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Plants in the Garden: December

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Started by: Tim Ingram

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 30 December 2012, 18:02. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Susan Read 17 December 2012, 12:57top / bottom of page

Monday 17th: at last a bit of sun. Snowdrops are growing fast and showing bud but most things are soggy. Helleborus foetidus, a weed really, is justifying its keep and the only white berry I can boast on this alkaline clay is mistletoe.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 24 December 2012, 15:38top / bottom of page

A lot of gardeners have been struggling with very wet weather and we are lucky in the south-east that there have been quite a few dry days, enabling us to get on with working in the garden. Our garden is large, and parts are fairly overgrown, but it is surprising what you can get done when you put your mind to it. The rows of dwarf fruit trees are underplanted with a whole variety of snowdrops and woodland perennials, and at this time need a thorough tidying up and mulching with fresh compost. A less easy job is an annual pruning of the trees, but they do look glorious in blossom the following year. The shoots of snowdrops are really making headway now (always good to see some of the rarer cultivars reappearing) giving more encouragement to get out and ready the garden for opening next February.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 24 December 2012, 15:58top / bottom of page

I couldn't resist these last couple of pictures! Who really wants to look at photos of compost!! (so a picture of Cyclamen coum comes between them). But after tidying the woodland beds this is the 'piece de resistance'; feeding the beds and inhibiting weed growth and making you feel you are providing the best conditions possible for the plants waiting to appear in the spring. Plus the great feeling you have made it all yourself! At Kew they use large quantities of composted bracken for the woodland beds, and each gardener must have their own favourite 'soupcon'.

Contribution from John Richards 30 December 2012, 17:13top / bottom of page
Dioecy in Ginkgo

Hi Tim. I must say that I find fruit set on an isolated individual of Ginkgo very surprising. I spent much of my career researching and writing about plant mating systems and I never heard of monoecy in Ginkgo and I can find no mention of it in texts I have here. There is an interesting note in Bean however which says that a female branch at Kew set fruit when grafted onto a male tree. Is there any chance that your plant had received such a graft? Did you buy or inherit the tree? Bean also says that trees rarely set fruit until they are of some age, 40 years or more. There is another possibility of course, that a neighbour has a male tree you do not know about.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 30 December 2012, 18:02top / bottom of page

John - I am really surprised too but as far as I am aware there are no other trees anywhere near us. We planted the tree so long ago but I assume it was a seedling so no possibility of a male branch being grafted onto a female tree. I will have to look more closely in gardens near to us. It will be interesting to see what happens next year. Is there any possibility that sex changes can occur in plants as they do for example in fish, subject to environmental effects? Developmentally it is a relatively small change.


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