Gardening Blog

Top Tips to Throw a Sizzling Summer Soiree

Top Tips to Throw a Sizzling Summer Soiree 0

Summer is well and truly here which means it’s time for BBQs, hanging out in the garden with friends, al fresco dining and of course, garden parties. There’s no better time to host an open air summer party than now; the sun is shining, the evenings are lighter and the air is warmer.

If you’re planning to invite friends and family over for a summer soiree, the chances are you’ve got the basics down, but a few extra details really can make a big difference. Here are some of our top tips to help you throw a sizzling summer soiree to be proud of.

Add garden decorations and bunting

Decorating the garden can turn a plain area into a summer wonderland, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Adding bunting, fairy lights, ribbons and flowers is inexpensive but will add colour and brightness to your outdoor space.

Light up the area with fairy lights

Adding lighting to your garden is the perfect way to create ambience. Fairy lights are ideal for summer parties as they can be placed anywhere, are subtle, easy to move and look great. Plus, if you choose a solar option you needn’t worry about finding a power source.

Stick to finger food and snacks

Though a full BBQ or sit down meal is tempting, finger food and small snacks work best for summer soirees as they can be eaten anywhere and appeal to even the fussiest of eaters. Plus, you won’t find yourself worrying about cooking and serving food at a certain time.

Use drinks holder to reduce spillages

Outdoor drinks holders are great for summer garden parties for many reasons. They’re somewhere for guests to rest their drinks and they help to prevent spillages; simply push them into the ground wherever people are likely to stand or sit. They work well for mugs, wine bottles, wine glasses and beers

Have citronella candles to repel flies and insects

One of the big downsides to having a gathering outside is the sheer number of flies and insects that try to join the fun, especially in the evening. Citronella candles work well as they repel most insects, smell great and set a relaxed, tranquil mood.

At Home & Garden Extras we understand the importance of having a functional outdoor space. Take a look at our wide range of products to get your garden looking its best, whether you’re planning a big party or just want a space you can enjoy with family.

What Can You Plant This Month?

What Can You Plant This Month? 1

May and June are delightful months for gardeners. No more worries about the risk of frost, now is the time to start sowing the seeds of a fruitful summer!

What to plant in June

Sunflower seeds can be planted now the spring chill has well and truly passed. A bold, dramatic and instantly summery addition to any garden, they grow to be some 16ft in height – though smaller varieties are also available for less roomy spaces! Many species of sunflower are also highly attractive to bees.

Poppy seeds also respond well to the newfound sunshine, and there are many varieties to suit different soils and locations in your garden. For sunnier hot spots and border gardens, try the distinctive Papaver Orientale variety.

Celery and cucumber will all react favourably to the climate in late-May and June. To achieve optimum results, plant celery close together in blocks. Cucumbers thrive in the warmer months due to their tropical origins - averse to colder weather, they need a moderately warm soil in order to grow, and mustn’t be planted less than a fortnight after the last frosts have cleared.

Fennel and Celeriac raised indoors during the colder months can now be grown outside in cold frames throughout this season.

Pumpkins require a lot of care and attention, but the hard work is worth it if you have the patience! Plant in full sun and with plenty of room for the plant’s sprawling vines to spread out. ‘Autumn Gold’ varieties are the best for Halloween decorations, whilst the ‘Sugar Treat’ make for a particularly tasty addition in autumnal baking later in the year.

Night Scented Stock is a fragrant annual flower which opens in the evening to create a beautiful scent, best planted throughout the Spring and Summer months. They work particularly well when added to window boxes or garden borders, and their modest size means they suit gardens of any scope.

Nasturtiums are a beautiful but low-maintenance flower, which also help lure insects away from other garden plants. In addition to being a handy, attractive addition to the garden, they are also an edible flower – making unexpected and delicious additions to salads.

Sweet Pea is simple to grow from seed, and flower throughout the summer months. Exceptionally popular due to their bright colour and sweet fragrance, they should be grown in rich soil, preferably in full sun.

Pet lovers will be pleased to hear that early summer is the ideal time to plant Cat Grass.  It’s an easy plant to cultivate – simply add the potting mix to some soil and add enough water to moisten it. Ensure the soil remains damp and you should see results within seven days – providing felines with a tasty treat to enjoy on warm summer days.

7 Tips To Make The Most Of A Small Space

7 Tips To Make The Most Of A Small Space 0

There is no need for a small space to mean small ideas! Just because you have limited space or a small garden, you do not have to do without the enjoyment of growing your own plants or cultivating plant life. While it might be a little more difficult, there are ways of making sure you don’t miss out on the joy of gardening with some creativity and a little know how.

Read on for our 7 top tips on how to make the most of a smaller space…

  1. Try a Window Box

One of the best tools for apartment dwellers looking to maximize their space and add a home-y feel is the trusty window box. Even the smallest of spaces can normally accommodate one, and they can be fitted to either the exterior or interior window sill of your home. Try placing a hanging planter one on a kitchen window or balcony to grow herbs for a fresh and fragrant feel.

  1. Make the Most of Your Balcony

A barren balcony can come alive with the addition of some beautiful potted plants or a set of planters. A mixture of edibles and flowers will be sure to make your balcony the envy of your less inventive neighbours…

  1. Rethink Your Driveway

Even a paved area can provide surprising opportunities for adding some greenery. Consider planting between paving slabs to create a unique and attractive effect.

  1. Use Wall Spaces

Climbing plants like wisteria and honeysuckle are low maintenance (with the exception of the odd trim!) and high impact, providing a brilliant option for space-strapped gardeners. You can also introduce wall mounted planters for smaller plants and flowers.

  1. Build a Garden Tower

A new concept in UK gardens, the garden tower can house up to 50 different variants of plant. With a composting centre, this is a particularly fantastic idea for encouraging aspiring gardeners to dabble with lots of different plants.

  1. Consider a Roof Terrace

Urbanites might automatically assume that gardening is out of their reach, but it needn’t be so. See opportunities in the most unlikely of spaces. Some apartment blocks offer communal garden spaces on the top of their buildings. Be careful when selecting plants for this kind of garden, however – they will need to be able to withstand high altitudes and extremes of weather.

  1. Repurpose Unexpected Items

A vintage chest of drawers, an old toolbox, abandoned shutters….all of these and more can become the basis for thriving plant life with a little care and attention. Making the most of your minimal space is the secret to ‘tiny’ gardening – so be imaginative and see what you can create!

4 Reasons To Download Our Plant Support Guide

4 Reasons To Download Our Plant Support Guide 0

Whether you’re completely new to gardening or a seasoned pro, the Home & Garden Extras Plant Support Guide has something for everyone. Not convinced? Keep reading for four reasons why you should download your free copy today…

  1. To Get Some Gardening Inspiration

Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly options to bring a dash of colour to your garden, seeking to maximize your space, or wanting to completely revamp with a big project – the guide has advice and inspiration to help you get there! We think the possibilities only end where your ambitions do – and we’ll help you to make the most of your garden every single step of the way.

  1. To Discover a Huge Range of Options

We stock an unbeatable variety of plant supports for the UK’s most popular plants and flowers. The guide includes handy instructions on how to optimize your use of each plant support and which plants they are best suited to – giving you a huge wealth of knowledge in a jargon free, straightforward style. Whether you’re looking to install a border row, plant a tower of roses, or cultivate a thriving herb garden, there is no end to what you can achieve with a little imagination and ingenuity!

  1. To Find Handy Tips for Newbie Gardeners

It can be hard to know where to start when you first become interested in gardening, but luckily help is at hand! At Home and Garden Extras we have years of expertise and experience, and we know how important each and every gardening project is. If you’re unsure what plants you’re interested in growing, the guide will help you choose. If you aren’t sure how to make them thrive, our guide will provide plenty of practical advice. Take a look at our handy chart which explains all the different plant support sizes and varieties available.

  1. To Find Something for your Unique Needs

Let us help you make your garden into whatever you want it to be – whether that’s a cosy country sanctuary, a thriving space for socialising, or a minimalist urban retreat. Not only do we stock an extensive range of plant supports, but a variety of stands for keeping your muddy Wellington Boots from damaging the condition of your home, and a selection of pot stands for adding a touch of magic to your outdoor areas.

Interested in making your gardening dreams a reality? Download the Plant Support Guide here:   





This Summer's Top 5 Flower Shows

This Summer's Top 5 Flower Shows 0

Summer is guaranteed to bring out the gardening enthusiast in even the most committed of city-dwelling Brits, so it makes sense that this time of year should be punctuated by some of the biggest and best flower shows in the world. Here are our five top picks that we are sure will leave you itching to don your gardening gloves:

  1. RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The world famous Chelsea Flower Show offers the latest in gardening design trends with an added heritage flair. It is visited yearly by the British Royal Family and offers prestigious awards and bold designs. Whatever is featured at the Chelsea Flower Show has a tendency to define the way aspirational gardeners approach their craft for the coming year.

When? 23rd – 27th May 2017

Where? Royal Hospital, Chelsea   

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  1. Gardener’s World Live

The BBC’s Gardener’s World Live event is an opportunity for gardening enthusiasts to indulge their passion! Marking its 50th anniversary this year, the show features a mixture of talks from experts and lots of chances for guests to try their hand at some top gardening trends themselves. Entry to Gardeners World Live also qualifies attendees for entry to the BBC Good Food Show – so it’s a great value day out, too.

When? 15th – 18th June 2017

Where? NEC Birmingham  

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  1. Blenheim Palace Flower Show

An annual horticultural extravaganza, the Blenheim Palace Flower Show will this year feature Alan Titchmarsh, who is leading a talk at the event. Set within the grounds of a stunning country estate, the show attracts hundreds of gardening exhibitors offering a vast array of shopping and dining opportunities.

Where? Blenheim Palace  

When? 23rd – 25th June 2017

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  1. Hampton Court Flower Show

A delightful flower show displaying the very best of British gardens within beautiful historic surroundings - including a Saturday Kitchen Garden event giving visitors the chance to find out how to create their own fresh food at home. Designer Tom Massey will also be presenting his sanctuary garden for the charity Perrennial, exploring plants’ healing powers.

Where? Hampton Court Palace  

When? 4th – 9th July 2017

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  1. RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

Held in the height of summer, the Tatton Park flower show will make a point of showcasing new and upcoming garden designers this year. The 2017 show will unveil the new Butterfly Dome for the first time while Bus Stop Boulevard, an installation which replicated a city street with bus stops covered in plants and designed by local communities will also be a focal point.  A range of talks and demos are planned plus  there are several display gardens highlighting ideas for small spaces.

Where? Tatton Park, Cheshire

When? 19 – 23 July, 2017

Find out more at

What to Expect at the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show

What to Expect at the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show 0

Now that we are well and truly into spring and summer is just around the corner, it’s that exciting time of year that most gardeners look forward to – flower show season! One of the first, and most enjoyable of the year, is the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show, set to a backdrop of the beautiful Malvern Hills and filled with flowers, food and crafts for the whole family to enjoy.

 This Year’s RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show Highlights

 Whether you’re a frequent visitor to RHS flower shows or are planning to attend for the first time, this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show is one not to be missed. It’s a great day out and there’s a lot to see and do, regardless of your interests. So, what are some of the must-see parts of the show?

 Plant Exhibits

 There are a number of plant exhibits at the flower show which highlight some of the season’s must-have plants, as well as offering advice and information from gardening experts. If you have a query about your own garden or are looking to introduce something new, there’ll be someone on hand to answer all your questions.

 Show Gardens

 Year after year the show gardens continue to be one of the most popular parts of the flower show. A number of show gardens are created by top designers and they offer inspiration and ideas to help visitors transform their own gardens into something special. This year, a new Live Well zone will feature the first permanent garden, designed by Jekka McVicar. The garden is inspired by the need to reflect and escape, and the way garden design can help to enable that process of rest and relaxation.

 Spa Gardens

 A first for 2017, there will be a number of different spa gardens at the show. Spa gardens showcase the talents of new garden designers and provide something a little bit different. Look out for The Ocean Garden, inspired by Miami’s iconic art deco style, and Bubble Drops, which celebrates the essence of water. 

 Fun For Kids

 The RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show is not just for adults; there are a number of activities that will keep the kids entertained too. There’s an area specifically dedicated to young gardeners and throughout Saturday and Sunday, a series of events will be held to get the involved with all things gardening.

 Botanic Art Exhibition

 If you’re interested in the artistic side of gardening, be sure to check out the Beautiful Botanic Art Exhibition. The exhibition showcases artistic representations of plants along with scientific alternatives.

 Home & Garden Extras at the Spring Flower Show

 Will you be attending the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show? If you are, be sure to find Home & Garden Extras and come say hello. The show runs from Thursday 11th May - Sunday 14th May 2017 and you can find us at Stand Number 2002, Row 2, just below The Avon Hall.