There are very few gardeners who fail to fall for the many charms of lavender – what is that you love about this beautiful, heavenly-scented and versatile plant?
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has long been recognised for its numerous uses, medicinal ones in particular.
The Egyptians used it in the embalming process; soaking the shrouds in lavender infusions helped to preserve the mummies. The Ancient Greeks used it as a remedy for a huge number of ailments, and they were the first people to discover its sedative attributes as a cure for insomnia.
The Romans praised it for its antiseptic qualities, and used it in bathing and washing clothes. And it has been used in battles as a dressing for wounds – in the First World War it was included in soldiers’ first aid kits.
Yarlington Mill apples are a popular choice among
both amateur and professional cider makers
Cider making is not only an ancient tradition in this country, it is an important aspect of British heritage.
The Celts are known to have held the apple in extremely high regard, and there are numerous references in Celtic mythology praising it as a symbol of fruitfulness and immortality.
The apple had many uses in Celtic civilization, but perhaps its best-loved application was the production of a cider made from crabapples.
The art of cider making was improved further by the Romans, who planted well-ordered orchards of and caring for cider apple trees, and developed equipment to press the apples.
However it was following the Norman Conquest of 1066 that caused the popularity of cider to rise significantly, and cider production spread far and wide.
Has your garden got that feeling of pent-up energy,
ready to burst into action?
Winter projects are being completed, most planting has probably been done, and gardens across the land are slowly waking up.
Gardeners are rubbing their eyes too, not just at the lighter mornings, but also in disbelief at the moody swings our weather is bringing… again!
The theme for our April photo competition is ‘Spring wildlife’ and there’s over £100 in vouchers to be won.
So, as you return to your garden, keep your camera handy for any animal activity – birds, mammals, insects, spiders, amphibians… they all count!
Here are a few ideas for things to do around the garden over the next couple of weeks:
Beech turns a wonderful copper colour in winter.
The magnificent beech tree is quintessentially British – and not to mention elegant, flexible, award-winning, reliable, colourful…
Maybe surprisingly, beech is classed only as native to Southern England, and then only from as recently as 4000BC. Nevertheless, the beech is an important (and much loved) part of our ancient British woodlands.
Whether grown as a beech tree or beech hedging, it helps support a vast array of wildlife – from the bluebells that take advantage of that brief window of warmth and sunlight before the deciduous canopy opens, to the insects, birds and larger mammals that find food and set up home in their boughs and roots. Continue reading
There are organic alternatives to rose pest and
disease control – including growing garlic!
Roses, apart from being beautiful and an English favourite, are also extremely useful.
Rose petals are commonly harvested for use in cosmetics, dried for pot pourri, or added to jams, syrup or water for flavour.
The hips are also beneficial, especially from older heritage varieties. They can be used in jams, syrups and soups; and an added benefit to their taste is that they contain more vitamin C gram-for-gram than oranges.