Back in January, we started a new feature! ‘What’s New in Gardening’, has been all about informing gardeners of just how gardening has changed over the last few years, as new plants and growing techniques become available to home gardeners.
Let us review what we have learnt during 2023 and how new developments can make our gardening easier – you may well find some great Christmas ideas for family and friends!
Slug & Snail Biological controls
As we move away from chemical controls which are bad for our environment, we look at more natural solutions such as encouraging natural predators and of course ‘beer traps!’
Now however, science comes to our aid by using ‘parasitic nematodes’, small worms which feed on the slugs/snails bodies.
These nematodes have been available mail order for several years, but there is a new formulation available for this year in garden centres.
You know what? They really do work!!
New Hybrid Runner Beans
Bred to extend the season when bee pollinators are in short supply, early and late in the year.
Runner Beans are normally pollinated by bees, so anything that stops the bees flying, like excessive heat, cold, wind or rain can mean your runner bean crop could be reduced considerably.
These new beans with names like Moonlight, Firestorm, Tenderstar etc, are derived from crosses between runner and French beans. French beans ‘self- pollinate’ so do not need the bees. Resulting beans look and taste just like runner beans!
Try some – they may make the difference between a bumper crop and an average one!
Flower breeding to remove the chore of ‘dead heading’ fading flowers.
It’s hard, back breaking work on a sunny afternoon making your way through the flower borders snapping of fading flower heads.
Increasingly, lots of new annual flowers in species such as begonias, marigolds and Petunias are being bred this way. They do not produce seed and thus continually produce new flowers. Hence fading blooms are immediately covered by new ones. Beautiful borders – and less work for you!
So lots to look forward to for next year! For now though, it’s a case of put your feet up and enjoy the Christmas festivities – with maybe just the occasional glance in next years seed and plant catalogues!
A Happy Christmas and New Year to all our readers!