Monday, 9 December 2013

The Great British Revival

The Great British Revival started tonight which is a new gardening series, We have 10 episodes to look forward too between now and the 10th Jan 2014. This is a new style gardening program aiming to encourage us all back out into the garden They have brought together 14 TV gardeners to start the gardening revival. Episode one see Monty Don banging on about Wild flowers trying to encourage us all to add a few to our own gardens. I even discovered that there is a British Scything Association which is a new association too me. In the second half of the program see's Joe Swift pushing for the greening of our front gardens with more and more front gardens being concreted over. Which has increased localized flooding so he hopes to encourage more of us to get digging up the concrete and planting up the space to increase drainage and reduce pollution.
 I felt that it was a great new program of which we need more lets hope it is not just a garden revival  but a gardening TV revival as well.

Next episodes are available on BBC 2 at 7pm

10th Dec Topiary and Roof gardens
11th Dec Cottage gardens and House plants  
12th Dec Ornamental bedding and Fruit trees
13th Dec Herbaceous plants and Kitchen garden
6th Jan Cut flowers and Trees
7th Jan Rock gardens and Herbs 
8th Jan Lawns and Tropical gardens 
9th Jan Ponds and Stumperies 
10th Jan Glasshouses and Shrubs 


Sunday, 1 December 2013

BOOK REVIEW - Outdoor Survival

 Ever wanted to walk off into the woods with only the clothes on your back and at the end of the day have a three coarse dinner and shelter to spend the night in. You can do now if you take the new Haynes Outdoor Survival manual with you it will give you all the knowledge that you will need to survive. 

Written by Dave Pearce who is an expert in all things survival being a former Royal Marine Commando. Is an adviser to the TV and Film industry working with such names as Bruce Parry and Bear Grylls. In May 2003 Dave reached the summit of Mount Everest via the more challenging North face.
The book is split up into sections essential equipment, finding food etc. with each section being split up again giving lots of detail and step-by-step instructions.

But this book is far more useful than just as a survival manual there are lots of useful techniques and skills. That can be used in everyday life map reading, knots and first aid are all covered in this book. Have a problem with rabbits in your garden and have been struggling to get rid of them Dave covers simple traps you can use, Right through to preparing the rabbit for the pot.

This is a great book not just for the budding adventurer but any one who like's the great outdoors. You never know when some of these skills covered in the book will come in handy. It will make a great Christmas present for any man or teenage boy / girl.

Available from Haynes books or any good book shop RRP £12.99.

Outdoor Survival by Dave Pearce

ISBN 978 0 85733 487 9

Friday, 15 November 2013

Lobby deadline looms for action on EU Commission Proposal

Leading garden conservation charity, Plant Heritage, is warning that a new deadline has been set for people to lobby MEP’s over the proposed EU legislation which could endanger many National Plant Collections, numerous nurseries centres and threaten the survival of many ornamental plants.

This deadline has been set for the 4th December, but in order to influence their proposals, comments or letters must arrive by the end of November.

The MEP’s that need to be contacted sit on the Agriculture and Environment Committees, details of which can be found below.

Plant Heritage has drafted a letter aimed at maximising the impact of communications to the MEP’s and can be found on its website at:
This action has been called for after the charity announced last month that the proposed legislation, as it stands, could prevent threatened plant material from being propagated and shared for the future.

Speaking at the time Plant Heritage Conservation Officer Mercy Morris urged people to write to MEP’s to ensure they were made aware of the danger that this potential legislation poses, and ask that the wording be amended to ensure the survival of small nurseries and National Collection Holders.

Plant Heritage, along with other leading industry organisations is asking that the regulation is not applied to ornamental plants and that the definition of ‘organisations’ in the documentation involved in conservation is broadened to include professional operators, thus protecting National Plant Collections and nurseries.

Environment Committee (ENVI)
Rapporteur UK members

Pilar Ayuso
Martina Anderson
Martin Callanan
Chris Davies
Jill Evans
Nick Griffin
Linda McAvan
Paul Nuttall
Glenis Wilmott
Marina Yannakoudakis
Godfrey Bloom
Vicky Ford
Jacqueline Foster
Julie Girling *
James Nicholson *
Struan Stevenson
Rebecca Taylor

Agriculture Committee (AGRI)

Rapporteur UK members

Sergio Silvestris
John Agnew
Diane Dodds
Julie Girling *
George Lyon
James Nicholson *
Alyn Smith
Richard Ashworth
John Bufton
Jill Evans
Anthea McIntyre
Brian Simpson

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Some Love Them And Some Hate Them

Some love them and some hate them bedding plants that is, Over the last couple of years they seem to be getting a bit of a bashing. But they are a British institution that have been planted on mass for well over 100 years every stately home in the land at one time would have had masses of bedding laid out in intricate patterns. A public park would not be the same with out it's bright island beds stuffed full of bedding. The same goes too for roundabouts nothing puts a smile on your face like a brightly planted roundabout first thing in the morning. Lots of these displays are maintained by volunteers usually under the guidance of there local Britain In Bloom group but it seems that not everyone likes these displays. Christine Dakin seems not to like them, In an article she recently wrote that she would rather see tree's and shrubs planted up instead of  colour full bedding. I don't know about you but most roundabouts that have been planted up with shrubs are dull, uninspiring and litter magnets. But that dose not mean that shrubs do not have there place they make great back drops and border fillers on large borders. 
The British bedding plant business is worth over £750 million pounds to the economy and employes hundreds of skilled nurserymen and women and its a tough business to be in with ever increasing heating costs. As well as garden centers, supermarkets and DIY chain stores getting them to produce them as cheap as possible leaving little profit if any and orders being canceled with out warning. We need to help them before they are all gone several bedding nursery's have closed this year already due to poor sales and inclement weather. 
Now as much as i love mass displays of bedding plants i don't necessarily want that for my own garden but i do want bedding. If they are used well they look fantastic even classy many of our favorite bedding plants are being rediscovered at the moment by plant breeders. Dahlias are a good example 5 years ago they where brash and vulgar in colour had found sanctuary in allotments where they where grown for the exhibition bench. But now there is a whole range of new variety's with small flowers paler pastel colours and are now a must have plant for the border. I always have a few growing in pots ready to pop into the border when ever a gap appears normally at the begging of August when some perennials have gone over this also coincides with when they flower. 

Bedding plants are great gap fillers what ever the size of the gap there is a bedding plant that will suit the situation. Antirrhinums have become one of my favorites over the last couple of years they flower all summer and in a good year will even over winter and flower again next year.
I do believe there is a bedding plant for every situation and how you plant them or use them is personal taste some like the bright vibrant colours and some prefer the pastel colours. Some want beds full of them and others want a few carefully placed amongst there borders. 
How ever you use them always buy British grown plants from you local nursery.
 David Williams

Sunday, 3 November 2013


It's autumn the hedge rows and trees that have spent the summer all green and lush are slowly turning colour. With various shade's of yellow, red, bronzes and all the colours in between slowly one by one they begin to fall carpeting the ground beneath creating a tapestry of colours not seen at any other time of the year. As nice as it looks they all need to be picked up they are suffocating what lies beneath them whether that be the lawn or your border plants. You only need to leave them a week or so on the lawn and the grass soon turns yellow the same happens to your border plants. Whether you use a rake, blower or your hand's you need to get them up but these leaves are like gold to gardeners if composted properly they make the best leaf mold. If you have the space make a leaf mold bin fill it to the top remember to keep it moist. Turn it a couple of times during the year and after 12 months you will have one of the best potting ingredients that you can not buy from any shop. If you haven't got a compost bin spare or the space for one don't worry. Put the leaves into a bin bag fill up if the leaves are dry add some water just tie the top put a couple of holes in the bag and leave in a shady corner. Make sure to turn the bags a couple of time's through the year this is the same as turning the your heap gets air into the middle. Its lots of hard work collecting all these leaves but you will certainly reap the rewards the following year with lots of lovely leaf mold.