Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
The Gingko Biloba has
no close living relatives and is technically neither a conifer nor a
broadleaf, although it is deciduous. Coming from China they will reach a
height of some 12m, or more, in 20-50 years and can get up to 80 feet.
Perhaps because it is slow growing the Gingko has an unbelievably long
lifespan that can exceed 1,000 years. The structure of the tree is very
strong as well as can be seen from the fact that Gingkos were the only
trees that were able to stand up to the Hiroshima bomb blast. Commonly
called The Maidenhair Tree, its unusual fan shaped leaves turn yellow in
the Autumn. Gingkos are well known for the unpleasant smell that their
ripe, yellow fruits have in the Autumn. Plants are either Male, or
Female so you do only get fruits appearing on female plants. The Fruits
contain a single, large seed each. It is possible to germinate these
Seeds and I speak from experience as I have done so, but then I
struggled to keep the resulting seedlings through their first Winter
that was of course a wet one and typical of the UK Climate.
Gingkos need a sunny spot, and to thrive well, they need to be planted
in well drained soil and have hot Summers, although they are very
tolerant of all soil types with the exception of water logged soils.
Even though the naturally occurring variety can get very large it is
still quite suitable for a smaller garden as it is so slow growing.
However, these days there are many cultivars that have different growing
habits some of which are dwarf, and will only grow to about 2 metres,
and some prostrate, or weeping, that are occasionally available as
grafted specimens. There are even a few variegated types that are
particularly attractive. Gingkoes are pest and disease free here in the
UK and considered to be Architectural plants that usually need no
pruning, so their easy care really does make Gingkoes quite an appealing
choice. If you do Prune Gingkoes, though, it is relatively easy to root
cuttings unlike most trees and cuttings should root quickly – in a
matter of a few weeks. Young plants should grow upright for their first
few years and then develop a spreading canopy.
Extracts from various parts of Gingko Biloba Trees have long been used
in traditional Chinese Medicines to treat many Health problems, but
mostly those concerning Circulation and Respiration. There is some
evidence to support this and the extracts are still used today in the
belief that they can boost Brain activity, Memory and Cognition. There
are even some thoughts that they can help stave off Alzheimer’s Disease
and other forms of Dementia. The Nuts themselves are sometimes eaten,
but this should only be done so under supervision as these days they are
considered slightly poisonous.