|May 2, 2006 15:09 - Gardening Doesn't Have to Hurt
Here's some good news for arthritis sufferers. Gardening is good for you doctors now agree. "For a long time doctors told patients to curb their activities when diagnosed with an ailment such as arthritis. And many folks, even those passionate about gardening, simply refrained from digging in the dirt. But now many doctors agree that physical activity - including gardening - helps those suffering from arthritis." Read more..
"Gardening Doesn't Have to Hurt" is the headline to this next piece which looks at ergonomically-designed hand tools. These "reduce the risk of back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders from garden chores, and assist enthusiasts whose age or disabilities limit their gardening activity. The challenge is choosing the right tools". Read more..
By way of light relief here are two gnome stories that have made the news recently. The first concerns a disabled 57 year old widow who has sent her collection of garden gnomes into hiding to avoid them being seized by local officials. Gwynneth Lester who lives in Fareham on the south coast of the United Kingdom is refusing to pay some $1,140 which she owes in tax to the local council. Her rebellion has landed her in court with a demand to pay up – in cash or in kind – or face prison. "Well, they won't be taking the garden gnomes now because I have given them away," she said. Source: Reuters
On a rather more sinister note a South African grandmother was jailed for nearly eight and a half years after being caught trying to smuggle cocaine hidden in garden gnomes into New Zealand. The cocaine was found hidden in four garden gnomes in Linda Martin's suitcase after she entered the country on a false passport. Read more..
May 8, 2006 15:11 - Mr Pinnegar Has Lost His Head
More evidence that gardening is good for you comes from Anne Thompson, a reporter from Healthday News. "There are oodles of benefits -- both physical and mental -- that come from the range of activities associated with gardening." Burning calories is just one. "Studies show that working in your yard or garden can burn between 250 calories and 500 calories an hour, depending on your level of activity. Beyond physical exertion, gardening also offers a level of serenity that can help a person's mental health, experts said." Any self-respecting gardener will know this already, but just reading the article will make you feel good. Read more..
Mr Pinnegar has lost his head and Dulcy Mahar is moving on. Mr P was an antique English garden gnome who was her owner's pride and joy until last summer when a branch fell on him and knocked off his head. Now she is having second thoughts about gnomes and makes a few tentative suggestions as to possible replacements. Read more..
May 13, 2006 12:31 - Flying Plants and Disappearing Rocks
Retailers expect certain plants to "fly off the shelf" according to Vena Eaton writing in the Toronto Sun. The top must-haves predicted for 2006 include Echinacea Big Sky 'Sunrise', New Guinea impatiens and Lobelia 'Techno Blue'. Dahliettas, described as a fad sure to become a trend, combine the striking colors of the dahlia with the compact habit of a geranium. A perpetual clematis which blooms all summer long sounds too good to be true but the answer is really very simple. Read more..
"Quit stealing my damn rocks" is the message Ken Froese is broadcasting to the person who has been a thorn in his side for more than a decade. Froese is the owner of a quarry in eastern Manitoba which produces valuable flagstone. A person or persons unknown has been removing quatities of the rare colored rocks and selling them to garden centres. Needless to say Froese is not amused. He even blocks the road into the quarry using large boulders during the off-season, but the thieves just cut a new road instead, he said. Read more..
Are you looking for plants that are low-maintenance, thrive in the Northwest and, best of all, add a texture that no other plant can? Then look no further than ferns advises Phil Wood. If you are looking for a brief introduction to the different varieties and how to use ferns in your garden, read more..
May 15, 2006 18:06 - Garden in the City and Ways to Make It Cheaper
Do you want to learn how to construct a rooftop garden on your garage or create a container garden on your balcony? All this week you have the chance to find out, if you live in Chicago, that is. The city is hosting "Garden in a City" which is billed as the country's first garden and landscape design show focused on urban horticulture. Fifty-two stands should give you plenty of ideas and plants for sale as well. Read more..
Talking of plants for sale, if you are anything like me, it's far too easy to get carried away when you are surrounded by plants in a nursery or garden center. But there are ways of making your money go further as Jean Chatzky explains in this piece. Buy seeds not plants and share with family and friends are just two of her suggestions. Read more..
Dutch Gardens have a Spring Clearance Sale on Spring Planted Flowers. You can save 55% on Fata Morgana Double Asiatic Lily bulbs - 5 bulbs for just $6.67. There are lots more bargains to be had. Click the link to see them all.
May 22, 2006 12:29 - Chelsea Surfboards and Unwelcome Wildlife
Today is the first day of the Chelsea Flower Show which will be open all this week in London. The exhibitors are not being helped by the weather which is not being too kind at present with high winds and squally showers. Chelsea accepts entries from all over the world and New Zealand has created a garden whose design is inspired by the west coast of Auckland. To publicise their entry three ‘Human Billboards’, wearing 100% Pure New Zealand branded wetsuits and carrying surfboards, will distribute promotional material around Chelsea and London parks. At least they are dressed for the weather! Read more..
Gardening writers are always encouraging us to plant flowers and shrubs that will attract wildlife into our gardens. Hummingbirds and butterflies are usually top of the list and can provide endless pleasure for nature lovers. Other visitors are not so welcome. The mole that spoils your perfect lawn or the deer that nibbles your favorite shrubs are a nuisance, but will not cause you any harm. Florida residents have to be more careful as this alligator tale reveals. Read more..
"Strim and Bare It" is the headline that reveals all. I'm not sure who would want to use this service, but if you really want to know, here's the link.
May 24, 2006 17:56 - Monet in Bangkok and Chelsea Golds
"Would you like to see Monaco, Vienna or the environment that inspired Claude Monet to create his famous water-lily painting? Now there is no need to take a flight, because they can all be found in Bangkok" caught my eye as I was scanning the headlines and I was looking forward to an enjoyable read. But it turns out that the piece is about a local landscape design firm boasting about its projects in China, Japan and Thailand. It's like saying "Don't bother to visit London, Paris and Rome, just pop down to Las Vegas instead". So I'm not suggesting you follow the link, but for the record, here's the source. (Story came from Bangkok Post but link no longer live)
At the Chelsea Flower Show the judges have given their verdicts and medals have been awarded. "TWO growers were crowned Britain’s best female gardeners yesterday as they each won a record 11th gold medal" reported Lewis Smith. "Jekka McVicar and Rosie Hardy broke a record set almost 20 years ago by Beth Chatto, a revered figure in the world of gardening who was the winner of ten golds." Before the ladies get too carried away, I also noticed that my local nursery Hilliers has won a gold bringing its total haul to 61. Read more..
"I make my own compost using both compost bins and a wormery. However, I suffer from pangs of conscience, since I put out all the things I would not "risk" in my own bins for collection by the local council, which runs a recycling service. Am I unwittingly infecting other gardens in this way?" asks a reader. This is something that has often occurred to me as I have piled all my bindweed, ground elder and other nasties into the recycling bag. However it seems that I needn't have worried. Read more..
May 31, 2006 11:27 - Ki To Ki No Tamariba and Defiant Gardens
You would not normally think of gardening and warfare in the same context, but this unlikely combination is the subject of a new book by Kenneth Helphand called "Defiant Gardens". The book shows how, from the trenches of World War 1 to the deserts of Iraq, soldiers and civilians have created small gardens not only to provide food but also as an act of defiance. "Soldiers created gardens as a response to their basic needs and as an aid to their physical and mental survival. They also represented desire, a wish for the comforts of home, a concrete expression of hope, and the desire for life, peace, and a future". Read more..
The "Ki To Ki No Tamariba" has gardening aficionados rushing for more. What are they so excited about? Free logs from forest-thinning projects in nearby mountains. "I want to make a garden chair and a fence for gardening," says Kenji Hayashi, 46, from Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. "Fallen logs have marks that you don't see in commercial wooden materials," says a 70-year-old sculpture buff from Seki. "That's what makes them special." Read more..
Back to a more conventional story, here is one gardener's account of of her battles with rocks, clay and crazy weather to create "The View From Route 66". "At first, our results didn't seem worth all that work. But gradually, we have "amended" the soil enough that most perennials and annuals will grow and flourish. It does take patience - matching the right light (sun, half-day sun, shade) to the particular plant usually takes some trial and error. Finding the places in your yard that are typically moist, or dry out easily, and matching the plants' preference to those areas also takes study." Read more..