23rd May 2013
A planting consultation was something we had been offering on and off as an add on to garden design or casually to a garden maintenance client since the business started in 2010. Over the past 5-6 months however, we’ve found that often customers and garden design clients love to buy plants or love the idea of buying plants but still have that mental block of where they should plant them, if they would be the right size or even if they would survive in certain scenarios. We realised very quickly that a service that would talk you through what you have in your would be invaluable, and a lot more cost effective than trial and error through buying plants, planting them and finding out the hard way!
Our Plant consultation service will be a 1-2 hour meeting (charged by the hour) where Ben (a trained horticulturalist) will walk around your property with you, identifying plants, answering any questions you might have regarding plants and trees and give you advice on how you can make the best use of what you have.
We have contacts with nurseries that stock just about every type of plant, shrub or tree so for many of our plant consultation clients we often go on to buy the plants at the most affordable prices and plant them on our return.
To make this an even better service we can also provide a long term plant maintenance schedule that will save you money and serve as a reference for you whenever you need it. There really is no need to feel daunted by your plants as many people do, and a quick meeting with Ben will put you right at ease. Call now to book a meeting with Ben Lannoy Landscapes for your plant consultation.
Please note, we do cover areas other than Hampshire, surrey and west sussex but petrol charges will be higher the further away we need to travel.
We look forward to making you and your garden more acquainted!
12th May 2013
how to prune lavender – gardening tips, hampshire,UK
9th May 2013
We were asked to come up with a garden design in Hampshire which included adding a parterre garden to allow for a formal element to an otherwise natural and mature landscape. The most commonly used shrubs for parterre gardens is box (or buxus sempervirens) and this was my choice for this one too. I wanted to allow enough space for perennials and bulbs to grow in the centre of the shapes I was to come up with and as the existing shape was a circular gravel area I decided on four segments, a little bit like trivial pursuits pieces!
We started off with marking out the area and dug the trenches for the bare root plants to go in. We and the clients wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t take years for the box hedging to have an impact so we went with 80-100cm high plants. These would have been twice the price if bought pot grown so if you’re planning on doing some planting like this I would definitely buy the bare root plants. We also added some box cones to give extra height and evergreen structure to the middle of the shapes.
We now have a plant shop which we deliver to within a 20 mile radius of Liphook in hampshire for free that I’m slowly uploading our range to, but if you have any particular requirements do get in touch. Trade enquiries are very welcome too!
28th April 2013
Box is a dense evergreen shrub with dark green glossy leaves. It will tolerate sunny and shady sites and dry and moist soils. It is fully hardy and can be clipped to a striking form. Box is perfect for bringing structure to any garden design in both sculptural form and evergreen foliage through all seasons. An excellent plant creating the backbone for your garden and covering many bases, just make sure to water in well on planting it to help to establish.
Box pyramids are great addition for either side of entrances, dotted amongst beds to bring structural height and in formal topiary gardens.
If you’re planting into a pot or container you’ll need to be more vigilant about feeding. Feed with a general purpose fertiliser once a month from April-July and water when dry.
If browning or yellowing of the leaves occurs on ground or pot planted plants, this is probably due to a lack of potassium. A regular feed with Vitax Q4 through the spring/summer should green up the foliage very nicely.
You can trim your box little and often through the spring and summer but never on dry days as this will scorch leaves and cause dieback. As a general rule all topiary should be trimmed once in June and then again in October to shape it and to allow it to slow its growth down before the cold weather.
(Please note all heights are excluding pot)
21st September 2012
The autumn months of September and October are when plants like roses perform at their peak and although the grass slows down, garden maintenance tasks such as leaf clearance are becoming more and more prevolent. After faithfully following proper rose procedures up to this point, now, at last, you should begin to reap the rewards of full, vibrant, glorious blooms.
Your work isn’t quite done yet, however. Although autumn is the best growing time, it’s also the time you must prepare your rose bushes for winter coming onslaught.
Producing those beautiful blooms you are so proud of is hard work — for your rose bushes, too. They need a lot of water to fuel the flowering process. Continue to water them deeply, as often as needed to maintain growth. Watering daily is okay if you are showing them off, just be careful and observe closely so that you do not over-do the watering process. You want beautiful blooms, not drowned roots.
Continue using water-soluble compost through the end of September. Consider a commercial bloom-boosting fertilizer. The large number in the middle of the formulation is your cue — nitrogen, phosphorus, potasium (potash).
Black spot and mildew are dangerous because conditions for their growth are ideal, so keep up with a vigorous spraying program through the end of October. Stop all fertilizing by the end of October, to let your roses begin the hibernation process.
You can continue to cut rose bouquets through October without causing any harm to the bushes. To encourage rose hips to form, just remove the petals of the dead roses.
Autumn just happens to be the right time to start planning next year’s garden. Order new flower catalogues for your research during the dark and dreary months of winter. This is my favorite part, all fun and no work! To get your best selections possible, place your new roses order early because like fruit and vegetable seeds, they can be snapped up pretty early. Try to stay as local as possible when buying roses to eliminate the environmental footprint aswell as reduce stress on your plant.
Autumn is a month where leaves will fall, winds will prevail and pest and disease will start finding places to hide. Keep on top of your leaf clearance in beds and on the lawn and this will leave you in good stead come the spring.
At Ben Lannoy Landscapes we have the most powerful leaf blowers and efficient tools for lawn care and leaf collection so if you don’t have the time or the inclination why not just give us a call to do it for you quickly and very cost effectively. You can contact us or read more about our garden maintenance service throughout surrey, hampshire and west sussex on our blog page here. Garden Maintenance – End of Season Tidy Up
4th June 2012
There’s no doubt that learning how to design a garden comes with some sacrifice. I felt just how much of a sacrifice it could be when I took my course Diploma at Garden Design School. At the time, my wife was heavily pregnant, I was running the business full time, and we were understandably expected to do 30 hours of garden design homework at nights (or days if you had it).
There are however a handful of basic principles to follow when you’re looking to find out how to design your garden. I’ve outlined 5 important ones below to get you started.
1. Longevity and spatial awareness
Try to think about how the garden will look in 7-10 years. Landscapes are changing all the time. Whether it’s a small new build with some beds and planting or a vast ‘Capability Brown’ style design that takes into consideration miles rather than feet, plants will still grow and the surroundings will change either way. Consider the plants eventual size and the way they’re positioned on planting.
If you’re laying paving or any other landscape material, look out for trees with big roots that will lift them over time. Pointing can also become worn and tired if it’s not done properly. This can be dangerous and will happen relatively quick with extreme weather conditions.
2. Measure Up
To get a feel for what you’re designing, start by plotting your gardens’ components, trees and boundaries. I always start with the measurements of everything on the front of the house which I use as my ‘baseline’ and work my way out towards the end of the garden bit by bit. For objects much further away or unmeasureable from the house, the most accurate way to do it is by a process called triangulation. It sounds scary but it’s not! I’ve added 2 pictures below that should give you the idea. If you’re still unsure here is a very simple video explaining it in more depth here with this Triangulation video.
3. Sketch out shapes and start designing your garden
Now comes the fun bit! This is still a very basic point that you’ve got to here and a professional garden designer will have considered every obstacle and solution so you won’t have to but if you only have a small space and want to design your garden yourself then this is where you can start. Use your survey to begin drawing shapes overlapping eachother. Be very quick with this (say 10 minutes) so you can start understanding the space a bit more.
Don’t let anything inhibit your sketching just draw shapes like circles, squares, rectangles and anything else you feel necessary although I would only start with the 3 main ones. You will get to a point where you’re happy to start plotting more details and exploring major routeways through the space but for now don’t fret about anything. You won’t waste countless hours and if you really want to start again, you can just wipe it clean!
27th March 2012
Over the past month I’ve been participating in seed swaps around Hampshire and the south east and have had the opportunity to meet a lot of gardeners who are passionate about growing from seed in their own vegetable gardens At the same time I’ve met a lot of people who are interested in growing from seed, but have experienced failures in seed starting that keep them from trying again.
When I first started growing vegetables from seed I had a lot of failures too, but it was success with the easy vegetables to grow from seed that kept me going. So, here are five easy vegetables you can grow from seed in your garden that will help you get over the seed starting jitters.
Beans have to be the easiest to start from seed. If you could grow them in your kindergarten windowsill(like my daughter with her carrots) then you can grow them as an adult in your garden.
The knobby seeds of this leafy green are very easy to start. Chard stalks come in a variety of colors, but the leaves of this nutritious vegetable are always green. Get a couple of different varieties for a rainbow effect in your garden.
You may look at the papery seeds of carrots and wonder just how you’re going to have success with them, but they are, in fact, rather easy to germinate.
As a kid my grandfather would walk along the fence in the backyard eating a cucumber and spitting the seeds on the ground, which were then covered by soil using the tip of his boots. By midsummer the fence would be a green wall of cucumbers.
Probably the least sexy of these vegetable recommendations, but the seeds germinate in a matter of days, and are ready to harvest in just over a month. No seeds will give your seed starting ego a boost quite like radishes.
Follow the planting instructions on the seed packet for the best times and dates to start indoors or directly sow the seeds in your garden. One almost foolproof trick to seed starting is to soak larger seeds (beans, cucumbers, chard) for 24 hours prior to planting.
Lastly, be sure to keep the soil moist and warm to allow the seeds to germinate and keep on the watering in the drier months!
11th February 2012
There’s no denying how much we need our native plants to be replicated and there’s no more of a picturesque site than a fully flourished wildflower meadow to introduce the insect population back into our grassland to do what they do best, pollinate.
Believe me, i know how good a freshly mown lawn looks and the joy that it brings a lot of people definitely makes it justifiable to have one in my book, but if we can all save a spot for some wildflowers in our garden the benefits will be seen by both the host as well as the guest.
The number of bees, butterflies and other pollinators has dropped dramatically in the last 10 years due to poor nutrition leaving them much more open to pesticides and parasites.
For landowners throughout the country and the world, planting a wildflower meadow is beneficial for the pollinators and for the farmers. Huge plots of land were stripped to make space for farm machinery and development so bees and insects were forced to find somewhere else or die. Unfortunately with lack of nutrition comes a drop in immunity which in turn leads to many succumbing to infection.
Wildflower meadows will give the same look as a rough grass meadow in the winter, the only difference is that in the Spring and throughout summer it comes to life with pink, white, yellow and blue flowerheads teaming with beneficial insects. The best thing of all is that in order to establish well they will need an undernourished plot where nothing else will grow. Wild flowers will always thrive in the conditions they were meant to be in, so this can be the perfect solution for that patch of grass that never sees shade or is full of clay and chalk.
Some beautiful flowers to try are birdsfoot trefoil, aster and yarrow. These give varied heights and create a veil of colour across the sowed areas.
We all need insects to keep on top of disease in our gardens and to bring food to the birds, but most of all, we need it for our survival and planting more stunning flowers for otherwise wasted land will only benefit everyone in the process.
We have sown many a meadow in the downs and further afield, so if it’s something you’re considering we’d be happy to give you some advice or help you out with your venture! Contact Us here
A quick video that we took before cutting a wildflower meadow. On reflection I should have showed it at the end but this was one of our earlier vids!
Below are a few links to people dedicated to making it happen in the surrounding areas of surrey,west sussex and hampshire.
25th January 2012
Something that I thought was worth mentioning was that for the past few weeks we have opened our virtual doors to our very own plant selling service. Already we have started to see a great response from our existing garden maintenance and garden design clients throughout Hampshire, Surrey and the rest of the South East but as our online presence grows so do our daily orders! We have grown some from seeds, some from cuttings such as Geraniums, roses, choisya, verbenas and we buy some of the more mature shrubs like yews and box balls at wholesale prices from our friends in Italy, Holland and even from just down the road from our trade nursery in Milland!
Our plants are all sold at their very healthiest and we double check everything that leaves the premises. We are very passionate about the conditions our plants leave the yard so if there are any problems you might have with yours after delivery we offer a money back guarantee within a week if you’re unhappy in any way.
To help you to choose the right plant for the right situation we have even written a book for this very reason titled ’50 Popular Plants Used in Garden Design’. If you can’t find what you’re looking for we’re always happy to make a few suggestions, so please use our contact form if you have any questions, we love to hear from you!
If you are interested in the free ebook and newsletter just head on over to our homepage at Ben Lannoy Home and fill in your name and email. You won’t receive any sales letters and we respect your privacy so will never hand over your email to anyone, we just want to provide good content on plants, gardening and much more!
If you have any other questions otherwise please feel free to contact us.
18th July 2011
As I meet more and more people in the landscaping industry and I learn more and more online I realise that it’s not just advertising that keeps us growing sustainably without too much pushing.Through making connections, building relationships and showing who you really are, there is so much opportunity to show people what your business can offer them. Technically you’re already selling yourself, by doing your job well and having an approachable presence should your services be needed.
Over the past year or two I’ve become much more aware on what lies in the future for landscaping businesses amongst every other business out there not seeing the common theme occurring.
I’ve listened to over 4000 hours of podcasts to learn all i could about technology, the internet, business, plant propagation, garden design..and the list goes on, while I worked hard to build the business through word of mouth and through ‘keeping my nose to the grindstone’ as my grandad would say. After work I would go home and practice what I had learnt, sometimes until I heard the birds tweet on the weekends!
As another birthday passes and with a beautiful two year old girl it becomes clear that late nights aren’t always as productive as they could be, so the tools I found online have also helped me to use what little time I had much more wisely. I wanted to share what i believe are the best places to get started online for your company and for helpful and productive tools that will make life general.
Friends, colleagues and family have started to ask me what tools I use to blog about our projects, build the site and invoice online so thought it might be great to give these resources through a post so that people could click on the links as they read the blog if they wished.
Below are 3 Tools I used to run different aspects of the business in the most efficient way.
Website Platform and Blogging
The website platform that is in my opinion the easiest to use for building a website and to incorporate a blog to document the companies happenings. This is used by hundreds of thousands of
companies from SMEs to huge corporations because of it’s ability to be easily adapted whenever you need it to through the admin system. I have a hosting account which costs no more than £65 year and offers a one click install button for wordpress making it even easier. This account is with Bluehost which I provide a link to on the next tool. WordPress is absolutely the best choice for most companies in my opinion and through my research and use of it for over a year I dont have a bad word to say about and I never endorse a product that I don’t believe you would benefit from.
An amazingly priced hosting company with unlimited domains and live talk should you have any problem. This allows you to type your questions and get immediate answers from a member of the bluehost team should you have any problems late at night! You have a control panel for everything including domain manager to enable you to keep control of your content.
An invoicing programme that I’ve only been using a few months but it, without a doubt has halved the time for invoicing and gives the clients updated, online records, notification of payment, paypal payments…and the list goes on! Highly recommended and easily branded with your company logo.
Although people might think I’m mad for giving these valuable tools away that I’ve learned how to use from scratch, I really don’t want to hold anything back, and like giving my clients the best service offline I wanted to give our readers the most valuable information online.
This is by no means all of what I use to help us to communicate with our clients but I thought as people were wanting to help their business grow and better themselves online then why not give away some of the best resources I’ve found to date. Let me know. Whether you’d like to hear more about growing your business at Info@benlannoy.com or whether I should stick to the gardening!
I’ve been pondering this post for a few days with the anxiety of what this has to do with what we offer as a service, and I finally realise that i have a huge amount of thanks to give to online services in helping me communicate with the outside world being Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex.
6th June 2011
For all the dedicated readers of our blog out there I feel like its only right to explain why we’ve taken a break in writing about our gardening adventures! To get straight to the point, we’ve now moved to Liphook and our Internet connection has been down for the past week as we’ve been moving and re-adjusting to business a little further south. As I’m sure those of you with smart phones can understand, writing a post with them, as I’m doing now, can be a long and arduous task but I just couldn’t bare to just leave you all with an empty gap in the past few weeks. I can now confirm that we are going live again on the 8th of this month and can’t wait to be in touch with ‘reality’ again…even if it is virtual!!! Our move certainly doesn’t effect the regions we cover, in fact it gives us more scope in Hampshire as well as Surrey and parts of Sussex. The posts will be coming back with avengeance as soon as were back on but I just felt it was important to keep you all posted and say thanks for your comments. For anyone who wants to make an enquiry or just wants to comment on past posts just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to getting back and giving more valuable information than ever!
Another excuse for taking a ‘break’…often not given the choice, but how could i say no!
20th April 2011
As the last few days of our 10 week project starts to wind down it’s time to finish up with the planting and hand over to our clients for the days we’re not there carrying out our weekly garden maintenance visit.
Although we do provide an ongoing plant care package we can’t account for the heat that the UK has been getting over the past 3 weeks so watering is top of the agenda to keep the plants and shrubs in check until they’ve had a chance to establish themselves.
We will be there for one day a week to carry out garden maintenance but this is by no means enough to give them the amount they require to thrive in the early stages. To enable our clients to be more hands off we always recommend installing an irrigation pipe(or drip hose) amongst hedging and newly planted beds to allow the water to drip in over a longer period of time. This slow watering process will help the plants to grow roots alot deeper which will make them less susceptible to drought and extreme weather conditions long term.
Now that this design has finished we’re full steam ahead into grass cutting season across Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex and start on a new design in a week or so once all drawings are finalised. I’ll take you along the highs and lows from start to finish once we get the go ahead!
For now, if you have a lawn or a garden that’s already getting away from you visit our contact us page to get a free consultation to discuss your requirements, whether it’s for a one off clear out to get it back into shape or for a weekly spruce up so you can get out in your garden and enjoy the sun!
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Ben Lannoy Landscapes
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