Posts Tagged ‘the’

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.

Fertilizing Your Plants

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

A great deal of money is spent each year on fertilisers, some of which I am sure would be better invested in buying compost bins. I use a balanced feed as a complement to the organic mulch, not as a substitute for it.

Possibly the safest general feeds are those based on organic substances which in addition to feeding have no detrimental effect on soil texture. The release of the nitrogen, phosphates and potash takes place over a long period so that very little is lost by the plant through being leached away in soil drainage.

The spray advised for the blackfly will control them also. Indeed, it seems that there is a spray for everything likely to infest the garden from aphids to stray cats and dogs. Choose thosc which will only kill the pest or in the case of domestic animals repel them. Red spider mite may cause damage on dwarf conifers but can be controlled with malathion or similar chemical. Tortrix, sawfly and other caterpillars are rarely a problem. Derris and soft soap is a sufficiently potent repellent.

Gardening Tips

Monday, December 29th, 2008

I always buy the best tools which available funds permit, especially when it comes to secateurs and pruning saw, but the best is not always the most expensive. Find out which secateurs the nearest professional is using, then buy those. A good knife is something no eardener is ever without. I have one purchased many years ago which will give me a lifetime service.

A good spade must head the ,fist and a garden fork will also be needed practically from the beginning to deal with perennial weeds and in helping to break down the soil before planting. A round- pronged, general-purpose fork gives me the best service.

The first rains of winter will soon discover any defects in the drainage. If water stands in puddles round the rose beds or on the lawns it may be that the existing drains are blocked or damaged.

Into the bottom fork a generous dressing of whatever organic matter is available. Those living in a town will find a mixture of coarse bonemeal and peat the cleanest to handle. A further dressing mixed with the top spadeful leaves a beautifully worked soil into which the roots can penetrate freely.

Rootstocks of Garden Plants

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

The cambium is a thin layer of tissue composed during the growing season of actively dividing cells. Only these cells of both the scion and rootstock are capable of joining one to the other into an indissoluble whole.

Prepare the stocks for budding by clearing the soil away from around the base of the stem and wipe the exposed area clean with a moist cloth. Make a cross cut on the prepared surface, then an upward cut to meet it, drawing with the knife blade a letter T. The bark should lift easily with the knife handle if the stock is fit to bud. Remove the bud by starting a slanting cut one inch below the chosen bud and coming at the same distance above. The shield can be trimmed to size after insertion.

Where the T-shaped cut is made depends on what type of tree is required. If a bush form is wanted then the cut is made 4 in. above soil level but with half or full standards from three to six feet of clean stern must be left. The bark is lifted, the bud inserted and bound exactly in the manner described for roses.

Garden Trees

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Not all gardens can support the bulk of forest trees, yet it is still feasible to achieve a very satisfactory winter landscape in miniature. Various forms of Japanese Maple, Acer palmatum, even grown in pots will soon develop the mushroom-like, slightly windswept outline which makes them excellent plants for the heather or rock garden.

Sixteen years ago I planted a few specimens of the arboreal alpine to add height to a corner of the heather garden. Now the plants 4 ft. high and the soft green foliage on erect is seen in contrast to the bare branches of the birch woodland beyond adding a touch of some green to the inhospitable winter scene.

Conifers make all the difference to a winter escape. There are varieties of all sizes from use suitable for growing in a window-box to the largest suitable for property many acres in tent. Remember, however, that it is easy to err plant and render the landscape formless. All mention only two groupings as examples of hat for me are meant by garden silhouettes. The groupings like so many other garden features are with one shrub, a specimen of Chamaecyris pisifera plumosa, conical in outline and with very green foliage.

Chilies Cytology and Genetics

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Cytoplasmic male sterility in Capsicum was discovered by Peterson (1958) and can now be used for producing hybrid seed.

Popova (1973) states that the heterosis effect in pepper is manifested in the early ripening of the fruits, increased yield in most cases, larger embryos, lower flower abscission, higher degree of uniformity of fruits, better germination of the seeds which are heavier, and better adaptation to adverse conditions.

Bees and ants visit the flowers. Both self- and cross-pollination occur, the latter being about 16 per cent (Purseglove, 1968). Aiyadurai (1966) states that the extent of natural cross-pollination in chillies in India was :found to be as high as 58 to 68 per cent. Padda and Singh (1971) found that the majority of chilli flowers open between 5 and 6 a.m. Pollen shedding takes place at 9 a.m. and continues until 11 a.m. The best time for hand-pollination was 10 a.m. on the day that the flower opens and gives the highest fruit set.

Budding and Grafting Garden Plants

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

A polythene sleeve, made by slitting a suitably sized bag along the bottom, is then slipped over to enclose the wound and firmly bound at the base with electricians’ tape. Pack moist sphagnum around the wound then seal the top of the bag. By moist I mean that a handful of the moss when squeezed just oozes water. To make certain the weakened stem does not break I tie the whole contraption firmly to a cane.

Not all are so obliging and must be helped in a small way. This process is known as layering and the main requirements are patience and a soil in good physical condition. A few weeks prior to layering work in a liberal quantity of peat and sharp sand around the selected plant.

Where only a few cuttings are required which do not justify the expense of a small propagating unit, a polythene bag and a 5-in. pot will provide an alternative. I use pumice or sand as the rooting medium, filling the pot to within i in. of the rim.


Thursday, December 18th, 2008

The owners of small gardens need to utilise every scrap of space and they, therefore, must be more selective in their choice of plants. Climbers and wall plants will provide the answer to many problems for they will add both space and height to congested sites and will bring colour to every available wall.

However, enthusiasm should be tempered with discreet understanding for there are climbers which love to be baked into brilliance of flower by hot sun, whereas others must be soothed by moist shade. Some climbers, of which ,,Actinidia chinensis and Polygonum baldschuanicum are prime examples, will swallow a house completely so quickly do they grow. Others like wisteria or clematis must be carefully pruned and trained, or the gardener is left to contemplate a naked expanse of stem.

No matter what treasured climber is planted, the wall will provide a protection not enjoyed by the denizens of the open garden. Before attempting any planting examine the soil at the foot of an average house wall. Usually it consists of builders’ leavings, sub-soil, pot crocks and other aridities, possibly enriched by a few tea leaves. All this must be excavated and replaced with soil from a fertile part of the garden.

Hedging Your Garden

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

In a town garden or a shady site box could be pressed into service, but enough, I malign a plant which has done yeoman service. Regular feeding and clipping are essential or the bushes become bare and leggy.

Though a hedge around the outer periphery reduces the garden area still further, the desire for privacy is sufficient reason for most people to plant a screen of some sort. In common with most enthusiasts I love to invite people to see my plants yet I still feel justified in demanding a degree of seclusion to enjoy my flowers and the labour of growing them.

Opinions vary as to when pruning or clipping should commence and this does depend very much on the type of plant, exposure, and state of growth. Hawthorn is usually cut hard back after one year to almost soil level whereas I let beech run for five years at least, only trimming the sides but not the top. The subsequent cultivations include controlling weeds, watching for pests and diseases, an annual feed of a balanced fertiliser and renewal of the mulch as it is broken down into the soil.

Chili Pests

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Collar rot, known in the United States as southern blight, is caused by Sclerotium rolfsii Sacc. (syn. Corticium rolfsii (Sacc.) Curzi). It is a common and destructive disease of capsicums. The cultivar ‘Tabasco’ is said to show resistance. Warm wet weather favours the fungus, which attacks the stem at ground level, eventually girdling it. On pulling up the plant, the white feathery mycelium can be seen in which are embedded pale-brown sclerotic.

Small yellowish spots appear on the ripe fruit, which increase in size during damp weather and become sunken and soft. Dempsey and Brantley (1953) state that it may be overlooked and only appear after the fruit has been held for several hours. According to Sastri (1950), the same fungus can cause a die- back of the plants in India. It is important to plant disease-free seeds. Control is the same as for anthracnose.

Other diseases recorded for capsicums include Phomopsis spp., causing a fruit rot, and Glomerella cingulata (Stonem.) Spaulcl. & Schrenk, associated with a fruit and stem rot, both reported from the Solomon Islands by Conifer (1973). References are also made in the literature to Alternaria tenuis Nees (Quebral and Shutleff, 1965); Alternaria sp. (Aiyadurai (1966); Bottytis cinerea Pers. ex Fr. (McCulloch and Wright, (1966); Verticillium alboatrum Reinke & Berth. (Lippert and Hall, 1963); and V. dahliae Kleb. (Woolliams, Denby and Hanson, 1962).