Spring flowering shrubs. Gardening ideas

February 29, 2008

Spring flowering shrun. Skimmia japonicaSpring flowering shrub. Rhododendron ‘Elisabeth Hobbie’Spring flowering shrun. Forsythia x intermediaSpring flowering shrub Camellia japonica ‘Elegans’Spring flowering shrub. Jasmin nudiflorumSpring flowering shrubs.

Here are some of my suggestions for spring flowering shrubs.

The Complete Gardens CD-ROM with 3,500 garden plants 9,000 photographs is an interactive plant selector and pruning guide encyclopaedia. Each plant is accompanied with description, plant care, photographs and illustrated pruning advice.

The CD-ROM is a visual plant database to help you find the right plants for your garden and help you with some gardening ideas, here are some examples of plants for spring colour.

Chaenomeles ‘Snow’

Jasmin nudiflorum

Camellia japonica ‘Elegans’

Daphne

Forsythia x intermedia

Fothergilla major

Rhododendron ‘Elisabeth Hobbie’

Ribes sanguineum

Skimmia japonica

Image Copyright Neil Bromhall Complete Gardens CD-ROM Ltd

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Now is the best time to plan your garden for the year ahead and we have the garden advice to help you.

February 20, 2008

Garden software PC & MAC find right plant right place

Garden software PC & MAC find right plant right place

Early in the year is the best time to plan your garden for the year ahead and we have the garden advice to help you.

 

 

We’ve designed an interactive plant advice plant database to help you select the plants for every aspect of your garden.

Simply select the soil type and aspect i.e. full sun, partial / dappled shade, or full shade, then with a simple click on the search button the CD-Rom finds and displays the plants to suit your requirements. You can narrow down your search by selecting a flower and or leaf colour, height, Latin or common name.

The software was originally designed for the garden novice yet Garden Designers and Garden Design students have found it extremely useful in there work where the individual clients and gardens have their own special needs. The Interactive plant database saves time and effort searching through books or the internet.

Each plant has plant description and pruning advice. Complete Garden software. Plant description and plant care

The Complete Gardens software CD-ROM has been designed for the UK gardener in mind, though it has been found useful as far north as Norway as far south and New Zealand as far west as America and east as far as Russia.

Add your own records and print with images and make your own plant lists and print with images. Complete Gardens CD-ROM. Garden advice software add your notes and make plant lists

We have produced a streamable garden software version for people to try if they live out side of the UK or prefer this to buying a CD-ROM

The Complete Gardens CD-ROM is both PC & MAC compatible containing 3,500 UK plants with 9,000 photographs.

Amazon are doing a special discount rate so we suggest that if you’re looking for a bargain them please have a look at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-selector-planting-pruning-encyclopaedia/dp/B000RW2CDY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=software&qid=1203610460&sr=1-5. Beware of other third party sellers other than Complete Gardens as I can’t guarentee if they are genuine suppliers. If Amazon run out of stock as they do on numerous occasions then please see Complete Gardens as a stockist though Amazon charge £3.50 for p&p but the Complete Gardens web site is inclusive of p&p.

The streamable garden software is only available on the Complete Gardens web site.

We have also developed the software to work on a hand held unit such as a Blackberry. Again this portable garden software is only available via the Complete Gardens website – software.

We hope you find the interactive plant finder, garden advice software useful and will help you create a beautiful garden design of your dreams.

There is a free help line see web site

Free garden forum where you can put your questions and images of plants for identification.


Natural garden pest control

February 18, 2008

There are natural predators that can help control your garden pests such as slugs, snails, aphids and weevils and because they’re non-toxic are safe for users, their children and pets plus wildlife such as birds or hedgehogs.

 

The most commonly know garden eco pest control are birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads  Toad, natural pest control though there are millions of other smaller creatures living in our gardens, some so small that you can only see them under the microscope.

 

Ladybirds have a voracious appetite for aphids and can each eat several hundred a day. The larvae which look a bit like black maggots with stubby legs are equally voracious aphid killers.

Hoverfly larvae which look even more like maggots grab the greenfly and suck out their juices before discarding the inedible skin. The larvae can consume about 100 aphids a day. The adult insects although resembling bees and wasps are sting less and totally harmless as its name suggests, hover in the air and are useful plant pollinators.

 

Lacewing larvae have two hollow pincers that grab and puncture the aphid and then suck out the juices before discarding the inedible skin. Lacewing larva

The adult insect has large lace-like wings and brilliant green eyes. The females lay their eggs on the end of delicate stalks which they attached to the underside of leaves and branches where the aphids are feeding. 

 

Wasps are the tigers in the air and although maybe considered a pest eat a large number of aphids and caterpillars.

 

Ground beetles come in various sizes and colour ranging from black to greens to violet. They are very useful predators of slugs, snails, chafer grubs, leatherjacket larvae, weevil larvae and caterpillars.

 

 Parasitic wasp Smaller still are the parasitic wasps that parasitize aphids and caterpillars.

They lay their eggs in the host body. The grubs then consume the prey from the inside and emerge later in the year to repeat they cycle

 Even smaller still are the tiny nematode worms.

These live in the soil and are so minute you can only see them under a microscope. These tiny microscopic worms seek out slugs and kill them. Nematode worm, natural slug killer

This happens when the slugs are underground. They enter the slug’s body through a hole behind their heads. Once inside they release a bacteria which stops the slug eating. The nematodes then start to reproduce inside the slug. The nematodes continue to reproduce as the body breaks down. This new population enters the soil and searches out new slugs to attack. Although it’s not very nice for the slugs it means that if a bird or hedgehog were to eat an infected slug it won’t kill them or their young as might happen if they ate a slug that was dying after eating slug pellets.

I’ve made a website with pest and diseases plus beneficial garden wildlife. Please see www.rightplants4me.co.uk


Garden design

February 15, 2008

Your garden is a growing investmentEnglish cottage garden style plants

Gardening is an enjoyable hobby that can keep you fit, be creative, rewarding and can even make you money by adding value to your property. You don’t have to be a Garden Designer to create an attractive garden design.

What you need to know are a few basics and some gardening advice

* Which garden plants will suit your garden conditions?

* Which plant will grow in your soil?

* Which plants will grow in full sun, partial shade and full shade?

* When are the plants in flower or looking their best?

* How to look after them? 

Planning and designing a garden with seasonal colour, texture and interest is the fun, creative part and you can pay Garden Designers a lot of money for their garden advice. However, finding out which plants will suit your garden is available in books and magazines, although this can be quite time-consuming and laborious.

 Alternatively, if you have a computer, save time and effort by using an interactive garden plant finder and pruning guide CD-ROM which selects from your choice of colour, month, season, aspect, soil type, height and plant name, then a simple click of the mouse displays the plants to suit your needs. 

Only choose plants to suit your garden. If you have a small garden, select those plants that won’t out-grow your limited space. If you want a low maintenance garden select plants that don’t need a lot of pruning or feeding.

There are about 73,000 plants to choose from so there is no end to the fun you can have creating the garden design of your dreams.It’s quite a good idea to start your design by selecting plants to give your garden some structure.

Shrubs are good plants for this and come in a multitude of colours, shapes and sizes. Check the height and spread of the shrubs before planting so that you don’t position them too close together.  

Climbers will add height and colour to your garden. You can select climbers that will flower early in the season and then select others to flower later in the year and maybe select some to have attractive autumn foliage.

Annuals will grow and flower in the same year and provide almost instant colour whilst the plants in your borders have time to grow and mature. Annuals can be bought as seedlings or easily grown from seed.

Grasses provide texture and movement in a garden and most can be cut back to ground level the following spring.

Don’t only choose a garden plant because it has an attractive flower. There are fabulous foliage plants to consider like ferns and hostas that love the shade areas of your garden and will reward you with luscious colour and texture.

A garden doesn’t just have to look attractive in the summer months. It is important to select plants for spring, summer autumn and winter.

You will be surprised at how many plants there are that have attractive flowers, berries and bark to liven up any cold grey winter days. 

Pruning is important as it keeps the plants in shape and encourages healthy new growth. Each plant on the CD-ROM has illustrated pruning advice and has a unique calendar plant list which reminds you not only the plants you have, but also when and how to prune your plants. Books can’t do this.

Propagation is very rewarding and satisfying because not only are you creating new plants but you’re also saving money.

Gardening can help you keep fit. Any gardener will tell you that digging and weeding provide a very good work-out.

An attractive garden is one to enjoy and is a growing investment because according to the Estate Agent Society, attractive gardens can add 20% to the value of a property.


Plants and flowers images. Complete Garden Plant & flower Image library

February 5, 2008

Garden plant imagesgarden plant images

Complete Gardens CD-ROM Ltd has an image library of over 10,500 garden plant photographs.

Original 35mm transparencies and jpg format.

Photographs by Emmy Award winning wildlife Cameraman / Photographer Neil Bromhall.

Plant & flower images to help plant identification

  The images were photographed for the Complete Gardens interactive plant advice database CD-ROM, covering the plant care, pruning advice, propagation and gardening tips for 3,500 UK garden plants accompanied with over 9,000 high quality photographs.

echinacea-purpureapainted-lady.jpg Complete Garden plant and flower image library Complete Garden plant and flower image library Complete Garden plant and flower image library

                      Complete Garden plant and flower image library Complete Garden plant and flower image library

The garden software finds the right plants to suit any garden condition and seasonal need. Provides gardening ideas when planning and designing a garden to suit every style from container garden ideas, cottage garden plants, English garden style, flower garden, herb gardening, plants for shady areas, drought tolerant plants, plants to attract butterflies, rabbit proof plants, shrubs, trees, growing fruit and vegetables, garden styles, spring garden plants, summer garden plants, autumn garden plants, winter garden plants.

Images are available subject to a licence agreement.

www.complete-gardens.co.uk

01865 512561


Saving the Allotment

February 3, 2008

The allotment        Grow your own vegetables

Allotment holders’ bid to save plots from housing plan.

Allotment holders across Oxford defiantly said they would dig for victory in the battle to save their plots from the treat of new houses.

Planners have identified three allotment sites on which 400 homes could be built in a confidential list of potential sites if demand for housing continues to soar. These new housing plans will spell disaster for what little green space is still left in Oxford. At a time when growing your own food is seen as increasingly important for people’s health and the environment we need to be opening more land for allotments, not slapping housing on ones that already exists. With the ever increasing demand for new housing the battle lies between the need for housing, as against protecting our important green spaces. In 2000 the city council, which rents allotments directly to associations, agreed a standard lease agreement until 2021 – effectively meaning allotments are free from development for another 14 years.

Most of the 36 city council-owed plots are bound by long-term leases, meaning they are free from development until at least 2020.

Allotments are incredibly valuable spaces. In addition to growing your own tasty vegetables which saves on carbon miles as the vegetables are locally grown rather than grown abroad, they keep you fit, are educational and save you money.


Garden Worms make healthy gardens and compost

February 1, 2008

Garden worm

Earthworms are essential underground workers in our garden.

They eat decaying plant material namely leaves, and are important to soil structure and fertility. Most earthworms emerge under the safety of darkness and feed on fallen plant material on the surface, and drag fallen leaves and other plant debris into their tunnels.

There are 16 species of earthworms and it’s the Tiger worm that is most commonly used in wormeries, as its activities speed up the composting process.

The wormcasts which appear in the beautiful lawn or gravel paths are what people least like.

Wormcasts consist of soil excretes after the worms have fed on organic matter. The best way to get rid of the wormcast is to wait until they dry out than then simply brush them away with a strong bristled brush.

It is illegal to kill worms intentionally.

You can get worms to turn your kitchen and other vegetable waste into beautiful compost by having a wormery.

For the best advice about wormeries have a look at Wiggly Wigglers who know everything there is to know about Wormeries as well as sell them.

You can see a time lapse of a wormery in the articles section of www.rightplants4me.co.uk