Get out in the garden and experience better mental and physical health

Lots of us find enjoyment relaxing in our own green spaces or getting our hands dirty transforming our gardens, and these activities are great for positively impacting health. The benefits of connecting to nature, and nurturing lawns, plants and vegetables are diverse, impacting both physical and psychological health. 

The University of Exeter and the Royal Horticultural Society backs up the theory that gardening and caring for lawns, plants and vegetables provides added value to people’s lives. The study found that the 61% of people who don’t make use of their garden experience poor health, whilst 71% of those who are regularly out in their garden report good overall health and concluded that people who use their gardens and outdoor areas experience a range of benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and an increased confidence and self-esteem.

At Cobra we also know how important it is to get out gardening and have a wide range of tools to make it effortless and convenient, so it becomes something to enjoy rather than dread! With an impressive range of electric, battery, petrol, and cordless products that offer reliability and power, each has unique features that ensure there is the perfect tool for everyone.

What’s the best mower for smaller spaces?

The award-winning MX3440V cordless lawnmower is one of the best if you’ve got a smaller lawn. Its adjustable lever gives you the option of five cutting heights, so it can tackle even the unruliest grass, and the foldable handles mean that it can be stored away in restricted spaces – making it the perfect choice if you have a small shed. The MX3440V is also powered by a Samsung 40V Lithium-ion battery, resulting in power with a lightweight feel and quiet running. For added convenience, the batteries from this range can also be used to power the strimmer and leaf blower, allowing garden maintenance to become quick and easy, leaving you with more time to enjoy the great outdoors.

How to tackle areas the mower can’t reach?

Our range of brushcutters make the maintenance of hard to reach, long, uneven grass effortless. The BC260C offers consistent, strong power – with its 2-stroke engine – whilst achieving reduced fuel consumption and industry leading low emission levels. It also comes complete with a tap ‘n’ go double line cutting head, allowing for ease when mowing and thinning, whilst the robust guard increases operator safety. In addition to its straight shaft and loop handle, which creates increased operator feel and manoeuvrability, the BC260C has also been designed with ergonomically positioned controls that not only makes using it more comfortable, but also as safe as possible.

How to achieve a perfect lawn with ease

For the ultimate in lawncare, our range of scarifiers help to revitalise grass by removing any damaging thatch, providing better drainage, and allowing air, moisture, and nutrients to reach the root so your grass stays healthy.

Scarifying can be done by hand with a rake, but this is backbreaking, labour intensive work. The S390H offers the complete scarifying experience, with its 16 fixed blades – meaning it can collect thatch in 15” passes – taking the hard work out of lawncare. For increased flexibility, the SA40E combines a scarifier and aerator in one compact machine with a 15” scarifying drum and a 14-blade aerator. This means you can de-thatch, improve drainage and ease your soil compaction using one machine, producing healthy and vibrant grass with ease.

Getting out into nature and creating a lawn that is loved and cared for is important for people’s health, whether mental or physical, and at Cobra, we are passionate about providing the tools to make it as easy and stress-free as possible.

How to connect with the natural world

Guest post from Ellen Mary Gardening

The benefits of gardening are becoming much more documented now with people all around the world experiencing positive health and wellbeing from being outside. We already know that gardening helps to reduce anxiety, depression and the risk of cardiovascular disease plus getting hands in the soil is great for increasing serotonin levels due to contact with Mycobacterium vaccae which research has shown to kick off happy chemicals!

Apart from those wonderful benefits, just getting outside in the fresh air, listening to bird song and sowing seeds is incredibly therapeutic and gardening allow us time out from our busy lives and focusses our minds on the tasks at hand. All of which of course provide us with hope for the future, and as we nurture our plants we can liken that to nurturing ourselves as well.

So how do we better connect with the natural world when we are outside in our gardens?

  1. Walking bare foot

Walking bare foot brings us into direct contact with the planet and allows us to absorb the natural negative energy the earth provides. This is known as ‘earthing’ and can help to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and physically helps us with balance and posture. It’s great on a warm morning in the garden or on the beach.

Activity: Get your socks off! Put your shoes aside. Feel liberated by walking outside on the lawn with bare feet or a soft outside surface. The garden, the beach, the spongy woodland floor. Feel the natural negative charge from the earth being absorbed through the soles of your feet. Allow it to happen, accept it. Breathe deeply and relax.

  1. Sow some seeds

Gardening is a great way to get outside, enjoy some physical exercise and get the endorphins flowing. Working the soil is a great way to be in contact with the good bacteria so getting your hands dirty is no bad thing. Sowing seeds is a great way to not only grow your own food but also for children to understand where their food comes from. Great seeds to try with children as Sunflowers, Nasturtiums and microgreens which grow really quickly.

Activity: Be mindful and sow some seeds. Before you do, feel the seeds in your hand. What is the texture, shape, size. Look close at the detail – does each seed differ? Smell them and if they are edible, taste them. Marvel at the way those tiny seeds become big fruits, vegetables or flowers.

3.    Make a herbal tea.

Swap out your usual cuppa for a tea made especially for you, by you. Make it with dried flowers or herbs and take your time over every sip. Feel the natural goodness healing your mind, body and soul. Focus on every step, listen to the sound as the water pours, can you hear the movement of the water absorbing the goodness from the herbs?

Activity: Think about what herbs you love the fragrance and taste of. Or, if you have a health issue that you would like to try and ease with herbs, what kind of herb can you grow in your garden to help yourself with. Perhaps Lavender for headaches or mint for digestion.

For more ideas find a free 30 moments in nature download on my website www.ellenmarygardening.co.uk and for a journey into gardening for wellbeing my new book is now available on pre-order. Find ‘The Joy of Gardening; the everyday zen of mowing the lawn’ on Amazon and Waterstones.

Make 2021 the year of the lawn with expert buying advice from Cobra

It may feel like a long way off, but spring really is just around the corner, and now is the time to get planning for the growing season. Lawncare will have eased off over the winter months, but with grass growing at temperatures above 5°C, it won’t be long until you need to get the mower out and start trimming.

Whether you are looking to upgrade and replace an existing lawnmower, or if you are buying your first one, Cobra’s wide range offers petrol, electric and battery powered options, to suit every garden, and new models for 2021 provide even more choice.

Looking for a convenience?

For the ultimate in convenience, the Cobra Lithium-ion battery powered products areideal as the batteries are interchangeable across the whole range. One battery can power your mower, your strimmer and your leaf blower –  letting you get more done without the need for petrol or cables.

The new MX460S40V  is a great all-rounder mower from the 40 volt collection.  It is self-propelled, making it great for sloping gardens and has seven different cutting heights ranging from 25mm for a superb low finish, up to 75mm for tackling longer grass. With a cutting width of 18”, it’s ideal for small or medium sized gardens.

The mower also benefits from a mulching function, allowing the grass to be recycled by finely cutting and re-cutting the clippings. As the clippings decompose, nutrients and fertilisers are returned to the soil meaning grass can be cut and fertilised at the same time – creating a healthy, green lawn.

For those who want all of the features of the MX460S40V but need more force, the MX51S80V doubles it by using twin 40V Li-ion batteries to deliver 80V of cutting power as part of the new Cobra 80V range due to be launched in the spring. With a larger cutting width of 21”, this model will be best suited to a medium sized garden to help get the job done more quickly.

MX460S40V

Power: 40V 5Ah lithium-ion

18” cutting width

Small / Medium size lawn

Up to 45 minute run time £379.99

MX51S80V

Power: Twin 40V 5Ah lithium-ion

20” cutting width

Medium/ Large size lawn

Up to 55 minute run time £559.99

Also in the new 80v range is theRM43SP80V . With a cutting width of 17” it is compact, but absolutely feature packed. It has self-propelled drive and a rear roller to provide a neat, traditional finish to the lawn. All this, with a 101 minute run time off a single charge. For slightly larger lawns, the RM51SP80V provides the same 80V of power, but with an additional three inches of cutting width.

RM43SP80V

Power: Twin 40V lithium-ion

17” cutting width

Small size lawn

Up to 50 minute run time £569.99

RM51SP80V

Power: Twin 40V lithium ion

20” cutting width

Medium/ Large size lawn

Up to 45 minute run time £669.99

For trickier spaces

Awkward areas such as steep banks can be a nightmare to cut, not to mention dangerous. The AirMow range from Cobra offers the solution, as these mowers literally float on a cushion of air, to maintain grassy slopes up to a 45° angle with all the freedom that a petrol-powered machine brings. The cushion of air between the mower and the ground means it can be glided across the grass with very little effort. All AirMow models come with a 20” cutting width and a wheel-kit included.

You don’t even have to lift a finger!

For those without the time, or inclination, to mow their lawn, the MowBot is an excellent solution. This automatic, robotic lawnmower will trim an entire lawn quietly and effortlessly and is the perfect eco-friendly mowing solution. Developed with convenience in mind, the Mowbot range offers Bluetooth connectivity and a range of attractive cover styles, from midnight black to floral, to camouflage. 

There are two models of Mowbot available. The Mowbot800 is for gardens up to 800m2, and the Mowbot1200 is for larger lawns up to 1200m2. Both have a 7” cutting width and are powered by 28V lithium-ion batteries, with a charging house coming as standard with both models. The cutting height ranges from 20mm to 60mm, allowing for regular trims as well as the option to leave the grass a bit longer.

Thanks to its quiet operation, the Mowbot can cut lawns day or night, and even the weather isn’t a problem – if it starts to rain the built-in rain sensors will automatically send the Mowbot back to its included charging station.

Something for all sizes

With more than 100 mowers in its range, Cobra has a mower for all sized gardens. The best-selling and award winning MX3440V is the most compact at just 13” it is ideal for small lawns and doesn’t take up much storage space either!

The larger the cutting deck, the quicker the job! The range goes all the way up to the 22” petrol powered M56SPB, with all the power to tackle large gardens with absolute ease. And, for those in between, Cobra also has many models designed specifically for average sized gardens with cutting widths around 16”.

MX3440V

Power: 40v lithium ion

13” cutting width

Small size lawn

Weight: 16.3kg £220.00

M56SPB

Power: 163cc Briggs & Stratton 650EXI   Series petrol engine

22” cutting width

Medium to large size lawn £439.99

Beyond the mower

It is important to remember that lawncare does not end with mowers. Employing simple care and maintenance routine a couple of times a year in spring and autumn with really help a lawn to look its best. Lawns may be suffering from compaction at this time of year causing the grass to yellow or for weeds to grow. A scarifier may be needed if a manual rake is not up to the job. The SA32E Electric Scarifier and Aerator has the ability to both scarify and aerate lawns, which allows air and moisture to reach the soil and encourage strong, vibrant growth.

After raking or scarifying, lawns can be mowed around once every fortnight, making sure not to cut it too short as this will strip it of essential moisture and cause it to dry out. As spring progresses into summer, mowing frequency can be increased as it begins to grow faster.

A perfect lawn is nothing if it has messy edges. Cobra have that covered too with its range of lawn strimmers. There are battery models available, which work with the same batteries that power the mowers, as well as petrol and electric options too.

Cobra has more than 100 lawnmowers in its range, so there is a perfect solution for every garden – large or small, flat or sloping. 

Invest in your lawn now and it will pay dividends in the months to come.

Happy New Year, and here’s to a bright 2021!

It’s no secret that 2020 was the year that we were all willing to end – and now it has! January is here, and the new year brings hope and  anticipation for the future.

Whether you took up gardening last year, when you found yourself with more time on your hands, or if you were already a keen gardener, now is the time to start making plans so that all of last year’s work doesn’t go to waste. Perhaps there’s a project that you’ve been inspired to do? Whatever your ideas for your garden, it’s always best to have a plan of action. Why not spend this month, when there is little to physically do in the garden, planning and  gathering inspiration for the coming year?

Cobra has everything you need to get your garden ship-shape and well maintained throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to make a list of your upcoming tasks to see what equipment you need. One of your first jobs of the year will be trimming hedges and trees, before the bird nesting season starts. Removing any dead or damaged branches will also prevent further damage and will neaten your garden up. For trees, try the Cobra CS35040VZ 40v cordless chainsaw. Lightweight at just 5.5kg, the chainsaw is packed with innovative features to help you maintain your garden with minimal effort. For added convenience, the battery is interchangeable throughout our entire 40v range.

To tidy up your hedges, the Cobra HT55040VZ cordless hedgetrimmer is built to tackle the most demanding jobs. With its 55cm double sided blade, tooth spacing of 28mm and 40v Li-ion Samsung battery it will make light work of hedges. Lightweight, powerful and easy to use, it will see you through all of your hedgetrimming jobs throughout the year. Being cordless, it is easy and safe to transport to allotments if needed too!

If you are just starting out on your gardening journey, or if you simply need to replace a number of tools and want to save space (and money) a great option is a multi-tool. These multi-functional tools include a variety of useful attachments to tackle a variety of jobs that will always crop up in the garden.

The Cobra MT270K 5-in-1 Petrol Multi-Tool System is powered by a 26.3cc Kawasaki engine, it includes four high-quality attachments – a grass trimmer, a brushcutter, a pole pruner and a long reach hedgecutter with articulating head, together with an extension shaft for ultimate versatility. All the tools to tackle garden tasks on one space-saving handle!

A little bit of forward planning and sorting now, will mean a more productive and organised gardening year ahead.  View the full range of Cobra garden machinery here: https://www.cobragarden.co.uk/

Getting fired up this winter

Everyone loves a bonfire in the winter. They not only provide heat during these chilly months, but they’re a great way of getting rid of any garden waste that you’re not composting. This includes wood, branches, bark, weeds or anything similar. Before a bonfire is lit, though, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Read local guidelines

The guidelines for lighting a bonfire will vary depending on where you live, so make sure to check what your local council recommends before making your bonfire. If bonfires are allowed in your area, it’s important to check with your neighbours first so they can close their windows and doors to avoid the smoke. If you want to ignite that community spirit, why not ask if they have any garden waste of their own that they want to pop on the fire?

2. Choosing a location for the bonfire

Build your bonfire in a safe place that won’t present a fire hazard to surrounding buildings, trees or fences. To do this, you’ll need to make sure the bonfire is at a distance of at least five times its own height from buildings or nearby objects. A slabbed area would be an ideal base, because building your fire on grass would not only scorch it, but could also cause excess smoke.

A clear space is also key, as unwanted materials may be accidently added to the bonfire if the area is not cleared first. Checking for hedgehogs or other animals is important too, so you’ll need to make sure they’re not hidden underneath any leaves. Our Cobra BV6524V Cordless Blower would be a practical tool to clear the area and reveal any prickly friends so that you can move them safely out of harm’s way. Its turbo mode provides a strong air output – easily clearing leaves out of the way – whilst the eco mode provides a quieter blow. Being handheld and battery powered, it also allows increased manoeuvrability and a lightweight feel.

3. Avoid damp weather and materials

Damp or wet garden waste will not only be harder to light, but it can also make your bonfire really smoky. Using fully dried materials will not only reduce smoke production, but it will also be better for the environment. Remember to light your bonfire on a dry, clear day too. If the air is damp, smoke can hang and make it foggy in surrounding areas, including your neighbours garden and nearby roads. This would be classed as an offence under The Highway Act 1980, so it’s important to remember that clear skies are best.

4. Shred your garden waste

To stay in control of your bonfire, make sure the garden waste being used is cut into small pieces. If you use large branches or pieces of wood, the bonfire can easily become unmanageable and hazardous. Our range of Cobra Petrol Powered Chainsaws would be the ideal appliance for you to cut up any large pieces of wood or longer branches, making them easier and safer to put into the bonfire. Our chainsaws come in different sizes, including 14’’, 16’’ and 18’’, so you can choose a size best suited to you.

If you need to make your waste even smaller and more manageable, the Cobra QS2500 Quiet Shredder would be a great tool to use. The plunger makes it easier to push the materials through the shredder, whilst the 50-litre collection box keeps all your shredded garden waste in one place, keeping your tidying up to a minimum. That’s not all, though – this shredder is also a great tool for cutting up materials to use for compost or mulch throughout the year.

5. Save the bonfire ash

The ash from your bonfire has a number of useful qualities for gardening, so make sure you collect it after letting it cool for a few days. Using a small amount of ash in you compost heap can help reduce its acidity, and it acts as a plant nutrient too. Avoid using too much in your gardening, though, as it can create excessive alkalinity, meaning the nutrients – such as iron and manganese – will dissolve easily, which can result in lime-induced chlorosis.

Following these simple guidelines on safety, wildlife protection and neighbourliness will result in a flaming good time for all!

Protect our prickly garden friends

All gardeners know that hedgehogs are great allies to have – they hoover up slugs and snails (the gardener’s nemeses), and love eating caterpillars, beetles and invertebrates. The future has looked worrisome for our prickly friends for some time now, but due to their drastic decline, they are now listed as ‘vulnerable’ on Britain’s red list of mammals, with numbers falling by up to 50% in rural areas since 2000.

As hedgehogs prepare to hunker down for their hibernation, which begins in November and lasts until March, gardeners can play a part in helping to create comfortable habitats for them to keep snug throughout the winter.

Hedgehogs favour layers of leaves to create their winter nests, so keep a pile separate from your mulching or composting, and place it in dark corner of the garden that won’t be disturbed. Making an area of the garden more like a hedgehog habitat, even just a corner that is a little wilder, will help to encourage hedgehogs to take up residence. You may even want to make or purchase a hedgehog house and fill it with newspaper strips, hay, and dry autumn leaves. Make sure that hedgehogs have easy access to your garden by creating a hole in each fence for them to crawl through, and  remember to keep your garage and shed doors closed so that hedgehogs don’t get trapped inside.

A blower is a great tool to have to help clear leaves away, and blow them into your hedgehog corner.

The BV2600 Electric Powered Blower Vacuum has a power rating of 2600W and a wind speed of 270km/h, which means it can cope with damp, soggy leaves easily, whilst its ergonomic handle makes it comfortable to use. With the additional benefit of being able to switch instantly to its power mulching system, along with its large 45ltr collection bag, this is the perfect tool to create a pile of leaves for the hedgehogs, and clear away the rest of them neatly.  

If you’re after more power to clear a medium to large area, or even if you just prefer a petrol machine, the easy to start Cobra BV26C 26cc Petrol Powered Blower Vac has everything you need. Again, with the additional benefit of quick change blow to vac and high-performance mulching capabilities, you’ll be able to tidy your garden in no time, clearing leaves to prevent leaf mold diseases from spreading, and helping to create cosy hedgehog habitats.

An alternative to electric or petrol, and a great option for those who are after something lightweight and easy to use is a battery powered version. Being battery powered also means that it is easy and safe to transport if you have an allotment, and noise is kept to a minimum – which the hedgehogs will no doubt appreciate. The Cobra BV65V Cordless Blower is powered by a 24v Lithium-ion battery and boasts a run time of up to 20 minutes. Users can swtich between eco and turbo modes, depending upon how much power they need.

A little bit of clearing and sorting now, as the leaves are falling, can help create valuable habitats for these precious creatures, that need our support to save them from disappearing entirely. View the full range of Cobra garden machinery here, and don’t forget to check for snoozing hedgehogs before clearing any areas: https://www.cobragarden.co.uk/

Mulchi-tasking

There is no escaping the fact the autumn has officially arrived – there is that familiar crisp feel to the air, even on a bright, sunny day, and the leaves are beginning to turn an array of rusty orange and russet red. It won’t be long before the trees shake off their leaves entirely and bare their arms ready for the embrace of winter.

This sprinkle of fallen leaves can be seen as curse for gardeners, creating slippery pathways and the perfect breeding ground for pests and diseases. When used correctly, though, leaves can be a blessing.

1. Feed your lawn

A covering of leaves on your lawn can suffocate it, but by mowing them in, you can feed the grass with a great soil conditioner that will help it retain moisture and stay healthy over winter. You’ll need a mulching lawnmower for this, which is designed to recirculate the grass clippings so they are cut into small pieces and can be left on the lawn rather than collected and bagged.

2. Make mulch and compost

Leaf litter can be used directly as mulch, by simply drying and shredding the leaves, and spreading them around your plants. Leaf mulch has a number of great benefits, breaking down into a soil conditioner and insulating plants and vegetables, and acting as a useful weed barrier. For an extra boost, the collected leaves can be turned into leaf mould, a nutritious mulch material that can provide multiple health benefits to your plants and soil, including;

  • Improving soil fertility, which reduces the need for fertilising
  • Suppressing weeds
  • Improving soil texture, which helps with drainage
  • Helping to retain moisture
  • Protecting roots from extreme temperatures

The process of making leaf mould is very simple. Once you have gathered up the leaves – try using a blower for speed and ease – place them in a compost bin and leave to break down over time, keeping the mixture damp and turning it over at least once a week. For a nicely balanced compost, mix in some grass clippings to add nitrogen. 

Your mixture will be ready to use in spring, providing your garden with free, organic goodness through the year.

3. Insulation for your shed

The simplest thing you can do with leaves is collect them up and pop them in a bag, packing them as tightly as you can. Stack the bags up along the walls of your shed to keep it insulated during the freezing winter months. The leaves can then be used in spring as a useful mulch – that is some seriously helpful mulchi-tasking.

September is the best month to invest in your lawn

September is the best month for autumn lawncare and renovation as the weather is still relatively warm with little risk of frost, there is plenty of rainfall (certainly the case for the last couple of weeks), and there are fewer seeding weeds. It is also great time to examine your lawn for any signs of wear-and-tear so that any treatment you apply has a chance to take effect before temperatures drop.

Weekly mowing can still continue but it’s important to raise your mower height by one or two settings once the growth starts to slow. It’s also best to mow in the afternoon as dew is returning and damp, morning grass can easily clog up inside your mower.

Our wide range of mowers offers petrol, electric and battery powered options, to suit every garden. If you’re looking for a good all-rounder, you can’t go wrong with our award-winning MX3440V Cordless Mower. It lets you get more done without the need for cables and has five different cutting heights. It’s ideal for small or medium sized gardens. It’s great for people trying to choose more environmentally friendly alternatives too and can be easily and safely stored away over winter, without the worry of draining and storing unused petrol.

September is the time for heavy scarifying, if your lawn requires it. This is only necessary if your lawn has thick hatch or moss infestations, so check for that before you begin. Scarifying is a process that removes this ‘undergrowth’ from lawns which, if left, can prevent water and fertilisers from reaching the roots and soil. If done by hand, scarifying can be a backbreaking process, particularly if you have a large lawn or if it is particularly affected by moss and thatch. In these circumstances, a scarifier would be a much better choice of tool than a rake.  Our S3840V Battery Powered Scarifier is ideal for domestic lawns, running for up to 45 minutes on a single charge.

You may have also noticed that your lawn is suffering from compaction, with the ground feeling very hard and rainwater running off it easily. This is not uncommon after a long, hot summer – particularly one when we all had to spend most of it at home and in our gardens, trampling the lawn. Aerating your lawn will allow better movement of air and water throughout the soil, creating a healthier root system so that it will manage better in periods of drought or waterlogging. Concentrate on areas that receive the most wear and those that are heavily compacted. Our SA32E Electric Scarifier and Aerator has the ability to both scarify and aerate your lawn, which will allow air and moisture to reach the soil and encourage strong, vibrant growth.

Once you’ve scarified and aerated, you may notice that your lawn looks worse than it did before you started. Don’t worry, this is totally normal! After several weeks of strong growth the look of your lawn will improve and it will, in time, be much healthier than before. To help with recovery it may be necessary to overseed, particularly where there are bare patches. Again, September is the perfect time to be doing this, as the weather conditions are just right.

You can now harden your lawn up for winter by watering well and applying an autumn lawn feed, which is high in potassium which will help the grass to develop deeper roots, followed by applying a top dressing. This is the application of loam, sand and well-rotted organic matter in order to correct surface irregularities and improve the texture of difficult soils. This encourages greater rooting and thickening of turf.

Top-dressing mix is generally three parts sandy loam, six parts sharp sand and one part compost or leafmould which is worked into the lawn using the back of a rake.

 

Cutting back before autumn

August is a good time to get your garden back in check after the bulk of the summer growth. It’s amazing how much plants, trees, hedges and grass grow at this time of year, and left untended, gardens can become unkempt and overrun in no time! Towards the end of August, temperatures generally dip a little, meaning a slowdown in growth as the seasons begin to change. This month, cut back where you need to and your garden will look all the better for it next year.

Wildflower meadows have exploded in popularity recently as people have come to understand the important role they play in supporting our precious bees and butterflies. They also look stunning and lots of people have created mini wildflower meadows among their lawns to enjoy in their gardens.

August is the right time to collect seed heads from some of your wildflowers, then cut back your patch, as the flowers have released their seeds. Cutting back your wildflowers now will mean that they’ll come back in beautiful abundance next year.

Our brushcutters are perfect for the job – they have been expertly designed in the U.K to cater specifically for the changing conditions of the British garden and will make light work of cutting longer vegetation. Don’t worry if the wildflower patch looks bare and muddy when you’ve cut it back – the mud provides fertile ground for the seeds. Make sure you remove all the cuttings and add them to your compost pile.

With the classically British mixture of warm days and plenty of rain we’ve had, the shrubs, trees and hedges around the garden are in need of a good cut back after a growth spurt! Some of us have put off giving the garden a thorough trim, as waste recycling centres have been closed over lockdown, so now is the time to get the job done.

Even if you have been trimming your garden over lockdown, August is a good time for a maintenance trim before autumn. Our hedgetrimmer range has a model to suit everybody and every garden, including some long-reach models to tackle even the most unruly and outsized hedges. Investing in the right tools for the job will make it much quicker and easier. You might even be less likely to put it off in the future! They are ergonomically designed to be perfectly balanced, making them effortless to use.

Remember to check hedges thoroughly for nesting birds before you start trimming – nesting season runs from April to August and most of the birds will have flown the nest, but check for birds just in case and delay your trim for a month if necessary.

If you’ve cut back and need to get rid of the branches, why not use a shredder or chipper to break the material down so you can put in the compost bin? Wood chippings, along with food waste create a well-balanced compost that you will be able to nourish your garden with next year. Our QS2500 quiet drum shredder, a Kitchen Garden Magazine Best Buy, is a quiet drum shredder, designed to make shredding garden waste simple and effortless. If you need something more heavy-duty, our chippers make light work o

green debris and larger branches.

Don’t forget to protect yourself with goggles and gloves when you’re cutting back your garden or shredding waste.

Get your garden in order before autumn and then sit back with something refreshing and enjoy the last days of summer!

Projects to keep the kids entertained in the garden

Lockdown has been a different experience for everyone. For families with kids, keeping them entertained and home schooled has no doubt been quite challenging at times! Lockdown is lifting, but families will be spending lots of time at home together over the summer holidays very soon. Many of us have cancelled or postponed holidays abroad and will be having more of a staycation this year. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for good weather so we can be outdoors as much as possible. Here are a few ideas to keep the little ones busy in the garden.

Composting class

If your home schooling has been lacking, teach the kids about composting! Learning why it’s important and how the process works is interesting for children, and they can follow the process as it develops, eventually using their own compost to fertilise the garden. They can make it their own little project and it will help you out too!

Weed hunt

This is another thinly veiled trick to get the kids doing something useful in the garden! Spend a morning finding weeds with them and identifying and naming them. Then, show them how to pull up the weed and its root properly. When they’ve learned to identify a few different weeds and they understand how to pull them up, set them on a weed hunt and see how many they can find in an hour. You may need pocket money bribery for this one…

Build a bug hotel

Most children are fascinated by watching minibeasts, so the idea of building a bug hotel is exciting and really gets their imagination going. Gather old tubes, pallets, wooden crates and old plant pots and build a structure with plenty of layers, nooks and crannies for the bugs to make themselves at home. The Woodland Trust have got lots of great ideas for your bug hotel here. When you’ve finished building, get the kids to paint a colourful hotel sign. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for the guests to arrive!

Leaf rubbing scrapbook

Leaf rubbings are easy to do and they can look really beautiful. Get your kids to start a garden scrapbook, perhaps divided into seasons, to stick their leaf rubbings into. They can name the leaf and put dates against each rubbing to keep track of what trees you have in your garden (or local park).

Growing competition

If you’ve got competitive kids, they’ll love a plant growing competition! Depending on how patient they are, get them to plant their own tree, or sunflower, or even a tomato plant. If you sow soon then you can even start a pumpkin growing competition and see who has the largest one by Halloween. This will encourage them to learn the basics of gardening, especially diligent watering over the summer!

Make a seed packet

Making seed packets is a wonderful learning tool to help kids understand the lifecycle of a plant. They can make decorative packets to give to friends or family, or keep the seeds to plant next year. Poppies, marigolds and cornflowers all produce seeds that are easy to collect and they all have bright, bold colours that kids love. BBC Gardening has done a great tutorial on how to make seed packets here.

Grow something tasty

Herbs and cress are easy and quick to grow, boosting confidence in young gardeners! Growing a few herbs in pots by the back door means that they can check on the progress daily, and they can help gather freshly cut herbs for cooking! So they don’t lose interest, plant something that grows really quickly and something they have to wait for. Sow cress seeds in a shallow tray indoors on some damp cotton wool for a harvest in just a few days and sow parsley, chives and oregano to see growth in about three weeks.

We’d love to see what you and your kids get up to in the garden this summer! Share your projects with us and tag us into your pictures on Instagram @cobragardenmachinery.