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Gardener's Diary            December

Amazon book - Colour in Your Garden






Gardener'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..




Fifty sixth edition - December 2005   

Writing this column in the last week of November, we have just experienced a week of very heavy night frosts with beautiful sunny days and now await the predicted cold blast from the north..

* Don`t forget to turn off the water supply to your hosepipe..







Despite the frosts I have very many plants still in flower, but always take the precaution of taking cuttings of any tender perennials I don`t want to lose.. These cuttings are taken in August/September and over-wintered in the unheated conservatory.

If you have any tender plants outside, protect them from the worst of the weather by covering them first with straw and finally with some bubble-wrap.

This is a good time of year for planning next year`s summer bedding scheme, but perhaps you are one of the many who have decided not to bother! It does seem a lot of work to sow seeds, nurture them for two or three months and then plant them out, which in itself can be a hefty task, especially in a large garden..

We are generally becoming healthier and wealthier in recent years, and retirement sees many of us taking frequent holidays and even starting up new businesses, so we may well be reluctant to make ourselves slaves to labour intensive gardens?

My own garden is huge, but has been planted with an assortment of shrubs, trees and perennials that mostly care for themselves. I no longer raise a multitude of bedding plants and consequently have more time to myself..

Amazon book - Winter-Flowering Shrubs  Some tips for a colourful yet easy care garden

  • Grow evergreen shrubs for all year colour

  • Grow dogwoods for winter bark colour

  • Search out shrubs for their winter berries

  • As an alternative to bedding plants grow perennials such as delphiniums, lupins, phlox and penstemons, all of which will be relatively self-sufficient.

  • If you do prefer bedding plants, consider buying pots of germinated seedlings, ready to prick out. So much easier!

  • Consider sowing packets of annual seeds which come in colour co-ordinated packets and look after themselves. I love these and find they are available from most supermarkets these days..

  • Don`t be a slave to those hanging baskets. I`ve stopped doing them and now have time to admire my neighbours` colourful efforts instead!


decking the halls: The folklore and traditions of christmas plants






Christmas gifts for someone special who lives far away are difficult to find, but if they are keen gardeners a Christmas flowering plant sent directly to them from Thompson & Morgan`s online Christmas catalogue will be greatly appreciated.. 





Going for a walk?

People have been campaigning for more open access to the countryside for well over 100 years. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW) has been introduced in direct response to this, to create new recreational opportunities for all.

The CROW Act creates a new right of access to some of the finest countryside in England. From 31 October 2005 members of the public are able to walk across large areas of land across the whole of England.


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..








Take the opportunity to spend some time at Christmas with the National Trust ..  Wonderful scenery and superb places to visit, any time of the year..






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:-


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. Your current email address is necessary as my replies are occasionally returned to me as undeliverable..

There was a technical hitch with emails last month (November) and if anyone has not had a reply from me regarding their gardening query, perhaps they would like to re-send them..


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 any special seasonal offers

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:-


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




Amazon book - A year at Kew

 Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden

Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)


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