Roses are Red and Charitable Too

I am miffed  that the Royal National Rose Society has gone into administration (May 2017). Originally formed in 1876 it owns land in St Albans but finds annual running costs onerous. As small compensation here are details about a couple of charitable red roses.

The Prince’s Trust  Climber Rose

  • This rose was bred in 2000 by Harkness roses and named to help raise awareness and funds for the The Prince’s Trust.
  • The clusters of slightly fragrant, pure scarlet or blood red blooms are produced repeatedly throughout the summer into the autumn.
  • The green, glossy foliage provides an attractive backdrop to the blooms.
  • Normally a 10′  climber it can  grow up to 15 feet even on a north facing wall.

National Trust – Hybrid Tea Rose

  • A medium sized 3 foot high flowering Hybrid Tea rose.
  • Spiraling petals of  vivid red make florist quality, long stemmed blooms produced throughout the summer and autumn.
  • Young foliage is coppery red foliage maturing to a glossy, dark green.
  • Different suppliers make differing claims about the scent ranging from undetectable to sweet or strong. I think it is very light compared to most roses.
  • The eagle eyed may see some black spot but it is a hardy disease resistant rose that will tolerate poorer conditions than other rosa varieties.

At least the two beneficiaries The Prince’s Trust and the National Trust are still operating as charities even if our Royal National Rose Society is becoming defunct.

 

 

 

0

Garden Advice to a Daughter

These notes are designed as advice to a daughter who has just moved into a 1920’s house with a long, narrow back garden and a postage stamp sized front grass patch.

Current Layout and Issues

  • The front is open to cats and the quiet road with a footpath at one side leading to the door, edged by a rough hedge.
  • The other side of the front is partnered to a well kept neighbors garden fence and a motley collection of shrubs. Under the bay window is ruble trouble.
  • The extended kitchen at the rear provides a small sit’out’ery  and place for pot plants.
  • A high trellis fence along the length of the garden displays nothing much and there is only a pencil strip of soil at its base.
  • I don’t expect the garden to look like this next time I visit but annuals and begonias can add a splash of colour

Quick Fixes

  • Cut and edge the grass at the front even though the ground is very uneven. Don’t worry about the weeds in the grass until you can call it a lawn.
  • Lower the 6 foot high privet hedge to say 3 feet and make it narrower at the top than the bottom. An ‘A’ shaped hedge is easier to maintain. Privet, Yew and mixed hedges will regrow, only looking rough until next summer.
  • Get the neighbors to cut down the overgrown inappropriate sized tree that is over-shadowing your garden. At best a good trim of over hanging branches would be a start.
  • Get a new lockable garden hut.
  • Clear up old attempts at compost heaps by spreading or burying. I would go for a themo plastic box composter.

Continue Reading →

0

Photographs from Our 2000 Posts

This is Gardeners Tips 2,000 extant post since April 2008. I have lost count how many photographs and images have been included but here are just a few repeats.

fritilliaria

In addition to our own images we would like to thank creative commons and other organisations that helped with contributions as we were starting out.
Around 100 books have been recommended to highlight a subject such as The Garden Photography Workshop by Andrea Jones below.

Book CoverWe would also like to thank the million plus visitors to our website and hope the tips and humour demonstrate how gardening can have a lighter side.

0

Minimum Cultivation- No Dig

What is ‘No Dig’

  • ‘No Dig’ gardening or not turning over your soil is  growing in popularity with organic farmers and some gardeners. It is a term used for clearing the ground and establishing a minimum cultivation area without digging.
  • The substitute for digging is mulching.  The garden may be covered with paper or cardboard and topped with a deep layer of compost. Worms will help drag the organic matter down into the soil.
  • Plastic sheeting is a poor substitute as it brings nothing to the party but stifles weeds.
  • Alternate layers of manure and straw can help build up the quality of ‘no dig’ soil.
  • Water well avoid walking on the plot and plan to plant through the mulches with minimum disturbance.

Benefits of Minimum Cultivation

  • This form of gardening is less labour intensive compared to dig a spit deep or heaven forbid, double digging.
  • Using a good layer of straw or compost improves soil structure and builds up over the years.
  • The soil remains in good heart and there should be less soil erosion and runoff
  •  Beneficial invertebrates, fungi and earthworms will enjoy the lack of disturbance and repay the no dig gardener with increase fertility.
  • Minimum cultivation reduces the loss of nitrates and reduces leaching.
  • Less wear and tear on the gardeners back.
  • The texture of the soil will become darker and crumbly with a good tilth.
  • Digging can bring up perennial weed seeds that are best left deeper in the soil where light can’t set them into germination.

Book Cover

 

0

New Design Ideas to Green Grey Britain

Where to Get New Garden Ideas

  • Your own imagination is the prime source of ideas for your own personal garden.
  •  If you can’t get to Chelsea there are other horticultural and flower shows and many  open gardens.
  • Magazines, newspapers and books can spark off a new thought or provide a combination of ideas.
  • Just walking around looking over walls and fences may give you an idea. I saw some very useful use of trellising offering privacy on a street-side garden without dark dense hedges.
  • Trial and error has been my fall back design method but it is a slow process and after 60 years It is still to produce the goods!

Greening Grey Britain

  • The RHS advocates gardens to help preventing flooding, ease stress and encourage exercise, support wildlife, and be ‘the equivalent of an air conditioning system for our cities’.
  • Decking, block paving and parking spaces have taken over from front lawns and small gardens to the detriment of the environment. Turning grey areas green with new design ideas and plantings can help rectify the damage caused by urbanisation.
  • I had three garages and drives for access but one was a lean too that served no real purpose. I knocked it down and have a pond, some maturing trees and a Japanese area that is  a pride and joy. It’s awkward tarmaced drive was too hard to remove so it was covered in a large mound of soil that became a quick draining alpine zone.
0

What is the RHS Good For?

Diarmuid Gavin Garden Recreated

I declare an interest as I have a love hate relationship with the Royal Horticultural Society. As a national institution and registered charity I would prefer if it were more inclusive and less overtly commercial. Since rejoining after a few years break I expected to start this note on the negatives but based on the last few months that would be wrong so I leave them and my personal views to the last paragraph.

Where is the RHS Excelling

  • With an international horticultural reputation the RHS makes a strong  contribution to British culture, tourism and education sectors.
  • The society is working harder than ever to increase the connections with children, schools and communities.
  • The open sharing of knowledge through multiple channels is priceless.
  • Campaigning and acting as a catylist with other organisations is creating a bigger impact with Greening Grey Britain, Britain in Bloom, National Gardening week, and the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
  • It is summer and the gardens are all looking in good fettle. The developments at Harlow Carr since the society took over from the Northern Horticultural Society demonstrate the strength of the RHS.
  • Gardening qualifications, scientific developments, libraries, partner gardens and plant trials are not headline grabbers but contribute to the membership ‘feel good factors’.

 Negatives or ‘What The RHS is not Good For’

  • As a charity benefiting from the tax breaks and ‘public’ support is it fulfilling all the requirements to enjoy this support.
  • The society has £96 million held in cash and investments which is well in excess of the annual income of £73m. Even bearing in mind the new garden in Salford this seems excessively conservative.
  • On one level the RHS is a glee club for the county and wanabee set. Evidenced by all the luvvies at Chelsea where social climbers out number horticultural climbers and scramblers.
  • There is an appearance of commercial and personal vested interests & cliquishness.
  • The Chatsworth flower show could be renamed a clothes show with flowers.
  • My experience as a volunteer at the RHS was frustrating due to the corporate ethos and management of the time (2005-2009).

 

 

 

 

0

Compost Corner Experiences

                                                   Compost bins

This is a view of a corner in my Yorkshire garden that shows some recycling activity. I have tried various compost bin methods over the years. Initially I started with an open pile which was untidy and slow. At about this time I acquired a shredder which chopped up brown twiggy waste but only  squelched leaves.

I graduated to a wooden frame compost bin  structure the remnants of which are showing next to the dustbin. This was fine particularly when I used ‘garrotta’ as a speed enhancer but as the volume of compostables grew the space needs also grew. (The more compost I had the more the plants grew and thus the more compost I got until Les Barker made a song out of it).

Thermo Plastic Bins

  • Now the latest incarnation is the thermo plastic green bins. One is always in current use and the other is rotting down older compost. The volume reduction continues for about six months.
  • This has been a good investment in terms of conversion speed, heat generation in the pile and crumbly results.
  • I leave the lid open occasionally to increase the dampness.
  • Despite using hard standing the big bins twist as they fill and the double split lids do not work very well.
  • The bottom half is separately hinged so in theory you can extract compost from the bottom as it rots. I find it is too solid and prefer to empty the bin in total. Coarse bits can start off the new bin.

Other Compost Corner Items

  • The black plastic bin is used for leaves and slow to compost items that will take a couple of years to rot down. I sacrifice pure leaf mold for composting coarser items.
  • The burner dustbin with air holes and chimney was used for burning far more before the plastic bins came into use. Now I tend to put bits of trash, old labels, broken pots etc in this bin as I work near the compost bins.
  • The blue lid in the fore front is a local authority recycling bin that is the 4th they have supplied and is now superfluous to my needs. Now I recollect there were also two other bins one now buried to make a second pond and one converted into a potato barrel.
  • The bird feeders and brush speak for themselves.
  • The wheelbarrow is full of recycled seed and potting compost mixed with perlite. This will be used up on some pot plants after adding some granular fertiliser.
  • There is a tub of grit and gravel which I plan to use but never get around to doing so.

                                    An Old Bin System

Tips based on Looking Back

  • Heat is key to quick compost. It is increased by air so fork or turn the pile.
  • In days gone by I creosoted the fence see above. Keep chemically treated matter away from an organic compost heap.
  • There is a sense of achievement by creating and using good compost. It is worth the effort and beats taking everything to a landfill tip.
  • Hedges grow and in my case have created a rain shadow and trimming problem.
0

Carnation Street

 

Green fingers held this wet carnation still for a photograph of the captivating colour scheme. I have loved carnations for over 60 years but never really got on top of growing or breeding for showing.

Carnations through the Ages

  • Dianthus caryophyllus have been around for over 2000 years well known to the ancient Greeks. Since that time they have been bred into a vast range of varieties.
  • Standard Carnations are the large single headed varieties grown in a greenhouse environment.
  • Hardy border carnations of the sort by family grew in their little cottage the 1950’s. These are the family of carnations that were depicted in old Flemish paintings.

Jan Albertsz Rotius – A Four-year-old Girl with a Pot of Carnations – 1663

  • Perpetual flowering carnations well-loved by the florists who sold these by the million as one of the longest lived cut flowers. Now overtaken by supermarket and garage forecourt sales of bunches in plastic.
  • Vintage varieties  have been very popular in bridal bouquets for years
  • Spray carnations have multiple flowers per head by removing the terminal bud and leave the side buds to flower.
  • Pinks have smaller flowers than carnations and either single or double.

 

The British National Carnation Society   growing the flowers of the three main types of Dianthus – Pinks, Border Carnations and Perpetual-flowering Carnations.

0

Help Plants Through a Wet Winter

Plants can drown when roots are left in wet soil for protracted periods. Short immersion whilst dormant is seldom fatal but saturated soil drives away the oxygen needed by plants to help them transpire.
Also in winter some plants are prone to root rot Phytophthora or rot off at soil level.

waterlogged garden

Not Waving but Drowning

Selecting Appropriate Plants for Wet Winters

  • Avoid silver leaved or grey perennials.
  • Mediterranean hot arid loving plants and many alpines do not like our cold, wet winters.
  • Pot plants that suffer quite easily and can die include Orchids, African Violets and other fleshy rooted plants.
  • Bog lovers, Hydrangeas, Cornus, Dogwoods and Hosta are just some of the plants that may thrive through a wet winter.

Improving Survival Chances

  • Wet soil is created by compaction or because of a high water table and poor drainage.
  • Incorporating grit or pea gravel as a surface mulch will help keep the base of the plant drier.
  • Plant on top of a slight mound
  • Improve drainage by spiking, trenches and with soak-aways or land drains.
  • Avoid compacting the soil by walking on the ground when it is wet.
  • Work your soil and dig in organic matter during the other seasons.
  • Spring flooding is especially dangerous when plants and roots start to respire. Divert excess water and be prepared

Pot Grown Plants

  • Lift pots off the ground with pot feet or onto bricks.
  • Lay pots on their side to avoid excessive rain settling on the center of the plants.
  • Improve drainage by incorporating perlite and coarse grit in the compost.
  • Move pots under cover or into a rain shadow.
  • Put a slanted pane of glass or cloches over special plants. Allow air to circulate.
0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes