How to Take Cuttings From Roses

Mature rose plants can be quite expensive to buy, so its good to know that you can grow young rose plants successfully by taking cuttings. Roses are relatively easy to grow from cuttings and will grow on to make healthy flowering plants. September is a good time to take cuttings. Roots will be produced over the winter months and the rose cuttings will be ready to pot on in the spring. Choose health stems from the current seasons growth and follow these few easy steps to produce more of your favourite rose varieties.

Almost all rose varieties make successful plants from cuttings. Make sure you select long, strong and healthy stems from this year's growth and not older woody stems. Cuttings should be about 25cm in length. Cut the stem above a bud at the top to remove the shoot tip and below a bud at the base of the stem. Make slits in the bottom inch of the stem to encourage rooting. This is known as wounding. Remove all the lower leaves but leave one at the top of the stem. Next, dip the base of the cutting into hormone rooting powder. This will help speed up the process by stimulating the growth of a new root system. Fill a 10cm pot with gritty compost and insert several cuttings around the edge of the pot. You should be able to get around four or five cuttings per pot. I find it best to make several pots of cuttings so as to allow for a percentage that don't root. Placing them around the edge of the pot is better than just inserting one into the middle of a pot as it encourages root growth and lessens the risk of rotting off. Water the pots well and place them in a shady spot. A cold frame or sheltered part of the garden should be fine.

Remember to label your cuttings. Keep the pots well watered and in position until the cuttings have rooted. If you don't want to use pots for the cuttings, roses do propagate very well if planted directly into the soil. Again, choose a sheltered spot and give them plenty of room so they are not crowded out by other plants in the border. After a few weeks you should see more leaves start to appear which is a good sign that the cutting has taken root. Once the cuttings have rooted, probably by the next summer, tease them apart and plant them up into individual garden planters.

View the original article here

How to Create a Raised Bed Garden

Raised bed gardening refers to gardens whose surfaces are higher than the surrounding ground, whether they're in the yard or on a patio or deck.

Most are constructed by building large boxes to hold the garden soil approximately 8 inches higher than the surrounding ground; but, it is also possible - and sometimes quite practical - to simply mound up the soil into rows of raised beds without any additional support at all.

Some ornamental raised beds may be two or three feet high, depending on their placement in the landscape. And, some are designed as free-standing boxes that are ideal for decks and patios as well as for folks who can't or don't want to bend over or kneel to tend to their gardens.

Regardless of the design, there are many advantages to raised bed gardening:

• They can be highly productive, as most gardeners tend to plant their vegetables closer in raised beds. Properly designed, there's no need for paths between rows of vegetables, as all of the plants can be reached from outside the bed.
• The soil warms up more quickly in the spring, so most gardeners can plant a little sooner than those who garden on a more traditional plot.
• The soil won't become as compacted as soil in a traditional garden, because there's no need to walk on it.
• You have greater control over the quality of the soil. If your soil is heavy clay or very sandy, building a raised bed enables you to create a garden environment with rich, loamy soil... which you can purchase or create with the use of lots of compost.
• Garden maintenance is much easier. Intensive planting and good mulching will significantly reduce weed growth. And, since everything is easily within reach, raised beds are easier to weed and spray as necessary.
• They can be very attractive and can provide a neat and clean border between your lawn and your vegetable garden.

The only disadvantage to raised bed gardening is that there is a small up front investment of time and money; but, the investment will quickly pay huge dividends.

How to Create:

1. Choose a location that is fairly level, if possible, and one that will get at least 8 hours of sunlight each day.
2. Remove any existing turf, as this will significantly reduce the amount of weeding you'll need to do later.
3. Till the soil where you'll be adding your bed. Add sand, if your soil is heavy clay; and, add compost, regardless of the soil type. This will enable you to have both good drainage and a productive foundation for deeper roots.
4. Build the walls of your bed with untreated lumber (cedar is ideal, composite lumber is also okay), or use bricks, concrete or decorative blocks for a more decorative bed. Ideally, raised beds should be about 8 inches higher than the surrounding ground. If you're using 2 x 8 lumber on edge, secure the lumber with 2 x 4 support stakes. Drive the supports at least 18" into the ground to prevent the walls of your bed from collapsing.
5. Free-standing beds - accessible from both sides - should be about 4 feet wide. If your bed is bordered by a fence or building, make it 3 feet wide, so that you can reach into it without walking on the garden's surface.
6. If you are building multiple beds, leave enough space between them so that you can easily mow the grass or create pathways with shredded wood mulch. (Don't use shredded wood mulch for the vegetable garden, though, as it tends to deplete the nitrogen in the soil.)
7. Fill the bed with good garden soil, which can be either purchased or created. The best soil for most vegetable gardening is loamy soil that drains fairly well - that ideal medium between clay and sand. Each year you can improve your soil by adding compost and tilling your soil.
8. Plant intensively; give the plants enough room to mature, but you don't need to allow space for walking. Indeed, one of the main benefits of raised bed gardening is that you don't need to walk on the beds.
9. At the end of the gardening season, add compost to the soil and till it. Cover the soil with a layer of mulch - our favorite is a layer of shredded leaves and grass clippings, which can easily be tilled into the soil at the beginning of next season.

With a little planning, and a little work up front, you'll enjoy years of productive gardening with raised beds.

If you have a large garden, and you're thinking of converting it to a series of raised beds, the Mantis Planter/Furrower attachment for the Mantis Tiller is particularly useful for this.

Writer for Mantis and Mantis Owners.

View the original article here

Killing Weeds the Natural Way

Stuck with how to tackle weeds, not sure if you should just buy weed killer or use something more natural for your garden? With more and more people looking into more natural and organic ways of living, not filling your garden with chemicals is a good place to start. Here are just a few ways in which you can eliminate weeds from your garden, without filling it with toxins or breaking the bank balance.Whats better than going natural and saving money at the same time.


This is an exaggerated form of mulching. Apply a thick layer of paper or cardboard and top it with several inches of organic matter. This will deprive the weeds of light which will stop their growth. This method has the added benefit of composting.


Vinegar is a wonderful at killing weeds and is found in most households. Vinegar works well without the hazards that are associated with its chemical counterpart. Vinegar is great as it caused no harm to the environment.

Washing up liquid

This is another great weed killer that can be made from everyday household items, mixing it with other ingredients will provide you with the best results.


Here are a few weed killer recipes that you can try at home, with items found in your kitchen, why not give them a go to see how they work for you.

Vinegar Recipe

• 120 mLs (4 ounces) Lemon juice concentrate

• 1 liter (1 quart) white or cider vinegar

Mix the two ingredients together in a spray bottle and you have your organic weed killer formula.

Spot spray it directly on the weeds, being careful not to spray desirable plants.

Dishwasher detergent weed killer recipe

1 litre (35 fl. oz) of boiling water (hot tap water will also work but not quite as well)5 tsp. white vinegar6 tsp. salt (regular table salt)Juice of 1 lemon2 tsp. dishwasher (machine) detergent (powder is better than liquid, but liquid will work ok)

Salt and vinegar weed killer recipe

1 litre of white vinegar.60 grammes of table salt. (omit this if you require treated area to grow plants/veg etc)1 squirt of washing up liquid. (optional as its not completely organic if you use this)

Gin and lemons recipe

1 bottle of the cheapest Gin you can find or you can also use rubbing alcoholJuice of 2 lemons

View the original article here

Jobs to Do in the Garden During September

September can be a rather frustrating month for the gardener. Summer flowering perennials and annuals are beginning to go over and the garden can on the whole look a little sad. However, now is not the time to dwell on the fading days of summer, but to turn your mind to autumn and tidying up the garden in preparation for winter. Here a just a few of the jobs you can be getting on with in your garden during September.

September is a good month for sowing grass seed. You may have a few patches on the lawn that have become weedy or parched and in need of replacing, or you may be thinking of creating a whole new lawn. The earth is still warm enough for the seed to germinate and there should also be the right amount of rain during this month to help reseeded lawns establish before the cold weather stops growth.

Greenhouse crops should be all but over now and its time to think about clearing out and washing the greenhouse down with mild disinfectant. This will not only ensure that maximum light gets into the greenhouse during the winter months, but also deter pests and diseases. Choose a warm sunny day to do this.

Clip hedges for the last time this season. Once the temperature begins to drop, growth will then slow right down. Now is also a good time to take rose cuttings. Choose healthy stems of the current seasons growth. They will produce roots over the winter months and be ready to pot on in the spring.

In the vegetable garden, clear away any crops that have finished producing such as cabbages or peas. Harvest all those remaining crops that may be susceptible to early frosts such as marrow, squash and main crop potatoes. Pick fruit such as apples as they ripen. If you are lucky enough to have an asparagus bed, cut down the foliage at the end of the month. There are crops you can still plant at this time of the year. If the weather is fine, sow lettuce crops for winter harvesting. Winter purslane and lambs lettuce are good overwinterers. Now is also the time to sow parsley for an early spring crop and the time to plant garlic.

Remove dying annuals from borders and containers to make room for spring bedding and bulbs. Plant spring flowering bulbs in flower beds and garden planters (except for tulips which should not be planted until November). September is also the time to plant prepared bulbs such as hyacinth for indoor flowering around Christmas time.

View the original article here

Preparing Your Winter Garden

Winter is quickly approaching, that doesn't mean that all your hard to work has to go to waste, don't let it beat your garden. Keep yours in tip top shape by following these winter gardening tips.

Clean up

For your winter preparation, the first thing to do is remove any weeds and any diseased leaves should be removed from trees and shrubs.

Cut back any perennials in preparation for spring, these should be cut to around 6 to 8 inches above ground.

As winter approaches any annuals need to be dug up and put on the compost heap, as they will be soon past their best.

The Lawn

Fertilise the lawn in preparation for the winter weather. Fertiliser will help your lawn to battle the cold and frost. Using a fertiliser without a herbicide in it, is preferred for winter care and one with nitrogen and slow release is a good choice.

Your lawn will also benefit from the removal of autumn leaves as a build-up of these can smother the lawn. Smothering can create disease conditions and invite insects and other unwanted pests to your garden.

Only mow the lawn if necessary, depending on conditions and temperatures. Do not mow if the lawn is very wet or bad frost is expected.

Winter Mulch

Mulching over the winter protects plants from the drastic temperature changes that winter brings, as it insulates them against the cold. Mulching is best done after the first frost.

Mulch can be made from dried leaves, pine needles, shredded bark. This will provide a good layer of protection. 4 to 6 inches of mulch will be enough.

Mulch can also be used on plants in containers, perfect if you don't have room for them indoors. Cover the soil with a large amount of mulch and wrap the container in bubble-wrap!

Cleaning and storing tools and furniture

Winter is the time to give your tools some TLC. Give your tools a good clean and sharpen and oil if necessary. Store them in a cool dry place during the winter. Garden furniture should also be stored undercover during the winter weather. A weatherproof garden shed is the perfect place to store your gardening items and furniture during the winter, as they will protect your items from the elements. A range of weatherproof metal garden sheds are available from Asgard, just what you need to see you through the winter months.

View the original article here

Low-Maintenance Garden Plants For The Novice Gardener

Not everyone is a gardener like Martha Stewart. Although many plants are tricky to care for, there are garden plants for the novice gardener. These easy plants are low-maintenance enough even for the neglectful gardener.


Mint does not need to be grown, only contained. The hardy herb has a tendency to spread, so plant it in a corner or in containers. Mint should be bought as seedlings and planted in early spring. Although mint does best in shade and rich soil, it will still dominate the neighborhood in any conditions. The seedlings should be planted about a foot apart and watered regularly. Mint oil acts as a deer and rodent deterrent. Uses for homegrown mint include ice tea, ice cream and after dinner refreshment.


Nasturtiums are perfect for the absent gardener. They do not require fertilizer. They only need to be planted and watered. Nasturtiums can be used to lure aphids from other plants. They are good in salads and vinaigrette. The seeds can be used as a pepper substitute.


Garlic is one of the easiest plants to grow. In fact, it practically grows by itself! The cloves produce bigger bulbs with a little attention to the soil and water. Less attention produces smaller cloves. However, the smaller cloves are stronger in taste. Planting the peeled cloves in fall guarantees a good harvest in spring or summer.

Green beans

Besides being a favorite dinner staple, green beans are easy to grow too! This plant feeds itself by pulling nitrogen from the air. As a bonus, it fertilizes your garden. Quick growers, are excellent as a replacement crop. Gently harvested, they can be enjoyed all summer long. Besides the familiar green color, green beans come in exotic purple or yellow hues.


Peas also gather nitrogen from the air. They're perfect for impatient planters because they can be planted before, during or after the frost. Early planted peas do fine in full sun although they prefer the shade. They should be given something to climb on to avoid fungus issues. Pea shoots are a delicacy, but children love to eat peas off the pod!


A quick grower, cilantro is hard to keep up with. Plantings of cilantro should be staggered for regular harvests. Cilantro should be planted in full sun. A hit in salsa and salads, cilantro works well with almost any meal.


Delicious in salads and eggs, chives are also a great substitute for onions. They should be planted after the frost under the sun or in a shaded area. For continuous growth, the stalks should be cut 2 inches from the stalk.

Mustard greens

Everybody loves mustard, which is surprisingly easy to grow. Hardy and versatile, the plant thrives in spring and fall. For the best taste however, it should be harvested before it gets too hot. Mustard lovers can have their very own condiment station in their garden.


Dandelions are a surprising choice for a garden, but are very nutritious. They're great in salads and soups. They give a bright yellow color to cookies and cakes. They should be kept away from areas sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.

Not everybody has a green thumb, but everybody can grow his or her own garden. Low-maintenance garden plants like these make it easy for the first-time gardener.

Poppy Lynch has been helping beginner gardeners for over 15 years. For simple, easy-to-follow gardening tips, Poppy suggests signing up for the  Woolly Green Weekly, a great source of gardening chat, products, offers and competitions. Woolly Green is a new website, for people who like to garden as a bit of an antidote to their otherwise busy lives.

View the original article here

The Importance of Protecting Your Plant Feed Throughout the Year

Having a garden is a wonderful thing that everyone in the family can help out. From kids to adults, the final product of a beautiful garden is something that everyone can take pride in. Depending on the type of garden that you are thinking of planting, there will be different kinds of feed that are required to keep your plants nice and healthy. Since there are too many types of different plants to list all the feeds that are around in the market, it would be better to ask your local plant store for the correct type of feeds to use.

The only issue with having a garden will be a place to keep all your supplies, when you are not using them. Normally people would just throw them in a garage or an area of a house that is not used. This is not a very good idea, since your tools and feeds might get contaminated with products that will end up killing your plants instead. Prevent this from happening by using a garden shed to store all the supplies you will need for the garden.

Since this shed will be exposed to the elements and the four seasons, you will need to make sure that it is strong and will be properly insulated to keep all your supplies in pristine condition for your use. When you take a look at all your feeds, there will be instructions to keep them in a cool dry place. During day time, the amount of heat that might build up is something that not many people note. However, that temperature will be too high for the feeds that you are using. Make sure that you place your feeds in a covered area even inside to prevent them from overheating.

Rain is something that is both good and bad, for watering the plants; rain is something that is wonderful in helping us care for them. However, if rain or water is allowed to enter into the area that you are storing your feed, it will destroy them before you have the chance to use them. Make sure that the area you are storing your feed will not be affected, and to be on the safe side, you might want to place them above ground and away from windows or walls.

During winter months, condensation is something no one really notices, but it will be the same as allowing water to build up in your feed. If you are able to, it will be a good idea to maintain your storage area at a constant temperature to prevent this from happening. Take care of your feed, and they will care for your plants. This will keep you from wasting money buying more in the future.

For further details on the topics mentioned in this article and other gardening issues, such as finding sheds suppliers, visit http://www.gardeningbirmingham.co.uk/. For instance, visit the Gardening Birmingham sheds section for more details.

View the original article here