Category Archives: Annual Fund

Colombian Exchange

The travel of Europeans to the Americas in the 15th century began a process that was to dramatically change agriculture and humanity around the world.  The Colombian Exchange was a term coined by Alfred W. Crosby in 1972 to describe … Continue reading

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Utricularia longifolia – a large flowered tropical bladderwort

Utricularia longifolia Gardner was described from Pedra Bonita some 50 km north of Rio De Janeiro in the London Journal of Botany in 1842 in an article on the Flora of Brasil.  The page describing the species can be seen … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Fund, Low Nutrient Environments, Species | Leave a comment

Low nutrient habitats

I’m working through the plans for the low nutrient habitat display in the glasshouse.  We already have a good range of epiphytic bromeliads and some epiphytic orchids.  There are also a range of carnivorous plants to be grown here including Heliamphora, … Continue reading

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Cyperus papyrus – Papyrus

We have been growing Cyperus papyrus for many years at Reading University and while the individual shoots grow tall the plants never seem very vigorous.  The opportunity gained by digging the plant up and dividing it has allowed the option of … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Annual Fund, Species | 5 Comments

Clearing the tropical glasshouse continues

Most of the old plantings have now been dug up and new plants propagated.  Here we see six keen volunteers with a range of the plants in pots including a fine flowering orchid specimen.  Now much of the old overgrown … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Fund, Hands-on, People, Students | 2 Comments

Tropical smallholding – what will we be growing?

I’ve been in discussion with a range of people about the crops we should be growing in our global tropical small holding.  There are some obvious species the we know we can grow and we already have: Banana (Musa cultivars), … Continue reading

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The sleepers have arrived!

After many weeks of research, discussion and negotiation we finally have our recycled, untreated hardwood railway sleepers to create the raised beds for drainage and landscaping in the greenhouse.  Although the space seems small we needed 120 sleepers to do … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Fund, Hands-on, Students | Tagged | 2 Comments

Preparing compost for the raised beds

Four people and two hours were needed to mix together a large pile of well rotted compost and a slightly smaller pile or horticultural grit.  Luckily the weather was dry and not too hot for this long and tiring job. … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Fund, Compost, Hands-on, Students | 1 Comment

Substrate notes – Melcourt

Tropical orchids, ephiphytic ferns, aroids and many bromeliads are usually grown on bark chips.  More recently composted bark has become a successful substitute for peat in many composts.  Melcourt are a major provider of bark based growing media in the … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Fund, Planning | 2 Comments

Arrival of the giants

Two of the spectacular new plants for the tropical glasshouse are the Giant Horsetail, Equisetum myriochaetum, and the Giant Elephant Fern, Angiopteris evecta.  Today, a cardboard box labelled ‘Live Plants, Fragile’ marked the arrival from Edinburgh Botanic Garden of cuttings … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Fund, Evolution, Species | 2 Comments