On Line Magazine 2020:
Future Elements

January 2020

Links to This Month's Articles

Home Page Photo: Abeliophyllum distichum
New Year Resolutions
What Are John Innes Composts?
Keep Off The Grass
Traditional January Sayings
Formulate A Seed Calendar
Christmas Flowering Hyacinths
Garden Spiders
January Houseplant Care
Christmas Cactus: Schlumbergera truncata

Home Page Photo: Abeliophyllum

Abeliophyllum distichum blooms in January.
A scrambling deciduous shrub with slender branches,
bearing dark green leaves and forsythia-like,
fragrant white or pale pink flowers.

RHS advice on care and best locations.

New Year Resolutions

“I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years'.”
Henry Moore

“You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream.”
C. S. Lewis

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Larry Elder

“What the New Year brings to you will depend
a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.”
Vern McLellan

“Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.”
Oprah Winfrey

“In a gentle way you can shake the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“The future belongs to those
who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
Winston Churchill

What Are John Innes Composts?

John Innes Composts are a blend of loam or topsoil,
sphagnum moss peat, coarse sand or grit and fertilisers.

The loam is screened and sterilised,
then mixed with the other ingredients,
in proportions to achieve optimum air and water-holding capacity and nutrient content for different types and sizes of plants.

Link to: explanation on different composts.
John Innes composts are available from our Trading Centre.

Keep Off The Grass

When the lawn is covered in frost try not to walk across.

The grass blades actually freeze.
Any trafic will cause damage to the lawn,
which may not fully bounce back until spring.

RHS Advice: Preventing frost damage

Traditional January Sayings

If St. Paul's day be fair and clear,
it will betide a happy year.
(St. Paul's day 25th January)
By her who in this month is born,
No gems save Garnets should be worn.
January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.
'Sara Coleridge'
From Christmas to May, weak cattle decay.
Who in January sows oats, gets gold and groats.
Who sows in May, gets little that way.

Formulate A Seed Calendar

Seed Calendar
Sort your seed packets in the order of the sowing dates,
earliest at the front latest at the rear,
and store in a suitable sized container in a cool location.

This system comes into its own for successional sowing.
Following sowing of lettuces or whatever on the given day,
replace the packet three weeks forward,
into the time slot ready for the next sowing.

Seeds are available now from our Trading Centre.

Christmas Flowering Hyacinths

Christmas bulbs
Don't plant out till danger of frosts pass.
Till then keep watering and feeding with
a general liquid house plant fertiliser.

If your forced bulbs were not up to much
then don't bother and dispose.

Garden Spiders

Spiders generally do not survive cold winters,
so in autumn lay eggs protected in nests.

The baby spiders appear in spring
simultainiously with their prey
which they consume in vast quantities,
all to the gardeners aid.

So nurture these helpful predators-to-be.

Take this link: British Arachnological Society.

January Houseplant Care

Houseplants generally appreciate a sunny windowsill,
but don't leave behind the curtains at night.

Water sparingly, soils should be barely moist in winter.

To encourage new growth cut back leggy
Hypoestes (polka dot plant), Pilea (aluminium plant) and
Tradescantia (quicksilver).

Pot up that boxed Christmas gift of Hippeastrum (amaryllis) bulbs.
Regular water and feed to bring into flower.

RHS link: Houseplant care.

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)

If your Christmas cactus failed to set flower buds,
don’t over water and try moving into cooler conditions
or away from night lighting.

To encourage bushy growth following flowering,
twist off outer segments from the most vigorous shoots.
Don't discard but keep dry and warm for a week
and then pot up as cuttings.

RHS link: care and cultivation.

February 2020

Links to This Month's Articles

Home Page Photo: Daphne bholua
Huge Potato Harvests?
Growing Chillies At Home
Gardening On Clay Soil
Five Great Glasshouses To Visit
Care for Your Orchids
Traditional Gardening Thoughts
Hayling Island In February
Garden Chemicals: Labels Explained
Start Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Home Page Photo: Daphne bholua

Daphne bholua
Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill’
flowers February through into March,
filling your garden with a cinnamon-lemon fragrance.

Ideal for small gardens or in a pot.
Incredibly hardy surviving temperatures well below freezing
Will live happly for 10 to 15 years.

RHS guidance

Huge Potato Harvests?

The Organic Garden Magazine - April 1945 edition,
gave this advice on:

The Secret to Huge Potato Harvests.

Growing Chillies At Home

Chillies generally make small contained plants,
which can be grown on a kitchen windowsill.
They also look decorative, with their colourful fruits.

The hottest chillies need starting early,
sow seeds now in a John Innes loam-based seed compost.

Thompson Morgan guide to growing chillies

Gardening On Clay Soil

Clay soil, don’t panic, as some renown gardens,
including Great Dixter and RHS Rosemoor,
have been created on heavy clay soil.

So long as you keep adding organic matter
and treating the soil structure right,
over time you can get the better of clay soils
and both enjoy a floral display
and productive kitchen garden.

Clay soil efficiently holds nutrients enabling trees,
roses and shrubs to do really well,
together with certain perennials.

Avoid drought-tolerant plants with either
aromatic, silver or finely divided foliage.

Links to RHS guidance;
Working with clay soil.
Plants suitable for clay soil.

Five Great Glasshouses

Forget the cold grey of winter,
and visit one of these great glasshouses:

Royal Horticultural Society Wisley.
Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.
The Eden Project Bodelva.
The Winter Garden, Sheffield.
National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Care for Your Orchids

Get your orchid ready for the forthcoming Spring Show.

Locate orchid plants well out of any direct sunlight.
Use at half strength a general-purpose feed.
Do not over water or stand in water.
Ideally use tepid rainwater.
Occasionally spray the foliage.
Grow in a specialist orchid compost or open medium.
Re-pot only when the roots have filled the pot.
Stake flower stems to keep upright.

Use this link for: RHS guidance.

Traditional Gardening Thoughts

The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.

You can bury a lot of troubles
digging in the dirt.

An addiction to gardening is not all bad
when you consider all the other choices in life.

A garden is a thing of beauty
and a job for ever.

A busy hoe gathers no rust.

A gem is not polished without rubbing,
nor a garden without trials.

Old Gardeners Never Die,
they Just Go To Seed!

Hayling Island In February

The sea is at its coldest in February,
So February is our coldest month.
During periods of light winds and high pressure,
frost and fog can also become a problem.
However average UK warmest winter temperatures,
occur on the south and west coasts.
Hayling Island's Average February stats:
Average dayly high temperature 8.8c (47.8f)
Average dayly low temperature 4.4c (39.9f)
Average monthly rainfall 50mm (1.97inchs)

Garden Chemicals: Labels Explained

Correct use of chemicals can control pests, disease and weeds.

It is important to read the label, to establish
how to use the product safely and effectively.

Link to: RHS guidance.

Start Sowing Vegetable Seeds

Now is the time to begin sowing under cover
vegetable seeds such as leeks, onions and celeriac.

Get the vegetable bed ready by removing weeds,
fork in well rotted manure or compost and
cover to keep dry and to warm up for future planting out.

Link Suttons Seeds: Beginners Guide to Veg Growing.

Seeds are available now from our Trading Centre.

March 2020

Links to This Month's Articles

Home Page Photo: Ribes Sanguineum
Why Trees or Shrubs Fail To Survive
St. Patricks Day and The Shamrock
March 20th: Spring Equinox
Schlumbergera Gaertneri : Easter Cacti
Choosing The Right Roses
Shakespeare And Spring
First Early Potatoes
Time To Think About Hydrangeas
Seed Sowing Guides

Home Page Photo:
Ribes Sanguineum 'King Edward VII'

Blooming in March to April, Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward VII'
is a hardy deciduous shrub needing little attention.

'King Edward VII' matures to a compact upright form,
with dark green foliage highlighting the deep red flowers

Gives off a pungent scent when the foliage is brushed against.
Prefers a well drained soil and sunny location

RHS guidance

Why Trees or Shrubs Fail

failed shrub
Dry Roots at planting or before fully established.
Poor quality, week or stressed plant.
Insufficient soil preparation.
Loose planting of roots.
Winter damage.
Wind rock through insufficient support.
Incorrect planting location or soil.
Fatal pest or disease.

Link to RHS guidance.

St. Patricks Day
and The Shamrock

St. Patricks Day is celebrated annually on 17 March,
the death date of the patron saint of Ireland.

The symbol of Ireland is the shamrock,
young sprigs of clover which St. Patrick used
as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity.

Botanical name for the shamrock is Oxalis
English common name Wood sorrel,
an unwelcome garden invasive weed.
RHS control guidance.

March 20th: Spring Equinox

It was one of those March days
when the sun shines hot
and the wind blows cold:
when it is summer in the light,
and winter in the shade.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

From the 20th March the length of daylight increases
and is greater than the hours of darkness,
spearheading a spurt in plant growth
and wildlife activity.

Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men.
Chinese Proverb.

UK Metrological Office guide: When Does Spring Start?

Easter Cactus

Easter Cactus
House plant Schlumbergera gaertneri freely blooms in spring
if you follow these simple care requirements.

Average lighting; avoid deep shade and direct sunlight.
Aim for constantly moist rather than wet soil.
Water with tepid rather than cold water.
Feed during the growing season about once a month,
with an all purpose house plant fertiliser.
Overwinter in a cool room at 7c to 15c.
Repot only when pot bound and following flowering.
Propagate by leaf cutting, leave to dry for 24 hours,
before placing cuttings around the edge of a pot
in a free draining compost.

Choosing The Right Roses

Take care to pick the right plant for the right place.

Space available, task required, sunny or partial shade?

Disease resistant, repeat flowering, perfume, colour.

Soil type, micro climate and exposure.

Purchasing from a certified grower.

Link to RHS: Choosing The Best.

Shakespeare And Spring

Daffodils, that come before the swallow dares,
and take the winds of March with beauty.

Sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.

Now 'tis spring and weeds are shallow rooted;
Suffer them now and they'll o'ergrow the garden.

Well-apparel'd April on the heel
of limping Winter treads.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.

First Early Potatoes

If you havent already started chitting
your first early seed potatoes,
then don't delay. Place with the end
showing the most ‘buds’ uppermost,
in a light, cool location.
An egg box makes the ideal container.

Prepair the bed for planting out later in the month.

Link to RHS: Grow Your Own Potatoes.

Seed potatoes are available now from our Trading Centre.

Time To Think About Hydrangeas

Now is the time to dead-head Hydrangeas
before new growth appears.
Cut to about one third of last season's growth.

Hydrangeas grow best in fertile, humus-rich,
moist well-drained soil in sun or partial shade,
located with shelter from cold drying winds.

A plant suitable close to walls and in coastal gardens.

Link to: Growing and caring for Hydrangeas.

Seed Sowing Guides

The internet contains a host of websites
giving advice and information on growing from seed.

RHS; Sowing Hardy Annuals In Spring.
Mr Fothergill Seeds; Growing From Seeds.
Suttons Seeds: Beginners Guide to Veg Growing.
Thompson Morgan Seeds: Gardening Guides.

Seeds are available now from our Trading Centre.