Posts Tagged ‘all’

How To Build And Maintain A Garden With Little Money

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Gardens are expensive. At least, they are initially when you are buying all of the supplies needed to build it, maintain it, and harvest the fruits of your labor. Don’t frown just yet, you can still have your cake and eat it to. Cutting costs in building a garden is easy so long as you know your way around the gardening world.

The first step is to design your garden. If you are completely new to the world of gardening, be prepared to take in a lot of information at once! You can get free books and audio discs regarding the subject at your library if you have a pass. Otherwise you can use the Internet to find free websites or magazines that will give you the help you need during the planning stage.

Think about where you could go to buy a plant. Odds are you thought of your local nursery or garden center. This is usually the worst place to go, since the prices are steeper than what you would pay elsewhere. The only benefit they have is that they have a large variety, and also have large discounts for products that are out of the current season.

Rhododendron Growing Tips

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

A cause of infinite regret is that no member of this beautiful genus will tolerate the slightest trace of lime, no matter how disguised with peat. There are no better evergreen shrubs than the Tree Roses whose members range in height from the 30-ft. splendour of Rhododendron sinogrande to the prostrate posturing of R. repens. The evergreen species can be used as a background contrast to later flowering shrubs.

Deciduous azaleas are available by the hundred. Ignes Nova, carmine red blotched yellow, is good in autumn when the leaves turn purple. Unique is late flowering and rather tall with apricot blooms. Comte de Gomer is compact and dainty with pink blossoms. Hugo Hardyzer is 4 ft. high and a very impressive scarlet. R. luteum has all the qualities of a good shrub with sweetly scented magnificent autumn colour.

The Alpine Rose, R. .ferrugineum, makes a rounded bush with the young foliage copper tinted. In the best forms the flowers are a startling brick red. The grey-leaved R. hippophaeoides grows pleasantly out in the open in company with heathers. It grows to around 3 ft. high and its lilac flowers brighten the April days.

Acer

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Weigelas grow best in a well-prepared soil with sufficient organic matter to provide a moist, yet well-drained root run. They are decorative when in flower, and the rather untidy character of the bush can be improved by pruning the old wood during the late winter.

The species of real quality, Weigela florida, like so many other worthy plants, comes from China. The flowers are rose pink outside and like pale apple blossom within and they resemble a well-proportioned digitalis. I do not approve of the variety variegata, as I feel it reduces the dignity of the species, but I am very much in the minority in this respect. At 4 ft. it is 18 in. shorter than the type with pale pink flowers and leaves margined cream.

Photinia

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Potentillas are absolutely indispensable shrubs. Amongst their virtues is the ability to grow practically anywhere in any soil except dense shade or a weeping bog. I cherish the dozen or so specimens and varieties which grow here, and enjoy the flowers which open in succession from May until September. They look a little untidy after leaf fall, but this can be forgiven in a shrub so thoroughly worthwhile.

Katherine Dykes, tall at 5 ft., opens primrose-yellow flowers throughout the summer. Klondyke, a dwarf at 18 in., has sparkling golden-yellow flowers. My own favourite, Longacre, makes a neat bush 18 in. high, and has cascades of good quality yellow blossoms. Primrose Beauty has more shape than most, with grey leaves and cream flowers. Tangerine has flowers of a delicate copper orange when grown on a lime soil in light shade and is well worth a corner.

I restrict pruning to a general thinning of overcrowded branches in March. Cuttings semi-hardwood in July are child’s play to root, and I also gather up a rich harvest of self-sown seedlings.

Dahpne

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The variety I grow as aurea-variegata has, like so many favourites, suffered a name change and must now be known as maculata.

Fortunately, despite this, the grey-green leaves splashed with gold still add a touch of warm bright colour to the borders. The form known as variegata has foliage with a broad margin of yellow which gives the shrub an air of Victorian formality.

The Chilean Fire Bush, Embothrium coccineum, was a lunatic piece of extravagance which succeeded beyond my expectations. The first bush planted 17 years ago on what was then an exposed hillside is now a small tree 15 ft. high. The label reads Embothrium coccineum Norquinco Valley. Each year in June the profusion of scarlet flowers against the perfectly contrasting deep green of the leaves make me eternally grateful that, ignoring all the advice offered, we insisted on trying the impossible.

Both coccineum, which is identical in most respects, except hardiness, with its variety above, and lanceolatum are well worth a place even in the most select garden. The latter, unlike Norquinco Valley, does have its young growth cut by late – frost but grows away strongly in spite of this. A well-drained soil amongst heathers will suit the species and varieties admirably. Propagation is by cuttings of firm young shoots from June to August.

Syringa

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Double lilacs are not my taste as a rule, but Charles Joly, a dark red, is worthy of space. Edith Cavell, cream to pure white, has not the character of the other fine white, Madame Lemoine, but shows sufficient resilience to grow on very wind-swept situations.

Paul Thirion, the last to flower with trusses of rose blossom fading to lilac, is like so many inhabitants of this globe, admirable when young but with a distinct tendency towards decrepitude with advancing years.

The best plants are those grown from layers in spring, but unfortunately most varieties, unless hard pruned, do not produce the right quality of wood low enough to be pegged down at soil level. Some will root from cuttings of semi-ripened shoots in July, but the task requires patience.

In S. x prestoniae can be found a race of hybrids quite unlike any of the others. They are vigorous and tolerant of a vast degree of exposure and soil types. The flowers are carried in large loose panicles. Audrey, deep lilac to pale pink, has made a bush 10 ft. high in 16 years in my garden and improves each year. Royalty has violet-blue flowers and is much the same height.

Ilex

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

This is a magnificent family which includes the lovely winter-flowering Jasminum nudiflorum. I always grow this as a wall plant and the long rambling shoots are then displayed to the proper effect.

A pergola, stump, even an old stone gate post are all methods I have adopted as support and pressed into service when no wall space could be provided. As a free-growing shrub the shoots should be hard pruned to encourage a proliferation of side branches but this to a certain extent spoils the character.

Propagation is effected by chopping away rooted pieces from the parent or if preferred by cuttings.

The white-flowering fragrant climber, is rather more demanding, though it becomes a strong vigorous climber capable of covering a ‘12-ft. high wall with ease. Propagation of both species is easily effected by means of semi-hardwood cuttings in July – August.

Like the rhododendron, kalmia is a shrub which resents a soil with the slightest trace of lime. Given a medium to their liking, they make shapely evergreen bushes, 4 to 6 ft. high in the case of Kalmia latifolia, the Calico Bush. The bright pink flowers which are exquisitely formed with deep pink stamens merit close appreciation. Pruning consists of removing the dead flower heads.

Grouping Plant in a Pot

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Before leaving the subject of group planting sphagnum moss should be mentioned as a possible plunging material. Moss of this kind has many advantages, not least the fact that it is light, clean and easy to handle, and that difficult plants seem to do particularly well when plunged in it. Recalling my personal. experience with the success of a difficult plant may help to emphasise the advantages of this material.

There are many beautiful dieffenbachias available, the majority of which are a little difficult to care for; Jenbuchia Pia can be among the most troublesome. The main difficulty is that the leaves contain very little chlorophyll, being almost entirely creamy white in colour.

This in itself makes it a very fine plant for exhibition work, and it is especially useful and attractive when incorporated with blue saintpaulias. On the nursery no one was very keen to be given charge ofgreenhouses containing D. Pia, as the chances of success were not particularly good.

Magnolia

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Liriodendron tulipifera is better known as the Tulip Tree and it is readily identified by the characteristically shaped three-lobed leaves which look as if they had been clipped short with a pair of scissors. It is certainly not a tree for the small garden for it grows quite quickly to a considerable height.

Magnolia denudata, the Yulan or Lily Tree, does not take long to settle in and present the gardener with a few of the pure white, cup-shaped flowers which are so elusively fragrant that it would be almost better if they had no scent at all. Magnolias should never suffer root damage, so though pot-grown specimens may cost a little more they are worth it for the assurance of success they bring.

The variety known as fastigiatum or pyramidale offers hope to the small garden for in this case all the growth is severely upright and not spreading.

Arranging Houseplants in a Container

Friday, February 20th, 2009

When plants are sick they require to he gradually encouraged back to good health by keeping them in a warm place, watering very sparingly and temporarily discontinuing feeding. It is also important that they should not be exposed to direct sunlight. There seems to be a desire on the part of the owner to pot the ailing plant into a larger container filled with the most super of super composts. This frequently proves to be the final blow – one should pot on healthy, vigorous plants and not lame ducks. It is inevitable when repotting that the root system will suffer some damage, and this can often be the death of the sickly plant that has had its last few healthy roots destroyed in the process.

Besides selecting good quality plants and creating humidity, it is also necessary to provide light, airy and reasonably warm conditions. A temperature in the region of 16 to 18C. (60 to 65F.) is adequate for all but the more tender tropical types of plant. Excessive heat can often present more problems than temperatures that are slightly below ideal requirements, especially if the atmosphere is very dry. Excess in most things is detrimental, and it would certainly seem to apply to plants where moderation does, on the whole, give much better results.