Gardens of inspiration to explore this summer

After months in lockdown, we’re excited to get outdoors and explore the grounds and gardens that are reopening after being closed throughout spring. As well as being the perfect day out for anyone interested in horticulture and gardening, exploring parks, gardens and stately grounds gives us inspiration and ideas we can take back home.
To help you plan the perfect day out, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite gardens that have reopened.

Alton Towers, Staffordshire

Alton Towers is of course best known as a theme park but did you know it has over 500 acres of stunning, landscaped gardens to explore as well?

The gardens at Alton Towers are open and ready to welcome back visitors. Tickets need to be pre-booked online as they are limiting visitor numbers, following coronavirus guidelines.
The elegant gardens that surround the theme park are full of imagination and variety – a treat for anybody who appreciates green-fingered creativity. These gardens were first created in the eighteenth century and visitors today can enjoy the mature trees and established flora of the garden as it was first imagined by the Earl of Shrewsbury.

A fine collection of statues and fountains can be found in the grounds, as well as magnificent conservatories and decorative fountains. Take a recommended walking route around the gardens to see all they have to offer and to make sure you get to all the best viewpoints.

National Trust Places

The National Trust has reopened many of its 200 gardens and parks now, some on a pre-booking basis, so do check before you go.

Here are three of the places that are open and some of our favourite gardens to visit at this time of year.

The gardens at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge were designed so that a different area of the garden would flourish each season, so there is always something special to see when you visit, no matter the time of year. Gardeners, landscapers and groundspeople will appreciate the thoughtful design – there are tree-lined avenues and clever use of symmetry and circular shapes to draw the eye in the formal gardens. At this time of year, The Dahlia Garden is stunning, with a rainbow of colour sweeping around the border.

Cothele, in Cornwall, is another one of our favourite National Trust places to visit in the summer months. It boasts terraces planted with hydrangeas and roses, a stunning cut flower garden and lily pad-strewn ponds. Make sure to take a stroll around the orchard, under the shade of apple, pear and cherry trees.

Further north, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden are wonderful to visit. The water garden is unique and was granted World Heritage Status in 1986. The river Skell has been channelled into canals, cascades and ponds, creating a tranquil waterscape, surrounded by lush sweeping lawns.

RHS gardens

Four of the RHS gardens – Wisley, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor have reopened under a pre-booking system. Some areas within the gardens like glasshouses and play areas remain closed if it is difficult to maintain social distancing. The RHS shops and Plant Centres in these gardens have reopened too.

RHS Wisley is one of our favourites, with 240 acres of gardens it’s a true sight to behold and you can easily while away a day exploring. We aren’t the only ones – RHS Wisley is visited by 1.2 million people each year. The gardens are diverse with different planting and gardening styles at every turn. With a huge plant collection and over 100 years of gardening history, it has something for everyone and there’s something different to see every time to visit.

Explore from home

If you still prefer to stay at home, or if the great British weather hinders plans for days outdoors, you don’t have to miss out! The RHS are doing virtual tours of the four gardens they have reopened, so you can explore them from the comfort of your own sofa.

You can explore the flourishing Cottage Garden at Wisley, see the roses in bloom at Rosemoor’s Shrub Rose Garden or see the colourful foxgloves at Hyde Hall. The RHS has done a wonderful job of capturing their gardens, so you can immerse yourself in their inspiring beauty without leaving the house. There is something for everyone, whether you want to see unusual planting schemes, unique garden design or beautiful blooms!

With the guidelines changing regularly, make sure you check before you visit any garden, and book a visiting slot where required. Go and soak up some inspiration if you can – this time of year is perfect for enjoying these impressive, grand gardens.

Learning in lockdown

Coronavirus and lockdown have caused a standstill in so many ways and while domestic gardens have been thriving what has happened to public spaces, sports pitches and other grounds?

These areas still need maintaining but reduced income streams of places like National Trust and private houses that usually open to the public has resulted in furloughed grounds and maintenance teams. Parks have remained maintained in some areas but inevitably team sizes have been reduced. Naturally, this has varied from council to council but there are certainly experts out there currently unable to be taking care of their patches, gardens and grounds.

Many professional gardeners and grounds teams often say that their garden at home gets somewhat neglected – perfectly understandably as it could seem a bit of a busman’s holiday. So, this downtime right now is a chance to get on top of things, but also a chance to broaden your skillset.

If you’re thinking of furthering your qualifications there are whole host of organisations offering training, qualifications and accreditation in horticulture and grounds maintenance all available online – from the comfort and safety of your own home. Even better, at the moment there are significant discounts available too. Here’s our round up!

 

Online courses in horticulture and grounds maintenance

 

The RHS

When it comes to horticulture there’s no better organisation to offer advice and expert opinion than the RHS (the Royal Horticultural Society).

The RHS website is an amazing resource of free advice and videos for learning but they also offer qualifications, workshops and work-based training programmes. If that wasn’t enough, there is also an online degree-level qualification for a Masters in Horticulture.

 

The British Academy of Garden Design

If it’s designing a garden that you are interested in knowing more about then the BAGD has three levels of qualification.

  • Certificate – covers the basics in garden design and encourages you to design your own garden
  • Diploma – gives an advanced knowledge and understanding of garden design skills as well as the techniques require for being a professional garden designer
  • Postgraduate diploma – aimed at those seeking to set up their own garden design business. Helps develop an in-depth understanding of garden design skills and principles.

 

Garden maintenance

This course from Stonebridge covers the following modules to give a well-rounded overview of all garden basics – Planning and Managing a Garden; Furnishings and Machinery; Feeding Plants; Weed Control; Weedicides; Natural Pest Control; Chemical Pest Control; Turf Care; Irrigation; Maintenance of Plants.

 

Managing Notable Gardens

This course gives an insight into the behind the scenes basics of running a public garden, beyond the planting and horticultural maintenance. Examine factors such as conservation management plans; the role of public and interested parties; funding and grants; creating new features and gardens; maintenance and management; staffing and training.

 

Certificate in Arboriculture

Learn all about the culture and care of trees from establishment to maintenance. This course covers areas such as tree identification, and techniques for planting, maintaining and managing trees.

 

Machinery & Equipment

One of our favourites! This course will give you the confidence you need to not just use your tools and machinery, but to also maintain them and keep them in the best shape possible. The course covers the selection of tools and machinery, through to the operation and maintenance. Modules include Engine Operation; Hydraulics; Machinery Components; Hand Tools; Power Tools; Tractors; Equipment Maintenance; and Specific Workplace Requirements.

 

Turf and Grounds

For those looking to further their knowledge and qualifications in grounds maintenance look no further than The GMA (previously known as the IOG).

The Grounds Management Association is the go-to for all things grounds! From grassroots greenkeepers to those maintaining world class pitches, the GMA has it all. Its courses are extensive and they have options for everyone and offer Grounds Maintenance training for Football, Cricket, Rugby Union and Rugby League. Find out more here: https://portal.iog.org/education/courses/search

 

Advanced Certificate in Horticulture and Grounds Management

Develop your skills and knowledge in the care and maintenance of parks, gardens and turf facilities. Modules include Pest, Diseases and Weed Control; Turf Maintenance; Tree and Shrub Maintenance; Soils Management; and Irrigation.

 

Advanced Certificate in Turf Care Management

Learn how to select the right turf grass for various situations and applications as well as how to maintain, renovate and repairing turf.

 

Permaculture

Grounds teams are increasingly having to help the organisation and business that they work for to meet its green targets. Permaculture and self-sufficiency are key ways of doing this. This course introduces the basic concepts of Permaculture, exploring topics such as weather systems, water cycles, topography, soil-plant interactions and forest ecology, and creating balanced and productive garden growing systems.

 

Irrigation Management

Discover the complexities of watering! Find out new ways to optimise water efficiency, as well as draining, fertigation and the different systems and designs available.

 

Giving wildlife a helping hand

Gardens and outdoor spaces provide a crucial place of refuge for wildlife and birds. The best way to encourage wildlife to our outdoor spaces is to create a welcoming and well stocked feeding ground that will attract them, and then encourage them to stay or revisit in the future.

Creating a wildlife haven needn’t mean letting things run riot and get overgrown. You can still maintain your outdoor space while giving homes to wildlife and creating healthy habitats.

 

Start with planting

Fill borders with nectar rich, flowering plants that will attract butterflies and bees. When choosing the plants try to extend the season with a combination of spring bulbs, late flowering perennials and everything in between.  This not only gives an extended flowering season for you and visitors to admire but it also continues to attract pollinators and will provide food for the animals and insects that are active over different periods. The RHS has a fantastic and extensive guide on the best pollinator-friendly plants.

 

Trees and hedges

Planting trees is a great way to boost biodiversity and create a healthy habitat for a variety of species. When planting, consider species that are native to your local area too.

As well as being fantastic for insects, hedges can also provide a home for birds by giving them somewhere to roost and to shelter from the elements and any lurking predators. Thick foliage can also help boost insect population.

 

Encourage our flying friends

Hang nest boxes to give birds somewhere to escape to. There’s a multitude of designs, styles and colours on the market but the RSPB has some information on how to choose the right box, as well as the best place to put them.

Hanging feeders or putting out food on a feeding table can be another way to attract birds to your outdoor spaces. Remember to keep feeding areas clean and wash them regularly with a mild soap to stop any diseases from spreading. You can also put some water out for them to bathe in or drink from. Again, remember to keep the dish clean and to change the water regularly.

When it comes to feeding, different birds are attracted to different types of food at different types of year, but you can’t go wrong with a complete seed and nut mix, or something that is suitable for year-round feeding. Take time to look into the best type of food to be putting out, or if you have a certain type of bird visiting regularly buy a mix specially aimed at that species to give it the best diet possible. When temperatures drop, consider putting out a feed that is high in fat to give the birds a helping hand.

 

Insects

It’s not just birds to be thinking about, you can also create homes for bees and insects. Beehives not only give you a supply of homemade, local honey but they are also another great means of furthering pollination in your outdoor space and are said to increase the yield of fruit and vegetable plants. If beekeeping isn’t for you, how about building an insect hotel? By simply layering piles of twigs, wood and rocks you can easily give bugs and insects a place to explore. If your outdoor space is open to the public, then they provide great attractions too and are educational and engaging for younger visitors.

 

Be on the lookout

Sadly, hedgehog numbers have dramatically fallen by 50% since 2000 and there are now believed to be less than one million hedgehogs left in Britain. To give them a helping hand, put gaps at the bottom of any fences, or in between panels, so that they can move around freely.

If you are leaving food out for them remember that they are lactose intolerant so avoid leaving milk for them. Similarly, bread is bad for their digestive systems – they prefer worms or meaty pet foods.

Hedgehogs love to bed down in piles of leaves, so make sure you check areas first before getting to work and possibly disturbing their habitats.

The main thing to remember is to be incredibly careful when using our powerful machinery and to check the areas that you are working on thoroughly before starting up the engines, particularly when it comes to leaf clearing.

Spring has sprung

The weather has finally warmed up a little and gardens are waking up again. There’s blossom on the trees and tulips in flower. It’s also the time of year that lawns will start demanding your attention, which, if you have a large garden or grounds to take care of, can feel like a daunting task. Now is the time to invest time and effort in lawns, to get them looking their best for the summer months. With a proper care plan, combined with the right tools, it needn’t be too tiresome.

Here are some of our top seasonal lawncare tips.

Weed control

The grass has started growing, which means so have the weeds.  Dandelions, moss and daisies easily become part of the fabric of your lawn unless you keep them under control. The moss needs to be removed and killed and the weeds need to be treated so they don’t take over.

There are plenty of all-in-one lawn treatments to keep weeds and moss under control whilst nourishing the lawn at the same time. Ensure that you use the product appropriately and avoid overdosing, as it may scorch your grass. If you have a large area to apply the treatment to, it might be worth using a spreader, to save time and ensure an even distribution of product.

After treating the moss to kill it, it will need raking out of your lawn. Gentle raking will also remove the layer of thatch – the dead plant material that develops between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface that can be harmful to your lawn if it builds up. This is another task that is best done assisted by the right machine if you have a large lawn area.

When it comes to turf renovation, Billy Goat’s grass seeders and dethatchers have been the leader in making properties across the globe look fantastic.

Patch repair

Now is the ideal time to reseed lawns, to thicken sparse patches and repair any damage that winter may have left behind.

Billy Goat’s OS901 Overseeder with exclusive Auto Drop™ technology is the perfect machine for the job, with incredibly simple operation and high germination rates. Spreading seed on compacted ground is unlikely to reward you with germination, healthy growth and a beautiful lawn – the surface of the earth needs to be broken up and de-compacted to allow for seeds to grow. The best way to break up the surface of the soil sufficiently for seeds to grow is by raking the surface to create a fine soil layer for the seeds to incorporate into. For the ultimate in aeration, Billy Goat’s Plugr drives cores up to 2.75” deep even in hard soil conditions, offering superb results.  Using a power rake will give you the power and control you need to rake large areas effectively.

The first cut

Raking is also advisable before mowing, to lift the grass stems and remove any debris from the lawn. Raking ahead of mowing will give a much better result. Raking the lawn in springtime should be gentle so as not to thin out the grass unintentionally. Remember to set your mower blades fairly high during the spring as the lawn isn’t resilient enough for a short cut yet. To remove matted thatch from turf with the appropriate level of pressure, our lightweight Compact Power Rake is the ideal tool. It weighs just 129 lbs., allowing you to make light work of large areas without fatiguing.

Rake it easy

Raking is notoriously hard work. It’s tiring and can take its toll on your back if your lawn is sizeable. Billy Goat have a range of power rakes to make light work of large areas, saving your time (and your back!)

For the ultimate machine to help you get your lawn into shape, our versatile PR550 Power Rake is unbeatable. It is self-propelled and the vibration is reduced, improving operator comfort and handling. It converts to an overseeder or vertislicer with optional accessories, providing an all-in-one solution to your lawncare needs.

Get your lawns looking lush this spring with the machines that are cut out for the job.

The importance of green spaces and how you can take care of yours

With climate change and reducing our impact on the environment being increasingly on everyone’s radar, creating green spaces is becoming more important than ever.

Urban, green spaces are top of most councils’ agendas for 2020, as it has been for many years. But as time marches on, and the damaging impact of climate change becomes ever more apparent with crises like the Australian bushfires, it is becoming a more pressing issue.

Planting a tree is an easy way to offset your carbon footprint and is made even easier by websites where you can pay to do this without having to pick a space. There really is no excuse!

Green spaces aren’t just about planting trees and creating new woodlands. They are about outdoor leisure areas that people can enjoy and socialise in. Whilst the environmental benefits of green spaces are of course fantastic and vital, they are also beneficial to wellbeing, mental health and improving our quality of life. Getting outside and enjoying nature has been shown to improve mental health, and doctors now even prescribe it for people with depression and anxiety.

It’s not just about creating green spaces however, maintaining them is important too to make them an appealing space to spend time in. But, taking care of outdoor spaces can be hard, arduous work, particularly for large areas.

This is where Billy Goat comes in! We’ll help you clean up, and green up, your world.

If you’re starting from scratch and creating a new area, the first thing you’ll need is a powerful, efficient and effective brush cutter. The Billy Goat brush cutters are made for cutting through overgrown bush, fields, clearing meadows or paths. The combination of rigid 66 cm mowing decks, heavy-duty spindles and strong engines mean no job is too tough. The ergonomic controls make these brush cutters a perfect partner in some of the harshest environments, so they are comfortable to use.

Our turf renovation products will help you keep green spaces green too, giving your grass areas the perfect finish. Our power rakes and scarifiers will remove thatch; our overseeders will help you reseed in no time (in fact the PR series of rakes can convert to an overseeder by simply adding an attachment). We’ve also got powerful aerators to help growth and help to create better conditions for the exchange of air and water in the soil, improving the penetration of water and fertilisers.

So, you’ve created your green space and it looks perfect. But with people using it, and nature doing its thing, you’ll need to keep it clear and tidy. That’s where our debris clearance products come in. We’ve got force blowers that will help gather debris and leaves, and vacuums that will clear it, and even debris loaders for the really big jobs!

We love seeing green spaces being created, if you’re working on a new project then get in touch! Send your story and photos to billygoatuk@hentonandchattell.co.uk

Recover tired turf with Billy Goat

If your turf is in need of some TLC then it’s best to begin renovation work before the hot weather of the summer arrives.

Grass roots can be strengthened and tired patches recovered with a simply application of new seed. However, applying this to large areas of grounds, pitches and estates can often prove challenging and tiring. With the help of an overseeder from Billy Goat, arduous labour when spreading seed is a thing of the past!

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It doesn’t just spread the seed but it also works it into the ground by cutting through thatch to create small slits for the seed to fall into to encourage growth. To aid growth, the overseeder utilises Billy Goat’s exclusive Auto Drop feature that automatically starts or stops the seed drop with bale engagement.

The benefits of the OS500 series are endless. It has “no-tool” foldable handles that make it easy to store and transport across sites; it has premium steel pulleys with an easy to adjust idler which means that servicing is simple which in turn extends the machine’s lifespan; and it also has steel guards that protect the bearing and pulleys to further extend the lifespan. With an optional accessory it can also easily convert to a power rake, making this an extremely versatile machine and an excellent investment.

See for yourself how Billy Goat tackles really tough jobs at www.billygoat.co.uk

The Debris Loaders are a must have this season!

Debris Loaders from Billy Goat take all the effort out of the job and help clear up in minutes. These machines have hoses that range in size from 20cm by 3 metres to 35cm by 3 metres, so they certainly have the capacity to lend maintenance teams a hand when it comes to cleaning up.

These machines also offer cost-effective benefits to the user. You will get through shredding and cutting debris quickly meaning you can get more into your truck and can spend less time and fuel taking it to your local tip. You save time and money!

Billy Goat debris loaders can be used for any size residential or commercial application and it is available in a variety of sizes with a wide range of features.

The entry level machine is the DL1301HEU with 13hp and a Honda engine – it is perfect for small to medium-sized jobs. Light weight and low overall cost, this unit reduces debris up to 12:1. The intake hose is the best in class with a clear poly helical soil so you can visually see if a blockage occurs, allowing a quick fix to take place.

DL1301H

For increased power there is the DL1801V which has 18hp and a Briggs & Stratton engine. These units are ideal for mid to large property managers, contractors but also customers with very large gardens. These heavy-duty units feature CustomFit which allowes you to customise the loader to your truck. In addition, the units can be mounted in one of three ways: Tailgate mounted with optional hanger kit, truck with hitch mounted with the optional swing away hitch, or skid mounted to a trailer or truck. A clear coil also comes with this machine as standard to help avoid blockages.

DL1801

This machine can be upgraded to the DL1801VE which as an electric start – for quick and easy operation. All three of these models have four blades and eight cutting points to condense the rubbish it collects.

henton

The remaining two models in the range both have six blades and 12 cutting points to truly condense the waste. They are both recently new to the range and are the DL2900V and the DL3700V. Both machines have Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine and boast of 29hp and 37hp respectively.

See for yourself how Billy Goat tackles really tough jobs on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revive your garden after winter

2018 was a tough year for our gardens and it seems like they haven’t fully recovered from the extreme weather conditions we faced last year. It’s time to try and rejuvenate our lawns and gardens in prep for spring!

Aerate

Before you plan to see your lawn the first task you must do is to aerate your lawn. For the best combination of productivity, operator comfort, superior aeration results, variable hole density and remarkably low maintenance in its class, consider our PL2500SPH 25″ / 64cm Hydro-Drive aerator. The unit can aerate up to 4.000m2 per hour.

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Repair the patches

If your lawn has patches it might be time to reseed which will bring the lawn back to life in the next couple of months. Billy’s Goat Series Push Overseeder conserves seed with Billy Goat’s exclusive Auto Drop feature by automatically starting or stopping seed drop with bale engagement. Capable of covering 13,000sq.ft/hr, this machine will make light work of any turf space!

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Lawncare

The frost can really damage the lawn and the build-up of thatch can restrict light, air and moisture from reaching the roots.

Scarifying is very beneficial lawn treatment which is most effective when done ‘little and often’, rather than when a thatch problem has been allowed to become troublesome.

Billy Goat’s range of petrol powered lawn scarifiers manoeuvre effortlessly around both small and larger properties, removing matted thatch from any type of turf. The Billy Goat Power Rake (Scarifier), with its rugged design, can withstand the most demanding use. The PR’s flails propel the machine forwards, making it self-propelled and minimizing fatigue for the user.

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General maintenance

Trying to keep a post-winter garden clear can be a relentless task with weekly raking to keep fallen leaves at bay. Leaf vacuums offer a powerful solution and can gather leaves in moments.

To tackle a big job like this, Billy Goat’s range of lawn and leaf vacuums are available for use in residential gardens, as well as any and all large-scale industrial, commercial and municipal clean-up projects. Self-propelled and designed for use on hard and soft surfaces, Billy Goat’s machines can pick up debris ranging from bottles, litter, branches and leaves.

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For more information about the products mentioned visit our website!

Top Tips for December

Here are some top tips to keep on top of your garden maintenance before it gets too frozen to handle!

  • Pile leaves into one corner of the lawn, this creates a great space for hibernating animals
  • It is a great time to cut down any trees to ensure they don’t grow too close to buildings
  • Check your winter protection structures are still securely in place
  • Mulch the root area of evergreens, conifers, tender shrubs and perennials with a thick layer of organic matter to prevent the ground becoming frozenbilly.

Whilst Billy Goat have a range of incredibly powerful wheeled blowers designed to combat the mass of leaves which fall during the end of autumn, they could also be used for tackling light coverings of snow. With the patented ‘Aim n Shoot’ technology, this allows you to direct the airflow where you need it most, with fingertip control and is lockable for single positions.

For all of your gardening needs this winter, why not head to the Billy Goat website, where you can find a range of products available for all forms of grounds care, to help you clean up your world!

Leafing the Way

It’s that time of year again when autumn leaves pile up at the side of roads, in parks, sports pitches, car parks and public spaces. The colours might look wonderful when they’re still on the trees, but when they fall they aren’t quite so appealing.

autumn-bench-depth-of-field-19591

Damp leaves that become stuck to paths and walkways can present a slippery hazard, and piles of leaves can harbour pests and diseases, putting other plants at risk.

Using a handheld leaf blower sounds good, but we at Billy Goat believe we have something far more powerful and efficient.

Our range of Force Blowers deliver unbeatable power to get a large clean up job done in a matter of minutes. Don’t believe it? Watch the video and see how our Force Blowers, ranging from the F6 for residential and small property use, to the F18 Ultimate for all large-scale commercial and industrial jobs, compare to handheld and backpack models…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwR53WawjF8

F18

The F18 Ultimate creates an air velocity of just under 200 mph, blowing leaves farther and faster than with any other model in the lineup. It’s 570 cc commercial engine gives it phenomenal power, and there is also a self-propelled option, so fatigue from hand pushing is not an issue on large jobs.

For more information about Billy Goat’s Force Blowers, visit http://www.billygoat.co.uk/Force%20Blowers.html