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Notebook; Do it this week ...

1 If, like me, you have lived in the same house for over 20 years, the chances are that some of your garden borders have remained the same for much of that time. Why not take the opportunity now, before the onset of winter to enjoy stripping out one border, perhaps leaving one or two special herbaceous plants, trees or shrubs in to reduce the bareness and then replant it with an entirely new selection of plants for the 2010 summer and beyond. Rescue and replant any spring bulbs as you work your way through and use the fully decomposed contents of the bottom of your compost heap to help improve the border soil before replanting. Enjoy the exercise, fresh air and satisfaction of a job well done.

2 Many thanks to all of you who entered my 500th article competition. I am delighted to announce four winners picked from the post bag who will receive a gardening book each. These can be collected from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner's offices at Queen Street South, Huddersfield, from Monday September 21 onwards.

They are: S. McAllister, of Brook Terrace, Slaithwaite; Mrs B. Charlesworth, Sude Hill, New Mill; Mr A. Woodage, Marsh Gardens, Honley; and Mrs J Wilson, Greenhead Road, Gledholt.

Where does that come from? Arrowroot THIS strange white powder, that is brought in innocuous packets from supermarkets, gives no hint as to the origin of the material or its name.

The powder is in fact the peeled, washed and ground-up rhizomes of a plant called Maranta arundinacea, commonly called the Obedience Plant or Arrowroot. It is a close relative of the popular house plant Maranta leuconeura, the Prayer Plant, both of which originate from the tropical regions of the Americas.

The powder has been used in the manufacture of paper and, in more traditional times, for drawing the poisons out of arrow wounds - one possible source of its current common name. However, today, arrowroot is used widely in Eastern cooking to produce the clear gelatinous sauces that we have become so familiar with in Indian and Chinese dishes. It is also used in some ice creams and is essential if you are making clear sauces, unlike Cornflour that make a cloudy sauce or gravy. It is also an essential ingredient in arrowroot biscuits.

Because the plant is not a cereal crop, the arrowroot is suited to people with gluten allergies and for people choosing to be vegetarian and vegan. To find out more about Arrowroot and its uses, why not visit My diary ... Holme Valley Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society Annual Open Show - this spectacular early Autumn Show is on again at Armitage's Pennine Garden Centre, Shelley from 2.15 on Saturday September 26 to 3.15 on Sunday September 27 when all the blooms will be sold. With over 40 classes, including chrysanthemums, dahlias, vegetables and fruit, it promises to be another excellent show. New members are welcome to join on the day - ask for the chairperson, Maurice Garlick or the Secretary, Mr Jozefow.

. Mushroom Magic - the Mid-Yorkshire Fungus Group along with RHS Harlow Carr staff will be helping and advising on the Mushroom Magic Day on October 4 at RHS Garden Harlow Carr near Harrogate. The day starts at 10am. Book in advance by calling 0845 612 1253. Visit for more details of this and other events at our regional RHS garden.

. Organic Gardening Catalogue - if you have not seen this extensive and fascinating catalogue, jointly produced by Garden Organic and Chase Organics, then you do not know what you are missing. With over 100 pages packed with good ideas and products to help you through the maze of information, products and techniques used by organic gardeners, there really is no excuse. Visit or call 0845 130 1304 for your copy now. There might even be one or two suitable Christmas presents in there for a friend or relative!


* SPRING BULBS: The beautiful Narcissi
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2009
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