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The concept was first promoted as a way for gardeners to contribute to reducing the growing problem of severe flash flooding in towns and cities.

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The idea is that the garden soaks up as much, if not all, of the rainfall that falls on it, preventing the excess runoff running into the drainage system. In times of very heavy rainfall, all the runoff coming from roofs, paths, pavements, roads, and all the other sealed surfaces, can simply overload the drainage system, resulting both in large areas of flooding, but also, often, the discharge of untreated waste water into rivers and streams.

What with issues such as the paving over of front gardens , with the increased run-off into the streets this causes, we're becoming all too familiar with this issue in the UK too. Rain gardens aim to prevent this happening, by using areas of planting to soak up that runoff. The underlying slogan for the movement is 'disconnect your downpipes! Paths can be drained off into planting, and large areas of paving or driveway replaced with more permeable materials. The great thing about rain gardens is that it is all about the house, the garden, and the domestic scale unlike ' sustainable urban drainage schemes ' which are much more about large-scale engineering.

But the very best news is that this will only work with planting - you need the areas of soil and plants to soak up that rain water. So this is where gardeners and garden designers come to the very forefront of tackling climate change. But more than this - gardens with lots of good planting are, automatically, far better for wildlife, and, I am convinced, much better for people too!

I think gardens like this are so much more satisfying than gardens produced purely for ornament or decoration alone. There are so many more stories to be told; so many more interesting and exciting features to be included, and above all, there is the knowledge that your patch is contributing to something far larger than purely your own enjoyment. As a follow-up, we're also creating a full-scale rain garden as one of the main show gardens for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show And if all this has whetted your appetite to create your very own rain garden, take a look at this step-by-step guide to how it all works:.

There's more, including a downloadable leaflet on rain gardening, on the WWT's website. He is author of several books on sustainable garden design and planting, and is currently horticulture and planting design consultant for the London Olympic Park. Post categories: beechgrove. Making the first programme of a new series of Beechgrove Garden is always a bit of a stew.

We have been 'off air' since last September and there is so much that has happened since then. Add to that, we now have 5 presenters who all need to show face at the start, no matter how brief! The missing contributor Carolyn Spray did make an appearance because she was the lucky one to go to Cambo Estate on the Fife coast in late February to film a little bit of the 'Snowdrops by Starlight' festival, shown as an insert to Programme 1.

Programme 2 goes out at 7. There are two of us in the garden with contributions from the other two by way of inserts. As I have probably mentioned before, as we finish the winter cultivations on our vegetable plots, we cover them over with heavy polythene to keep the soil from being wetted again and again simply because we want to get our seeds and plants in at the optimum time, giving ourselves the chance to produce optimum yields. Soil conditions can be fine enough to achieve a decent tilth but soil temperature has to be in the region of 7degC for the first sowings to germinate as expected.

Another good reason for trying to keep the soil a bit dry. As it happens the temperature was up to 10 deg C about 10cm down, under the covers. The crop I was anxious to get started were the early potatoes. They have been chitting away in the glasshouse for the past 6 weeks and have fine, short sturdy sprouts on them.

Since they are being planted with a 5 - 7 cms of soil on top of them and covered over with the thick polythene, they will be quite snug and protected from these radiation frosts we tend to get at this time.

Harold Davis | Flowers | Page 2

I was able to put in a couple of rows. In this part of the world, the most popular variety is Duke of York. The colour variation Red Duke of York is also popular but others have started to supersede these with supporters of a whole range willing to offer advice! We shall see how it all pans out. The story behind it will take a bit of telling but I was spraying our roses with garlic extract, something I will be doing on a fortnightly basis throughout the growing season and with a little bit of bravado and gritted teeth, I have suggested that we will also treat our fruit crops with this material.

What's it all about? No 'chemical' pest and disease control materials will be used. The garlic extract whilst doing neither job, applied as a regular foliar spray, will actually build up the plant's own resistance to attack. We shall see but I do know that if you feed too many turnips to cattle, the milk gets tainted! Am I doing the right thing? Never ventured, never gained. Will I treat my own crops at home? Maybe the roses.

The Cheeswrings, Cornwall photo: Mischa Haller. During last year's Chelsea Flower Show a potential sponsor collared me to ask if I was up for Amy Whidburn from Homebase wanted a show garden that celebrated a life stage and exuded health and well being. What a fantastic brief and, what's more, a whole twelve months to organise it - brilliant! To me, Amy's brief leant towards a Cornish themed idea - celebration, holidays, change of pace, recreation - you get the picture. And being of Cornish extraction, it all made perfect sense, and a great excuse to visit my old stomping ground.

Cornwall has so many subjects to draw from for inspiration but the moor, coast and gardens conjured up my fondest memories to represent at Chelsea. On Bodmin Moor sits a geological phenomena, The Cheeswrings ; monumental granite slabs stacked progressively larger, their impossibility of structure appears as if they will topple at any moment. I have used this subject matter to design the pavilion with an oversized glass roof of precariously placed and slab-like louvres to add depth.

To further authenticate the Cornish theme, I managed to persuade the last working granite quarry in Cornwall to supply the genuine article. Watching the tiny rivulets etched in the sand photo: Mischa Haller. During a visit to the beach, I was mesmerised by the tiny rivulets etched in the sand at low tide and have worked up a watery idea with water wizard Andrew Ewing involving sinuous etches in the granite to create a three-channelled rivulet path.

A giant rock pool acts as a destination to the rivulets, but for Chelsea purposes, it will be a natural swimming rock pool. I can imagine the judges donning their swimsuits to properly test it out on press day. As a child I was sometimes dragged, kicking and screaming, off the beach to look at gardens. Reward was gained by clambering amongst the rhododendrons and bamboo, pretending to be an explorer and also So I have spent most of last summer travelling around Europe bagging rhodos and rhodo-friendly associates for the garden. I've got some fantastic Cornus controversa and kousa, wonderful Rhododendron yakushimanum and Viburnum plicatum.

In the bamboo department I have got Indocalamus tessellatus and Semiarundinaria fastuosa. My main trees are Pinus sylvestris, coming in at a whopping seven metres in height and will tower majestically over the planting. On the beach in Cornwall before being dragged off kicking and screaming to visit a garden. But last August things went wrong big time. Like a fool, I always assumed I was doing Chelsea Flower Show - far from it; Chelsea was oversubscribed and the RHS had to pick just 17 show gardens from twice as many applications.

What followed was four months of sleepless nights: I had spent a third of my sponsorship money on plants, handed out deposits left right and centre, signed agreements and contracts - and yet, there was a real possibility that I might not be going to Chelsea.


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Our design had been accepted and we had been allocated a prime spot at the top of Main Avenue. It was all systems go and I enjoyed the first good's night sleep for months. Probably shouldn't get too used to it though. Tom Hoblyn 's debut at Chelsea in resulted in a gold medal, followed by a Silver medal in and silver Gilt in Follow the ups and downs of the creation of his most ambitious Chelsea Show Garden to date on this blog in the coming weeks. Congratulations are due to the scientists at the National Botanic Garden of Wales who this week laid their claim to be the first country to produce a DNA barcode for every one of its 1, species of native plants.

So what, you might ask? And you thought plants were just there to look pretty. If you're one of the growing army of fans of carnivorous plants — from pitcher plants, capable of eating a mouse, to spiny venus flytraps and pretty sundews brilliant for controlling whitefly in the greenhouse, by the way — do check you've bought them from a reputable source.

A report this week revealed the main threat to the survival of carnivorous plants in the wild is not habitat loss, or climate change, but unscrupulous plant collectors who raid wild populations for specimens to sell to gardeners. Hoorah, hoorah, the first cucumber, Petita , made it in time, was duly picked on the last day of March and appreciatively eaten.

Oh sure I've other fresh stuff but a cucumber is a real prize and announces the 'grow your own' season has really started. Indeed with some jerk seasoned mushrooms, very mixed salad and mashed potatoes the cucumber topped a delightful meal, shame my new potatoes in buckets under cover were not yet big enough. A dry spell has followed the cold spell and although established grass is growing the newly seeded patches have still not germinated, and with continual thinning by birds I must re-seed. The first beds of potatoes have been planted but of course their shoots have not appeared - I've put plastic sheet cloches over two beds of earlies, Sharpe's Express, Maris Bard , to help bring them on.

I combine incorporating over-wintered green manure with planting their sets. As a planting trench is made it's systematically re-filled with the topmost slice of that bed replete with all it's weeds, the sets are embedded in a layer of sieved compost sandwiched between layers of this weedy fill then the lot topped off with the next spit of clean soil. I do much the same for sweet corn, squashes and runner beans as these are all crops able to use freshly decomposing material at their roots.

The outdoor apricots have finished blooming and the peaches , plums and cherries are picking up, the pears also have fat buds soon to break. No sign of the bluebell flowers yet, but Hyacinths , daffodils and snowflakes are still blooming and the tulips are gorgeous, I reflex their petals to make huge saucer blooms for the twins. Back under cover I've wallflowers for cutting however the tomatoes and melons still seem behind expectations, still they'll succeed eventually. The first sweetcorn seedlings are soon to be moved into buckets of compost and cropped under cover as a super early treat. The forced pots of strawberries , a real favourite, have small green fruits and masses more flowers - they've never looked better, but forced gooseberries are scant and small so far.

I think I've over-cropped previous years and must start new plants to give these ones a rest. The tubs of top fruits are taking more watering now as their canopies fill out, the first batch of grapes likewise as their shoots are now approaching the point between three to five leaves from where the bud broke, if there's no truss of flowers there then there will be none when I thin the shoots to five or so to each 'head'.

My oldest vine, a Muscat Hamburg, in my plastic roofed back porch is most advanced and already showing flower-trusses, but outdoors other vines have barely swollen their growth buds yet. Over-all it's a good start this spring, and ducks are nesting near my pond whilst my hens are still sitting, so maybe it will now be ducklings as well as chicks for Easter. Why produce bearded iris with ever more ruffled and larger flowers? Michael Loftus , who runs a Suffolk nursery specialising in bearded iris, hemerocallis, pelargoniums and auriculas, thinks some of the world's leading Iris breeders seem to have got completely stuck in this rut.

I spend a large part of each winter surfing the web and leafing through catalogues looking at new developments in plant breeding. Sounds fun doesn't it? Old fashioned criteria, such as elegance and good proportions, seem to have no place in the modern iris breeder's lexicon. As a result I find myself searching out historic varieties of bearded iris. What can be more beautiful than the simple elegance of Iris 'Tishomingo', bred by Caldwell in , or the elegant Benton range of Irises introduced by the painter Sir Cedric Morris in the s. Modern bearded iris tend to have congested, muddled standards and stubby, scarcely pendant falls.

The classic varieties of breeders such as Caldwell and Sir Cedric Morris have tall arching standards which allow and invite the eye to look through and beyond and long narrow pendant falls which balance the ascendant standards.

Harold Davis

Much the same story applies to Hemerocallis daylilies. Most Modern Hemerocallis are bred to have huge multicoloured flowers with thick coarse petals and heavy braided edges. Subtle is not a word one can apply here. Luckily there is a small group of American breeders bucking the trend.

Ned Roberts and Margot Reed over the last five years have introduced numerous lovely new cultivars with elegant spidery petals in retrained colours. Margot Reed's 'Brown Witch' is also a great delight - elegantly proportioned and a real brown, rather than just red pretending to be brown. Much the same goes for pelargonium breeding. Most modern breeding concentrates on producing zonals and regals with ever bigger and more outrageous flowers. Very little work is done breeding from the many elegant species and old scented-leaved varieties - though a recent delightful exception is Pelargonium 'Angel Eyes Orange'.

Why dwarf such beautiful leggy lovelies as Verbena bonariensis? They have though - it's called V. Tall, airy Knautia macedonica has been reduced to K. Of course garden centers love dwarf plants - they present so much better in pots for impulse purchases. As usual the public gets what the retailers want us to have, rather than what we would like to have. And the horticultural press does not help. Garden magazines endlessly exhort owners of small gardens to choose dwarf plants - why, I completely fail to understand. Small gardens most of all need tall plants. Who wants a flat shoebox of a garden?

Let's colonise a bit of the sky! My hope for the future is that plant breeders look again for their inspiration in species plants; we need elegance, not ostentation, and the natural grace of wild flowers are in this our best tutor. Michael Loftus is the owner of Woottens of Wenhaston , a Suffolk nursery specialising in bearded iris, hemerocallis, pelargoniums and auriculas.

I'm never alone in my garden. Backing me up day in, day out is an entourage of supporters - most with six legs, some with hundreds, some too small to have legs at all - keeping soil excited and pests quiet. Crowds of them cheer on my lettuce and dahlias. But these horticultural helpers didn't arrive all at once, following some organic flag. I became organic by accident, following best practice ideas from broader experience.

Compost heaps offered early support, adding gorgeous organic matter to release embedded nutrients and break up clay lumps for better drainage or hold everything together in freer draining soils. Compost is like an alarm clock to wake up both soil biology and the millions of creatures which live unseen in our veg beds. My plants were far more enthusiastic with lively soil structure and fertility. It was like giving them three square meals a day - rather than double espresso for breakfast.

This is best practice for trees, shrubs, lovely herbaceous crops and annuals. Choosing the right site with the right soil became my next organic step. A satisfying mix to offer every plant natural vigour and better resilience to pest and diseases. Imagine a sturdy growing carrot in sandy, free-draining soil with just the right amount of organic matter, enough to hold on to water yet not so much that they're starting to fork: that's a plant provided with a horticultural bat to fend off antagonists.

Moisture-loving willow trees planted in the same dry-ish, sandy soil, though, will sulk and suffer. Knowing what plants like best saves the effort of forcing growth with extra fertilisers, sprays, and water. Inviting wildlife to sort out ambitious pests was the next organic milestone for me. Frogs enjoy slugs. Birds hunt caterpillars. And the larvae of hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds enjoy aphids and their lookalikes. These mini-armies of gardeners joined the entourage to reduce pest populations to a murmur, albeit never quite silent. Predators always leave some prey, so expect a bit of damage.

Politely 'borrowing' wildlife avoids the bother and residues of spraying. I enjoy watching them visit and hoping their offspring will set up home. Real estate includes simple flowers, long grass, hedgerows, ground cover, berries, old stems for hibernation and shallow water. Features are tidily ordered in a sort of corridor so the medley can wander around my patch, and the neighbour's. And eventually, I became organic by attitude. Firstly, leaping over cabbage to investigate dodgy looking leaves, reacting quickly to pests and diseases before they spread.

Then learning to whip off gooseberry sawfly in spring, yet leave powdery mildew on end-of-season courgettes. Then opting for least environmental impact when buying, such as wood from sustainably managed woodlands. Or using recycled plastic bottle cloches and durable pest-barrier meshes. Rather than feel pressured by organic expectations, I've come to think of my 'conversion' to organic methods as a journey. My benches come from reclamation yards - though I love the smell of new sawn timber.

I've given in and use extra fertiliser to keep my childhood oak tree growing in a container, though for less sentimental growing I use varieties that reduce tricky problems such as Lettuce 'Amorina', which is resistant to mildew. National charity Garden Organic has guidelines to help you make such choices too. They use smiley faces of increasing happiness: wide grins for compost, but sad faces for sprays - although there are chemicals which save crops and still fit into an organic regime such as ferric phosphate slug pellets.

And you can lend a helping hand by adding your own wildlife, such as Encarsia formosa , a parasitic wasp that controls greenhouse whitefly. With simple steps and enough support, organic growing has something to offer every garden. Philip Turvil is a horticultural adviser for Garden Organic and also runs their Master Gardeners programme. On October 4, Brian will introduce us to night and star photography, explain how to use your camera at night, what to photograph and when, and how to post-process so that you can get amazing night images.

Acceptable entries are photographs that portray various aspects of natural plant and animal life; that illustrate the natural features of land, sea, and sky; or that reveal natural phenomena. No image in this competition may show human intervention.

9 tips for BETTER PORTRAITS

Domestic plants e. As a result of recent and on-going issues with our Yahoo account ssccphotography yahoo. Wayne Wolfersberger returns as our judge for the Nature competition on October Wayne is an ecologist-naturalist, educator, and photographer by professional education and passion, garnering special respect for his nature photography — very fitting for our competition theme! At p. Half an hour will be an open forum discussing issues at hand.

A half hour is devoted to presentations by members. And a half hour is set aside for member image reviews.

This is always a great evening of sharing and learning. What topics would you like to explore? Or bring a gadget to share. It covers four cross-country trips in our RV over the last five and half years covering 35, miles in 47 of the continental 48 states. We had no specific itinerary and let spontaneity and adventure be our guide. I was able to capture images of many interesting people and places that I hope will prove entertaining.

This is an opportunity for you to provide input to the SSCC experience. Kirstin Gulling is a new member. In order to help club members get to know Kirstin, we asked her to respond to several questions about herself and her interests in photography. Here she describes her photographic interests, sources of inspiration, and challenges:. After a stressful winter due to family illness, I decided I needed a creative outlet. We bought it when our kids were young, but I never got past leaving it on the fully automatic setting. Later, when our phones took better and better pictures, and were far more convenient to carry around with young kids, we packed away the relatively heavy equipment.

I enjoy playing around with the settings and trying to figure out how to take and compose pictures. I want to learn more, and wanted to meet some people with whom I could share this hobby. I entered a few pictures in the county fair this year and won a few ribbons for them. I heard some people talking about a camera club, so I looked up camera clubs. The minutes are in the following link:. August 30 Board Meeting. The Club will vote on the following proposed amendments to the Constitution on our October 11 Competition Night.

It is provided at the following link:. While we voted for, and filled, all of our Executive Board positions last season, our Secretary position became open again before the beginning of this season. These things happen! We now need to fill this position, which requires publishing a candidate or candidates before a meeting when we can schedule a vote. Fortunately, we have a candidate that would like to fill this role for us!

She is new member Maude Svensson, whom many of you met at a recent meeting. We plan to put Maude to your vote as our new Secretary on our Competition Night meeting on October There were lots of attendees in character, jousting, shoppes, archery, jugglers, street entertainment, stage productions, cleavage, roasted turkey legs, drinking, and general bacchanalia. Welcome back, Ektachrome! Bernard Chen was our speaker on September 6, and presented many stunning photographs and videos from Dolly Sods, West Virginia.

While we broadcast his message regarding an opportunity to attend a October workshop there, timed to match predicted peak fall color, he has been forced to cancel due to time constraints and scheduling. He promises that if anyone goes next weekend, you may run into him there. No one has performed more brilliantly — and consistently — than Leo Howard Lubow.

Leo brings to the table real depth of knowledge, passion, wisdom, and thoughtful preparation that is unsurpassed. Well done! Thanks so much for sharing your skill, knowledge and passion, and for your obvious thorough preparation! The date of this 1-Day Seminar is Saturday, October 13, For more information and to register visit mdphotoalliance. It is composed of a juried exhibit of nature photography, lectures and classes on all aspects of photography, raptor and parrot photo shoots, vendors, a Friday all-day seminar by renowned photographer Thomas Heaton, and a Saturday keynote address by Cole Thompson.

Over winning nature photographs on display plus an exhibit of over Fine Art photographs. Over twenty vendors selling all manner of photographic supplies and equipment. T raining many are separately purchased include an all day seminar, 60 and 90 minute lectures, free sessions for beginners, hands-on workshops, keynote address, Lightroom instruction, and minute portfolio reviews. I found inspiration regarding the right expression, gesture, and emotion within a street photograph in an unlikely place. The Maryland Photography Alliance is a group of 16 clubs working together to enhance our enjoyment of photography.