Posted by Toni Jux on Friday 16th July
By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC News
Extract from a report on the BBC website:
Plants are able to "remember" and "react" to information contained in light, according to researchers.
Plants, scientists say, transmit information about light intensity and quality from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems. These "electro-chemical signals" are carried by cells that act as "nerves" of the plants. In their experiment, the scientists showed that light shone on to one leaf caused the whole plant to respond.
And the response, which took the form of light-induced chemical reactions in the leaves, continued in the dark. This showed, they said, that the plant "remembered" the information encoded in light. "We shone the light only on the bottom of the plant and we observed changes in the upper part," explained Professor Stanislaw Karpinski from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland, who led this research.
"And the changes proceeded when the light was off... This was a complete surprise."
For the full story, go to BBC News, Science and Environment article
Posted by Toni Jux on Thursday 1st July
A beautiful end to June weather-wise.
Let’s hope it continues for the rest of the summer! Summer bedding plants are at their best now, with flower after colourful flower, lasting all summer long if kept fed and watered. Many shrubs, climbers and perennials are also in flower this month providing a garden full of delights to enjoy.
Floral and Hardy’s Top Ten Flowering Plants for July:
1. Alchemilla -
‘Lady’s Mantle’ - a real old cottage garden favourite perennial with frothy lime green flowers and attractive serrated edged leaves that capture rain and dew drops at their centre, like sparkling precious jewels.
2. Astilbe -
If you have damp soil and some shade, this is one for you. Large feathery plumes of white, pink or red flowers appear above attractive, deeply cut foliage, bronzy when young.
3. Brugmansia -
Datura – spectacular pendulous, trumpet-like flowers in various colours and with an intoxicating (literally!) fragrance in the evening. This will really lend an exotic feel to the garden, but you really need a greenhouse or somewhere you can bring the plants inside in winter as they are not frost tolerant.
4. Lavandula –
What summer garden would be complete without Lavander, with its aromatic foliage and perfumed flowers, so beloved by bees. Available not only in the familiar purple, but also in white and pink.
5. Lonicera –
Honeysuckle – another old favourite with it’s spidery yellow flowers and intense fragrance.
6. Passiflora caerulea–
Passion Flower – an exotic looking climber with complicated pruple, blue and white flowers followed by edible orange fruits – the red seeds are terrific with desserts or, better still, in champagne!
7. Penstemon –
A long-flowering perennial with glossy foliage and attractive tubular flowers in various colours clustered on erect spikes all summer long. Dead-head frequently to prolong flowering.
8. Rosa –
The quintessential English garden plant, in ground-cover, shrub and climber form – there’s always a place for at least one in your garden. Many people are put off growing roses as they sometimes have a reputation for being difficult, but pick a variety that’s disease resistant and don’t worry too much about pruning regimes and you’ll be fine.
9. Scabiosa –
Scabious – doesn’t sound a very attractive name for what is really pretty little cottage garden perennial. The frilly-edged, pincushion-like flowers are borne over a long flowering season and come in blue or white.
10. Trachelospermum –
Evergreen Jasmine – this has all the fragrance of Jasminum officinale, but has a much better appearance in winter, being evergreen.
JULY TIPS AND ADVICE
1. Cut down faded Delphiniums, Lupins and Oriental Poppies to about 10-15cms from the ground to encourage new growth and a possible second flush of flowers later on.
2. Dead-head Day Lilies and other perennials and annuals to prolong flowering.
3. Dead-head roses and continue to feed and check for any signs of disease.
4. Lawns can be mown less frequently in dry weather and with the blades set higher too.
5. New hedges can still be planted this month as long as you water them well. Established hedges such as Box, Hornbeam, Holly and Laurel can all be pruned now.
6. If you’re lucky enough to have an alpine meadow with spring-flowering bulbs, you can safely cut it now as the bulbs will be dormant now. (obviously this does not apply if yours is a summer flowering meadow!)
7. If you have a greenhouse do not forget to shade and ventilate, otherwise your plants will cook!
8. If you have a pond with fish and you find them gulping air at the surface during hot weather, you need aerate the water, either by installing a small fountain, or by trickling some water on to the surface with a hose.
9. Fruits and veg can be harvested as they ripen – yum!
10. Finally – water, water, water!
By Helen Ellison