Have a Cracking Christmas from Cobra

It’s that time of year again! Whether you’re a Christmas fanatic or not, it’s still a wonderful time to give the gift of giving.

If one of your loved ones is an avid gardener, we have plenty of ideas when it comes to choosing the perfect present!

Even if you know someone who dislikes gardening, but it is still a necessary weekend task for them, you can choose from our range of tools that are designed to be lightweight, easy and quick to use, saving more time to do the things they enjoy instead!

hedge

Our range of hedgetrimmers are available as electric, cordless and petrol models. This H5024V has a 24v Li-ion battery, providing as much as 50 minutes runtime. Its 50cm/19inch double-sided blade, combined with the fact that it only weighs 2.6kg, will make light work of the garden hedges!

£76.99

lawn

Help your loved ones speed up mowing the lawn with a self-propelled, battery-powered lawnmower – the Cobra MX46S40V takes the hard work out of pushing a heavy machine around the garden. It also has mulching abilities, making it possible to provide the lawn with vital moisture and nutrients without needing to take any additional time to do it – and there is no need to empty a grass collection bag!

£489.99

multi

The Cobra MT250C has everything needed to help around the garden without having to purchase and store four individual tools. This multi-tool is powered by a Cobra petrol 25cc engine and has four quality attachments – a grass trimmer, brushcutter and pole pruner and an articulating long reach hedgetrimmer.

The grass trimmer attachment tidies long grass and undergrowth thanks to its double line feed, as well as tap ‘n’ go for releasing more string when required with complete ease. It also features a robust guard to protect the user – and their flower beds!

The pole pruner helps to access hard to reach branches with its long reach shaft and 30cm bar and chain, of chainsaw quality. Similarly, the hedgetrimmer feature has a 72cm shaft with 42cm cutting blade with 30mm tooth spacing along with an articulating head allowing you to easily adjust the angle of the cut through 180 degrees.

The lightweight MT250C multi-tool comes as standard with a single shoulder harness for enhanced user comfort.

£249.99

glove

…and no gardener can go without gloves! Our Cobra Gardening Gloves provide all-round protection, warmth and comfort – made with Spandex and PVC, they have extra padding on the palms and knuckles, as well as silicon fingertips for added comfort. There is also an adjustable wrist strap for a super snug fit – the perfect stocking filler!

£10.99

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Tree Careful this Winter!

At this time of the year, the nights are drawing in and the weather is turning colder. It is time to start protecting your garden before winter arrives.

To protect any trees or shrubs you may have, it is a good idea to cut away any dead branches now. This task is made easier and quicker with a chainsaw. Use it to cut down larger branches and saw them into smaller pieces and add it to your compost or leafmould pile. A shredder will tackle large branches and shred them into much smaller pieces, which will speed up the time it takes for them to break down into compost.

Take some time to inspect any climbing plants in your garden, and make sure they are secured to a trellis or support if necessary. It is also important to check any trees too, in case a harsh winter storm causes branches, or the entire tree, to fall down. You can cut away any branches you are unsure about with a chainsaw.

Regularly collect any fallen leaves from lawns, paths and driveways. These can also be added to your compost mix.

Why is it important to collect fallen leaves from the lawn?

Leaving leaves to pile up in the garden could mean they become dangerously slippery when damp or icy, particularly on driveways and other hard surfaces. Piles of leaves may also harbour pests and diseases over winter, potentially spreading to your lawn or other plants next spring.

Finally, leaves which cover the lawn can also prevent vital sunshine and ventilation from reaching the grass, hindering what little growth there is left for this season, and damaging its health for next year.

For more about what to do with your fallen leaves, click here to read last month’s blog.

In the meantime, enjoy the different colours on the trees while they last, this month will probably be the last month to appreciate them before they all fall off by December.

Autumnal Inspiration

There are some trees and shrubs that produce wonderful autumnal colour displays, such as Acer palmatum which has deep red leaves.

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Another is Rhus typhina which produces a stunning display of red, pink, yellow and green leaves.

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Callicarpa bodinieri is a mid-sized shrub that produces delicate lilac flowers in summer and amazing purple berries in autumn!

berry

Much Ado About Mulch

Summer is well and truly over (if we can call it a summer this year?!) and the leaves are starting to fall as autumn brings the wind, rain and even frost.

leaves

Fallen leaves can pose a hazard in the garden; they can be a haven for pests and disease, as well as becoming dangerously slippery once it rains.

Rather than leaving them to rot on the ground, you can collect them and turn them into leaf mould, a type of mulch that is a nutritious, inexpensive material which will provide many health benefits your plants, soil, containers and borders, including:

  • Improving soil texture, helping drainage
  • Helping to retain moisture
  • Protecting roots from extreme temperatures
  • Suppressing weeds and keeping containers and borders looking attractive and tidy

The process of making leaf mould is very simple. Start by raking up all the leaves from your garden into a large pile, or, for an easier method, use a leaf blower – your back will thank you for it!

Next, either place the leaves in a compost bin, a container made from chicken wire or bin liners. To help improve the leaf mould, you can also add the grass clippings from your last mow this year, which will add more nutrient to the mixture.

leaf

You can leave the mixture to slowly break down, and it can be used next spring or anytime over the next two years. To help it break down quickly, use a shredder to cut the leaves into small pieces. It is important to keep the mixture damp, so add water every now and then. You can also turn the mixture over once every few weeks; this will aerate it and cause it to break down further.

When you’re ready to use it, the leaf mould mix should be placed over the top of cultivated soil. It does not need to be mixed in with the existing soil – having it sit on top will help to protect plant roots from the cold, like a blanket, and stop weeds from creeping out to the surface!

Plant Now and Reap the Rewards in Spring!

Garden growth and colour is starting to slow down and change at this time of year. Leaves will begin to turn and fall, and shorter days and dark nights will soon be here.

A little planning now will mean that flowers start to reappear again next year, as early as January, meaning there’ll be plenty of colour come spring time.

The easiest way to achieve this is to plant spring and summer flowering bulbs in September, October and November.

We’ve created a list of some ideal bulbs that will ensure lots of colour:

  • Snowdrops –

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Plant in late September and they will emerge from the frozen ground in January and last until late February. They are a welcome reminder that spring is on its way and are ideal from borders and containers. They don’t mind a shady area, so can also be planted under trees or shrubs. You can leave them and they will spread naturally.

 

  • Daffodils –

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Plant by the end of September or early October. These typically flower in February and last until May. There are many different varieties of daffodils, all in delicate shades of yellow, orange and cream.

 

  • Crocus –

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Also available in many different colours, and great to group together along a border or in a planter. If planted in autumn these will start to appear by February.

 

  • Lilies –

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Most summer-flowering lilies are hardy plants that are best planted in pots and enjoy full sun, flowering in May through to July. Available in lots of striking colours, our favourite is ‘Stargazer’.

 

  • Alliums –

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Delightful flowers that are a member of the onion family – but not edible – some varieties resemble pom-poms in a range of colours! These are hardy plants that aren’t sensitive to frosts. Plant them in September or October and they will flower from May!

 

  • Tulips –

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Available in almost every colour imaginable, these are a favourite flower for many and look beautiful in a cluster. Plant in November and they will start to flower in April.

 

  • Agapanthus –

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A beautiful erect plant with large round flower heads that last for several weeks. Colour vary but usually are blue and white. They are ideal for pots and borders and should be planted from October.

 

Read the planting instructions carefully for each of the above, as the depth and required growing conditions are very important to ensure a healthy plant and colourful display.

 

 

 

Do you know your hover from your cylinder? A brief guide to lawn mowers

Electric, rotary, hover, cylinder… small garden, large garden… how do you know which is the best lawn mower for your needs? We have put together this brief guide about the different types of mower, which we think will help to make your decision easier.

If you have any questions, get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.

Rotary Mowers

This type of mower is generally robust and versatile, able to cut grass on rough, sloping and flat terrain. It has blades which rotate horizontally at a height of your choosing. Petrol and electric models are available, and are ideal for the weekly or fortnightly trim of an average sized garden. They can also cope under some strain, for example on a lawn that has areas of thick, overgrown grass.

RM40C

Cylinder Mowers

These mowers have blades at the front of the models, which rotate in a circular motion against a fixed bottom blade. Great for very fine cutting on a level surface; they will get your lawn looking perfect down to the last millimetre! They are available as petrol, electric and hand-pushed models.

HM38C

Hover Mowers

These are a type of rotary mower with a horizontally spinning blade, but with an added air cushion which makes the mower hover above the grass. This floating mechanism makes the lawn mower incredibly lightweight and manoeuvrable, and would be ideal for use on unusually-shaped or curved lawns.

Cordless Mowers

Cordless lawn mowers are exactly that: cable free and therefore, less fussy. They can be either petrol or battery-powered. The popularity of battery-powered gardening equipment has increased dramatically over recent years, because of their convenience and surprising power. Unlike petrol mowers, battery-powered tools generally require less maintenance and up-keep than petrol, especially when preparing for winter.

Many cordless mowers can also be self-propelled, alleviating much of the effort required to push, so you are able to mow larger areas without fatigue.

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Rear Roller Mowers

These electric or petrol-driven mowers come with an added feature – a rear roller that flattens the grass, forcing it to lay in the same direction, enabling you to create those highly sought-after lawn stripes!

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Here at Cobra, we have a huge range of all of the lawn mowers mentioned above, so why not take a look?

Gardening Jobs for July

July means that summer is in full swing (despite the odd downpour!), and the garden is buzzing with growth, colour and wildlife. What jobs can you be getting on with this month to keep your outside space looking at its most vibrant?


Lawncare

At this time of the year, the lawn will need mowing regularly. Ideally, make sure the grass is dry when you cut – mowing damp grass can be detrimental to the lawn and can prevent your lawnmower from running smoothly. If the weather is particularly hot, set your mower to cut slightly higher than usual – this means you won’t be cutting your lawn quite so short, which will stop it from drying out too quickly in the sunshine.

It is also a good idea to use a quick-acting summer feed on your lawn now, if you haven’t already given it a spring feed. At this time of year, a fertiliser that is high in Nitrogen will promote green, healthy growth and will also help to thicken the grass.

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Borders and Beds

Throughout July you should be regularly deadheading your bedding plants to keep them flowering throughout the summer.

Most flowering garden plants in containers, borders and hanging baskets will benefit from deadheading and don’t worry about damaging the plant. Simply removing a flower that is fading, or has died, will stop the plant from transferring energy trying to repair it, instead, it can use that energy to produce new growth.

You can deadhead many plants such as pansies, petunias, polyanthus and rhododendron using your finger and thumb. For more substantial stalks, such as those on dahlias and marigolds, use secateurs or scissors to ensure a clean cut.

Some flowering plants like fuchsias will cleverly deadhead themselves! But even if you deadhead a plant by mistake or incorrectly, don’t worry, you are unlikely to cause permanent damage and they will soon recover.

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Water, water everywhere…

Make sure you regularly water your garden throughout the growing season, particularly containers and hanging baskets, as these will dry out first in hot conditions.

The best time to water your garden is in the evening, when the sun is no longer at its hottest. It might seem like a good idea to water your garden first thing in the morning, but once the sun reaches its peak at midday, any droplets of water left on leaves and grass will burn off, scorching the plants and lawn. If you have to water during the hottest times of the day, try to water directly on to the soil, avoiding plant stems and leaves.

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Remember to relax!

July is one of our favourite gardening months because many of the necessary tasks involve the maintenance and upkeep of the work you already carried out earlier in the spring.

As a result, it’s important that you remember to take a step back and appreciate your hard work. July and August will see the fruits of your earlier planning and efforts, so a well-deserved break with a glass of something cool and refreshing is in order!

 

Celebrate National Children’s Gardening Week

It is National Children’s Gardening Week this week, 29th May – 4th June, and we want you to celebrate by getting your kids involved in gardening this summer.

Gardening is a great activity for children and adults alike – it is good exercise and an excellent way for children to learn about plants, animals and insects, as well as getting them to stop staring at a screen (for a few minutes at least!).

Here are some ideas you can use to get your child gardening. These activities are suitable for kids of all ages and are lots of fun!

  1. Plant seeds!

It sounds obvious – but it’s the easiest and best way to get kids interested in gardening. They love planting a seed and watching it sprout. It gives them the opportunity to care for and nurture the plant, and if you get them growing vegetables, children are more likely to eat something that they have helped to grow!

Some of the seeds that are easier to grow than others, and are big and easy to handle, are: peas, sunflowers and broad beans.

sowing seeds

  1. Build a bug hotel

This one is great for children to be creative and get a bit messy, but it’s also a good excuse for you to tidy up the garden, too.

First, gather any old bricks, wood, rocks, slates, logs, stones, tubes, plant pots and anything else you can find.

Start building – the design and how you approach this is up to you, just make sure it is going to stand on a reasonably flat, firm base, so that it doesn’t topple over. I would recommend creating a stable platform using bricks, then pile up the other bits and bobs you find. The aim is to create a tower of objects that have plenty of holes, nooks and crannies, perfect for hundreds of insects to call home.

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  1. Plant a butterfly garden

This one isn’t the easiest or quickest, but planting flowers that attract both caterpillars and butterflies will delight your children.

You can choose which flowers you grow based on which butterflies you would like to attract. For example, milkweed attracts the beautiful Monarch butterfly. Many meadow flowers and dandelions, daisies and everlastings also attract a range of different types of butterfly including Orange Sulphur and Eastern Black Swallowtail.

Plant your butterfly garden in an area of your garden that gets plenty of sun, but isn’t too exposed to the wind.

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Whatever you decide to do, just remember to keep chemical-based products, as well as gardening tools and equipment, locked away and safely out of children’s reach.

Let us know how you’re getting your children interested in gardening this summer!