|July 4, 2005 10:00 - The Dog Days of Summer and a Bottle of Gin
"The Dog Days of Summer officially start July 3" says Jeff Ishee from Middlebrook, VA. Despite long, hot afternoons and possible sweltering conditions, "this is no time to seek out the comfort of your air-conditioned den to watch reruns on HGTV. July is the time to be out in the garden (in the cool of the early morning or evening) and taking care of things" he tells you. Read more..
From across the pond in Belfast the advice is the same if expressed in different terms. According to John Grayden "There's an old joke that goes along the lines of the only gardening tools you need in July are a bottle of gin and a bucket of ice. It may be an attractive thought to sit back, put your feet up and enjoy what passes for the Ulster summer. Needless to say, I don't think things are ever quite as simple as that". Read more..
From Minnie Miller there is some welcome advice on plants that thrive in the hot and humid weather. "Make sure to include some members of the family Compositae. From asters to zinnias, this family of hardy, persistent flowering plants will add dazzle to your yard with little to no effort on your part." Read more..
July 6, 2005 10:01 - Doctors, Catfish and Rudyard Kipling
Talk about a slick presentation. In his two part "Guide for Gardening Novices" René Trim lists three Misconceptions - "Stay clear from these and half the battle is won!". This is followed by his "Top 5 of Easy to Grow Plants That Will Never Become A Nuisance" including daffodils - don’t plant them upside-down (in case of doubt, plant bulbs sideways – success guaranteed!). Part 1 ends with three traps to avoid at your local nursery or garden centre. Read more..
Part 2 starts with a fourth Misconception about fertilizers then lists his "Top 5 of Prima Donna Plants" - the ones that require a lot of attention and/or care. Next is a section on how to recognize plants for a specific location and his piece concludes with advice on dividing irises and pruning lilacs. Read more..
What is the connection between doctors, catfish and Rudyard Kipling? In this light-hearted piece Wes Porter mentions all three and combines this with some good practical advice. Well worth reading.
July 11, 2005 10:43 - Flowerpots, crunchy grass and Cairo
Container gardening is one topic that is always in the news and the objects used as containers are almost without number. Any gardening book that you open which has a section on containers will illustrate some unusual item being pressed into service for this purpose. But the most traditional form of container, in my opinion, is the humble flowerpot. The standard terracotta flowerpot has been with us for hundreds of years but glazed pots in many colors have also been produced at least since the nineteenth century. An exhibition of historic and modern flowerpots is currently on display at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Read more..
"When grass turns crunchy and many plants take on a sickly pallor, gardening can seem like the latest survivor sport" says Julie Bonnin. Reminding her readers that Austin is on the same latitude as Cairo, she comes up with some ideas as to how your backyard can survive in the summer heat. Read more..
July 18, 2005 10:28 - The Virtual Garden Show from the BBC
Now that the Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows are over for another year the BBC has produced its own Virtual Garden Show. Viewers were invited to design their own virtual garden and the entries have been whittled down to ten finalists. The winner will be chosen by a poll and you can see the garden designs and vote here. If you find this form of garden design appealing you can have a go yourself here.
Before you click away from the BBC site just take a look at the Gardeners' Question Time page. There is lots of useful information including suggestions for dealing with common garden pests. One listener has supplied a list of 92 slug resistant plants, but not everyone agrees that these are all foolproof.
Also enjoy a look at Roy Lancaster's garden which he claims includes around 1000 species that he has collected from trips all over the world.
July 19, 2005 18:29 - Short of Space? Cover your Walls and Roof.
"You've crammed peas and pansies into every last square inch of gardening space. Maybe your only garden area is on an apartment balcony, or a postage-stamp-sized lawn. Or you have more room but still have managed to take it all up. Whatever the case, when space is tight, look up" advises Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp. "Vertical gardening has long been a mainstay in the vegetable patch, where beans, peas, gourds, tomatoes and cucumbers scale up trellises, bamboo stakes, string tripods or cages. The same vertical methods also work in ornamental gardening. There, annual and perennial flowering vines climb arbors, trellises, tripods and tuteurs (trainers), adding height, contour, scent and visual interest at eye level." Read more..
Continuing the vertical theme here is what may be Allen County’s first rooftop garden. "People have used sod and plants for roofing material for more than a century in the United States" said Sandy Stackhouse, one of several local master gardeners involved in building and planting the garden. Rooftop gardens reduce water runoff and soil erosion by soaking up some rainfall and at the same time act as insulation for the building below. Read more..
July 25, 2005 10:51 - Wildflowers, Dry Weather and Water
What starts out as a rant against the use of latin names by botanists turns into a long and thoughtful piece about the appreciation of wildflowers in Great Britain. The author sees this as a conspiracy to exclude members of the general public from being able to enjoy the native flora and cites as evidence the small number of members of the various charities devoted to to preservation of native wildflowers. He compares this with the large memberships of horticultural societies which shows that there is no lack of interest in plantlife by members of the general public. Read more..
Here's another piece from an English newspaper which, like the last item, has been republished by RedNova Advertising. Glyn Smith who is National Trust head gardener at Erddig Hall, Wrexham gives a timely reminder on caring for plants in periods of dry weather. He stresses the need for proper soil preparation before you plant a containerised specimen. Read more
"The average roof sheds about 1,000 gallons of water for every inch of rain" says Michael Walkup. This is not the prelude to yet another article on how to install a waterbutt, but it is a novel suggestion for how you can make use of all that water that would otherwise be lost to the sewer system or pools in the yard. Read more..
July 29, 2005 10:38 - Man's Best Friend?
"Meet Man's Best Friend" is the headline to the first article I noticed today and, no, it's not about dogs. I'm not sure that everyone will agree that their best friends are spiders, which are the subject of this piece, but for gardeners this may well be true. Spiders eat insects that damage your plants and so are a beneficial presence in the garden. Apparently spiders eat twice their body weight daily, plus scaring away many more insects than they can eat. Read more..
Over 35 million Americans suffer from allergies and many think that they have to give up gardening to avoid the molds and pollen that are the cause of their problems. This does not have to be the answer according to Connie Krochmal who suggests that gardeners can learn to cope with allergies. She explains that by choosing the right times to work in the garden and selecting plants and shrubs that do not shed large amounts of pollen you can learn to live with your allergies and still enjoy your garden. Read more..
Question. "What would you suggest for the backyard of our new home? It is a steep slope, eastward facing, that is 55 feet wide and 30 feet deep, leading to a wetland. The builder planted some spreading junipers, which all died, and covered the hill with pine straw..." To learn what Nancy Brachey would do with this unpromising piece of real estate, Read more..