Monthly Archives: January 2012

Plants you can’t kill

I have a c0nfession to make. I am a plant killer. My beautiful blue hydrangea, bought from Columbia Road and expected to last throughout the unusually warm winter we’ve been having, is now wilted and dead in the front yard. I even once managed to kill a small cactus after completely misjudging the fact that cacti actually need water at some point to live. But it’s time to turn over a new leaf. Thankfully,  some fellow gardening bloggers have come up with lists of “un-killable plants” so I can start becoming a better plant parent. Here’s some links to the best:

Melanie Pinola, has written a post  on  Lifehacker, where she put un-killable plants to the test. She recommends four plants which have managed to survive – air plants, succulent, aloe plant and jade.

Marie Iannotti, a gardener from America, has come up with a comprehensive list of hardy plants on her blog, which also features ways to not kill plants, such as not over-watering them and avoiding salt build-up.

By Natasha Wynarczyk. Photo by Peter Pearson under a CC license

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Something worth crowing about

Blue Tit

Blue Tits are beautifully coloured birds found throughout Britain

If you’re planning pottering about in the garden this weekend, or going for a coffee and stroll in the park, then you’d be in the perfect place to get involved with RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

East End Gardener is showing its support by joining in the annual event; all you need is a pen, some paper and an hour to spend either tomorrow or Sunday in your garden or at your local park. The idea is to note down the highest number of each bird species you see on the ground.

If you can’t tell a Greenfinch from a  Jackdaw have no fear,  you can also ask questions or share tips on the Big Garden Birdwatch community group. To make this easier there is a birdwatch counting sheet you can download and print off from the bottom of this blog post. For iPhone users you can also download a new handy bird guide app – lovebirds.

The RSPB has been running this event for 30 years, helping to create a snapshot how many and what type of bird there are in each region. Sadly, the number of birds that grace our gardens and parks are dropping in dramatic numbers; we’ve lost more than half our house sparrows and almost three-quarters of our starlings.

On the bright side, these surveys help to spot the problem areas and help take the first step towards protecting the UK’s wildlife.

Birdwatch Counting Sheet

By Krystena Petrakas. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev under a CC license

5 good reads for urban gardening: January 2012

Tulips snow winter urban gardening London

The East End Gardener is back after a winter break and ready to welcome the first hints of spring with crocuses and snowdrops.

Here are some of the top reads from the web this month to get you back in the green-fingered mood. Just click on the titles to go straight to the article.

Gardening trend predictions for 2012
MyGardenSchool, blogging for Huffington Post UK, predicts a return to the wild in 2012, with fewer lawns, more shrubs and greater concern for our environmental impact. Thought-provoking post, shame about the grammar…

The revolution will be composted: adventures in radical gardening
We’ve always known that gardeners are sexy and now here’s the proof. The Guardian’s gardening blog is setting out to profile rebel gardeners. They’ve already name-checked East End Gardener favourite, the Hackney FARM:shop  – we can’t wait to see who else is coming up.

Gardens of Eden: the heavenly horticulture blossoming on roofs high above the city
Some divine visual inspiration, courtesy of the Daily Mail – who’da thought it? Some of the most beautiful images are of roof gardens in our beloved London. Oh how we wish the Big Smoke would take a tip from Stuttgart in Germany, where roof gardens have been required for all flat-roofed buildings since 1989.

Winter allotment tips and what to grow now
Lucky enough to have nabbed an allotment? Live Urban Love Rural blog has some top tips for January planting. We’re dreaming of home-grown garlic… get digging!

Ten of the best ways to get stuck into urban gardening
Was urban gardening on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Then welcome on board! The Ecologist has some great ideas for getting started – we particularly like the tips for DIY windowsill planting (and eating).

By Hannah Bass. Photo from The Green Party via Flickr under a CC licence