Gardening: The proliferation of nature

DESPITE the doom-mongers’ forecasts of human activity, climate change and/or global warming gradually destroying our planet and the concerns about some species of birds, mammals, plants, butterflies and insects disappearing from our world, it would seem that, in Huddersfield, nature is doing very nicely.

DESPITE the doom-mongers’ forecasts of human activity, climate change and/or global warming gradually destroying our planet and the concerns about some species of birds, mammals, plants, butterflies and insects disappearing from our world, it would seem that, in Huddersfield, nature is doing very nicely.

My own concerns about the apparently dramatic decline in the hedgehog population was chattered a few weeks ago when I spoke to an elderly lady at the Meltham Gardeners’ Society late summer show.

She lives on the rural edge of Marsden and reliably informs me that there is a healthy population in that area – does anyone else in the Huddersfield area have a healthy hedgehog population?

Write to me at the address below.

Mrs Griffith from Flockton has sent me some excellent pictures of various plants in her garden that, despite the ravages of two ‘bad’ winters and other very strange weather patterns, has produced a bumper crop of apricots and an explosion of Euphorbia lathyris, the Mole Plant.

Nature has a clever trick up her sleeve – it is called survival and, when she is threatened by drought, fire, cold or wet, she bounces back with a vengeance.

So, although Mrs Griffith has lost one or two plants during and after the bad winter, others have filled the gap in more ways than one.

Is there a lesson in there for us all to learn?

Mrs Middleton from Mirfield has nature proliferating in her garden in a way that she does not want.

After digging up her lawn and replacing it with gravel and borders, a creeping plant has appeared that is now taking over the new borders and has also taken a liking to her gravelled area.

It appears, from the photograph, that it is one of the wild Potentillas – either the trailing tormentil (Potentilla anglica) or the creeping cinquefoil, Potentilla reptans. This group of wild flowers can often invade lawns and it is possible that it was in your lawn prior to the new landscaping.

It’s creeping, stoloniferous habit, identical to that of a strawberry, allows it to spread rapidly, producing small yellow flowers in summer which then set seed to add to your misery!

It’s control is easiest done by hand as it only has a shallow root system. On a positive note, pollinating insects will enjoy the single, open flowers.

Mr and Mrs Wright from Salendine Nook have a collection of different Lavenders in their garden but are getting conflicting information about how and when to cut them back.

The ideal time is late summer, once the bees have done their work, and you can harvest the flower heads for baking, potpourri, lavender bags or dried flower arrangements. Do not cut back too far into the old wood as the plants may not recover.

Take cuttings from the short, new shoots that you will find below the flower spikes and root these on a sunny windowsill overwinter to give you the chance to replace any old or dead plants next spring.

If you have any questions or queries that you want help with or gardening related subjects that you would like to discuss, why not write to me at Graham’s Gardening Questions, Features Department, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Pennine Business Park, Longbow Close, Bradley Road, Huddersfield, HD2 1GQ.

 
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