Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Year, new course, new me ... and you!

Goodness, what happened to the last few months?  Well I've been pretty tied up with a few family issues but I am back!

Very exciting news - a new course starting in February - with an amazing discount as I have been so remiss in not blogging.  Here it is ....   a chance to see the developing gardens, take time for yourself, meet us and rejeuvenate.
Even better a chance to spend a whole three days with to really make a difference to you ... and me!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Made for the Shade...

Gardening In The Shade

By Mark Saidnawey, WBZ-TV Gardening Expert


Click here to watch our Segment on CBS Boston TV 

garden shade

BOSTON (CBS) – For many of us urban gardeners, the shady areas of our garden are often the most challenging.

For many of my customers that shop with me at Pemberton Farms they are always asking what is new and different for shade and how do I add color to those dark areas of my garden.
Fortunately for them, many nurseries are now stocking a larger selection of shady plants and growers are adding new varieties each year. Unfortunately, shade-tolerant plants are in many cases not very colourful in flower, but often there is consolation in attractive or interesting foliage. Plants for shade gather what light there is by large leaves which are rich in chlorophyll and therefore often very green. Variegated plants are less successful in shade than in sun as they lack chlorophyll.
Watch to see some creative ways I have added to color and texture to my shady garden:

Watch Gardening With Gutner
You will see a combination of hanging baskets, vines, herbaceous perennials and flowering annuals. All it takes is a little creativity and patience for plants to fill in and you too can have an interesting, and colorful shady garden.

Some tips on Shade Gardening:
Knowing the amount of shade you have is extremely important in determining which varieties of plants will thrive in your garden. Many plants that require part to full sun will work in light or partial shade. It is often a trial and error method to see what works where but if you can determine the amount of shade you have it will help you when you go to choose your plants. When customers come to our garden center and ask for assistance in selecting plants it is the first question we ask.
To grow healthy plants in shady areas, it is important to identify the degree of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate. Few shrubs will thrive where shade is very dense, particularly when coupled with a dry impoverished soil. Additional organic matter and a general fertiliser will provide more suitable conditions for plants to grow.
  1. Light shade: A site that is open to the sky, but screened from direct sunlight by an obstacle, such as a high wall or group of trees.
  2. Partial shade: A site receiving sunlight for two or three hours either in early morning or late evening. Midday sun supplies considerably more light.
  3. Moderate shade: Mainly reflected or diffused light, for example through tree canopies.
  4. Deep shade: Usually under dense deciduous trees, e.g. beech, conifer hedges or overgrown shrubberies.
Here is a list of some the most popular Annuals and Perennials for the shade:
  1. Begonias
  2. Browallia
  3. Caladium
  4. Coleus
  5. Diascia
  6. Fuchsia
  7. Impatiens
  8. Mimulus
  9. Torenia
  1. Hosta
  2. Astilbe
  3. Polygonatum (Solomon Seal)
  4. Heuchera (Coral Bells)
  5. Ferns
  6. Vinca Minor
  7. Lamium (Dead Nettle)
  8. Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)
  9. Helleborus
  10. Brunnera “Jack Frost"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Find The Perfect Christmas Tree

Find The Perfect Christmas Tree


Click Here to watch us on CBS Boston TV 

BOSTON (CBS) — The countdown to Christmas is underway, which means the lights, the ornaments and other decorations are making their ways out of the attic.
Perhaps one of the most important centerpieces of Christmas decoration is the tree. But with so many different types out there, how do you choose the “one” and keep it fresh and healthy until December 25?
Todd Gutner talked to Mark Saidnawey of Pemberton Farms to find out.

Web Extra: A Guide To Picking The Perfect Tree

Two most popular types are Balsam and Fraser. They both work perfectly as Christmas trees at home, but depending on what you are looking for, one may be more suitable than the other.
Balsam gives off great smell that fills the whole house, but one downside, it loses its needles quickly.
Fraser, rapidly gaining popularity in the last five years, can be more expensive, but retains its needles better. It, however, does not give off any fragrance.
Additionally, Balsam trees are greener than Fraser trees. So it ultimately comes down to, do you want a rich green tree or one with a hint of silver? And would you like an odorless tree or a tree that fills your house with scent?
Once you find a tree you like, then the trick is to keep it fresh until actual Christmas day.
Mark Saidnawey said, the most important thing to remember is to make sure your tree takes in a lot of water, especially in the first few days after the purchase.
If you don’t plan on putting the tree up in the house immediately, keep it in a bucket of water outside.
Also, try store-bought preservatives, such as Prolong Christmas Tree Preservative or add Sprite or sugar into the water. These tricks will help keep your tree healthy and fresh.
Besides freshly cut trees, potted trees can also work as great Christmas trees.
If you have potted trees that you keep in your front yard year round, you could bring them inside for a couple of days around Christmas. But potted balsam trees cannot survive more than two days in warm temperature.
Most Christmas tree farms in Eastern Massachusetts offer indoor potted plants as well, and these can certainly survive inside a warm house.

Get the Patio Ready! Happy 4th Of July

Happy 4th Of July — Time To Spruce Up Your Patio

By Mark Saidnawey, WBZ Gardening Expert


Click here to watch us on CBS Boston talk Patio Pots... 


CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – We have made it to the big 4th of July weekend. Are you having a barbecue and lots of people over? Is your patio or deck full of flowers for your guests to enjoy?
If not, now is a great time to visit your favorite garden center or nursery for those last minute touches to make your yard colorful for all who will visit this weekend.
Here at Pemberton Farms (and I am sure at your favorite nursery) we have a large selection of fresh patio size pots full of Zinnia’s, Salvia, Cleome, Cosmos, Impatiens, Coleus and mixes of colorful plants that are reasonable priced and easy to just purchase and set out on your patio.

Watch: Gardening With Gutner
The key is getting the right plants for your sun/shade situation. I for one have a patio that bakes in full sun all day and have plants that can both take the heat of the sun and also not dry out when I am at work. Be sure to ask at your nursery which plants require lots of sun or which will do well in shade. You can also create your own planters with some of my favorites like Million Bells, New Guinea Impatiens, Petunias, Bacopa, Marigolds, Gazania and lots more.

Here are some Patio Planter Tips and Advantages:
Planters are good for flowers, plants and herbs. Place them on patios, front porches, and balconies. Group them in sets of two and three; they look so much better in clusters.
Garden planters, outdoor flower pots and window boxes come in a large variety of materials, styles and sizes—wood, ceramic, terracotta, fiberglass or resin, clay, concrete and metal—there are so many choices! But did you know that the characteristics of each type will make some better-suited than others. Making the right choices in both planters and plants for the growing conditions, location and size of your container garden will make a big difference in your results.
New production methods and materials result in outdoor planters that are more resilient to extreme weather, lighter in weight and bulk, and offer a greater variety of decorative styles, textures and colors. Look for innovations such as self-watering features, illuminated or extra large and lightweight outdoor planters.
• Add color, fragrance and style to balconies, decks, patios, entranceway or home landscape
• Hide eyesores around your home with planted pots and hanging baskets
• Garden planters can be moved or replanted when displays fade or plants outgrow space
• Less chance of pest damage
• You can take your container garden with you when you move
• Plants not suited to your yard soil conditions can be grown in containers and planter boxes
Simple and easy to enjoy. Head out and spruce up your patio now. The 4th of July weekend is rapidly approaching.
Thanks, Mark Saidnawey

December's Unseasonable Warmth

How To Deal With Unseasonable Warmth, Upcoming Cold

By Mark Saidnawey, WBZ-TV Gardening Expert

Click Here to watch us on CBS Boston 

(File Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
(File Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

BOSTON (CBS) – Daffodils, crocus’s, forsythia, cherry trees, rhododendrons and even azaleas are sprouting up in many homeowners’ back yards so far this fall.
Alas, have no fear, Mother Nature will surely bring us colder temperatures and our plants will once again be reminded that it’s winter and return to their dormant phase.
All your deciduous plant material (perennials and bulbs) will be fine once the cold returns. They will go back to sleep underground and will come up fine next spring. To be sure, you can add a layer of fresh mulch, compost or salt marsh hay to protect them.

WBZ-TV’s Todd Gutner reports.
As for the trees and shrubs that are blooming now, it’s a slightly different story. As you may know, many early spring blooming trees and shrubs set their buds in the fall. Therefore, if the buds are popping open now, they will not have time to reset and bloom again in the spring.
Fortunately, I do not suspect this to be a widespread problem because blooms on trees and shrubs have been sporadic. The only difference you may see is slightly fewer flowers when April and May roll around.
Either way, there really isn’t much we can do except hope for a nice insulating snowfall come early January that lasts into March.
In general, no snow protection and extreme cold temperatures are not good for plants.
If you have any questions or comments you can contact Mark at Or, follow him on twitter @MarksGardening.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September, Seasons of Mists, Harvest all done aaah

So finally we lop into September - a quick dash to Bristol to be nurtured by the kindly and specially trained people at the Apple Store.  They must go to a special special school for unflappability - all deserve medals for those of us who have finally succumbed to a Mac - I have hankered for 17 years and finally for one of those unmentionable birthdays it happened.  It is never straighforward though is it - happily going through life as a leopard I now have to navigate and move up to being a lion in order to be the same as the techies who currently abide here.   It should mean dear blog slogger that my photos are clearer and even more excitingly the right way up.  A lesson is to take place tomorrow - we will see! For now I will have a quick peruse on the camera to see what joyous snaps we have for the last week.

The Bank Holiday Weekend was filled with the gorgeous flower festival at Lingen - the Church was full of stunning quilts and flowers depicting biblical scenes.

Bank Holiday Monday I had to act as chauffeur to Ross and had an hour to spare - do pop into Labels on the M50 Ross-on-Wye if travelling to stay with us.  Wiggly Wigglers now have a mini shop upstairs and there is a lovely little food hall.  You can of course get sucked into retail therapy downstairs but I averted my gaze - well apart from a lovely little Italian white, pin-tucked floaty coat - for a split second I thought I could match our new bedlinen and be very corporate serving breakfasts and then ... well I restocked up on our ecover washing up liquid and bought a few gluten free nibbles and read a few packets (still looking for sugar free, gluten free, dairy free TASTY biscuits).

Took this photo last year - obviously as it is all so green (AND he who is important mentions that the plough now has one extra furrow on it  -thus conserving fuel)- we are really struggling with lack of rain - I am definitely getting out my Beth Chatto Dry garden book.  I bought a few different miscanthus grasses in Hereford from an old colleague the other day and have great plans for a mini prairie in the Cottage gardens - after they have been well mucked and green manured first.  It is so mild I thought I'd try some mustard to break up the cloddy red Herefordshire earth but this time I must remember to trim it before digging it in!  Learning all the time!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Escape to Alnwick

Can't believe I am the owner of a new greenhouse and I've left it and all the apple crumble seedlings.  Still - visiting Alnwick gardens has been a wish for about four years after reading the book about the development of the gardens whilst at Pershore College.  It did not disappoint - and a most ungardenworthy comment has to be made about the amazing food in the treehouse.  Youngest daughter was bribed with promise of the Poison Garden, getting wet in extreme fountains and a meal in the best treehouse ever.  Best of all we had a lovely chat to Trevor Jones, Head Gardener and discovered some more details of the next phase of the garden - going to revisit in 2014 to see.  Hopefully to stay in wonderful self-catering in Alnmouth too and return with he who is most important who hopefully will not be harvesting then.

Anyway a few photos to wet appetites.   Tomorrow we are checking out Trentham Gardens, the Prairie planting and restoration of the Italian gardens and then hope to resuscitate they who were just peeping through!