Posts Tagged ‘ Garden Photography ’

Planting Broad Beans Now


As broad beans are frost hardy, it’s easy to grow them through the winter, either outside or under the cover of a garden frame. So I’m giving it a go planting them now. I don’t have an enormous amount of space for them in the rather crowded vegetable bed – so I’m growing a dwarf variety.

MyGardenSchool's Broad Beans

My Broad Beans - Ready to Plant

Broad beans are actually one of the oldest vegetables grown by humans dating back to 6,500 BC, however up until recently broad beans were not grown as a vegetable but as a cattle food. Luckily that is no more, broad beans are such a fantastic tasting vegetable yet they are so incredibly easy to grow.

The seeds are large, they germinate fast, no special care or attention is required, they’re quickly ready for harvesting and a very easy vegetable to grow. You should dig the spot where you plan to grow broad beans incorporating well rotted manure or compost while digging. The spot should be in a sunny location in soil that is free draining. They will grow well in most soil types but for a larger crop better conditions are required.

Sow seeds 8 inches apart in rows that are twelve inches apart. You may wish to sow some extra seeds in a seedbed or containers indoors to fill the gaps where the seeds do not germinate successfully.

I’ll report back on how we get on with ours – maybe with a timelapse video so you can see how they’re fairing.

MyGardenSchool Loves This Thinking on Education


At MyGardenSchool we pride ourselves on pioneering and being ahead of the game on the latest educational thinking and techniques. We’re designing our courses to help people enjoy as well as absorb fascinating information about horticulture and gardening. See (
MyGardenSchool Courses
). Learning should be fun. We like this vid..

Top Ten Garden Tasks for Autumn


The Abbey Gardens, Dorchester

1. Tidy up!

Autumn is a great time for those who love wielding the clippers – all that summer growth will need a trim back now to keep the garden tidy. But many off-cuts will strike well in the humidity right now so think about planting some of your cuttings out into pots.

2. Dig out the debris

Remove plant debris and diseased leaves from flowers and vegetable patches. Dig up the annuals – plants that last only a season – and put them on the compost heap. Flowering perennials – plants that spring up year after year from their roots – should be cut back. Remove yellowing or dead leaves or flowers before rot develops and remove any weeds hidden under the plant foliage.

3. Start composting

Winter gives cuttings and leaves a chance to break down and produce nutrient-rich compost, which will be ready for boosting the garden in the new year. Now is also a really good time to turn your compost heap. It will heat up nicely and then gently rot over winter.

4. Embrace autumn colour

Deciduous trees, such as acers, will provide lovely autumn colours from foliage, bark and berries. Autumn flowers such as crocus and amaryllis add colour, too. Cyclamens come in white and a range of pink shades with glossy green leaves, and add a welcome dash of vibrancy.

5. Plant for the future

This is a good time of year to plant spring bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, and new perennials – the soil is still warm but moisture levels are increasing. There is still time for plants to establish themselves before the real cold sets in. This is also a good time of year to plant or move shrubs and trees to allow them to anchor down before the growing season. Reflect on what was and was not successful in this year’s planting scheme so that you can adapt your plans for next year.

6. Venture into the interior

Ventilate conservatories during the remaining warmer days to prevent soaring temperatures, but reduce ventilation once the cooler, windy autumn weather sets in. Use shading paint or blinds to help to keep them cool. However, as light levels fall, reduce the shading as well as the watering of any houseplants.

7. Love your lawn

For a lovely lawn next spring, start to mow less frequently and raise the height of the grass as the growth rate slows down. Scarify your lawn by raking out dead grass and moss that has built up over the summer. Follow this with applying an high-potassium autumn lawn feed, which will release the correct balance of nutrients throughout the winter.

8. Cover up the furniture

When there is no more need for garden furniture, store it in the shed or garage to protect it from the winter weather and allow it to dry out. If you can’t do this, cover it with a tough waterproof sheet securely fixed down, taking care to allow plenty of air to circulate so that the furniture is not damp all winter. Wooden items, such as benches or pergolas, may benefit from a treatment of chemical preservative.

9. Give wildlife a hand

Encourage birds into the garden by providing extra food. Place the feeder near a tall shrub, fence or mature tree to provide protection from predators. Plant berry-bearing plants for an extra source of food for birds and other wildlife. Firethorn, rowan and holly plants are recommended.

10. Protect your pond

Cover your pond with a net to stop falling leaves polluting the water, but make sure you clean it regularly to prevent the net from sinking into the pond. If it contains fish ensure that they can continue to breathe by preventing the water from freezing. Make sure the pond is at least 8ft deep because fish live in the deepest levels during the winter months.

MyGardenSchool’s Flickr Group. Reaches 300 Members! & Now streaming to website: http://www.my-garden-school.com


We’re delighted that MyGardenSchool’s Flickr group is going from strength to strength – with 300 members and now featuring over 1000 original gardening related photographs.  As a celebration of your garden photographic talent – we are now streaming the MyGardenSchool’s Flickr group flickr page to our holding page at My-Garden-School.com Some beautiful and thoughtful garden photographs are being posted, and new members joining every day thanks to word of mouth from our thriving flickr community.

If you’re interested in joining our group every gardening enthusiast is welcome – we like to award photos that we think are special in some way with the MyGardenSchool photo award. We particularly value originality and humour, as well as classically good looking photos (personality does count!).

Here’s a selection of the latest photos from MyGardenSchool’s members:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “MyGardenSchool group pool“, posted with vodpod

Happy Snapping and Gardening!

If you are interested in what we’re doing with MyGardenSchool – please feel free to register with our holding page to receive updates:

10 Cool Gardening Apps for the iPhone


10 Cool Gardening Apps for the iPhone

Courtsey of Mashable

Those who garden know that timing is everything, and a bountiful crop requires planning and organization. For novice and advanced gardeners alike, there is always something that can be learned about getting the best from the earth. Following are 10 great gardening apps that serve that very purpose, and can help yield juicier tomatoes, more fragrant rosemary, and brighter hydrangeas.  This list is quite US focused so greenfingered Brits please pile in with your suggestions too and we’ll keep revising it


1. Landscaper’s Companion


Landscaper's Companion Image

Although the cost of this app is high, gardeners of all levels will appreciate the sheer volume of information that is contained in Landscaper’s Companion. This app serves as an encyclopedia of more than 1,400 plants across 16 categories, including perennials, shrubs, annuals, house plants and more. There are also approximately 5,700 photos within the app for visual reference.

Cost: $9.99


2. Fruit Garden


Fruit Garden Image

Fruit Garden focuses on the harvesting of 22 different fruits, and includes tips and tricks on soil preparation, planting, and recommended varieties. Note, the harvesting schedule in this app is specific to the UK, but even if you are not in that region, valuable information about growing each fruit can still be gleaned.

Cost: $1.99


3. iGarden USA


iGarden USA Image

iGarden is a comprehensive compilation of fruit and vegetable harvesting schedules based on your designated zone. When any particular seed is selected, helpful information such as days to harvest, planting depth, space between rows and optimum germination temperatures is offered. Each entry also includes recommended insecticides to keep your plants pest-free.

Cost: $4.99


4. Bugs and Insects


Bugs and Insects Image

Speaking of bugs, with a database of more than 900 pests, the Bugs and Insects app is a great resource for gardeners looking to determine the culprits who have been nibbling on their harvests, or just identify frequent visitors. Users can create lists, tag “favorite” bugs, or just flip through the entire database to satisfy a curiosity about entomology.

Cost: $0.99


5. Botany Buddy


Botany Buddy

Botany Buddy focuses solely on trees and shrubs and contains information on approximately 1,300 species. One hindrance is the lack of an A-Z directory from which to peruse. Instead, users must enter a search term to find the tree or shrub of choice. Despite this, the app provides very detailed information and also enables registered users to share collections with fellow tree and shrub enthusiasts through the Botany Buddy website.

Cost: $5.99 (Reduced from its usual $9.99 price for a limited time)


6. Botanical Interests


Botanical Interests

Botanical Interests is another information-laden app that includes harvesting advice on approximately 287 varieties of vegetables. There are beautiful illustrations to accompany each entry and avid gardeners will appreciate the myriad varieties of vegetables it covers, including 26 different kinds of lettuce, 19 peppers, 20 tomatoes, and 13 types of basil.

Cost: $5.99


7. Herbs+


Herbs+ Image

This is a great app that provides valuable information on 25 different herbs.  Within each herb, you can find information on how best to plant it, culinary ideas, and even medicinal uses. In addition, there’s a comprehensive tab outlining basic guidelines on planting an herb garden.

Cost: $1.99


8. Garden Pilot


Garden Pilot Image

Garden Pilot combines a directory of more than 14,000 plants with a comprehensive article database. It covers a wide range of topics, including plant diseases, fertilizers and chemicals, organic gardening and eco-friendly ideas. A recent update to the app also shows which plants are available for purchase at local app-participating retailers. A lite version of this app is available for free, but only contains a listing of 150 plants.

Cost: $2.99


9. Gardens


Gardens Image

If you prefer more visual gardening instruction, this app features informative videos on topics such as “Small Gardens, Big Ideas,” “Novice Knockout Gardens,” and “Adding Pizzazz to Your Patio.” The video quality is fantastic, but due to the large amount of space it consumes, please note that the download time is much longer than others.

Cost: $5.99


10. The Plant Doctor


The Plant Doctor Image

You’ve sowed the seeds, watered per instruction, and eagerly await the fruits of your labor. But wait — is that plant supposed to be yellow?

The Plant Doctor is a free app that provides a listing of the ten most common plant ailments. If your plant’s issue isn’t addressed by any of these, a form can be filled out within the app and sent directly to a plant pathologist for an official diagnosis and treatment options — each one costing $1.99.

Cost: Free


BONUS: iLocate – Gardening Supplies


iLocate Gardening

In order to get the garden, you need the garden tools. iLocate – Gardening Supplies offers listings of garden supply retailers in your area. With a simple and easy-to-use interface, this app provides one-click calling functionality and relies on Google mapsGoogle Maps to identify locations nearby.

Cost: $0.99

What’s happening to our conker trees? The dying out of the horsechestnuts..


Has anyone noticed that all our conker trees are dying?  They are brown and crispy and aren’t producing the fat juicy conkers they used to when we were children.  A blight on the scale of Dutch Elm disease (responsible for annihilating the elm population of the UK in the 70s), has been devastating our horsechestnuts over the last few years.   And no-one seems to have a cure for it.   Will our future generations have to go without conkers and not benefit from the beauty of these majestic trees?

What’s happening is the trees are under threat from a lethal combination of pests, diseases and unfavourable climatic conditions attacking them simultaneously.  The leaf miner moth (Cameraria ohridella) and the fungus (Guignardia aesculi).  Not to mention the effects of drought.  And now there is another, greater threat to these stately trees – namely Bleeding Canker.

The first symptom is often an area of bark where a yellow / brown / red liquid seeps out. In the spring, this coloured fluid is usually transparent but in warmer weather it may become cloudy. When it is dry and hot, the flow may dry up – leaving a dark crust on the bark. However, the bleeding may start up again in the autumn. These observations have lead to the suggestion that the pathogen is most active when conditions are mild and moist (i.e. in spring and autumn).

Where the pathogen has been active, bark, cambial tissue and the phloem (the sugar conducting tissue) are destroyed. If this damage spreads around the trunk then more general effects will be seen, namely yellowing of the leaves, early leaf fall, failure to set fruit (no conkers!) and damage to the crown of the tree; branches may be weakened and fall.

Dr Jean Webber, the Principal Pathologist at Forest Research, the scientific arm of the Forestry Commission, said that bleeding canker has been spreading quickly across Britain since 2001, having been confined to the south of England since the 1960s.

She said Forest Research believes its increased prevalence has been caused by a newly detected Indian-born bacterium, Pseudomonas syringae pv aesculi, replacing Phytophthora, a plant-destroying fungus, as its main cause. This may have been aided by mild winters and wet springs in recent years.

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Dr Webber said: “There’s nothing much you can do about it if your tree displays the symptoms. Our advice is: if you can do, leave the trees well alone, unless they become so damaged that they create a safety hazard.  “Disturbing the trees, by pruning them or making other attempts to clear the infection, may result in the bacteria being spread even further.”

It’s both sad and surprising how little publicity there has been about the plight of the horse chestnuts.  I hope something can be done so future generations get to enjoy these majestic trees and their beautiful conkers.  Once you become aware of it – you’ll be surprised at how many horse chestnuts there are in the UK – most British villages and parks would have a significantly different  look and feel if we imagine a world without them.

Natural Pest Control – LadyBird Love!


Did you know the collective noun for a group of ladybirds is a ‘Loveliness’!?   Quite appropriate I think.    Though we just tend to think of our little friendly orange ones with black spots in the UK – the ‘7 spots’, there are others too joining us, which aren’t so friendly.  So you need to be sure to get the right chaps if you’re using them as natural pest control.

Ladybirds belong to the scientific family Coccinellidae. In Britain, some 46 species belong to this family, although only 26 of these are recognisably ladybirds.The invasion of the harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) threatens our native populations. (If you want to know more about this species in particular, or want to record sightings, take a look at the Harlequin Ladybird Survey website.)

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Leaving aside whether or not ladybirds are good or bad, there is no arguing that they are pretty little insects, and bring a sense of magic and fun when you come across them.   There is quite a variance in colour amongst the small beasties, ranging from an ‘orange’ ladybird, Halyzia sedecimguttata, and several other pale pinky ones.

Also worth noting is that  the common 7-spot and 2-spot ladybirds are pale straw yellow or orange when they emerge from the pupa and change as they grow. It takes hours for the deep red colour to appear and they get darker for several days.  The seven-spot ladybird is the most common in Britain. This bright red ladybird has seven spots and is thought to have inspired the name ladybird: “Lady” referring to the Virgin Mary (Our lady) who in early paintings is seen wearing a red cloak; the seven spots are symbolic of the seven joys and seven sorrows of Mary.

How do I use ladybirds as pest control?

Control Aphids outdoors by releasing Ladybirds and / orLacewing Larvae. Aphids (both greenfly and blackfly) are a big problem in gardens. Ladybirds and lacewings love to eat aphids, but they can be scarce. Help nature by introducing extra ladybirds (available as adults and larvae) and / or lacewing larvae into your garden from May onwards but which should I use?

  • For light infestations on a spread of garden plants simply place adult ladybirds around the garden to search out the pests.
  • For moderate infestations concentrated on a few plants use ladybird larvae placed directly onto the infected plants.
  • For a bit of both use the ladybird family
  • For heavier infestations use lacewing larvae or a gardeners friends pack (a pack of both lacewing larvae and adult ladybirds) placed directly onto the infected plants.

If you would like to buy some ladybirds as a natural pest control – check out www.greengardener.co.uk where you can buy a ladybird breeding kit!