Archive for 14/02/2014

The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog

Found this really interesting video on spacing crops, so thought Id share it.

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One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

weforum-logo.db90160d8175c5a08cdf6c621e387d18 At the World Economic Forum , held in Davos in January 2014, experts on food security, Ellen Kullman, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of DuPont; Michel M. Liès, Group Chief Executive Officer, Swiss Re; Shenggen Fan, Director-General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj ( Farmers’ Forum India ) and Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria came together to discuss how we can produce enough healthy food for everyone.

Moderator, Rajiv J. Shah, Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID), began the discussion by stating that the global population is at 7 billion, 850 million of which don’t get enough to eat. By 2050 the population will rise to over 9 billion and we need to find ways of producing sufficient food for this enlarged population whilst also coping with environmental changes. Every economy that has…

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Official blog of the Met Office news team

As we have seen over recent weeks and months, observations for the UK are essential to put recent weather into context and to detect variations and possible long-term trends in UK climate. So, when the Met Office quotes “the wettest on record” what does that mean?

Station records
All our time-series of rainfall come from observations made by rain gauges and their length is determined by how long the recording stations have been open.

Stations with long records are a very important part of the UK’s weather station network. These time series provide an accurate picture of rainfall for that particular location, provided there are no significant changes in instrument type or station exposure. One of the longest in the UK is the weather station at Oxford Radcliffe Observatory, which holds nearly 250 years of rainfall observations from 1767 to the present day and is maintained by Oxford University…

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Rosa rugosa 'Frau Dagmar Hastrup'- shrub rose growing at Old School Garden

Rosa rugosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’- a shrub rose growing at Old School Garden

What an appropriate question for St. Valentine’s Day, from Minah Petaly of Lincoln:

‘I’ve heard that old roses and shrub roses only flower once a year and that shrub roses would be too big for a small garden like mine. And what would you suggest I grow to get large, decorative hips (no sniggering please)?’

Ha, ha, Minah! It’s true that all the old garden roses will flower once a year but there are some notable exceptions: most Bourbons, the hybrid perpetuals and China roses. This is also true of the wild (species) roses, however, a high proportion of modern shrub roses raised during the last 100 years are recurrent flowerers.

As to size, it’s by no means true that all shrub roses are too large for small gardens. Some of the modern ones developed in the past century will reach only 1.2m (4′) high or less. And the varieties ‘Yesterday’, ‘Frank Naylor’, and ‘Saga’ could also be added to these.



Of the older roses, most of the Gallicas and China roses grow within this limit too, as do a few examples from other groups. Particularly suitable for smaller gardens are the alba roses like ‘Felicite Parmentier’ and ‘Konigin von Danemarck’ while the species or wild rose ‘Canary Bird’ (pause for a chant of ‘Come on you Yellows’- the canaries is the nickname of Norwich City F.C.), can be kept to a moderate height if grown as a standard.

Looking at hips (!), for their sheer size and redness, pick members of the rugosa family that have single flowers, such as ‘Frau Dagmar Hartopp’, R. rugosa alba, and ‘Scabrosa’. Another good one, growing here in Old School Garden is ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’. As they are recurrent flowerers, the hips from the first flush of flowers appear with later blooms.

A hip on Rosa rugosa

A hip on Rosa rugosa

Many of the wild (species) roses have hips in varying colours from red through to orange and yellow, and some even black. R. roxburghii has prickly hips resembling the fruit of the Horse Chestnut (conkers), while those of R.pomifera resemble large red gooseberries. Perhaps the most spectacular hips are those of R. moyesii and its various hybrids; they are bottle-shaped, bright red and each may be up to 50mm long. To continue with the footballing (soccer) theme, this is perhaps one for Manchester United supporters – both on grounds of colour and name!

Old School Gardener

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