Since I began working with Carbon Gold, trialling their biochar products (and contributing to their website as The Charlady) I have begun to appreciate and understand just how important mycorrhizal fungi are to plants. They create a microscopic web that provides the vital conduit that exchanges nutrients from the soil for carbon from the plants. When we dig the ground this web is broken which is why it is a good idea to add mycorrhiza to the soil, to re-establish the connection. By adding biochar we also provide an ideal home for the fungi where they can get on with their good work. Now there is evidence that the fungi also help plants defend themselves against enemies such as aphids. A new study (reported by the BBC) focused on how plants respond to enemy attack and found that plants attached to one another by a micorrhizal network could communicate and release the same chemical defence regardless of whether they were being actively attacked or not. This did not happen with plants without a micorrhizal connection. Interesting stuff.
As their slogan reads – ‘Notcutts have been helping gardeners since 1897’. They were nurserymen for over fifty years before they opened one of the first garden centres in the 1950s and today they continue to advise gardeners and source quality British-grown plants. One way and another, there is a pretty impressive level of expertise within the company, which is now run by the 4th generation of the family. I’ve used the Notcutts Book of Plants (now in its 17th edition) as an invaluable source of reference all of my gardening life and visited several of their garden centres over the years, always leaving with a fine plant or two. So, as a company that is good at reinventing itself, it’s good to see that they have come bang up to date and you can now shop online from their extensive collection of garden tools and plants, as well as delving into their Garden Library where they share their knowledge and expertise.
It’s clear that Notcutts understand their customer base. There are sections of the new site that look to inspire as well as provide ideas.The shopping pages have clear imagery featuring products in use. In the instance that you can’t find what you’re looking for visitors can consult the online help centre. Or of course you could use their online facility for finding your nearest Notcutts should you wish to talk to the experts face to face. Why not visit Nottcutts Today.
After all the struggles to get things growing earlier in the year, yet again nature has proved that when the conditions are right there’s no struggle involved. The runner beans and French beans I sowed 2 weeks ago are growing fast in the greenhouse and will be hardened off over the next week before planting them out, the first sowing of peas (protected by a coldframe) are growing well and the broad beans have flower buds.
One of the new tulips I planted this year is (supposedly) The Lizard. It’s a gorgeous Rembrandt tulip that has red flame patterns on a paler background, but now appears to be Crème Lizard – interesting but not what I was expecting. Until I identified it I kept looking at it hoping that chameleon-like it would change colour. Now I know this isn’t going to happen.
We are somewhat partial to parades and festivals in Hastings and the most recent one was the extremely colourful Jack in the Green which welcomes the spring with much dressing up, pagan(ish) celebrations, many Morris Dancers and (in another part of town and in no way related) upwards of 20,000 bikers admiring each others machines on the seafront. I’m more an onlooker than a participant, but I do dress the garden door each year with flowers from the garden.