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Planning Retirement Online

Laterlife Gardening Review

 by Rosemary Martin

Each month I shall be reviewing a particular aspect of gardening, including new plants and products and where to buy them.   Gardening is a vast subject and as far as possible the subjects covered will be seasonal.

Please e-mail me (Rosemary) with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife


June - 2001 

This month I have looked at types of barbecue, garden furniture, garden lighting and patio heaters all from B & Q DIY stores.  I have chosen middle of the range popular items, which represent good value for money....... 

I have also spotlighted some popular herbs in the garden centres this season.




  • Gas barbecues have the advantages of instant, steady temperatures for precise cooking and being easy to clean. Price wise they range from about 19.99 for a neat table top version to 297 for the top of the range DLX Aero unit  (does it fly?) You will also need to buy the calor gas. 

  • Traditional charcoal barbecues come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from folding types to take on the beach or picnics, to those that are suitable for garden use, and of course built in barbecues. Prices for these range from 9.95 to about 200

* If you are planning a barbecue on the beach or in a park, do check that you are not breaking the law.


I found that garden centres, DIY stores and now even supermarkets and garages all stock a good range of barbecues. Your social habits will dictate which type you buy, but a word of caution ... over the years we have had many barbecues that have either been left out in the rain, or put away in the shed without being cleaned first, only to be thrown away the next spring - sound familiar?  So if you are new to eating "al fresco" buy a cheap, small barbecue first.


Garden Furniture

  • Family favourites, and good old standbys are the resin tables and chairs that stay out in all weathers, don`t rot and are easy to clean. They come in some good colours now and don`t show the dirt like white. Prices start from 25 for a round table and four chairs. Add another 25 to spruce it up with seat pads, parasol and stand.  

  • Wood table and chair sets come in all styles. B & Q state that "Virtually all wood used to manufacture their furniture comes from independently certified well managed forests"  Prices for table and four chairs range from 119.00 to 495.00

  • Metal framed garden furniture is the most expensive but hardest wearing of all, and will grace your garden for many years. Prices are from 199 for a  round aluminium table and four chairs, to 275 for the six seater aluminium and glass set with the latest textile technology seating. 

  • Don`t forget other garden accessories such as  parasols and gazebos to create a shady spot on those hot sunny days........ Parasol prices start at 9.95 and go to 49. Parasol bases are from 4.99 to 24.95.  Gazebo prices start at 14.99 and go to 199 

As with barbecues, your requirement for garden furniture very much depends on your lifestyle. If you have young children or grandchildren you won`t want them spilling sticky drinks all over your new padded cushions.  For permanent seating,   benches dotted around the garden painted in "Cuprinol Garden Shades"   look good.  You can also paint a few pots and bits of trellis to match, livening up those dull winter months.


Garden Lighting

  • Solar powered lighting is the best for simplicity and convenience. Just buy the lights and let the sunlight do the rest......... I have had some solar powered lights in my garden for about five years and they`re still going strong. Of course they are not as bright as my electric halogen lights, but they have the advantage of being totally portable. Prices are from 24.99 to 59.99 each, the most expensive having a movement sensor for added convenience.

  • Electric lighting is much cheaper but you will need an electrician to install the system for you. Once in place they are permanent and cannot be moved around like solar powered lights.  Prices range from 9.99 to 49.99 and some of these are sets of four lights.

  • Then there is the fun stuff, pond lighting, outdoor party light sets, net lights which cover gazebos, globe sets, Chinese lantern sets, parasol lighting, patio torches, oil lanterns, linking spot lights, tree lights and lastly, bite fighter lights that help to repel insects....  

Garden lighting is both practical and appealing. When it is dusk there is no need to cut short your enjoyment of the outdoors, just switch on the outside lights and you will see a whole new dimension to your garden.  Don`t forget to get security lights.



Patio Heaters

  • When it gets chilly and you`re  relaxed you won`t need to go indoors if you have a patio heater.  Gas patio heaters provide warmth that`s mobile, efficient and easy to control, with prices ranging from 149 to 299

  • Terracotta Chimney Patio Heater burns natural smokeless fuel for 49.97

  • Try this combined oven/patio heater to enjoy  the unique flavours of foods roasted, baked or smoked over aromatic wood chips and herbs, then as the evening draws in warm yourself around the Chiminea`s welcoming glow....mmm.  Only 149 plus 18 carriage. Tel:- 08703 30 81 50  - 24 hour orderline  - or go to:-   for details

I think the terracotta chimney would do for me then we could use it on bonfire night to keep warm, and roast chestnuts on.......





I couldn`t find anything really new whilst doing the rounds of my favourite garden centres, but I have noticed how popular herbs are becoming in today`s gardens, and have just counted twenty different varieties in my own garden  - as I do have a liking for them. They are aromatic, attractive and mainly edible, what more could you ask of a plant?  Favourites for scent are Mint, Lemon Balm, Pineapple Sage, Lavender, scented leaved pelargoniums,  bergamot, Rosemary, Thyme and Origanum Aureum or Yellow Marjoram, which is a delightful bright yellow leaved plant that smells of lemonade powder when crushed, and in my opinion has the best scent of all the herbs...

Why not have a go at growing  your own herb garden?


Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary


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