal climate and fertile soils favourable to the gardener

“In general such is the purity of the air, the fertility of the soil, and the beauty and variety of the landscapes, that this island has often been styled the Garden of England” – The History of the Isle of Wight, Sir Richard Worsley. 1781

This is one of a series of articles and anecdotes largely based around our work on the Isle of Wight and occasionally further afield

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Blue Tits are a popular garden bird

The presence of wild birds are one of the things that many people enjoy about their gardens but what do these birds like and how can they be encouraged?
Feeding birds is a good start, especially during the colder late autumn to early spring months, October to April. Place a bird table where it can easily be observed, ideally close to a thick hedge or some dense shrubs. This will help small birds to evade the predatory patrols of a marauding sparrowhawk, expect a few casualties though as the hawk needs to feed as well.
Choose a variety of foods such as seeds and nuts and fatty strips of bacon or fat balls as these will help to feed a broad range of birds. Putting the food out in the morning and during the early afternoon will allow plenty of time for it to be cleared up, spilled feedstuffs left on the ground after dark will encourage rats so is best avoided. Cease feeding during the spring as nature comes back to life, the natural foods that a good garden habitat will now provide is far preferable for the birds and their young.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Sparrowhawks feed opportunistically around bird tables

Birds and other wildlife thrive in a litter free and slightly untidy garden. Variety is they key, areas of mown and unmown grass with an array of meadow flowers and clovers will be attractive to grazers, seed eaters and insectivorous birds which will feed on the invertebrates to be found there. Mixed borders of nectar rich herbaceous and flowering shrubs will attract a multitude of insect life too, whilst the damper environment of a decaying log pile will provide a home for creatures such as toads and woodlice.

Tim Brayford Landscapes- Hawthorn Hedges feed many birds

Thick native hedging like Hawthorn will provide both dense nesting cover for many birds and autumn berries for migrants such as fieldfares to feast on. Nest boxes of different designs and sizes are available to suit both small birds even for the larger species such as Barn Owls, as a rule of thumb sight these out of direct sunlight and away from prevailing winds.
Don’t forget about water, a regularly filled birdbath is good but a wildlife pond is even better. Insects such as midges, dragon and damsel flies will feed birds such as swallows and swifts, whilst surrounding vegetation can provide nesting cover for aquatic birds like moorhens.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A large skipper butterfly feeding on geranium “Wargrave’s Pink

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

Artificial Lawns by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

The Isle of Wight has long been recognised as benefitting  from both a mild coastal climate and fertile soils favourable to the gardener

“In general such is the purity of the air, the fertility of the soil, and the beauty and variety of the landscapes, that this island has often been styled the Garden of England” – The History of the Isle of Wight, Sir Richard Worsley. 1781

This is one of a series of articles and anecdotes largely based around our work on the Isle of Wight and occasionally further afield

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Artificial lawns are becoming more popular

The sight of pristine, green artificial grass is becoming a familiar sight, especially in domestic gardens but what are the benefits and are there any downsides?

What is it made from?

Artificial grass is made principally from a mix of plastics – polypropylene, polyurethane and polyethylene.

How is it laid?

The topsoil has to be removed and replaced with a compacted limestone base which is then covered by a weed suppressing membrane. If there are no firm edges to work to these must be installed. The limestone is then blinded in with sharp sand. The artificial turf is then laid on top of this, trimmed off and kiln dried sand brushed onto the surface.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Artificial turf laying diagram

Where can it be used to best effect?

Anywhere that it may be too challenging to grow natural grass such as roof gardens, balconies, over existing areas of concrete and environmentally difficult areas such as ground periodically flooded by sea water or in very dense shade.

Does it need mowing or watering?

The freedom from the twin chores of mowing and watering are amongst the greatest advantages that it has over natural grass.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – No need to mow, just sweep instead

How long does artificial grass last?

If neglected both natural and artificial grass will deteriorate very quickly, looked after artificial grass has an expected life of around 15 years, natural grass can last considerably longer.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A well tended natural grass lawn

Can it damage the environment?

Whereas natural grass assists in carbon capture the same cannot be said of artificial grass. Fossil fuels are used to make it, and at the end of its life it is yet another non-biodegradable plastic to dispose of.

Is it wildlife friendly?

The removal of existing topsoil and grass removes the habitat of creatures such as butterflies, bees, worms and garden birds and replacement with artificial turf creates a barren area for wildlife

Is it maintenance free?

No, unlike natural grass where mowing removes much of the debris that falls onto it, to maintain artificial grass in pristine condition you have to wash and brush it much as you would with a well soiled indoor carpet.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Old neglected weedy artificial grass

Do weeds and moss grow on artificial grass?

Yes, to prevent weeds or moss forming you will have to use garden pesticides, physical removal by scarification may cause more damage instead.

Can embers from a BBQ damage artificial grass?

Natural grass is a wonderful thing, if hot embers burn the leaves it will soon regenerate, unlike artificial grass which will be permanently damaged.

Can artificial grass be damaged by wild animals?

In gardens that have existing problems from badgers or moles digging it is possible that they will also dig up any artificial grass as well.

Laying artificial grass is currently a fast growing sector of the landscaping industry, the short term impacts are aesthetically pleasing and initially it is both durable and relatively maintenance free. However it is far more expensive to install than natural lawn turf, does not regenerate and apparently has negative impacts to both wildlife and the environment.

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

 

Isle of Wight Garden Life 6 by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Around The Garden 1 

A successful garden will  contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of life.  It may play host to a broad range of flora and fauna enhancing local biodiversity and collectively benefiting the wider world environment by absorbing CO2. Here are just a few examples from gardens on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere. 

A lovely rose clad arch

A cosy arbour seat

A charming swing seat

An Ivy clad archway

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and we are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. We have a wide experience of landscaping works ranging from the initial ideas through to making gardens and their aftercare. We recommend starting with an initial verbal consultation followed by an illustrated written report of our proposals. Once these have been approved we are able to provide costings for the project and arrange for the construction work to commence. We work closely with our clients throughout to ensure that their new garden enhances their outdoor living experience.

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

 

 

Isle of Wight Garden Gallery 80 by Tim Brayford Landscapes

The Isle of Wight has long been recognised as benefitting  from both a mild coastal climate and fertile soils favourable to the gardener

“Almost every plant species that are to be found in any other part of England are met with here, a circumstance that must be extremely agreeable to the philosophic mind and grateful to the botanist and man of science. They abound in quantity as well as variety.” John Albin – 1795 Newport

Our Isle of Wight Garden Galleries show a selection of gardens large and small together with the plants and features found within them 

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Peahen

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Spring Flowers

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Broad Beans

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Summer Bedding

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and we are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. We have a wide experience of landscaping works ranging from the initial ideas through to making gardens and their aftercare.

We recommend an initial verbal consultation and report preparatory to forwarding costings for your project, both for the building of entirely new gardens or for the addition of individual features to a well established one. Typically this may take the form of tree, shrub & herbaceous border planting, wildlife gardens & ponds, wildflower meadows, lawn seeding & turfing, raised beds, water gardens & pools,installation of irrigation systems, ground shaping & cultivation. We also undertake specialist maintenance work such as fruit, shrub & rose pruning.

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918