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Gardener's Diary 

                       February 2011  


Cordylines in snowThis is the winter that I discovered how many plants and shrubs really are not hardy..

Have you noticed that Global Warming is now referred to as Climate Change? L

The Cordyline Australis everywhere in our county appear to be dead, which is a great shame as they were so lovely and the ones in our garden had reached a great heightof about fifteen feet, see photo left. But the severe frosts got to them and, on one, even the trunk has gone soft. I have removed that one and will see if there is any life in the others in a few months time. I believe they can be cut right down to ground level and will sprout again..

Previously in The Gardener's Diary...

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

The Gardener's Diary

There are only a few kinds of palms that are really hardy in the UK and two of those are Trachycarpus Fortuneii and Chamaerops Humilis

Once the snow had melted last month and the weather warmed up to a balmy 2c, I took stock of my garden and had a couple of very energetic sessions removing the obviously dead plants such as Echiums and some tender Salvias.. The hebes and escallonias on the other hand might have survived and I have just tidied them up for now.. A good way of telling if a shrub is still alive is to scrape some of the bark back, and if it is still green the plant is still alive. But we will have to wait until springtime to see what really has survived.

I predict a boom time for garden centres in the spring!






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..

Jobs for the month

Febuary 2011

  • Check out any shrubs that have been scorched by frost and cut off any obviously dead growth. Tidy up any branches that have snapped with the weight of snow, so the cut is neat and won't let in disease.
  • Plastic flower pots and dirty seed trays should be washed thoroughly with disinfectant added to the water, then stacked away ready for use in the spring. 
  • This is an excellent time of year for moving shrubs that are growing in the wrong place, or those that have outgrown their position. Aim to lift established plants with as large a rootball as possible. Prepare the soil in the new position by adding some compost...
  • Enjoy a mild day removing any weeds that have overwintered, and gently forking the surface of borders, avoiding breaking any emerging bulbs.
  • Keep paths clear of debris and ice.
  • HelleboreCheck tree ties to ensure they aren't cutting into the bark. Replace any that are worn or damaged.  Remove labels on young trees when you plant them.
  • It is a good time to spread a thick mulch of compost,  bark chippings or similar material, over borders and between trees. This should be done before plants start into growth and will help to kill any early weeds. 
  • Keep winter-flowering houseplants such as cyclamen and hyacinths in a cool position in a good light to extend their flowering season, avoiding draughts or dry heat. I like to plant the hyacinths in the garden once they've died down..
  • Check over any Begonia or other tubers that you are overwintering because they'll probably be starting into growth. If you have a conservatory the tubers can be potted up and kept frost-free. I bought some great dahlia tubers at the end of last month which I shall plant in flower pots and keep in the greenhouse, together with those I buried in straw in the garden shed last autumn, which have survived - I checked!

It's a good job us gardeners are optimistic people, because between the chafer beetles eating the lawn, the sooty mould that has appeared on the camellias and skimmias, and the snow and frosts that have killed off many of my plants, a lesser motal would have concreted the garden over!



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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.

Visit Wisley in Surrey

Visit Rosemoor in Devon

Visit Hyde Hall in Essex

Visit Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire

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 other useful information.

The BBC plant pests and diseases identifier is great, and 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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