Author Archives: Tom Doerr

The Biggest Tree House In The World

The stereotypical image of a Treehouse is a small boxy wooden safety hazard, treacherously nailed to a highBoulder Creek tree house branch on the only large tree in the garden. Some more extravagant constructions might include a door, some windows, maybe even electricity. But since it will probably just get trashed by the kids and abandoned, why waste the money?

So how about spending 3.5 million pounds on one? Just think about how many rope ladders and cup-and-string phones you could buy for that! Well how about spending that money on a giant, five storey, elevated mansion suspended across 16 lime trees. Well someone DID think about that, that someone is the Duchess of Northumberland. She commissioned the leviathan to be built in the grounds of Alnwick Gardens, used to film Harry Potter.

The enormous Treehouse spreads across 6,000 sq ft with 4,000 sq ft of walkways and bridges and is suspended 56 feet in the air. It includes a 120-seat restaurant, three conference rooms, several classrooms, a cafe and countless turrets. It even has, despite the obvious safety issue, an open fireplace

The whole thing is held together by bolts, ropes and joints in what appears to be a purposefully messy configuration of shingles, beams and of course, branches. It was built as part of the largest garden projects Britain has ever seen.

The whole thing is pretty much wheelchair accessible and open to all ages. The duchess, a mother of four who, as a child, was an inveterate tree-climber and says “There was a survey last year which found that a third of children aren’t allowed to climb trees, we want to provide that missing challenge, including an element of risk. And why shouldn’t the less able-bodied, of all ages, see life from the trees?”

Over 500,000 people have visited the gardens in the last year making it the north-east’s top paid attraction it has created over 300 new jobs. It is now one of the most popular gardens in the country. Half of the funding for the project came from the public sector and will be repaid with over 150 million pounds contribution to the local economy over the next 10 years. Alnwick’s next big attraction will be the artificial mist-shrouded Poison Garden, which opens in April.

In constructing the treehouse, the builders used imported materials from timber suppliers and hardwood suppliers around the world and used woods from Canadian Pine to Scandanavian Redwood.

Dealing With The Lawn When Back Off Holiday

Everybody loves a bit of sun, sand and sea but the weather is always miserable when you get back, plenty of rain is beneficial for plant growth so when you get home and put the kettle on you’re greeted with a jungle of a lawn.

Sometimes the biggest problem is the mower you use and many cylinder mowers can have rollers which causes problems by flattening the grass before the blades can cut it. Some people remove the roller assembly and control the height of the grass with pressure applied downwards on the handles.

Many people try and cut the grass too short too quickly which is a common mistake. Ideally the grass should only be cut by 1/3 of the total length at any one time otherwise it may weaken and kill the grass. It may be tempting to cut it all at once but it is worth being patient. Cutting a small amount off will also make it easier and mean you don’t have to empty the mower every length of the garden.

Keep the grass clippings off the grass is a good idea to avoid hindering its growth. Once the grass is cut you should apply a liquid feed with a watering can to help re-establish and preserve it. A few days after the first cut the grass may discolour but the feed will help counteract this.

The next step after this is to check the grass for weeds, if there are only a few it’s fine to use a weed stick to kill them but if there are lots all around the lawn a weed killing spray can be the best method. It is best to maintain this throughout the year but especially after mowing the lawn for the first time in a while.

If bare patches have developed on your lawn it may be worth reseeding it using some form of rapid lawn seed to get it to match the rest of the grass.

If you are looking for the best lawn advice, then visit Greenthumb for advice and services for lawn maintenance.