, plant breeders have now solved three problems. Cucumbers bear male and female flowers separately, and it has always been necessary, when growing the traditional long, smooth, greenhouse or frame cucumbers, to remove all the male flowers. Otherwise they were pollinated, resulting in bitter misshapen fruits.
The plant breeders, Read more [...]
Cucumbers are not the easiest of vegetables to grow, but if you choose the right varieties to start with and give them the regular care they need, you can produce a successful crop at your first attempt.
As well as the usual salad uses, there are various recipes in which cucumbers
can be included; they can even be stuffed and cooked. They are a more Read more [...]
How to Grow Cucumbers
Cucumber - Cucumis sativa
A member of the Gourd family, this subject has a long history of culture, being mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the fruits the Israelites longed for while in captivity.
There are records showing that the Romans went to a lot of trouble to cultivate cucumbers
, which apparently were regularly Read more [...]
Guide to Growing Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts - Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera
The Brussels sprout vegetable was known and cultivated in Belgium, particularly in areas around Brussels nearly 800 years ago.
For best results provide an open, airy situation, with wide spacing, to ensure good sprout development. A long season of growth is required. Read more [...]
Guide to Growing Lettuces
There are two main types of lettuce
, the cabbage
and the cos, and a great many varieties of each differing in colour, crispness, size and season.
Lettuces like a well-dug, rather rich, well-manured soil
. They are frequently treated purely as a catch-crop, and good yields can be obtained from sowings made on the ridges of Read more [...]
This frost-hardy, herbaceous perennial grows up to 100 cm (39 in) high and is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family. Its mid-green leaves up to 6 cm long are arranged in a whorl at the base and alternately higher up the stem. The racemes of pink-violet flowers are produced from mid to late summer.
There are many varieties of the species that come Read more [...]
The genus has 30 species of herbaceous annuals
and perennials that are native to Europe, north Africa and Asia. A member of the Malvaceae family, Malva moschata has a bushy habit and grows up to 80 cm (32 in) high with woody stems at the base. The plant takes its name from the delicate musk fragrance that emanates from the leaves. The magnificent Read more [...]
The genus Houttuyinia belongs to the Saururaceae family, and its only species which is native to east Asia. It is an excellent ground cover
with spreading rhizomes. The oval to heart-shaped, bluish or grey-green leaves with red edges are a real eye-catcher. When crushed the leaves exude an orangey scent. The tiny, greenish-yellow flowers, which are Read more [...]
These shrubby, evergreen plants are members of the Scrophulariaceae family and native to New Zealand and Chile. The range of Hebe
Andersonii hybrids with variegated leaves has greatly increased in recent times. For instance, Hebe buchananii and H. pinguifolia are evergreen, hardy species that produce delicate, white flowers in spring. H. ochracea has Read more [...]
The wild form of the perennial Lamium maculatum or spotted deadnettle has spread from Europe and western Asia to North America. This semi-evergreen, mat-forming
perennial must cut back during the growing to restrict its vigorous spreading. The toothed, mid-green leaves usually have a white stripe running clown the centre and are quite eye-catching. Read more [...]
Most species of the evergreen Lamium genus, a member of the Labiatae family, can be found in Europe, north Africa and Asia. This dead nettle is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial that spreads rapidly by means of runners, thus forming a dense carpet of leaves up to 30 cm (12 in) high. In summer it produces whorls of tubular yellow flowers, flecked with Read more [...]
is native to central and southern Europe and Turkey and is somewhat surprisingly a member of the Primulaceae family. This extremely hardy, tuft-forming herbaceous perennial can reach 100 cm (39 in) in height with broad, bright green leaves with wavy margins.
The numerous bright gold-yellow flowers are grouped in whorls on high terminal spikes. Read more [...]
The trailing bellflower is native to Croatia like the wall harebell. It is better known than its relation but, like it, it has milky sap in its stems and leaves and spreads by means of runners. The lavender-blue, star-shaped flowers grouped in loosely branches heads are borne in late spring on long leafy stems. The mid-green leaves are heart-shaped. Read more [...]
The Artemisia genus, a member of the Compositae family, includes 300 species of evergreen and deciduous herbaceous perennials
, native to the northern hemisphere. Wormwood is cultivated mainly for its aromatic, silvery grey leaves, which also have a deterrent effect on insects. The clusters of tiny flowers are quite inconspicuous. In fact, one species, Read more [...]
Two of Kew’s oldest trees are a locust tree or false acacia, and a maidenhair or ginkgo, both planted in 1762 in the first botanic garden initiated at Kew by Princess Augusta. The locust tree, approaching the end of its natural lifespan, certainly looks its age with several metal bands encircling the decaying trunk. The ginkgo, on the other hand, Read more [...]
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