August Bank Holiday - WIN National Garden Gift Vouchers (CLOSED)

Hello again compers!  How was your weekend, and the start to your week so far?  Any nice wins to report?  Having a super-dry spell here at the moment!  Still, I only have myself to blame really, as have either been working or socialising – no time for comping over the last week or so!  But, Cowes Week is finally over and done with for another year, relatives have gone back to the mainland, so apart form still having the children home, I can start to get back into some kind of routine!.

Can you believe we are almost half way through August already?  Sad to think most of the summer has already been and gone, and we are just holding on to the tail end now – what a depressing thought.  But let’s not dwell on the negatives – let’s find the positives instead.  We still have one whole, glorious, (hopefully) sunny bank holiday to come – the August Bank Holiday falls on Monday 25th August 2014, giving us a lovely 3-day weekend to play with.  What will you be doing?  Got a day trip planned?  Spending the day enjoying a good book at the beach?  Or maybe doing some work in the garden, before the summer trails out and the weather starts to turn? 

If you are a green-fingered comper, then we have just the competition for you!  We here at Compers News are giving you the chance to win £50 in National Garden Gift Vouchers, which can be used in over 2,000 garden centres across the UK!  What would you spend yours on – some new plants for the garden, maybe some new tools, or stock up on seeds and supplies?  All you need to do to enter the competition is tell us your best gardening tip in the comments below - I could use all the tips you have, as I am the least green-fingered person in the world I think!  Entries will close at 23:59 on Tuesday 19th August 2014, and I will choose my favourite tip after that and a winner will be announced.

So get thinking, and share your best gardening tips with us below, and you could be winning your way to some gardening goodies!

Happy comping, and lots of Lucky Dust to you all.

Kirsty x   

Terms and Conditions

  • The prize is £50 of National Garden Gift Vouchers
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 or over
  • Entrants must be registered Compers News users and logged in to their account
  • Entrants must leave a blog comment with their best gardening tip
  • The closing date is 23:59 on Tuesday 19th August 2014
  • Compers News will pick their favourite gardening tip from all entries received
  • The winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the closing date, and must confirm their postal address within 28 days or an alternative winner will be selected


My tip is to garden little but often! Try to get out in the garden every day to dead-head, snip, prune, etc.. If you leave it for a few weeks, especially in summer, you will really regret it because it will become a pain instead of a pleasure!

Hi Kirsty,

I can't believe it's almost halfway through August either, the scary thing being it will soon be time to think about that big red man coming down our chimmney again!

My gardening tip is to help try and deter slugs, which I seem to have a lot of following the recent damp weather, is to sprinkle used coffee grounds around the base of your plants, this seems to work better than expensive slug pellets in keeping them from ruining your plants. Apparently it works because slugs hate caffeine so once you've had your morning coffee fix get out in the garden to give the slugs theirs!!

Happy gardening!


Use cardboard egg cartons for planting seeds. Fill each individual section with potting compost and pop a few seeds in each. Once they have grown you can either pot them on or plant in the garden, carton included.

When planting up terracotta pots (which are so much more attractive than plastic ones), line the pot with a plastic bag in which you have stabbed a few holes, before filling up with compost. This way, the pot will dry out much more slowly and means you have to water less often!

My gardening tip is this: only grow plants and flowers that you love. The definition of a weed is anything that's growing in a place where you don't want it (so a rose would be a weed in a cornfield), so take out any 'weeds' in your garden (real or otherwise) and spare yourself the stress of caring for anything that gives you more work than it's worth. Conversely, if, like me, you like weeds (things like self-seeding forget-me-nots - or even daisies on the lawn), then leave 'em in!

Keep things simple when growing vegetables. Try just 2 or 3 types but plant lots of seeds as you will inveitably lose some to slugs and snails. This way, you can replace and not be too disappointed :)

My advice is to shop with friend or family for plants or seeds. That way you can share seeds and separate plants making more for your money. I shop with my sister and could no way use all the seeds I purchased so sharing is our answer.

When tying in new raspberry canes, use pegs to clip them to the wires while you tie them on with string.

I like to do the garden maintenance in sections, one day it will be deadheading, feeding baskets and pots - which I've got loads so I need a day just for that! Another day it will be deadheading the boarders and edging the lawn, turning over the soil, and making sure the plants at the back have had a thorough watering once a week (at least). One thing I have done this summer is aerating the lawn and feeding with a seaweed based fertiliser once a month and they are very lush and green. Being aware of certain plants eg Delphiniums which can be cut right down and regrow with fresh foliage - is wonderful as they plants are so new and not eaten! I've loved reading the other comments and gaining some more advice especially about the ground coffee to ward off slugs etc - thank you

Hi Kirsty

I'm not a great gardener either but I was once told to try and do the weeding after it had rained as they come up more easily - which turned out to be true.
My good news from the garden - it has borne fruit! The bad news: they're brambles (blackberries) and are going to need cut back before they take over.
Not many August prizes here either - though I did win a needle threader today, my daughter was fascinated at the idea of threading a needle when I showed her. No craft -y skills here either though I have knitted a dolly's blanket this year for my daughter.
Off for two weeks after this week, thankfully; in one way I can't wait, in another, for the second week, I'm thinking, 'Hm, camping. Not so sure I'm so keen as the rest of my family! Just hope the weather's dry.
Take care, Kirsty


My neighbours and I all share cuttings with each other, it saves a fortune. I also benefit from their knowledge, we all tend to congregate around whoever is out cutting their lawn and chat about gardening!

Once you have tidied your garden make sure you keep on top of it as it doesn't take long before it becomes a jungle again, as i found out from experience.

Use toilet roll inner tubes to plant up seedlings in a seed tray. They can be planted directly into the soil when the plants are hardy and the cardboard will rot down into the soil. The roots will grow down into the soil from the bottom of the tube.

My tip is to cut the bottoms off empty clear plastic bottles and use them to protect smaller plants during cooler weather by placing them over the top - push the bottom edge into the soil and it should hold steady through the wind too.

Try and do one side of the garden every couple of days instead of trying to do it all at once. Don't be tempted to cut the grass on the lowest setting, raise the cut and mow twice a week instead, it helps to stop moss growing on the lawn.

If you cut back Rue be careful not to get the sap from the stems on your skin, it will react with sunlight and give you a nasty rash (as my husband has just found out!).

Whenever you have plants that have spread or seeded that you don't want anymore, pot them up and offer them to visitors. People are always pleased to have a freebie or at least like the gesture & it has cost you nothing.

My tip is to be patient as things take a while to grow and whenever I plant anything new I always use Alan Titchmarshs trick of talking to the plant and saying "Grow you bugger, grow"

Compmad Mel

I discovered a quick and easy way to get rid of slugs. I tipped the contents of half a jar of fermenting organic jam- (no preservative to prolong its shelf life. ) into an empty icecream tub. The slugs loved it. When it rained they drowned. I caught hundreds of slugs - so easy and cheap. Welshapples


water butt it will mean you should have some water available to keep youur plants hydrated without adding extra cost onto your water bills

Seeds need to be kept cool, dark and dry over the winter. Store envelopes containing seeds in an old ice-cream carton or biscuit tin and put it in the fridge!

Look round car boot sales for bedding plants and shrubs. Very often amateur gardeners sell their surplus stock and they are usually so cheap and of excellent quality. If it is hot make sure they are well watered when putting them into tubs or your garden border.

My Tip is set the head on the lawn mower to higher than normal this keeps the grass a little longer and helps preserve precious water, helps to keep the lawn greener for longer and not end up like parched dry straw.

I recycle and use polystyrene trays/ boxes/ cups - particularly the deep ones that come with flower deliveries. They are great for growing seedlings in the greenhouse and keep the soil a bit warmer too. I grew my Heinz pack of tomato seeds in a large one (from a yogurt hamper prize) and left them in there as it was quite deep.

Spring and summer school fete plant stalls are often great opportunities to stock up on plants for the garden cheaply while helping a good cause!

I'm a bit of a sneaky one. I keep bottles from my kid's favourite drinks, and that way they seem to be happy to help me by refilling them with water and then watering the plants. They're happy, I'm happy and the plants seem to be thriving!
Lovely giveaway, thank you :) x

Try and plant for colour round the year, so find early and late flowering plants, shrubs and bulbs for all year colour. Some late flowering plants in a shady protected spot will carry on through a winter, till your early spring bulbs come up!

If, like me, you can only do a wee bit at a time, due to health issues, just accept that it won't all be perfect! Grow plants you REALLY love and don't give garden room to those which are just filling up spaces! Accept all offers of help, gardeners are a very generous lot, a bit like compers really!

Plant for all 5 of your senses.
Sight - anything which you find pleasing to look at.
Smell - anything with a beautiful perfume which fills the air.
Touch - things with different types of surfaces smooth, rough, furry etc.
Taste - anything you like the taste of, doesn't have to be veg as there are plenty of edible flowers or you might like to try growing herbs or fruit.
Sound - well unless you are growing those exploding cucumbers you will probably not be able to hear things growing, but if you plant things that bees love to visit for the nectar you can hear the pleasant sound of their gentle buzzing.

When designing/planting your garden think of all seasons, not just summer. Many people have wonderful fragrant and colourful displays in the summer but boring nothingness in the winter. Hence my tip is to have evergreens in the back of the borders, near the fences etc as they are the backbone of the garden.

My tip is never to water plants in the sun,,,water early morning before the sun is on the. Or when the sun has gone down.

Plants in pots require regular feeding in the summer months.

Passing on the best tip ever given to me - be ruthless at deadheading before you go away on holiday. Include taking off EVERY flower - (however young) in plants like petunias etc in tubs etc. You will come home to literally blooming displays!

I like nothing more than sitting out in the garden in the summer, especially with a coffee in one hand and Compers News in the other This can also be said of house plants so when the sun is shinning pop them out in the garden for some summer sunshine.

My tip. I'm not much of a gardener so when I plant a new shrub etc I always take a photo of it with it's label and instructions if any. This means when I weed or tidy the garden when the garden has died back I don't mistake a plant for a weed, which I've done on many occasions.

Plant salad leaf plants a few each week so you can harvest your lettuces for consecutive weeks . Yummy

If you have no-one to water your potted plants in hot weather when you are away, place a plastic bottle with a few small holes pierced in the base into the earth and fill with water. The water will slowly dribble into the earth and keep it moist until you return.

Collect snails and slugs on a daily basis (only needed really when it's damp) and what you do with them after that is up to you!!!! We normally relocate them. No not to a neighbours garden but to other areas along grass verges etc. . After doing this for a while they mostly disappear.....

When planting root crops like beetroot and carrots always mix spring onion seeds with the seeds to be planted. The onions will keep rootfly away from your precious veggies.

If you enjoy vegetables then grow winter squashes. They are easy to grow and store well and are very enjoyable around Christmas time - roasted or pureed or made into soup. Really worth growing. We store ours under the bed!

If you only have a small area of garden or yard. Grow more by fixing gutters to a wall. You can put them one above the other at about 2 feet apart. These are ideal for growing small plants such as pansies, lettuce or herbs.

When I grow melons I use an old bra to support them as they grow.

Any plant that needs to be brought indoors during the winter, keep it planted in its large pot and plant the whole pot containing the plant in the garden, covered over with the normal soil so that the pot does not show. When winter comes, it is an easy matter to dig up the pot, still containing the plant and transport it into the greenhouse. When Spring comes round again, replace the undisturbed plant back into the garden as before. Sue Pickard member no. DBS3MRH2

If you have a glut of herbs in the garden chop them up finely and mix into some soft butter. Roll the herb butter into a sausage, wrap in cling film and freeze. The butter "sausage" can then be sliced and used as a garnish for any suitable dish - mmm!

Always try and plan ahead, use the August Bank Holiday to plan spring flowering bulbs and to start thumbing through seed and plant catalogues to work out what you want to order.

Try and gather 'hot' flowering plants with a few white plants to break up the colour range, this looks vibrant, exciting and co-ordinated.

Never walk through the garden without picking up a weed!

Pick early season courgettes when they are 4-8 inches long. This will encourage the rest to grow and you will get many more courgettes throughout the season.

My tip would be make sure you enjoy whatever outdoor space you have. Keep beds tidy ("little and often") and cut the grass but don't worry about having the "perfect garden". Have somewhere to sit outside with friends and family and enjoy the good weather, but make sure you also find time to relax (and read Compers News!)

Thanks so much for all your entries. This competition has now closed, and I will choose a winner tomorrow. Night guys! x