October November Gardener

Autumn Anemone japonica
Plant selected bulbs for post winter in gritty soil and plant deep

Gardening and Health and Covid 19

Gardening is good for our health and I have advocated that it would be good for doctors to prescribe this essential therapeutic activity for those in search of a pathway to peace and tranquillity.  I was pleased to read in the August 2019 even a UK Bishop calling for Churches to encourage gardening for mental health and to provide access to gardening spaces. Research indeed shows depression, loneliness and other mental health issues can and have been addressed successfully for people of all ages when they are introduced to varying horticultural activities.

Covid 19 has forced a huge burden upon us since March 2020  lock down and gardens provide additional space even just a balcony to try and social distance but in fresher air and a happier more relaxed environment however cramped. Some of us may be able to simply get out and walk along the street and enjoy walking past other gardens and even better to the nearest public space such as a playground or municipal park at least being able to maintain more freedom and enjoy trees shrubs and flowers, some wild flowers and not forgetting our wild birds and four legged friends such as hedgehogs and water voles if lucky to see them .

However, confusing the Govt leadership is; the virus damage waxes and wanes and the search for the vaccine proves elusive, we must still get involved with safe activities and modest gardening exercise, even with indoor plants now proving very popular.

Ref Science for the Gardener Chapter 13 The Good News Is

I have always regarded October as one of the busiest months of the gardening year because we need to prepare for Spring!  Yes – the New Year and Spring are fast approaching as well as the Christmas festive season.

Clear falling leaves into plastic sacks or wire and stick supported containers, it’s worth saving them for the best soil improver I know, leaf mould. Tidy ponds and cover from leaves and dig out silt and yellowing water lily leaves, reduce feeding fish. Leave any water weed cleared beside the pond to allow any wildlife to return.

Acer (Maple Acer family) growing wild in South Somerset UK

With evidence of climatic change, it is as I mentioned earlier in the year vital now to prepare and repair very hard the dried-out soil as it begins to moisten and soften with the approach of Autumn.  Add plenty of organic mulch with manure and compost to refresh the vital nitrogen cycle ; store water and allow oygen to travel for root respiration.   Begin by spreading and digging in organic blood, fish and bone preferably in damp/wet soil. This will boost all the vital main nutrients, especially Phosphorus for strengthening cell structure and roots and Potassium and Magnesium  for flowering.  Phosphorus is not a very soluble product so will need a few months to take effect but it’s worth the effort in giving plants added strength.  Check if any of your plants have unusually bending stems, a sure sign of weakness and possibly a lack of phosphorus .This deficiency usually occurs with sandy, stony, generally poor and neglected rough soil devoid of any clay-based and very important organic matter soil such as compost and manure .

Magnificent Autumn Colours of Tupelo( Cornaceae family .)Dogwood Forde Abbey Somerset UK

Ref Science for the Gardener Chapter 7 Digging for Victory

It’s a very good time to plant new trees, hardy shrubs and hedges, especially hardy climbers, allowing them to have that valuable over wintering cold period that is known as vernalisation.

Editor testing Soil for pH ,fertility ,moisture .

We have to plan ahead for Spring 2021 so do look for those attractive cost effective bulb offers including bulging bags of Narcissus on offer at Garden Centres.  Smaller ’Tête à Têtes’ Narcissus are useful for easy planting for smaller gardens and in shallow soil beds and look positively superb in containers with plenty of well drained gritty soil.

Pruning and tidying is best done in this Autumnal period but can I suggest leaving attractive seed heads such as those found on Miscanthus Grass, Sunflower heads, Teasels, Coneflowers, Rudbeckia and Sedums for the birds searching for food in the bitter cold of Winter.  A necessary caution before you start pruning is to check flower buds on Spring flowering shrubs such as Forsythia, Camellia and Magnolia that these are not accidentally removed.!!!

Young Garden Reader perusing ‘”shall i read it ‘” “Is it any good “

Autumn is a wonderful time of the year for enjoying tree leaf colours so take a few strolls along your local paths and if you can, visit one of the local region large private gardens such as those at UK ,Forde, Abbotsbury (Dorset), National Trust Tintinhull and Knightshayes and so many others.

A lovely silly dog in Cornwall uk garden center ha ha

Kitchen Garden and Harvest

Superb Onions correctly stored Home Grown in South Somerset .
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This has been a special timeMay July Aug Sept for planting growing and harvesting Brassica family (peas ,beens etc) Solanums family ,potatoes and tomatoes .

Dog Wood (not cornus ) waiting for service to start !

Amaryllis family ,artichokes both flower base and Jerusalem rooted tuber swollen stem similar in taste and constitution to potatoes. Also so important are the onion family which is Amaryllis too.!

First Class Beetroot in S Somerset
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Mint (menthacea), family Herbs are everyones bit of garden passion ,certainly mine ,Basil on bolognaise keep on kitchen window in winter ,Thyme hardy to brush past for devine fragrance as with most herbs not forgetting ornamental Salvia as well as plan Salvia officinalis .

Any science-based queries please feel free to contact me on tony@scienceforthegardener.com

I have recently 2019 been commissioned by Somerset Sight to do two broadcasts for the UK Chard and Ilminster Newsline “Gardening for disabled and unsighted gardeners” Do check at the top of the Home page if this can be useful for someone you know how ever distant who may want to spend more time in the garden on their own SAFELY !!!!!

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AUGUST GARDENER

                    Summer      August  Gardener 2020  

Let’s enjoy this summer weather that at least is more moderate heat this year in the UK ,BUT MUCH DRIER SO MAINTAIN REGULAR WATERING !!!!

For a PERSONALLY signed copy of Science for The Gardener Book you can buy from Shop page or just click on drop down menu to the top right of this page.

THE POPULAR 52 POWER POINT SLIDES SHOW IS ALSO AVAILABLE Tony Arnold MCIHORT.

Typical clever planting Summer colour Border mixture of annual bedding and perennials ,some potted all in a limited space .

CLIMATE CHANGE

Protection from mid summer sun  may  be required with adding water crystals to hanging baskets and containers and if possible some lawn water feeding with a high nitrogen greening feed such as Miracle Grow (UK ) crystals to at least slow down the severe browning effect of the sun and lack of rain on grass.  Last year my south facing lawn recovered well with late summer autumn rain .The previous very hot year 2018 in the uk  I sadly lost one magnificent Prunus kanzan tree that died very suddenly in 34 deg despite regular watering!  Can’t win them all with nature ruling and a bit of climate change on the way!

Worms must be welcomed too irrigate the clay based soils They dont like acid soils EITHER worth noting

The most severe problem we all have had this year is a very wet winter and followed by a very very unwelcome dry summer .This confuses temperate plants physiological mechanisms leaving them looking dried out always desperate for water .Rain water is always more welcome to ‘green them up’and is particularly needed by Ericaceous (acid soil loving )plants. Many gardeners i speak to are really struggling to maintain garden soil back into a good, soft and diggable loamy condition using hosed water ,’grey water and a rain water butt, the latter supply was quickly exhausted by June !    Dried soil requires considerable added organic compost, manure( to hold the water) and if possible leaf mould is really excellent for soil conditioning If your soil is getting hard it may be a sure sign of too much clay without enough sand and organic matter.  These soil inbalances need to be addressed preferably in March and October when it is much easier to dig in organic matter and possibly added sand to a softer  good loam mixture ( clay silt sand ) rather than ending up with rock hard clay based soil in midsummer,which is becoming more and more common with climate change . Remember plants can die if the roots cannot physically travel through soil and move to search for soil stored NPK and Mg and micro nutrients nutrients ,available moisture and a small matter of oxygen for vital roots respiration.!

Ref  Science for the Gardener Book  Chapter 7   Digging for Victory  pps 67-83

Science for The Gardener Book is world wide and is on sale personally signed via this website go to shop .
ALWAYS TEST YOUR SOIL FOR FERTILITY .MOISTURE .pH

Colours are magnificent and widest ranging at this time of the year with a good summer range of Blues – Campanulas, Linums , Lavandula    Oranges – Geum, Reds and White  Pelargonium – geraniums – also just go and enjoy all the great gardening efforts made in larger now reopen to the public private and public gardens (N Trust, RHS etc) all  looking radiant this year with lawns still just about greenish .You will need to book ahead at present with the virus emergency still present.

Potted Standard Roses can be placed in strategic places in Gardens
AEONIUM CRASSULACEA FAMILY
Aeonium -Crassulacea House Leek (Succulent )
sub tropical
Summer Autumn Clematis -Ranunculaceae ‘Polish spirit ‘
Mimulus ,v strong summer growing in moisture PHRYMACEA new was(Scrophulacea)
(Inexpensive) Electronic Soil Tester for Nutrients Fertility Moisture pH is a must .
Kitchen Gardens are moving towards Harvest time

 See what plants you can identify it’s great fun out on a walk with a friend and exchange guesses. Take a Pocket Plant or Wildflower book with you perhaps, its worth doing .

Potatoes growing well in domestic garden in Somerset
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Onions growing well in Domestic garden in Somerset .Rain Gauge
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Kitchen Gardens are now in full swing and Leguminous Pea and Bean vegetables and tomatoes under glass, Cucurbitaceae  Courgettes etc.  Mint Mentha family herbs all will grow  better to what appears to be a much drier July rather than the dreadful disappointing wet cold  June that was not at all helpful for pollinators.  There are many specialist editorials on vegetable and fruit growing in the  media.

Any Science based garden queries do contact me on tony@scienceforthe gardener.com  that includes international website www.scienceforthegardener .com and Science for the Gardener world wide Book readers  all very welcome .

Author Tony Arnold Book Signing in Somerset UK .
Book is now world wide as an easy read for gardeners around the world

Best wishes

Tony Arnold MCIHort

PRODUCTS FROM PLANTS SCIENCE SNIPPET

Products you didn’t know with plant origins by A J Arnold BSc

Rubber Gloves

LATEX POWDERED DISPOSABLE GLOVES Medium

In this ever-more-sustainable world, we look to natural alternatives to products. Rubber gloves, amongst many items, are made from Latex. Havea brasiliensis Natural Latex, or “caoutchouc” is farmed from trees in India,Indonesia,Singapore ,Malaya -Malaysia,Brasil, and at the turn of the century a larger production previously Congo sadly with appalling atrocities by the colonial power leader King Leopold 11 of Belgium

Medicine

Image result for aloe vera plant

In developed countries, about 25% of prescriptions contain materials isolated from plants, such as the well-known Aloe Vera plant. The aspirin tablets you buy over the counter, are actually synthesised copies of naturally occurring chemicals (acetylsalicyclic acid )from the Spiraea ulmaria (meadowsweet )or modified from the original plant product the Salix (willow tree bark ) which produces Salicin which the body converts to salicylic acid and was used in herbal medicine.

Chewing Gum

While many of today’s gum brands have transitioned to synthetic substitutes, they got their idea from long, long ago, where the chicle sap from the Sapodilla tree (Manilkara zapota) of the Sapotaceae was used for thousands of years named after yellow sapote .This tree is desirable for fruit and is a long growing handsome looking and popular plant called Chikoo and is known to prevent colon cancer

Hair dye

Henna tree

A safer, natural alternative to chemical based hair dye can be found from the Lythraceae family the Henna tree (Lawsonia inermis) the sole species . The crushed leaves create a striking orange/red colour, while tree bark is used to create different colours.Also known as hina ,mignonette ,Egyption privet

Cosmetics

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Move over Lush, more and more companies lean even further into natural alternatives rather than toxic substances to give you a hand with your beauty regime. Including roses, calendula and jojoba.

Products you didn’t know with plant origins

mehndi-designs-1745051_640.jpg

THIS SCIENCE SNIPPET FROM ALEXANDER JOHN ARNOLD LONDON JUNE 2020

SUMMER GARDENER

JULY    GARDENER 2020

CLIMATE CHANGE OBSERVATIONS IN THE SUMMER GARDEN AND SOME GOOD WAYS -SIMPLE SUGGESTIONS FOR GROWING  WITH  LOCKDOWN  FRUSTRATIONS DURING THE COVID CRISIS

FLOWERING CACTUS -HOT DRY CONDITIONS SUCCULENT CACTACEAE FAMILY –
ALOE VERA -MEDICINAL SKIN SOOTHING EVERGREEN PERENNIAL SUCCULENT ASPHODELACEA FAMILY

CLIMATE CHANGE

JULY  can be a very warm month ,even very hot in northern Europe ,far too hot for TEMPERATE gardens at 27-35   we then have severe heat causing  problems for all ‘temperate climate plants ‘big or small .Ideally we required compensating rainfall and cooler nights which does  not happen till much later in Autumn but by then the invisible damage can have  been done if there has been insufficient rainfall  requiring considerable extra manual watering .I do make sure my  30 meter hose I had to purchase is put to regular evening and early  morning use especially after a long period without rain .On a recent tour of Oceania Aus and N Zealand having spoken to gardeners and head gardeners they can only grow plants  that store water or require much less than our uk region of the northern hemisphere .Our normal temperate range of plants I  realised couldn’t survive there .

UN CLIMATE ACTION

AEONIUM CRASSULACEA FAMILY
AEONIUM SUCCULENT CRASSULACEA FAMILY ( TENERIFE)

 Hotter countries have trees ,plants and edible plants that have adapted to hotter or colder weather patterns  but even then many struggle with further climatic change caused by average global temperature rises faster since much greater industrialisation after World War Two. These temperature rises  appear to be followed by calculations of rising parts per million carbon emissions over a similar period .This appears to be a strong warning sign that the UN Climate change body –conferences , is now coordinating most Countries rich and poor to take future carbon emissions very seriously from fossil fuels and from agricultural world food farming from animals particularly cattle and stored hydrocarbon emissions .Poorer countries have less flexibility .

 Buried hydrocarbons over millions of years are being released as permafrost in very cold countries start to warm and melt ,  northern Russia and Greenland being a prime example but could be captured at source with govt supported innovation .

Lets not beat ourselves up though ,as a trained qualified science person I am constantly aware that  increasing amounts of investment is being set towards tackling this mega problem .World wide Private and public enterprise has a vested interest in generating profits to reinvest hopefully in solutions to capture carbon emissions at source ,ceasing coal and oil use as a fuel Renewable energy is now hugely increasing which is  vital progress .Nuclear Power is a fall back power source internationally but is a hugely expensive undertaking with waste disposal still not satisfactory in being buried deep underground but  reprocessing improvements  can be a better solution .Science will find a solution of that I am convinced but how long will it take ! No one knows but we must all make our contribution how we feel is best not forgetting the horrendous world plastic waste problem that can be tackled if the will is announced by govts to motivate the populace .

COVID ‘GARDENING’

Weve all tried hard to get out of our houses to our own gardens if lucky to have some ,or a bit of space space or local parks when lockdown restrictions eased.There is hopefully a renaissance –rebirth of interest in every inch of growing indoor or outdoor space JUST WITH LOTS OF CONTAINERS and even just ‘sitting outside in fresh air space ‘ and being able to ‘listen to wildlife ‘ not just motorised traffic ,and also observe how fast plants do grow , some with wonderful fragrances  ,which so many of us never even noticed with before .!! Many residents ive observed on media have enjoyed filling the house with many more ‘indoor ‘ house plants ,creating in many cases a healthy happy cheerful environment with plants in some cases hanging from the ceiling ,or in tall containers growing upwards and outwards ! On visiing the Garden Centres that are now allowed open at long last ,I feel so so good after a walk round my local one ,we all need to get out where allowed .

SUMMER STANDARD ROSE

EXPERT HOME VEGETABLE GROWING IN S SOMERSET DOMESTIC GARDEN UK .

MR T DOWN

BROAD BEANS WITH PARSNIPS COURGETTES F GROUND
ONIONS WITH PEAS AND CARROTS
RUNNER BEANS WITH CURLY KALE

POTATOES WITH RUSSIAN KALE F GROUND
EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF FIRST CLASS HOME GROWING DURING COVID LOCK DOWN RESTRICTION SOUTH SOMERSET GROWER MR T DOWN UK MAY JUNE 2020
CHARD GARDEN CENTRE SOUTH SOMERSET UK OPENED ON DAY ONE AFTER LOCKDOWN ENDED

Check your garden plants progress over this summer whilst pruning, with faster growth after flowering ,observe any plants that have suddenly disappeared or died since last summer but are there any plants that are looking happier and thriving .?  Are some struggling unusually .See if you can think through reasons why ,position being the vital factor .Make a few notes if u get a chance .

Please feel  free to make contact me with science based garden questions on tony@scienceforthe gardener.com

Enjoy mid Summer in fresh air away from lockdown WHERE EVER YOU ARE .

Tony Arnold MCIHort

TONY ARNOLD AUTHOR SCIENCE FORTHE GARDENER WORLD WIDE BOOK AVAILABLE MOST COUNTRIES