The Garden in Autumn 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

Colourful autumn leaves on the Isle of Wight 

“When the frosty kiss of Autumn in the dark
Makes its mark
On the flowers, and the misty morning grieves
Over fallen leaves;
Then my olden garden, where the golden soil
Through the toil
Of a hundred years is mellow, rich, and deep,
Whispers in its sleep.”
Henry Van Dyke

Autumn is probably the busiest season in the garden and is an excellent time to reinvigorate planting schemes.

As late summer blooms begin to fade cut down the spent flowering stalks of herbaceous plants, dividing and moving crowns if necessary, fork in organic matter such as leaf mould whilst doing so.

Plant spring flowering bulbs such as Daffodils and Tulips, those of Snowdrops may also be planted now but may be more successful if planted in the green next spring. Summer bedding can be replaced with winter flowering Universal Pansies and Polyanthus “Crescendo”.

Autumn bedding

Early preparation for and ordering of bare-rooted plants can be wise as this will allow them to be planted in early November before the worst of the winter weather sets in.

The Autumn flowering Cherries – Prunus subhirtella “Autumnalis” (white) and “Autumnalis Rosea” (Pink) are one of the few trees that will start to blossom at this time of year and there is much to be enjoyed with the vivid leaf colours of Acers such as the yellow A.Campestre or the orange and red of A. Rubrum., and likewise for shrubs such as Viburnum Opulus. The Virginia Creepers have good autumn colour too, Parthenocissus quinquefolia “Engelmannii” is a particularly good variety.

Many trees and shrubs will be bearing attractive fruits and berries, although the reds of plants such as Cotoneasters and Pyracanthas seem to predominate Yellow and Orange varieties may also be found. The red and orange fruited Malus John Downie looks particularly good at this time of year as do the large red hips borne by Rosa Moysii “Geranium”.

A heavy crop of apples on the Isle of Wight

Just after the fruits have been picked and the leaves have begun to fall is a good time to prune Apples and Pears, remove weak, damaged and crossing over shoots and branches to allow light into the centre of the tree. Brush fallen leaves and other debris from the lawn, raising the mowing height for the final few cuts.

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

www.timbrayford.co.uk logo & name 1e 8.6.21 (2)

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

National Award Winning Garden Designer and Landscaper

Established in 1980, Isle of Wight based Tim Brayford Landscapes are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. I have designed and built numerous prestigious gardens across the island

Good garden design is the essential foundation on which a landscaping project is built. A verbal consultation is a good place to start.
Landscaping Proposal Example 1
An illustrated recommendation report helps to provide a written reference point for the proposed landscaping works.

With a plantsman’s approach to my projects I am able to encompass a great many styles working towards both traditional and contemporary looks

 My aim is to create beautiful gardens across the Isle of Wight and I look forward to the next exciting project.

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

www.timbrayford.co.uk logo & name 1e 8.6.21 (2)

Spring Bulbs by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Spring Bulbs

Spring Bulbs

I love daffodils. There, I’ve come out and said it. I like the good old common or garden yellow ones. Not very fashionable I know, but I love the big yellow heads nodding in the spring sunshine. They always look good under trees and in clumps in borders but I wouldn’t attempt them in pots, they tend to flop about too much. I like the smaller, lighter ones here, not the real miniatures they are better in with alpines or the front of a border. One of my favourites is ‘Jetfire’, these are gorgeous in tubs. I plant half a dozen in a 9 inch terracotta pot and the proportions look just right when they flower. The pots are placed up the edge of the front door steps and cheer us up for weeks.

Cheerful daffodils

A couple of years ago I tried something different in my wall baskets under the living room windows. I usually leave these empty in winter as winter pansies and primroses don’t seem to like the extra exposure that the height brings and I planted ‘Jetfire’. They were brilliant. Their bright heads popped up far enough to dance along the bottom of the window, allowing us to enjoy them even in rough weather.

Spring Bulbs & Sundial

Still, daffs aren’t the only bulbs and I have a penchant for big, bold tulips as well. Deep red, bright pink but not yellow, the daffs supply that! I love big bellied pots with big bellied tulips, they just seem to go together. Have you ever gazed into a wide open tulip? Fabulous.

Bluebells are beautiful, particularly if you can manage a woodland setting for them, but if not try to find them a sheltered spot under deciduous shrubs as they will not appreciate too much heat.

Snowdrops are amongst the earliest to flower

Snowdrops are another little beauty and they need to be where you can appreciate their early flowering. Don’t hide them away in a part of the garden that you never visit in winter or there’s no point in growing them!

Well, these are just a few of my favourites and if you look through the catalogues the choices are endless, try some. Experiment with something different. I can guarantee you will pace around the garden peering into pots and borders waiting for the first shoots.

Bluebells attract bees!

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

www.timbrayford.co.uk logo & name 1e 8.6.21 (2)

The Wildlife Pond by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Yellow Flag Iris

The trouble with having a wildlife pond is that I supposedly ‘waste’ a great deal of time watching it. It is the most fascinating habitat in the whole garden. I have had mine for some years now and the first inhabitants, pond skaters, arrived within an hour of it filling up. Since then we have had Damsel flies, Dragon flies, Water Boatmen and lots of other unidentified little bugs that skitter and wriggle about in its depths.  That’s the thing about ponds, if you get it right you don’t have to stock it, it stocks itself.

A newly arrived dragonfly assesses the pond

So what makes a good wildlife pond? Firstly it must be deep enough in the middle for creatures to overwinter successfully, mine is about three feet deep with a shallower shelf around the edge. I used a butyl liner with the correct padding underneath, it pays to get this bit right as a hole in the liner is an expensive mistake to rectify. The edges have a gentle slope and because mine abuts the lawn I laid turf over the edge to hide the liner. I then did something that a lot of gardeners would hold their hands up in horror at, I chucked some clay soil (devoid of stones) into the bottom. Well, those newts have to have something to hide in, don’t they?

Bees are attracted to wildlife ponds

Be choosy about the plants you want to have in your pond. I chose native plants as far as possible, although I did succumb to a small, white waterlily . My favourites are Watermint, Brooklime and Water Forget-me-not. Avoid really rampant growers such as the Bull rush and Canadian Pondweed in your pond as these will soon choke it. I made use of the wet clay soil behind my pond to plant yellow Iris as well as Purple Loosestrife and Meadowsweet. I planted the pond lily in a pot but everything else I anchored under the turf edge or weighed them down in bunches on the shallow shelf to do their own thing.

You can get as artistic as you like with decorating the outer edges to attract residents and visitors. I chose a couple of semi-rotten large branches to drape over the back edge and dip right into the water and these have been a great hit with all types of birds as bathing and drinking perches. Insects love the flowering plants around the outside and in winter finches feast on the seed heads.

Damsel flies are attracted to the wildlife pond

My pond is never going to be the tidiest and, yes, I do get some duckweed and blanketweed (a revelation in itself when you see what takes up residence in it) but it most certainly is one of the busiest.

And don’t forget that essential item a Garden Seat!

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

www.timbrayford.co.uk logo & name 1e 8.6.21 (2)

The Garden in Summer by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Early summer flowers

“That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
And the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Summer is the time that all the hard work and planning of earlier seasons comes to fruition.

The long days and balmy evenings will see the traditional English country and cottage gardens at their best, with earlier flowerings of Poppies, Delphiniums, Peonies and Aquilegias to be followed by Hostas, Japanese Anemonies, Rudbeckias and Heleniums to name but a few.

Cutting down the stems of early plants such as Lupins may lead to a second blooming in late summer and dead heading repeat flowering roses such as the fragrant “Claire Austin” is beneficial.
The fresher air in the evening is perhaps the best time to enjoy sweetly scented Honeysuckles and Nicotianas

Mid summer herbaceous border

Bright and colourful summer bedding like Geraniums and Busy Lizzies can highlight decorative tubs whilst Petunias and Nemesias may be found in hanging baskets. Keeping a few Begonias to hand in pots can be a useful way of plugging any gaps that may appear in herbaceous borders until a more permanent solution can be found in the autumn.

Bees feast on these late summer flowering Heleniums

Watering may become necessary during a prolonged dry spell, a thick organic mulch will help to retain moisture and if seed free deter weeds from germinating. If the lawn starts to turn brown raise the cutting height of your mower and cut less frequently.

Watering is best done at night when evaporation is less and there is little risk of scorching or better still install some sub-surface irrigation.

Do not be afraid of pruning back plants that are starting to obstruct paths or gateways and do make a note of any possible changes or improvements for future reference.

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

www.timbrayford.co.uk logo & name 1e 8.6.21 (2)

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

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. 

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.

red squirrel 4

A nut hunting red squirrel!

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.

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.

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.

A large skipper butterfly feeding on geranium “Wargrave Pink”

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

www.timbrayford.co.uk logo & name 1e 8.6.21 (2)

Artificial Lawns -Good or Bad? By Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

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.

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.

No need to mow, just wash and sweep frequently  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.

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

Bumble Bee & Grass

Bumble bees thrive in natural grass

What happens to the soil underneath?

Laying geotextiles on top of the soil can in the long term be very damaging. The natural downward flow of organic matter is interrupted to the detriment of soil life. Without the beneficial action of creatures like earthworms the soil may become anaerobic, compacted and poorly drained, in  short a barren soggy mess!

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.

Old neglected weedy artificial grass – unlike natural grass it does not renew itself

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.

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

www.timbrayford.co.uk logo & name 1e 8.6.21 (2)

Isle of Wight Mini-Tractor and Digger Hire 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

“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 – Mini-tractor for hire

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Mini-tractor & digger hire

When to hire a mini tractor

Otherwise known as subcompact tractors they have the versatility of larger agricultural tractors on a smaller, lighter frame. They are generally a good choice for areas of up to five acres, especially for irregularly shaped gardens and paddocks or where the access ways are too narrow or the ground is too soft for modern farm machinery to use. A mini tractor can lift approximately half its weight, carry a weight greater than its own, and push or pull several times more than its own weight. Like bigger agricultural tractors they feature a category 1 three-point hitch, PTO shafts , an external hydraulic spool valve and four-wheel drive, they are diesel fuelled.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Rotary Cultivating

What attachments are available?

The range of attachments available for mini-tractors broadly reflects those available for agricultural tractors but in a scaled down form. We currently have both a rotary cultivator and light drag harrows available for hire – email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com for a quote.

 

When to hire a wheeled mini-digger

Wheeled mini-diggers bridge the gap between work previously done laboriously by hand and the heavy plant found on construction sites and civil engineering projects.  When access ways are too restricted or the ground too soft for larger machines is where these smaller machines are an advantage.  Compared to similar sized tracked machines they have a quicker work rate for grading off soil and moving earth or gravel around a site without the need of a separate dumper truck.

Tim Brayford Landscapes Mini-digger for hire

All our equipment comes with an operator, we are unable to offer self-drive hire at this time. NO VAT to add, no extra fuel or delivery charges, minimum charges apply – Please email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com to enquire about hire rates, availability and to make a booking.

 

 

Planning and Planting a Garden by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

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 – Country Garden

Planting is a very personal thing and here at Tim Brayford Landscapes we understand this. One client will love a neat scheme of box topiary whereas another will long for a coloured tumble of cottage plants. A lot will depend on the amount of time a client has available to spend in their garden which is why initial discussions are so important.

We are experienced in all types of planting from semi-mature conifer gardens to neat, colourful beds in a courtyard garden. All require a lot of thought and careful planning to succeed. Plants have differing needs and consideration is given to soil type and location before suggestions are made.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Rose Garden

We have undertaken a large cottage garden with a formal paving structure which contained herbaceous perennials, roses and shrubs to great effect. A back garden which had structured shrub planting with bark chip underlay closer to the house and a more naturalised wild garden further back. This had native trees and was under-planted with clumps of spring bulbs and wild flowers.

Most recently we planted an extraordinarily steep terraced garden with shrubs and perennials which would give cover for most of the year therefore reducing the amount of mountaineering necessary!

Hedging is an emotive subject with neighbours but there are alternatives to the dreaded Leylandii. We have completed successful projects using several different types of hedging in estate situations as well as mixed native hedging for those in more rural or spacious locations.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Spring Flowers

 

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

 

Isle of Wight Garden Gallery 61 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 – Autumn flowers

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Bog Bean

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Chicken & bird table

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Spring bulbs

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 recommendation 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