Deck Love, No Dig & Blue-tiful Bluebells

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 29th April 2017

Deck Love

I have never been a huge fan of decking in the garden, but at my own cottage it was the only feasible way to deal with a steep slope. I designed and built a cantilevered deck, which was great when it was sunny and dry but, not surprisingly, not so much fun when it was wet!

That was 10 years ago and last year it had started to rot badly, adding to the jeopardy.

So last week, after much research and deliberation, I replaced it with composite decking.

I am now a big fan of decking.

Basically, composite decking is a mixture of recycled wood and plastic and won’t warp, rot or split. I think it is going to be the next big thing in gardening. It looks great, there’s no maintenance and is safe. What’s not to love?

Despite my numerous reservations, I am converted. There were several options to choose from, and I had a super-nice salesman, from the Welsh family-run company, come and give me all the options and info on site. I chose a grained DuoFuse board, which looks lovely, but more importantly is totally slip-free and will hopefully outlast me!

A local carpenter helped to install it and was also suitably impressed by it. It really is lovely. It looks smart but not out of place in the cottage garden. It would be equally as suitable for balconies and urban settings and it is so nice to be able to recommend something so good!

The company also supply fencing, garden buildings – all of which are simple to install and need no painting or maintenance afterwards – as well as balustrades, and awesome glass canopies.

Give me a shout if you want more details – here.

No Dig

Staying with the theme of ‘keeping it easy’, and as a result of having a bad back earlier in the year, I have been researching and reading about No Dig Gardening, made popular by Charles Dowding, for a while. It sounded very appealing and you can find out more at

Finally, last week I got a load of Green 2 Earth soil improver and mulched the flowerbeds for two clients (and have plans to do my own). It has huge benefits, other than suppressing weeds and not having to continually weed and dig over beds and borders, which obviously saves time as well as energy and your back!

Being recycled plant material, it contains essential nutrients and trace elements needed by the plants and will also improve soil structure by aerating clay soil and retaining water in sandy soil. So, as well as making a great mulching material, it is also fabulous for digging into the soil as an improver – particularly for veggie beds and raised beds. I have also used a ‘spare’ bag for potting up seedlings at home, and planting a birthday cherry tree.

It’s useful stuff made from recycled green waste from local councils –and landscapers. That’s the clever bit. We have been taking our green waste there for a while and now I have it back in a far more usable and beneficial form. I like the thought of waste being turned into treasure .. especially when it reduces work too.

I first came across it when judging Blaenau Gwent in Bloom a few years ago. One of the school allotments had experimented by using the ‘green’ compost in half of their raised beds. The difference was staggering. The veg in the Green 2 Earth compost was almost twice the size of that in the other beds. I remember one of the little school boys telling me that he was going to put his little brother in it to see if he would grow as quick! I never found out if he did and I don’t think it is recommended!

Blue-tiful Bluebells

And if you haven’t had the time to visit a bluebell wood yet, do make an effort over the Bank Holiday weekend. You’ll be glad that you did. It is an annual event for me and Yogi and my partner captured this great pic last year.

They are in all their splendid glory now, as they rollout their magical blue carpets before the woodland canopies take the light. Do remember to tread lightly though; it takes at least 5 years for a bluebell seed to develop into a bulb to produce flowers. And of course they are protected so don’t be tempted to pick them or even worse, dig them up.

In order to make sure her children respect the beautiful blue flowers a friend reminds them that they are also called ‘Fairy Flowers’ and according to an old myth fairies used bluebells to lure and trap people passing by in the woods – especially children!

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