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Gardener's Diary            January

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 seventh edition - January 2006   

Wonders of the Winter Landscape: Shrubs and Trees to Brighten the Cold-Weather Garden  

The festive season has passed (as quickly as ever) and it is time for giving thought to some serious gardening for this brand new year..

No garden is complete without at least one ornament such as a sundial or birdbath, to make the space uniquely yours. Shop around now for what you'll need in the spring to personalize your lawn, garden, and flower beds.

First jobs for the new year are ones that can be undertaken in the shelter of your shed or greenhouse, and will be time well spent.. Get the garden tools sharpened, cleaned and oiled ready for spring, and the lawn mower cleaned and serviced. Don`t forget to clean and disinfect the greenhouse too. Flowerpots (like coat hangers) tend to multiply and one of my local garden centres is always happy for me to take them back to them for re-use. It's always satisfying when these jobs have been done!   

This January get creative in the shed.  Build a birdhouse or two. Paint garden furniture. Build a composting bin, so you can do your bit on the recycling front.. Then add a handful of red worms to help turn your vegetable peelings etc. into rich compost for the garden.

Amazon book - Winter-Flowering Shrubs  Don't forget your house plants! Dust on the foliage can clog the leaf pores, so clean them up a little with a damp cloth, and on very cold nights, close the curtains or blinds to give an extra layer of protection between the windows and plants. Houseplants need very little water this time of year. If you were given bulbs and plants for Christmas, follow the growing instructions for an early indoor spring! If you didn`t get any Christmas plants, treat yourself to a bowl of hyacinths that are almost in flower. The house will smell delightful for a couple of weeks!

  • Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, onion sowing is going ahead for the "big ones".

  • You can help your pond fish by removing any dead leaves floating on the water.

  • Don't forget food and water for the birds, but not the sort of food that will encourage foxes and rats to your garden!

  • Continue sweeping up leaves if only to get some exercise!

  • If we have icy weather and you put rock salt on the ground, take care it doesn`t get near your plants.


Thompson & Morgan seeds have added some wonderful new seeds for 2006, two of which I feature here..

African Marigold 'Simba' 

New for 2006, African Marigold 'Simba'  offers a flower type which is rarely seen in African Marigolds.

Adding heightand interest to the border at 90cm (3ft), African Marigold 'Simba' bears intriguing incurved, bright orange blooms which curiously resemble a lion`s mane, hence its name.

  New for 2006, African Marigold 'Simba'  offers a flower type which is rarely seen in African Marigolds.
Petunia 'Purple Velvet' F1 Hybrid

Gardeners` dream come true, The Surfinia Petunia from seed!

This is the best trailing Petunia for baskets that Thompson & Morgan has ever seen, and so vigorous there is enough seed in a single packet to raise plants to fill three hanging baskets or patio containers - costing only ?2.99 

  Petunia 'Purple Velvet' F1 Hybrid. Gardeners` dream come true, The Surfinia Petunia from seed!

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 go for a winter walk 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 Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS)

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


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