Author Archive | hortoris

Botanical Gardens and Botanics

Definitions and Scope

Botany is the science of plant life. In other descriptions it is the study of plant science or plant biology. A botanist is one who studies botany.

A botanic is a drug or medicinal preparation obtained from a plant or plants. 

Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education.”

Oxford Botanic Gardens and Magdalen College Tower.

This garden, the oldest in the UK was founded in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research

The original Cambridge University Botanic Garden (CUBG) was founded in 1762  with the larger site opening in 1846. It provides inspiration for botanists, gardeners and the public with an array of 8000 plant species. As a university garden it has a resources for research and teaching based on a collection of living plants labelled with their botanical names. CUBG is one of 1600 heritage-listed gardens  which are based on ‘designed’ landscapes, rather than on planting or botanical importance.

Chelsea Physic Garden was established as the Apothecaries’ Garden  in 1673

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Durham University Botanic Garden plus other University led botanic gardens at Leicester and Bristol

Ness Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Sheffield Botanic Garden has been restored  with  different garden areas with plants from all over the world, this 19-acre Gardenesque-style botanical garden is a diverse one to visit. As with other good botanic gardens it holds National Plant Collections in Sheffields case Weigela, Diervilla and Sarcococca.

National Botanic Garden of Wales

Belfast College Park, Botanic Avenue

Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contains exotic plants in a massive 137-hectare garden’

Singapore Botanic Gardens founded  in 1859 has Singapore’s  National Orchid Garden holding a collection of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids

Other large cities have notable botanic gardens including Sidney, New York, Kirstenbosch, Padova, Munchen and Montreal.

Botanic Labeling

cyclamen cilicium

Botanic label and specimen containing the  family name Myrsinaceae, or the myrsine family and origin S W Turkey. The species name Cyclamen Cilcium, the forma as two cultivars have been named but there are many similar wild forms. The number is the accession number 4 digits show the year the plant was first acquired  then last four numbers are sequential numbers.

Myrsinaceae is a rather large family from the order Ericales, that includes Cyclamen among 30+ genera.

RHS Plant label information downloadable

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Hibiscus senensis

The flamboyant Hibiscus senensis is now readily available as a housplant from garden centres. This yellow flower was growing on an Italian road side.

In a conservatory this evergreen is a neat rounded shrub. Good drainage and light are required for good flowering but plants can have a very long life.

If you want to know more about the species of Hibiscus you could do worse than read a book ‘Hibiscus Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden’ by Barbara Taylor Lawton extracts of which can be found here.

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Mowing Techniques & Tips

When one man went to mow it was to mow a meadow. Do you want to let your lawn get into that state? If not here are some tips but probably not enough to get you a stately home lawn.

Technical Approach

  • Little and often is usually a good plan. One a week in spring, during dry spells and autumn but more frequently in summer.
  • Aim to cut about one third of the height with each mowing
  • An occasional cut during mild weather in winter with the blades set high.
  • Start the year with the blades set high, upto one and a half inches for coarse grass down to a quarter of an inch for a bowling green standard fine lawn.
  • The best cuts are made by cylinder mowers with a large number of blades. I now use a lithium battery model.
  • Rotary mowers, strimmers and hover mowers are best for long tougher grasses.

Mowing Problems

  • Remove clippings otherwise you may encourage worm casts, weeds, aeration problems and disease.
  • Some recommend leaving clippings in hot dry weather to reduce evaporation but I find it unsightly and ineffective.
  • Avoid scalping off the top surface by taking turns too quickly of dropping of the edge of the lawn.
  • Setting to low can scalp the grass.
  • Keep blades sharp and correctly set to avoid tearing the grass rather than cutting it.
  • Alternate cutting horizontally and vertically to get the football pitch chequered effect.

Mowing in Special Situations

  • Inspect the area for hazards such as sticks, stones and animal droppings.
  • On a slope always mow side-to-side, not up and down the hill.
  • Choose the right mower, ride-ons are not good for steep slopes. Electrict mowers can be dangerous in wet conditions.
  • On wet grass raise the mowing height and keep the speed down to reduce the load on the motor.
  • The stripes you see on a lawn or playing field is simply light reflecting off the grass blades that have been mowed in one direction then the reverse. A mower with a roller helps accentuate the effect.
  • Treat weedy or moss infested lawns with proprietary weed and feed 3 days before cutting and leave for 3 days after dressing.

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Botanical Illustration and Gardener’s Art Books

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For something a bit different this book on botanic art covers some of the unusual colours from black flowers, plants and seaweed like strange green, blue and puce pink.

Contemporary Botanical Illustration with the Eden Project: Challenging Colour and Texture by Rosie Martin and Meriel Thurstan

For more see below

Alternatively look at the illustrations in Mr Marshall’s Flower Book

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Books from the art world

The quality that you might expect from Kew

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For a how too guide I am currently using this library book as my step to step guide.

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Marianne North Botanical Traveller

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Botanical Traveller

‘Marianne North, an unmarried middle-aged Victorian lady of comfortable means, set off in 1871 on her first expedition to make a pictorial record of the tropical and exotic plants of the world. Marianne produced more than 860 paintings which are housed in a special gallery at Kew.

Biographical Notes

  • Marianne North was born in 1830 in Hastings where her father was a well to do member of Parliament.
  • She traveled  with her father until his death in 1871 after which, at the age of 41, she visited North America, Jamaica and Brazil.
  • In 1875 she visited the Americas, Japan, India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Later visiting Java, Seychelles and Chile. All the while she was painting the species and specimen plants she discovered.
  • A variety of plants were painted in situe and five were named after her.
  • The majority of her paintings were given to Kew Gardens and she funded and organised  a gallery in which to display them.
  • The gallery is unusual because it contains 832 paintings almost her entire work.
  • The Marianne North Gallery is one of the most popular attractions of Kew Garden and the paintings still remain in their original Victorian arrangement.
  • Whilst in USA she became friendly with Edward Lear, U.S. President Grant, and Charles Darwin. Julia Margaret Cameron photographed her in Ceylon.

Mangrove swamp Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; (c) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (book); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Auricula Knowhow & Books

It has been a good spring for auriculas in my garden and cold greenhouse. Now the plants need time to rejuvenate after flowering so I will have time to read the National Auricula and Primula and Society’s excellent new members handbook and some of the following epistles.

 

 

 

 

The powder blue auricula is in a home made ‘tufa’ pot

Auricula Book Examples

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The Auricula: History, Cultivation and Varieties Allan Guest

Every now and then I decide to focus on one species or plant group. For 2014/2015 it is going to be the Auriculas. I need to practice the techniques explained in various books and learn’ what is what’ with florists Auricula. With that in mind I have joined the National Auricula and Primrose Society northern section and so far it seems very good value for money.

On to the books I am looking out for:

Auriculas – Their Care and Cultivation B.Hyatt Cassell, London.
Auriculas Through the Ages: Bear’s… by Patricia Cleveland-Peck
Auriculas for Everyone: How to Grow and Show Perfect Plants by Mary A. Robinson
Auriculas and Primroses by W.R. Hecker (22 Apr 1971)

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Primroses and Auriculas Wisley Handbook by Peter Ward
The Auricula: History, Cultivation and Varieties by Allan Guest
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Quick Guide to Chelsea Designers & Gardens

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‘Take Chelsea Home’ by Chris Young shows the “Best Garden Design from the Chelsea Flower Show”. Below is a brief preview of the 2010 gardens and designers.

  1. Tom Stuart-Smith; The Laurent-Perrier a champagne of gardens featuring a woodland of birches.
  2. Roger Platts; The M&G garden roses for the main sponsor.
  3. Sue Hayward; The Stephen Hawkins MND garden with unusual plants.
  4. Pual Stone; Place of Change a large community design.
  5. Leeds City Council; Hesco garden trying to pretend Leeds is  a tourist destination.
  6. James Wong;  Malaysia tourism garden, now here is a tourist destination.
  7. Robert Myers; Cancer Research garden, charities normally perform well at Chelsea.
  8. James Towillis; The L’Occitane garden a landscape of Provence.
  9. Andy Sturgeon; Daily Telegraph garden with international plants
  10. Thomas Hoblyn; F&C Investments garden that should grow better than the investments.
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Bonanza of Nasturtium Flowers

When it gets backendish as October begins to give way to colder nights, have a look around your garden.
The Nasturtiums are still flowering strongly as they clamber up this wall but one good frost will see them turn soggy and die. As Nasturtiums are good at self-seeding I will doubtless get many new plants next year without any effort.

Nasturtium
Tips Growing Nasturtiums

  • Nasturtiums do well in poor soil. If the soil is too rich then you will get more leaf than flower.

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Gardening Magazines Top 10

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Top Ten Gardening Magazines

Gardens Illustrated a respected glossy that aims to be a ‘style bible’ for serious gardeners.
Gardeners’ World, the UK’s biggest selling monthly gardening magazine provides you with key practical advice and tips, just when you need it! You can get a subscription by clicking the link on the right.
Grow Your Own delivers clear practical advice every month. Especially good for vegetable growers.
Garden News a weekly newspaper format with offers and articles. 50 years old this year so they get some things spot on.
The English Garden seeks out gardens from ‘the length and breadth of the country’
Amateur Gardening weekly features some of the most trusted names in gardening, including Anne Swithinbank, Peter Seabrook and Bob Flowerdew.
Garden Answers provides 50 answers to you questions per issue
Kitchen Garden for gardeners who love to grow their own fruit and vegetables whether this is on the allotment or vegetable patch.
Homes and Gardens and House and Gardens joint 10th are glossys with an inspiring mix of stunning houses, glorious gardens, gorgeous decorating and contemporary products for your home.
Organic Gardening have gathered the basics of organic gardening for you here. You’ll be able to find where to get your soil tested, learn how to manage pests without using chemicals, and read growing guides for vegetables and flowers.

Special Mentions

The Garden the RHS monthly magazine (free with a subscription) full of handy gardening tips, ideas and superb photography so you’ll have the latest gardening issues to hand.
The Plantsman (shown above) is an excellent quarterly from the RHS with negligible advertising, through research and detailed articles.
Garden Design Journal quarterly is the only gardening magazine in the UK dedicated solely to garden design.
Which Gardening is an excellent way of being kept informed on the best way to spend or save money in your garden.

Do not forget the link on the right for a couple of the above subscriptions.

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Rudbeckia Choosing and Growing Tips

York

Over 1500 posts are available on Gardeners tips and Rudbeckia has been covered several time before. I make no apology for this as they are a handsome plant worth considering for their long flowering season that lasts well into autumn.

Rudbeckia are perennial plants that form rounded clumps. They are easily raised from seed available from Thompson Morgan and other merchants.  Plants will grow in semi-shade or full sun without much help.

Types of Rudbeckia to Grow

  • Rudbeckia hirta is probably worth growing as a half-hardy annual.  Named varieties include Goldilocks, Irish Eyes, Toto, Autumn Forest and Prairie Sun.
  • Rudbeckia missouriensis is a rockery sized plant growing 12-16″ and flowering profusely
  • Rudbeckia laciniata will grow up to 10 feet tall in moist soil and flowers with a lemon petal and green centre.
  • Rudbeckia maxima is even taller than laciniata with blue green leaves and large ray flowers.
  • Rudbeckia speciosa is a traditional hardy plant like the one shown above.
  • Rudbeckia occidentalis Green Wizard has a brown centre with green petals on the flowers.

Read Other Rudbeckia Posts

Or buy the definative book ‘Rudbeckia: Rudbeckia Hirta, Rudbeckia Fulgida, Rudbeckia Laciniata, Rudbeckia Triloba, Rudbeckia Pinnata, Rudbeckia Maxima, Rudbeckia Alpicola’ from amazon for under a tenner.

Gardeners tips on Easy Autumn Rudbeckia

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