Trivia (or are they?)

  • Coming up... roses!

    Twice in a Blue Moon

    The highly scented and delicately coloured
    hybrid tea rose 'Twice in a Blue Moon'

    Roses are by far the favourite among flowering garden plants.

    They have been cultivated for an astonishing 5,000 years, the earliest having been collected for decoration or scent from the wild.

    But by the mid 19th century over a thousand different varieties were available. Today this figure is somewhere around 13,000!

    They are our most adored garden plant and our image of the country garden would not be complete without them.
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  • Lavender recipes from Andy Hamilton

    Bristol-based author Andy Hamilton included two lavender recipes in his award-winning book, Booze for Free.Yes, lavender is pretty. And yes, lavender smells nice. But if you are wondering what use all those lavender plants for that you bought from us.... did you know it makes a cracking pint too?

    With a catchy title like that, and with lavender as an ingredient, we could hardly ignore it...
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  • For the love of lavender

     

    English lavender - fragrance, colour, wildlife value, and versatility

    English lavender – fragrance, colour,
    wildlife value, and versatility

    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.
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  • Cider anyone?!

     

    Yarlington cider apple

    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, but it is also 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.
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  • Beech: A national treasure!

    British beech - a national treasure

    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 4,000BC. 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

  • Ancient and unusual fruits

     

    Unusual fruits - quince, fig and medlar

    If you fancy leaving the beaten track of apples, plums
    and the like, why not try growing some of these?

    Have you already tried your hand at growing popular orchard and garden fruit trees like apple, pear, plum and cherry?

    Has the thought already crossed your mind about growing something a little more peculiar. Something a bit more out of the ordinary, yet still a beautiful addition to the garden, and easy to care for?

    If so, here's a few facts on three ancient fruits – the fig, the quince and the medlar.

    Who knows, it just might give you a little encouragement to experiment!
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  • Our favourite Christmas evergreens

     

    The Christmas Tree

    For some Christmas is not Christmas without a Christmas tree (real or fake) but when did it all start and why?

    A matter of Germanic fashion...

    Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert

    The first use of Christmas trees as they're known today dates back to the 1500s. Some claim the tree originated in Germany in the mid 1500's, others claim it was Latvia in the early 1500's, and a few even believe in a legend that St. Boniface created the Christmas tree in the 7th century.

    The Christmas tree first came to England with the Georgian Kings who came from Germany. At this time also, German Merchants living in England decorated their homes with a Christmas tree.

    The British public were not fond of the German Monarchy, so did not copy the fashions at Court, which is why the Christmas tree did not establish in Britain at that time.
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  • Weather Woes (or A Nurseryman's Tale)

     

    Footprint in muddy soil Weather, you're a muddy mischief

    As a nurseryman selling barerooted plants and trees, the onset of autumn is always exciting.

    Nerve-racking too, as autumn brings the bareroot planting season with it, and the weather plays an enormous part in determining how well the season gets going.

    Too warm and the plants need to stay in the ground longer despite the baying of waiting customers.

    Too cold and the ground is frozen and trees and hedging cannot be lifted at all, let alone planted.

    But too wet is the grower’s dread.
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  • Botany VS Poetry: The Hermaphrodite of the Woods?

    A totally unecessary post about the gender of Birch trees.
  • Buy British

    This probably entirely inappropriate and anti-Eu and politically incorrect and so on, but the thought struck me that if we all deliberately went out of our way to buy British produce, products and, yes, plants we would keep more people in this country in employment and maybe go some way...

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