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Cyclamen are some of the most colourful and reliable of all winter flowering plants. Not only will they warm the heart on the coldest of days, they will also grow readily from seed so long as you collect just before the seed pod splits open and sow them as fresh as possible. The trick with cyclamen seed is to soak the seed in warm water for about 24 hours prior to sowing. To aid the absorption of the water through the seed coat you can add a drop of detergent such as washing-up liquid to the water. Sow cyclamen seed into trays or pots containing a good quality seed compost such as John Innes



Most of us have heard of Frankincense, even if it is only within the context of the Nativity. As you will no doubt remember, Frankincense was one of a trinity of gifts given to Mary and Joseph by the wise men in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. To read the full article click onto the following link: http://gardenofeaden.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/what-is-frankincense-and-myrrh.html Frankincense begins its journey by being tapped from the bark of the Boswellia tree. This is achieved by slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are known

FREAK OF THE WEEK - Clathrus archeri


When it come to creepy looking plants, Clathrus archeri has creeps to spare. Commonly known as Devils Fingers (or the rather less scary name of Octopus Stinkhorn),  it is a native to Australia and Tasmania, although it has become an introduced species in Europe, North America and Asia. The above image is a particular favourite as it shows the fungus just before the fingers open up. In this instance it looks so much like a disembodied hand that it beggars belief. It even as the remnants of its tattered sleeves attached to the wrist! Of course you can see from the accompanying images that it

FREAK OF THE WEEK - The Death Mask Flower!


Just when I thought I was going to bring an end to the 'Freak of the Week' feature due to running out of suitable contenders, I discover what is possibly the most sinister of all plant species - the Death Mask flower, Aristolochia salvador platensis.  It is a member of the Aristolochiaceae family which includes over 500 species. Its members are commonly known as birthworts, pipevines or Dutchman's pipes and are widespread and occur in the most of the world's diverse climates. Native to Brazil, this woody creeper can be found in open flood plains. In fact its descriptive name