UK SUMMER 2019 30DEG + FOR 3 months killed this Prunus Kanzan



Welcome to SPRING AND SUMMER 2021

Climate change

With climate change gardeners AROUND THE WORLD must be prepared for very varying and warmer weather conditions in summertime and extremes of LATE frost in the LATER SPRING  .  We may experience torrential downpours as well as a longer  scorching days 30.00* + in the summer months  so temporary shelter for our more delicate plants will  be required and increased watering even for trees .Last year has brought casualties not evident until this year with many gardeners getting shocks when beloved trees failed to flower and died ,myself included LOSING A VALUED PRUNUS KANZAN! (SEE PIC )

Global warming

We should not beat ourselves up over climate change as life must go on ,but should each try our best to follow good environmental advice from professional horticultural research.The UN -GOVT conferences are involving many countries and governments  in taking decisive urgent action to reduce green house warming  gas emissions from fossil fuels and currently livestock farming methods. International research is required to try to collect carbon and hydrocarbon emissions at source  but this may take much time yet.  Governments and populations will have to work closely together for drastic changes in lifestyles in the next ten years to hold temperature rises by cutting parts per million carbon emissions urgently .Science will win the battle but there are  immense challenges ahead for us all.

Plastic pollution

is more visually dealt with ,as we can painfully see it clogging up the world on land and waterways This will requre a world wide government recycling effort  reusing rather than burning waste to avoid huge increases in co2 emissions I have seen superb uses of recycling for wonderful sustainable purposes such as garden furniture ,building materials popular in planks  , granular plastic feed stock for injection moulding.


Gardening maintenance update 


Regular garden maintenance in summer is a must.  I find a daily check early in the morning helps to commit to memory those many jobs I ought to be doing!  Whether they actually get done is another matter!

Watering especially containers should be done daily as soon as soil starts to dry out.  Add organic mulch (manure, compost or leaf mould) to flower beds and water retaining crystals to containers and baskets.  Water crystals in containers will  keep plants in good shape if you are away I have found it reliable .

Lawns appreciate a high nitrogen liquid feed after the long months of winter and should be watered during long hot dry spells. Raise the height of mower blades and remove collection box to leave grass cuttings to add back nitrogen and  to protect new grass growth from burning at peak temperatures. This should help your grass try to remain green.

Stock up on fertilisers. The snow and heavy rains of winter will have leached away many of the main nutrients required by your plants.  I recommend tomato food (high in potassium) to boost flowering and phosphorus which will strengthen roots and stems, particularly if you are growing vegetables.  Ericaceous plants will react very favourably to iron sequestrate  and manganese liquid proprietary feeds. Its sometimes called ‘sequestered iron’ and is the vital food required for acid-soil loving plants.


Prune large shrubs and dig out any unwanted suckers.  This will promote fresh growth but also give light and space for a healthier garden.  Deadheading flowers past their first flowering  date will often trigger a fresh flush of flowers and prevent the plant from going to seed.  If you are willing to give it a go, herbs are easy to grow from seed, although grow them in containers or they will take  over.  Cut, trim dry and eat on a regular basis.  Don’t you just love summer.! Basil is my special fragrance .

Test your soil with an inexpensive electronic meter

Kitchen Garden Forde Abbey South S Set uk

A kitchen garden if you have some space will provide a regular source of salad vegetables, just keep on sowing and picking.  Tomatoes can be planted out, but will do much better under glass.  Root crops grow well in a raised bed out of reach of the dreaded carrot fly.  Leguminous peas and beans do not require a rich nitrogen-manure  soil, they produce their own nitrogen nodules , but some manure around the roots is beneficial. Brassicas like some lime ,manure to produce good rich humus alkaline soil and if possible soil depth again with raised beds is welcome .

Greenhouses should be checked for over-wintering pests, red spider mite in particular.  A thorough soapy sponge down works well.  Allow plenty of air circulation and dampen the floor on very hot days.

A final tip – do not compost diseased plant material, or any protein or fat food waste or rodents will be attracted

Do e mail me if you have any science based garden queries


Science for the Gardener Book SIGNED COPY available usually below Internet prices on  direct from CLICK ON DROP DOWN BOX ABOVE TOP RIGHT 

Enjoy the start to Summer





March Spring Gardener


Azalea Forde Abbey Gdns S Somerset

This season can be one of the most exciting of the year, allowing us at last to get back into the garden  . Clocks go forward in UK end of March 29th ! hoorah .

Chamelia japonica (Theceae family)

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.

Garden Centres here we come

Whats this book like ,I lke gardening with my grandad !!

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 !.

Soil testing for moisture ,nutrients ,inorganic (stones grit)/ organic content


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 deep  digging.   Add plentiful organic  mulch in April to maintain vital 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 above 30 deg 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 this heavy winter and spring rains to come  will have  leached  out nutrients very easily.  Soil is used up every year and needs to be replenished .  Seaweed will especially help boost plant hormone systems that can make a very great improvement to performance seaweeds are different but its agreed they contain a wide range of micronutrients in very differing proportions .



Shrubs will need some pruning, but take care cutting into old non flowering wood, it may not be necessary and it can cut off the vascular system of xylem and phloem and kill the plant eg Lavender one example .  Usually cutting lateral stems to two or three buds will suffice on 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 post July flowering clematis relies on new annual growth which being straggly now can now be cut hard back to ground level.

Most vigorous climbers such as Lonicera –honeysuckle  can be cut back hard to choice 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.

Protect our wildlife they rely on us more with climate change and habitat disturbance !!!

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.   Thick conifers and hedges are also an ideal choice for birds.


Next month April we and the garden should be in full swing so let’s hope the  Spring weather comes on side.Get searching for some uplifting colourful plants from local garden centres it will cheer us all up ,we need it I think after depressing lockdowns  hopefully ending soon this summer in the UK


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


Tony Booksigning 'Science for the Gardener Book

Tony Arnold signing his popular book in Somerset UK

Tony Arnold MCIHort. Author Science for the Gardener



Copies of my signed book Science for the Gardener are  available from the internet  -all good book shops world wide   or direct free delivery for a  signed copy from .

Book Special offer £11.99 click on link in New Year Gardener 2021 scroll down !







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..


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.


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 or tony@scienceforthe 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


Cotoneaster Tree in Winter agood meal for the birds