My Experiences

Garden Problems Caused by Wind -

Garden Problems Caused by Wind

May all your winds be zephyrs and all your gales be miss spelt girls

Do We Pay Too Much for Seeds - - Japan

Do We Pay Too Much for Seeds

The seed catalogue season is in full swing and I paused to consider their value to gardeners.

Hellebore Done for Another Year -

Hellebore Done for Another Year

I was tempted to cut the leaves from my hellebore a bit early this year but have decided to wait a bit longer. Here is a selection of 2018 flowers from RHS and my garden.

Watering My Way or Not At All -

Watering My Way or Not At All

It has taken a long, hot, dry spell in my Yorkshire garden for me to catch on to the blinking obvious.

White Fly Infestations -

White Fly Infestations

Sometimes I am too tolerant and generally that is true with whitefly infestations. Perhaps that is because I have not had a serious outbreak or a great deal of resulting damage. So live and let live unless an edible crop is involved. The worst that happens is on houseplants where these sap feeding insects can breed continuously through the year. As a gift to the windowsill they leave a sticky secretion on leaves which drops from the plant. Only in the greenhouse have the white-winged adults taken to flight from tomato plants when disturbed. Adults and the scale like nymphs have secretions that can make plants sticky and prone to sooty mould.

My Soil Projects -

My Soil Projects

I have had the same garden for 35 years and most of the soil has remained ungardened and untouched. I say that because the sub soil is best left undisturbed and I am not a fan of double digging (ie 2 spits deep). Underneath the lawns the soil is left untended and almost half the garden was and still is down to grass. We  are probably all guilty of doing little to improve that soil under lawns unless we are laying turves or new seed.

Pelargoniums Planted in Pelargonia -

Pelargoniums Planted in Pelargonia

I have flirted with geraniums for several decades but never achieved the full satisfaction of a great display. Now I have a new plan to dedicate an area in the garden, dare I call it a zone? to some of these colourful plants. To give me an incentive to dedicate time and effort I have given it a name Pelargonia as I thought Geraniumistan was going to confuse the issue with cranesbill geranium or hardy geraniums.

First time Sunflower Success Diminishes -

First time Sunflower Success Diminishes

In 2008 a google search for sunflowers would have found gardeners tips in the top 3 results. Now it would be luck to be found in the top 3 million. We are number 115th for the more specific ‘sunflowers gardeners tips’ as Tips for Easy Sunflowers from 2015.

Fastia Japonica -

Fastia Japonica

My Fastia Japonica is coming into full winter flower after a summer of evergreen leaves that provide interest and structure in the border. For short while the plant was treated as an indoor decoration but it has not looked back after it was planted out 2 years ago. The white pompom flowers are rich in nectar providing food for the few flying insects that are around during winter. They stand out against the dark green leaves. It is strange that a tropical style plant with large hand shaped leaves should flower so well late in our season. When the growth has been lush I have to occasionally give it a prune. I try not to cut individual leaves.

Hellebores and I - - Britain

Hellebores and I

I used to think the stinking hellebore was the main hellebore plant. It has its place but on the compost heap. The Christmas rose on the other hand is a fine plant well worth cultivating. (Hellebore foetidus is a compact, evergreen perennial with finely divided elegant foliage and green flowers.) The better loved Hellebore niger or the Christmas Rose or Lenten roses produce the white flowers similar to those shown below.

PH Testing – Don’t Bother – Apply Commonsense -

PH Testing – Don’t Bother – Apply Commonsense

I love my acid loving Rhododendrons, Azaleas and many other ericaeous plants. So no wonder I have a ‘kit’ to test my soil for the level of alkalinity or acidity. Having said that I think it is a waste of time and money in the majority of cases. I now try to use commonsense instead.

Eucalyptus Adventures - - Britain - Australia

Eucalyptus Adventures

Yes you can grow Eucalyptus in the North of England although the mosaic below was created largely from Australian leaves by Robyn Jay.

Watering Lessons from a Dry Summer - - Britain

Watering Lessons from a Dry Summer

After a wet early spring 2018 the UK had a very dry summer. You are never to old to learn and I picked up some new tips and reinforced some old watering tips.

Plastic and the New to Me Clematis Madame Le Coultre -

Plastic and the New to Me Clematis Madame Le Coultre

Permission is granted to copy  this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

Lifting Your Tree & Shrubs Crown -

Lifting Your Tree & Shrubs Crown

Giving trees what I call the ‘Royal Chop’ is not as drastic as it sounds. It is one way of controlling the low growing branches that restrict light, create unwanted shade  and generally get in the way. The technical term may be to ‘Lift the Crown’ which has the result of leaving the lower trunk clear of branches and letting the growth starting at an acceptable height.

Aquatic and Aquarium Plant Tips -

Aquatic and Aquarium Plant Tips

Like good gardeners, aquarists spend time and effort creating living conditions that approximate to those of the natural environment of their plants.

Spring is Sprung – Finally - - Britain

Spring is Sprung – Finally

It is still be very cold and dank in some  parts of the UK but the flowers hint that spring has finally sprung. It has been a stuttering start for 2018 and the ground is still fearfully wet and therefore very cold.

Mahonias make me Prickly - - Japan - state Oregon

Mahonias make me Prickly

Every winter I am on the Oregon trail for garden scent. My best hope is the Mahonia (aka Oregon grape) which grows very well in various shady parts of my garden and flowers profusely in winter. Regrettably I find the much acclaimed scent is hard to detect but smell is not the only thing that gets up my nose! The rigid leaves have several vicious points on  the arrayed leaves and catch me out many times a year. This is partly due to a 6 foot shrub near my Japanese garden path. I don’t know what made me think Mahonia was suitable in a Japanese garden but there you go. As a deterrent to uninvited visitors the prickles make it as good as Holly and a close second to Berberis.

Mixed May Month - - Japan - state California

Mixed May Month

I love Iris as much as Iris love sunshine so we are both happy with this May’s weather. The Thuja occidentalis conifer offers a cool photographic backdrop after coming through a frosty patch of weather in early spring

RHS Garden Book Resources -

RHS Garden Book Resources

This week I revisited RHS Harlow Carr library for the first time in several years. I previously volunteered in the ‘old potting shed’  library before the new building was completed. Then I was part of the team that moved and reshelved all the books from one part of the garden to the ecofriendly new premises.

Outdoor Pots and Wotnot -

Outdoor Pots and Wotnot

This back end I have bought some new terracotta pots from the manufacturer in their end of season sale. I had always wanted some large, matching Long Toms and I now have some filled with patio roses. (Naylor Garden Pots is near Barnsley since the 1890’s.) I have also belatedly realised that pots look better when grouped in identical pairs or with like minded pots.

Gardening Jobs Not Done Before -

Gardening Jobs Not Done Before

The year 2020 is set to be memorable for far too many reasons. At the moment I will only stick to comments about plant and garden viruses but note we ‘caught a cold’ on the wet winter.

Notes from my Seed Bank -

Notes from my Seed Bank

Collected Californian poppy Eschscholzia pods and seeds

Ideas for Better Garden Photographs -

Ideas for Better Garden Photographs

Compose your photo shot with care to get the image you want and only that image. In this photo the moss and drainpipe do not add anything to the desired result so they need to be cropped out for the next image where ‘Carols’ bucket takes center stage. If the original has been taken with high resolution the cropped image will not suffer. The spade could have been aligned better to show the handle.

It’s A Rambler From Manchester Way -

It’s A Rambler From Manchester Way

It is not quite red enough to be Lancastrian but I am happy to call it ‘a rambler from Manchester way’ in tribute to the old folk song (and the very old folk of Lancashire). You knew there may be a sting in the tail!

I Do Like to Garden by the Sea - - region Mediterranean

I Do Like to Garden by the Sea

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to garden by the sea -Tiddely om pom pom. Seaside gardening has its challenges and it has it’s rewards as my west coast brother-in-law knows. (At the age of 82 he is thinking of giving up his gardening business to concentrate on his own relatively new garden).

Lush Time in the Garden - - county Garden

Lush Time in the Garden

Where has all the rain gone? In winter there were floods aplenty so I was predicting water rationing by summer. Now it is mid May and the ground is parched and rock hard.

Rabbits Don’t Eat Cyclamen -

Rabbits Don’t Eat Cyclamen

Rabbits do not eat Cyclamen at least not if they are stone replicas rabbits.

Comments made about Overwintering -

Comments made about Overwintering

Irena Dorney a reader of my chrysanthemum post has asked ‘ Tell me do you overwinter your plants? I can no longer afford to keep buying new plants for my planters so I want to invest in plants with a perennial habit that will work hard in my raised bed.’

Diverse Use of Hostas -

Diverse Use of Hostas

Hostas can be used for in a variety of situations due to their diversity as a species. As basically known as foliage plants they prosper in the shade but have other uses.

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