Archives for November 2011

Poinsettias

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Grahame Sear Grahame Sear | 07:00 UK time, Sunday, 27 November 2011

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the Poinsettia! At least, that's what many of our customers tell us after visiting our annual Poinsettia Walks, now approaching their 15th year.

The poinsettia season in fact begins as far back as March, when orders are placed for the oncoming season. Cuttings are taken from the mother plants in Ethiopia and flown to specialist growers in Germany to be rooted and delivered for the end of June.

As soon as these arrive on the nursery it's a frantic job to get them potted as soon as possible, as they don't like to hang around! Pots are filled mechanically with fibrous compost with added bark and perlite to help fast rooting - the free drainage structure is essential so that the plants do not become too wet.

Poinsettias

Poinsettias

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Dried Flowers for Christmas

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David Bouch David Bouch | 11:00 UK time, Monday, 21 November 2011

Christmas has arrived again already at Cotehele, and the gardeners are busy putting together our Christmas decorations and really putting the 'd' in decoration!

garland

"Last year's garland suspended the whole length of the main hall of the Tudor house at Cotehele."

We have a tradition here in Cornwall of constructing a garland made of Pittosporum foliage which is suspended the whole length of the main hall of the Tudor house. It is 18 metres (60 feet) long and about 30cm (12") in diameter and this is the base for our dried flower display.

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Night Gardening

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Lia Leendertz Lia Leendertz | 07:00 UK time, Thursday, 17 November 2011

If you work any kind of regular hours, it is easy to feel disconnected from your garden. It has its finest moments when you are stuck in the office. Your flowers are blooming away while you play solitaire over an over-chilled sandwich. The answer is to design your garden around the times when you are around: evenings and nights.

night garden

A garden designed to work at night can be a magical place, filled with intimacy, intrigue and wafts of delicious scent. Here’s how to go about making it somewhere you escape to after work, rather than gaze at with regret over the washing up.

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Biodegradable Decorations

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Alys Fowler Alys Fowler | 07:00 UK time, Sunday, 13 November 2011

christmas decoration

I once had to sit in a yew tree with a smoke machine and press a button at the required moment so that a great bellow of smoke would appear. It was a pretty awful job, as more smoke seemed to come out of the back of the machine than the front. I came out thoroughly preserved by the end of the take.

This was the same year that as researchers for the Christmas special, Clare and I spent a good month or so, after work, sitting on the office floor creating Christmas decorations from the garden. Clare even perfected frost-tipped seed heads (sugar water and into the freezer).

People would mutter darkly that we weren't Blue Peter as they had to skirt around our ever increasing pile of poppy heads shimmering in gold dust, teasels that sparkled with glitter, pine cones dusted in snow and huge piles of fairy lights.

We tied and sprayed, glued and glittered all manner of garden debris into really quite charming decorations. Both our mother's still have some of these decoration. And I can say, hand on heart that I was truly proud of the end credit that had a tree covered in our decorations.

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Natural Swimming Ponds

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Janine Pattison Janine Pattison | 07:00 UK time, Wednesday, 9 November 2011

On a cold, frosty morning like today the idea of diving into a cold garden pond for a swim isn't my idea of fun. But these natural swimming ponds are becoming quite popular as people like the idea of swimming in clean, chemical-free water. Perhaps in the summer when the water temperature was higher I might be tempted.

They function and look exactly like a pond but have a large plant-free area which is the swimming zone. This can be deep or shallow and usually has steps down into the water. The planting is confined to a 'regeneration zone' outside the swimming space and that is where the filtering and cleaning of the water takes place. Crucially this is also the area that any wildlife stays, as the thought of coming face to face with a frog during a morning swim isn't my cup of tea!

water garden feature

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A Drop of Exotica: Water Hyacinths

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Linda Smith Linda Smith | 07:00 UK time, Sunday, 6 November 2011

Water hyacinth

Water hyacinth

Baby blue flowers rising from gloriously glossy, luxuriously generous leaves make water hyacinths among the most beautiful of all the pond plants you can grow.

If you've got a taste for the tropical and your pond is nestled in among exotic Colocasia, canna lilies or bananas, this is the water plant for you.

Mind you, if you're growing it for its flowers it can be a bit of a lottery. It has its roots in hotter climates than ours, it doesn't always flower in the UK unless we have a good hot summer.

If that is the case, you'll be rewarded with that lovely flower stem with clusters of pale lavender flowers, stained darker blue on the top petals. Think of this as hitting the jackpot: most years you'll only get leaves, but what wonderful leaves they are.

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Seed Heads

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Noel Kingsbury Noel Kingsbury | 14:00 UK time, Thursday, 3 November 2011

As October turns into November and then into December, the spirit of the gardener often sinks to a seasonal low. The leaves have fallen from the trees and all too often the garden is a brown and soggy mess.

Autumnal prairie boarder

Autumnal prairie boarder

There can be something to admire though, and that is the huge range of seed heads which garden plants leave behind after their flowers have long since finished. These are joined by the seed heads of the wide range of ornamental grasses we now have available.

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