English garden tasks in January

January 31, 2008

I’ve found some interesting links to gardening sites that are packed with useful information and tips for Garden Jobs in January

BBC Essential tasks in January   Topics are: Roses, containers, cutting back, greenhouse, Hippeastrum, peaches, Gutters and butts, digging, Apple trees, bean trench, New fruit, currants, seed potatoes, bulb care and move shrubs

 Winter Fuit tree pruning Illustrated article on pruning Fruit trees

Force Rhubarb Illustrated article on forcing rhubarb

 January jobs to do in the Allotment, greenhouse and all around the garden by Nick and Sue Hamilton

Organic Gardening Tips for January Fruit, maintenance, ornamentals, wildlife, undercover

Complete Gardens plant advice CD-ROM January Jobs in the Garden

Home & Garden, Spring is in the air,

January 30, 2008

Spring is in the air, SnowdropSpring is in the air and soon we will be getting busy the garden again for the season ahead.

The evergreen shrubs have provided a touch of colour to the garden through the wet grey winter season but now the snowdrops are bringing the garden to life with their delicate nodding white flower heads. The Hellebore are also adding much neded colour.

Hellebore add colour in winter and spring

The buds on roses and clematis are showing signs of growth as well.

It will be soon time to start pruning them in order to get healthy new growth for the season ahead.

With the garden advice CD-ROM reminding me where each plant is in my garden I’ll know precisely what pruning technique each one needs and my notes will remind me where each one is (as they will all look alike at this stage). This is a great help especially with pruning my clematis, pruning fruiting trees and roses.

Some birds like the tits have found the nest boxes and are starting to protect their territory from intruders.

I have left the pampas grass fronds for the House Sparrows to line their nests. Using Pampas fronds is a learned behaviour as I learned when I was filming ‘The Secret Garden’ for the BBC. Not all House Sparrows with use pampas fronds but being social when they see one Sparrow doing it they all soon catch on to the idea.

The robin has claimed the bird feeders as his own and sees of anything that flies close though it’s a loosing battle with the large number of Tits, Dunnocks and Black birds all coming in to feed.

I did a test and the fat balls are the bird’s preferred food, followed by the loose seed mix flowed by the solid seed mix. The fat balls apparently have the added benefit as the fat oils their beaks.

I’ve raked the detritus from the lawn to allow light and put the moss under the hedges for the birds to find and line their nests. I don’t rake up all the leaves in autumn as the worms will take most of what I leave underground to feed on and this in turn feeds the grass rots.

If you have a small garden, here are some suggestions for Container Plants for spring

Jobs to do in the garden

Fibonacci in Pine cone and Monkey Puzzle Tree

January 29, 2008

Fibonacci series on pine conePine cones show the Fibonacci series

Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci 1170 – 1250 

1  2  3  5  8  13  21  34  55  89  144  233  377  610  987  1597  2584  4181  etcThis sequence is known as the Fibonacci series, and is well known in mathematics. 

Each number is the sum of the previous two.  The ratio of successive pairs tends to the so-called golden section. Plants do not know about this – they just grow in the most efficient ways. 

Many plants show the Fibonacci numbers in the arrangement of the leaves around the stem. 

Some pine cones and fir cones also show the numbers, as do daisies and sunflowers.

Why do these arrangements occur in nature?  In the case of leaf arrangement, or phyllotaxis, some of the cases may be related to maximizing the space for each leaf, or the average amount of light falling on each one. 

Even a tiny advantage would come to dominate, over many generations.  In the case of close-packed leaves in cabbages and succulents the correct arrangement may be crucial for availability of space.

Fibonacci series - cabbage


Fibanacci on Monkey puzzle tree

Fibanacci on Monkey puzzle tree Monkey Puzzle tree

An example of Fibonacci on a Monkey Puzzle Tree where every part of the branch captures the maximum amount of daylight.

Monkey Puzzle Tree

Monkey Puzzle Tree


Please see other plants on my interactive plant finder, identification and pruning guide website www.rightplants4me.co.uk



Photography Neil Bromhall. Complete Garden plant advice CD-ROM

Flower identification guide

January 26, 2008
Mobile & CD-ROM plant identification guide 
The Complete gardens team have developed a mobile flower identification guide that works on a ‘blackberry’ hand held unit.
This nifty garden software allows the user to identify plants and flowers whilst out and about, for example when they are enjoying the stunning show gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show or Hampton Court Flower Show, RHS Wisley gardens etc. It is possible to identify plants from annuals, perennials, shrubs as well as trees by simply selecting any combination of flower or leaf colour, height, flowering period, leaf type, Latin or common name.
By being able to identifying and record the plants seen in spectacular gardens, designed by top Garden Designers, gives any garden enthusiasts or would be gardener, whatever their level of experience to be able to create a garden style using the right plants to create stylesfrom a small low maintenance garden design to a Japanese garden style with delicate use of Acers, or larger landscape gardening to a colourful English cottage garden flower display
The portable software used in conjunction with the PC and MAC compatible award winning Complete Gardens plant database, not only with the user be able to use the plant finder software to find the right plants, it also has gardening tips and illustrated pruning advice to keep the plants looking their best. Plant lists and personal notes can be printed with images.
The portable software used in a ‘Blackberry’  means there are not heavy books to carry around and the PC & MAC compatible CD-ROM has the additional features.
A perfect combination and a special garden gift Ideal for garden design students, Garden Designers and for home use.
The portable software and CD-ROM have 3,500 plants and 9,000 high quality photographs
We have a new dedicated Mac Leopard universal garden software version with the same plant finder and pruning tips as above at an introductory £10.00 off offer. 

Garden Plant Flower Power

January 24, 2008

Garden plant advice encyclopedia CD-ROMWe have the solution to finding the right plants in the right place so you can create a beautiful garden design of your dreams.
The basics are finding out what sort of garden conditions you have and then choosing the right plants that will suit the different areas of your garden plus your colour and season needs.
Not all plants will grow in certain conditions, so it’s important to find out which areas have full sun, partial shade and full shade
Sketch out a layout of your garden. It’s best to pick a sunny day and starting in the morning mark on your sketch the areas of the garden that have shade. Repeat the same in the middle of the day and again in late afternoon.
Finally you will end up with a sketch mapping the areas in your garden that have full sun, partial shade and full shade.
Plant will grow in all these aspects but knowing which will grow where can be daunting. However we have the solution to this problem. It’s an interactive plant finder resource that will find plants for shade within seconds as well as plants for full sun and plants that thrive in partial shade. 
It is important to mention that the season will effect the amount of light you’ll get in your garden so take this in to consideration. Autumn and winter periods have shorter daylight lengths so don’t worry if you’re only getting 4 hours of sun. The sun is lower in the sky so you’ll also have more shade than in the summer.
pH of your soil. You can find the pH of your soil by using a soil tester. These testing kits will show if you have an acid soil, a more neutral pH or an alkaline soil.
Soil types, Clay, sandy, silty peaty, chalky, loam http://www.eais.net/soil/
Again the interactive plant advice resource can select plants to suit every soil type.
You can improve your soil by digging it to aerate thus improving drainage, remove weeds plus digging in organic compost to enrich it.
With the soil prepared and you know which areas have full sun and shade you can now start the fun and creative stage of planning your garden with continuous colour and seasonal interest by selecting plant by month, aspect, colour, height.
This information is basically what you pay a lot of money to Garden Designers for. Doing it yourself means you’ll save hundreds if not thousands of pounds which you can then put towards buying more plants.
The Complete Garden plant finder and pruning guide CD-ROM is both PC & MAC compatible software. It’s an interactive home plant encyclopedia that will find just the right plants for every aspect of a garden and seasonal need, effortlessly. It’s a garden planner that will help you by providing gardening advice to enable you to design you own garden with your own garden design ideas to find suitable plants for small garden design to larger landscape garden design
The CD-ROM main features are, plant identification, plant care, pruning advice, make visual plant lists, reminds you when and how to prune your plants, Add and print notes, link to specialist plant suppliers, find plants by colour, height, name, soil and aspect, exclude poisonous plants, articles, plant names explianed, garden pests and diseases, free access to UK discussion advice forum


How to sell a garden advice CD-ROM that not many people know about?

January 21, 2008
I’ve discovered that making my interactive garden plant finder and pruning guide is only half the job, marketing and selling it is the other half.
My skills are wildlife filming and photography. I’m not a garden expert so sought the advice of freelance Authors like Paul Williams to write about plants for the interactive plant advice project.
Selling is not my forte yet it’s a vital skill if one expects to make any money. I take my hat off to sales people.
My dilemma is promoting a garden advice CD-ROM that not many people know about, plus competing with cheaper imported garden software which is not very relevant to the UK gardener or climate and therefore not much practical use here in the UK. Some competitors have even gone to the trouble of disguising their origin by using garden personalities on the cover to make out they were involved when in fact they weren’t.
To raise my profile I’ve exhibited at the Chelsea Garden Flower Show and Hampton Court Flower Show and made good sales. This is because I can demonstrate to people how the interactive CD-ROM finds plants for every aspect of a garden and season. The potential buyer can see how easy the software is to use and the plant advice plus images that accompanying each plant.
Encouragingly, Garden Designers have said they wished they had had this CD-ROM when they were doing their design course”

Inspired by these and other positive comments, our team have added and improved the plant database, search functions and usability. As many garden Designers use MACs we’ve made a PC & MAC version. We’re the only MAC & PC compatible garden software CD-ROM on the market.

To sell on Amazon you have to go through a Distributor but this can be a frustrating. Every Christmas they run out of stock! yet the cheaper imported software were always available. Larger companies with a wider range of products will naturally be looked after first. There’s not much one can do about that. 
I’ve exhibited at Trade Shows like Glee where we were awarded Best New Product for “Home & Gift”
Trade shows are an excellent way to meet buyers. They come to you to ask questions about your products rather than you making endless phone calls which I’m uncomfortable doing.
Getting an endorsement:
Chris Beardshaw liked the CD-ROM and has given an endorsement “This CD-ROM is the next best thing to having your own personal gardener”  This is praise indeed from such a respected Chelsea Gold winning garden designer and TV personality. I image that Chris will be the perfect solution to create a beautiful garden but if he’s not available then the CD-ROM is there to help advise finding the right plants for the right place to suit your garden and colour scheme you require.
I’ve teamed up with Monro Brands who will distribute the CD-ROMs to Garden Centres around the country. Monro are a well respected Company in the garden industry. We have produced a demonstration DVD and an attractive display case which can be placed close to the cash desk.
We made the demo DVD because the CD-ROM can’t be opened like a book can.  With luck customers will understand from watching the demo how useful the CD-ROM is and want to purchase it as a gift for friends or a present for themselves. 
Rather than relying on Amazon or Ebay I’m trying to raise the profile of my website and make this my online shop. It will be more efficient, a safe and secure method of payment for the customers plus the goods are posted out on the same day by first class post. There is no postage charge to UK and N. Ireland customers

Get inspirational gardening ideas and answers. British garden forum. Join for free.

January 13, 2008
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