Luckily most of our Deal gardens are not directly exposed to sea winds. But how do we choose plants for gardens where the shingle may not be far from the surface, so the soil is very free draining, and areas where delicate leaves may get damaged by salt in the air?
The good news is that many of our best loved garden plants can cope. Choose shrubs with an evergreen, shiny leaf cover which will protect the inside of the leaf from desiccating salt. Shrubs include hollies, flowering Escallonias, Cistus (rock roses) and the blue flowering Ceanothus. Plants with tiny leaves like rosemary, lavender or cotton lavender (Santolinia) and tamarisk also manage well and thrive in open, sunny sites. If you have shady corners of the garden, consider planting Skimmia, fuchias and hebes.
Seek out plants with grey or felty surfaces as they manage in dry conditions and when you are unable to water. Look for grey grasses (Festuca glauca), or Sea Holly (eryngium) and Verbena with its tall stems and violet flowers. Some grey plants have soft, hairy surfaces which keep off salt and drying winds, like lamb’s ears (stachys) or pasque flowers (Pulsatilla) and yellow flowering Phlomis. Other options are the numerous varieties of sedums, with their succulent leaves or plants with maritima or littoralis in their names.
Plant before the summer, and remember to water when dry to give the plants their best start for a successful coastal garden!
If you want your garden full of colour, interest and perhaps even tasty crops, there’s no doubt that the least expensive way to do it is to raise your plants from seed. But what can be done to ensure the results in the garden are just as impressive?
Start with a little self-restraint. It’s all too easy to buy enough seed to fill a tennis court when you have an average-sized garden. Make a list of what you actually need and put a limit on how many un-planned purchases you’ll allow yourself.
After yet another winter of record-breaking energy prices it's clear that the cost of lighting, heating and powering our homes isn't going to drop any time soon - so it's a smart idea to invest in energy saving technology to reduce the amount of energy we use. You've probably already double-glazed the windows, filled the cavity walls and insulated the roof, but there are still plenty of ways that technology can reduce your energy bills further.
Some of the best ideas are the simplest ones, such as the Enviroplug (£9.99). As the name suggests it's an environmentally friendly plug that's been designed to switch off phone and gadget charges when the device is fully charged or no longer connected. Enviroplug reckons it can save you 13.14KWh of energy per year, equivalent to 76 hours of TV watching, per plug.
Neither my husband nor I were intentional hoarders. It just happened that our family house was blessed – some might say, cursed – with handy storage spaces. Built-in cupboards, under-stairs spaces, a loft, a shed and even a garage all served to quietly absorb our superfluous items.
Like the chains worn by Marley’s ghost in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, we felt the weight of our past lives bearing down upon us every time we opened a cupboard door. It was time to downsize.
Are you feeling cluttered, chaotic and claustrophobic at home? Katherine Sorrell offers quick and easy tips to help create more space.
Step One: Clear out that clutter
It’s boring but simple: sort through ALL your stuff. Unless you’re absolutely certain you want to keep it where it is, then put it into boxes or bags marked for rubbish, recycling, giving away, mending or storing elsewhere. If it’s too painful to do this all at once, aim for one room per week, or else do ten minutes a day.
An Englishman’s home is his castle and today it is a castle under siege. The stark rise in crime and antisocial behaviour has homeowners - in rural and urban areas alike - running scared and ever more concerned with a problem that law and order fails to address.
But despite this sad fact there is a fast-growing home security market that is equal to the problem; ready and able to empower the individual and preserve the sanctity of home.
If the statistics are to be believed many of us will fall victim to crime, but thanks to an extensive range of affordable, simple and easy-to-use home security devices, protecting your property, possessions and family is becoming easier.
Whether you have a dedicated room, a corner of the kitchen, a converted outbuilding or are simply looking to squeeze an office in under the stairs, our expert Katherine Sorrell’s guide will help you create a work space that’s not just efficient and functional, but also inviting and comfortable.
Start by considering the size of desk you require. The bigger the better – you will never regret having plenty of space on which to spread out. Do you also need a table and chairs for meetings, or perhaps a sofa or chaise longue on which to recline and read or think? And storage is vital, whether it’s a shelf above the desk, plan chests, filing cabinets, drawers or stacking boxes. Bear in mind that some things will need to be within arm’s reach, while less-used items can be stored on high shelves or deep cupboards, not necessarily in the same room. In awkward rooms, such as lofts, under-stairs or other small areas, built-in storage will make the most of the space; otherwise you may consider cheaper, free-standing options.
They keep in the warmth and keep out prying eyes, but window treatments are much more than a purely practical addition to a room
Curtains – where to start
The cheapest and most subtle option for hanging curtains is undoubtedly a plastic or metal track. Double tracks can be used to hang both nets and thicker curtains neatly, while triple tracks allow you to use flat panels, perhaps of different fabrics, which can be pulled back and forwards in different combinations depending on the effect you want or how much light you wish to allow in. The more decorative alternative is a curtain pole – perhaps in see-through acrylic, slender stainless steel or pale-painted wood – and with pretty finials on the ends. On narrow windows or dormers, portiere (or swing-arm) rods are an alternative to fixed poles, while for a modern effect you could use tension wire, fixed taut within the window opening.
This is the time of year when you’re likely to start to notice the presence of slugs and snails in your garden, greenhouse, coldframe, window box....indeed just about everywhere. There are many different species; the most common in gardens are probably species of Milax (the keeled slugs) and Arion (e.g. the garden slug and the large black slug), plus the grey field slug (Deroceras reticulatus). The garden snail, Helix aspersa is generally the most troublesome but may also be joined by various species of the banded snail, Cepaea.
Your home is not just the place that you keep your belongings and sleep at night. It is somewhere you feel safe and secure, and where you go to take a break from the outside world. So to be the victim of burglary is to suffer more than simply loss of your property and personal effects; it’s a violation of your sanctuary. Prevention is better than cure so put these measures in place before you are caught out.