Archive for 14/03/2013

PicPost: Manic Street Feature

That Bloomin' Garden

With all the gloomy weather we are having this month on the west coast of BC, its amazing I am getting anything to grow in the greenhouse. I started growing tomatoes in the first week of March. So far I have had about seven seedlings germinate and that’s been exciting. With hardly any sunshine this month, the greenhouse is a bit cooler at 60F during the day. Unfortunately tomatoes would rather have a consistent 70F to grow well. It doesn’t seem to matter which kind of tray I have used, wooden or plastic.They are both germinating seeds with the wooden trays about three days later than the plastic. The heat mats are what is helping them grow, that’s for sure. The heat mats provide the bottom heat needed for growth.


To increase the warmth over the tomatoes, I placed some bubble wrap over the top of the flats. I would…

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Lovely to think of roses blooming at this time of year (ie early Spring in the UK), though of course it’s really towards the end of the season in Aus! They are doing well though!

Chas Spain

Not through any work on my part – the roses in our front garden have bravely bloomed through the hottest week ever recorded in March. There were even some small beads on the petals from light rain overnight.

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PicPost: Great Garden @ Thames Barrier Park

‘Thames Barrier Park

Who is it for?

The Thames Barrier Park was opened in November 2000 and provides a new focal point for Newham residents and attraction for visitors to south-east London

How are we doing it?

The riverside area was redeveloped and landscaped with fountains, family areas, flower gardens and tended lawns.

What are the benefits?

The park has helped to significantly regenerate the area.

When is the project happening?

The project started in 1995 and was completed in November 2000.

How can I get involved?

The award-winning Thames Barrier Park is situated in Silvertown on the north bank of the Thames and has stunning views of the flood barrier. Set within 22 acres of greenery, this unique urban oasis features fountains, gardens, wildflower meadows, a children’s play area and a 5-a-side football/basketball court.

The history of the Thames Barrier Park

In 1995 the London Docklands Development Corporation launched an international competition to create a new riverside park. The winning consortium was architect Patel Taylor in collaboration with Group Signers and engineers Ove Aarum.
Lord Mayor of London, the Rt Hon Richard Nichols planted the first tree in January 1998 and the park was opened by the Mayor of London in November 2000.

The Green Dock

One of the park’s most imaginative and attractive features is The Green Dock which was created by renowned horticulturalist Alain Cousseran and Alain Provost.

A 1km circuit of the boundary paths takes you to the Visitor Pavilion Coffee Shop where refreshments are available.
Thames Barrier Park is accessible to those with disabilities.’

Source: Greater London Authority website

Apple Ipad 4 MD512 64GB iPad with Retina Display and Wi-Fi (4th Gen, Black)Paper is not dead…

A little light video offering, courtesy of Eric, a friend of mine. Enjoy :0)

PicPost: Clean Cut

Tropaeolum majus

Tropaeolum majus

Tropaeolum is a genus of about 80 species of annuals and perennials native to South/Central America. The common Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is the most frequently found member of the family. 

Nasturtium is from the latin words meaning literally “nose-twister” or “nose-tweaker” (referring to the pungent smell of some species!). The Tropaeolum Nasturtiums received their common name because they produce an oil that is similar to that produced by watercress (Nasturtium officinale).

Tropaeolum peregrinum

Tropaeolum peregrinum

Tropaeolum includes several very popular garden plants, the most commonly grown being T. majus T. peregrinum and T. speciosum The hardiest species is T. polyphyllum from Chile, the perennial roots of which can survive underground when air temperatures drop as low as −15 °C (5 °F).

Plants in this genus have showy, often intensely bright flowers (in reds, oranges and yellows), and rounded, shield- shaped leaves which vary in colour and include some attractive blue – green tones. Flowers have five petals (sometimes more) and a funnel-shaped nectar tube at the back. The name Tropaeolum is from the Latin tropaeum , meaning ‘trophy’ and was originally chosen by the swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century.

After victory in battle, the Romans used to set up a trophy pole called a tropaeum (from the Greek tropaion, source of the English word ‘trophy’). On this the armour and weapons of the vanquished foe were hung. Linnaeus was reminded of this by the plant as the round leaves resemble shields and the flowers, blood-stained helmets.

Tropaeolums in flower

Tropaeolums in a border

Species names of Tropaeolum include:

T. aduncum = hooked (the flowers)

T. canariense = canary – referring to the colour and shape of the flowers (the ‘Canary Creeper’)

T. lobbianum =  after Lobb the plant collector

T. majus = great (the Climbing Nasturtium)

T. minus = small (the Dwarf Nasturtium)

T. pentaphyllum = five leaved or divided into five

T. pergrinum = foreign or wandering, probably referring to its straggly growth

T. speciosum = showy

T. tuberosum = tuberous

'Canary Creeper' (T. canariense)

‘Canary Creeper’ (T. canariense)

Nasturtiums were also known as “Indian cress”. This derived from their use as a salad ingredient and because at that time South/Central America was referred to as ‘the Indies’. The 16th-century herbalist John Gerard called the plant “Lark’s Heel”, referring to the flower’s spur (and similar to Larkspur).

All parts of T. majus are edible. The flower is most often eaten as an ornamental salad ingredient or in a stir fry; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress. The flowers contain about 130 milligrams of Vitamin C per 100 grams or about the same amount as in Parsley. The unripe seed pods can be harvested and dropped into spiced vinegar to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers.

Tropaeolum leaves and flowers as salad ingredients

Tropaeolum leaves and flowers as salad ingredients

Nasturtiums have been used in herbal medicines for their antiseptic and expectorant qualities. They are said to be good for a chest cold and to promote well being by the formation of new blood cells. The common Nasturtium has been used in herbal medicine for respiratory and urinary tract infections.

The bright, quaintly – shaped flowers are usually freely produced on long stalks, and the fast growth of many of the climbers makes the Tropaeolum a very useful, decorative plant. They will spill beautifully over walls and onto paths, when used as edging plants. They also hold up very well in containers. Climbing varieties, such as ‘Canary Creeper’ will amble up and through shrubs. Bushy, ground hugging plants will fill in gaps among complementary – coloured day lilies and roses.

You can use clusters of plants to brighten up the vegetable garden – and to act as ‘sacrificial’ ‘plants to attract caterpillars away from your brassicas!

Sources and further information:


Tropaeolum speciosum

Growing Tropaeolum

Tropaeolum varieties

Quizzicals: two cryptic clues to flower, plant, veg or fruit names –

  • Bird swearing
  • Vasectomy for Dad

(thanks to Les Palmer, answers in the next Plantax!)

Old School Gardener

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