|February 5, 2008 09:54 - The Swiss And The French Plus Romans and Squirrels
Tom Glass recently went to a horticultural trade show intent on finding the latest in gardening and growing tools. "I was looking for labor saving devices — revolutionary gadgets. World beaters, brush busters, rock crushers and timber movers" he explained. After wading through piles of shovels, mattocks and countless varieties of pruners, he finally purchased his one "must-have" tool. Read more..
If you are looking for new ideas for your garden, this article provides much food for thought. Look abroad is the advice that the author offers. Being British he starts by crossing the Channel to France, then on to Italy, Japan, Morocco and finally the United States. Read more..
"What have the Romans ever done for gardening?" is the title of this short blog entry by Emma Townshend. In it she recalls the life of Wilhemina Jashemki who she describes as "a bit of a gardener, and her home in a suburb of Washington DC was surrounded by trees and plants, especially azaleas". But her real expertise was her amazing work on the archaeology of the gardens at Pompeii. Read more..
This is the time of year when my garden is plagued by squirrels. They seem to spend all their time digging up the bulbs that I have just planted. So when listening to a gardening program on the radio this topic was raised, I was expecting to hear of effective ways of solving this problem. Unfortunately I was disappointed. It seems that unless you have an active dog or cat to chase the squirrels away, the only other remedy is to cover the bulbs with chicken wire.
However there was some useful advice on discouraging deer. Build a lifesize scarecrow and crown it with human hair. And to make it really effective dress it in a sweaty T-shirt! It's supposed to do the trick, but you would have to be careful where you placed the scarecrow, or you would spoil your own enjoyment of the garden.
Both of these tips came from the BBC.
Finally, I noticed this advert for multicolored roses and had visions of some new striped variety, but no it's just a bunch of different colored blooms. Would make a great present for Valentine's Day.
February 18, 2008 09:59 - Lincoln’s Birthday, Lasagna And Wearing A Headlamp
If your'e planning a new vegetable plot on a site that is full of rocks and large stones, you have two choices. Do it the hard way and dig out all the rocks or take the easy option and adopt the "Lasagna" method. Instead of digging this method involves piling organic material on the surface of the plot in a series of layers - you see the lasagna connection? The basic principle is simple enough, but you would probably need to buy the book to understand the finer details. Read more..
"Did you know that Lincoln’s Birthday actually marks the beginning of the gardening season in Central Illinois?" asks Jackie Record. "That is when a good gardener should begin thinking about pruning, especially small flowering trees, fruit trees and vines" is how she introduces this piece. A story about George Washington is followed by some solid practical advice on pruning fruit trees. Now is the time to get started while the branches are still bare of leaves. Bradford pears should be first on your list. Read more..
It takes more than wearing a headlamp to qualify you as a gardening geek, but it is one way that you will be able to recognize this group of Master Gardeners. North Cairn, who describes her group as "a celebration of geeks", explains what is involved in training as a Master Gardener. Read more..
This year has already produced some surprises in my garden. Although the daffodils have been in bloom for a few weeks, there was no sign of the snowdrops which are usually the first spring flowers to appear. But I am pleased to see that they have finally arrived.
Finally a reminder that Garden Ramblings
for February is now online. Discover all about composting, Moon planting and some strange facts about garden gnomes.
February 26, 2008 10:01 - Hanging Baskets, Avocados And Quonset Huts
For Tom Glass from Eagle County, Colorado it feels like springtime. His fingers are itching to start planting despite the fact that there are still 15 weeks to go before the normal last frost date of the year. Amid wild dreams of leasing Quonset huts for "green-thumb hobby types, black belt master gardeners, and the seasonally affected dis-orderlies of the world to putter around in", he decides that making plans for the coming season will be his sole consolation. Read more..
It may seem strange to include an article on "Hanging baskets for Mother's Day" in February, but this comes from a newspaper published in the UK where they remember their mothers on a different date from the United States. What is more interesting is Elspeth Thompson's approach which she describes as "vertical gardening without that pub patio effect". She drew her inspiration from a string of five spherical baskets planted with nothing but pure white petunias on a London balcony. For lots of interesting ideas and plenty of practical advice, read more..
Nancy MacNeill is a teacher who has some great ideas for introducing kids to the joys of gardening. For her "It may not be spring, but it isn't too early to sprout seeds or to start a garden indoors". Once you get past the "multi-sensory, hands-on, science lesson" you'll find detailed instructions on growing avocados, carrots and sweet potatoes as well as marigolds and sunflowers. Read more..
Continuing the hanging basket theme Gardener's Supply Company have created a new type of planter for tomatoes. This technique of upside-down growing produces satisfying crops in very little space, and with very little effort. The innovative self-watering planter is sturdier, easier to plant, and best of all, provides continuous moisture to plants without daily watering. You could also use it to grow peppers, cucumbers and eggplants.