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Pelargoniums are Something Special

Something Special

This pelargonium was sold to me By Fir Trees Nursery as called ‘Something Special’. The colour in bloom is clearer and softer pink than I can get on the computer screen and is something special in appearance.

In 2012 they have 3 brand new releases and have many new introductions which are new to us throughout the catalogue.

[‘The first new release is a decorative regal from a hybridist in Italy Riccardo Gallucci.
I was given a small plant of ‘Donatella Love’ by Derek Lee about 2 years ago who thought it unusual-as did we when we saw it flower. It is a striking variety and very free flowering with an unusual colour combination. I later found out from Derek that it was bred in Italy and he would put me in touch with Gwen Ward who passed my details on to Riccardo who kindly agreed to let us release his wonderful variety so that it available in the UK for you all to grow and enjoy. ‘Donatella Love’ is named after Riccardos wife.


The second new release is a sport found on our nursery about 3 yearsago from ‘Quantock Double Dymond’. It has green bracts rather than petals which gives the appearance of a green flower. It starts off as a small green rosebud shaped bloom, then as the weeks go by these extend to form little green catkins which gave us the name. Like ‘Quantock Double Dymond’ it has a lax habit so is suitable for small hanging pots or around a trough edge. It is a very tidy plant as it doesn’t drop petals anywhere! It is a compact plant and a relatively slow grower.

The Third and final new release is an angel bred by John Green and named after Pearl Sulman who many of you know as a very good nurserywoman and grower of pelargoniums until her retirement in 2010. Pearl along with husband Brian Sulman won many gold medals over the years with their displays of pelargoniums, specialising in miniature, angels and regals among a range of other pelargoniums. John raised the variety for Pearl to release at Chelsea 2011 but unfortunately due to Pearls illness they had to retire at the end of 2010 so John asked if we would release the variety and of course we were delighted to. I hope you will enjoy growing ‘Pearl Sulman’, a very free flowering variety.’


This variety looks a deeper shade of pink in the evening sunshine.

I bought these plants when passing a specialist Fir Trees pelargonium nursery in Stokesley

It is said to be a good exhibition variety and my plant has a good habit and several strong flower stems each with numerous pips.

The leaves are small and not deeply zoned with the usual ‘geranium’ fragrance

Pelargonium regal

This Regal Pelargonium waited until late September to show any buds but the flowers were worth waiting for. I will cosset this plant through winter.


Photos are just a representaive sample of the pelargoniums you could be growing for next year


Help With Plant Photography

Photo A
Please help with my plant photography!
Which of these Hypericum – St Johns Wort photographs looks best and why.

Photo B
The West Yorkshire branch of the Alpine garden society had Peter Cordall as speaker on Saturday. The title of his talk was ‘Photography in the garden – garden landscapes to close-ups’.
Whilst I listened carefully I am painfully aware that I have breached many of his rules of thumb from the very start.

Photo C
I should have had a title and know what I was photographing before I started.
‘Hypericum’ is not a great title but ‘Hemispheres and Hypericum’ may have worked better.

St Johns Wort
Photo D
I did take several shots and tried to use my favourites, the rest wont see light of day again.

Other Photography Failings

  • I failed in composition even though I tried hard to divide the frame into thirds and place the interest on a crossing point. This is harder than I thought.
  • So is picturing the main subject as though it was moving into the frame rather than facing out.
  • Crystal sharp focus on the critical part of the photo has been sacrificed to an extent in favour of decent depth of field automatically without engaging brain.
  • I have done no cropping or editing – I very seldom do.
  • Some backgrounds are a distraction but fortunately I have no unintentional lamp posts in view

I should have read up on Related posts


101 Gardener’s Resolutions and Plans

Wild meadow

Plant and Floral Resolutions

  • Grow the plants and flowers you like.
  • Grow more flowers for cutting.
  • Grow plants for shape, texture and form.
  • Tie to supports Clematis, Chimonanthus and Climbing Roses to prevent wind damage and improve flowering.
  • Increase the planting of scented Witch Hazel (eg. Hamamellis x intermedia Jelena).
  • Sow Sweet Peas in deep pots and pinch out the tips when they have 5 leaves.
  • Plan how the colour of flowers will look when planted. Use single colours rather than mixed seed packets.
  • Collect and replant or distribute the seed from your own star plants.
  • Grow plants that contribute over long periods of the year.
  • Select and grow a shock and awe plant.

Eco and Environmental Resolutions

  • Remember we must leave this environment for future generations.
  • Grow fewer varieties but focus on nectar and pollen rich flowers that are local and help wild life.
  • Improve soil with rotted compost and try not to compact the air out of wet soil by walking on it.
  • Increase water collection and storage with linked butts or new collection points.
  • Fumigate the greenhouse to get rid of fungal spores and overwintering pests
  • Provide a range of different bird foods to attract various species. Blackbirds love a bit of a bite of an apple.
  • Keep lawn edges neat and trimmed but have natural areas for wild grass and flowers.
  • Use natural fertiliser and non-chemical controls.
  • Reuse and repurpose old items rather than sending them to the tip.
  • Use local and natural stone for your construction work. Airmiles on Indian paving and energy used to manufacture composition paving slabs are unnecessary uses of resources.

General Gardening Resolutions

  • Reduce the size of plant clumps and shrubs and trees that are beginning to take over their allotted spot.
  • Deadhead faded flowers to extend flowering time.
  • Prune and trim when plants need it not just when you have the secateurs in your hand.
  • Sow seeds thinly and thin out. Give plants appropriate space.
  • Make succession sowings, only sow small quantities of a crop at each sowing.
  • Split clumps of Snowdrops and Winter Aconites after flowering. They split best ‘in the green’.
  • Create a low maintenance area to spend time elsewhere in the garden.
  • Take full enjoyment out of your garden.
  • Listen to advice but do as you please.
  • Work with the weather it is all you’ll get.

Houseplants and Indoor Pots

  • Check plants for pests before bringing them into your home.
  • Keep Azalea and Cyclamen pot plants moist at all times.
  • Flowering plants need bright light so position accordingly.
  • Repot plants into larger pots if have consumed the compost or are in need of space.
  • Add fresh compost to the top of pots when the houseplants are not growing as strongly.
  • Keep pots of bulbs and flowering plants cool to prolong the life of the flowers.
  • Many houseplants will benefit from some time outside in the middle of summer.
  • Water the plants not the windowsills.
  • Move plants around in the home.
  • Try the exotic not the commonplace.

Win Friends and Influence People

  • Grow more flowers and greenery for cutting and flower arranging. It should please those indoors
  • Grow pots and containers of plants to give away. It is an easy way to use your surplus.
  • Sharpen your blades and tools using a sharpening stone and wipe over with oil
  • Look at your garden from your boundary and aim for at least one crowd pleasing feature for passers by to admire.
  • Join your local horticultural society, you will get advice, make friends and may be offered free or cheap produce.
  • Use the RHS and AGS for information and join these societies if you want to use the benefits of membership.
  • Plant to visit flower shows and open gardens to see how the professionals design and execute a garden scheme.
  • Beg cuttings or advice from other gardeners, they are usually a friendly bunch. I was once told ‘Everyone is entitled to my opinion’.
  • Enter your local village show. It is the taking part that is important not the winning.
  • Keep your boundary and pavements neat and tidy. Pick up litter and kill off weeds outside your house to make the street a better place to live.

Allotment Focused Resolutions

  • Get an allotment!
  • Alternatively increase cultivated area by a deal with a neighbor
  • Mastered the art of successional sowing to avoid gluts.
  • Grow more winter crops
  • Store potatoes, butternut squashes, onions and shallots.
  • Pick courgettes and runner beans regularly.
  • Protect against carrot root fly, cabbage white butterfly and Pigeons before it is too late.
  • Get more manure to hearten up the soil.
  • Talk to other allotmenteers about successes and failures of the past
  • Grow what the family will eat.

Gardeners Tips Resolutions

  • Read Gardeners Tips regularly
  • Subscribe to gardeners tips RSS feed
  • Get Gardeners tips by email.
  • Buy from Jersey Plants or Thompson Morgan by using Gardeners tips links.
  • Comment on Gardeners tips.
  • Link your web site to Gardeners tips.
  • Advertise on Gardeners tips.
  • Tell your friends about Gardeners tips.
  • Nominate the best resolution from the list of 101 Gardeners tips new year’s resolutions
  • Did I mention Gardeners tips for the best gardening tips?

Fruit and Vegetable Resolutions

  • Grow more fruit and disbud so that apples, pears and plums grow to a good size.
  • Grow early potatoes in containers or sacks such as International Kidney or Vales Emerald for something newer.
  • Start chillie seeds early on a sunny windowsill.
  • If I grow Chard Bright Lights in a decorative bed I must remember to eat the crop not just look at it.
  • Two or three Marrow plants can provide all the courgettes a family needs. Try Defender or Green Bush
  • Reshape old Apple trees during winter by pruning to get a bowl shape that lets in air and light.
  • Divide congested clumps of Rhubarb .
  • Feed the area around the roots of fruit trees.
  • Consider more space for fruit such as Stone fruit, Bush fruit, Cane fruit, Soft fruit and Apple and Pear trees.
  • Add lime to the soil where you plan to grow brassicas and leafy greens.

Fun Resolutions

  • Give me patience but hurry!
  • Apply perspiration in the garden regularly.
  • If it dies its a flower if it lives its a weed.
  • With a flower in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig.
  • Have pride in how bad your hands look.
  • Learn by by trowel and error.
  • The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and brown sauce.
  • It is knowledge to know Tomato is a fruit but wisdom to stop putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Go to the Yorkshire garden center where you can buy one – get one
  • Grow your own dope … plant a man.

Restate the Blinking Obvious

    • Do more weeding.
    • Cut the grass regularly.
    • Keep everything tidy.
    • Water deeply when needed.
    • Excel with the plants you already grow.
    • Kill insects that cause damage.
    • Stop infectious rot and disease.
    • Turf out the dead and dying.
    • Nature causes living things to suffer and die.


  • Do not believe all you read in lists like this.




Give links and credits such as this to Gloxinia


Photos of English Front Gardens

A great front garden full of colour. This is taken in Coniston Cold on A65

Inspiration of Yorkshire and Switzerland. Certainly cheers up motorists on the cross pennine slog from Skipton to Settle.


Lovely climbing rose gives that cottage garden effect.


more colour provided by Dahlias and others

A more zen like approach.

Yorkshire Autumn

pack em in

Top 10 Small Gardens


Todays Top Ten Tips on Bulbs

3rd October 2011

Todays Top Ten Bulb Planting Tips

  1. Plant with the nose up!  (The bulbs nose not yours) The bottom of the bulb is where there is a bit of dried root.
  2. Put a marker in the ground to show where you have planted the bulb. I sometimes use some light coloured grit.
  3. Most bulbs already contain the ungrown flower inside the bulb so a bigger bulb should perform better. Choose firm healthy looking stock not dried out damaged bulbs.
  4. Plant your bulbs twice as deep as the bulb is large.  i.e.5cm bulb 10cm deep
  5. Pick a colour scheme and build a theme around that. Pinks and purples of crocus, tulips and hyacinths may work together.
  6. Alliums or ornamental onions can be planted in November or if frost free in December.
  7. Daffodils need longer in the soil to develop their root systems so get them in now.
  8. Plant bulbs in containers with good drainage holes and crocks in the bottom.
  9. Snowdrops, aconites, grape Hyacinths and crocus should naturalise well in your garden flowering year after year.
  10. After the bulbs have flowered deadhead then to channel energy into the bulb not into seed production. Leave the leaves to die back naturally.



10 Tips for Taking Flower Photos

Rose with Dew

Taking flower photos is often seen as an easier aspect of photography. Even with a simple point and shoot camera you can have very good photos for little effort. However, these tips will enable you to get even better photos and push you into the ‘pro’ category.

Taking flower photos is very much a learning experience. I have added an extra two tips at no extra cost 🙂

Tips for Photographing Flowers

1. Shoot From Different Angles

Taken from same height as flower

There’s a big difference between shooting down on top of flowers and shooting at the same level as a flower. Shooting at same level as a flower, means you might have to get down on your hands and knees but, it gives a more interesting less conventional perspective.


Same Flower from standard above position

2. For close ups Shoot with smallest aperture your lens will allow

If you have a f/5.6 lens use f5.6

3. Try Macro Lens for really close shoot up.

A macro lens allows you to get exceptional close up shots. A macro lens has such shallow depth of field that when a photographing a flower, some petals at back can even be out of focus.

4.Good Quality Tripod

A good quality tripod enables the sharpest picture, it also enables you to use smaller apertures and a longer exposure time.

5. Other Tips to Reduce Camera Shake.

  • If taking a tripod is difficult, try a monopod.
  • Remote shot taker. When pressing button, the camera moves causes some camera shake. An external button release enables you to take a shot without moving camera.
  • For important shots try multiple shot, which automatically takes several shots. At least one will be in super sharp focus.
  • Very useful is this mini tripod. It supports weight of heavy SLR, but can be folded up into a small bag.

6. Canon Filter

A Canon close-up 500D lens can be fitted to a telephoto zoom lens and is like a traditional lens filter easy to carry around and gives a cheaper way to get macro shots.

7. Best Time To Take Flower Shots

On Cloudy Overcast days. When sun is very bright, flowers can appear washed out. On cloudy overcast days, flower colour can appear more vibrant.

Spring Flowers

8. The Rain Effect

After Rain. Drops of rain on flowers add an extra romance and beauty to flower photos (see Rose top). If it rarely rains – just take a portable sprayer to add your own water – no-one will know you sprayed it!

9. Use Backgrounds for constant Colour.



A solid background helps avoid distracting backgrounds. Black often works very well, especially for white, light coloured flowers.

10. Wind

Trying to hold stem of flower can work. If you have an SLR set a high shutter speed 1/ 125 will help capture and freeze any blowing wind.

11. Use Macro Flash


Indoor Orchid

This orchid and daffodil (black background) was taken with a macro flash
There is much more light so you can use a high f number – small aperture, big depth of field. You can get some very nice results with this. Another bonus is you don’t really need a tripod, there is so much light, you need a very fast shutter speed (1/200)

photos – Tejvan

12. Depth of Field
Crocus Flowers
Don’t limit yourself to close ups of flowers. Also try take flowers, in context. For this you really need a big depth of field (high f setting). This allows less light, so you need a longer shutter speed (perhaps half a second) to compensate. Therefore, a tripod is essential. However, it enables you to capture a field of flowers and just a small number.



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