Oasis Gardening - Product Q&A Blog

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  1. Q.  What is a garden obelisk?

    A.  An obelisk is a tapering column or tall plant cage and usually has a decorative finial on top. They are most commonly made from wood, metal or plastic. They are sunk into the ground to provide support for climbing plants, or can be used solely as an ornamental feature.

    Tom Chambers Obelisk

    Wooden Sage Obelisk GP026

    Q. How would I use an obelisk in my garden?

    A. An obelisk provides structure and can add height to an otherwise flat garden.  They can be used in borders to train climbers, or as one or a series of focal points throughout the garden such as a self-contained smaller bed in a lawn area, or in large decorative pots on a patio or on either side of an entrance way (as shown in the Smart Garden York obelisk photo).  

    York Obelisk

    5052020 York Obelisk - Insitu - High Res

    What factors to consider when buying an obelisk?

    Q. What material and style?

    A. Obelisks are normally made of wood or plastic/powder coated steel. Cheaper versions are made from plastic, willow or cane.

    When choosing an obelisk you need to think about the style of the obelisk and the setting it will be in. For instance, a wooden obelisk would complement a more rustic garden (Smart Garden wooden obelisks) and can often look more monumental (Tom Chambers Sage wooden obelisk). Black metal obelisks look classical and fit well into most gardens (Gardman Classic metal obelisk 2m), but you can also choose more ornate versions (Gardman Versailles metal obelisk).  

    Smart Garden Wooden                                 Gardman Classic                          Gardman Versailles

    5054003 1.9 Woodland Obelisk Sage                 07705 Classical Gdn Ob                  08260 Versailles ob

    Q. What height?

    A. Obelisks usually range from about 1m to 2.2m in height. Choosing the right height for your garden depends on a number of factors such as the space you have in the garden and how much of a feature you want to make of it - taller obelisks tend to look more imposing. You also need to keep the obelisk in proportion with surrounding structures such as buildings and hedges. And don’t forget to get the right height for your climbing plants, so they have room to thrive but don’t look overshadowed.

    Q. What price?

    A.  It depends whether you want a cheap functional stand for climbing plants or a more attractive longer term ornamental feature. Smaller is often cheaper – but not always. We sell good quality tall obelisks at low prices.

    Q. How to care for an obelisk?

    A. Wood versions can be used straightaway but will benefit from painting or staining long term. If you choose a wooden obelisk tie a small plastic jiffy bag to each of the feet to protect the wood underground as long as possible.

    Metal obelisks are more straightforward but can rust over time if the protective coating gets damaged. If this happens the damaged area may need touching up with black paint.


    Obelisks make an attractive feature in most gardens. So no matter what the size of garden, there is an obelisk to suit your needs.

  2. Q, Why should I cover my garden furniture?

    A. In order to get the longest life out of your garden furniture, it should be protected from the elements. Most of the commonly-used furniture materials, particularly wood, some metals, and upholstery are prone to weathering and deteriorate faster with exposure to both sun, rain and wintry conditions. Covers are an ideal form of protection and they will also help keep furniture clean from dust, pollution and bird mess.

    Don’t forget to protect barbecues, chimeneas, patio heaters, parasols and log stores as well.

     Q. What type of cover material is best?

    A. Garden furniture covers are normally made from either polyester or polyethylene.

    Polyester covers are made from strong heavy woven material and so are more durable. This material is also more flexible and often have double stitched seams, so are less likely to rip in high winds. They often have a PVC backing or other waterproof protection and also have UV protection for longer life. 

    While polyethylene covers, a hard wearing plastic, are cheaper and effective at keeping out the elements, they may not last as long as the material can degrade more quickly in the sun and is less robust in high winds.

    High quality hard wood garden furniture may benefit from a premier breathable polyester fabric.

    Q. Do I have a choice of colours?

    A. Traditional green covers remain the most popular as they blend easily into a garden environment. However, there has been a growth in classic black covers with the Bosmere Storm Black range, Gardman Premium Black and Garland cover products. In recent seasons, other colours have also appeared, such as grey and brown.

    Q. What about the fit?

    A. There are a wide range of covers and sizes – so make sure you get one that fits! Measure your furniture and check the sizing to the product listing as general descriptions ‘large’, ‘medium’ and ‘small’ or ‘4 or 6 seater’ may vary in size by make of furniture or cover. Covers that fit well can also reduce the risk of wind damage to the fabric.  

    Covers usually come with eyelets with ties or fasteners to secure them, but extra security can be provided by bungee cords.

     Q. Are covers the only thing I can do to protect my garden furniture?

    A. In addition to covering garden furniture, consider moving items inside during the winter, or if that’s not possible, then to a more sheltered location. Garden parasols should not be left out in the wind and over the winter. 

    At Oasis Gardening we sell a wide range of covers for all your outdoor living needs

    We stock well over a hundred different covers from the leading manufacturers including Bosmere, Gardman, Garland, La Hacienda and Draper.

    These include patio furniture covers - from bistro to extra large patio sets; garden table and picnic table covers; bench, chair, conversation seat and sun lounger covers; hammock covers; barbecue, patio heater and chimenea covers; parasol and rotary line covers; and log store covers.

    So whatever cover you need for your outdoor living products, we have a wide range of sizes, brands, quality or colour - all at low prices. Just take a look at the Garden Store page on our website for our full range.

  3. Pink RhododendronAs the flowers on rhoddys are now on their way out or have finished completely, now is the time to remove the spent flowers on dwarf varieties or other plants of manageable size. Remove the spent flower clusters as they turn brown, trying to do so before the new leaf shoots start to develop below them to avoid damaging them.

    Bend the flower stems over to break them away cleanly.  Alternatively, if they are too tough to break, use a sharp pruning knife or secateurs to cut them off.

    Whether you remove the spent flowers or not, to maximise the health of the plant and encourage good growth, feed with an ericaceous fertiliser.



  4. 1. Water water everywhere.

    Putting a pond in your garden is the single most effective way of making your garden more attractive to wildlife, enabling you to attract a wider range of species. However, a pond doesn't need to be a huge feature dominating your garden, even a little feature made out of a half barrel will do if that is all your garden can accommodate. Whether the pond is large or small, it will provide habitat for aquatic or amphibious creatures, whilst providing a drinking and bathing spot for others. If possible, create the pond with a range of depths - soft edges and shallow slopes leading towards a deeper centre. This will provide different conditions suitable for different creatures and will provide easy access in and out of the pond.

    Log pile for attracting wildlife2. Wildlife likes messy!

    Nature isn't tidy, so if you want to attract it into your garden, resist the temptation for everything to be neatly clipped & cleared. This doesn't mean your whole garden needs to resemble a jungle. You can find a hidden corner where you can leave things to grow a bit more wild and leave leaves and debris undisturbed. In fact, add piles of logs, sticks and leaves to improve the habitat. Countless species will love you for it.

    3. Let the ivy grow

    Ivy gets a bad press - it strangles trees, it wrecks buildings...no it doesn't! Not only does ivy not do these things, it's a brilliant source of nectar in the autumn for a wide variety of insects whilst the berries are a good winter food source for birds. In addition, it provides great nesting and roosting sites for birds and sometimes even bats. So leave the ivy alone.

    Butterfly on plant4. Grow the right plants

    Try to grow plants which are high in nectar and have a range of plants which will be in bloom across as long a flowering season as possible. Suitable plants include Verbena bonariensis, bluebells, pussy willow, Buddleija, foxgloves, Scabious and heathers. Although they may look nice, avoid growing double flowered varieties as these often restrict insect access to the nectar or don't contain any at all.

    5. Compost it all

    Make sure you compost your garden waste and relevant kitchen waste. Not only is home produced compost great for your garden and environmentally sound to produce, it provides a great wildlife habitat. Rather than use a sealed compost bin though, have a heap that is open to the elements. This means that birds and other wildlife can access if to forage for food or provide shelter for small mammals and invertebrates.

    Wild Bird Nest Box in tree6.  Box clever

    At nesting time, natural holes and cavities are always at a premium, so get a range of nest boxes to help the birds out. You can never have too many, so if you have the space, box away. If you're getting several boxes, get a range of different types which are suitable for different types of birds.

    7. Feed the birds

    However hard you work to improve your garden to make it more attractive to wildlife, there's always room for a bit of help. So, have a range of feeders around your garden, filled with different types of food which will all be attractive to different species of birds.

    Follow these tips and you'll have wildlife stampeding to your garden haven.

  5. Aquilegia plants from seedMay is the ideal time for sowing many Spring flowering perennials including aquilegias (Columbine), hellebores & primulas so they are ready for first flowering next year. Here is a five step guide to maximise your chances of successful seed sowing.

    1. Unless you are planning to sow lots of a single plant variety, go for half size seed trays. They take up less room that the full size ones and means that at one time you can sow many different varieties with different germination rates. Fill the trays with a fine (ideally loam based) compost. At first, fill them right to the top and then using your fingers, lightly firm in the compost to the corners and sides to remove air pockets.

    2. Next get another seed tray of the same size and place it on top of the compost filled one and gently press down to firm down the compost. This gives a nice firm bed for the seeds to germinate in and a relatively level surface on which to sow.  Alternatively, any sort of board or flat surface will do the job.

    3. Tip the seeds into the palm of one hand and then take a good pinch of seeds between the thumb & forefinger of the opposite hand. Scatter the seed evenly on the surface of the compost. Sow sparingly around the edges of the tray to avoid too many seeds getting trapped down the side, before moving into the middle of the tray. If you're sowing larger seeds, instead of sprinkling them, space the individually approx. 1cm apart.

    4. Lightly sprinkle a fine grit or vermiculite evenly over the surface of the compost.

    Gardman Half Seed Trays5. Stand the seed tray in a shallow pool of water to let the compost soak it up from the bottom. Avoid watering from above as this can just scatter the gravel and seed around, lifting the seeds from the compost. When the water has soaked up to the surface of the grit, remove the tray from the water and leave to drain. Pop the trays in a propagator, cold frame, growhouse or on a well-lit windowsill.

    Germination will then depend on the type of plant grown but will typically take between one and 12 weeks. Just make sure that the soil remains damp and the seeds are in a nice light spot until they germinate and are ready for pricking out.

    For a selection of seed trays, propagators and growhouses, visit our shop.

    Happy sowing