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

GARDENING CALENDAR – January

It ‘s usually too hot at this time of the year for much gardening-just bung some Zero or Roundup on the weeds and lower
yourself into the pool or banana lounge.  For an easy care summer garden, mulch all the garden beds.

JOBS TO DO NOW
• Deep watering once a week with a garden sprinkler is essential if the eather is hot and dry. Pay particular attention to trees, which are often forgotten in dry weather.
• Fertilise the garden, especially roses, hibiscus and leaf vegetables- use any complete fertiliser with trace elements,
well-matured cow pats.
• Lightly prune fuchsias and roses, trim off any dead flowers and generally tidy them up. Hydrangeas can also be lightly
pruned if they have finished flowering cut back old flowering heads to a plump set of buds but leave non-flowering stems alone .
• Get the lawn mower serviced.
• Continue treatments on all plants for scale insects where necessary.

INDOOR PLANTS
• Throw out all your old, sick or dying indoor plants and replace them with new ones. A good range of indoor plants
is available now; select one or two big plants rather than lots of tiny plant which look messy and require loads of maintenance.
• Give indoor plants an occasional stint outside in the rain, but be careful that they don’t sit in full sun as this will burn their leaves. Under a shade tree is a safe spot for them. Also, keep an eye on indoor plants that are outside as they are sitting targets for snails and slugs. Before you bring the pots back inside, check the rims thoroughly for snails that may be lurking around.

HOLIDAY HINTS
• Massive root damage can occur to trees and shrubs left unwatered at this time of year, so be sure to give the garden a
soaking with a sprinkler before you go on holidays.
• Indoor plants will survive unattended for weeks in self-watering pots such as or Water-well model.
• Indoor plants can be watered well then encolsed, pot and all, inside large, clear plastic bags and left in a cool, not too
brightly lit room.
• Pay on of your neighbour’s kids to come in to water all your plants, bring in the newspapers and feed the pets.  Give them careful instructions about special plants and also give them a good idea about how long the hose needs to water thoroughly.
• Install a watering system. It’s a good way to save water and makes the task pf looking after your garden a bit easier, especially when you go away.

TIME TO PLANT
• Try planting a small area of annuals in strategic place in the garden-one or perhaps two colours will suffice. Slightly yellowish, older seedlings from the nursery may establish faster and better than lush, green, younger ones. Choose from petunias, marigolds, salvia, ageratum, delphiniums and poppies.
• Plant some vegetables-beans, beetroot, brussels sprouts (not in the tropics), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, carrots, radishes, silver beet, sweet corn, spring onions and zucchini.

From Burke’s Backyard

Fish Oil Helps Control Acne

Getting sufficient essential fatty acids is importance in clearing acne. It’s these fatty acids that help control the production of androgens – the hormones that surge during the teen-age times, which causes excess sebum oil to clog your hair follicle and contribute to creating your acne.
The three fatty acids you need daily are omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. You need more omega 3, fish oil , than omega 6. When you are deficient in the essential fatty acids, you will have,

* A weaken immune system
* Inflammatory disorders
* Poor skin
* Skin eruptions that won’t heal
* Increase sebum production causing acne
* Sebaceous glands size increase

Eating essential oils is necessary to provide the right oils that are used in the sebaceous glands. These oils can come from fish oils or from oils in specific foods such as nuts and seeds. Use flax seed oil (omega-3 oil) and olive oil (omega-6 oil) in your salad. These are the best oils to eat and are called polyunsaturated fatty acids. The other oil that is even better for you is called monounsaturated fatty acid, omega-9. This oil is found in avocados.

Most diets people have contain an excess of omega-6 oils, so mostly likely you need to concentrate on getting more omega-3 oils into your diet. You can get omega-3 oil from,

* avocados
* sesame seeds
* pumpkin seeds
* walnuts
* dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, mustard greens, kale)
* wheat germ oil
* salmon
* sardines
* albacore tuna

and fish oil supplements

Or, you can take one to 4 tablespoon of flax seed oil, omega-3 oil, each day. This will give you the amount of omega-3 oil that your body needs to reduce or eliminate acne blemishes. You can add this oil to your morning cereal, soups, smoothies, salads and other liquid foods. Each tablespoon of flax seed oil contains about 100 calories. You can get omega-6 oil from,

* Flaxseed oil
* Flaxseeds
* grape seed oil
* pistachio nuts
* olives
* olive oil
* sunflower seeds
* evening primrose oil
* pumpkin seeds

Taking 2-3 tablespoons of omega-6 oil a day will give you the amount of this oil that you body needs. You can add olive oil and other oils into your salad with the flax seed oil. You can get omega-9 oil from,

* Olive oil
* Avocados
* Cashews
* Almonds
* Olives
* sesame oil
* pecans
* pistachio nuts

Taking around 1 ½ tablespoon of olive oil per day will give you the omega-9 oil that your body needs

Fish Oils

In addition to supplying your diet with omega-3 and omega-6 oils, you need to supplement your diet with fish oils. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA fatty acids. Normally, enzymes in your body break down omega-3 into EPA and DHA fatty acids.

* Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
* Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

These two fatty acids eventually change into prostaglandins. What are prostaglandins? Prostaglandins are chemical hormones that come from omega-3 and omega-6 oils and that help, regulate every function in your cells and organs.  Postaglandins also keep androgen hormones in control so that excess sebum is not produce in the hair follicle, which results in acne. However, eating plenty essential fatty acids may not insure that you produce enough EPA and DHA, which produce the essential prostaglandins.

It is critical for acne and more importantly for your health that you get enough EPA in your cells and organs so they can produce the required prostaglandins. To increase the prostaglandins in your cell walls, it is necessary for you to take a fish supplement, which contains EPA . Of course eating salmon, halibut, and mackerel twice a week will be a plus in providing your body with more EPA.

Are Solar Flares Effecting Our Climate?

The STEREO mission will provide a totally new perspective on solar eruptions by capturing images of coronal mass ejections and background events from two observatories at the same time. STEREO’s twin observatories will be offset from one another in orbit. One observatory will be placed “ahead” of the Earth in its orbit, and using a series of lunar swingbys, the other will travel “behind.” Just as the slight offset between your eyes provides you with depth perception, this placement will allow the STEREO observatories to obtain 3-D images of the sun.

Using this unique 3-D imagery, scientists will be able to examine the structure of these important events, and learn more about their fundamental nature and origin.