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.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Compost Trials, Water Primrose and the Wollemi Pine

Hardy perennial research

The raising of perennials from seed or cuttings using a modern compost, especially a soil-less compost, often leads to sappy soft growth. While the plants look great in their early stages, they tend to grow too quickly, become tall and relatively weak. This is a problem in the nursery trade as well as in the home garden, as we consumers have a preference for compact and sturdy plants. Now a major horticultural research centre in Holland is trying to determine the best way to cope with this problem. Researchers are conducting trials to study different phosphate levels to determine the optimum rates to produce a more compact plant. Lowering the rate of phosphates can slow down growth rates, ultimately resulting in more compact plants. The trials are being conducted using Delphinium and Salvia in two-gallon pots. Researchers will assess the impact of different rates and timing of applications of phosphates on growth, flowering times and colours, as well as overall plant vigour. Once the results of this research are known, perhaps an enterprising compost manufacturer will seize the opportunity and produce a low phosphate compost that will guarantee us steady, compact and stable growth when raising young perennials, shrubs and trees from seed or cuttings.

New Director for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
It has been announced that Prof. Stephen D. Hopper is to be the next Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

AARS Designing with Roses Competition
All-America Rose Selections is making a final call for entries for its Designing with Roses Competition. This recognises and honours excellence in landscape architecture and garden design by both professionals and students.

Water Primrose Threatens Environment in US
With its beautiful, bright-yellow flowers, Water Primrose might seem like the perfect aquatic plant to enhance a backyard pond.

A New Feature at Kew - The Sackler Crossing
The Sackler Crossing, designed by eminent London-based architect John Pawson has been opened at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

For the above click here.

The Famous Wollemi Pine Arrives
In 1994, forester Davis Noble discovered a new species of "pine" tree growing in a deep gorge in the Blue Mountains area of the Wollemi National Park, some 200km (135 miles) north-west of Sydney, Australia. Exclusive sales and distribution rights of this rare fossil tree in Europe have now been granted and the first trees are available to European gardeners.

Bupleurum griffithii
While not a completely new plant to cultivation, selected strains of this interesting half-hardy annual cut flower are being heavily promoted by the florist trade in Europe and are now available to the home gardener as seed.

New Primula Range
German seed breeders Benary have added a welcome new range of Primula obconica cultivars to what is available to home gardeners.

For the above click here.

Happy Gardening



If you have enjoyed this publication, you may also like to visit the monthly SeedMessenger gardeners’ seed saving and seed exchange blog click here.
and the weekly water gardening blog PondMessenger click here.

To join the GardenMessenger gardening community
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To visit the SeedMessenger seed exchange web-site
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