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Malcolm Griffiths
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  • The winds of change
    Sep 13, 2016 8:00 am

    The winds of change

    September, a month of the unknown with hot humid weather and the unpredictable winds of chance be they gentle breezes or possible hurricanes.

    Hot summer days, with little respite during the evening hours, thrown in with periods of rain create good soft growth which does not harden off for several months.

    Prevention is oft better than the cure; with this in mind take a walk about the garden to look for excessive growth, and pest...

  • Combine aesthetics and function
    Jun 28, 2016 8:00 am

    Combine aesthetics and function

    What better way to enhance the visual impact of a garden than to use low-growing ground covers that bloom regularly if pruned back after flowering?

    They come with the bonus of reducing weed growth and thus conserving the available water and plant nutrients in the soil for the “garden plants”.

    Weeds, among other elements, need light to thrive. By reducing the amount of light with foliage, growth is minimised; therefore it makes...

  • Take a walk on the wild side
    Jun 15, 2016 8:00 am

    Take a walk on the wild side

    If you would like to see an added interest in your garden and space allows, consider creating a “wild garden” to encourage avian activity, insects, lizards, butterflies and moths.

    Such areas can have a controlled, but natural appearance, and meld in with the more formal/informal garden if planned carefully. Bird life in the garden is not so common these days, but with a little encouragement it may offer the chance for a tasty meal, be...

  • Telltale signs of pest and disease problems
    May 3, 2016 8:00 am

    Telltale signs of pest and disease problems

    May your garden be a place of rest and tranquility. With the surge of new growth — and of a floriferous nature — it is advisable to keep it at that level.

    That means observing the growth, not only the flowers but also the foliage, for that is the telltale observation for pest and disease problems.

    Pentas, for example, can be in full leaf and blooming habit only to be literally cut down by voracious caterpillars.

    This is...

  • Gardening: April, a month in transition
    Apr 12, 2016 8:00 am

    Gardening: April, a month in transition

    At an earlier time in history April 1 was recognised as New Year’s Day. It could have caused a problem for the gardening calendar but that fortunately changed in 1582; the present arrangement works well.

    With warmth being palpable and daylight hours longer, it is time to right the wrongs of Mother Nature’s wrath bestowed on us since the early part of the year.

    I have rarely seen such damage by wind and salt as I have this past...

  • Avoid the pitfalls of overplanting
    Mar 15, 2016 8:00 am

    Avoid the pitfalls of overplanting

    Overplanting is not cost-effective, visually or functionally, and is similar to having more furniture than you actually need.

    The difference is the furniture won’t expand and can be sold, however, once a plant is in the ground its growth increase is exponential until it is pruned, which is a cost. Thereafter, the process becomes repetitive — growth, prune — which becomes an exponential cost.

    Planning, selection, installation and...

  • February a month for planning not pruning
    Feb 16, 2016 8:00 am

    February a month for planning not pruning

    February (in the garden) should be cancelled due to lack of interest.

    February is a month to contemplate the reality of what one can do in the garden; it is a month for catching up on jobs that have lingered in the nether parts of the mind, and never surfaced. It is not a good month for planting or pruning; winter weeds still accommodate the soil and can be removed, little growth is produced, flowering is minimal at best.


  • Gardening: small areas can be focal points
    Jan 5, 2016 8:00 am

    Gardening: small areas can be focal points

    Having spent some time in England and Northern Ireland on my last vacation, it became apparent that the “landscape”, in general, is a metaphor encompassing any area that has been “made green”.

    It is similar in many parts of the world with developing projects — be they offices, housing, open plots of land or whatever, the need for a green area is a must; the problem is what type of green area and what is expected of this green area in...

  • ‘Tis season to be thoughtful in one’s giving
    Dec 1, 2015 8:00 am

    ‘Tis season to be thoughtful in one’s giving

    The thought of selecting Christmas presents for friends can be difficult enough, but more than stressful when family members are involved. So where to start and, more especially, where to find such inspiration? For the avid or simply keen gardener, tools, equipment or an unusual plant — as a status symbol especially if you know the botanical name — can be right on target. Personally, I am OK with not receiving a gift, especially if it is not...

  • Autumn means it is time to till and toil
    Oct 13, 2015 8:00 am

    Autumn means it is time to till and toil

    With temperatures starting to go south, it is time to assess the needs of the garden after a mix of climatic conditions during the summer.

    Heavy rains invariably leach out nutrients from the soil and, in combination with the heat of the day, produces abundant growth that lends itself to the need for pruning.

    As there is still enough heat in the air to encourage growth — though shorter daylight hours do have an impact — applying...


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