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Gardener's Diary            February

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, remembering to tell me which country you are from.. 


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




Thirty fourth edition - February 2004

Did you manage to get in the garden at all during January? It was mostly a mild month and the few sessions of tidying up and pruning in our garden were thoroughly invigorating and really shook off some of the winter cobwebs..  Any bad weather we have now will knock back all those bulbs and buds that are coming through much too early, due to the milder start to the year. If any of you have had plants damaged  through seasonal snow or frost, don`t be too hasty in discarding them because they might just recover...

Do take care underfoot if we have snow and ice!

I have put all the dates of the RHS flower shows at the bottom of this page and have been reminded by them to:

Make a date with the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park 2004 21-25 July 2004.. Garden lovers should make note in their diary of the sixth annual RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park taking place on 21-25 July (21st July is Preview day).

Tickets are on sale from 26th January 2004 ­ ticket hotline number 0870 906 3811. 

More on this, the third largest flower show in the UK, below...

Plenty of jobs for the month.. (Depending on the weather of course!)

  • Plastic flower pots and dirty seed trays should be washed thoroughly with some disinfectant added to the water and stacked away neatly 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 by hoeing out any stray weeds that have overwintered.

  • Keep paths clear of debris and ice.

  • Check tree ties to ensure they aren't cutting into the bark. Replace any that are worn or damaged. I neglected to do this one year recently but luckily the trees survived and are healthy.

  • Remove labels on young trees when you plant them. A couple of months ago I found a branch of a four year old tree on the ground.. The string from the label on this branch had tightened naturally as the branch had grown and restricted it`s growth, eventually digging in and severing the branch altogether.. Woops!

  • 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. I left this job too late one year and smothered some emerging new plant growth..  I don`t do very well sometimes do I?

  • 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. 

  • If you couldn`t wait and have sown some flower seeds already, ensure they have plenty of natural light if possible and keep them cool once germinated.. Don`t overwater them either or they will dampen off and die.


I shall leave this paragraph for one more month!


You see, there is absolutely no excuse for piling on those extra pounds with all this gardening waiting to be done! You will feel so good and invigorated after a couple of hours outside on a winter`s day..





The third largest flower show in the UK, Tatton is an annual feast for keen
gardeners as well as those who simply enjoy the spectacle of stunning garden
designs and plant displays.

Around 50 gardens will showcase the very best design talent working in spaces large and small.  More than 90 of the UK`s leading nurseries and growers will provide further inspiration with exhibits in the floral marquees.  Visitors will have a chance to buy the very latest plants, flowers, gardening accessories and ornaments from the nation¹s top growers and specialist suppliers around the showground.

RHS International Orchid Show

: :  

13 - 14 March 2004

RHS Plant Roadshow at Torquay

: :  

16 - 17 April 2004

The Spring Gardening Show Malvern

: :  

7 - 9 May 2004

Chelsea Flower Show

: :  

25 - 28 May 2004

BBC Gardeners' World Live

: :  

16 - 20 June 2004

RHS International Lily Show & Conference

: :  

30 June - 3 July 2004

Charity Gala Preview of the
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :

5 July 2004

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :  

6 - 11 July 2004

RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park

: :  

21 - 25 July 2004

Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show

: :  

25 - 26 September 2004

Wisley Shows

: :  

April, June and August

RHS London Flower Shows

: :  



Some of your recent gardening queries 

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming (Please tell me which country you live in)

Laterlife is pleased to support the project below:-

Designed to stimulate the senses and provide a haven of peace, a place to chill-out and unwind from the stress of modern living. A garden designed specifically to be "Positive About Disabled People" and raise funds for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

Take a virtual trip around the garden, through different countries, its monthly photo galleries & artwork, explore and discover the plants, birds and wildlife, water features and wind-chimes, as we endeavour to describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of the various areas. 

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Sensory Garden Project  


And some places to visit... 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 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...



Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary




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. 







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




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