Assessing your garden

There are few places on earth where plants will not grow. Evolution has enabled them to come to terms with extremes of
temperature and soil , rainfall and exposure. As a result, there are very few places where at least some plant species are not at home, while for most soils and situations there can be an embarrassment of riches.
For gardeners, the lesson must be to ‘swim with the tide’, choosing plants that are attuned to the conditions they can provide. Of course, there is plenty that can be done about poor soil , excessive exposure and so on. Nevertheless,
why try to grow moisture-loving plants in dry, sandy soil when there are so many others adapted to just such a habitat?

The first step is to assess exactly what your garden has to offer. This will provide a sensible basis for choosing plants and for putting worthwhile improvements in hand.

Sun and shade
Although a sunny garden would be most people’s choice, there are plenty of attractive shade-loving plants. The choice is widest for beds overshadowed by walls or buildings, yet open to the sky, but narrows when the area is in the perpetual shadow cast by a large tree.

Position and aspect
Gardens in hollows or valleys often get an undue share of frost. This will mean that you will have to begin planting somewhat later in spring, and some tender plants will need protection. Before planning your garden, also try to
assess which parts of the garden receive the most sun and which are exposed to any chill winds.

Exposure
This is a common problem on hillsides and by the sea . However, practical steps can be taken to reduce the effects of wind.

Soil
Practically an y soil can be improved by adding humus (manure or compost, for example) and fertilizer. Acid soils can be
sweetened with lime ; clay can be broken down over a few seasons. however, poor drainage is a difficult problem to overcome, especially if the plot is surrounded by other gardens.

Weeds
These simply indicate neglect, not a particular category of garden – in fact, lush weed growth usually indicates fertile soil. Nowadays, there are simple and effective ways of destroying weeds.

DESIGN DETAILS

In one sense, a garden is well designed if it pleases the person who has created it. There are no absolutes in aesthetics, only what satisfies the individual eye, and the making of a garden is an intensely personal matter. However, individual taste aside, today’s preference is for less formal planting, for gentle curves that lure the eye to a striking focal point, and for an absence of excessive detail and geometric precision. Even so, when it comes to practicalities, there are a few ground rules about design to consider.

Patios
Ideally, a patio should be alongside the house, but this is pointless if it will be in the shade for much of the day. Choose a spot that receives plenty of sun, even if it is set away from the house. Then lay a path that provides easy access.

Utility corner
The compost heap and garden shed are usually consigned to the farthest corner of the garden, necessitating long journeys to dispose of mowings or to collect tools . A more central site will sa ve you a lot of time and effort. A screen of climber-covered trellis can easily be used to disguise the unitilty corner if you prefer.

Greenhouse
Abundant light is essential, and shelter from cold winds is a bonus. If this means placing the greenhouse in a prominent position, consider the attractive hexagonal designs and also the multi-faceted domed structures.

Paths
Good drainage and ample width are both essential. Lay the path with its surface a little above ground level and preferably with a minimum width of 1m. A narrow path looks mean and is awkward when you are trying to manoeuvre an overladen barrow on it.

Steps
A gentle slope is more convenient than steps if you are pushing a mower. However, steps are unavoidable on a sharp gradient. Steps should be -designed so that the height of each is no more than about 15cm. For steps of this height, a tread depth of 30-38cm is suitable, but this can be increased if the height of the riser is reduced.

Fences and screens
It is a pity to enclose your garden with a tall barrier, unless this is essential for privacy. A low timber or wire fence is often adequate, or a low wall topped with a trellis . A flowering hedge makes an attractive but effective screen. If a taller fence is required, there are many choices, depending on whether you want privacy or wind control. The style of the fence or wall should harmonize with that of the house.

Reference: Outdoor Garden Manual
Knowing Your Garden

THE TWO-UP TOUR WORKSHOP MANUAL by Gary Zimmer

This is Gary Zimmer’s part of the two up tour he did with Graeme Sait a few year back. There is some really good practical information for sustainable farming contained in this manual. We all hope Gary can do another tour of Australia someday.

To view this manual click on the link below or right click and choose “save as” to save a copy to your computer.

THE TWO-UP TOUR WORKSHOP MANUAL by Gary Zimmer

Vitamin C and Cancer – Doctor Linus Pauling

Vitamin C whether intravenous or oral is one of the most prevalent types of alternative and complimentary cancer therapies. Yet, this nutrient is still considered “controversial” by mainstream oncology. Since two time Nobel Prize winner (in chemistry and peace) Dr. Linus Pauling advocated its use in cancer starting in the late 1970’s, evidence to its efficacy has been quietly and steadily mounting. Humans Do Not Make Vitamin C.  Almost all animals and plants synthesize their own vitamin C except humans and a small number of other animals, including, apes, guinea pigs, the red-vented bulbul, a fruit-eating bat and a species of trout.

Vitamin C and Cancer – Early Work – Pure L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) was first prepared in 1928 by the Nobel prize winning biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and in 1932 it was shown that this substance was vitamin C. In 1954 and 1959 Dr. W. J. McCormick, a Canadian physician, hypothesized that cancer is a collagen disease, secondary to a vitamin C deficiency. His theory was based on the fact that collagen is the “mortar” that binds cells together and if cells stick together, tumors would have a more difficult time breaking away and metastasizing. This concept was expanded upon when, in 1966, Dr. Ewan Cameron wrote a book entitled “Hyaluronidase and Cancer.” In it he pointed out that the ground substance or “intercellular cement” that binds cells of normal tissues contains various molecules that strengthen it including glycosaminoglycans and fibrils of collagen. Dr. Cameron discussed how tumors can produce enzymes that breakdown these molecules (i.e. hyaluronidase and collagenase).

Linus Pauling, Ph.D. (chemistry) had been interested in vitamin C for many years and had written previously how people required large amounts of vitamin C (1). Working with Dr. Cameron, Dr. Pauling pointed out that Vitamin C could: A) stimulate normal cells to produce increased amounts of a hyaluronidase inhibitor and; B) increase the number of collagen fibrils made (2). Based on these theories, Drs. Pauling and Cameron embarked on a number of studies to test the efficacy of vitamin C in cancer patients.

Pauling and Cameron Studies Find Improvement in Survival and Quality of Life – In 1976, Drs. Pauling and Cameron reported the survival times of 100 terminal cancer patients who were given supplemental ascorbate (10 grams/daily intravenously) and those of a control group of 1,000 patients of similar status treated by the same clinicians in the same hospital (Vale of Leven Hospital in Scotland) who had been managed identically except for the ascorbate. The 1,000 controls were matched by sex, age, primary tumor type, and clinical status. By August 10, 1976 all 1,000 of the controls had died while 18 of the 100 ascorbate-treated patients were still living. As of September 15, 1979, five ascorbate treated patients were still alive and “living normal lives.” The 100 acorbate-treated patients lived, on the average, 300 days longer than their matched controls with better quality of life (measured from the time all patients were considered “untreatable”).

A second study was performed in 1978 with 100 new ascorbate-treated patients and 1,000 matched controls (about half of the controls were in the original set) (3). This analysis broke out the improved survival times by cancer type. For each type of cancer there was an improvement in survival.

More of this article at Cancer Monthly

How to Pot a Rhododendron

At this time of year many of us think about rhododendrons. Although the different types flower for a long period, it is in May that they really make an impact on gardens across the land. But rhododendrons must have lime-free soil and that can make them tricky for some of us that garden on neutral or limey soils. Planting in the garden is a waste of time and money. If you want, you can make a raised bed and fill that with acid soil but digging a hole in your garden and filling it with acid (ericaceous) compost only works for a while. The water from the surrounding soil will drain in and spread the lime and although you can acidify soil with sulphur chips you really are making life hard for yourself.
By far the best way to grow rhododendrons in these circumstances is to put them in pot. Rhododendrons have compact, fibrous roots and grow well in containers. But before you rush out and plant one in your favourite container, consider a few basics. Choose a dwarf rhododendron — many can get huge but there are lots of compact varieties, such as the ‘Bow Bells’ I chose, or all the Yakushimanum varieties (‘Yaks’). Then think about the pot. It should not be made of concrete or contain lime and must have straight sides so that, when the time comes, you can get the roots out of the pot to move it into the next size. It must also have drainage holes but if it has a saucer which can be topped up with water in summer, that is of benefit. You must use a lime-free compost. There are many brands of lime-free, or ericaceous compost but most are loam-free. Most are not, in my opinion, good for long-lasting plants and I prefer to use lime-free John Innes compost, possibly mixed with some fine bark.

The Real Risks in Natural Healthcare: Bad Science and Bad Law.

Here is a new presentation detailing EC Legislation and key Directives affecting the European Union along with Codex Alimentarius and itsworld wide impact on the natural health industries. The presentation provides an easy to understand explanation of the juggernaut of legislation and the international campaign to “harmonize” and lower therapeutic levels of vitamins and herbs along with their international impact on the natural health industry. This presentation reveals the truth behind the PR “Spin” and lets you know what is being done about it and what you can do to help. Produced by the Alliance for Natural Health and the World Institute of Natural Health Sciences, this program is narrated by well known actress and natural health activist, Mary Healey.You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video