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English Gardening Tips
Working in Jane Austenís garden gave me the opportunity to get inside the head of an English gardener. I found that the British naturally follow organic gardening practices, not only because they have limited resources, but also because garden lore has been passed along for centuries. The old ways really work.
Here are a few tips for caring for your garden, not only from Jane Austenís garden, but also from my own observations.
Add garden clippings, weeds (without seed heads), food waste from the kitchen (donít include meat, fat or bones), grass clippings (as long as you donít use pesticides on the grass) to your compost pile.
At Jane Austenís house, the head gardener, Celia, spends most of the winter taking wheelbarrows full of compost from the compost bin and spreading it all around the garden. This is one of the best natural fertilizers.
If you have access to horse manure Ė dilute it by adding a bucket of it to about 3 or 4 gallons of water and let it steep for a week. Drain off the black liquid and use it as fertilizer in your flower gardens. Add more water and some fresh manure and continue throughout the season.
Sprinkle used coffee grounds around flower beds.
At Jane Austenís House, Celia collects branches that are too woody to compost. Once or twice a year, she burns them and sprinkles the ashes under the roses.
Roses love ordinary compost too. Some say that compost with lots of onion and garlic peelings in it will make your roses release their fragrance.
Tea time for roses: Save the dregs from your teapot Ė just pour it into a large jar. When the jarís full, water your roses with it.
Lavender planted around roses will repel aphids. Chives will also work, but they arenít as pretty as lavender!
Natural pest control
In Jane Austenís garden, Celia gathers bird feathers that have scattered around the property and sticks them into a potato. This is hung from a string in the vegetable garden to discourage birds from eating the fruits and vegetables.
Plant nasturtiums, chives or marigolds around your vegetables or flowers to keep greenfly, black fly and white fly away from them.
Tansy repels flies and ants.
Plant mint near your kitchen door to repel ants.
Spray aphids with soapy water.
Spray garlic water to discourage slugs and aphids.
Encourage wildlife into your garden as they make excellent predators of pests.
Ladybirds for instance love to munch on greenfly however they also eat mites, scale insects, mealy bugs and even little caterpillars.
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