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Gardener's Diary 

                       December 2010 


robin in the snowAs yet another year draws to a close, and we're in-between gardening seasons, it's as good a time as any to think about your gardening capabilities..

Is your garden getting too much for you to manage, or are some of the chores getting beyond you? Perhaps your garden is just too demanding and now is the time to think about making it more manageable.

I wrote a special feature about just this in an earlier edition of my column, which may be worth another read if you are looking for answers to what can be a growing problem for many people.

Gardens that become too much for their owners to manage, quickly become out of control jungles, so keep on top of things by making yours easier to look after.

Gardening can bring tremendous rewards. For example on this cold, damp and dark November (almost December) day, I am looking out into a garden that is a riot of colour. This is no accident, but was all carefully planned to allow for my love of winter cheer in the garden, in these often gloomy and short days.. The plant colour and bright red berries also attract wildlife to the garden and I will be entertained by squirrels, hedgehogs and of course the noisy chattering birds that visit.







An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..



  • Some of you may be thinking of installing a sprinkler system in your garden. There is some information here about installation and design of one such system, "Switch on the rain".
  • There is still time during December to plant any tulip bulbs that you haven`t got in the ground yet. Dig them in deeply enough and they can stay in the ground year after year, rather than take them out as the experts recommend.
  • If you are planning on planting any bare-root trees, late Autumn or early winter is the best time, while the soil is still fairly warm. Don`t forget to stake them as protection against strong winds.
  • Forget about going to the gym, get some exercise by raking all the leaves off your lawn. Leave the ones that have dropped in the borders as they will rot down naturally and help the soil nutrition.


  • winter jasmineIf you don`t have a compost heap, put the damp leaves in bin liners tied at the top. Make several holes in the bags and leave them in a shed or garage. By next year they will have rotted down to beautiful leaf mould to put on your borders.
  • It is all to easy to hibernate in the winter months, but a brisk gardening session, when you are well wrapped up against the elements, will do you the power of good. I try to have at least half an hour most days. Try it...
  • If we have bad weather, keep your paths and access routes free of snow and ice. Get rock salt from your DIY store to put on the paths to melt the ice.
  • Keep the food and water topped up for the birds
  • Cheer your home up with some potted hyacinths, paper white narcissi and of course the beautiful seasonal poinsettas.
  • Don`t forget to ask Santa for some new gardening hand tools, or a gardening book, or a new plant, or.......................



Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all.

See you in the new year.





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Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



RHS gardens


Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

Do you take advantage of the DEFRA website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new, and special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



The Eden Project


The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...




Some websites of interest to gardeners:-



Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-


"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

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