Build a bug hotel to attract more wildlife to your garden

Bug Hotel

Building a bug hotel or wildlife stack in your garden is a great way to attract beneficial insects and wildlife into your garden such as ladybirds, bumble bees, butterflies, frogs & toads. This will help to create a more diverse range of wildlife in your garden, help tackle those unwanted bugs in your garden and increase pollination.

You can make use of any materials you have lying around the garden, shed or garage, or start collecting unwanted items from friends and neighbours, skips or recycling depots. It doesn’t have to cost you anything at all. Choose a site that is in a sheltered part of your garden with some sun, and make sure to add a roof or top to keep the rain out. You will need:

  • Wooden pallets, or pieces of timber
  • Bricks or air bricks
  • Pipes and tubes
  • Bamboo canes, drinking straws and anything with hollow stems
  • Straw, hay and dry leaves
  • Pine cones and twigs
  • Rolled up paper
  • Roofing felt or roof tiles
  • Crushed bricks, rubble and sand

Arrange some bricks on the ground as a base, then build up each layer at a time using wooden pallets or timber and bricks as spacers. Fill each layer with as wide a variety of items as possible, finish with some sort of water repelling roof firmly attached so it doesn’t blow off in the winter.

It doesn’t have to look like the one above that I built, here are some more ideas…

Karen Millen new in – metallics and textures

Here are some of the very latest additions to the Karen Millen range – don’t wait until the autumn to wear these fab new clothes…

Left to right – texture print t-shirt £75, metallic pleat skirt £110, washed leather jacket £325, block stripe dress £110, metallic coated jeans £99, texture print dress £140, pale blue leather jacket £325, texture print t-shirt £65, texture print jeans £75.

Laura Ashley’s new Autumn Winter 2012 ranges

It’s that time of year again, while you are enjoying the peak of summer, to start thinking about the Autumn/Winter season. There’s something about interior styles for autumn and winter that are so inviting, giving a real glow, and Laura Ashley never disappoint with their super-stylish interiors. The new catalogue is out now, here are some of my favourites…

Moody Hues

Imperial Threads

How to create a prairie style border

Last week on my visit to the Hampton Court Flower show there were some amazing show gardens that epitomized prairie style planting which has become so fashionable lately. This look creates a soft meadow effect which is very loose and natural looking and is easily achieved in your own garden.

The key to creating the right planting scheme is using your plants in repetition so that the same shapes repeat along the border, this willl create the effect of the plants naturally spreading in drifts. Mix grasses and perennial plants with a variety of shapes and textures of flowers and foliage to keep it interesting. Soft fluffy grasses, flat flower heads of achilleas, round shapes of alliums, spiky shapes of eryngiums…

Prairie style border

Prairie style gardens

Create the look with these plants from Crocus. Left to right: Deschampsia cespitoas tufted hair grass, Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ switch grass, Molinia caerulea ‘Poul Petersen’ purple moor grass, Hordeum jubatum squirrel tail grass, Allium caeruleum, Eryngium bourgatii sea holly, Achillea ‘Credo’ yarrow, Echinacea ‘Sunrise’ coneflower, Knautia macedonica scabious, Verbena bonariensis, Perovskia russian sage, Monarda ‘Scorpion’ bergamot

June garden flowers – roses and peonies look stunning right now

June is a hugely rewarding month in the garden for flowers like roses and peonies that look stunning, may be only briefly, but they are so rewarding to grow and add real impact to your garden. Mix them in with some long flowering perennials like scabious or erysimum bowles mauve for a display all summer long. Here are some photos from my garden today…

Peony Sarah Bernhardt

Rosa Sister Elizabeth

Scabious Pink Mist

Jubilee weekend offers – the best online discounts this bank holiday

The big shops are pulling all the stops out to get you spending this weekend, there are loads of massive savings around -  so if you are planning on buying anything at all check out these discounts first and make every penny count.

Laura Ashley Jubilee Event – 30% of everything

John Lewis – 20% off all John Lewis outdoor furniture and BBQs until 5th June

BHS Jubilee spectacular – up to 30% off everything from today until 5th June.

Clarks – get 20% off all adult shoes when you enter voucher code ‘BQUEEN‘ at the checkout, starts today and ends 13th June.

Phase Eight – get 30% off all accessories and footwear

Karen Millen – get 30% off all accessories and footwear until 11th June

Dorothy Perkins – up to 30% off everything

Bright and beautiful summer dresses for summer 2012

Let’s get in the mood for summer. Brighten up you mood and your style with these pretty dresses in colourful, contemporary prints and floral patterns. These will look stunning on, wear with simple nude flats or heels to complete the look.

Left to right: So Couture tie side dress £99.99, Dries Van Noten stripe silk dress £794, Mango floral print dress £49.99, Steilmann linen shift dress £69.99, Next watercolour print dress £65.00, Karen Millen yellow floral print dress £175, Kew.159 stripe silk dress £129, Dorothy Perkins scarf wrap dress £42$fash_product$

Decorating with shades of grey

Grey is a versatile colour for the home and adapts well to any style of decorating, and gives a more modern and sophisticated feel that simple cream and beige. Here are some inspirational rooms that use greys to create a soft, romantic look, perfect for a faded vintage effect.

Christy Toile bedlinen

Grey Toile bed linen from Christy

Cabbages and Roses Charcoal fabrics

Charcoal fabrics, wallpapers and accessories from Cabbages and Roses

Laura Ashley Casual Chic

Casual Chic theme in dove grey from Laura Ashley


The 4 best ‘must-have’ power tools for your garden

Having the best tools for the job will make your life so much easier, not having the best can drive you up the wall, when there are jobs around the garden that need doing regularly. So I thought I should let you know about the following products that I have recently bought for use in my garden that all do the job so well I think you need to know about it!

1 – Bosch Rotak 43 Ergoflex Lawnmower £179.95

I have a medium size lawn and it can take quite a while to mow, so this lawnmower has a wider cutting area than most, it’s also really light and easy to maneuver, and it cuts right to the edges doing a very neat job.

2 – Bosch AXT Rapid 2200 Blade Shredder £148.99

At the start of spring there is always loads of plant matter to get rid of when tidying up the garden for the summer. This shredder does a great job chopping it all up into tiny pieces ready for the compost heap. So easy!

3 – Flymo Sabrecut Cordless Hedgetrimmer £89.99

If you have fairly tall hedges in your garden cutting them can be a bit of a pain, this tool does the job nicely, you can extend it and angle the head. The battery pack is a bit heavy after a while though.

4 – Kärcher K2.300 Pressure Washer £129.00

This is a very versatile pressure washer, it comes with different attachments for cleaning you patio and anything else that needs a blast – windows, cars, garden furniture, the list is endless.