HOW TO GROW THE CARDOON FROM SEED


The Cardoon - Cynara cardunculus - http://www.omnilexica.com/





The Cardoon - Cynara cardunculus is a fantastically bold and architecturally ornamental plant which was an absolute favourite with  gardeners from the the Victorian age.  The foliage is large, serrated and silver and presents an imposing border plant for most of the year.

Cardoon seeds - http://greentigergarden.com/
While they can still be found in some larger and specialist plant retailers, availability for the Cardoon can be a little sparse. However if you have your heart set on growing one then they are easily propagated from seed.

Cardoon seeds are best sown from February to March. Fill a modular seed with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting' and gently compress. Place one seed per module and approximately 3mm deep.

Gently water and allow the excess to drain away before planing inside a heated propagator at approximately 18-20 degrees Celsius. Alternatively seal the tray inside a clear polythene bag and place in a warm bright room on the windowsill. Avoid windows that receive direct sunlight as this can scorch and overheat the seedlings as well as drying out the compost.

Cardoon seedlings - Meighan https://www.flickr.com/photos/megz/
Once the seedlings begin to emerge you can remove the tray from the propagator or bag. When the roots have established in the module, carefully pop the module out and pot on into 3-4 inch pots.

Once the threat of late frosts have passed harden off the seedlings before planting them outside into their final position.

If you miss the early spring sowing period then you can also direct sow during mid-May. If you are planting multiple plants together the make sure that the are planted at least 4-6 ft apart.

The Cardoon should be grown in a sheltered, sunny position in a fertile, well-drained soil. Over the winter, cut the stems down to about 50 cm. Dig in plenty or well-rotted manure around the roots and then cover with a  dry mulch of straw or bracken. Come the spring the dry mulch can be removed one the threat of late frost have passed.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BBC Cardoon
How to Grow Delphiniums from Seed
HOW TO GROW LUPINS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW TEASEL FROM SEED
SCOTCH THISTLE - Onopordum acanthium
THE BLUE GLOBE THISTLE - Echinops ritro
WHAT IS TEASEL?

HOW TO GROW ANTIRRHINUMS FROM SEED

Image credit - http://www.plantify.co.uk/



Although it is possible to root cuttings from Antirrhinums species they are best grown from seeds grown in pots or seed trays in February or March. However there is an issue that is associated with growing antirrhinums from seed and that is that the seedlings can be prone to damping off. This is usually caused by the higher levels of ammonia found in sterilized, soil-based composts. To avoid this, use a soilless seed compost or mix your own seed compost from a 50:50 volume of moss peat and horticultural grade grit sand. Do not add any nutrient to the seed compost.

Image credit - http://www.osmeb.com/
Sow the seeds thinly onto the surface of the compost and then give a very light covering of fine sand, grit or vermiculite. This is so that light can reach the seeds which is need for germination.

Gently water in using a soft rose and place in a heated propagator at a temperature of 16-18 degrees Celsius. Alternatively, place the pots or tray inside a clear polythene bag and place in a warm, bright room on the windowsill. Avoid a window that receives direct sunlight as this can scorch seedlings and quickly dry out the compost. You can expect the first seedlings to emerge in 10-20 days.

As soon as the seedlings start to emerge they can be removed from the propagator or polythene bag but kept on the windowsill. Water as necessary but do not allow the compost to become waterlogged.

Once the seedlings are large enough to handle they can be pricked out and potted on individually into 3 inch pots. Keep in the cooler conditions of an unheated greenhouse or cold frame to harden off for a few weeks before being planted out into their final position from March to June. Unless you are growing single stemmed plants for cutting, pinch out the shoots once the plants reach approximately 3-4 inches tall.

Antirrhinums will grow in any ordinary, well-drained soil that has been previously enriched with well-rotted farm manure or garden compost. They will prefer a sunny, sheltered position.

For an earlier flowering, you can sow antirrhinum seed in July or August for either potting on in September or planting out in a sheltered, well-drained soil.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW BELLIS PERENNIS FROM SEED
How to Grow Delphiniums from Seed
HOW TO GROW HOLLYHOCKS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW LUPINS FROM SEED
NICOTIANA SYLVESTRIS - The Flowering Tobacco plant
RHS Antirrhinum
THE DRAGON SKULL SEED PODS
THE DRAGON SKULL SEED POD

HOW TO GROW A CONKER TREE FROM A CONKER

How to grow a Conker tree from a conker - http://vintagetoysblog.files.wordpress.com/



Perhaps more accurately known as the Common Horse Chestnut tree - Aesculus hippocastanum, the conker tree, is a deciduous, wide spreading, fast growing tree with prominent sticky brown leaf buds and mid to dark green leaves.

Conkers
White flowers with red blotches at the base are borne in May and are followed by large prickly fruits containing shiny, mahogany seeds known as conkers in the early autumn.

The large prickly fruits will naturally drop from the tree when the seeds are ripe in the autumn and usually crack open to reveal the horse chestnut seeds inside as a result of the fall.

Horse chestnut seeds should be planted as soon as possible as germination rates will drop quickly if they are allowed to dry out. As an average only 50 % of conkers will germinate so plant twice as many conkers that you want trees from.

The common horse chestnut tree is very easy to grow from its conkers, and are best 'field-grown' in nursery beds or cold frames outdoors during September and October.

Horse chestnut sapling - http://sicloot.com/
They can also be potted on into 4-5 inch pots containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 2'. Water them in and place in a cool bright, frost free position, or a coldframe or unheated greenhouse if you have one.

Field-grown seedlings can be left in place for two to three years before carefully lifting over the winter once the leaves have dropped, and planted into their final positions. Conker trees will require a position of full sun and planted in a well-drained, but moist, humus-rich soil.

The horse chestnut received it peculiar common name from the mistaken belief that its fruits cured horses of chest complaints. Horse chestnuts are in fact poisonous to horses.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BBC Conker Tree
BUY BAOBAB TREE SEED
HOW TO GROW AMELANCHIER
HOW TO GROW THE BAOBAB TREE FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW GINKGO BILOBA - The Maidenhair Tree
HOW TO GROW THE HOLM OAK - Quercus ilex
HOW TO GROW THE MONKEY PUZZLE TREE
HOW TO GROW THE NORFOLK ISLAND PINE
HOW TO GROW SWEET CHESTNUT
HOW TO GROW SWEET CHESTNUTS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW THE WALNUT TREE
THE AFRICAN TULIP TREE - Spathodea campanulata
THE JUDAS TREE
THE ‘NATIVE’ TREES OF ENGLAND
THE WOLLEMI PINE
WHICH FRUITS AND NUTS ARE TOLERANT OF GROWING IN THE SHADE

HOW TO GROW PARSNIPS FROM SEED

Ho to grow parsnips from seed - http://agrariannation.blogspot.co.uk/

The parsnip is a biennial root vegetable although in practice it is actually grown as an annual. The roots are long and tapering with pale yellow, sweet-tasting flesh. They require little attention, but do need a long growing season, occupying their ground for almost a entire year. Their roots are ready for harvesting during the autumn and winter.

Parsnip seeds - http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/
Parsnips will grow in any soil but will do best in a deep, rich, fairly light soils and in an open and sunny position. Try and avoid sowing parsnip seed in cold or wet soils as you will end up with a far smaller crop than anticipated.

Use an area that has had plenty of organic matter such as well-rotted farm manure or compost worked in the previous season. Be aware that freshly manured ground can cause the parsnips roots to fork. Dig over the plot deeply and rake in a complete fertiliser such as growmore at a rate of 3 oz per square yard prior to sowing.

Parsnip seeds can be direct sown outdoors from mid spring to early summer, or as soon as the ground is workable after the winter. Sow parsnip seeds thinly at a depth of ¾ inch in drills, with a gap of 12 inches between drills. Germination of parsnip seeds can be slow and may take up to 28 days before the first seedlings emerge. Once they are large enough to handle, thin the seedlings out to one pant every 3 inches or 4 inches if you want to produce larger roots.

Parsnip seedlings
Keep the seedlings well watered to help encourage germination, but once the seedlings emerge parsnips should only be watered when necessary to keep the soil moist. Keep the beds weed free at all times as this will reduce the size of your crop and only hand weed next to the parsnips to avoid damage from metal tools.

Parsnips should be ready for lifting from late autumn through to January, however they are perfectly happy left in the ground and only harvested as and when required. Be aware that their flavour will be improved if they are left in the ground until exposed to frost.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW CELERIAC FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW HORSERADISH
How to grow Parsnips from Seed
HOW TO GROW KOHLRABI
WHEN DO YOU HARVEST PARSNIPS?

BUY MUSA LASIOCARPA SEED





The Chinese hardy banana - Ensete lasiocarpum (previously known as Musella lasiocarpa and perhaps better known as Musa lasiocarpa) is an unusual yet highly ornamental species of dwarf banana. It is reputed to be one of the hardiest of all banana species, able to take temperatures as low as -10C (14F). Native to the Yunnan province in China, is has evolved its impressive tolerance to the cold from growing high in the mountains up to an altitude of 2500 m.

If you are looking to by Musa lasiocarpa seed then you are in luck as it is now part of the 'Rare and Exotic' range at the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop.


While the leaves are indeed exotic they are not as impressive as other so-called hardy bananas but this is not why plant collectors choose grow them.

The most attractive feature of Musa lasiocarpa is its exceptional flower which usually appearing during its second year of cultivation, It is golden-yellow in colour and erect in habit flower, which just before opening resembles a lotus from which the plant gets one of its other common names - the golden lotus banana! Once in bloom, Musa lasiocarpa will remain in flower for several months.

You can sow Musa lasiocarpa at anytime of year. First, soak the seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water, then plant each seed 0.25 inch deep into a modular seed tray containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Sow just one seed per module. After sowing, gently water in and then allow the excess to drain away before placing the tray inside a heated propagator set to a temperature at approximately 27 degrees Celsius. Alternatively, seal the tray inside a polythene bag and place on the windowsill of a warm, bright room - taking care that the seed tray does not receive direct sunlight.Unfortunately germination of Musa lasiocarpa seeds can be slow and erratic and can take anytime between 1 and 6 months.

As each seedling emerges, gently remove it from the modular tray taking care not to disturb the roots as much as possible. Pot on into a 3in pot containing a free draining compost. Pot on as required,you will find that the larger the container the larger the plant will grow.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BANANA PLANTS
BUY HARDY BANANA SEED?
Buy Hardy Banana Seed
Buy Musa lasiocarpa Seed
HOW TO GROW BANANAS OUTSIDE IN THE UK
HOW TO GROW BANANA TREES FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW MUSA BASJOO
HOW TO PROTECT AND OVER-WINTER BANANAS
MUSA BASJOO - The World's Hardiest Banana
MUSA LASIOCARPA - The Chinese dwarf banana
THE RED ABYSSINIAN BANANA - Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’
WHAT IS A BANANA?

HOW TO GROW DELPHINIUMS FROM SEED


If you live in a northern European climate than Delphiniums are arguably one of the most impressive of all the ornamental, herbaceous flowering plants that are available for a cottage effect garden. They are largely represented in gardens by the annual larkspurs (Delphinium consolida cultivars) and the various hybrids of Delphinium elatum. They prefer a deep, rich soil in a sunny, sheltered position.

Image credit - http://westerncascades.com/
Most Delphinium species are usually propagated from seed from late winter to early summer, although all of the perennial species can be directly sown outside in their final position in April, March or September.

Delphinium seeds are best planted fresh and if you have collected your own but are not yet ready to sow them then keep them refrigerated until they are required.

Using modular seed trays, fill with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Sow the seed 3 mm deep and then gently water using a soft rose. Allow the excess water to drain off and then place inside an unheated propagator or seal inside a clear polythene bag. Move the tray to a cool room in the house and keep on a bright windowsill but out of direct sunlight. The temperature only needs to be around 10-13 degrees Celsius, so in late spring or early autumn you could always keep the tray in an unheated greenhouse.

Image credit - http://patientgardener.wordpress.com/
You can expect germination to take between 1-3 months and once the first seedlings emerge you can remove the tray from the propagator or out of the bag. Water as necessary but do not allow the compost to become waterlogged.

Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, pop the modules out of the tray. Disturbing the roots system as little as possible, transplant them into 9cm  pots using a good quality multi-purpose compost or John Innes 'No 2 or 3'. So long as there are no frosts likely, harden your young delphinium plants outside in a cold frame for a week or so before planting out into their final position.

For related articles click onto the following link:
ACANTHUS MOLLIS
BUY RUDBECKIA HIRTA 'Cherry Brandy' SEEDS
CENTRANTHUS RUBER - Red Valerian
CERINTHE MAJOR 'PURPURASCENS' - The Honeywort
HOW TO GROW ALSTROEMERIA
HOW TO GROW BELLIS PERENNIS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW CORN FLOWERS FROM SEED
How to Grow Delphiniums from Seed
HOW TO GROW HOLLYHOCKS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW LUPINS FROM SEED
MONKSHOOD - Aconitum napellus
PERSICARIA VIRGINIANA
SPURGE DIXTER - Euphorbia griffithii Dixter

IS AGAVE NECTAR BAD FOR YOU?

Is Agave nectar bad for you? - http://thisweekfordinner.com/

Agave nectar is a commercially produced sweetener that is derived from several species of agave, including the well known blue agave - Agave tequilana. Agave tequilana is better known as being the main ingredient for Mexico's best known distilled beverage - tequila. The production of agave syrup is mostly concentrated in Mexico and South Africa.

Is Agave nectar bad for you? - http://www.gourmet.com/
With regards to agave nectar, the term nectar isn't remotely accurate as it is only a descriptive word used for marketing It is more accurately called a syrup which is surprisingly sweeter than honey but less viscous.

While Agave syrup is marketed as a healthy alternative to refined sugar sweetener, it has been the subject of criticism due to its very high fructose content. The impact of agave syrup on blood sugar (as measured by its glycemic index and glycemic load) is comparable to fructose which has a much lower glycemic index and glycemic load than refined sugar

Research has also shown that it has the potential to lead to insulin resistance and significantly increase the risk of heart disease! Perhaps more worryingly is that large amounts of agave fructose can be can trigger fructose malabsorption, metabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemia, decreased glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and accelerated uric acid formation.

So to answer the question '.. is agave nectar bad for you....?' well yes! But like many things in life, if you use it in moderation you should be fine.

For related article click onto the following links:
AGAVE
Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor'
AGAVE PARRASANA - The Cabbage Head Agave
Agave parryi var. patonii 'Variegata'
AGAVE PARRYI var. truncata
Agave X 'Royal Spine'
Buy Agave Seed
Is Agave Nectar Bad for You?
HOW TO GROW AGAVE
HOW TO GROW ECHINOCACTUS GRUSONII FROM SEED
THE BISHOPS CAP CACTUS - Astrophytum ornatum
THE BLUE AGAVE - Agave tequilana
THE BLUE AGAVE

HOW TO PROPAGATE ROSES BY LAYERING


How to propagate roses by layering




Layering is a very effective method of propagating any rose cultivar that produces long, flexible stems. This makes it a particularly effective technique for propagating both shrub roses and climbing roses.

How to propagate roses by layering
Layering of roses is best undertaken in June and July. To begin with, work some moss peat or a good quality multi-purpose compost into the soil where you intend to layer your plant. Choose a stem which is mature but still flexible and make a cut approximately 8 centimeters on the side of the stem which will be buried in the prepared soil. Place a small length of rose twig in this cut to help expose the cambium layer (the cambium layer is the vascular tissue of plants). Bury the cut section into the prepared soil and secure it in place with a peg or forked stick.

The tip of the shoot should be secured in an upright position which can be achieved by tying it to a cane. Water the ground in dry weather.

Rooting should have occurred by the following March, at which point the new plant can be separated from the parent buy cutting through the un-rooted 'umbilical' stem between them. The new rooted plant can either be potted on or replanted into its final position. Water in and water again during dry periods until the plant becomes established. Do not allow it to flower in its first year and this will drain the plant of energy resulting in weak growth.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HISTORIC ROSES - 'Rosa Mundi'
HOW TO GET RID OF APHIDS ON ROSES
HOW TO GROW COTINUS COGGYGRIA 'ROYAL PURPLE' BY LAYERING
HOW TO GROW ROSES FROM CUTTINGS
HOW TO GROW ROSES FROM SEED
How to Propagate Roses by Layering
HOW TO PROPAGATE ABUTILON FROM CUTTINGS
HOW TO PROPAGATE ROSES BY LAYERING
HOW TO PROPAGATE SHRUBS BY LAYERING
HOW TO PRUNE ROSES
HOW TO PRUNE SHRUB ROSES
HOW TO TAKE CUTTINGS FROM GARDENIAS
Rose 'Purple Tiger'
THE BLACK DRAGON ROSE
THE BLACK ROSE
WHAT IS A RAINBOW ROSE?
WHEN DO YOU PRUNE ROSES?

HOW TO GROW AUTUMN ONION SETS

How to plant autumn onion sets - https://www.quickcrop.co.uk/



If you are always looking for a way to produce an earlier crop of onions then consider planting autumn onion sets to steal a march on the competition. You can choose the original Japanese autumn onion sets or there are a number of new British bred varieties. Onion 'Shakespeare' is a particularly good cultivar which forms good sized bulbs, has superb overwintering and storage.

How to plant autumn onion sets
While it is true that onions sets are traditionally planted in the spring, the advantage of planting autumn sets means that they can be harvested earlier than spring planted sets, just as your stored onion crops are beginning to run out.

Before planting, prepare the ground several weeks earlier by digging in plenty of well-rotted garden compost to improve drainage and soil fertility. Avoid the temptation of using farm manure as this contains far more nitrogen than your onions require and will result in a poorer crop. If you are growing on particularly wet ground, then try growing onion sets on ridge or better still in raised beds. If your onions become waterlogged they can become prone to fungal root infections.

Onion sets are best planted in rows in a firm, well drained soil. When planting, make sure that the tip of the bulb is just showing through the soil surface.

How to plant autumn onion sets
Leave a space of 4 inches between each bulb, and 12 inches between the rows. At this point is can be worth applying a suitable granular onion fertiliser around the base of each set as you plant them. Newly planted onion sets are at risk from being removed from the ground by birds so it is generally worth covering your newly planted crop with a protective netting or fleece.

Onions sets need very little once in place and will require watering only during periods of particularly dry weather. It will be important to keep the weeds down around your onion crop as these will over compete for soil nutrients and can result in a stunted crop. Use a hoe to control weeds in between the rows but hand weed between onions to prevent damage to the bulbs from hand tools.

Remove any flower spikes as soon as they appear to prevent onions from bolting as this will severely reduce the quality of the onion bulb

Autumn planted onions should be ready for harvest from late June or early July, a week or two after the leaves begin to turn yellow. This is usually a month or so earlier than spring planted onion sets.

For related article click onto the following links:
Buy Giant Onion Seed
ALLIUM GIGANTEUM
Allium giganteum - 10 seeds
HOW TO GROW AUTUMN ONION SETS
HOW TO GROW GARLIC
HOW TO GROW GARLIC IN POTS AND CONTAINERS
How to Grow Garlic from Cloves
HOW TO GROW JAPANESE ONION SETS
HOW TO GROW ONIONS
HOW TO GROW ONIONS IN AFRICA
HOW TO GROW ONIONS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW ONIONS FROM ONION SETS
HOW TO GROW WELSH ONIONS
HOW DO YOU PLANT OUT ONION SEEDLINGS?

ROSE 'PURPLE TIGER'


This will not be of much interest to rose purists, but for those of you who have a passion for the unusual then the floribunda rose 'Purple Tiger' could be right up your street. Developed by specialist rose breeder Jack Christenson of Armstrong Nurseries in 1991, it was introduced to the general public in 1993 through Jacksons and Percy Co. A hybrid of Rosa 'Intrigue' and Rosa 'Pinstripe', this gorgeous, compact and almost thornless cultivar is notable for the remarkable colouring of its medium-sized blooms.

Rose 'Purple Tiger'
The fragrant, semi-double flowers contain approximately 32-35 petals and are striped and splashed with beetroot purple and pale cream. The blooms appear from June to September and will do well in both full sun or partial shade.

Rose 'Purple Tiger' has an over height and spread of approximately 75 centimetres, and while the foliage can be a little sparse it does sometimes gives rose 'Purple Tiger' a rather gaunt appearance. It has an average disease resistance but can still be prone to both black spot and mildew.

It has a moderately vigorous habit but does not have the presence for mass planting but it makes a worthy addition in a mixed border. It is suitable for growing both in the garden or in a container, and will look stunning when planted among white roses.

Rose 'Purple Tiger' will do best planted in a humus-rich, moist, fertile and well-drained soil.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HISTORIC ROSES - 'Rosa Mundi'
HOW TO GET RID OF APHIDS ON ROSES
HOW TO GROW ROSES FROM CUTTINGS
HOW TO GROW ROSES FROM SEED
How to Propagate Roses by Layering
How to prune Shrub Roses
Rose 'Purple Tiger'
THE BLACK DRAGON ROSE
THE BLACK ROSE
WHAT IS A RAINBOW ROSE?
WHEN DO YOU PRUNE ROSES?

HOW TO GROW GARLIC FROM CLOVES

How to grow garlic from clones - http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.co.uk/

Although neither a herb or a spice, garlic is a one of the most used of all culinary flavour enhancers. Native to central Asia, it has a history of human use of over 7,000 years and and has long been an integral part of Mediterranean cuisine.

How to grow garlic from clones - http://www.icalpacas.com/
Of course you can purchase garlic cloves in any large supermarket and at any time of the year, but commercially grown garlic is often lacking in flavour and rarely fresh which is understandable when you realise that almost 80% of globally produced garlic comes from China. This means that in order to get the freshest, best flavoured garlic you will need to purchase it from a local, reputable grower or produce it yourself! Luckily, garlic is very easy to grow from cloves.

There are a number of recognized types of garlic, notably hardneck garlic and softneck garlic. Hardneck garlic is typically grown in cooler climates while soft-neck garlic is generally grown closer to the equator.

Garlic cloves are traditionally planted between November and April, but many gardeners are now beginning to plant earlier in the autumn as they find that they will generally get a bigger and better crop. There are garlic bulbs that are more suitable for spring planting but so long as you purchase your cloves shortly before use from your local plant retailer then you won't trip yourself up. Avoid using supermarket bought garlic as these are likely to to be softneck varieties and would have been treated with a growth retardant - unless you are buying organic.

How to grow garlic from clones - http://tinyfarmblog.com/
You can plant garlic cloves in any well-drained soil, but make sure that they are in a position that receives as much sun as possible.

Be aware that if the garlic roots are kept too wet then they can quickly succumb to rots. It is important that the soil does not become waterlogged, especially over the winter so dig in plenty of well-rotted farm manure or garden compost. This will help to improve the drainage further as well as add nutrients to the soil. If your soil is particularly heavy then consider growing your garlic on a ridge or in raised beds.

Take your garlic bulb and carefully split it into individual cloves, then plant each clove at a depth of 1 inch below the surface of the soil in rows 18 inches apart. Leave a 4 inch gap between the cloves. For reasons as yet unknown, birds have a nasty habit of lifting the cloves out of the soil and leaving them on the side so until they are securely rooted into the soil consider protecting the freshly planted cloves with some suitable netting.

Weed the garlic rows of garlic and only water during particularly dry periods. Pinch out the flower heads as they arise as they will divert the plant's energy away from bulking up the bulbs. Garlic plants are usually very hardy, and are rarely attacked from pests or diseases. In fact garlic plants are even believed to repel rabbits and moles.

How to grow garlic from clones
You are looking to harvest garlic from June onwards. You can tell when garlic is ready to lift as the leaves will begin to turn yellow,.

Lift your garlic crop by loosening them from the ground with a trowel.

Gently wash off any soil from the bulbs and then dry them off in a warm, dry frost-free position. Once thoroughly dried they will be ready for storing and should remain in for up to 3 months.

NOTE.If you are growing garlic in a particularly cold region or your soil is so heavy that leaving the cloves out over winter is just a disaster waiting to happen then there is an alternative technique you can try. Instead of planting directly into the ground, plant the cloves into large module trays during the winter. Fill the tray with a mixture of multi-purpose compost and your garden soil. Place each clove 1 inch deep into its own module, then cover with more compost afterwards. Because garlic needs a cold period to grow successfully the following year, place the module tray in a sheltered position outdoors, out of the rain. The rooted cloves can be planted outside in the spring once they begin to sprout.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HERBS FOR ANXIETY RELIEF
HOW TO GROW AUTUMN ONION SETS
HOW TO GROW CARAWAY
HOW TO GROW GARLIC
HOW TO GROW GARLIC IN POTS AND CONTAINERS
HOW TO GROW GARLIC IN POTS OR CONTAINERS
How to Grow Garlic from Cloves
HOW TO GROW LEMON BALM
HOW TO GROW LEMONGRASS
HOW TO GROW LEMONGRASS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW MINT PLANTS
HOW TO GROW MOROCCAN CHAMOMILE
HOW TO GROW ONIONS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW PARSLEY FROM SEED INDOORS
HOW TO GROW WELSH ONIONS
HOW DO YOU PLANT OUT ONION SEEDLINGS?
How to Overwinter herbs
TOP TEN HERBS FOR A HERB GARDEN
WHEN DO YOU HARVEST GARLIC?

HOW TO PRUNE SHRUB ROSES

How to prune shrub roses - http://hughconlon.blogspot.co.uk/
WANT TO BUY HARDY ORNAMENTAL SEEDS? THEN CLICK HERE FOR THE 'SEEDS OF EADEN' SEED SHOP

The majority of low-growing shrub roses are Portland varieties and as such are repeating or continual flowering. Pruning is a very simple affair as will only need to prune them back to a third of their original size over the winter and dead-head over the summer as necessary.

How to prune shrub roses - http://plantinfo.co.za/
Hybrid Musk roses, Bourbons and Hybrid perpetuals can only really to be left to their own devices in very large gardens, however for everyone else they too should be pruned back over the winter removing any old wood and dead, diseased or dying. All dead, diseased or dying wood should be burned to reduce the risk of infect on other roses. If done each year and avoiding cutting into very old wood the plants should be replenished with strong, young shoots which will prevent your plants from becoming leggy and unkempt. Moderate pruning in February can also be undertaken to remove all superfluous shoots, those which are too thin to support flowering or any wood from the centre which is overcrowding the bush. You can also consider reducing some of the man shoots by a third as this will encourage some early flowering. This will also provide the foundation for strong growth and replacement wood for future seasons.

Rosa rugosa species and cultivars should only ever be lightly pruned whether they are being grown as a hedge or as individual specimens. For the first year though they will need to be pruned back hard to promote strong and bushy growth. Should they get out of hand in later years they will be able to tolerate an occasional 'harsh' pruning and will easily recover.

China roses and the older Hybrid Teas cultivars should be pruned in the same way that you would modern roses by removing twiggy, thin or dead wood, and cutting back the stronger shoots to about one-third of their length each year. This is to help encourage basel growth. Tea roses prefer to be pruned more sparingly. They will still need to be pruned to keep them in shape and to prevent them from developing too much old, unproductive wood, but avoid unnecessary pruning.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HISTORIC ROSES - 'Rosa Mundi'
HOW TO GET RID OF APHIDS ON ROSES
HOW TO GROW ROSES FROM CUTTINGS
HOW TO GROW ROSES FROM SEED
How to Propagate Roses by Layering
HOW TO PRUNE CAMELLIAS
HOW TO PRUNE FUCHSIAS
How to prune Shrub Roses
Rose 'Purple Tiger'
THE BLACK ROSE
WHEN DO YOU PRUNE FORSYTHIA
WHEN DO YOU PRUNE ROSES?

BUY HARDY BANANA SEED?


Buy hardy banana seeds - /cdn1.bigcommerce.com/

If you live in a cool temperate, northern European climate but want to evoke the tropical look of banana plants in your back garden then you are in luck. Several of the hardiest banana species found so far are now available under the 'Rare and Exotic Plants' range at the 'Seeds of Eaden' Seed shop.

The hardiest species is the 'Tough as Old Boots' Musa basjoo, but don't confuse cold hardy with frost hardy as there are no banana species will be able to tolerate a proper freeze and survive intact. However Musa basjoo is root hardy which means that while the lush, exotic foliage may well die back over the winter, fast growing shoot will appear in the spring once the soil warms up. Unfortunately it is not possible to obtain Musa basjoo seed and so pot grown stock is your only option.

 Musa sikkimensis

Musa sikkimensis
Second in line in hardiness is the far more ornamental Musa sikkimensis.

Native to the mountains of the Himalayas it is one of the highest altitude banana species discovered which goes a long way to explain how it copes so well with our miserable British winters.

While Musa basjoo with survive all-year-round with little looking-after, you need to protect Musa sikkimensis by keeping the roots as well mulched and as covered as possible. Musa sikkimensis seed is available.

Musella lasiocarpa

Musa lasiocarpa
The third offering is the rarely seen Chinese dwarf banana - Musa lasiocarpa, recently renamed as Musella lasiocarpa. It is native to mountainous areas of the Yunnan Province in China where it typically grows to 6' tall. Be that as it may it is actually grown for its flowers which resemble a lotus just prior to flowering.
Like Musa sikkimensis, you will need to overwinter Musella lasiocarpa by keeping the roots as well mulched and as covered as possible. Musella lasiocarpa seed is available.


The Hardy Snow Banana

Ensete glaucum
The Hardy Snow Banana - Ensete glaucum, is native to the mountainous regions of China and Nepal and will grow between 15 and 20 ft tall. It produces massive pendulous, white flower heads and given the right conditions it will also bear numerous 5 inch long fruits.

Again, keep the roots well mulched and covered as possible over the winter.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BANANA PLANTS
BUY CAPE GOOSEBERRY SEEDS - Physalis peruviana
Buy Hardy Banana Seed
Buy Musa lasiocarpa Seed
BUY RUDBECKIA HIRTA 'Cherry Brandy' SEEDS
FRUIT
HOW TO GROW BANANAS OUTSIDE IN THE UK
HOW TO GROW BANANA TREES FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW MUSA BASJOO
HOW TO PROTECT AND OVER-WINTER BANANAS
MUSA BASJOO - The World's Hardiest Banana
MUSA LASIOCARPA - The Chinese dwarf banana
THE DARJEELING BANANA - Musa sikkimensis
THE RED ABYSSINIAN BANANA - Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’
WHAT IS A BANANA?
What is a Fig?

HOW TO GROW CORNFLOWERS FROM SEED

How to grow cornflowers from seed - http://www.scenicreflections.com/






True blue flowering plants are few and far between but one of the very best blue-coloured plants is the highly attractive and eye-catching cornflower - Centaurea cyanus. Native to Europe, including the UK, it is an annual plant which in the past often grew as a weed in crop fields, hence its common name. Unfortunately it is now endangered in its native habitat, the result of agricultural intensification and overuse of herbicides.

Luckily enough, cornflowers are very easy to grow from seed and so the delights of the gorgeous cornflower can be experienced in your very own garden. You even get two two sowing seasons every year!

Spring sowing

Cornflower seed
You can directly sow cornflower seeds outside in their final position from March to April. Cornflowers will need a sunny position on well drained soil. Prepare the seedbed by raking the surface to a fine tilth.

Sow seeds thinly, at a depth of 3mm in drills spaced 30cm apart. Gently water in with a soft rose and then label so that you know where the seedlings will emerge.

The ground will need to be watered regularly, especially during dry periods. You can expect germination to occur between 14-21 days. Once the cornflower seedlings are large enough to handle, they can be thinned out to 15cm apart to prevent weak growth from overcrowding.

Autumn sowing

How to grow cornflowers from seed-http://www.podgardening.co.nz/
For an early summer show of cornflowers you can start them off under protection from August to September. Fill a seed tray with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting' and sow the cornflowers seed on the surface. Do not bury cornflower seed ar it require the presence of light to help initiate germination.

Cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite and gently water using a soft rose. Place the tray inside a heated propagator at a  temperature of 18-23C. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Alternatively put the seed tray in a clear polythene bag and place in a warm room on a sunny windowsill, but one that does not receive direct sunlight as this can quickly overheat the seedlings and dry out the compost.

Germination should occur between 14-21 days, and when the seedlings are large enough to handle potted on individually into 3 inch pots. Move them to cooler conditions until large enough to be hardened off and kept outdoors. Before the onset of winter move them into cool, light, frost-free conditions before planting out the following spring.

Once in their final positions outside you will need to water cornflowers regularly until the root systems have fully established. To encourage further flowering, deadhead faded cornflower blooms as they arise.

For related article click onto the following links:
BUY RUDBECKIA HIRTA 'Cherry Brandy' SEEDS
How to Grow Cornflowers from Seed
HOW TO GROW RUDBECKIA FROM SEED

WHAT IS A FIG?

Image credit - http://www.letoilemagazine.com/



A fig is an edible fruit from the common fig tree - Ficus carica. It is approximately 3–5 centimetres long, with a green skin that often ripens to a purple or brown colour. Once matured, the fig has a tough peel which will often crack upon ripeness, exposing the pulp beneath. Inside is a white inner rind which contains a seed mass bound with a jelly-like flesh. The seeds are also edible, and if they have been pollinated will have the characteristic nutty taste of dried figs.

Fig newton - http://whatscookinginyourworld.blogspot.co.uk/
Figs are most commonly eaten dried, but they can also be eaten fresh from the tree or used for making jam.

Ripe fruit does not transport well, neither does it have a long shelf-life so most of the commercial production of figs concentrate on dried or  processed forms. perhaps the most widely known fig product is the fig roll, now marketed as the fig newton, which is a biscuit with a fig paste filling.

Surprisingly the fig roll recipe is very similar to a sweet snack that was eaten in Egyptian times!

Not only do they taste good, they do you good. In fact, relative to human needs, dried figs are one of the richest natural sources for fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K.

For related articles click onto the following links:
FICUS ELASTICA
FRUIT
HOW TO GROW AN APRICOT TREE
HOW TO GROW FICUS PUMILA
HOW TO GROW A MULBERRY TREE
HOW TO TAKE CUTTINGS FROM FICUS ELASTICA
Organic Gardening Fig
HOW TO GROW FIG 'BROWN TURKEY'
HOW TO GROW POMEGRANATE FROM SEED
WHAT IS A PERSIMMON?

BUY RUDBECKIA HIRTA 'Cherry Brandy' SEEDS


You may have seen many red-flowered Rudbeckia cultivars in the commercial gardens where you live but the likelyhood is that all of these would have all been propagated vegetatively. This means that they are expensive to purchase should you chose to have these more fancy varieties on your garden.

Buy Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy' seeds
However the clever plant breeders have been at it again and have produced the absolutely gorgeous Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy', the first ever red Rudbeckia that will grow true from seed! These robust plants have outstanding garden performance, producing a mass of attractive, cherry-coloured blooms throughout the summer. Furthermore, they are tolerant to both heat and drought, as well as being able to cope with poor soils!

Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy' is now available for sale from the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy' will require and open and sunny site, and will grow quite happily in any cultivated and well-drained garden soil. On dry soils mulch with well-rotted compost or far manures in the spring.

They will grow between 12 and 18 inches tall, and while they will tolerate exposed conditions you may find that they will require staking if you are prone to strong winds. Cut back hard after its first flowering and then provide a liquid soluble fertilizer to help promote a second flush of blooms.

Deadhead flowers are they begin to fade and cut the stems to the base in November. Over winter protect the crowns of the plant with a dry mulch of sand, ashes, straw or bracken.

For related article click onto the following links:
Buy Hardy Banana Seed
BUY RUDBECKIA HIRTA 'Cherry Brandy' SEEDS
HOW TO GROW RUDBECKIA
HOW TO GROW RUDBECKIA FROM SEED

HOW TO GROW RUDBECKIA FROM SEED

How to grow Rudbeckia from seeds



The majority of northern European gardens are at their most colourful during the spring and then tend to fade back to green for the rest of the year. However with a little thought and research you can have a garden filled to the brim with colour right up to the first frosts! While you may not have as large a range of flowering plants to choose from in the summer and autumn seasons, the ones that are available can be spectacular and easily rival any spring and early summer flowering plant.

How to grow Rudbeckia from seeds
Some of the very best are the Rudbeckia hirta cultivars which produce robust, colourful blooms all summer long. They are even perfectly happy growing in extremes of heat, drought and even poor soils!

You can purchase rudbekias as pot grown stock over the summer but if you are looking to buy a number of plants then it can get expensive.

However all is not lost as Rudbeckia cultivars are easy to grow from seed, and can be undertaken from February to March.

When it comes to growing Rudbeckia start off with a large modular seed tray (large modules, not large seed tray) filled with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Sow the seed on the surface of the compost, and then cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Water gently using a can with a soft rose.

How to grow Rudbeckia from seeds
Place tray in a heated propagator at a temperature of 20-25 degrees Celsius and place in a greenhouse or on a bright windowsill, but one that is out of direct sunlight. Do not exclude light, as this helps to initiate germination. Alternatively, seal the tray inside a clear polythene bag and place on a warm, bright windowsill.

You can expect germination to take 7-21 days. Once the first seedlings begin to emerge remove the tray from the propagator or polythene bag. Water a necessary but do not waterlog the compost. When the seedlings are large enough to handle they can be individually planted into 3 inch pots using a good quality, free-draining compost. Allow time for them to established their roots, after which they can be gradually acclimatised before planting out into their final position outside. Just make sure that you wait until all risk of late frosts have passed before leaving outside permanently.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BUY RUDBECKIA HIRTA 'Cherry Brandy' SEEDS
HOW TO GROW BELLIS PERENNIS FROM SEED
How to Grow Cornflowers from Seed
HOW TO GROW RUDBECKIA
HOW TO GROW RUDBECKIA FROM SEED

WHAT IS THE SIZE OF AN ELEPHANT?

What is the size of an elephant?

Elephants are well known for being the largest land animals alive today. There are two species in existence, the African elephant and the Indian elephant as well as a number of subspecies. However there is some evidence to suggest that two further species exist, namely the African bush elephant and the African forest elephant.

What is the size of an elephant?
Male African elephants are the largest or all the surviving species and can reach a height of 3-4 m (10-13 ft) and a weight of 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). By comparison Asian elephants stand 2–3.5 m (7–11 ft) and weigh 3,000–5,000 kg (6,600–11,000 lb). In all instances, males are larger than the females.

In contrast, elephant calves are born approximately 85 cm (33 in) tall and weigh around 120 kg (260 lb).

Scientists have discovered that dwarf elephants of uncertain descent lived in Crete, Cyclades and Dodecanese during the Pleistocene period which lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago. These are believed to have only grown to 1 m (3 ft) tall, and had probably evolved from the straight-tusked elephant - Palaeoloxodon antiquus, an extinct species of elephant closely related to the living Asian elephant.

Woolly mammoths are often depicted as being the largest of all elephant species to have ever walked the earth but were in fact smaller that today's African elephant. A fully grown male woolly mammoth reached shoulder heights between 2.7 and 3.4 m (9 and 11 ft) and weighed up to 6 tonnes (6,000 kg). Female woolly mammoths averaged 2.6–2.9 m (8.5–9.5 ft) in height and were built more lightly than males, weighing a relatively petite 4 tonnes (4,000 kg)!

For related articles click onto the following links:
BABY ELEPHANTS
HOW DO ELEPHANTS COMMUNICATE AND TALK TO EACH OTHER?
THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AFRICAN AND INDIAN ELEPHANTS?
What is the Size of an Elephant?
Where do Elephants Live?
WHERE DO ELEPHANTS LIVE?
WHY THE MAMMOTH BECAME EXTINCT?
WHY DO ELEPHANTS HAVE BIG EARS?