Chelsea Flower Show gets greener yet something sticks in the back of the throat.

May 28, 2008

The Chelsea Flower show gardens were fabulous. Most of the gardens concentrated attractive and interesting planting of shrubs, trees and flowers rather than ornate structures. Various shades of exotic green seemed to be the main colour, with several gardens featuring rich tapestries of foliage punctuated with subtle or sometimes vibrant splashes of colour.

My favourites were the smaller gardens as I could relate to them more compared to the elaborate main show gardens.

Saying that Andy Sturgeons Gold award wining garden, which he designed to raise the profile of cancer research, was stunning.

Andy Sturgeon Gold winning Chelsea Flower Show Garden  Andy used black water pools on three levels that pulsated making ripples on the surface; the pools were surrounded by plants for texture and subtle colour.

Chelsea Flower Show Gold. by Andy SturgeonI was pleased to note that we had 25 of the 26 plants he used in his garden on the latest multi plant list 3,500 plant CD-ROM.

Andy was kind enough to allow me private access to the garden for a closer look. Andy Sturgeon Gold winning Chelsea Flower Show Garden

I think that Andy’s garden is the only one that I’d also liked to have seen when it was raining as I could imagine the raindrops running over and falling from the circular rings mounted to the wall plus the sound of  the rain as it hit the mirrored black water would have added another dimension.

 

The other garden that really impressed me, with a theme that I support, is the Edible Playground featuring vegetables grown in schools to encourage youngsters to learn about plants and how they grow.

Edible Playground www.edibleplaygrounds.co.uk Edible Playground

Joane Myram I had the pleasure of meeting Joanne Myram who was delighted the garden won Best in Show for the Courtyard Gardens category.

 The garden was beautifully constructed and tastefully planted.

 

The flower show is spread over 11 acres in Chelsea’s Royal Hospital gardens, where over 500 exhibitors spend a month getting ready to create this incredible display of blooms. At the end the gardens are dismantled. It’s a great opportunity to buy a piece of Chelsea to either transplant in to your garden or a memento of your visit.

 

Complete Gardens CD-ROM Ltd launched its latest multi list 3,500 UK plant advice and pruning guide CD-ROM. The multi list version as its name implies allows the user to make various plant lists.  The majority of the plants used in three Gold winning gardens including Andy Sturgeons’ were included in the latest interactive plant database containing 9,000 photographs. This will be a useful plant resource for budding gardeners and garden designers.

 

Most people seemed very happy with the show. The weather was kind and the garden inspiring but the one element that spoilt it for many visitors and exhibitors were the millions of seeds and pollen falling from the mature 300 year old Plane trees.

 

Plane tree seed

The seeds have hundreds of hairs which act as a parachute and distribute the seeds over a wide area. These hairs break off when the seed lands and then fill with the lightest breeze.  People were coughing as they inhaled the hairs which stuck in the throat or causing a great deal of discomfort when they got in your eyes.


Exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show

May 18, 2008

Plant advice CD-ROMI’m just off to set up my stand at the Chelsea Flower Show.  I’ll be on East Avenue stand 34

If anyone is going please come and say hello and I’d be delighted to show you how my British made garden advice CD-ROM works. Our garden siftware work on both PC & MACs and has 3,500 UK garden plants with 9,000 photographs.

We are launching our multi list plant finder and pruning guide CD-ROM.

The interactive garden plant advice CD-ROM is designed to help garden enthusiasts of all levels of experience to find and select the plants to suit every aspect of a garden and seasonal needs.

We want to support British grown plants so have links from plants on the Complete Gardens CD-ROM to some specialist UK plant nurseries.

The list is added daily so if you you are a plant nursery and want you plants added please contact neil@complete-gardens.co.uk or see the website link

Our Cd’s are not stocked by some large garden centre chains as they want a monoply and don’t like that I link to other nurseries. 

I thinkcustomer choice is important so I’ll continue to be proudly independent, even though this means not being stocked by them.

You can however buy my British made plant advice CD-ROM on my website www.complete-gardens.co.uk


Hornet

May 14, 2008

Queen wasp building a nestAs the weather warms up you’ll probably notice large wasps flying about.

Most of these will be Queen wasps looking for suitable places to start building her nest.

The Queens mated last year and have hibernated over the winter period and now emerge as the temperature warms up.

The rest of last years colony have died.  Wasps are considered pests by many people but wasps help the gardener by eating caterpillars and aphids.

The large yellow and black insects flying about are not only Queen wasps though, there are also Hornets.

Hornet


Rats in the compost bin

May 12, 2008

Rats are on the increaseRats numbers are increasing and becoming a real garden pest. This is because of the abundance of food.

What to put in the compost bin.

Don’t put food waste in your compost bin because it will encourage rats. Only put in garden waste like weeds, prunings and grass cuttings. The compost should get hot caused by decomposition and high temperatures are required to kill the weeds and seeds.

For food waste use a wormery. Rats can’t easily get in and the tiger worms will turn your food waste into compost.


Launching our latest garden software at Chelsea Flower Show 2008

May 8, 2008

We had a successful Chelsea Flower Show last year and hope to do even better this year with our 3,500 garden plant selector and pruning guide encyclopaedia, multi plant list version CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible.

Plant selector and pruning guide CD-ROM

 

The online garden web sites continue to grow. The major sites being the RHS and BBC though one major criticism I’ve heard is they are very slow.

That’s not surprising considering the amount of data and images to be uploaded.

 

I’m delighted that another advantage of our plant selector & pruning guide CD-ROM is it’s not influenced by download time and will therefore find and display the plants and data you want within a few seconds.

 

Although our first garden software was initially designed for the garden novice wanting to find plants to suit their garden, as we’ve increased the plant database we’ve attracted the interest from garden Designers and Garden Design students who need to find suitable plants for a wide range of garden conditions and garden styles.

The Complete gardens CD-ROM does this for them, effortlessly.

By popular request we’ve made a multi plant list version, which allows the user to make as many plant lists with relevant notes as they require. The user can print the lists with images for each of their clients.

Home users can make multi lists for the various parts of their garden.

 

 

We will be launching the 3,500 plant multi plant list version at Chelsea Flower Show 20th May – 24th May on stand EA 34.

I’d be delighted to demonstrate how our PC & MAC compatible garden software works.


Honey bee decline and what you can do

May 6, 2008

Over recent years there has been a sharp decline in the number of honey bees in this country. This is due to various diseases and pathogens within colonies and possibly also due to environmental pressure from farming and changing weather patterns.

I’ve noticed very few honey bees flying about this spring, so as my Apple Cox’s Orange Pippin relies on cross pollination from another Cox’s Orange Pippin tree I’ve asked my neighbour if I can take a few blossoms from his tree so that I can pollinate my small tree. pollinating apple blossom

 

Solitary bees are bees that live on their own, rather than in hives or nests. There are several hundred species across Europe, but very little is known about them apart from the fact that, like bumblebees, they are in decline.

 

The decline of bumblebees and solitary bee populations has also been linked to modern intensive farming

To encourage solitary bees I’ve put up solitary bee houses in my garden and each year they take up residence. Soliotary bee house

First are the masonry bee followed by the leafcutter bee.Soliatry bee Osmia rufa

 

Research shows it is not just insects that are affected by the actions of humans. The number of birds visiting our gardens and parks has plunged by a fifth in four years, a survey has revealed.

The decline follows a succession of mild winters and the growing popularity of paving and decking, which robs gardens of valuable plants and insects.


Bluebell identification – Wild and Spanish Bluebell

May 6, 2008
Bluebell 
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides nonscryptus)
Other name: Wild Hyacinth
LILY FAMILY Wild Bluebell Wild Bluebell (Hyacinthoides nonscryptus)

Flower: Little blue (occasionally white) bell-shaped flowers containing cream-coloured anthers, forming a one-sided and drooping spike. The lobes of the bell are strongly turned back.
Leaves: Long, straight and slender – grass-like – from the base of the plant.
Habitat: Mainly woodland, but also hedges and meadows
Height to about 40 cm
Typically flowering: April-June

The Wild Bluebell is of national importance, almost 50% of the world population being found in the UK.

 

Spanish Bluebell The Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica

H. hispanica is not a native to Britain, but is widespread in gardens.

The Spanish Bluebell produces slightly larger flowers on more erect stems with flowers on both sides, and the flower lobes are not turned back as much as on the Wild Bluebell flowers. Wild and garden bluebells hybridise easily, but hybrids tend to be found close to gardens.

There are problems with it hybridising with our wild Bluebell. Although there are lots of Spanish Bluebells in the wild here they do not appear to hybridise very often.