Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Up the apples and pears...

'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la la la! But did you know that it's also the season to prune apple and pear trees? In my last blog of 2013 I tell you how, why, and what to do (I do love telling people what to do ;)) And if you don't have an apple tree in your garden don't worry, I have included a cool craft project telling you how to make your own!


Good pruning is important in order to get
a good crop of yummy fruit from your tree

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Going Native...

Hey, Lulu here again! Have you met my parents? M&D are very clever garden designers and they can suggest all sorts of suitable boundaries in your garden - many clients opt for stone walls or one of the many different types of fencing available. But one of my favourite kinds of boundary is a native hedge. Now is the perfect time to plant a new hedge. In this blog I will explain to you why they are so special and how to plant one...


Native hedging can provide beautiful year round interest

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Wild Child!

Sometimes M&D say I am a wild child - I think they mean that as a compliment ;) Wildlife are wonderful creatures and we are always looking for ways to encourage them into the garden as they help us gardeners with pests. (1)  At this time of year we need to pay particular attention to helping out our furry (or not so furry) friends. So here are my top and super-easy ways to help look after the wild life in your garden over winter. Oh and a cute hedgehog project you can do one evening as it's too dark to go out and play...

Wildlife needs our help over winter

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Tree-mendous

Hi everyone. Did you know that this week is National Tree Week? Well, now you do! I like trees A LOT and they do lots of good in our gardens. This blog post is all about trees - why they are important, how to plant and water your new trees, ideas for trees suitable for suburban gardens and a little bit about pests (no, not me!) So read on and learn lots of new facts about trees such as planting in a square hole (a round tree in a square hole, whatever next?)...

Tree-mendous

Monday, 18 November 2013

Fir Trade!

I am soooo excited. You may have noticed Santa is busy getting ready for Christmas and is making lots of appearances at garden centres, shopping centres and even on trains! There is only five weeks to go so you better get your letters written and brush up on your good behaviour. One of my favourite things about Christmas is the tree, especially trying to climb it! There are lots of questions about whether a real or artificial tree is better for the environment, which variety of real tree to get, how to stop the needles falling off etc. So as usual, I'm at hand to answer all your questions as well as give you a little Christmas Tree decoration project to do...


Daddy and I with a real Christmas tree


Monday, 11 November 2013

Hurrah for The Helix!

If you are a regular reader you will know that I like to take M&D out on visits to gardens and outdoor attractions. This weekend we visited The Helix which is very close to where we live. The Helix is more than just a park. A large area around Falkirk and Grangemouth in Central Scotland has been transformed and there are many more exciting plans going forward. As usual we have taken lots of photographs so we can share how wonderful this place is and tell you a bit about our visit...


The Kelpies

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Leaf It To Me!

Autumn's here hurrah! I love Autumn as I get to put on my cosy coat and winter boots and kick around all the leaves in the garden! There are lots of pretty colours in our garden just now whether it's the leaves on the trees or plants such as Sedum coming into flower. Plus Autumn means exciting times like Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night. Now, as I mentioned, the leaves are falling thick and fast now so I thought I would share with you five things you can do with leaves in the garden as well as some pictures of common leaves for you to try and spot when you are out an about. I also have a very wonderful art project you can do with leaves...


Here are some leaves I found in the garden

Monday, 28 October 2013

Peek-a-BOO!

Q:What's a vampire's favourite fruit?
A: A nec(k)tarine!

Hee hee! In case you haven't noticed it's Hallowe'en this week, a time for ghouls and ghosts and of course, my favourite, the pumpkin lantern! I love pumpkins as they are easy to grow, lovely to eat and fun to carve. Oh and they have a funny name too ;) This week I am sharing with you my top tips for growing pumpkins, Mummy's favourite pumpkin soup recipe and some pictures of my very own carved pumpkin. 


How did that light get in there?!

Monday, 21 October 2013

A (Light) Bulb Moment

Now is the perfect time of year to get outdoors, plant some bulbs and then sit back and wait for a Spring Spectacle! Here are my top tips for planting bulbs and pictures of some of the beautiful bulbs we have planted in our own garden. I have also included a wonderful craft project, perfect for children who love gardening and art, so you can make your own daffodil to brighten up your home through winter while you are waiting on the real ones to spring to life.

Me and my new daffodil

Monday, 14 October 2013

Save The Snail!

Most gardener's don't like snails but I have a confession to make. I, Lulu Ann Burt love them! There, I said it! 'Nails (as I call them) are funny creatures and I love hunting for them in the garden. Trouble is they love eating the scrummy plants in the garden as much as we do! It's important to try and help look after our prized plants so here are a few of my top tips on being snail-savvy in the garden as well as a brilliant project to make your own snail which won't eat any of your prized hostas!


Me and my friend the 'Nail

Monday, 7 October 2013

Funny Pets In The Garden - Part 2

You all loved my first blog on the funny pets we have come across in gardens. So by popular demand I have written a second blog on this very cute & cuddly subject. Hee hee, they make me laugh every time I look at them :)

Murdo was a "hot dog" so found
a place in the shade to sit!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Tasty Tomatoes

It's the time of year when many of us gardeners are eagerly watching our tomato plants and hoping to see them ripen and give us a bumper crop. I was recently asked for tips on growing tomatoes so I figured two brains were better than one (even if the second one is a boy's!) so I decided to interview my BFF Euan. He has 98 (yes 98!) tomato plants at home and his Grandad is a proper expert on tomatoes. So read on for some top tips in my interview with Euan Boutell, tomato extraordinaire, aged 20 months!

I just need to give our home grown
tomatoes a bit of a taste test first!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Don't Get Yourself In A Flap(jack)

As you know, we are pulling together some recipes for nursery for nice, healthy meals and snacks for lunch boxes. As well as the home grown/made fruit puree and the strawberry yoghurt that I have already shown you how to make, here is another scrummy idea which my Mummy and I like to make. It's a savoury, cheesy flapjack (1) and the recipe came from my very clever Auntie Alison and has been well tested on BFF Euan as well as the kids at nursery. So despite the fact they're super healthy, we can all vouch for their yumminess...


A yellow courgette -
it's like a long banana!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Hip Hip Puree!

I am a lucky girl and get to go to a very lovely nursery called Lecropt for three days every week while Mummy & Daddy wave the Vialii flag! (1) The nursery have come up with a great idea to create a recipe booklet with favourite recipes of the kids who go there that can be shared with all the other Mummies and Daddies. I have lots of favourites but I wanted to share some with a home grown slant to them so that other children can be inspired to grow some fruit and vegetables like I do!

I need to taste the apples first to
make sure they are good for pureeing!


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Lulu's Garden Review - Logan Botanic Garden

Hello everyone. It's been hard work writing these blogs - it takes lots of research and practical work you know! So, after a few of my winning smiles I persuaded M& D that I needed a holiday! We are lucky that my Grandma & Grandpa have a cottage on the West Coast of Scotland we can use so we packed our bags and headed off for a few days of "rest"!


Tree ferns are one of the main
features of Logan Botanic Garden



Monday, 9 September 2013

Funny Pets in the Garden - Part 1

Hi, Lulu here. You all know that I love gardening but did you know that I love animals too? And best of all I love animals in gardens! Especially when they are doing funny things. Here are a few of my favourite pictures taken when we have been out in clients' gardens or friends' pets doing funny things in the garden...


Too obvious?!


Friday, 6 September 2013

Jamie and the Giant Sunflower!

Plants are wonderful. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours and sometimes you are never quite sure what you are going to get. At garden shows across the country there are competitions for the largest plant so we decided to have our own Vialii competition and to make it even more fun me and my friends are used to measure the super-sized plants!



Saturday, 31 August 2013

Plums in Tums!

It's been great fun in the garden in recent weeks with all the yummy things we have been picking. This week, our lovely neighbour, Auntie Muriel, asked us to help pick the plums on her tree and said we could take as many as we liked. Daddy and Connor were very brave going up a high ladder and racing the wasps to the fruit. They managed to get lots as you can see from our picture! So, even after we shared them out with lots of people we still had loads leftover so needed a yummy recipe to make. Mummy chose a Plum Upside Down Cake from the clever Jamie Oliver (1) and it is properly deelish...

As usual, I need to inspect our pickings and ensure
they meet my strict quality control standards


Monday, 26 August 2013

Perfect Potatoes

Potatoes are great, aren't they? They are a bit like me, wonderfully versatile ;) As you all know by now, I am Lulu the Secret Blogger, and I like to update you on what is happening in my garden as well as lots of other general gardening wonderments. Today, I am mostly talking tatties!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Scrummy Rhubarb & Lemon Cake

It's a busy time of year for us here in the gardens of Vialii Towers. From dead-heading the flowers to weeding the borders there is always something interesting to do. Last weekend, M&D and I decided we were going to harvest some of the lovely fruit and vegetables in the garden and make some wonderful meals. As Autumn is fast approaching we decided to  have a last pick of our rhubarb.


Scrummy rhubarb & lemon cake


Monday, 19 August 2013

Harvesting, Hooray!

I had a really fun weekend here at Vialii Towers with M&D. On Saturday it was really quite wet so we stayed indoors and did lots of fun arty projects with crayons, pencils, paints and glue! On Sunday the weather was a lot better which meant we could get outside and give the garden a bit of a tidy, and also, pick some of the fruit and vegetables we have been growing over recent months.


Sometimes what we were picking
didn't quite make it to the basket...


Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Bees Knees

Hi, it's me, Lulu, The Secret Blogger again! So, the bees knees. What a funny saying. I mean, do bees even have knees? And if so, why are they so good? Anyway, knees or not, bees are very good things. And not just because I can say the word "bee" very well plus I can do a good impression of a buzzy bee! We need bees for lots of reasons...


Eryngium

Monday, 12 August 2013

Fresh Strawberry Yoghurt!

One of the things I like to do in the garden is help M&D in their fruit and veg patch. They have lots of lovely things growing in the garden from potatoes, onions and parsnips to strawberries, plums and apples. It's great fun helping to shell fresh peas or pick strawberries although sometimes I forget to put them in the bowl and pop them in my mouth instead! Today I am going to tell you what you can do with strawberries...

Our strawberry plants


Monday, 5 August 2013

Lulu's Art Corner: DIY Wind Chimes

I love doing arty things and I think I would like to be a designer like M&D when I grow up. I love it so much that my first ever sentence was "I draw"! Yesterday I was in Edinburgh with M&D. We love going to the Fringe and we went to a show at the Royal Botanic Gardens yesterday. After the show we had a quick look round the shop and we found some wind chimes which made really pretty noises. It made me think that I would like to have one in our garden so I decided to put my arty skills to good use and find out how to make one...


Mummy and I going for a walk round the Botanics in Edinburgh

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Danger Danger!

Recently I went on holiday with M&D and my BFF Euan and his parents. It was a brilliant holiday and we spent loads of time at the beach (1) which was LOTS of fun. On one of the days M&D took me to Alnwick Gardens. There is a Castle there where Harry Potter used to live which made it extra exciting. Thankfully we didn't run into Voldemort! We loved our visit to the Gardens and there were lots of wonderful things to see. My favourite part of the gardens was the Poison Garden. It is sooo dangerous that they keep it under lock and key and you can only get in with a tour-guide. Honest! I learnt lots about potentially poisonous things in the garden and there are even things you will have in your very own gardens you really ought to know about...


The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Yummy Rhubarb Chutney

Hello again everyone and welcome back to my blog. One of the things my BFF Euan (1) has taught me is that food is important and very yummy! I have also learnt how to barter from Mummy (she used to work as a Buyer so is a very good negotiator). With these two skills to hand I recently did a wonderful deal with my lovely Auntie Alison...


From this...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sssshhhh. Lulu's Secret Blog...

Mwahahahaha! My name is Lulu and I've taken over this blog from my mummy & daddy. They don't know that I've commandeered it, in fact they don't know that I know anything about blogging. You see, I'm only 17 months old and they clearly underestimate my technology skills so I've decided that I'll be keeping this blog up to date from now on. 
Hi, I'm Lulu and this is my blog

Monday, 29 April 2013

Growing Our Own

This time last year we were in a bit of a tizzy as we had just had Lulu and every minute was taken up with our new bundle. We just about managed to throw a few seed potatoes and onion sets into our veg patch and not a lot else. Whilst family life is still our central focus we have managed to spend a bit more time in the garden already this year and started to get Lulu used to horticultural life. This weekend we managed to get all of our veg sown, and miracle of miracles it happened the same weekend as Monty sowed his on Gardeners' World. (1). So here's what we are looking forward to from our modest veg patch this year...

Lulu shows she's willing to muck in and help
Lulu shows she's willing to muck in and help

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Identifying Weeds

Weeds. The bane of gardeners' lives. But here at Vialii we always try and spin a positive out of a situation and for us weeding is an enjoyable job. Working our way round a congested border, clearing out the weeds which are vying for space, water, nutrients and light and trying to elbow your plants out of the ways can be a rewarding exercise. There's nothing quite like looking back on a newly weeded border, seeing your beautiful plants pride of place and knowing you have given them the best chance of growing to their full potential. But where do you start if you don't know the difference between your weeds and your wisteria? Here's a quick guide to some common garden weeds...



Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Putting The Grass Back Into Your Grass!


This year the most common complaint we have heard from clients about their gardens is "Our lawn is full of moss!" Last years wet summer followed by an equally wet and relatively mild winter has provided perfect growing conditions for moss resulting in it taking up squatters rights in many of our lawns. Acidic soil, poor aeration, shade, lack of lawn feed and poor cutting can all add to the challenges of lawn care. There are many biological treatments available on the market for tackling moss but we prefer to take an organic approach wherever possible. Here we explain the method we use to tackle moss and put the grass back into your grass:

Moss


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Get The Buzz - Planting for Bees


There are many reasons why bees are so very important to us, but one fact really stands out to us and makes us appreciate how hugely important our buzzy friends are:

 “It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination, mainly by bees, and it is often said that if bees died out, humans would follow just four years later.”

Wow! There you have it. So now do we have your attention?

Bee friendly plants

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Garden Diary - Spring Jobs


Below is a selection of tasks to be done over the forthcoming spring months. The garden diary is updated regularly so keep checking in to see what needs doing throughout the year.

m a r c h

at a glance…

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Essential Lawncare

With spring fast approaching here's a guide to the essential lawn care for the season ahead.


The essential tasks: The immediate effect of the essential tasks such as mowing, watering, feeding and weeding is to keep the lawn looking attractive, but there is also a vital long-term effect. The vigour of the desirable grasses is maintained and increased so that unwelcome invaders such as weeds, moss and some diseases find it harder to gain a foothold.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

5 Apps that help me run a gardening business


I'm a bit of an early adopter when it comes to techstuff. Not everything I try is useful or even enjoyable but there are a few apps that now serve me well and I now regard as indispensable.

Here's my top 5 list of apps that help me run two gardening businesses.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Happy Birthday to us...

Vialii Garden Services turns 7 years this month. That's 84 in gardener's years. 


image courtesy of Wikipedia

Back in January 2006 after leaving a career as a civil/ structural engineer Vialii Garden Services previous iteration, Wee County Gardening1, was born. 

Gardening with kids


Alongside this blog and our garden design blog I also write about my experiences of fatherhood over on my Daddysnash page. I stumbled upon a website today that interests both the gardener in me as well as the dad.

Little Green Fingers details lots of fun projects that you can do, in the garden and out and about, with the kids with the above topical cracker being a particular highlight. Snow lanterns! Simple, fun and beautiful.

There are many other projects to be tackled too so when you have a moment why don't you pop over and pay them a visit.

Speak soon,

Michael

Saturday, 12 January 2013

January Lawncare


Some lawn care jobs you can do this January if the weather allows: 

REPAIR THE LAWN

Repair and re-shape lawn edges. It’s a good time to re-establish the shape of your lawn. Take a note of any areas where herbaceous plants are starting to encroach and reshape the lawn accordingly. If the lawn cannot be re-aligned then move the offending plant.

GIVE IT A TREATMENT

Give the grass a treatment of Iron Sulphate to treat any moss and to green up the sward.

TREAT THE WORMCASTS

If wormcasts are a problem then there are worm-friendly treatments out there that can help. Get in touch if you need any more information.


RAKE UP THE LEAVES

Rake up the last of any leaves and twigs that have settled on the lawn. Your grass won’t enjoy having a blanket of leaves on it all winter. If conditions have been mild you could perhaps give the grass a pass of the mower to cut the grass and collect any leaves.


Regards,
Michael
www.vialiigardenservices.co.uk