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Recommended specialist books and data sources

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

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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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Gardening as a Business

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How to Start Your Own Gardening Business
An Insider Guide to Setting Yourself Up as a Professional Gardener is a useful tutorial if you want to set up a gardening business. I recommend you consider your aspirations and limitations carefully and either set up a ‘Life Style business’ or consider becoming a qualified, professional career gardener.

Life Style Gardener

  • There are many jobs from spring onward for jobbing gardeners. Lawyers hang out a shingle but for gardeners a post card in the post office usually suffices.
  • Labouring on hedges and lawns for the infirm or doing small construction and garden maintenance projects are within the grasp of most hobby gardeners.
  • If your work is good then word of mouth should get you lots of referals.
  • Hourly rates in the North of England vary from £6- £20 per hour depending on the level of horticultural skill, experience and quality of garden. Ask around amongst those already in business.

Career Gardener

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Crocus Buying & Cultivation Tips

Croci?

Crocus Cultivation Tips

 

  • Allow foliage to die back. Do not tie foliage because it weakens the bulb and flowers for next year.
  • A little bonemeal in spring will help build up corms and bulbs for next year.
  • Crocus often like a rather heavy but well drained soil. Enrich sandy soil with leafmould.
  • If troubled with mice or squirrels eating corms, place wire netting just below the soil surface.
  • Bring a pot of Crocus into the house when the first buds show and keep in a light cool spot.
  • Allow species crocus to self seed to increase your display in years to come.
  • Suspend black cotton over the buds to stop them being attacked by birds.
  • After the foliage fades Crocus can be lifted and split every 4-5 years to avoid over crowding. Leave them be if they are naturalised under grass.
  • Mulch with garden compost only sparingly 5cm deep.

Types of Crocus

Colchium Autumnale Album

  • Autumn Crocus  flower before the leaves and are also sold as Colchium. If autumn is dry water the corms.
  • Crocus vernalis tend to have larger bulbs and spring blooms.
  • Crocus chrysanthus like sun or light dappled shade and a lighter soil.
  • Species Crocus Tommasinianus, C.sativus, C. angustifolius C. biflorus, C. korolkowii and C. olivieri will grow well under a late leafing shrub.

ledsham crocus

Buying Hints and Advice

  • Buy firm plump bulbs.
  • Avoid bulbs that are in the least bit soft.
  • Avoid bulbs which are already sprouted and showing green.
  • Avoid any bulbs that show signs of fungus, spots, rot or mould.
  • Buy as soon as Crocus become available and plant September-November

crocus

I have just planted 100+ crocus around a new Paperbark Acer and a similar number in a variety of pots and containers. When the containers have flowered the crocus will be fertilised and planted out.

See our other photos
Bulb: A Hand-Picked Selection of the World’s Most Beautiful Bulbs by Anna Pavord is a personal selection and authoritative guide to the most gorgeous bulbs on the earth.
Anna Pavord, world-famous author of “The Tulip”, writes charmingly about her favourite subject from Acis to Zigadenus via Tulip and Crocus.

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Hedgerows Worth Watching

Hedgerow flowers

January started the year quite well with a few early snowdrops and the remnants of primulas. February will be even better snow permitting. Leap forward to June which is a spectacular month for flowering hedgerows and particularly in the under-storey.

Identifying plants whilst out walking as a child, was my first introduction to the environment and natural gardening. There is still a buzz seeing a plant growing in the wild that some careful gardeners has subsequently developed for the garden or nursery trade.

Why not under-plant your garden hedges with native species of hedgerow flowers. The trick is to leave them undisturbed, unfed and untreated with chemicals. I would bank up the soil to start your hedge’s lower storey.

Hedgerows by County

  • I nominate Somerset as my favourite hedgerow county but I would like to know what other UK counties can lay claim to be hedgerow county 2010.
  • Cornish hedgerows have a soil banking (so that helps the smaller plants) with a rocky top and shrubs.
  • Devon hedges are similar to Cornwall but with turf on and at the top of the banking.
  • The Yorkshire Dales tends to have dry stone walls rather than hedges but the understorey plants can still be attractive.
  • In Perth, near Blairgowrie, is the tallest and longest hedge on earth. Meikleour Beech Hedge, planted in 1745, is 98 ft in height and nearly half a mile long. (I wouldn’t want to trim it).

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‘Hedgerows, moors, meadows and woods – these hold a veritable feast for the forager.’ and all is laid bear in the River Cottage Handbook. Book link

The English Hedgerow Trust provided this apposite quote from Shakespeare.

I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite canopied over with luscious woodbine
With sweet muskroses and with eglantine.


For a bit of fun read Copper Beech Hedges
Green Garden Habitats

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Gardeners Year for Organic Fruit and Veg

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‘Organic Fruit and Vegetable Gardeners Year, The A Seasonal Guide to Growing What You Eat’ by Graham Clarke

Yesterdays Gardeners Question Time on radio 4 featured many questions on this subject. The main advice that appealed to me was to concentrate on growing more fruit. (We all more likely to take the advice we want to hear.)

Gardeners Tips on Organic Fruit Growing

Organic Principles
Organics should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animals and humans as one.
Organic growing is based on ecological systems and cycles that are worked with and sustained.
Organic gardening should be done in a precautionary manner to protect the health and well being of current and future generations.
Organics promotes the concept of fairness with regard to common environment and life opportunities.

Soil Fertility

Chemical fertility is the availability in the soil of all the elements, nutrients, ions,   traces and inorganic chemicals that plants need to grow.
Biological fertility includes micro organisms that help nutrient recycling’ including fungi, bacteria and protozoa that clean up bacteria. It also covers macro organisms such as arthropods that break down organic matter in the early stages of decomposition, worms that help drainage and aeration and nematodes that help in various ways but   occasionally act as pests.
Physical fertility is the mix of sand, silt and clay that makes up the soil and determines texture, ability to hold water and sustain life.

Weed Management Continue Reading →

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Dangerous and Mind Altering Plants

Many plants have dangerous components, leaves, seeds and roots. Some of the most dangerous must be grown under government license.
Below are notes on just a few plants to avoid eating.

Mandrake is one of the most poisonous plants that is known. The specimen above is grown under strict control with a fence around it. A member of the nightshade family, Mandrake also contains atropine, scopolamine, apoatropine and hyoscyamine that affect brain functions.

Strychnine, the deadly poison, is produced from the beans of Strychnos ignatii. It is also found in the orange fruit and nuts of Strychnos nux vomica.

Ricin is a poison found naturally in the seeds of the Castor oil plant that also produces the oil that is fed to babies. Ricinus communis ‘Gibsonii’ has red-tinged leaves with reddish veins and pinkish-green seed pods but there are other Castol oil plant varieties.
If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released Ricin can cause injury.
Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans into castor oil.

Mescaline is a hallucinogen compound made from the small, spineless cactus Lophophora williamsii or Peyote. It is also present in other cacti including Echinopsis peruviana.
Mescaline is also found in certain members of the Fabaceae bean family.

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1000 Gardens to Visit and other 1000’s

www.gardenerstips.co.uk/blog has now reached over 1000 tips on this blog. To celebrate this milestone I have looked for other notable 1000’s and have come up with the RHS Garden Finder last published in 2007 – 2008. This publication advertises ‘More than 1,000 gardens to visit and enjoy‘ and is a weighty 500 page reference book edited by Charles Quest-Ritson. Available from Amazon at a remaindered price from 1p plus postage.


Listing gardens to visit by country and county within the United Kingdom it also lists all the NCCPG National Collections. I guess the Philadelphus collections at Pershore College and The Hollies Park Leeds will smell just wonderful on the first of July.

Not to be out done on the tips front Readers Digest publish ‘1001 Hints and Tips for the Garden‘ with more contributors than you can shake a pea stick at.

Amazon also sell a couple of books celebrating one thousand including ‘1000 Fuchsias’ by Meip Nijhuis and ‘Emeralds 1000 Green Flowers and 500 Choice Green Foliage Plants’ by Karen Platt

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