• Getting active with Gardening

    We are really proud to be involved with Macmillan Cancer Support and the Move More Edinburgh Project, by supplying the new WoodBlocX Raised Beds at the Botanic Gardens for the group to use.

    Move More Edinburgh is a programme to help and encourage people affected by cancer to get moving. With various activities including gentle movement classes, walking, gardening and group activity classes, there is something for everyone. It’s not about running marathons; it’s about taking those small steps to get people outdoors and becoming active again. All the activities are free of charge and participants share time with others who are going through similar experiences.

    The ‘official’ advice used to be that ‘rest was best’, however modern research shows that moving about more can actually help with recovery and make patients feel better.

    Move More Edinburgh is a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and Edinburgh Leisure and many of the classes take place within Edinburgh Leisure venues, as well as local community spaces. Support is provided by instructors and volunteers.

    To find out more about the group, or to get involved visit:


  • Copellas New Garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace

    We were delighted to help RHS Young Designer of the Year Caitlin McLaughlin with her creation of the new Copella Garden, which was first shown at the RHS Malvern show earlier this summer.

    Copella is a British fruit juice company based in Boxford, Suffolk. The orchards were founded in the 1930s and the company have been producing bottled juice made from 100% pure pressed apples since the 1960s.

    We caught up with Caitlin at Chelsea to get her thoughts on how she went about designing the garden for the Malvern Show, which can now be seen at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in all its glory!

    The garden design draws on the inspiring landscaping of UK orchards and meadows, and by incorporating hay bales, scattered seating and apple barrels it creates the perfect spot to taste the latest Copella juices. The raised beds are filled with native wildflowers, naturalistic ornamental planting, apple trees and grasses. Caitlin was impressed with how quick and easy it was to construct the raised beds with WoodBlocX.

    So if you're attending this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, then make sure you pop round to the Copella Garden for a refreshing glass of juice and little look at our WoodBlocX in use!

    To get a feel for what the show is like take a look at the video below for highlights from last year.

  • Top Tips For Designing Your Dream Garden

    A new garden design – or a new determination to transform your garden – can be a daunting prospect. Caitlin McLaughlin, the RHS Young Designer of the Year 2016, gives us her take on what makes a successful garden design in the above video.

    Below are some tips on things to consider when preparing to design a garden.

    Before you start, spend some time thinking about exactly what you want the garden for. Do you want purely ornamental planting, or productive areas as well? Your plans might have to be amended as you go along to accommodate different circumstances – adding lower maintenance areas for example, or including more veg-growing space because you’ve discovered you enjoy cultivating plants for the kitchen. WoodBlocX can be used to build a wide range of raised bedsplantersseatingedging and even ponds – in a variety of shapes and sizes and all without a power tool in sight.

    Another consideration is how much, if any, lawn do you want – do you need to supply a sports pitch or play area for the children? What about seating and entertaining areas and storage - where’s the lawnmower going to live? Even the most difficult-looking of gardens can be transformed with a bit of thought. A steep slope can be terraced to create a stepped garden with flat beds and paths. Front gardens and courtyard gardens are often neglected, but a few simple beds or some edging can really transform their look and feel. Corner beds are especially good for small urban courtyards – WoodBlocX have single and multi-level options, or you can give them your specifications and receive a free bespoke design.

    After assessing what you want against how much time you will have to look after it, amend your plans as necessary. Once these decisions have been made, then it’s time to design your garden.

  • The Best of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

    This years RHS Chelsea was bigger and better than any of the previous shows. It was home to eight Show Gardens, five Fresh Gardens, nine Artisan Gardens and more than 100 floral displays.

    Artisan Garden highlights included the 2016 winner of Best Fresh Garden, Gary Breeze, who designed a garden which features the replica of an 800 year old boat which was discovered in the Norfolk Broads. Meanwhile, Ishihara Kazuyuki returned for his 12th year with Gosho No Niwa inspired by the Kyoto emperors of Japan, and the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí was the focus of Sarah Eberle’s Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration.

    Fresh Garden highlights included Jack Dunckley’s The Bermuda Triangle which resembled an active volcano surrounded by tropical planting. At 23, Jack was one of the youngest garden designers ever to exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Kate Gould’s City Living demonstrated how to create a usable green space in an urban apartment block and Mind Trap by Ian Price, described his personal experience of depression.

    In the Show Garden category, James Basson re-created the stunning Maltese landscape for the M&G Garden: Melitense. Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins teamed up for the third time at RHS Chelsea with The Chengdu Silk Road Garden which combined architecture and planting in a conceptual East-West landscape with a dramatic ‘Silk Road’ bridge linking the different elements of the garden. Lee Bestall celebrated 500 Years of Covent Garden, while Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam aimed to highlight endangered heathland for Wellington College with Breaking Ground. Chris Beardshaw meanwhile worked with the National Youth Orchestra on the Morgan Stanley Garden.

    The jewel in the RHS Chelsea crown, a 12,000sq metre marquee big enough to park 500 London buses, featured more than 100 exhibits from the world’s best nurseries, growers and florists.

    Also in the Great Pavilion, the Discovery Zone featured the Come to your Senses Eco Garden by Scotts Miracle-Gro aiming to tackle the overstimulated and sedentary lives of children in the UK, with a design that encouraged children to enter the haven of a garden. The British Ecological Society’s Delight in the Dark showcased the diversity of shade tolerant plants.

    Taking inspiration from the environmental issues surrounding bees, Burncoose Nurseries shone a light on the lesser-known plants pollinated by flies, moths and beetles, while Raymond Evison created a contemporary design inspired by the seashore. It featured sand, pebbles and five large waves running the length of the exhibit, each of which had a clematis arranged on and below them.

    Birmingham City Council brought the whimsical and wonderful world of Rowland Emett to life with a floral re-creation of ‘A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley’, the last-known machine made by the cartoonist and inventor in 1983.

    Sarah Eberle returned with Hillier Nurseries, assisted by 2016’s RHS Young Designer of the Year Caitlin McLaughlin.

    Just some of the anniversaries being celebrated in the Great Pavilion included the Hardy Plant Society, which featured 60 hardy plants for its 60 years, and Hooksgreen Herbs which celebrated 10 years exhibiting at RHS shows. Fibrex Nurseries created a tiered exhibit in tribute to the 30th anniversary of the National Plant Collection of Pelargonium, and Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants returned to the world-famous flower show for its 25th year.

    Nurseries exhibiting for the first time included Hare Spring Cottage Plants with their collection of Camassia, Calamazag Nurseries and the Delphinium Society.



    Here is a list of all the winners from the show:

    Show Gardens

    GOLD – Royal Bank of Canada Garden
    Design – Charlotte Harris, Build – Landscape Associates

    GOLD – The Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s
    Design – Darren Hawkes, Build – Bowles & Wyer

    SILVER-GILT – Silk Road Garden – Chengdu
    Design – Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins, Build – Bespoke Outdoor Spaces

    SILVER – The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden
    Design – Tracy Foster, Build – Landform Consultants

    Fresh Gardens

    GOLD & BEST FRESH GARDEN – City Living
    Design – Kate Gould, Build – The Teamlandscapers

    GOLD – Mind Trap sponsored by id verde
    Design – Ian Price, Build – Conway Landscapes

    SILVER-GILT – Inland Homes: Beneath a Mexican Sky
    Design – Manoj Malde, Build – Living Landscapes

    Artisan Gardens

    GOLD & BEST ARTISAN GARDEN – Walker’s Wharf Garden supported by Doncaster Deaf Trust
    Design – Graham Bodle, Build – Walkers Nurseries

    GOLD – Seedlip Gardens
    Design – Dr Catherine MacDonald, Build – Landform Consultants, Supported by Gadd Brothers

    SILVER-GILT – Hagakure – Hidden Leaves
    Design – Shuko Noda, Build – Frogheath Landscapes

    SILVER – The Poetry Lover’s Garden
    Design – Fiona Cadwallader, Build – Landform Consultants

    SILVER – The CWGC Centenary Garden
    Design – David Domoney, Build – Arun Landscapes

    Suttons took the Chelsea Plant of the Year 2017 award for Mulberry Charlotte Russe (‘Matsunaga’), exhibited on the 40 Sunbury Road stand.

    HTA Members who have won medals in the Floral Marque include:

    GOLD – Burncoose Nurseries
    GOLD – David Austin Roses Ltd
    GOLD – Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants
    GOLD – Hillier Nurseries
    GOLD – Peter Beales Roses
    GOLD – Walkers Bulbs @ Taylors

    SILVER-GILT – Cooks Garden Centre
    SILVER-GILT – Kelways Plants

    Discovery Zone

    GOLD & BEST DISCOVERY EXHIBIT – The Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company for the Come to your Senses Eco-therapy Garden.

    SILVER – Capel Manor College – Compost, Energy Light

    Bespoke Outdoor Spaces, Zion Landscapes, Morgan Oates Ltd and Barcham Trees were all involved in 5 Star Trade Stands, whilst TKE Landscapes got a 4 Star.

  • How to deal with Creeping Buttercup

    The Creeping Buttercup is a low growing perennial weed which prefers wet heavy soils. Creeping Buttercups spread with vigorous creeping stems that run along the ground rooting at intervals with a very fibrous rooting system.


    You need to make sure you remove all the fibrous roots as well as the main part of the weed, as this tricky weed will just keep coming back if any is left behind.

  • The Benefits of Crop Protectors

    When we spend so much time helping our carrots, cauliflowers and cucumbers to grow it would be a real waste to let the pigeons get in there for the first bite!


    Crop protectors allow you to defend your veg against invaders, but make sure you choose a net that matches your needs.

  • Problem Weeds.. Ground Elder

    Ground Elder can be a real pest, and a tricky one to get rid of when it takes hold of your vegetable patch. But if you follow these quick tips you should be able to banish it from your garden in no time.


    The key thing is to make sure you pull out the whole root, not just the plant itself. Each section of the white fibrous root will grow back into another plant, so dig down and make sure all the little pieces are taken out to.

    Then check back to the same area a once or twice a week for the next 4 weeks to make sure no more pop up.


    Step back in time with Brick Dinos! Enter the Jurassic period like never before and meet the dinosaurs face to face, each one masterfully built using LEGO® bricks. Working in close collaboration with a paleontologist, lego artists have painstakingly recreated some of the largest beasts to ever walk this earth in miniature LEGO form! Come face to face with dinosaurs from the air, sea and land and even compare yourself to those that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. Can your whole family fit into the footprint of a single dinosaur?

    We were really proud to be involved with the project, and supplied all the retaining walls and the sandpit used in the exhibition. Our WoodBlocX are so similiar to LEGO that it was the perfect fit for the exhibition. So if you're in the North East of England any time soon make sure you get along to the exhibition!

    The exhibit runs from February 4th 2017 to June 4th 2017 and you can find out all the details here - http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/coming-soon...brick-dinos/

  • The new Health and Wellbeing Garden at RHS Malvern

    It was a great pleasure for us at WoodBlocX to recently work with the wonderfully talented Jekka McVicar on another garden project. This time the focus was on Health and Wellbeing, and the design incorporated a number of curved sections as well as a central seating area.

    The garden forms the focus point of the new Live Well Zone at the RHS Malvern Show. The garden is inspired by the increasing need for reflection and escape from the stresses of modern life, and seeks to preserve and share the vital knowledge of how horticulture and its associated therapies can help soothe the mind, body and soul.

    The garden brings to life a living, working space for the mind, body and senses, and demonstrates the role gardens continue to play in our health and sense of wellbeing. The WoodBlocX team were on site for only four days to install the garden infrastructure before Jekka and her planting team were able to come in and really bring the space to life.

    Jekka McVicar, who is the RHS Ambassador for Health through Horticulture, said: “I am delighted to have been asked to create a lasting garden for RHS Malvern Spring Festival. I want the Health & Wellbeing Garden to be a usable and beautiful space that is embraced by people of all ages – a space for growth, education and reflection. With the Malvern Hills as a dramatic backdrop, RHS Malvern Spring Festival is such a beautiful place and because it’s at the start of the summer, it’s always a time of such optimism. It is a real privilege to bring this garden to life as part of such a dynamic and exciting show.”

    The Health & Wellbeing Garden is in support of Pathways, a work-focused day service for adults with learning disabilities and difficulties. Pathways use gardening and the environment as an educational tool to introduce young adults to the working world. Clients of Pathways benefit from gaining vital skills for entering the working world including trust, communication, interaction with peers, taking direction and responsibility for themselves and others.

    Leaving a legacy, Jekka’s garden will provide Pathways with a nurturing space to continue their works in encouraging clients to grow, and WoodBlocX are proud to be associated. Throughout the show times, Pathways will sell plants and refreshments from the garden and funds raised will go towards covering the costs of the residential trip taken twice each year for clients of Pathways; a vital retreat for clients that contributes to their sense of wellbeing. Outside of show days, Pathways and local schools will host sessions in the garden, a garden which aims to inspire visitors of all ages and abilities with engaging elements tailored for all.

    The Planting

      The theme is all about wellness of body and mind:
    • Rosemary has been scientifically proven to restore the memory
    • Fennel is a good digestive
    • Woad is a traditional dye plant
    • Heartsease helps mend a broken heart
    • Lavender helps relax the mind and body
  • How to grow French Beans


    Plants don’t get much more productive than French beans. The beans hang so heavy on the plants you’d think the stems would collapse, giving you a plentiful harvest from minimal space in your raised vegetable beds. They are also very attractive, offering various flower and bean colours, so you could even incorporate them into your ornamental beds. Bees love the flowers too! French beans are more versatile in the kitchen than runner beans – you can eat them raw, and they don’t get as stringy – and also have the added advantage that they can be grown as dwarf plants as well as climbers.

    The versatility of French beans in their cultivation, harvesting and consuming is matched only by the versatility of WoodBlocX raised beds in their style, size, shape and height.
    If you have relatively low raised beds, a wigwam of climbing beans is a really pretty way to grow these plants, and once started, they won’t need much attention other than watering and harvesting of the beans. Use six or eight poles tied together at the top – hazel poles are best, but bamboo canes are a fine substitute – and then you’ll have plenty of beans all summer from only about a square metre’s worth of garden space.

    However, if your raised beds are more than a foot or two high dwarf beans will be the best option, unless you have a ladder for picking them! These plants are grown in rows and produce plentiful beans as well, but tend to bear them all in one go (climbers give fewer beans at a time but over a longer period), so successional sowing is the best way to avoid gluts.

    Bean shapes and colours can generally be split into round or flat pods, in green, white/gold or purple, and all combinations of the above. It’s also worth considering growing borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, (‘Lingua di Fuoco 2’ is the best variety) with its beautiful speckled pattern on both pods and beans, which can be left to mature and dry on the plant then stored to make ribollita and other tasty dishes throughout the winter.

    All French beans are tender plants, and will suffer in a frost, so sow them in mid-spring in modules or small pots and only plant out once all risk of frost has passed. Two plants per cane of a wigwam is best, or space dwarf beans around 25cm apart each way (check the seed packet, but remember the soil in raised beds is more productive than the ground, so you can squeeze them a little closer together). You may also want to give dwarf beans the support of a small cane just to keep the beans off the soil surface; tie them in as necessary. Another sowing of dwarf beans in late spring and a final one in early to mid-summer will keep the supply going into autumn.

    Harvest the beans once they are a suitable size but still young and tender by pulling carefully (hold on to the stem as well) or preferably snipping them off the plant. Left too long they will get tougher; and make sure you don’t miss any, as those that are allowed to develop and dry into seeds will send the signal to the plant to stop producing more. You’ll be able to keep picking climbers all summer, and get a couple of harvests per dwarf plant.

    So, the answer to a successful bean harvest is to raise your beans in a WoodBlocX raised bed.

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