Archive | Gardening year

New Year 2021 Gardener

Kaffir Lillys Amaryllis Family

 

Whats this book about !

New Year Gardener 2021

Special New Year 2021  uk offer for Tonys Book £11.99 [Click here]

Happy NewYear to you all from Editor Tony Arnold

This is a good time and opportunity while you and your garden are taking a well earned rest after this dreadful year to see if you’ve managed to take some advantage of the open spaces either in your own back yard or simply a good old fashioned walk when the weather is reasonable .i don’t think I could get through the week without ‘stretching my legs ‘especially in these dreaded lock downs..

 INDOOR PLANTS .

Its a very good time to look around Garden Centres and On line to search for indorplants for specific places in the house .Rubber Plants with big  attractive imposing leaves in say the lounge  and an Ivy climber in the Dining Room  mignt be a conversation point .My own very highly recommended favorite indoor plant is the Dragon Tree with long narrow palm shaped leaves Dracaena marginata .They dont mind central heating ,dont dry out  rarely require watering .Pic to Follow .Bedrooms might like the old favorite Peace lillys Spathiums and Spider plants .

Take a look at putting some winter colour in the house, conservatory and why not in the drier parts of flower beds if the weather is reasonable. Indoor plants are very popular ,some grow up or down from the ceiling or on the walls is most required

You can’t beat cyclamens , now available in a wide range of red and pink colours, fairly hardy and reasonably priced.  Hyacinths are on sale in attractive wicker baskets for indoors but you can also plant out hyacinths if they have been specially prepared by the growers.  This involves a higher temperature speeding up process, followed by low temperature for six weeks, so do check before you buy.!

If you are looking to buy family and friends some plants as a New Year Present  for winter or spring (which is not as far away as we think or like it to  be), do enjoy a good explore round local garden centres and also on secure websites.  Specialist bulb/corm growers have some excellent plant deals  on offer and as long as they are planted in well drained gritty soil in a sunny aspect can be a wonderful addition of colour to many parts of the garden e.g. lawns, bedding, rockery, also for indoor decoration and outdoor contains and hanging baskets.  Search for (fragrant) daffodils  (narcissus)and for early-late Spring  look out for packs of leucojums, ornithogalums, chinodoxias and tulips (all lily family) as well as early iris bulbs. 

red Acer growing wild in Somerset uk

 Anemones (Ranunculous family) may soon be available to keep a look out for . Bellis (Daisy) and Violas (Viola family ) are already available and will add cheery colour to your winter scene.

Early spring plants such as Heathers (ericaceous), Sarcococca (box family) very fragrant and very ok in the shade, Osmanthus woody (oleaceae) fragrant and slow growing, Chaenomeles exotic red and pink (roseaceae)  good early spring flowering in mild conditions against a wall) may be on sale now.  Plant these shrubs out about mid Feb  but not in frost periods, or retain in cool moist conditions in a light conservatory or porch until outside  conditions suitable.

Wildlife

Birds depend on us all during difficult weather conditions, so do ensure there is appropriate food for them, not just in dispensers but also for the ground feeders, blackbirds, thrushes, robins etc.  Thrushes are on the endangered list now and they love what gardeners don’t, snails and slugs.  It will help if we can leave the garden a bit more relaxed and untidy, so plenty of leaves, broken branches, bits of moss etc. as this will generate a food chain of over-wintering insects that ground feeding birds require very desperately in cold snaps!

Well laid out Onions homeGrown
T Down S Somerset
Get planting for February
A very large Parsnip expertly grown
T Down South Somerset UK

Hibernating animals are many more than we realise, so try to leave habitats such as piles of leaves and sticks perhaps retained by some branches or under some spreading low ground cover branches e.g. cotoneaster.  Hedgehogs are desperate (and severely endangered) at this time of the year so check they can get from garden to garden through a small hole in the neighbours  fence.  This is really important for them to travel to find winter habitats so check l with neighbours if a joint effort could be made .?

A Model Hedghog i love it .Xmas present
Pumpkins lining up

Wishing all you gardeners a very restful Christmas, Peaceful  and Hopefully  a Happier New Year and perhaps a small prayer to be thankful for what wonderful gardens and environment we have been given  and to look forward to another treasured year of growing opportunities. Hopefully climate change may be more moderate but every one of us  should all be mindful of thinking  a bit greener and adding a few more shrubs and trees if space permits and of course be energy efficient .

Lets hope that science in the form of this  new vaccine will be available as soon as possible to all  to rid us of the evil Covid virus this year once and for all !!.I believe we also lost 40/60,000in the blitz .

Tony Arnold MCIHort   www.scienceforthegardener.com or tony@scienceforthe gardener.com for science based garden enquiries.

NewZealand ‘Christmas tree ‘actually Metrosideros excelsea .Myrtacea
Temptation on the tree !!!!

(Author took pic of this superb tree on S Island )

Science for The Gardener Book personally signed copy available direct from Tony or the website .)

Secial offer

www.funscienceforthegardenerbook .com

£11.99

Cotoneaster Tree in Winter agood meal for the birds

A Poem for our Planet by Nancy Kovacic

Betty Kovacic Art

7 August at 00:34 · 

Our Muse has been The Earth

Lady Earth
Her sisters Air and Water 
Grant Life.
Threatened by an invasive species
Who
Believe it in their divine right
to take and take
Believe in infinite abundance
found in Earth and her Sisters
Growing global populations
Rampant mindless consumerism
Corporate greed 
must keep the shareholders happy
While Earth grieves.
Her children are dying

Forests the wilderness annihilated
Creatures displaced
starving vanishing
One hundred and fifty thousand orangutans have disappeared since 1990
Earth’s being contaminated by landfills
Cancerous growths
Fifty-six billion K cups
Sixty million plastic bottles
Yearly 
wait hundreds of years to break down into other poisons

Water weeps 
aching from human venom

Her children are dying
one million sea birds
one Hundred Thousand sea animals
each year
Increasing warmth
melts her ice 
so essential for many
heats her oceans
Each square mile filled with thousands of plastic pieces
two thirds of her fish contaminated
Islands of plastic 
Expanses of former abundance
devoid of all life and
Yet Water continues to be defiled daily by
5.5 million pieces of rubbish
Disgorged by ships
millions of tons worldwide
Air witnesses all
Helpless
Her once pure body weakened by chemicals 
toxins
Diminishing forests
struggle to cleanse

She mourns 
Her children are dying
Creatures of the sky 
Two hundred and eighteen birds
fifty -one butterflies 
countless others
critically endangered
Too many lost forever.

Ladies Earth Air and Water
Desperate to survive
Resist
The intensity of their actions
escalates
Landslides floods hurricanes
Earthquakes tsunamis tornadoes 
Warnings
Cries for help
To reverse that which has been started.

Top of Form

March April Gardener

MARCH –SPRING GARDENER 2019 .

USA CANADA AND EU VIEWERS WELCOME FROM SEVERE WINTER !

Spring flowering Iris -sibirica

This month can be one of the most exciting of the year, allowing us at last to get back into the garden. I recommend looking at the small, easy to use, RHS books U K covering the seasons:  “Gardening Month by Month” and “What Plant Where, What Plant When” as invaluable reminders of the many things to do.

 

Get organised

Hellebore x hybridus maintains its colour better over time .

Make a list of the many things you need to do and in what order!   Maintenance of tools and equipment, shed and greenhouse clearance. Stock up on plant feeds, especially liquid ericaceous required NOW for budding Magnolias, Heathers, Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Pieris and Enkianthus which will soon be flowering raising a spring smile on our wintry faces. Later flowering plants will appreciate some slow release granules as the climate warms towards late Spring.  This will release valued NPK nutrients boosting strength and flowering.

 

Just a bit of time spent having a god look around may give you much needed input and ideas for the season ahead.  Possibly a new flower or raised bed, additional containers (excellent for a herb collection), hanging baskets or just boldly removing any old tired plants.  Choose some fresh exciting shrubs, perennials or annuals – plant hardy annual seeds now in small pots .   Look at some summer garden pictures and decide where and what you want your plants to do for you!  Pen a rough diagram marking sunny and shady areas and enjoy looking for plants you fancy in terms of maintenance, length of flowering, foliage, fragrance, climbing, ground-cover.

Editor testing soil with simple inexpensive soil testing meter .Checking pH ,general fertility ,moisture .Vital indicators .

Tests bottles with soil sample and distilled water and analyser Soil is shaken up in jar and settles and separates heavy and light soil particles.

Useful soil testing 4 way analyser inexpensive test meter .

Soil

Its easy to forget your all important soil. A tidy up after winter is the obvious place to start. Soil requires quite a bit of TLC such as aerating for root respiration, making a huge impact on plant growth.  A light raking over is best, not digging.   Add a mulch in April to maintain moisture and important suppress weeds that can’t wait to annoy us. It works .

A mixture of topsoil and compost is best to obtain that ideal crumbly loam. If growing vegetables adding manure is important except for the leguminous (pea family) that has built in nitrogen nodules in the roots.   Adding organic fertilisers, fish blood and bone, or pelleted chicken manure is important now as heavy winter and spring rains can leach out nutrients very easily.  Soil is used up every year and needs to be replenished gradually.  Seaweed will especially help boost plant hormone systems that can make a very great improvement to performance.

AN EXAMPLE OF A WELL PRUNED EARLY SPRING CLEMATIS THAT LOOKED LIKE A WOOL BALL OF BROWN STEMS BEFORE PRUNING

 

Pruning

Shrubs will need some pruning, but take care cutting into old wood, it may not be necessary and it can cut off the vascular system and kill the plant!  Usually cutting lateral stems to two or three buds will suffice.  Vertical stems will depend mainly on how much height is required.

 

Woody climbers such as clematis ,if flowering before July can be lightly and carefully pruned to preferred size but late flowering climbers rely on new annual growth which being straggly now can be cut hard back to ground level.

Most vigorous climbers can be cut back hard and will respond with vigorous growth!

 

Prune Rose bushes 2/3 inches below last year’s growth.  Shrub roses can just be trimmed of last year’s hips, and  large shrub roses can get congested  so to allow air circulation lightly cut back two or three older stems to the base and thin out surplus central stems. Climbing roses  will require more moderate pruning to suit the situation.

 

Wildlife will require additional feeding support.  Don’t forget ground feeding birds such as blackbirds, thrushes and robins they like bits of fruit as well.  Building nests will be a top priority so are we which can cause severe problems.  Thick conifers and hedges are also an ideal choice for birds.

Endangered UK Water Vole 2017 pic taken in N Somerset

Next month April we should be in full swing so let’s hope the weather comes on side.

 

Enjoy the start of the early Spring, you deserve a garden break.

 

Tony Arnold MCIHort.

Author Science for the Gardener 

Click on any website Headers book image

USA CANADA YOU ARE VERY WELCOME TO SCIENCE FOR THE GARDENER WEBSITE AND ANY COMMENTS ON CONTACT OR F BOOK ESPECIALLY ON CLIMATE CHANGE GARDENING .SCIENCE FOR THE GARDENER BOOK IS GOING WELL IN N AMERICA ESP CALIFORNIA -WEST COAST AND N YORK DISTRICTS .SOME AREAS OF CANADA STILL PROBABLY VERY COLD !

BEST WISHES 

TONY ARNOLD 

AUTHOR AND EDITOR OF WEBSITE 

February -March Gardener

 TO USA AND CANADA GARDENERS WELCOME TO THE MANY MORE VIEWER VISITS  WERE HAVING  FROM ‘OVER THE POND ‘ FROM USA MAINLY CALIFORNIA AND WEST COAST TO NEW YORK AND EAST COAST 

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND  GARDENERS WELCOME WHERE I RECENTLY VISITED ALL GARDENERS COULD MAKE VALUABLE GARDENING COMMENTS ON CLIMATIC CHANGE EFFECTS ON  PLANTING . ITS VERY HOT SUMMER IN OCEANIA NOW FEB IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE .

WE WOULD ALSO LIKE MORE CONTACT FROM CANADA ,SO FAR A  FEW FROM QUEBEC SO MOST WELCOME. YES CANADA AND USA  IS PRETTY COLD AND SNOWY AT PRESENT IN  FEBRUARY BUT HOW AND  WHAT DO YOU PLANT BEST IN SPRING SUMMER AFTER THE SNOW HAS GONE !.

YES YOU ALL HAVE  DIFFERENT CLIMATES COMPARED TO US IN THE UK BUT I WAS REALLY SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT GARDENING IS THE SECOND  FAVORITE PAST TIME IN N AMERICA . IVE ADDED THIS COMMENT TO  MY TEC FACEBOOK SO FOLK CAN RESPOND IF THIS IS IN DEED THE CASE .DO LET US KNOW HOW YOU COPE WITH PLANTING WITH SEVERE SUMMER HEAT AND WINTER MINUS TEMPERATURES AND HEAVY SNOW .

  RESPONSES  VERY WELCOME USING OUR E MAIL CONTACT PAGE OR  TECH FACEBOOK SCIENCE FOR THE GARDENER   HOME PAGE LINK  ‘CLICK ON HERE ‘ SEE BELOW FOR THE LINK .

I lOOK FORWARD TO HEARING ANY COMMENTS  AND ANY PLANT PICS IN DIFFICULT CLIMATE  PLANTING CONDITIONS . I  MAY START A NEW PAGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE FOR GARDENING COMMENTS ! COULD BE USEFUL FOR US ALL PERHAPS .?

TONY ARNOLD   EDITOR AND AUTHOR THE BOOK SCIENCE FOR THE GARDENER

Superb NEW ZEALAND CHRISTMAS TREE Metersideros -pohutukawa (Myrtaceae)

 

FEB 2017 NEW ZEALAND HOT STUFF ROTARUA. EDITORS RECENT VISIT BIT TOO HOT FOR GARDENING BUT THERE ARE COOLER PLACES TO PLANT IN NZ.

UK DOES GET SNOW IN FEB BUT IT DOESNT LAST LONG COMPARED WITH NORTH AMERICA USA AND CANADA which has very heavy and longer snow fall.

 

MARCH  –SPRING GARDENER UK 

 

This season can be one of the most exciting of the year, allowing us at last to get back into the garden  I recommend looking at the small, easy to use books covering the seasons:  UK Clocks go forward end of March Sat 30th .

 

Get organised

Make a list of the many things you need to do and in what order!   Maintenance of tools and mowing equipment, shed and greenhouse clearance. Stock up on plant feeds, especially liquid ericaceous required NOW for budding Magnolias, Heathers, Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Pieris and Enkianthus which will soon be flowering raising a spring smile on our wintry faces. Later flowering plants will appreciate some slow release granules as the climate warms towards late Spring.  This will release valued NPK nutrients in to the soil boosting strength and flowering.

CHECK EQUIPMENT OVER WINTER

 

May I suggest a bit of time spent having a good look around with a pen and notebook as your garden may give you much needed input and ideas for the season ahead.  Possibly some new plants  or a raised bed, additional containers (excellent for a herb collection), hanging baskets or just boldly removing any old tired plants.  Choose some fresh exciting shrubs, perennials or annuals – plant hardy annual seeds now in small pots .   Look at some summer garden pictures in books and garden magazines  and decide where and what you want your plants to do for you!  Pen a rough diagram indicating  sunny, shady and difficult areas and enjoy looking for plants you fancy in terms of maintenance, length of flowering, foliage, fragrance, climbing, ground-cover. Its worth spending the time especially in early spring before the garden goes in to top gear !.

EDITOR SOIL TESTING DURING V HOT 34 UK SUMMER 2018 UK

Soil

Its easy to forget your all important soil out of site out of mind . A tidy up after winter is the obvious place to start. Soil requires considerable  TLC such as aerating for root respiration and movement making a huge impact on plant growth.  A light raking over is best, not digging.   Add plentiful  mulch in April to maintain moisture and important suppress weeds that can’t wait to annoy us. It works especially if we have another severely hot summer that causes hardening of the soil as it dries out. Mulching can be vital to protect the soil in these conditions ..Grass may be  burnt but will eventually recover with watering.

 

A mixture of topsoil and compost is best to obtain that ideal crumbly loam especially if sandy . If growing vegetables adding manure and lime is important except for the leguminous (pea family) that has built in nitrogen nodules in the roots.   Adding organic fertilisers, fish blood and bone, or pelleted chicken manure is important now as heavy winter and spring rains can leach out nutrients very easily.  Soil is used up every year and needs to be replenished gradually.  Seaweed will especially help boost plant hormone systems that can make a very great improvement to performance.

CARE WITH PRUNING .AVOID CUTTING FLOWER BUDS AND CUTTING IN TO OLD WOOD WHICH WONT REGENERATE !

 

Pruning

Shrubs will need some pruning, but take care cutting into old wood, it may not be necessary and it can cut off the vascular system and kill the plant eg Lavender .  Usually cutting lateral stems to two or three buds will suffice or last years flowering stems .  Vertical stems will depend mainly on how much height is required.

 

Woody clematis  if flowering before July can be lightly and carefully pruned to preferred size but late flowering clematis relies on new annual growth which being straggly now can be cut hard back to ground level.

Most vigorous climbers such as Lonicera –honeysuckle  can be cut back hard and will respond with vigorous growth!

 

Prune Rose bushes 2/3 inches below last year’s growth.  Shrub roses can just be trimmed of last year’s hips, and  large shrub roses can get congested  so to allow air circulation lightly cut back two or three older stems to the base and thin out surplus central stems. Climbing roses  will require more moderate pruning to suit the situation 

 

 

Wildlife will require additional feeding support.  Don’t forget ground feeding birds such as blackbirds, thrushes and robins they like bits of fruit as well.  Building nests will be a top priority so are we which can cause severe problems.  Thick conifers and hedges are also an ideal choice for birds.

Next month April we should be in full swing so let’s hope the weather comes on side.

 

Enjoy the start of the early Spring, you deserve that  garden break.

 

Tony Arnold MCIHort. Author Science for the Gardener

 CONTACT F BOOK OR E MAIL CONTACT PAGE 

AVAILABLE VIA AMAZON ETC VIA THIS WEBSITE CLICK ON BOOK IMAGE ON TOP OF  THIS PAGE