Green Fingers I Wish

Monday, October 29, 2007

Changes to Hosepipe Bans ?

People in England and Wales could be forbidden to fill pools and clean patios with a hose during a drought under plans to toughen hosepipe bans.

The bans already cover washing cars and watering gardens with a hosepipe.

School pools and pools for medical use will be exempt from the rules next spring, but water companies may forbid the use of a hose to wash windows.

The dry weather of 2005 and 2006 led to empty reservoirs and hosepipe bans that affected about 13 million people.

The changes will introduce a "discretionary use ban", leaving it up to individual water companies to decide which water-related activities to prohibit.

Firms will not have to consult ministers in order to act and could also stop people using hot tubs and jacuzzis, operating ornamental ponds and fountains and using pressure hoses.

But gardeners maintaining registered collections of plants will be allowed to water them.

Seems amazing that in such a wet country we have to worry about droughts.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

'Bird-friendly' call for gardens

'Bird-friendly' call for gardens
A house sparrow
The number of house sparrows is in decline, the RSBP says

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said simple measures can help preserve populations of house sparrows, starlings and song thrushes.

It has recommended allowing patches of long grass to grow, so that insects which act as food can thrive.

Dr Darren Moorcroft from the RSPB said the British garden was part of a larger wildlife community.

Wildlife community

The charity's Homes for Wildlife scheme, which is launched on Saturday, will call for gardeners to plant deciduous trees, native shrubs and climbers like as honeysuckle or roses - all of which provide food and shelter for birds.

The RSPB has also suggested plants which are rich in nectar and seeds such as sunflowers and alyssum.

It said it hoped that more than 200,000 people will support the scheme.

Leaving pot plants on balconies can also encourage insects which provide food for birds, it added.

Dr Moorcroft, RSPB head of conservation management advice, said "gardens are the richest wildlife habitat on earth".

He added: "By taking simple wildlife-friendly steps in our gardens, collectively we will make a real difference for many of our birds and other wildlife," he said.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Help out our feathered friends

Bird Feeders

Now's the time to help our feathered friends.

The birds have had a tough time this season. Excessive rain, fewer insects and crop failure of many wild seeds have played a part.

This winter, feeding them could make the difference between life and death. Keep your conscience clear and invest in the latest and greatest bird feeders money can buy.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Swap Unwanted Seeds

Hows this for an idea to save on buying seeds?

Welcome to Seedy People

The site for swapping unwanted seeds -

from Vegetables & Herbs to Flowers & Trees

Let's get the UK growing crazy

We all know seeds are expensive and there is always a surplus after planting what we need.

This site is for those of you who would like to make use of the surplus to either swap for a variety you have been longing to grow, a variety you have never heard of or send on to someone who you know will get great pleasure in growing.

For the price of a stamp we can make use of all those millions of seeds that go to waste and also save ourselves money in the process

Rare spiky plant flowers at Eden

Rare spiky plant flowers at Eden
Jann Coles with Hoodia plant
Kalahari bushmen have eaten Hoodia plants for centuries
A rare plant which researchers believe could help combat obesity has flowered at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

It is thought to be the first time that the succulent Hoodia plant, which was grown by horticulturalists at Eden's nursery, has flowered in the UK.

The Hoodia has been eaten for centuries by San bushmen of the Kalahari to suppress their appetite while hunting.

Research is being undertaken into the possibility of the plant being used in the production of anti-obesity drugs.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fall Lawn Care

Fall Lawn Care

Winter weather is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put yard work on hold. In fact, fall is one of the best times to get work done on the exterior of your home, and regular lawn maintenance is no exception.

Leaf raking and other fall chores can be tough and time consuming, but the extra effort will pay off. If your lawn is properly winterized it has a better shot at surviving the colder temperatures, and it will be more likely to flourish when spring arrives.

This helps you lay the groundwork for a lush lawn come spring:

• Get out the rake: A general rule of thumb says to not let leaves sit on the lawn for more than three or four days. Why? Fallen leaves will deprive your grass of crucial sunlight during the fall months, and this can lead to weakened root systems. Worse yet, leaves can accumulate and get wet, leading to mold growth and attracting pests such as termites.
• Know when to water: Give your trees and shrubs a good soaking after the leaves fall, and before the ground is frozen. Since the winter damage that they sustain often stems from their inability to draw water from the frozen earth, proper watering in the fall is crucial.
• Winterize the lawn: The lawn should be fertilized and reseeded twice before winter hits. This will keep the grass strong and healthy, and ready to be green in the spring.
• Keep the mower running: You also want to continue mowing regularly until the first frost. If grass is left too long it can eventually flatten from snow, resulting in the same types of problems caused by accumulated leaves. Don’t forget to drain the gas from the mower after the last mow of fall, before storing for the winter.
• Gutter inspection: Be sure to clean out the joints where the gutters meet the downspouts. Once they’re clean, pour water into the gutters and watch where it goes. You might need to divert the water to avoid the driveway and walkways, which can ice over and become hazardous in the winter.
• Store the hoses: Remember to drain the water from your garden hoses and coil them for storage. You might also want to turn off the water to outdoor spigots to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
• Get ready for snow: While you’re working on fall chores, take time to change the oil in your snow blower and inspect the belts for wear. You want to make sure it’s up and running before the first big snow.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sowing Grass Seed

Early autumn is a very good time to sow a new lawn while the soil is warm and damp. I`ts also less expensive than turfing. There are grass seed mixes available to suit every garden, from shady spots to gardens with low rainfall. Some grasses are harder wearing too.

1. Prepare the soil by removing large stones and weeds, and roughly levelling. Fork over and rake level. Firm the soil by walking over, placing weight on your heels and rake again. Two days before the seed is to be sown, lightly rake in a granular fertiliser.

2. Use canes to mark out the area to be sown into square metres. Shake the box to mix up seeds and weigh out to cover each square metre into a container and mark the level on the outside. Spread at 50g per square metre or at the rate it says on the packet.

3. Split each 50g in half and scatter seed in one direction across a square and then spread the rest in the opposite direction. After sowing, lightly rake over the area and water.

4. Don’t let the soil dry out until the grass is established and stretch fruit netting across the site to prevent birds from eating the seed.