Covering your flower beds with decorative mulches provides a visual background against which your plants and flowers will stand out. It also creates a neat landscaped appearance to a border and adds style. Applying mulch to soil surfaces helps to retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds and will in time improve the structure of the soil if organic mulches are used. Here are a few of the more decorative mulches you can buy for your garden and where best to apply them.
The best time to apply mulch to garden borders is in late winter or early pine bark mulch the soil is properly wet. When apply mulches, spread a layer which at least a couple of inches thick to make sure it reduces unnecessary evaporation from the surface of the soil. There are two types of mulch, organic and inorganic. Both can act as decorative ground cover and will also insulate and retain soil.
Mulches made up of organic matter can still be decorative as well as offering the additional benefits of adding nutrients to the soil when they break down. Ornamental bark mulches if sourced correctly will do the job of conserving moisture and suppressing weeds and look decorative in the flower border. There are a few considerations to take account of when choosing bark mulch. If you have acid-loving plants, then choose a pine mulch as when it starts to break down in the soil it becomes slightly acidic which the plants will enjoy. You can also use pine needle mulch for acid-loving plants which can look very attractive in a woodland setting. It is also possible to buy dyed bark mulch, which although it looks very attractive is perhaps not the most environmentally friendly bark to use. Good bark mulch will last for about three years before it will need re-applying.
There are a number of types of inorganic mulches including stone, rubber and plastic. Although they aren’t beneficial to the soil in terms of adding nutrients, they do last longer. Black plastic is useful in the vegetable garden, especially for suppressing weeds, but it does not work so well in landscaping. Rubber bark made from recycled tyres can be very authentic looking and comes in a variety of different colours. It is good for use in ornamental gardens and on pathways. However, there are some concerns about possible chemical contamination of soil. There are a number of very attractive stone mulches you can buy, from gravel to slate chippings. Stone mulches are best used on paths and around permanent plantings such as trees and shrubs. Stone mulches do not work on the vegetable garden or in flower beds, but they do work well as a finish to plants in garden planters.
Jo Poultney is one of two people behind Garden Planters. I have an RHS general certificate in horticulture. Garden Planters source unusual outdoor and indoor planters, and other garden related gifts – whatever your taste, be it traditional, modern or just a bit quirky, we will have something for you. I believe garden planters are an integral part of any garden – they enhance the overall design and say a little something about the person to whom the garden belongs. If you would like to know more about Garden Planters, visit our website at http://www.gardenplantersshop.co.uk