Grewelthorpe Himalayan Garden Images

Grewelthorpe Himalayan Garden Images

The Himalayan Garden at Grewlthorpe continues to mature and develop. It is great to see a wide range of trees allowed to grow their natural size without undue lopping or arbocultural work.
A new arboretum will opened at the end of May 2017 and the  autumn season is well  worth a special visit. The hydrangea and sculptures are also looking great.

As ever the sculptures are excellently located and seem to breed in number every time I visit.

Rhododendrons are the key feature for me that makes return spring visits a must.

Landscape views from the many well located paths are set to delight.

The artist Subodh Kerkar has several new installations at the Himalayan garden in North Yorkshire, many miles from his home in Goa.  I couldn’t say what type of tree trunks these 18 carefully and vertically  place ‘logs’ were!

Even walking through the gap I was still stumped. The message on these ‘Logs of Dialogue’ is that ‘terrorism is a product of non-communication between  nations, groups, regions religions and ideologies’.

Take a leaf out of another sculptural installation. Or take another leaf from my inspiration and visit these Grewelthorpe gardens, infant arboretum and sculpture trail during April or May or October for autumn colour.

Many Magnificent Magnolia Varieties and Species

Many Magnificent Magnolia Varieties and Species


Magnolia Varieties

  • Magnolia ‘Sunrise’ – White with red stripe
  • Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ -Deep purple with full petals
  • Magnolia ‘Red Lucky’ -Pink with red base
  • Magnolia ‘Jade Lamp’ – Pure white
  • Magnolia ‘Crystal Cup’ -Cream
  • Magnolia denudata Yellow River
  • Magnolia ‘Pink Beauty’ –
  • Magnolia ‘Betty’ – Deep pink to cerise

Available from Thompson & Morgan

Magnolia in Oxford


Magnolia bloom in early April

Read More Read More

Winnowing My Garden Books

Winnowing My Garden Books


A Yorkshire success following my post 3 years ago on Yorkshire day. (See below). I set a resolution to reduce by book collection which has been achieved in part by charity donations and Free Cycle to a Ripley lady. Over 500 gone and only 100 or so special interest books to follow in 2023 and onward.

‘On this first of August 2020 I am resolved to winnow down my collection of books on gardening and related subjects. I want to separate the wheat from the chaff and boy is there a lot of chaff to sort, probably 500+ tomes plus related ephemera. Not all of this winnowing activity will lead to new posts on this site but my first effort has done.

The most recent book I have read from cover to cover was the entertaining ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben. To me it is a master piece of accessible writing about trees, what they feel, how they communicate and how nature interacts  with them. It is based on years of experience as a forester. Peter has acute observational and analytical ability that is well reasoned and simply communicated. The main themes I have taken into my wider gardening and ecological understanding include:

  1. Trees show we can take the long view and there is no need to rush, in fact time may create a far better and sustainable result.
  2. There is a place for everything and with everything in its place we disrupt it at our peril.
  3. We don’t know what we don’t know and there are more things in heaven and earth ( but what the Hamlet to mix my metaphors.)
  4. If trees have social networking with many skills similar to human abilities and traits, then what else can our gardens teach us.
  5. Look at what is easily visible and look again to develop understanding.

Fired with this enthusiasm I looked through for further enlightenment before I  pass on the books to others as part of winnowing down from  my book shelves. I came across a 1974 book ‘Plants and Environment’ by R F Daubenmire a self professed Textbook of Plant Autecology. The book’s definition of Autecology is wider than a dictionary definition claiming it considers: geology, soils, climatology, zoology, chemistry and physics which are connected to the welfare of living organism and evolution of species. Not dissimilar to Wohlleben’s offering.  As I have only read the preface and introduction in detail some chapers have been dipped into to suit my mood at the time. These include; soil, water, temperature, light, atmospheric, biotic, fire, evolution and complex environmental chapters.

As a text book it is more detailed and less apocryphal than the Hidden Life of Trees but aims at ‘the intelligent management of plant life (and trees in particular) for the good on mankind’. Both books have excellent notes and references.’


Easy Potash for your Garden

Easy Potash for your Garden

Potash is a collective name for potassium salts that help grow healthy plants. Potash is good for fruit and  flowers helping thebbalance with nitrogen to improve disease protection and enhance flower colour.

Potassium sulphate widely used as a quick acting source of potash. Ideal for tomatoes, peppers and easy to mix and apply from a liquid.

Potassium nitrate is quick acting if you need a boost to nitrogen and potash at the same time. Like p. sulphate it helps develop fruit and can be sprinkled around the roots of fruit trees

Potassium chloride is a cheap form of potash that is a bit out of favour as it is less suitable for some root crops and soft fruit.

Home made potassium rich fertilizers can be made from comfrey leaves or wood ash. Soak comfrey leaves in water to make a vile smelling potash rich feed. Burnt wood ash contains potash but of varying quality and longevity so it may be best added to your compost heap.

Spring Acers and Great Colour

Spring Acers and Great Colour

Do not forget the pleasures of Acers in spring and early summer. New buds and leaves are an interesting feature of carefully chosen species. Visit a good garden center or a renown public garden like RHS Harlow Carr in Harogate  We know that Maple trees or Acers have exceptional colour in autumn which is why tourists flock to New England and the eastern seaboard to see the flaming colours. Cold nights and warm days are the conditions that help turn green leaves to vibrant colours. With the falling temperatures, the lush green colours of summer have been replaced with vivid reds, golden yellows and browns.

However autumn is not the only season when colour and form can captivate as shown below. The RoyalHorticultural Society (RHS)

Leaves Autumn Amber

Why do Some Leaves Turn Red
Leaves naturally turn yellow as the chlorophyll breaks down and the green disappears but yellow can attracts sap-sucking aphids.
Some species of tree produce a bright red pigment into the leaves to confuse these insects.
Some trees are naturally red pigmented from the outset.

Gardeners Top Tip
Plant Acer palmatum ‘Matsukaze’, which opens bright bronze-red turns olive green, flushed with purple but then scarlet in autumn colour, where sun can shine through the coloured leaves to enhance the autumn effect.

Merry Gardening Christmas

Merry Gardening Christmas

2022 is nearly over and in parts of North America with the arctic bomb cyclone it can’t come soon enough.  The UK thought the cold snap in December was bad but it froze just enough to help my garden go into winter hibernation and kill off some lingering malingerers.

Top Seasonal Songs

Jingle Campanulas  Jingle Campanulas Jingle all the way.

LBA 067

The Holly and the Ivy


Away in a Compost Heap

We Three King Alfreds of Daffodils Are

An Aster Fidelis

Away in a Mancave

While Gardeners Watch their Veg by Night


The Flora of West Yorkshire F A Lees

The Flora of West Yorkshire F A Lees

My winter pastime is to sort and dispose of some of my many gardening books. My collection has grown even more  invasive than the worst weeds and it is time hoe them out. Charity shops will be beneficiaries as will our local gardening club but the recycling industry will get 500 or so books. I thought of composting but I will leave that to the landfill which still contains all those old telephone directories.

Bearing in mind my local heritage and garden location one book that is worth a mention is ‘The Flora of West Yorkshire’ by Frederic Arnold Lees (1847-1921). My copy is a professional 1978 facsimile of the first edition of 1888.

Interesting Facts

  • Lees was Leeds born and schooled and became a member of The Royal Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians
  • He also Presided over the botanical section of the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union and was recorder for the Botanical Record Club
  • Frederic collected plant material for Leeds medical school and his book collection of 535 items is retained by Bradford reference library.
  • The book contains 2.000 references in a comprehensive index and starts with information on Climatology and  Lithology as it pertains to botany. This shows how weather and under lying rock and soil structure influences the species that thrive in various conditions
  • Observations – Victorians and Edwardians took great care to study the natural world and invest time and energy in study. This work helped classify the wild  flora discovered in West Yorkshire in that era.


Peat is Disappearing from Compost

Peat is Disappearing from Compost

Peat free compost

Commercial compost is a range of products sold in plastic wrapping in garden centres, DIY shops and sundry retailers. This is not to be confused with your own garden compost made from decomposed plant matter.
The contents of these types of commercial compost vary and can affect the growing result considerably. All have a base which has no or negligible nutritional value plus additives that make it useful for a specific purpose.

Typical Compost Constituents – Base

Peat base of small fibers of bog peat is excellent for many purposes but now seen as none ecofriendly due to the over extraction of peat and lack of replenishment of the resource which isn’t sustainable.
Coir as a peat substitute for the base. Coir is made from the hairs & fibers of coconuts and such compost are widely available. There are special organic compost products approved by the vegan society .
Wood pulp based composts and partially composted bark are other bases the industry is trying to develop into retail products but mixes and formulas keep changing
Steralised loam based composts, generically called John Innes after the guy who first formulated them, tend to be heavier.
Composted green waste is becoming popular if you can find a reliable supplier who uses non-diseased raw materials

Typical Commercial Compost Constituents – Additives

Most composts are mixes of some of the base ingredients and possibly sand or vermiculite to open up the compost and improve drainage
Fertilisers are added that are appropriate to the end use. seed compost needs less fertiliser than a container planting compost where a plant has to live for at least a season
A wetting agent is often added as peat is very difficult to get wet and you need an even moisture in a pot or seed tray.
Water retaining gels may be added for hanging basket compost.

high trees 055

Typical Compost for Special Uses

Rooting and cutting compost is usually just a mix of sand loam and peat
Seed compost has crushed limestone and phosphates added to help drainage an promote root growth
John Innes No1, 2 & 3 has varying quantities of fertilisers; hoof and horn, superphosphate and potassium sulphate . No 1 Potting Compost is for pricking out young plants, No 2 Potting Compost is for potting on and No 3 Potting Compost is for established plants and shrubs.
Ericacious compost is for acid loving plants like Rhododendrons and lime hating plants like Mahonia and has flowers of sulphur added to the peat based mix.
Cactus compost, Bonsia compost, Orchid compost, Citrus plant compost even African Violet compost are all available from a range of suppliers. One brand with a range available in many outlets is Westland
Bulb compost used to be called bulb fibre and has no fertiliser . It is used for bulbs like Hyacinths that have already got a store of energy to produce a flower.

Tips On Compost

As it is an organic product the quality can be variable but there will be a brand you like so try some out – currently I am using Arthur Bowers and B&Q own label.
Mix in a bit of grit, sand, vermiculite or water preserving gel depending on how you plan to use the compost
Try keep it uniformly moist.
Add a drop of liquid soap to the water to restrict the growth of moss on seed compost used for slow germinating seeds.
Grow bags contain compost and are a cheaper way of buying compost than small bags.
Compost deteriorates with age so buy fresh compost from a commercial supplier with a fast turnover.

First Posted: April 10th, 2012 |on Gardening Products    

Garden and Natural Art

Garden and Natural Art

For the winter months I reduce my time in the garden and use art as a replacement hobby. I remember that over 1o years ago our sister site focused on Garden Products. There was a category for Garden Art Products and a selection of updated posts is below. The full range can be accessed on this link

Garden Art

Tucson Botanical Bottle Garden? Not quite, but artistic bottles in the garden.
If you have the bottle to produce your own art then give freedom to your bottled up instincts.

A local garden has used their old empty wine bottles inverted and buried around a sapling to produce a circular no go area. It may not be good in the longer term for the sapling but for the wine drinkers it seems to work.
I am less sure about the bottle tree below but everyone to their own tipple.

The final picture has little to do with bottles but shows art in the garden in the garden so to speak.

Art in the Garden, Tirau

Garden Art by SearchNetMedia, CC BY-NC 2.0
Art in the Garden, Tirau by EssjayNZ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dicentra Art for £10

Posted: April 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under:Art | No Comments »Dicentra

Dicentra are both photogenic and artistic. We often feature them on our Gardeners Tips site as they are rewarding plants to grow.
Plants are widely available for less than £10.

New Dicentra Art for £10

Photographic Prints of Dicentra specabilis Alba from Science Photo Library. Check here for the actual image which differs from the one above which is credited to Facing North East on creative commons BY-NC-SA 2.0

Technical Details of Dicentra Art

A 10×8 Print features an image chosen by Science Photo Library. Estimated image size 254x169mm.
Printed on 254x203mm Fuji Crystal Archive paper for stable image permanence and brilliant colour reproduction with smooth tones, enhanced sharpness, and excellent definition. Size refers to paper used
For any queries  contact Science Photo Library c/o Media Storehouse quoting Media Reference 6281632 © Adrian Thomas/science Photo Library

Something a bit different that might appeal during the long winter nights when gardening gets tough.‘Stitch and Sow’ are a range of Embroidery kits with a packet of seeds to grow alongside the Embroidery you are creating. Indian silk fabrics are provided and the A5 sized flower range includes
Cornflower or Lavender, Geranium (Pelargonium), Lupin or Poppy.
Sunflower (Grow your own Van Gogh), Morning Glory, Foxglove, Dahlia and Hearts-ease.

Artistic Garden Hangings

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Art, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Trees are a great places to locate art in your garden. RHS Hyde Hall has a series of these woodland nymphs in various strategic locations around the garden. I hang all sorts from branches including old cycling equipment and sundry glass pieces.

An explanation of each wood nymph is provided alongside the sculpture. Both enhance the experience of walking through the woodland glade and do not detract from the natural beauty of the trees.