BUY AGAPANTHUS 'HEADBOURNE HYBRIDS' SEED

Buy Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrids' seeds




If you are looking to purchase Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrids' seeds then you are in luck as this fantastic cultivar is now part of the range at the 'Seeds of Eaden' on-line seed shop.

Seed shop
All prices are in pounds Sterling (GBP), but all major currencies are accepted at the checkout including dollars and Euro's. You can pay using Visa, Maestro, MasterCard or JCB cards or Paypal should you prefer.

There is a flat rate standard delivery charge of £1.99 for all international orders. Be aware that some countries will have trade agreements which would prevent us from sending stock there.

Sow Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrid' seeds during April on the surface of 3 inch pots containing a good quality seed compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. You may wish to mix some horticultural grit or perlite to help improve the drainage. Add a further 1/4 inch of the potting mixture on top and gently press into place. Gently water taking care not to disturb the compost.

Move the pots to a position that will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and with a temperature of between 13-15 degrees Celsius.

Water regularly, but only when the surface turns dry and not so much that the compost becomes waterlogged.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle, they can be pricked out and potted on into individual 3 inch pots using a good quality potting compost such as John Innes 'No 1'.

When they out grow these they can be further potted on into 4-5 inch pots. Overwinter these under protection so that they are in a frost free environment. The following year they can be planted out into the final position outside.

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BUY GOLDEN COURGETTE SEED - Courgette 'Goldmine'

Buy golden courgette seed - Courgette 'Goldmine'



If you are looking to purchase Courgette 'Goldmine' seeds then you are in luck. As a new introduction for 2014 availability is limited, but the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop is able to supply and dispatch Courgette 'Goldmine' seed immediately.

http://www.seedsofeaden.co.uk/
While all seed prices are listed in pounds Sterling (GBP), all major currencies are accepted at the checkout. Visa, Maestro, MasterCard, and JCB cards are also accepted along with Paypal should you prefer.
Worldwide delivery is also available at no extra cost although there are a few countries that have trade agreements that prevent us from dispatching to them. See terms and conditions for details.

Courgette 'Goldmine' F1 Hybrid is an exceptional British bred cultivar. It is fully parthenocarpic (seedless) and offers increased yields and reliability in poor summers.

Sow Courgette 'Goldmine' seed indoors (4 weeks before the expected last frost) 3/4 inch deep in 3 inch pots containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'.

Courgette 'Goldmine' seedlings
Place the pots either in a propagator or seal inside a polythene bag and keep at 21-25 degree Celsius. Germination will take 5-7 days after which point they can be taken out of the propagator or sealed polythene bag.

Gradually acclimatise the seedlings to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out into their final position. Because of the large size attained by courgette they will need to be planted between 24 and 36 inches apart.

Courgette 'Goldmine' seed can also be sown direct outdoors from mid-May once the soil has warmed and risk of frost has passed, 1 inch deep at 24 inches apart in rows 24 inches apart.

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WHAT IS A PEACOCK?




Peafowl are one of the world's most recognisable birds and are best known for the male's fabulous train of feathers. Correctly called a peacock, the male is usually seen displaying his train of feathers fanned out and erect in an attempt to woo a desired female. However the peacock may display the train simply to please itself or just for practice. A female peafowl is known as a peahen and unlike its colourful counterpart is a rather drab bird displaying grey and/or brown plumage.

Introduced into Mesopotamia 4000 years ago, this magnificent bird can now be seen all over the world, although its native range is restricted to India and Sri Lanka.

Peafowl are revered and protected by law in its native habitat. However, it is so common as an ornamental bird throughout the rest of the world, it would appear to be in little danger of extinction.

What do peacocks eat?

The peacock
Peafowl are creatures of habit and emerge from dense forest in the early morning to feed at its favourite spot. After they have had their fill, they move off to find water which is why peafowl always live near a convenient water source. The peacock will eat almost anything, but it will usually feed on grain, seeds, fruit and insects. Interestingly, the peacock is not averse to supplementing its diet with the odd small snake, lizard or mouse.

As dusk approaches, the peacock will return to the same watering hole for a final drink before moving off to roost in the trees for the night. Where do peacocks live? Peacocks live in small groups in hilly forest areas. They spend their days on the ground, finding shade in impenetrable thickets, returning at dusk to the trees where they roost for the night.

As they climb the trees in the late afternoon their screeching call can be heard. Incidentally, Indians believe the call of the peafowl means that there will be rain! They also believe that the iridescent 'eyes' on the peacocks tail have hypnotic qualities.

The peacock
Being sociable and much loved by people in its native habitat, peafowl can often be found around human settlements. In its truly wild state, the fabulous plumage surprisingly acts as good camouflage amongst the trees.

Peafowl have extremely regular habits. They keep to the same roost and feed in the same place day after day. The peacock will even have a specially chosen place for displaying.

Preyed upon by tiger and leopards, the peafowl often acts as an early warning system for other game animals.

It tends to notice big cats long before any other creatures do, and raises the alarm with a loud hoot.

Peacock culture

In many parts of its native range, the peafowl is considered sacred. It is the bird of the goddess of learning and the god of war. In these places it can often be seen strutting proudly around villages, sometimes even resting there.

Roast peafowl used to be considered a great delicacy, and the fabulous tail feathers have long been prized for their decorative value.

 The great beauty, adaptability and hardiness of the peafowl means that it has been introduced as an ornamental bird throughout the world. In fact, many stately homes in Britain - and a few fancy golf courses - also boast their own flock of peafowl.

Peacock Breeding

Peacock display
Many birds indulge in courtship rituals, but the peacock's must be the most spectacular. Opening up his amazing spread of tail feathers, the peacock will strut in front of a small group of peahens.

The peahen lays her eggs in a hollow in the ground. After about 28 days the eggs will hatch, and the young will begin to peck at the mother's beak, signalling that they are hungry. Instead of feeding them directly, the mother will pick up morsels of food and drop them back on the ground for the young chicks to pick up and feed themselves. Small feather crowns will appear on the head of the chicks after just one month, but it will take up to three years for the juvenile peacock's impressive train of feathers to reach full size. Incredibly, the average male train will contain over 200 feathers.

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HOW TO GROW MUSHROOMS

How to grow mushrooms



If you are planning on growing mushrooms at home then you are truly on a noble quest. As an edible fungus their growth requirements are a little different from regular plants but certainly no more challenging. They are virtually fat and calorie-free and packed full of vitamins and minerals, and even an 80g will serve towards your 5-a-day vegetable target. Besides, anyone who is up to the challenge of growing (at least in part) their own food has my respect. For the purpose of this article we shall be looking at that most most popular of all mushrooms - the button mushroom.

Now there are two ways in which to pursue this, you can either purchase a pre-spawned mushroom box that you just stick under the stairs or you can start from scratch and buy just the mushroom spawn.

Starting from scratch

Mushroom compost - image credit http://gardenscape.blogspot.co.uk/
Mushroom beds and boxes can be established somewhere out the way such as a cellar or a shed. You can make your own beds or boxes using untreated wood. They can be as long and wide as you like, just make sure that they are 10 inches deep.

 Button mushrooms can be grown in dark or poorly lit conditions but not in direct sunlight. The key to mushroom production is being able to maintain an even temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius to grow. Temperatures can not be allowed to go below 10C or above 20C.

Fill the bed with well-rotted horse manure, it should be dark brown and have a mild sweet smell. You can purchase well-rotted horse manure, pre-bagged from garden centres. If you are struggling to buy what you need then you can always produce your own. See below to find out how to produce your own.

Mushroom mycelium - image credit http://www.shroomery.org/
Tightly pack the mushroom beds with the prepared compost and scatter the spawn across the surface. Mix the spawn 2 or 3 inches deep into the compost and the cover it with damp newspaper. After 3 weeks, the compost will be colonised by mycelium (fungal roots) which will look like mat of white threads.

The newspaper can be removed at this at this point. Covering the compost with a 1 inch layer made from a mix of 50% garden soil, 50% peat and a few handfuls of lime. This is known as the casing layer. Alternatively you could also use 50% compost (peat-free is fine) and 50% chalk or lime. The lime is necessary as mushrooms prefer to grow in alkaline conditions. Maintain a moist, humid atmosphere as mushrooms develop by keeping the casing layer moist but not wet. To achieve this, water with a fine rose watering can or the mister setting on a hose-gun. The mushrooms will begin to develop 3 to 5 weeks after the casing layer has been added.

Button mushrooms are harvested by twisting the cap until it comes away from the compost. You an expect further of growth every 10 days or so.

How to produce you own mushroom compost

Horse manure - image credit http://www.pushingupdandelions.co.uk/
Button mushroom grow best on well-rotted horse manure. To make your own collect regular horse manure from your local stables and fork it into a heap somewhere suitable at home. Moisten the heap with water and pack it down firmly using the back of a shovel.

The heap should soon heat up in the middle and become hot to touch. The heap will need to be turned over every 2 days, forking the cooler manure on the outside into the middle.

Make sure the manure remains moist but not waterlogged and continue with this forking over process for the next 2 or 3 weeks. You will know when the compost is ready once it has become dark brown and releases a mild sweet smell.

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HOW TO GROW MINA LOBATA - The Spanish Flag

How to grow Mina lobata - http://www.kupindo.com/


Mina lobata, commonly known as the 'Spanish Flag', is an easy-to-grow, ornamental climbing plant. Native to Brazil will require a sunny sheltered and warm site in rich, moist soil. The secret of growing all plants that come from South America is to provide plenty of warmth. Usually purchased as seed, it is classed as an annual in the United Kingdom although under more favourable conditions it would be considered a short-lived perennial.

When growing from seed, they should not be sown until at least mid-April. This will ensure good germination and growth with onward temperatures reaching between 70-75F. Provide suitable support to tie itself into and, given the chance, will grow up to around 6 to 8 feet tall.

It will perform in a sheltered sunny position but will also bloom well in the shade. Provide a moist but well-drained soil, but avoid rich soils and overfeeding with fertilizers high in nitrogen as foliage growth will be produced at the expense of flower.

Spanish Infantry Colonel Flag
Its Brazilian origins mean that it will not survive outside in a northern European garden without a protective environment. With this in mind, if you wish to keep the same plant year after year consider growing it is a large container as Mina lobata does not like having its roots disturbed by lifting and re-potting.

In these circumstances the plant will need to be moved to a greenhouse once the temperature starts to drop below 10 degrees Celsius. Over the winter, feeding can be stopped and watering will need to be reduced, however the compost around the roots must be constantly moist. It can be taken back outside once it has been hardened off in the spring.

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THE SILVER BIRCH - Betula pendula

THE SILVER BIRCH - Betula pendula 'Lady of the Woods' - Photoshopped image


Native to the United Kingdom, Europe and even south-west Asia in the mountains of northern Turkey and the Caucasus, the Silver Birch - Betula pendula is one of just 60 species within the genus of deciduous trees.

It is a hardy, medium -sized ornamental tree with a graceful habit and beautiful bark and as such makes for an attractive specimen. As indicated by the common name the bark a silvery-white in colour which in mature trees becomes rough at the base.

THE SILVER BIRCH - Betula pendula
Growing to a height of around 20-30 ft, the silver birch species bears both male and female catkins. Bourne in April and May, the pale yellow male catkins can grow between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 inches long, while the smaller, insignificant female catkins are shades of green.

Silver birch trees native to Great Britain are often found growing on thin acid or dry, sandy soils. Bare-root specimens can be planted in October to March while pot-grown plants can be planted at any time of year. The silver birch has wide spreading surface roots and as such should not be planted near borders of fences.

Previously listed as Betula verrucosa, it was named by Jakob Friedrich Ehrhart (1742– 1795) a German botanist, and a a pupil of Carolus Linnaeus at Uppsala University.

The silver birch has the lesser known common name of 'Lady of the Woods' which is expressed in the main photo using the medium of photoshop.

Betula pendula received the RHS Award of Garden merit in 1984.

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The Silver Birch - Betula pendula

GREAT WHITE SHARK FACTS




The Great White Shark is one of the world's greatest predators, and while films such a 'Jaws' would lead you to believe that the risk of a shark attack is assured as soon as you put your foot in the water there are only on average 100 shark attacks reported worldwide each year.

Great white shark facts
Be that as it may, of all the shark species, the great white shark is by far responsible for the largest number of fatal unprovoked attacks on humans.

There are no accurate global population numbers available for the great white shark but they are considered vulnerable species. The decline of this species is believed to be from sport fishing harvests as well as being caught in beach protection netting. Sadly, the long interval between birth and sexual maturity means that it is difficult for Great White shark populations to recover.

1. The great white shark is an apex predator and has no natural predators.

2. Great white sharks is one of the longest lived cartilaginous fish currently known, now estimated to live as long as 70 years or more.

Great white shark facts
3. The great white shark is known for its size, with mature individuals growing up to 21 ft in length. However, reports have been published of great white sharks measuring over 26 ft!

4. The great white shark evolved during the mid-Miocene epoch. with its earliest known fossils being about 16 million years old.

5. Great white sharks live in almost all coastal and offshore waters which have water temperature between 12 and 24 ° Celsius. There are greater concentrations of the great white shark in the United States, South Africa, Japan, Oceania, Chile, and the Mediterranean.

6. A great white shark of more than 20 ft long can exert a bite force of over 18,000 newtons or 4,000 lbs force.

7. Great white sharks have special sensing organs called electroreceptors which enables them to detect the electromagnetic field emitted by the movement of living animals. If it is close enough, the shark can even detect the very faint electrical pulse given off by a beating heart!

Great white shark facts
8. Great white sharks are carnivorous and prey upon fish such as tuna, rays, and even other sharks. They will also take dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, fur seals, sea lions), sea turtles, sea otters, and seabirds. Great white sharks have also been known to eat objects that they are unable to digest.

9. Prior to August 1981, no great white shark in captivity lived longer than 11 days. In August 1981, a white shark survived for 16 days at SeaWorld San Diego but then it was released.

10. To hunt fast and agile prey such as sea lions, the great white has adapted to maintain a body temperature warmer than the surrounding water. It is able to conserve heat within the body by warming the cooler arterial blood with the venous blood that has been warmed by the working muscles. This allows the shark to keep certain parts of the body, such as its stomach, at temperatures of up to 14 °Celsius higher that of the surrounding water.

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Pterantula file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Fallows C, Gallagher AJ, Hammerschlag N file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license

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HOW TO GROW PEAS FROM SEED

How to grow peas from seed



Peas are one of the western world's most popular vegetables, although strictly speaking peas are in fact seeds. Originating from the Mediterranean basin and the Near East, peas have been a part of our staple diet as far back as 4800–4400 BC.

Pea illustration
The earliest archaeological finds of peas have been discovered in the Nile delta area of Egypt when they were grown mostly for their dry seeds.

Today growing peas from their seeds couldn't be easier and you can now produce a viable crop in northern Europe despite their near sub-tropical origins.

Modern pea cultivars are now considered to be a cool season crop, and are perfect for growing in temperatures of between 13 -18 Celsius. This makes them ideal for northern European climates.

Peas can be sown directly outside from March to June but only once the soil has warmed to about 10 degrees Celsius.

However you can start your crop earlier by sowing under cloches.

In the more warmer, European  warmer a mild areas, some of the hardier, early maturing cultivars can be sown in late autumn for overwintering and producing particularly early crops.

For a continuous crop of homegrown peas sow a new batch every 10-14 days.

Pea seedlings
Peas will grow best in an open, weed-free site that receives as much sunlight as possible. They also require a moist, fertile, well drained soil.

Dig plenty of well rotted compost into the soil several weeks before sowing to help improve soil fertility and to retain moisture.

Avoid cold, wet ground as the seedlings will rot off. However if all you have is cold wet ground then plant your pea seeds into a raised bed containing a sandy loam.

Traditionally, peas are sown in a wide flat bottomed trench. A pea trench is usually 1½ inches deep, 6 inches wide and as long as you like. Water the entire length of the trench before sowing as this will help with germination, particularly in drier soils. Sow pea seed into the trench 2 inches apart, then cover with soil and firm the ground gently. You can sow pea seeds in two parallel rows into a 6 inch wide trench. If you want to sow more peas then you can create a second trench 30 inches along.

Hints and Tips

Pea seedlings
1. Birds love to take pea seed so cover trenches with chicken wire or netting after sowing. This can removed once the seeds have germinated.

2. Peas produce tendrils to help them climb upwards so you will need to provide suitable support other wise they will end up scrambling along the floor which can leave them prone to pest damage. Erect wire netting, or push upright twiggy sticks into the ground along the length of each trench to provide your peas with supports to cling to.

3. Once pea plants start to flower they will need watering thoroughly once a week to encourage good pod development. You can reduce water loss by applying a thick mulch of well rotted manure or compost to lock moisture into the soil.

4. Peas have specialist nitrogen fixing bacteria within their roots and so avoid the temptation to feed peas with nitrogen rich fertilisers as rather than producing more pea pods it will create a lot more leafy growth. In most cases peas won't require any extra feed, especially if you added plenty of organic matter to the soil before sowing.

Pea pods
5. Regular picking is essential as this will encourage the formation of new pods, and new pods means truly fresh peas. Harvest pods from the bottom of the plant and working upwards.

6. Don't lift the spent plant after harvest, as the roots are full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Cut off the stems at ground level, and allowing the roots to rot down naturally. This will release nitrogen back into the soil for the next crop to use.

7. Different pea cultivars will crop at different times. Early varieties will take around 12 weeks, second earlies take 14 weeks and main crops take 16 weeks.

Bill Ebbesen file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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THE WORLD'S LARGEST BUTTERFLY - Ornithoptera alexandrae

THE WORLD'S LARGEST BUTTERFLY - Ornithoptera alexandrae



The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly - Ornithoptera alexandrae, is truly a 'King' amongst its peers. It is without challenge the largest butterfly in the world, but sadly it is considered endangered by the IUCN. It is restricted to approximately 100 square kilometres of coastal rainforest near Popondetta, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea.

Female Ornithoptera alexandrae
Nonetheless there are abundant local populations but the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly requires old growth rainforest for its long term survival. The eruption of nearby Mount Lamington in the 1950s destroyed a very large area of this species' former habitat and is a key reason behind its current rarity. Be that as it may its remaining habitat is still under threat as it is being destroyed oil palm plantations.

The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly was named by Walter Rothschild in 1907, in honour of Alexandra of Denmark. However it was actually discovered by Albert Stewart Meek in 1906 a collector who was employed by Walter Rothschild to collect natural history specimens from Papua New Guinea.

The credentials regarding Meeks collecting abilities are currently under question as the first specimen was taken with the aid of a small shotgun. However, Meek soon discovered their pupae and collected the adults as they emerged.

Male form - Ornithoptera alexandrae
As it turns out there is sexual dimorphism in this species. Female Queen Alexandra's Birdwings are larger than males with markedly rounder, broader wings. The female's wingspan is a massive 12 inches, while the body length is almost 3 1/5 inches. The female is rather drab in colouration compared to the male with brown wings with white markings arranged as two rows of chevrons.

The male has wings that are long with angular apices. They are iridescent bluish-green with a black central band. The wingspan of the males is around 9 inches at most, but more usually specimens are seen with a span of about 6 inches.

Robert Nash file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.
Mark Pellegrini file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

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TIGER FACTS





There are fewer than 3,500 wild tigers left in the world. In the past, tigers were found throughout Asia, from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to Siberia and the Indonesian islands of Java, Bali and Sumatra. Sadly, poaching for fur and body parts, and destruction of their natural habitat have massively reduced tiger populations in the wild. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was estimated there were over 100,000 tigers in the wild. Today there are no longer wild tigers in western Asia and are restricted to isolated pockets in the remaining parts of their range.

Tiger facts
1. Over the past 100 years, tigers have lost 3 subspecies to extinction and 93% of their historic range. and are now locally extinct from south-west and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of south-east and eastern Asia.

2. A tiger's stripes are like a human fingerprint, no two tigers have the same pattern.

3. Driven by its need for meat, a tiger can kill the equivalent of 30 buffaloes a year.

4. A tiger's roar can carry for over 2 km at night.

5. The largest cat in the world is the Siberian tiger, weighing over 100 kg more than the Bengal tiger.


Tiger facts
6. Tigers purr. Domestic cats purr on the in-breath and the out-breath while tigers purr only on the out breath.

7. Unlike most other cats, tigers often eat meat that has begun to putrefy.

7.5 About half of all tiger cubs die before they reach maturity.

8. After running down and catching its prey, the tiger always starts feeding from the rump first.

9. Tigers are so strong that they are capable of dragging prey that is so heavy that it would take several grown men to move.

10. Legend has it that tigers can attract deer by mimicking their calls. Unfortunately, this is not true. In fact, any deer sounds that tigers utter are now believed to be completely incidental.
Tiger facts

11. A healthy diet for the tiger consists of 7-10 kg of meat a day. In fact, a Siberian tiger is capable of eating up to 50 kg in a single sitting! A skill worth having when you need to sustain yourself in a climate that can be as cold as - 45 degrees Celsius.

12. The heaviest Siberian tiger on record weighed in at an incredible 385 kg. To deter intruders, all tigers mark their territory with strong smelling urine and secretions which serve as a warning to other tigers nearby. Shredding the bark of trees is another way to mark territory.

13. Tigers usually cover their faeces with earth. They will also drag the remains of a kill to a thicket and loosely bury it with leaves, then return to it later.

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THE WORLD'S UGLIEST FLOWER - Aristolochia cymbifera 'Domingos Martins'

The world's ugliest flower



I agree that it is not very nice to be singled out by the use of a label, particularly one as horrible as 'ugly'. However whichever way you want to look at it, the term 'ugly' is an apt description of the Domingos Martins cultivar of Aristolochia cymbifera. Native to Brazil, Aristolochia cymbifera 'Domingos Martins' is a vine from a large plant genus containing over 500 species which is better known as the 'Dutchman's pipes'.

Aristolochia cymbifera 'Domingos Martins'
The cultivar 'Domingos Martins' is named after a municipality and its capital in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. Domingos José Martins fought in the Pernambuco Revolution in 1817, when the region sought independence from Brazil. He was accused of treason and executed in Salvador on 12 June 1817.

Aristolochia cymbifera 'Domingos Martins' most outstanding feature are its huge 6-8 inch contorted flowers which are coloured with purple specks on a white background. The design of the flower evolved into this extraordinary shape as it is pollinated by flies. In effect, the whole flower is an elaborate fly trap!

The flower emits a rather foul odour which attracts the flies to the bulb at the base of the flower. The inner part of the entrance tube is covered with downward-facing hair and after the fly has entered prevents their escape. Once the flower is pollinated the downward facing hairs wither, allowing the flies to leave and pollinate another flower - should they so wish!

If you would like to grow this fascinating, exotic vine, Aristolochia cymbifera 'Domingos Martins' will do best in light shade and will stay evergreen all year round in subtropical climates. The blooms form along the stem once it grows beyond 6 feet in height and can reach an overall height of up to 20 feet given an appropriate structure.

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HYDNORA AFRICANA
THE DUTCHMAN'S PIPE - Aristolochia cathcartii
THE EYEBALL PLANT - Actaea pachypoda
THE GHOST PLANT - Monotropa uniflora
THE GOLDEN CHALICE VINE - Solandra maxima
THE 'HOOKER'S LIPS' PLANT
HOOKER'S LIPS PLANT - Psychotria elata
THE LIZARD VINE
THE PARROT FLOWER - Impatiens psittacina
THE PELICAN FLOWER - Aristolochia grandiflora
THE PIG FACE FRUIT - Solanum mammosum
THE WORLD'S UGLIEST FISH
THE WORLD'S UGLIEST FLOWER

BLIGHT RESISTANT TOMATO SEEDS - Tomato 'Ferline'

Blight resistant tomato seeds - Tomato 'Ferline'



Tomato blight is the scourge of all tomato growers be they working under commercial production or part-time in the garden. This disease is caused by a fungus-like organism which spreads rapidly through the foliage and fruits of tomatoes. It is a serious disease of outdoor tomatoes and can race through an entire crop in a matter of days - especially in wet weather! Blight thrives in damp humid conditions.

Blight resistant tomato seeds - Tomato 'Ferline'
The symptoms of blight are first expressed as a watery, black rot that spreads through the leaves. In a short period of time these collapse, shrivel and turn brown.

During humid conditions, a fine white fungal growth may be seen around the edge of the lesions underneath the leaves. Brown lesions may also develop on the stems.

If the disease is allowed to spread unchecked, the fungus will begin to attack the fruit rendering it inedible.

This stage is easily recognised by the appearance of brown patches on the green fruit.

Due to the speed at which this fungus can attack a crop, controlling it is difficult. If spotted quickly enough the you can try spraying with copper based fungicides such as 'Bordeaux Mixture' or 'Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control'. Unfortunately, more effective systemic products do exist but they are not approved for amateur use.

Blight resistant tomato seeds - Tomato 'Ferline'
This leaves perhaps the most effective way to control tomato blight is to grow blight resistant cultivated varieties. The most popular cultivated variety available to date is Tomato 'Ferline'

In recent trials Tomato 'Ferline' has shown impressive blight tolerance, but it doesn't stop there as it is also resistance to fusarium and verticillium wilt!

You can grow these vigorous, indeterminate plants as cordons either under glass or outdoors.

Tomato 'Ferline' will produce heavy crops of deep red fruits of up to 5 oz in weight, with a very good flavour.

Should you wish to purchase Tomato 'Ferline' seeds then you will find them available at the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop.

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BLIGHT RESISTANT TOMATO VARIETIES
Blight Resistant Tomato Seeds - Tomato 'Ferline'
BUY GIANT TOMATO SEEDS
BUY TOMATO 'GIGANTOMO' - 8 Seeds
FLEA BEETLES ON TOMATO PLANTS
HOW TO COLLECT AND PREPARE TOMATO SEEDS FOR PROPAGATION
HOW TO CONTROL BLACKFLY ON TOMATO PLANTS
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HOW TO CONTROL RED SPIDER MITE ON TOMATO PLANTS
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HOW TO GROW GREENHOUSE TOMATO PLANTS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW OUTDOOR TOMATO PLANTS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW OUTDOOR TOMATO PLANTS FROM SEED
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HOW TO GROW TOMATOES IN POTS
HOW TO MAKE A TRADITIONAL ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE
HOW TO RECOGNISE POTATO BLIGHT - Phytophthora infestans
ORGANIC CONTROL OF GREY MOULD ON TOMATO PLANTS
Tomato 'Cuore di Bue'
WHAT IS BLOSSOM END ROT ON TOMATOES
WHAT IS TOMATO BLIGHT?

SYMPLOCARPUS RENIFOLIUS

Symplocarpus renifolius



The strangely attractive Symplocarpus renifolius is almost unheard of by European gardeners. Native to Asia, though more specifically to Korea, Manchuria, Russia and Japan, Symplocarpus renifolius is a species of flowering plants from the family Araceae. Also known as the arum family, it is a group of related monocotyledonous flowering plants in which flowers are borne on a type of inflorescence called a spadix.

Symplocarpus renifolius
The genus is characterized by large leaves and deep root systems. Unusually they also produce contractile roots which are used for changing the plant's level with the ground!

Symplocarpus species grow from a rhizome and their leaves release a foul odour when crushed.

It grows in damp places, mainly in the open, although it is sometimes found under trees. It is often seen growing alongside stream but never submerged unless the surrounding ground is prone to flooding .

The flower is actually a modified leaf known as a spathe and appears in the early spring. Unlike most other flowering plants Symplocarpus renifolius are pollinated by flies. Using a sophisticated chemical reaction the spadix is able to produce heat which helps to release their rather pungent fragrance further afield.

Symplocarpus renifolius
The colour of the spathe and outer hood are purple. The spadix is also purple but the densely arranged flowers are yellow when they bloom. The large round cabbage-like foliage emerge after the flowers start to die back.

All parts of the plant are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. If accidentally consumed it will make the mouth and digestive tract feel as though it is being punctures by hundreds of tiny needles.

Fresh, un-cleaned  seed can be collected in the spring and sown into a compost a mix of half coarse sand and half milled sphagnum moss (not peat). Press the seeds firmly into the surface and water just the one time from the bottom. It is prudent to add water soluble fungicide in the water as a precaution but is not absolutely necessary.  Leave outside exposed to the cold autumn and winter weather and the seeds will germinate in the spring.

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Bomarea caldasii
SYMPLOCARPUS RENIFOLIUS

HOW TO GROW IMPATIENS FROM SEED

How to grow Impatiens from seed



Impatiens are some of the great stalwarts of summer bedding. Reliable and disease resistant, they have secured their place as a garden favourite by flowering their socks off throughout the growing season. Of course they look their very best in mass plantings but as with all such grand schemes it can be expensive to implement. However if you have the space you can grow them quite easily from seed.

How to grow Impatiens from seed
Impatiens seeds maybe small but they are easy to handle and as such can be sown one at a time. Using a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting' they can be sown into seed trays, 3 inch pots or more preferably individually into modular trays.

The compost needs to only be 1/2 inch from the top of the tray or pot and roughly speaking you are looking at 15 seeds per pot or 120 seeds in a standard seed tray.

Impatiens seed require light to germinate so once they have been sown onto the compost surface they just need to be gently watered in. However a fine covering of vermiculite will help to retain moisture and still allow light through to the seed.

Place the pots or tray in a heated propagator and keep at a temperature of between 20-25 degrees Celsius. If a heated propagator is not available then seal the pots or tray in a clear polythene bag and pace on a warm, bright windowsill but out of direct sunlight.

Impatiens in bloom
Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged, and you can expect germination to occur in 14-21 days. When the seedlings are large enough to handle they transplanted at a rate of one plant per 3 inch pot.

They will need to be acclimatise to outdoor conditions for a few weeks before planting out, and certainly not before all risk of frost has past.

They can be planted in their final position approximately 6 -12 inches apart depending on the species. Impatiens will prefer a moist, well-drained soil in full sun or part shade.

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THE BUSY LIZZIE - Impatiens walleriana
THE PARROT FLOWER - Impatiens psittacina

THE FIREWHEEL TREE - Stenocarpus sinuatus

Firewheel tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus



The magnificent and aptly named Firewheel tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus is right up there as one of nature's greatest flowering plants. It was discovered in 1832 by the Scottish botanist John Claudius Loudon (1783 - 1843).

Native to Papua–New Guinea and the Australian rainforests of New South Wales and tropical Queensland, the defining feature of this medium to large evergreen tree is its bright red, ornamental flowers which are produced in a circular formation - hence the common name Firewheel Tree. These stunning flowers are produced February to March.

A relative of the Protea family Stenocarpus sinuatus is widely planted as an ornamental tree, particularly in the other territories of Australia.

Firewheel tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus flower
They will do best planted in full sun to light shade and to encourage the their deep root system it is advantageous to give it an occasional deep watering rather than regular light watering. In drier Mediterranean climates it will need some supplemental irrigation over the summer.

It is tolerant of most soils so long as they are well-drained but avoid the temptation of apply of Phosphorus fertilizers as this will adversely affect the growth. Be that as it may, Stenocarpus sinuatus will benefit from the occasional supplemental of a micronutrient applications.

Despite its more tropical origins, Stenocarpus sinuatus has proven itself to be adaptable to a range of climates. It is surprisingly cold hardy and for short periods can tolerating temperatures down to around 25° F!

The name Stenocarpus comes from the Greek word 'stenos' meaning narrow, and 'karpos' meaning fruit. It was first used in 1810 to describe Stenocarpus salignus by the Scottish botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858). The species name 'sinuatus' means wavy which relates to one of the two shapes of leaf found on this plant.

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HOW TO GROW A CONKER TREE FROM A CONKER
HOW TO GROW THE FRANGIPANI TREE- Plumeria rubra var. acutifolia
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Japanese Flowering Cherries - Prunus species
DAWN REDWOOD - Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Mexican Orange Blossom - Choisya ternata
Symplocarpus renifolius
THE AFRICAN TULIP TREE - Spathodea campanulata
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THE CANNONBALL TREE - Couroupita guianensis
THE DRAGON BLOOD TREE
THE FIREWHEEL TREE - Stenocarpus sinuatus
THE FRANGIPANI TREE - Plumeria rubra
The Devil's Hand Tree -  Chiranthodendron pentadactylon
THE HEAVEN LOTUS TREE - Gustavia superba
THE JUDAS TREE
THE PARROT FLOWER - Impatiens psittacina
The Silver Birch - Betula pendula

THE PELICAN FLOWER - Aristolochia grandiflora

THE PELICAN FLOWER - Aristolochia grandiflora



While it may not be possible for the average man in the street to get hold of a Titan arum - Amorphophallus titanum or a Corpse flower - Rafflesia arnoldii, if you have your mind set on growing one of the world's largest flowers then all is not lost!

THE PELICAN FLOWER - Aristolochia grandiflora
Native to the Caribbean and Central America, the Pelican Flower - Aristolochia grandiflora is right up there with the flowering giants. It was named in 1788 by Olof Swartz (1760-1818), and has one of the largest flowers of any New World species.

While the undoubtedly strange flower structure is not as large as the Amorphophallus or Rafflesia species, it does share one common characteristic - an outstanding odour!

Typical to other species within the Aristolochia genus, the A. grandiflora flower is pollinated by flies and wasps. This is why the Pelican flowers has evolved such an usual shape - it is a highly efficient trap!

The flies and wasps are attracted to the flower as the odour produced (a combination of essential oils) smells rather strongly of rotting flesh.

The unsuspecting fly travels down the tubular part of the flower to where the reproductive organs are found. The tube is lined with downward facing hairs that prevent the fly from moving out.

The reproduction process has three main phases. In the first phase, the fly carries pollen from other flowers which are deposited onto the stigma as it makes it way to the bowl-like structure at the base of the trap. During the second phase the fly is trapped inside the flower, but it survives by eating nectar produced along the walls of the bowl. While the fly fumbles around looking for a way to escape the stamen releases its own pollen which then becomes attached to the fly. Luckily for the fly this phase lasts one day as the downward-facing hairs wither, allowing the fly to escape. Two days later and the flower will die back and fall from its stem.

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HOW TO GROW THE BUSHMAN'S PIPE - ceropegia ampliata
HYDNORA AFRICANA
THE DUTCHMAN'S PIPE - Aristolochia cathcartii
THE EYEBALL PLANT - Actaea pachypoda
THE FIREWHEEL TREE - Stenocarpus sinuatus
THE GHOST PLANT - Monotropa uniflora
THE 'HOOKER'S LIPS' PLANT
HOOKER'S LIPS PLANT - Psychotria elata
THE LIZARD VINE
The Maypop - Passiflora incarnata
THE PARROT FLOWER - Impatiens psittacina
The Pelican Flower - Aristolochia grandiflora
THE PIG FACE FRUIT - Solanum mammosum
THE WORLD'S UGLIEST FLOWER - Aristolochia cymbifera 'Domingos Martins'
Symplocarpus renifolius
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST FLOWER IN THE WORLD?