Acorn to Oak filmed over an 8 month period time-lapse

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Morpho butterfly emerging from chrysalis time lapse

I've added a time lapse of a Morpho butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.
I've added it to Yoiutube where you can see some of my flower opening time-lapses plus a few other things
Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac
The latest multi list plant selecter and pruning guide with 3,500 garden plants and illustrated pruning guide CD-ROM is now available and aimed at garden design students and gardeners.

Time-lapse of flowers opening

I've been adding some time-lapse sequences to Youtube.
They are of plants and flowers growing.
I hope you like them.
If you can it's best to view them in High quality rather than 'normal' which gives very poor quality images.

Snowdrop flower sequence growing and opening with rotating snowdrop flower.

Snowdrop flower opening

Aconite flowers in melting snow

Iris flower opening and rotate

All the time-lapses were filmed in my studio using x2 Nikon Cameras, a grow light and x2 studio flashes.

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Cleve West Independent review on Complete gardens CD-ROM

Urban gardener: Computer says 'grow'

By Cleve West Saturday, 25 October 2008

A screenshot from the interactive Plant Finder & Pruning Guide from Complete Gardens
Some computer software that I have started using recently.

No please don't turn over, this is actually quite interesting.
As much as I resent any time spent in front of a computer, the interactive Plant Finder & Pruning Guide from Complete Gardens will actually cut down some time in front of the screen and benefit my clients too with much more informative plant lists and maintenance schedules.

There are 3,500 plants and 9,000 pictures on the CD-ROM with various ways of making selections (colours, conditions, flowering times, etc) that can be printed out (with notes, pruning and propagation advice, pests and diseases to watch out for) saving lots of time cross-referencing books.

I'm not saying it will stop me buying more books for my sagging shelves but as a work tool (my assistant Humaira will love it) it's brilliant and it's British so it won't throw up lists that will have you trawling through plants that will only grow in Madagascar.
I should tell you that it's not for the exclusive use of garden designers who don't know as much as they should about gladioli.

Anyone, amateur or enthusiast, who can click a mouse button can use it to make lists of plants in their own garden with all the information they need to maintain it.

And get this. Click on any clematis species and it will show you the correct time and method for pruning. Seeing as I know many experienced gardeners who are as rusty as I am on clematis groups and how to tackle them it's worth getting the CD just for that.

Of course I couldn't resist seeing if it had Gladiolus papilio. It has. It also has another six that, I must admit, are actually quite attractive.

Complete Gardens advice encylopaedia CD-ROM is both MAC & PC compatible

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Parasite hitching a ride on a blood sucking fly

I thought this was a Craterina but have been advised that it of the Ornithomyia species and is a blood-sucking bird parasite.

This blood- sucking flatfly landed on my head.

When I squashed it I noticed on it's abdomen are neatly arranged lice called mallophaga which are hitching a ride.

A very neat way of getting about if your host is a bird and you're only 1mm long and wingless.

I've seen a pseudo-scorpion hitching a ride by gripping on to a housefly before, but this is the first time I've seen lice hitching a ride.

There isn't much info about this on the internet so if you have any comments please let me know.

Are the malophaga just hitching a ride or are they parasitising the Ornithomyia?

Neil Bromhall is the Producer and photographer of the Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Funny card about the blogging

I saw a fantastic card which had two dogs talking about blogging.

One dog said to the other

"I used to have a blog but now I've gone back to pointless, incessant barking"

I've been advised by blog expert Tony Treasy that blogs are the way forward to raise your profile but I sometimes wonder if I'm just barking in the wind.

What are your thoughts about blogging plus I'd be delighted to see the ones you think are good?

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Earn good income from you photography by using Image Libraries.

Image libraries are a very good way of making money from your images.

Image Libraries have contacts around the World and will monitor and agree the price and use of your images, which means you have more time to take photographs, rather than chasing clients and payment.
I use two Image libraries, The Photolibrary formerly known as OSF for my wildlife images, and the Scientific Picture Library SPL for my scientific work.

Image libraries usually earn 50% commission on sales.
I consider this very reasonable as they do a lot of work on your behalf.

The competition is fierce which means that only the best or unique images will be sold. This is good for everyone, as it raises standards and keeps the photographers striving to create better, more imaginative or informative images.

You’ll normally be asked to send in about 200 of your best original photographs to be assessed. Don’t be disappointed if the Library only selects a few of your images if any, as they will know what sells and which images they already stock.
The link shows some of my stock photographs which I have in the Photolibray. The foetus photographs have been used in magazines and posters (including the world wildlife fund) hand have earned several thousands of pounds over the years

The complete Gardens Cd-ROM web site has examples of my botoncal photography.
Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Plant and Pruning advice videos

We have added pruning advice video clips to our web site.
They are free to watch and have commentary to accompany them.
I hope you find them useful.

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Masonay bee causes £800 damage to floor

Masonry bee.
Before I put up my solitary bee house, one Solitary Bee had used my overflow pipe as a safe tube in which to make her line of clay chambers which she provisioned with pollen and laid her eggs.
Whilst on a trip to the USA the system slowly filled up. Unable to drain out of the overflow pip the water dripped on the floor and on to my wooden floored hall.
Two weeks later on my return, I discovered that the hall way floorboards were warped and buckled. At a cost of £800 I decided to find a solution.
I’ve now put up solitary bee houses for these wonderful little bees.
The first chambers have the females. The males are positioned at the entrance. This means that if the nest is predated it’s the males who get eaten first.

Solitary bees don't have colonies so there is no risk of swarming. They are beneficial garden insects as they are useful plant polliantors.

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Birds and Promiscuity

The Dunnock is a little BJ (little brown job). Dunnock are very promiscuous little birds. The males have to peck out the sperm plug from the previous male in order to successfully mate with her and pass on his genes. Only if the female is impressed by his courtship will she allow him to peck out the sperm plug and mate with her. The eggs she lays will carry the genes from a number of different males.

The nests are very hard to find are are made of moss.

A male will stay with the female to help raise the chicks - though he won't know which chicks carry his genes.

The Dunnock loves the Leycesteria Himalayan Honeysuckle berries.

For more plants to attract wildlife in to your garden, the Complete Garden CD-ROM suggest hundreds of plants, all accompanied with indepth plant care and pruning advice.

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

Neil Bromhall is a wildlife Cameraman / photographer

Pine cones showing the Fibonacci series clearly

Pine cones show the Fibonacci series very clearly

Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci 1170 - 1250

1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233 377 610 987 1597 2584 4181 etc
This sequence is known as the Fibonacci series, and is well known in mathematics. Each number is the sum of the previous two. The ratio of successive pairs tends to the so-called golden section.

Plants do not know about this - they just grow in the most efficient ways. Many plants show the Fibonacci numbers in the arrangement of the leaves around the stem. Some pine cones and fir cones also show the numbers, as do daisies and sunflowers.
Why do these arrangements occur in nature? In the case of leaf arrangement, or phyllotaxis, some of the cases may be related to maximizing the space for each leaf, or the average amount of light falling on each one. Even a tiny advantage would come to dominate, over many generations. In the case of close-packed leaves in cabbages and succulents the correct arrangement may be crucial for availability of space.

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac

15 garden tips to selling your property and plants to use

A nice garden can add 20% to the value of your property according to the Institute of Chartered Estate Agencies.
First impressions count, so having an attactive garden can be essential if you want to sell your property at the price you want.

We once had a guy who wanted to sell his property in August and asked if the plant finder and advice CD-ROM would help him choose plants that would be in flower or looking good at a time when he wanted to sell his property.
"That's exactly what the CD-ROM can do"
You simply select the month of August and click search, hundreds of suitable plants will appear. You can narrow down the selection by choosing any combination of colour, height and aspect. Only the plants to suit those new criteria will be displayed. This allows the user to find small plants for the front of the border to climbers for the pagoda or fences, hedging plants as well as colourful herbaceous plants for the borders.
This interactive search function works the same for every month, colour, plant height etc. It saves hours searching through books and websites

Spring is considered the best time to sell a property

With this simple advice he managed to make an attractive garden and got the sale price he wanted.
He's now using the same CD to find plants to suit his next property.
Making an attractive garden doesn't have to be expensive if you choose the right plants.

Having a neat colourful garden will give a good impression as it shows that you care about the property. It will also allow the new buyers to appreciate this outside room to enjoy when they live there.
Use colourful plants
Before a buyer steps into a house, they will have already formed an impression. A well-kept garden, pathway and fence are immediately appealing
Mow the lawn. Feeding it a couple of weeks beforehand will brighten it up and make it look healthy.
Trim the hedges
Plant some structural plants for year round shape and colour
Make good use of ferns and hostas for foliage colour and texture
Remove weeds
Prune shrubs and roses to keep then neat and tidy (especially if selling in autumn, winter or spring)
Clear away any rubbish and hide bins
Paint the front door
Paint the walls and windows if they look stained or dirty or have flaking paint
Clean out the gutters and fix them if they leak in the rain. A leaking guttering will put most people off if they arrive and it's raining and water can cause major problems to walls and foundations.
Check your roof and guttering, replace broken tiles and repair the lead flashing.
Make sure all exterior lights are working

Good Luck!

Each plant on the CD-ROM is relevant to the UK garden conditions and are accompanied with illustrated pruning advice to guide you through pruning your roses, clematis, shrubs etc.

The interactive plant finder CD-ROM contains 1,370 plants for spring colour.

Our suggestions for Plants for spring colour February, March and April:-
Adiantum ventrum for texture
Akebia quinata for texture and flowers to climb a pagoda or fence
Amelanchier laevis an attractive flowering shrub
Anemone blanda for dappled shaded areas
Betula utilis 'Doorenbos' for attractive white bark
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Minima' a small slow growing evergreen shrub with yellow foliage
Chionodoxa luciliae small border plant with pale blue flowers
Choisya ternata 'Sundance' A medium sized evergreen shrub with bright yellow leaves
Cornus canadensis. A small tree with attractive foliage, flowers and has red autumn leaves - add height and seasonal interest
Erica x darleyensis - small flowering heather that comes in various colours
Euphorbia characias - various forms of Euphorbia that have attractive leaves giving colour and texture to a border
Helleborus - early, long lasting flowering plants that come in various colours - god for attracting bees
Hosta - attractive foliage plants that can also be grown in containers
Hyacinthus - sweet smelling flowers. Likes full sun
Ilex - Holly = attractive evergreen foliage in many colours - Good as boundary plant
Jasminum nudiflorum Bright yellow flowers
Juniperus communis 'Gold Cone' Slow growing, evergreen upright plant with an intense golden colour
Laurus nobilis. Good as a topiary plant that can also be grown in a container. Adds a touch of class
Leucojum aestivum tall flowering stems with white snowdrop like flowers
Narcissus = Daffodils that come in many colours -like full sun
Persicaria affinis. Attractive foliage and pale pink flowers that like the semi shade
Phormium. Sword like foliage for texture and colour
Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata' Delicate Variegated shrub with curly foliage
Polygonatum foliage and hanging white flowers
Prunus sargentii Flowering cherry
Rhododendron. Flowering shrub
Rosmarius - Rosemary a tough flowering evergreen shrub
Saxifraga - alpine flowering plants
Thuja - evergreen shrubs of various colours, good for compact hedging
Tulipa -Tulips
Viburnum early flowering scented shrubs - autumn colour as well.
Viola - Pansy
Yucca. Striking sword shaped leaves

Things that put people off a properties
Gnomes, Water features, pet graves,

For more plants and advice please see

Complete Garden plant selector & pruning guide encyclopaedia software for PC & Mac