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Gardening articles that may not include tips

Perennial Begging

The Gardeners’ Charity is registered with the charity commission as no.1155156 – GARDENERS’ ROYAL BENEVOLENT SOCIETY. Most gardeners know it as ‘Perennial’. As befits a charity that has been helping horticultural workers for over 175 years it has built up some sizable reserves £43m plus 19 premises and two gardens at the last count. Rather a lot of investments to fund annual payments of only £3.6m or circa 80% of annual income from donations, trading and legacies. (Figures for 2016 are awaited.)

Flush with cash reserves and a conservative spending policy, poor gardeners and horticultural workers should be able to feel some comfort. In a recent mailing I was solicited to donate £25, £50 or £100 in addition to supporting the (expensive) product catalogue. This request wont germinate and bear fruit with me until they are more down to earth and do more for the horticultural workers and families.

The objects of the charity are
1.1.1 the relief and assistance by such means as the trustees shall determine to be appropriate in each case of gardeners or persons who are or who have been in like employment or occupation of those closely involved in gardening or related activities or those training to be gardeners or persons of like occupation and their spouses or widows/widowers or unmarried partners and/or immediate dependants in necessitous circumstances or in circumstances of poverty, illness, disability (whether mental or physical) or old age; and /or
1.1.2 the advancement for the public benefit of education and training in or relating to horticulture or gardening; and/or
1.1.3 the provision, maintenance or assistance in the provision and maintenance of gardens and open space for training, rehabilitation and other charitable purposes for public benefit and in particular the preservation and maintenance of gardens of historic and/or aesthetic importance to be enjoyed by and made available to the public at large;This can include debt advice and financial support to people employed in or retired from the horticultural industry who find themselves in difficulties arising from financial difficulties, ill health, disability, or old age.

The charity employed 38 staff and over 200 volunteers at December 2015.

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Growing all Sorts of Stuff

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Why You Might want to Grow Edible Stuff

  • Food stuff is top of the list in Mazlow’s hierarchy of need.
  • ‘Growing your own’ to feed the family has been a priority for centuries.
  • Farmers, market gardeners and smallholders all contribute edible stuff as do allotment holders and the majority of gardeners.
  • Windowsills, greenhouses, conservatories and sunny sheltered spots can be used to grow tomatoes and salad crops for example.
  • Herbs add taste to many dishes  and  basil, mint, parsley, rosemary and chillies,  are all stuff you can grow quite easily.
  • Stuff called Curcurbits such as courgettes, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers are comparatively easy to grow with a bit of shelter and warmth.
  • Tasty specialties are now more commonplace but Pineapples were grown in special stove houses in the 17th and 18th centuries.

What Other Stuff You Might want to Grow

  • Man can’t live by bread alone so aesthetic stuff needs to be grown to feed the inner man.
  •  Flowers and decorative plants come in all shapes and sizes. Cacti, Holly, Ivy and poinsettia are seasonal stuff you can try.
  • Stuff for indoors includes a range of bulbs and windowsill plants. Old Aspidistra and other evergreen leaved plants have a reputation of cleaning the air. A reputation probably earned when we all had coal fires.
  • Growing stuff in a formal manner from a large landscape to a small Knot garden can be time consuming but rewarding.
  • Organic and environmentally friendly grown stuff has its own reward.
  • Forestry, heath and heather, parks and pleasure grounds all serve a visual or emotional purpose.

How to Grow Stuff

You will have guessed it – read the book!

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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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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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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.

Continue Reading →

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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

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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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