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Gardener's Diary            December

Gardener`s Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin, who is semi retired.  She says anyone can enjoy gardening whether they have a large or small garden, can`t tell a dandelion from a daisy, or are aged 9 or 90… Here you will be able to see what jobs you should be doing in the garden month by month, get ideas for spectacular seasonal planting schemes, read previews on new plants and products, find out where to buy them, and get up-to-date news of forthcoming events and places to visit. 


For those of you that have never dabbled in the "black art" of gardening you will first need to get some basic knowledge from a good gardening book. You will find some within this article as examples...


But first an introduction from Rosemary...


I have been gardening now for about thirty years, long enough for my husband to know that it`s wise to bury his head in a newspaper when I get the secateurs out...  I don`t have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice but I also think the modern trends work well. Plants in my garden have to be resilient as they get moved around frequently, and my husband has been heard  to mutter  “I don`t remember that tree being there this morning..”

Hobbies have come and gone over the years but only gardening has endured, and now in retirement this column adds a new dimension to the hobby, 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



Twentieth edition  - December 2002

The festive season is upon us once more, a time when many shops and garden centres are packed with items such as prepared hyacinths, Amaryllis and arrangements of gorgeous house plants, all prettied up to tempt us into parting with our money. It works every time for me - I just cannot resist a pretty face...

I am glad we are done with November as it is my least favourite month, dank, foggy, gloomy and depressing. This year November certainly gave us all of the above and how I wished at times that I was a hibernating tortoise! The saving grace has been the lack of harsh frost which enabled many plants to continue flowering until quite late. In the third week of November I was still dodging the rain to pull out perfect nasturtiums in full flower, and cutting down the odd delphinium which bravely decided to put on a late show. A host of other winter flowering shrubs are now coming into their own making my garden look every bit as colourful as it did in the summer.. 

We have bought ourselves a new "garden vac" to enable us to collect all the fallen leaves - which go on the compost heap, and have ensured that our garden shed is more secure than last year, as the old "garden vac" was stolen from it, just before Christmas, no doubt for someone`s present  ..  Whilst in the garden machine centre I asked if I could have my tractor mower serviced over winter as it is three years old now and in need of some attention. "Certainly" the proprietor said, "I`ll come and collect it for you."  Now I must admit to not giving the logistics of the operation much thought..  I suppose I could`ve driven the thing along the road, not without some odd looks I imagine, but I still think it is an amazing service. Thinking of readers, I asked him how housebound and elderly gardeners could get their garden equipment serviced, and he suggested that people look in the gardening column of their local paper for an appropriate advertisement, or ask their local DIY shop to recommend somewhere or someone. If you can`t do your own regular garden machinery maintenance, get someone else to do it for you - do not neglect it.. 

Don`t forget to keep the bird food topped up over the winter months as they do come to rely on us humans. And if your pond freezes over make sure you keep a hole in the ice so the fish can get oxygen.

Well I`m off to do some Christmas shopping now, and on my list I see there are gardening books for one or two people, which I suppose I could purchase on-line from but on this occasion I feel in the need of some garden centre retail therapy! 

Some gift ideas for gardening friends below:

Terracotta pots A gardening book from 
Japanese wind chimes A years subscription to a gardening magazine 
Gardening gloves House plant watering can
Garden ornaments Secateurs or other garden hand tools 
Amaryllis Gardening Calender or diary
Early prepared Hyacinths Gift voucher for a garden centre
An azalea or cyclamen  A packet of their favourite seeds
Decorative plant labels Decorative house name or number
Bonsai tree kit Heated propagator
Bird feeder Garden thermometer


A happy Christmas and good wishes for next year....

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming




Some websites of interest to gardeners:- 


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, TV gardener, writer, broadcaster and thoroughly nice person. Just a few choice words to describe the peoples` favourite TV gardener. See his website....



Thompson and Morgan: 


A growing resource for gardeners worldwide. The site includes the international online seed catalogues, the young plants catalogue (UK only), the wholesale seeds catalogue, together with the award winning Germination Times and a host of other useful information.


Gardening 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. 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.






Good 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

RHS Garden Finder is 12.99 from Dorling Kindersley



Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



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