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Tree Pruning Time Again

It is getting to that time of year when I need to prune my pear and apple trees. This is normally one of my favorite periods in the gardening calendar but weather patterns are so bizarre at the moment that I may need to get up there in adverse weather instead of waiting for one of those wonderful sunny winter days we used to have. The end of last year was so warm that the sap was still rising right up until Christmas. Now that I have to get the pruning done we seem to be cursed with constant rain and cold. Many years ago I used to do a lot of tree surgery and it seemed that whole days...

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How to Build a Small Garden

BUILDING A SMALL GARDEN In the year 1790 one in twenty Americans lived in an urban environment. Today that number has soared to four out of five. That change has had a dramatic effect on how we live our lives, the type of architecture we choose and of course the size of our gardens. Our outdoor spaces have shrunk dramatically, in part because we no longer have those vast tracts of land cheaply available but also because we no longer have the time to devote to our gardens that our forefathers once did. Here is the weird thing that I probably should not confess to as a professional landscaper and garden designer: I much prefer smaller gardens. I am not...

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Six Great Plants To Improve Indoor Home Air Quality

I guess just about everyone on the planet is aware how air pollution is bad for our health. What may come as more of a surprise is how much pollution we are exposed to in our homes and offices. Many modern building materials and day to day items are constantly giving off gasses into the environment that are toxic. Photocopying machines and faxes through to furnishings, carpets and paint all slowly leach fumes into the environment and as they are indoors those fumes become trapped. Recent studies reveal that most western communities are spending between eighty and ninety percent of their lives indoors. OK, that may not include us gardeners who, with the winter moving in, may be wishing we...

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Owning an Indoor Orangery of Citrus Fruit Trees

Of all my eclectic collection of indoor plants, the one that gives me the most pleasure is without doubt my Bearss Lime. There is something incredibly decadent about being able to just reach out and pick a piece of fruit without even having to leave the comfort of my own home. In fact given the choice of having Nicole Kidman lounging in my sun porch or my luscious lime I would be hard pushed to make a choice. (OK, I’ve had a moment to reflect and the lime tree has to go.) Hopefully I will never find myself placed in such a difficult position in real life. The pleasure of rearing miniature citrus trees indoors goes far beyond just avoiding...

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Conserving Water and Eco-Friendly Gardening

One of the more hotly contested debates in the world of science today concerns global weather change. This used to be called the global warming debate but no one appeared able to agree on the title so that too had to be argued over and then changed. From a non scientist’s view point the debate seems to hinge around whether climate patterns are changing due to man’s constant burning of fossil fuels or if this is just a naturally occurring cyclical event. There does seem to be a broader consensus that droughts are going to continue to increase in both number and severity over the coming century. NASA even predicts an eighty percent chance of a mega drought taking place...

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