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By noreply@blogger.com (Simon Eade)

For those in the know, Japanese flowering cherries are collectively known as ‘Sato zakura’ which means domestic, village or cultivated cherry trees, and as a group they are solely grown for their ornamental qualities. Of course there are many other flowering cherries cultivars that have been developed from northern hemisphere species and these are often erroneously grouped together with Japanese flowering cherries. However for the purpose of this article only the true ‘Sato zakura’ are considered.

Japanese flowering cherries have been extensively bred for over a thousand of years and so its not surprising that a huge number of cultivated varieties exist, most are of...

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By noreply@blogger.com (Simon Eade)

Kiwi fruit are a constant and welcome fixture on our supermarket fresh-produce shelves. However as exotic as they both look and taste they are actually hardy enough to be grown outdoor in all but the coldest of northern European countries.

Image credit – JJ Harrison

There are about 30 species with in the Actinidia genus and while they are not all edible the ones that are of most economic importance are Actinidia deliciosa and Actinidia chinensis and less so Actinidia coriacea, Actinidia arguta), Actinidia kolomikta, Actinidia melanandra Actinidia polygama, and Actinidia purpurea.

As far as availability goes Actinidia chinensis is most likely to be the best of the hardy ...

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By noreply@blogger.com (Simon Eade)

Image credit – http://danielnathanterry.com/

There are few plants that can compete with the spectacle of a camellia in full flower. Bright, showy flowers set against a background of glossy dark-green leaves, nothing else can come close to it on a sunny spring afternoon. Of course, I am deliberately ignoring all Magnolia species and cultivars for the purpose of this article.

So long as the soil is right then the plant itself is as tough as old boots and will look ‘fresh-out-the-box’ throughout its life.

However, it’s a different story when it comes to camellia flowers as their early flowering can come at the cost of damage from cold, wet and frosty weather.

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By noreply@blogger.com (Matt Mattus)

A hybrid Japanese selection of Primula malacoides with wider petals and a more colorul eye. This strain from Sakata Seed, is more floriferous than wild collected seed, but each have their qualities, be they delicate and twiggy, or full of blossoms and fragrant.
How about some fragrant primroses to take away some of these winter blues? OK, it’s snowing again today here, a soft, gentle snow, the sort of snow that if this was November, we would be humming Christmas carols and thinking about the Holidays – but it is March, and with night-time temps dipping just below zero (-2 last night), I think we all deserve a little primrose therapy...
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How Self-Watering Planters Work

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By Administrator

Self-watering planters are a boon to many gardeners and have taken the gardening industry by storm in a variety of forms. Either for people who lack the room to garden in the ground, or people who lack the time for regular watering, they work great. But, how do they work, and could you make one yourself?

Do you remember the word capillary action from school? Or perhaps just wicking? This is why if you dip a piece of paper in water, the water will climb the paper. It also works with soil, and this principle is behind self-watering containers.

Essentially you have two containers in one, the lower container is a water reservoir holding potentially gallons of water, the upper container holds your soil, and it has to specifically be potting mix, regular old dirt doesn’t wick w...

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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, February 2014

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By noreply@blogger.com (Matt Mattus)

Potted Camellia’s are the star of the February greenhouse.
I almost forgot about today being Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, a themed special post that is shared with many other blogs – but thanks to my friend Kathy Purdy, I was reminded by her post, before it was too late to take any photos out in the greenhouse. Here are some shots from inside the greenhouse on this very snowy day in central Massachusetts, and a few from inside the house, showing you what is in bloom on this February day.
A Cyrtanthus cross, still a mystery, but it blooms for me every year. Known as the ‘Fire Lily’. is warms even the coldest
heart on this day after Valentines Day...
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Stop! Don’t Prune That Grass (How to Prune Ornamental Grasses Right)

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By Genevieve

(Article originally appeared in Fine Gardening Magazine)

Most of us know what to do with our big grasses that go dormant each winter: Grab a bungee cord, tie the grass up, and use an electric hedge trimmer to buzz the column of foliage to the ground. But what about those tricky grasses that are evergreen or ones that have a ground-hugging habit? When and how do you prune those garden staples that don’t fit neatly into the “large and goes dormant” category? If you are hesitant to treat your sedge the same as your maiden grass, it’s for good reason.

Unconventional grassy plants can’t be trimmed using generalized pruning rules. They require special timing and techniques on your part to look their best...

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January Planning

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By Rochelle Greayer

It’s January, Are you in planning mode? Yeah, me too.

I’m planning windbreaks and barriers, berry gardens, possibly some new trees too, and the completion of my patio and arbor.

You might remember this post about black slats from last summer (you know where I was all talk about getting the arbor over the patio done – but then it didn’t get done….well this time I mean it). I mean it so much I am planning the containers that will sit at the base of all those gorgeous black stained posts and slats (Note: My optimism about the completion of this is overflowing now that we have decided to hire a carpenter to finish the job rather than doing it ourselves – sometimes you just have to be realistic).

As I plan out the pots and accessories, I am so tempted to add a strong...

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By noreply@blogger.com (Matt Mattus)

This weekend Joe and I attended the Massachusetts Orchid Society’s annual orchid show, held at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Orchid Society, it’s a popular show ( as orchid shows tend to be), and it is show that we have attended many times, even thought it falls just as we are trying to pack our own greenhouse for the winter ( or fixing glass which broke during a windstorm this week!), or when we are busiest with fall garden clean up like raking leaves. That said, there is ALWAYS time to go look at orchids, and to buy new ones. I mean, mini-complex Paph’s – Where have you been all of my life?
Even though it may seem that orchids are everywhere now, the real serious orchid grower remains a rare commodity, ye...
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Foolproof Shade Plants For Dimly Lit Areas

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By Stuart Robinson

What’s not to like about shade plants? Those dimly lit areas of our gardens, that rarely see daylight, can often be the hardest to landscape. But you needn’t throw up your garden gloves in frustration – well not yet, anyway.

While moulds, fungi and lichens grow rampantly in these much maligned garden zones there are plants which desire a shaded area just as much – if not more. Take a trek through a rainforest sometime and observe the under-story plants that cheerily settle for an existence devoid of natural light. It’s as though illumination were the arch-enemy of these floral specimens and lurking within the partial darkness was the obvious defense.

Gorgeous Forget-Me-Knots Thriving as Shade Plants – Lee Edwin Coursey

Yet, with all this adaptation forming their...

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