The Perfect Garden Sundial

Written by Graham McClung

Continued from page 1

Finding North

The final essential in sundial installation is to make surerepparttar gnomon is oriented north-south. Sounds easy and, with a little patience, it is.

One way, suitable forrepparttar 113289 northern hemisphere, is to identifyrepparttar 113290 pole star. This is very close torepparttar 113291 projected position ofrepparttar 113292 earth's axis, about whichrepparttar 113293 sun and stars seem to revolve. You could markrepparttar 113294 direction from your sundial's location torepparttar 113295 pole star, but this method isn't quite accurate, and needs to be done inrepparttar 113296 dark. Andrepparttar 113297 southern hemisphere doesn't have a pole star.

Method 2 uses a compass. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it. But you guessed it - there are some complications.

Firstly,repparttar 113298 needle on a compass points to magnetic north, not true north, which is what we want. The difference betweenrepparttar 113299 two is calledrepparttar 113300 magnetic declination, and is usually shown on good topographic maps. And while a simple addition or subtraction ofrepparttar 113301 difference betweenrepparttar 113302 two norths should give yourepparttar 113303 right direction, there may be some local magnetic effects which can't be compensated for.

The third method goes back torepparttar 113304 ancients - and there were some pretty smart operators around inrepparttar 113305 old days.

You'll need a stick, some paper or board, a marker, a tape measure or long rule, a sunny day, and a bit of time on your hands. Setrepparttar 113306 stick up vertically atrepparttar 113307 location you have chosen for your sundial, so thatrepparttar 113308 top of its shadow falls onrepparttar 113309 sheet of paper or board. If you stand with your back torepparttar 113310 sun, behindrepparttar 113311 pole, setrepparttar 113312 paper up so thatrepparttar 113313 morning shadow falls on its left hand side.

Now markrepparttar 113314 end ofrepparttar 113315 shadow with a permanent marker. Come back throughrepparttar 113316 day and markrepparttar 113317 new positions ofrepparttar 113318 tip ofrepparttar 113319 shadow -repparttar 113320 more oftenrepparttar 113321 better. Asrepparttar 113322 day goes on, you'll noticerepparttar 113323 marks form a curve.

Later inrepparttar 113324 afternoon - any time after three is OK - connectrepparttar 113325 marks you've made intorepparttar 113326 smoothest curve you can manage. Do this whilerepparttar 113327 pole and paper are still in place. Then carefully measurerepparttar 113328 distance betweenrepparttar 113329 base ofrepparttar 113330 pole andrepparttar 113331 curve. The shortest distance corresponds to true north. Mark it in some way, and alignrepparttar 113332 gnomon inrepparttar 113333 same direction when you put your sundial in place.

You can find true north in other ways - again I suggest you try google as suggested above.

Once you have set up your sundial, checkrepparttar 113334 time, compensate for differences with your official time zone, pat yourself onrepparttar 113335 back, and ifrepparttar 113336 sundial tells you it's after midday, pour a glass of your favourite beverage and put your feet up. Your time is now your own.

Copyright 2005, Graham McClung. A retired geologist, Graham McClung has had a lifelong interest in the outdoors. And where there's outdoors there's weather. He is the editor of, where you can find reviews and advice to help you choose and use your own home weather station. You can contact him by email at

Grow Monster Cosmos

Written by Jenny Harker

Continued from page 1
After your seedlings sprout thin till they?re six to twelve inches apart. Ease off onrepparttar water, but don?t let your seedlings dry out. Remember,repparttar 105435 cosmos is a drought plant. But even drought plants need water. Fertilizerepparttar 105436 seedlings ONE TIME ONLY by spraying them with compost tea. Compost tea is cow manure left to rot in a bucket of water for a few days. I know, it sounds disgusting. It smells even worse. Compost tea is not only an effective safe and cheap organic fertilizer forrepparttar 105437 entire garden, but it also helps keeprepparttar 105438 bugs at bay. Strainrepparttar 105439 foul-smelling water into a spray bottle and then spray directly ontorepparttar 105440 plants. But what isrepparttar 105441 final vital secret you need to know to successfully grow monster size cosmos? Here it is: Afterrepparttar 105442 seedlings form adult leaves (at four to six inches) carefully striprepparttar 105443 lower leaves, side branches, and any buds offrepparttar 105444 seedling leavingrepparttar 105445 two top leaves. Your plants will look ridiculous. You may catch yourself apologizing to them (I can?t help it! They look so naked!). Repeatedly stripping leaves untilrepparttar 105446 seedlings reach two feet in height encourages growth. After reaching two feet in height stop stripping. The plants should take off, seemingly growing overnight. One morning you?ll walk out your door and be amazed byrepparttar 105447 huge colorful plants in your garden. And then you?ll grin. Allow yourself a snicker or two while glancing at your neighbors? yards. Hey, you?ve earned it after all your hard work! Your monster cosmos will provide you with bouquets clear intorepparttar 105448 fall. Be sure to give plenty of flowers to your envious neighbors.

Jenny Harker is an avid gardener and writer of all things gardening

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