News - Page 40

Count your earthworms!

Count your earthworms and help Oxford scientists find out more about the soil that keeps your plants healthy in the latest ‘citizen science’ project from environmental charity Earthwatch.

All you need to do is dig two holes somewhere in your garden where there are at least two different habitats – say, lawn and flowerbed - and count how many earthworms you find. Then fill in the simple online survey to record your results.

Researchers will use your res...

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Use your walls to the max with vertical gardening

Use your walls to the max with vertical gardening to cram even more colour, scent and spectacle into your garden and add a whole new dimension to your gardening life.

There are dozens of new and innovative ways to take your plants skywards and you’ll find many of them right here at our garden centre in Pickering.

Shelving systems triple the number of containers you can squeeze in. Shelving with slatted wood allows water to drain through; if the shelves...

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The number of plants blooming on Valentine’s Day this year shot up

The number of plants blooming on Valentine’s Day this year shot up by over 60% according to the results of the National Trust’s 11th annual February flower count. Each year the Trust counts the number of flowers in bloom on February 14th at 18 of its gardens in the south west of the UK. The sudden increase this year is thought to have been caused by high rainfall and mild temperatures, causing plants to become confused about when they should bloom.

A total of...

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Plant rhubarb now

Plant rhubarb now for bumper crops next spring. Late spring is a great time to plant permanent crops, as it's warm but there's plenty of rain about – ideal growing conditions. Big, hungry plants like rhubarb need time to get their roots down into the ground to fuel those stout stalks and huge leaves, so planting crowns before the heat of summer gives them a quick start and a whole season to get going before you start picking – giving you hefty harvests from next sea...

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Gardeners may be able to help reverse the decline in butterfly populations

Gardeners may be able to help reverse the decline in butterfly populations according to Butterfly Conservation, now recruiting volunteers to join its Garden Butterfly Survey.

The survey will reveal the ups and downs of garden butterfly numbers, plus how they are affected by climate change, what plants they prefer and the best size and location for a butterfly-friendly garden.

Britain’s 22 million gardens offer a potentially huge and vitally important h...

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MAY – HTA PLANT OF THE MOMENT THYME FOR HERBS

Create your own culinary herb garden that looks almost too good to eat!

Try planting a selection of tasty herbs valued as much for their ornamental appeal as their flavour. From sage to thyme, rosemary to clipped bay and flowering chives, combine herbs valued for their ornamental beauty to produce long-lasting displays as well as regular pickings for the kitchen.

There are no hard and fast rules about creating herb gardens, but successful designs often...

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Plant a classic American Indian combination of squash, beans and corn

Plant a classic American Indian combination of squash, beans and corn and reap the rewards of one of the oldest recorded companion planting techniques in higher yields and less work.

The Three Sisters has been used for centuries by the Iroquois, who grew their staple foods of corn, beans and squash mixed up in the same bed.

Tall sweetcorn supports climbing beans, while large-leafed squash scrambles around the feet of the other two ‘sisters’, keeping we...

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Persuade your strawberries to fruit earlier

Persuade your strawberries to fruit earlier by popping a cloche or fleece over your plants, trapping every last scrap of sunshine underneath and raising the temperature by a few degrees – just enough to bring them into flower weeks ahead of schedule.

Early varieties like ‘Honeoye’ work best for this, as they’re already bred to flower sooner than most types of strawberry. You’ll also need a cloche (easy-to-use clear polythene tunnel cloche are available from o...

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Garden gnomes are becoming a rare species in British gardens

Garden gnomes are becoming a rare species in British gardens according to a new survey which found that sales of the cheeky garden statuettes have halved in the last decade.

A poll of 2000 British gardeners found most thought garden gnomes ‘tacky’, and 94% would ‘never have a gnome in their garden’. But over 100 gardeners came out in defence of gnomes, saying they loved the ornaments and had at least one in their gardens.

In an attempt to make gnomes m...

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Dare to plant your new potatoes

Dare to plant your new potatoes this week: as frosts look less and less likely, you can take the risk to bring forward the moment when you can harvest those mouthwatering little nuggets of sheer flavour for your tea.

If you haven’t already got a tray or two chitting (forming sprouts) in eggboxes on a windowsill, it’s not too late to pop down to the garden centre here in Pickering and pick up a packet of first early seed potatoes.

Prepare your bed well...

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