Read our selection of the week’s gardening news here.
Time to start gardening
It’s time to get your gardening gloves on and brave the cold! Spring is late this year, but the RHS has advised gardeners to get on with vital gardening jobs, otherwise they risk getting caught out when the warm weather finally arrives. If you haven’t got a greenhouse, start sowing seeds in mini pots or old vending cups and place them on windowsills. There’s still plenty of time for mulching, pruning, planting shrubs, deadheading and routing out early perennial weeds. Your garden will benefit from all this work and you’ll still be able to fill your garden with colour. Find out what you can do in your garden here.
Hope in the fight against ash dieback disease
Scientists have discovered two ash trees in Denmark with high levels of resistence to the deadly ash dieback disease which threatens to destroy Britain’s ash trees. In 2005 ash trees in Denmark suffered the same fate, but some didn’t succumb – namely those taken from cuttings of trees ’35’ and ’18’. These two trees are now being bred together to create a new disease-resistent generation and UK scientists are working on a test that will enable them to find trees in Britain’s woodlands that are genetically tolerant to ash dieback.
Bird numbers decline
The results of the 2013 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch are now available and clearly show a sharp decline in several garden birds. Numbers of starlings and house sparrows, both on the ‘red list’ of most threatened species, dropped by 16% and 17% respectively. There was good news for siskins, fieldfares and jays – their numbers were up by as much as 85%! Gardens are vital for birds’ survival and there is so much that you can do make your own garden a haven for wildlife. The RSPB has lots of information on its website and you can also find out more on Thompson & Morgan’s ‘Plants for Wildlife’ page.
Britain’s oldest gardener on Twitter
Ralph Hoare, 104, is Britain’s oldest known gardener and has decided to share his almost 100 years of gardening knowledge on Twitter. He stills enjoys working in his garden and roses are his speciality – he’s got about 200 rose bushes and his great-grandchildren help him with dead-heading. #AskRalph is a new feature on the Furniture Village Twitter page and members of the public can post questions for him to answer.
Charles Darwin’s former gardens open to the public
Visitors to Shrewsbury will be able to see the former gardens of Charles Darwin, a friend of Thompson & Morgan’s founder William Thompson, when they are opened to the public next week. Guided walks exploring the original Darwin estate start next week and continue until September. All money raised from the tours will go towards urgent repairs to St. George’s Church in Frankwell. Spaces are limited and booking is essential – call (01743) 258888 to book.