|July 1, 2008 12:50 - Golden Grass, Striped Roses And A Chiel
Two themes which are repeated in the papers week by week are growing your own veggies and saving water by planting drought-resistant plants. Starting with the veggies Beth Botts sets down some ground rules for beginners. "Don't get carried away" is top of the list. Sound advice for tyro gardeners who often tend to plant a bit of everything and are then overwhelmed by the work involved. Read more..
For an English slant on the veggie scene Bunny Guiness writes on the joys of fresh-cut leaves and vegetables. "Sow now for salad days ahead" is her advice. Cut-and-come-again leaves can be ready to harvest just three weeks after sowing. She also explores the delights of baby vegetables, including cucumbers, broad beans and pencil-thin leeks. Read more..
Barbara Gaea from Vallejois is the dry gardening advocate this week. "Gold is beautiful" she declares as she is pictured sitting on her brown grass lawn. Gaea points out that wild grasses of the Bay Area hills go dormant in the summer and so her lawn should expect the same treatment. Unfortunately local landscaper Brett Begbie cautions that without water her grass will die. Read more..
"Why do we moan about old roses only flowering once?" asks Elspeth Thompson. "We don't make the same complaint about lilac, or lavender, or any of the other summer flowers whose blooming period is similarly short." While I love the old rose varieties, I am not so keen on those with striped flowers which are the subject of this piece. But for Elspeth "none are more extraordinary and endearing than the striped varieties". Read more..
And finally a Chiel column brought back from the past, 1995 to be precise. Titled "You Are Never Alone" it extols the joys of nature in the garden. Read more..
July 10, 2008 11:17 - Saving Water And Slug Pellets
Today's theme is saving water. You can go the whole hog and adopt the dry-garden style which involves mounded beds and gravel mulches that promote winter drainage and good air exchange. But is it possible to grow drought-tolerant plants in an ordinary garden bed and not water them? This was the question posed to Ann Lovejoy who gave this cryptic reply: "Well, yes and no". However she then came up with a long list of plants and shrubs that would be suitable for this treatment. Read more..
For an extreme example of water conscious gardening have a look at this story from Big Bear. Dig up the lawn and grow native plants instead. This is what Jim Otterstrom did and so he now has a property that is lush and colorful. The only water he uses is for his vegetables. Read more..
Next to an area where drought is never an issue, in fact the opposite is the case. In the Welsh valleys it rains frequently and damp soil is perfect for slugs. "Wildlife groups launch slug pellet war on councils" is the stark headline to this piece which tells how the local councils are being accused of hypocrisy. While one department is preaching the organic message and encouraging people not to use pesticides, it appears that the parks department is gaily sprinkling slug pellets on their flowerbeds. Read more..
I am usually somewhat dismissive of articles that tell you that you should "Warm up before diving into yard work", but a recent experience has taught me that this is sensible advice. A couple of weeks ago some over enthusiastic digging for a drainage trench left me with a pulled muscle and considerable pain for several days. So perhaps one should heed these warnings after all. Read more..
July 16, 2008 15:00 - Cool Blue, Rulers And Oxygenized Water
"Landscaping trends: What's hot?" is the headline to this piece by Rhonda Van Pelt and the answer it seems is that the hot colors red, orange and yellow are out. Marigolds and red petunias are so yesterday. Now everyone wants the cool colors. Blue, purple, pink and white are the current favorites and likely to remain so for the next four or five years apparently. There's also a move away from large beds of annuals to greater use of perennials and shrubs to cut down on water use. Read more..
Do you use a ruler on your lawn? If you live in Loudon County you soon will have to. An emergency lawn-mowing ordinance has just been passed which provides that grass cannot be longer than 12 inches. If residents fail to comply, the county can mow the grass and charge for the service. The ordinance also covers weeds which led to some debate as to what counted as a weed when the usual definition is that a weed is a plant growing in the wrong place. Read more..
The bestselling non-fiction writer in the world who has spent his life creating the "Expert" series of gardening books has revealed that he no longer enjoys gardening. David Hessayon, who is now in his eighties, has sold more than 50million books on horticulture. With so much experience it is hardly surprising that he regards gardening as a job rather than a hobby. Read more..
"Grow bigger and faster" is usually the prelude to an article on fertilizers, but this one is all about water. Using oxygenized water has been shown to produce a 58 percent higher bell pepper yield and 28 percent more petunia flowers. These results came from tests carried out by Dr. Albert Markhart, a professor of horticulture at the University of Minnesota. Read more..
July 24, 2008 17:48 - Clover, Gingers And The Perfect Perennial
When readers write in asking for advice it is not very encouraging to be told that solving their problem will be extremely difficult. But this is just the way that Jeff Lowenfels prefaces his article on getting rid of clover without chemicals. Hard labour with a thatch rake followed by painstaking work on your hands and knees to remove the remaining roots is his prescription. Far simpler to accept his alternative thought that "These days, more and more people realize that a healthy lawn is one that has clover". Read more..
Richard Nunnally is also answering a question about clover, but he comes straight out with the name of a herbicide. He also reminds his readers of the benefits of clover in a lawn. Pine needles, Leyland Cypress and fast growing vegetables are the other topics he covers. Read more..
Name a perennial that is is windproof, deerproof, drought tolerant, pest- and disease-free, durable, versatile, easy to grow and heavy flowering. For Terry Kramer the perfect perennial which has all these qualities is catmint. Its only drawback is its attraction for cats who love to roll around on the plants. Read more..
Penny Carnathan, on the other hand, raves about gingers. For her they have everything from fragrant colorful flowers to their use in cooking, homemade medicine and even as shampoo. Gingers are tropical plants so you need to live in a suitable climate, but well worth growing if you do. Read more..