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Horticulture Garden Classes: January 2014

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I’ll be back at St. Tiernans teaching gardening and all things horticulture this coming January 2014.

Of note there’s an evening education class open day. I’ll be there, so you can come and have a chat and see what you think yourself. Or you can pop me a wee email if you like. Also, St. Tiernans are offering a 10% discount if you book on the day, of the open day. But if you can’t make that… You can book online. Details of which are noted below.

  • Open Day: January 11th 2014. 12.30 – 2.30pm 

Course Details:

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Capillary Action

Pub Quiz Answer: water travelling against gravity. Ever seen rainfall go upwards ? If you’ve ever siphoned liquid [note: liquid plus tubes] from one place to another, you’re half way there.

Horticulturally serious: I’ll need this post to refer back to in a while and on a slight side note, maybe more than I realise, it is one of the most beneficial understandings in what might be considered one of the basic principles of horticulture. Many varying definitions out there to be found, this very shortened definition [as versus my own] should suffice.

Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, and in opposition to external forces like gravity.

In relation to gardening, this becomes again important when we consider:

In hydrology, capillary action describes the attraction of water molecules to soil particles.

I never entirely understood [I do] why capillary action as a definition got to be [of sorts] borrowed, because when broken down really by meaning, it cannot refer to water movement in anything other than a xylem [a plants water carrying internal pipes] or a tube of some format. A discussion for another day over a glass of Midleton I hear you say.

If you are actually interested in joining me for that chat, you’ll most probably find this photograph below extremely humorous. Oh the giggles we shall have 😉

garden water feature

Disclaimer: there’ll be no drinks. It’s just definitions can get quite cucumbersome and often need some mild humour to brighten them up.

Also, now every time I mention capillary action I can link to my own meaning/ explanation – as versus someone elses 😉

Note: I may update this post further. For now and because I write this when it suits/ I have the time/ I’m not in your garden ~ the basic understanding/ theory is there.

Geotropism

The directional growth of an organism in response to gravity. Roots display positive geotropism when they grow downwards, while shoots display negative geotropism when they grow upwards. Also called gravitropism

source: The American Heritage® Science Dictionary 2002

It is also defined as:

the response of a plant part to the stimulus of gravity. Plant stems, which grow upwards irrespective of the position in which they are placed, show negative geotropism

source: Collins English Dictionary 2009

So why is the gardener throwing fancy nouns all over the landscaping blog…?

In very simple horticulture and specifically it’s relevance to you – here’s my breakdown of the above definition, for you….

if one should plant a bulb upside down – the roots will always grow south or upwards and the stem will always grow north or downwards. Fact.

In really simple terms, there is no incorrect way to plant a bulb or seed.

So why then do I see this on so many gardening blogs and websites…?

Plant the cloves the right way up! – like any other bulb, if it’s planted incorrectly they will never see the light of day – literally. The base of each clove should be pointing downwards while its peak should face the sun. Fairly obvious, one would assume, but the number of people who ask the question illustrates the need to make the point.

The video below is really terrible… but scroll, to about 30 seconds on the timeline and watch it until the end. It explains it extremely well.

The same theoretically applies to any plant, tree or shrub. This definition should not be confused with phototropism which is a plants stimulus or response to light.

A little further explanation…?

Plants can sense the Earth’s gravitational field. Geotropism is the term applied to the consequent orientation response of growing plant parts. Roots are positively geotropic, that is, they will bend and grow downwards, towards the center of the Earth. In contrast, shoots are negatively geotropic, that is, they will bend and grow upwards, or away, from the surface.

These geotropisms can be demonstrated easily with seedlings grown entirely in darkness. A seedling with its radicle (or seedling root) and shoot already in the expected orientation can be turned upside down, or placed on its side, while kept in darkness. The root will subsequently bend and grow downwards, and the shoot upwards. Because the plant is still in darkness, phototropism (a growth movement in response to light) can be eliminated as an explanation for these movements.

Several theories about the manner by which plants perceive gravity have been advanced, but none of them is entirely satisfactory. To account for the positive geotropism of roots, some researchers have proposed that under the influence of gravity, starch grains within the cells of the root fall towards the “bottom” of the cell. There they provide signals to the cell membrane, which are translated into growth responses. However, there have been many objections to this idea. It is likely that starch grains are in constant motion in the cytoplasm of living root cells, and only “sink” during the process of fixation of cells for microscopic examination. Roots can still be positively geotropic and lack starch grains in the appropriate cells.

A more promising hypothesis concerns the transport of auxin, a class of plant-growth regulating hormones. Experiments since 1929 have shown that auxin accumulates on the “down” side of both shoots and roots placed in a horizontal position in darkness. This gradient of auxin was believed to promote bending on that side in shoots, and to do the opposite in roots. Confirmation of the auxin gradient hypothesis came in the 1970s. When seeds are germinated in darkness in the presence of morphactin (an antagonist of the hormonal action of auxin), the resulting seedlings are disoriented—both the root and shoot grow in random directions. Auxin gradients are known to affect the expansion of plant cell walls, so these observations all support the idea that the transport of auxin mediates the bending effect that is an essential part of the directional response of growing plants to gravity.

landscaping dublin, gleditsia

The [Un]usual Planter

Here, you have that. You might be able to do something with it….

...

That’s quite a regular statement I hear actually. Surprised ? I wasn’t. It’s not the most unusual object I’ve ever been handed. I like the odd challenge and this one was a doddle.

Yesterday I filled the container with some pebble. More to weight it down. It also looks really good. I also had a few hand fulls of pebble in my workshop, so it suited. It also saves on compost and in this case I didn’t have enough 😉

Helen had given me some spider plant babies a while ago that had come on really well…. and I had a spot inside where I felt it would look really good.

Total cost. €0.00

Personally, I’d be over the moon if someone gave me that as a gift.

Grow Your Own Garden Class

  • course title: grow your own garden class
  • where: ballyboughal [just outside Swords, north Dublin]
  • when: saturday 21st August 2010
  • time: 9.30am – 3.30pm
  • cost: €75 – including morning tea, lunch and all materials
  • numbers limit: minimum of 8 and 12 people max


Who is it for:

  • If you don’t wish to farm your entire garden
  • or remortgage the house so you can garden full time
  • If don’t [or do] have an allotment
  • or you simply wish to gather the simple basics to get started
  • whether you have a window ledge or a small patio
  • or just wish to grow in pots on that amount of space
  • I’ll assume you have a life, possibly kids and a full time job
  • or just enough time in life between eastenders and the 9 o’clock news.

A similar set up to the previous GYO class, the theory is that in one session you will go home with enough skills to be able to look after yourself from a grow your own – without the use of a tractor – point of view 😉

Interested or want to book yourself in ? :

very simple….

  • leave a comment below
  • email me info[at]doneganlandscaping.com
  • telephone mobile 087-6594688
  • or do so via the contact page

Note:

if numbers are 8 or more it’ll run – if not no bother. If you do put your name down keep an eye on this blog post. But I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t. Weather won’t pose a problem. Numbers will include only the first 8/12 names down on the list.

There’s an idea:

interested in having your very own personalised class done at your place of work or home for your group of friends or colleagues…. ? contact details above.