GFM Network News



Calendula is a great annual for a patch garden.

Using patches of annuals in the landscape

Perfect for those hard-to-plant areas they will add colour and be inexpensive if using self-seeders


There are always spots in the landscape that are a bit troublesome when it comes time to plant them — especially large rural landscapes where the space is almost unlimited, but the budget isn’t! Even in smaller urban gardens there are usually spots where the growing conditions are less than ideal. One remedy for such


This colourful tall Amaranthus is positioned right at the front of a border.

Using tall annual flowers in a border

Instead of using smaller plants to edge a border try some taller ones


Flower borders were once quite formal and planting them required careful planning and precise placement. This very formalized way of planting annuals is rarely used now except in large public gardens. Nowadays, beds and borders composed solely of annuals are very rare as most gardeners have switched to using perennials with just a few annuals

Clubmoss can be used in many ways indoors.

Clubmoss is a versatile interior plant

Whether used as a soil cover, in a terrarium, or a stand-alone display, it will be a unique indoor feature

Living ground covers are more naturalistic than inorganic ones, and are useful not only in the outdoor garden but indoors as well. Many of us have large, indoor foliage floor plants like scheffleras, palms, dieffenbachias, dracaenas, and fig trees, sometimes using sphagnum moss or raffia to cover the soil surface, but there are plants that

The cyclamen
 has both attractive
 bloom and foliage.

Cyclamen makes a great gift at springtime

Vibrant-coloured blooms and attractive foliage make for the perfect potted plant

One of the prettiest gift plants is the cyclamen. Its vibrantly coloured flowers and exquisitely patterned heart-shaped leaves make it an attractive potted plant to give to a relative or friend. Florist cyclamen are hybrids developed exclusively for use as pot plants; they are not meant to be used in the outdoor garden. If you


English primulas produce vibrantly
coloured blooms.

Primulas provide pots of colour

Only suitable for indoors in our climate, they will provide a breath of spring

I recently came upon a lovely display of primulas for sale. There were red and orange ones, bright-golden ones, several shades of pink and even one with white blooms. I chose the pot with the dark-purple blooms with the buds just opening, rather than one with mature blooms. When buying any flowering plant, choose one

Blooms of dragon wing begonias add colour to the indoor winter garden.

Adding colour indoors with dragon wing begonias

Once these plants start to bloom they will continue right into spring


I am currently enjoying a great display of begonia blooms in my sunroom and this will continue right into spring. They do not begin their winter indoors by producing any colour however, as I usually just bring in cuttings or small offshoots from the parent plants, and these take time to develop attractive foliage or

One of my tuberous begonias last summer — covered with bloom.

Getting tuberous begonias off to a good start

If the bulbs are potted in March you should have plenty of blooms in June

We learn from our mistakes — sometimes! Last year I grew a couple of tuberous begonias after not having grown them for a number of years. I don’t like plants that demand a lot of care and tuberous begonias, although not terribly difficult to grow, do demand consistent attention and care. However, I was given


Dill (left) must be succession planted throughout the winter, a tall container of mint (centre), and a pot of chives (right), ragged because of constant use.

Have a supply of herbs to use all winter

Frozen ones are good to use in cooked dishes but have some growing in pots too

We are still in the depths of winter even though the days are getting longer, so although cutting herbs from outdoor plants is out of the question, it is relatively easy to have a few herbs on hand indoors. All it takes is a bit of planning in the fall and/or a bit of preserving

It isn’t just differences in climate and geology, but also the availability of symbiotes such as the mycorrhizal fungus, that influence plant diversity at different locations, for example here on the dry east coast of Tenerife.

Fungi fight plants

These symbiotes are also sometimes screens when it comes to establishing plant ranges

Fungi can help plants thrive — but it turns out they can also filter them out. That’s according to new research from an international team of researchers led by Germany’s University of Göttingen. The results appeared in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. For example, in the colonization of islands by plant species, it isn’t