Garden Design Myths – Episode 4 – All In A Day’s Work

Morbid Fascination: Poisonous UK Plants
The Best British Plants for Autumn

It’s been a while since we did one of these debunking blogs, but some recent questionable conversation has inspired us to dust our gloves off and climb back in the ring. Gardening myths are (normally) harmless, but they can obviously lead to spending time and energy in the wrong places. Few of us are blessed with enough of that, so we’ve got our capes on and are ready to swoop in and save your day. Are you ready? Really? OK let’s go. Pants on the outside and all that.

Clay-be-gone: just add sand.

I mean this one doesn’t even sound like it would work, does it?

Clay soil is the blight of any gardener. It hardens in the dry, it’s tacky in the wet. It barely drains water and you can almost hear plant roots straining to break through the stuff. But most soil has clay, along with sand and silt. It’s the ratio that has a bearing.

The right mix of clay and sand is pretty much 50:50, but most gardeners make the mistake of applying sand like a cure-all salve. Just bung a tonne of it in and hope for the best. Well the problem there is that you’ll skew the ratio the wrong way, and you’ll rarely mix the sand in evenly across the bed. What this leads to is a concentrated area of permeable soil, meaning water will be drawn to it and you’ll have yourself an undersoil lake. That doesn’t sound good either, does it?

Most people can’t convert a garden themselves. Don’t take offence at that, it’s a Herculean task. To add the right amount of sand, you’re looking at a quarter of a tonne per metre of clay. Can you lift a quarter of a tonne? Do you know what a quarter of a tonne looks like?

Don’t try using sand to cure clay.

It’s a stake-out: protecting young trees.

This one does make sense, in your head. Staking young trees to protect them from wind will help them reach a stage of maturity when they can stand on their own.

But think about that. If they don’t need to fight wind in their formative months, will they logically develop the strength to withstand it later? If you shelter your children from the world, do they grow up streetwise and able to instantly cope with real adult life? Not normally.

Stake your tree for 18 months at most, otherwise reliance will build and even hitting the gym before work won’t help your tree bulk up. Let them sway in the wind, suppress your urge to go out and help them, and they’ll grow up and big and strong and make you proud.

Magnification: leaves like ants

I genuinely saw, and I’m not joking, somebody batting water off their plants after a rain shower. Their reason: the water acts as a magnifying glass and burns the leaves.

Again…there is some logic to this…I guess. But we live in a rainy country. How often do you see scorched leaves?

Water droplets on leaves are far too close to the green to be able to magnify the rays of the sun. It won’t make a blind bit of difference. In fact, it can protect them from the worse of the UV and heat. Leave them alone. Stop hitting them for being wet.

Come on now…

Eden Restored is a team of passionate garden designers working throughout London, Kent and Surrey.

We deliver value-for-money on projects of any size, from inner-city courtyards to countryside cottages.

To discuss your ideas and how we can help throughout the entire process, get in touch.

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