With Spring taking it's time this year
to show its lovely face,
I am chomping at the bit for some warmth and sunshine :)

I've collected pages from magazines and such over the years
to remember English garden tricks and tips
for when I return 'home' to a garden I can play in

Here's a few ideas...

- Plant 'biodynamically' by checking the lunar calendar
to see when the water table will be closer to the surface
similar to the ocean tides

This makes for better root development and
requires less 'watering in' new plantings

- If growing seeds, place a used tea bag at the bottom of each pot
to hold moisture and to give trace nutrients
Use more tea bags for larger pots

- Dig a square planting hole, not round, for better root development

- Liquid feed all berry and flowering plants with tomato fertilizer, which contains potash,
to improve flowering and productivity

- Square pots are less tippy than round ones in the wind

- Consider the 3 R's: Repeat, Rhythm, Regularity when planting a new border
Limit color and number of species used
Mirror plantings across pathways when possible

- Pebbled and stoned areas are more rain-friendly than harder surfaces
Not only do they look more attractive, but also allow rain to soak right through them
(England has mastered rain-management here)

Here's a list of current trends:

Peat moss is harvested from bogs and fens 
in the Republic of Ireland (70%) and within the United Kingdom (32%)

Peat has been THE affordable and reliable growing medium in the UK since the 1940s,
but with an increased awareness of the importance of peatlands
and its unique supporting habitat,
gardeners and nurseries search for better alternatives

Although I believe xeriscape is a newer idea here than in the US,
there has been a need for it,
as parts of the country were in a drought last summer with a 'hosepipe' ban 

The roots of this movement seem to be from Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf

Increasingly popular prairie or meadow gardens
grow grasses and North American natives such as
California Poppies and Echinacea/coneflower

Other European influences are obvious in grander gardens,
such as French potagers (kitchen gardens)
and Italian parterres with ornate clipped topiaries

In the last month, the Royal Horticultural Society rolled out its
revised RHS Plant Hardiness Rating System based on extreme temperatures
America has something similar with their USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

RHS gives plants distinguished 'Award of Garden Merit' (AGM) based on local trials
This label helps customers select reliable plants with good general performance and form,
are reasonably resistant to pests and diseases, and are fairly easy to grow

AGM Trial Site at RHS Wisley Garden

RHS members can order seeds for a minimal price,
with over 700 varieties from which to choose
including annuals, shrubs and trees
The list varies annually

Such a brilliant way to keep quality plants in circulation around the country

The elderly population grew up during World War II 
and endured difficult living conditions post-war as well
They had their hands in the soil to grow their own food,
and this generation is the keen gardener of today

They are the members of local garden clubs in villages

There is some concern that the gardening enthusiasm will wane 
as the older generation passes on
Efforts are being made to foster gardening interest in the younger generations

In a local garden, children planted up shower caps, socks, and pajama bottoms

Adopt a beehive, grapevinelavender row, or cherry orchard
to support local farmers and to receive product

The US and the UK share similar trends, such as
an effort to use fewer pesticides/go organic, a concern about the drop in bee population,
and more mindful planting to attract birds, bees, and insects to the garden

In America,
you find permanent sprinklers, mulched gardens,
and almost no use of peat

In the UK, you see 'water butts' collecting rainwater,
more use of top dressing (easier when there is no mulch to move aside),
moss in the lawn (I think its pretty, but I guess it is undesirable),
nurseries selling annuals in styrofoam containers (?!),
and garden-waste-only bins for curbside trash pickup

Growing in bags is seen in England, but not in the US

With England's perfect growing conditions
of cool summer temperatures, frequent rain,
and long daylight hours (closer to the North Pole)
it is no wonder this is the Garden Island

But no matter where you live
there is no question gardening is
food for the eyes
and the soul

Do you have any unusual garden tips to share?

- all photos by me -

Related Posts:
England, The Garden Island (incl gardens to visit)
A Rose By Any Other Name... (different name, same plant)

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