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39 Amazing Garden Facts

Whether you consider yourself a gardening expert or amateur, there are facts you'll know and even more you don't. This article will take you through 39 facts about gardening, from the bizarre and wacky to the applicable and interesting.

  • 1. Potatoes were first grown in Southern Peru/Northwest Bolivia between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.
  • 2. Apples belong to the rosacea family, making them relatives of the rose. Other fruits in the same classification include cherries, pears, peaches, raspberries and strawberries.
  • 3. Ever wondered the etymology of 'pineapple'? Explorers, who discovered the fruit in the tropical Americas, thought that it resembled a pinecone in appearance and an apple in consistency.
  • 4. A pineapple is actually a berry. So are tomatoes, cucumbers and bananas.
  • 5. An herb is extracted from the leaf of a non-woody plant. A spice comes from the bark, berry, seed or bulb of a plant. Therefore, one plant can boast both spice and herb.
  • 6. Fruit is a term in botany while vegetable is one in cooking. A fruit, according to botanical studies, is something which grows from the ovary of a plant bearing seeds of its own. Vegetables are the other parts of the plant, such as roots and stems.
  • 7. A sunflower is composed of more than 1,000 separate flowers; the brown centre and yellow petals are classified as smaller plants of their own.
  • 8. The tallest sunflower in the world measured 30 feet, 1 inch. It was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014.
  • 9. The Carolina Reaper Pepper holds the Guinness World Record for the hottest chilli pepper. It measured 1.57 million on the Scoville Scale. To put that into perspective, an ordinary jalapeno pepper sits around 10,000 on the same scale: that makes the Carolina Reaper more than 100x hotter.
  • 10. Mix a little baking soda into soil for a sweeter tomato harvest.
  • 11. You can influence the colour of your hydrangea plant by changing the pH balance of the soil. An alkaline soil, achieved by mixing with lime, will create pink coloured flowers while an acidy soil, created by mixing soil with organic matter, will result in blue blooms. Alternatively, you can purchase soils with a pre-determined balance of acid or alkaline.
  • 12. Decorative gardens were established in Egypt, in 1500 B.C. Prior to this, gardens were used purely for practical purposes, such as the growth of food.
  • 13. The greenhouse was first conceived in Rome in 30 A.D., when the Roman Emperor Tiberius stated that wanted to eat one cucumber every day.
  • 14. According to botanical studies, avocados and pumpkins are fruits because they contain seeds which can produce a new plant.
  • 15. Nourishing your garden is not just about the right soil, sunlight and water. Applying crushed leaves, grass clippings, compost, coffee grounds, banana peels (chopped), eggshells and other organic matter straight to the soil will fertilise and nourish the garden, providing essential nutrients as they decompose.
  • 16. Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant, capable of growing up to almost 3 feet in one day.
  • 17. The Yew Tree is one of the most poisonous trees.
  • 18. The Alnwick Garden, located in Northumberland, England, is also known as The Poison Garden. It houses more than 100 plants which are completely toxic, and fatal to human life if consumed.
  • 19. The buttercup is one of the deadliest common plants. When consumed by cows or horses, the animal will usually die (though many avoid the plant because contact with it causes blistering).
  • 20. For over 1,000 years, dandelions were primary a source of food and contained medicinal value. The roots were served as a vegetable and the leafs used for salads and teas, while the flowers were used to craft wine and the yellow dye became wool.
  • 21. Cranberries can float and bounce on water because they contain small pockets of air.
  • 22. Nectarines don't have fuzzy skins while peaches do. You can graft the branches of one onto the tree of the other and form a tree which blossoms both peaches and nectarines.
  • 23. Snapdragons are so named because they look like the mouth of a dragon and, when you squeeze the "mouth", it appears to snap closed.
  • 24. The strawberry is the only fruit which has its seeds on the outside.
  • 25. The average strawberry contains over 200 seeds.
  • 26. There are more than 20,000 species of edible plant in the world, though only 20 species compose 90% of what we eat.
  • 27. Although a fruit, figs are not always suitable for vegans. This is because, when pollinated by a fig wasp, the flower of the fig traps the insect and digests it.
  • 28. Trees are the oldest living organisms on planet Earth.
  • 29. There are 10,000 known varieties of tomatoes.
  • 30. Tomatoes are the most popular fruit - more than 60 million tons of tomatoes are produced every year.
  • 31. Bananas are the second most popular fruit - more than 44 million tons are produced annually.
  • 32. Apples are the third most popular fruit with 36 million produced every year.
  • 33. The origin of the words "garden" and "yard" is the old English term "geard" meaning "fence".
  • 34. The Gympie Gympie Tree, also known as the Mulberry-Leaved Stinger or officially as the dendrocnide moroides, found in Australia, is known as the most painful of all stinging trees. The pain it causes upon contact has driven people towards suicide.
  • 35. The first Saturday of May is known as World Naked Gardening Day. Sure, it would be cold in Scotland but the initiative aims to promote harmony between humanity and nature.
  • 36. Ancient architects were concerned with the link between buildings and gardens/landscapes.
  • 37. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • 38. Sprinkling coffee grounds in your soil will scare off slugs and snails.
  • 39. Garden Gnomes were introduced to the UK in 1847 by Sir Charles Isham, who believed that putting them in the garden would attract real gnomes.

Which of these gardening facts were most surprising to you? Are there any we missed that you find absolutely fascinating? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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