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Gardener's Diary            December

Rosemary MartinGardener's Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin. 


An introduction from Rosemary...     




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..


Forty fourth edition - December 2004

December, and the end of another gardening season.. Everything in the garden is tidy, the lawn mower has gone in for it`s winter service, the leaves are all swept up and Christmas will be upon us before very long...

My garden really comes into it`s own at this time of year with lots of flowering and evergreen shrubs, late chrysanthemums, bright red barks and the hellebores foetidus and corsicus that are about to burst into flower.... The brilliant white bark of the Silver Birch Jacqmondii is always a talking point and my family are convinced that I paint it...

During summertime there is colour everywhere in the garden but in the winter months the rare sight of a flower is a joy to behold to many people. I always try to buy Azaeleas, Cyclamens, winter flowering Hyacinths, or a pot of Narcissi, just to keep in the kitchen to cheer me up in the deepest winter. They can be planted in the garden after flowering, to enjoy in future years. It is very important for me to see colour and flowers in the winter garden....

Make original Christmas arrangements.

Amazon book - Christmas make and doChristmas is almost here and those creative gardeners among you could make your own stunning original arrangements, which are both satisfying and fun to do... 

First get hold of some florists` oasis, green plastic coated garden wire, gold and silver decorative Christmas spray in aerosols, some glitter, spray on snow and some vases or other waterproof containers. Then collect small pieces of holly, ivy, delicate and interesting looking twigs, dried chinese lanterns, a variety of evergreen shrubs and cones.

Set aside some of these on a newspaper and spray them with the different colours and the snow. This is best done outside. Practice with different colours and textures. Before they dry sprinkle a little of the glitter sparingly onto a few of them. When they have completely dried you can go ahead and be really creative, making wreaths for the front door, table decorations and arrangements in vases.

Oasis can be cut to different shapes and then hidden by the greenery. Use the wire to keep the stems in position. Finally, add ribbons and other Christmas baubles for a professional touch. Add candles for the table decorations and add water to the finished items to keep the greenery fresh, providing you haven`t put Christmas electric lights in them. 


Last minute stocking fillers suitable for your gardening friends and family

  • A years subscription to a gardening magazine 

  • A gardening book from 

  • Secateurs or other garden hand tools 

  • Gardening gloves

  • Gift voucher for a garden centre

  • Terracotta pots

  • Decorative house name or number: 

  • Japanese wind chimes

  • Garden ornaments

  • Bulbs ready planted in decorative containers, from the supermarket.

  • Gardening Calendar or diary

  • An azalea or cyclamen from the supermarket

  • House plant watering can

  • Decorative plant labels

  • A packet of their favourite seeds

  • Bird feeder

  • Bag of Spring flowering bulbs

  • Heated propagator

  • Garden thermometer

  • Bonsai tree kit


Thompson & Morgan have opened a Living Gifts for Christmas online catalogue, seen here:  Just think, all gifts are supplied with a greetings card and a choice of message, delivered in peak condition direct to the recipient in good time for Christmas. No boxes, no gift-wrapping, no trips to the post office. This is my kind of Christmas shopping...

You may obtain their free New 2005 Seed Catalogue by telephoning 01473 695224 and their website address is where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line. 


I often hear the concerns and doubts of some older people who are thinking of building a garden pond now they have more time on their hands, so I have decided to do a mini series which will hopefully be quite useful for those hoping to plan a pond for next year.... 

The subject is a huge one, enough to fill a book, and I will obviously only scratch the surface. But hopefully it will help you decide whether to go ahead and have a garden pond, or settle for something less adventurous.

Garden Ponds - Part one - covering garden ponds and pond safety 

Garden Ponds - Part 2 - garden ponds


I sometimes get asked to recommend a website, and this is one of them, well three in one actually!  A young but thriving business that I can thoroughly recommend..


Some great ideas for Christmas presents perhaps..



Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. A current email address is necessary as my replies to you are sometimes returned to me as undeliverable..



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 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...



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 him. See his website....



Thompson and Morgan logo 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.


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from Thrive 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




       Alan Titchmarsh - How to be a gardener    Amazon Book - The Healing Garden    Amazon Book - RHS Plant Finder 2001 -2002    Amazon Book - "Home Front" in the Garden  


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