This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Waterlily, Tomatoes and Pruning a Grapevine

What is it?

To pick up where I left off yesterday, a member of a mailing list that I belong to linked to Water Gardeners International has posted a photograph of a tropical waterlily and enquired about its authenticity. I have posted it here. What do you think? The general consensus amongst members of the mailing list is that it is a fake or a touched up photo. Well I reserve judgement until I have heard from the company. It is a major Italian nursery organisation click here. and I find it difficult to believe, with their reputation, that they would post any photo in their online catalogue that was not accurate. However, it certainly looks very different from any waterlily that I have ever seen. As soon as I get a reply I will post an answer.

Our Heritage

The Ugly Ripe tomato saga in the commercial tomato industry, which all my North American friends will be familiar with, has spawned a renewed interest in the cultivation of unusual and heirloom tomato cultivars. The acquisition of Seminis Inc. last year, by Monsanto has also put the US seed trade in a bit of a spin and caused concern over the future of many of the tomato cultivars that are familiar to us. At the time of the aquisition, Seminis had 23% of the global tomato seed market and the future of their inventory is unknown. It is a very important issue for the future as the tomato is amongst the most popular of crops for the hobby gardener. A recent survey that I saw, I believe posted on Yahoo, suggested that some 93% of keen hobby gardeners in America grow tomatoes - a startlingly high proportion.

Recently several enthusiastic members of the SeedMessenger seed exchange group suggested that I should form a specialist tomato group for them. I did so a few weeks ago, and with little or no promotion there are already more than 125 members. I also devoted a bit of the SeedMessenger web-site to TomatoMessenger where there are features on hybridizing, seed saving and other relevant tomato topics. To join the group click here or visit TomatoMessenger on the web-site.

A friend called yesterday about her grapevine. She had neglected to prune it, and it was now in full growth. What was she to do? It is well known that if you prune an activity growing grape vine it virtually bleeds to death. Sap just continues to seep out and while the vine may not die it certainly suffers badly. Although you do not read about it in books, there is a little trick to stop the bleeding that I was taught some years ago by a gardener, a refugee from one of the former communist countries of eastern Europe - I think the Ukraine. His name was Otto and he was in charge of the indoor fruit and vineries at Harewood House in Yorkshire in the north of England. He was one of the best growers of indoor fruit I have ever met. His answer to the problem of a bleeding vine was to deposit a little saliva on the tip of his index finger and then run it over the cut surface of the vine. An instant seal. He claimed that it was the enzymes in saliva that stopped the bleeding. I do not know if that was the reason, but it certainly worked.

Happy Gardening



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Blogger Botanic Gems said...


I am a gardener from Chile, South America and part of the SeedMessenger group forum.

I grow South American bulbous plants and other perennial and also annual species.

A blog is an excellent way to exchange info and pictures. Congratulations for such a great idea!!

Kindest Regards,


10:54 pm  

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