Green Fingers I Wish

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wildlife Hit By Drought in South East

 We have a drought, not that anyone north or west of the south-east of England would know it. Most parts of the UK have seen a fair amount of rain over last winter, and supplies are reasonably plentiful.

Unfortunately, the south-east and east Anglia have been badly affected by the driest 18 months since records began, and that means that not just people, but other creatures are suffering the consequences too.

So, how can gardeners help out in providing for wildlife in drought-hit areas? Here are nine points highlighting the various ways we can all do our bit for nature..

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rhubarb Growers Unhappy at Lack of Frost

I once assumed that all plants hate frost (especially here in the UK). But, I see I was wrong.

Apparently rhubarb NEEDS some sharp frost in order to thrive.  Freezing conditions mean that the rhubarb's roots store much-needed energy over the winter months, and the last thing growers want is for the ground to be too warm so that the rhubarb starts to grow, thus using up reserves of energy.

West Yorkshire is the place to go for quality rhubarb, but there is some concern about production in the so-called "pink triangle" among growers.

The lack of freezing weather doesn't particularly help sales either, as generally more people will turn to rhubarb dishes (great with custard poured over it) when it's cold outside.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reducing Lawn Mowing Accidents

One of the leading causes of accidents resulting in serious injury is due to carelessness when using lawn mowers. Thousands of people have to get hospital treatment for things like electrical shocks to loss of fingers or hands.

What are some of the typical causes of these accidents?

Mowers are generally either ridden on, or pushed from behind. And where there are rotating blades of any kind there is potentially the risk of the blade slicing off a limb. Placing fingers near the blade, perhaps in an effort to clear away a clump of grass for instance, is asking for trouble. Many of these accidents happen when the person reaches under the skirt of the mower, or puts the hand into the discharge chute. Before any attempt is made to remove debris the circuit should be cut off so there is no chance of the blades being turned.

It should be remembered that mower blades turn at very fast speeds. It is almost inevitable that the occasional stone will get hit by the blade and be flung at a fast pace. These small objects can hit the operator, or someone else, and can hurt, or even blind someone. It's a good idea to check the portion of grass to be cut before doing the mowing just to see if any obvious objects such as stones can be picked up by hand.

Riding type lawn mowers present their own problems. There is the potential instability with this kind of mower, which may cause it to overturn in certain situations, particularly when mowing steep slopes. The overturned mower can fall on the operator causing injury, or it may lead to contact of the rotating blade with the operator.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inmate Grows Giant Pumpkin

Rhode Island prisoner  Elena Hall has grown a 260-pound pumpkin. She was already entrusted with mowing the lawns, but when guards planted a pumpkin seed back in March Elena decided to nurture it.

The giant pumpkin, named appropriately named "Miss Demeanor" was fed a diet of country music by Elena, who actually put headphones on it. I imagine gardening will be something for this prison inmate to continue with after she gets out of prison. And, judging by her success story with Miss Demeanor, she ought to do a good job of gardening.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Weather Unseasonably Hot In Much of UK

Nature is very fickle, as the recent weather in the UK has proved.

Most things growing in our gardens have been preparing for the change in seasons, yet the spell of hot weather since the middle of last week has caught them wrong-footed.

To most humans, however, that's been good news, particularly since we've had a lousy summer. Beaches around the country have been very busy, shorts and ice creams have been selling out, and sunscreen cream has had to be restocked on shop shelves.

The record for Britain's hottest October day was today broken as temperatures reached 29.9 degrees Celsius  in Gravesend according to the Met Office. The weather was actually hotter than that in places such as that found in Athens, Barcelona and Los Angeles.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why Encouraging Children to Garden is Important

One of the most therapeutic of activities is said to be that of gardening. Gardening is relaxing, yet recreational. What other forms of activity get you outdoors, using your muscles, getting some exercise, and comes with results, either at that moment, or in the case of planting, at a time in the future?

With this in mind, gardening is something that should involve the whole family where possible. Youngsters love the outdoors. Help them appreciate that a certain amount of work has to go into the care of the garden. That without putting in the effort there would be no order in the garden. Encourage them to appreciate and understand the wonders of nature. How things have to be planted, watered and nurtured.

As children grow they can have their own tools, making it fun to dig holes, to water the plants, rake up the leaves, and even to get rid of the weeds. Encouraging children to garden is all part of learning, just as it's important for them to learn cooking or other basic household skils.

Then, when our kids get to have a home of their own, they too can care for their own gardens, and in turn teach their children the fulfillment that can be got from gardening.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Lawn Treatment Made My Grass Shoot Up

I have someone who comes to cut my lawn every couple of weeks. This time around he had left it for a little over three weeks, and the grass had grown to about 12" tall.

Walking down the street I looked at the other gardens where the gardener goes to, and noticed that the length of their grass was half that of mine.

Anyway, when he came and cut the grass he asked whether I have a lawn treatment service, which I do. And that was the reason why the grass had grown so green, and lush, and SO LONG. My lawn rarely gets any weeds, and the grass really does grow well (too well in fact sometimes).

So, it proved to me that whatever the lawn treatment is, it certainly does its job very well.