Author Archives: Ramon.KGS

Uterine Cancer Symptoms and Treatment


If cancer of the cervix is diagnosed, treatment in specialised centres is essential. Here full facilities are available and expert professional attention is possible. Very early cases are treated by hysterectomy. All other stages are now treated by the use of radiotherapy in most centres, although surgery in combination is also used. Radium, cobalt 60 and megavoltage X-ray therapy are the chief methods in use. This has a strikingly beneficial effect in destroying the rapidly multiplying cancer cells.

Although cervical cancer is the most common type seen, the disease can also occur in other parts of the uterus. Malignant changes can occur in the endometrium (the cells lining the womb).

The great majority of these occur in iv-omen who have passed the menopause, and the age range of from 55 to 65 years is the most prevalent.

A “typical” woman has been described who is more likely to develop this type of cancer. She is postmenopausal. During life her periods were most likely very heavy; the change of life was probably late probably extending beyond the age of 50. She may be unmarried, or if’ married. sterile. She is most likely overweight, may have elevated blood pressure, and may be a diabetic. Often, fibroids (noncancerous growths) are present in the uterus as well.

Uterine Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms are usually minimal. In early cases, the only one is a blood-stained discharge. It may be thin and watery, irregular but recurrent. It may be foul-smelling. This is nearly always in a woman during her menopausal years or afterwards.

It is axiomatic among doctors that any bleeding or blood-stained discharge appearing in a woman following the menopause must be considered due to cancer until proved otherwise.

Immediate investigation is usually ordered. This consists of a dilatation and curettage of the uterus, and the scrapings from this are examined by the pathology experts for cancer cells.

Uterine Cancer Treatment

If cancer is detected, treatment is carried out promptly. This is usually a surgical operation, although radiation is also used. Hormones have also been found to have a beneficial effect in reducing the cancer, and under certain circumstances, this is used in addition.

The earlier treatment is carried out, the better is the outcome. Therefore, every woman must be alert to the telltale symptoms.

Never neglect seemingly innocuous bleeding, and the older you are, the more important this becomes.

No apology is made for the recurring nature of these recommendations throughout this section. You will read it again and again. So please take special note. And act very promptly if this symptom comes your way.

When a smear test is taken, a glass slide containing cervical cells is sent to a pathology laboratory, stained, and then studied under the microscope by trained technicians who seek abnormal cells. Despite all care, about 10 per cent of positive cases arc missed, as there is a human factor.

Larger pathology laboratories have now installed computer-assisted technology to reduce incorrect reports. It is called Papnet, and is claimed to reduce wrong results to 1 per cent or less.

If there is any query, another smear will be taken and rechecked. It is claimed regular use of smear tests has reduced the rate of cervical cancer to 50 per cent, and new technology should improve this still further. Talk to your doctor.

Watering Plants

Feeding really does pay dividends. If you see a garden with particularly lush and healthy-looking plants, the chances are they have been well fed and supplied with sufficient water. Giving plants sufficient nutrients will ensure strong growth, abundant flowering and fruit production, and make them healthy enough to withstand pests and diseases.

Types of fertilizer

There are two groups of fertilizer: organic and inorganic. The organic ones are derived from natural ingredients, such as other plants (seaweed or nettles), blood, fish or bone, and generally last longer, although they tend to become available to the plant only slowly after application. Inorganic fertilizers are mineral-based and breakdown more quickly after application.

Feeding used to be a job that had to be tackled several times during the course of a season, and sonic enthusiasts still feed their plants once a week or even more frequently with liquid feeds. If you use modem slow-release and controlled-release fertilizers, however, feeding is something you can do just a couple of times a year.

Slow and controlled release fertilizers both allow the nutrients to seep out into the soil over a period of months, but the latter are affected by soil temperature. Nutrients are only released when the soil is warm enough for growth in most plants.

Liquid feeds are more instant in effect and still have a use, being invaluable when plants need a quick pick-me-up. This is especially true of feeds, which are applied directly to the leaves rather than the soil around the roots, and are absorbed straight into the plant’s system. These can have an effect within 3-4 days, compared with up to 21 days for a general granular fertilizer applied around the roots.

Applying fertilizer

In an established garden, you can apply fertilizer in granular form as a dressing around the plants early in the season, or in soluble form as the plants are watered during the spring. For a new plant, mix fertilizer with the soil as it is replaced in the planting hole around the root hall. Lawns will benefit from dressings of mixed weed-killer and fertilizer in the spring and autumn, keeping the grass healthy, and helping fight the effects of any dry periods in summer and cold spells in winter.

Watering

Lack of attention when plants are firstplanted can easily kill them if there hasnot been much rain recently.

The best water to use is rain water. If possible, use water butts or tanks connected to the down-water pipe to collect water that falls on the roof of the house, garage or any other building. Tap water can be used but it is best poured first into a barrel and left to breathe before you use it. This allows time for any chlorine used in the treatment of the water to be given off.

Beware hard water that comes from chalky (alkaline) areas. Although your soil may he acidic, the water from your tap may he collected, where the soil is alkaline. Hard water should not be used on ericaceous (lime-hating) plants.

The most important aspect of watering is to always be certain to give the plants a good soaking. A sprinkle on the surface is not enough. If in doubt, dig well into the soil and see how far the moisture has penetrated through the surface.

There are several methods of watering, but a can is probably best for a small number of plants. Alternatively, a garden hose with a spray attachment can be used. For a large number of plants use a sprinkler or dribble hose.

Feeding containers

Container plants require supplementary nutrients to keep them in good health. The quickest way to feed your lawn is with a wheeled spreader and you can usually adjust the delivery rate. Test the rate on a measured area of path first, then sweep up the fertilizer and weigh it to make sure the application rare is correct.

WATERING PLANTS

1 Give the plant a good soaking, covering the whole area around the plant where the roots will he. A watering can is ideal for a small area, such as around a newly planted plant that is still getting established.

A controlled- or slow-release fertilizer added to the potting soil at planting time will keep most containers blooming well all summer. Follow the instructions for application rates.

The N:P:K ratio

On the back of the pack of fertilizer, there should he some information about the nutrient it contains, the three most important elements being nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen promotes healthy growth of leaves and shoots, phosphorus is needed for healthy root development and potassium improves flowering and fruit production. The ratio is given on the pack because certain plants need some elements in a greater quantity than others.

FEEDING THE LAWN

1. The quickest way to feed your lawn is with a wheeled spreader and you can usually adjust the delivery rate. Test the rate on a measured area of path first, then sweep up the fertilizer and weight to make sure the application rate is perfect.

2 An easy way to give your lawn a liquid boost is to use a sprinkler system into which you can introduce special fertilizer pellets. It will feed the lawn as it waters.

3 A dribble or seep hose is an efficient method of supplying water to exactly where it is needed. It is snaked around those plants that need to be watered and left permanently in position. It can be covered with a bark mulch, to hide it. When connected, it provides a slow dribble of water.

WATERING PLANTS

1. Give the plant a good soaking, covering the whole area around the plant where the roots will be. A watering can is ideal for as small area, such as around a newly plant that is still growing and establishing.

2. If you need to water a large number of plants, a sprinkler is a good method of providing water. To make certain that you provide sufficient water, place a jam jar or other container within the sprayed area, to give a rough idea of how much water has been delivered. It should be at least 2.5 cm/1 in full if the watering is to do any good.

3. A hose-ended sprayer like this is a good way to to apply a soluble fertilizer for a quick response. You can use this type of hose-ended sprayer for beds and borders as well as for the lawn.

FEEDING BEDS AND BORDERS

1. Most established plants, benefit from annual feeding. Apply a slow- or controlled-release fertilizer in spring or early summer, sprinkling it around the bushes. Sprinkle it our further where most of the active root growth is.

2. Hoe it into the surface so that it penetrates the root area more quickly.

3. Unless rain is expected, water it in. This will make the fertilizer active more quickly in dry conditions

Preparing for Paperhanging

Unrestricted access is a must for paperhanging. When working on just the walls, move all the furniture to the centre of the room and cover it with dust sheets (drop cloths). When tackling the ceiling too, it is best to remove all the furniture completely if there is space to store it elsewhere in the house; otherwise group it at one end of the room so that most of the ceiling can be done, and then move it to the other end to complete the job.

Next, take down curtains and Hinds (drapes and shades) and remove wall-or ceiling-mounted tracks. Turn off the electricity supply at the mains, then disconnect and remove wall or ceiling light fittings as necessary, covering the bare wire ends thoroughly with insulating tape before restoring the power supply to the rest of the house. In the USA, ceiling roses, wall switch plates and socket outlets can be unscrewed and removed without disconnecting the wall receptacles or switches. Isolate, drain, disconnect and remove radiators, and unscrew their wall brackets. Call in a professional electrician or plumber for these jobs if you are unsure of how to do them safely.

Take down pictures, and remove other wall-mounted fittings such as shelves and display units. To make it easy to locate the screw holes afterwards, push a matchstick (wooden match) into each one.

Start paper hanging at the centre of a chimney beam (fireplace projection) if the wall covering has a large, dominant pattern. Otherwise start next to the door so the inevitable pattern break can be disguised above it.

Work outwards from the centre of a dormer window so the design is centred on the window recess.

If the walls and ceiling are at present painted, they need washing down to remove dirt, grease, smoke stains and the like. If they are decorated with another wall covering, this will have robe removed and any defects in the surface put right. Finally, they need sizing — treating with a diluted coat of wallpaper adhesive to even out the porosity of the surface and to help to improve the ‘slip’ of the pasted wall covering during hanging.

Measuring up

The next job is to estimate how many rolls of wall covering will be needed to decorate the room. If using a material that comes in standard-sized rolls, simply measure the room dimensions and refer to the charts given here for the number of rolls needed to cover the walls and ceiling. They allow for atypical door and window area; fewer rolls are needed for a room with large picture windows or wide door openings. If using a paper-backed cloth covering which comes in a non-standard width, measure up each wall, and ask the supplier to estimate what length of material you will need; such materials are too expensive to waste. Walls are sufficient roils with the same hatch coverings in the USA vary in width number; colours may not match exactly and length but arc usually available in-between hatches.

Table Flower Decorations

A garland is a lovely way to decorate a table indoors or out — for a special occasion such as a wedding or christening reception, a birthday, or any other celebration. You can make the garland to loop across the front of the table, to encircle the rim, or to drape on all four sides of a free-standing table. Long, leafy stems work extremely well for this type of decoration. With its pliable stem and mass of bright green leaves; this forms a natural garland, and makes an attractive instant decoration, even without the addition of flowers.

Smilax is usually sold to order in bundles of 5 stems. Keep the stem ends in water until just before you assemble the garland, and the foliage should stay fresh for several days. Mimosa, gypsophila and spray chrysanthemums all make a good accompaniment for a bright, summery look.

GARLAND TIPS

Floral and foliage garlands are very simple to make and as they are almost invariably composed of short-stemmed plant materials, they can utilize clippings from larger designs. Side shoots of delphinium cut from stems arranged in a pedestal design; individual spray-chrysanthemum flowers that formed too dense a cluster; florets and leaflets that would come below the water level in a vase— you can form them all into posies and hind them on to a garland using silver wire.

Garlands can be composed on a central core. According to the weight of the plant materials, this may vary from tightly coiled paper ribbon, thin string, twine or wire, to thick rope or even a roll made of wire-mesh netting filled with off cuts of absorbent stem-holding foam. This latter core has the advantage of providing fresh flowers in a garland with a source of moisture.

It will save time just before the event if you make up the posies in advance. Choose materials that will contrast well with the bright foliage of the garland. Cut the flower stems short, using 5 or 6 pieces of gypsophila, 2 small snippings of mimosa, and either 1 or 2 spray chrysanthemums, according to their size. Gather the stems together and bind them with silver wire.

You can space the posies as close together or as wide apart on the garland as you wish, so make up as many as you will need. As a general rule, the smaller the table, the smaller the gap should be between the flowers. Once you have assembled the posies, place them in a shallow howl of water before attaching them to the garland.

Measure the length, of garland needed for the side drapes and mark the centre. With the stems of the first posy towards the end of one of the lengths of foliage, hind the posy to the main stem with silver wire. Bind on more posies in the same way, reversing the direction of the stems when you reach the centre of the draped garland. Repeat the decoration with the remaining lengths of garland, but without reversing the direction of the flowers of the side trails.

Pin the garland to the cloth, adjusting the fall of the drape so that it is equal on all sides, and pin on the side trails. Check that the garland hangs well. Sometimes the weight of the posies will cause it to twist, with the flowers facing inwards. If this happens, pin the garland to the cloth at intervals. Pin lengths of ribbon to the corners, and tie more lengths into bows and attach to the centres of the drapes.

A garland of dried flowers, wired on topper ribbon and finished off with an extravagant bow, makes a beautiful table decoration. The garland will retain its crisp and colourful appearance throughout the day, and can be carefully packed away and used another time.

Vaginal Infections


The narrow vaginal canal in youngsters is a source of infections, and these cover a strange range. Often worms from the back passage become “lost” there and set up irritation and infection. It may produce discharge and an intense itch. Or there may be a lack of personal hygiene, allowing germs to proliferate and cause similar discomfort, as well as unpleasant odours.

Infants, always exploring, and placing strange objects in strange places, often poke foreign bodies there. These may range from dried beans, peas, to pebbles or gravel, plastic bits from toys, to bits of rolled-up cotton or cloth. They have all been reported. They may produce a chronic irritation with a foul odour and discharge. Relief by removal is often dramatic. In some cases, it may be due to undiagnosed juvenile diabetes.

The immediate answer is to keep the area as clean as possible, and make certain normal hygiene is being practised by the child. This is really the responsibility of the parent, and many cases are due to neglect on their part. Many mothers do not think of the vagina or its hygiene at such an early age.

The doctor will check for foreign bodies, worms, infections, diabetes or any other possible cause. Investigations may need to be carried out. In nearly every case, with simple checks and treatment, a satisfactory result takes place.

Preparing Surface for Covering

Once the previous wall and ceiling decorations have been removed the next task is to restore any defects in the surfaces to be covered, and then to prepare them so that they present the perfect substrate for successful paperhanging.

The first step is to put down some heavy-dory plastic sheeting on the floor to catch splashes, and then to wash down the hare wall and ceiling surfaces thoroughly with strong household detergent or sugar soap (all-purpose cleaner), working from the bottom upon walls, and then to rinse them off with clean water, working this time from top to bottom on walls. Turn off the electricity supply first in case water gets into light switches and socket outlets (receptacles). Leave the surfaces to dry out thoroughly.

Next, repair defects such as cracks, holes and other surface damage which may have been concealed by the previous decorations, or even caused by their removal.

Finally, treat the wall and ceiling surfaces with a coat of size or diluted wallpaper paste, and leave this to dry before starting paperhanging. Size seals porous plaster, providing a surface with absorption, and also makes it easier to slide the pasted lengths of wall covering into position on the wall.

Wash wall surfaces with sugar soap (all-purpose cleaner) or detergent, working from the bottom up , then rinse them with clean water, working from the top down

Wash ceilings with a floor mop or squeegee, after disconnecting and removing light fitting.. Again, rinse off with clean water.

Fill cracks, holes other detects in the wall and ceiling surfaces as appropriate, leave the filler to harden and then sand the repair down flush.

Apply a coat of size or diluted wallpaper paste to wall and ceiling surfaces that are to be papered, and leave them to dry before starting paperhanging.

CROSS-LINING

If the wall surface is in poor condition, has been previously decorated with gloss paint or is being decorated with a thin fabric wall covering, it is best to hang lining(liner) paper first. This is usually hung horizontally rather than vertically, with butt joints between lengths and with ends and edges trimmed just shun of adjacent ceiling and wall surfaces. Use the same type of paste for the lining paper as for the subsequent wall covering.

MEASURING AND CUTTING TO LENGTH

1. For quick and easy calculations, mark the length of the pasting table at 30 cm/12 in intervals using a pencil and metal straight edge.

2. Measure the length of wall covering needed for the drop, including trim allowances., and mark this on the paper. Cur the first piece to length.

PASTING WALL COVERINGS

1. Face the light to make it easy to spot any unpasted areas – they look dull, nor shiny. Apply a generous hand of pastedown the centre of the length.

2. Align one edge of the wall covering with the edge of the pasting table, then brush the paste out towards that edge from the centre band.

3. Draw the length across to the other edge of the table, and apply paste out to that edge Rio. Check that there are no dry or thinly pasted areas.

4. Continue pasting until the end of the table is reached. Then lift the pasted end of the wall covering and fold it over on itself, pasted side to pasted side.

5. Slide the paper along the table so the folded section hangs down. Paste the rest of the length and fold the opposite end over on itself.

How to Sew a Box Cushion

Circular bolster cushions look attractive on most types of furniture and make a good visual contrast against the more usual rectangular cushions. This shape of cushion works particularly well with striped, check and tartan cloth, especially when a contrasting tassel, ribbon how or pompom is used as a trim.

A box cushion adds comfort and style to a sofa. This cushion has been made by tie dyeing individual patches of contrasting fabric then sewing them together. A box cushion adds comfort and style to a sofa. This cushion has been made by tie dyeing individual patches of contrasting fabric then sewing them together.

HOW TO SEW A BOX CUSHION

  1. Cut out the fabric then cut the hack gussetin half lengthways and place together with the right sides facing. Pin and stitch the seam 12 min/1/2 in from the raw edges, leaving an opening for the zip (zipper).Press the scam open.
  2. Pin and tack (baste) the zip in position along the opening, as shown, allowing the fabric to meet centrally over the zip teeth. Stitch the zip in place using a zip foot on the machine.
  3. With the right sides facing, join the four gusset pieces together along the short ends, taking a 12 min/1/2 in seam allowance and leaving 12 mm/1/2 in unstitched at each end of the seams. Press the seams open.
  4. With the right sides facing, pin and stitch the top edge of one gusset section to one edge of the top cover piece, taking a12 mm/1/2 in seam allowance. At the gusset seam, leave the needle in the fabric, raise the machine foot and pivot the fabric so the next section of gusset aligns with the next side of the top cover piece. Continue pinning and stitching each section around the top in this way. Open the zip, then repeat the procedure to attach the bottom cover piece to the remaining side of the gusset. Trim away the surplus cloth at the corners and then turn the cover right side out.

HOW TO MAKE A BOLSTER CUSHION

  • Cut out the fabric then pin and stitch the length of the bolster cover with a French seam. Turn right side out and press. Turn under is double 12 mm/t/’ in hem at each end of the tube. Pin and tack (baste) the hem in place using a contrasting thread.
  • Stitch along the hems, keeping the stitching close to the inner folds. Remove the tacking (basting) stitches and press thoroughly.
  • Using double thread run a row of gathering stitches along each end of the tube, close to the outer fold of the hem, leaving a long thread end. Insert the holster pad in the tube, then tighten the gathering threads to close the cover. Secure the thread ends, then cover the small hole left at each end by attaching a furnishing tassel, ribbon how or a button.

MAKING TASSELS

There are a great variety of tassels available in shops to be attached to the corners of cushions or on the ends of a bolster. The colors, shapes, sizes and designs are infinitesimal, but if you want something a bit more tailor made, create your own.

Cut out two pieces of cardboard to the length of your finished tassel and 10 cm/ 4 in wide. Place them together. Put .30 cm /12 in of your yarn to one side and then wind as much of the rest around the card from top to bottom until there is sufficient for the type of tassel you are making. The more you wind on, the fuller will be the result.

Stitch along the hems, keeping the stitching close to the inner folds. Remove the tacking (basting) stitches and press thoroughly. Thread the set aside yam through a needle and then pass the needle through the top of the wound yarn and tie at the top. Repeat several times so that you are left with a strong loop at the top of the tassel, it will be attached later to the item you are dressing up. Holding the yarn firmly in one hand, cut through the yarn at the bottom between the two pieces of cardboard then release the cardboard and then bind the tassel as near as possible to the top to ensure that the head remains firm. To neaten, comb out the yarn using your fingertips and then give the whole tassel a good trim.

FRENCH SEAMS

A French seam encloses the raw edges of fabric and prevents them from fraying. It is worked in two stages: first stitch with the wrong sides facing (top). Trim the raw edges close to the first row of stitching then stitch with the right sides facing (above).

CALCULATING FABRIC

Box cushion: Measure the length and width of the top of the pad and then add 12 mm/1/2 in all around for seam allowances, two pieces of fabric this size are needed, one for the top and one for the bottom of the cover. The gusset is made from four pieces of fabric joined together. Measure the depth and width of the pad and add12 mm/1/2 in all around for seam allowances. Cut out three pieces of fabric to this size. Add an extra 2.5 cm/1 in to the depth of the fourth piece for the zip (zipper) seam in the gusset.

Bolster cushion: Measure the bolster from the centre point of one end, along its length and around to the centre point of the opposite end, adding a total of 5 cm/2 in for hem allowances. To calculate the width, measure the circumference of the pad and add an extra 2.5 cm/1 in for seam allowances. Cut one large piece to fit these dimensions.

Ulcers


What is Ulcer?

Ulcers may commonly occur in the oral cavity. They may come on suddenly, probably preceded by a small watery blister that erupts, leaving a shallow ulcer with a grey or yellow base. They are sometimes painful, and often take some time to heal. Various types of oral ulcers are described. Aphthous ulcers (also known as canker sore or dyspeptic ulcers of the mouth) are thought to be due to certain foods, and allergy may play a part. The advice is often put forward that, by leaving off possible irritating foods such as citrus fruits, nuts and chocolates, the risk of recurrence may be lessened.

Vincent’s angina is another form of painful throat that is often accompanied with ulceration of the oral cavity. It is thought to be due to infecting organisms, and sometimes follows dental work. It appears to be more common in people whose general level of health is poor. Symptoms. These forms of ulceration often come on abruptly. They may be accompanied with constitutional symptoms, such as mild fever and general malaise. The ulcers are usually painful, and may occur on the gums. the inner sides of the lips, tongue or throat. There may be general inflammation around them, and the lymph glands under the jaw and in the neck on the affected side may be swollen and quite painful to touch. Eating food is often painful, and salty food produces considerable discomfort in the ulcer itself.

Ulcer Treatment

Bland mouthwashes often help to remove debris from the ulcers. Adding half a teaspoon of common salt to a glass of hot water and rinsing every few hours stings. but can afford some relief. Avoiding products that are known to aggravate might prevent recurrences. In some ulcers, antibiotics will be effective, but usually this is not so. Your doctor may prescribe such medication as figures regularly testify. Regular care by the dentist will help prevent caries and gum problems. Prevention in this area is the best line.

How to Prune Trees

How to Prune TreesWhether it is to improve the shape of a plant, to make it produce more flowers or fruit, or to correct some damage, pruning is an important part of the procedure for maintaining the health of many plants. On some plants, pruning is an annual procedure, carried out to keep the plant to a suitable size or to encourage it to produce larger flowers, more fruit or better colored stems. On others, it is an operation carried out occasionally, perhaps as a result of damage, to prevent the open wound becoming infected and harming the plant. As a matter of routine, every plant should be checked regularly for signs of the “three D’s”, disease, damage and death.

If a diseased branch is caught early, and pruned back to uninfected wood, there is less chance of the problem infecting the rest of the plant. Areas of damage expose the tissue underneath the bark, and are ideal sites for fungal spores and diseases to enter the plant. Dead branches can also act as hosts to fungi and diseases, some of which can easily travel into the living tissue and damage it. Any suspect shoots should be pruned back to clean, healthy tissue as soon as possible, using clean equipment.

Types of Pruning

The main types of pruning are:

  • Formative pruning, when the plant is young, to encourage the early development of a strong frame work of branches.
  • Containment pruning, where, as the plant ages, it is regularly pruned in order to keep its size and shape within the constraints of the garden.
  • Remedial pruning, when the “three D’s” rule is put into operation, to maintain the health of the plant. Remedial pruning is also used to eliminate any crossing or congested branches and, on variegated shrubs, to remove any shoots which have reverted to plain green (variegated shoots are weaker than green ones, as they contain slightly less chlorophyll, so that if the green ones are left in place, the whole plant will revert).

Timing

Timing the pruning operation correctly is critical to the performance of the plant; if you prune at the wrong time, you may cut off all the flower buds for the season. Not all plants can be pruned for the year in early spring; in fact, the best time to prune many, especially flowering shrubs, is right after they have flowered, so that they have the maximum time to develop their buds for the following season.

MAKING A GOOD CUT

One way of gaining confidence when pruning your climbers is to learn how to make the correct cuts. Always use sharp secateurs (pruners) or a sharp saw if you are cutting larger branches. Pruning cuts should always be clean; try not to bruise or tear the wood by using worn or blunt secateurs.

Cuts to remove main stems or thick stems branching off the main stems should be made close to their origin, making certain that there is no “snag” or stump left. On the other hand the break should not be so tight that it cuts into the parent wood. Thinner stems should be cut back to a bud, leaf joint or the previous junction. Make the cut just above a bud. This bud should usually be an outward-facing one, so that future growth is away from rather than towards the centre of the plant. The cut should be angled slightly away from the bud. If the leaves are in pairs on the stem, one opposite the other, make the cut straight across, rather than sloping. The position should be the same, just above an outward facing bud.

PRUNING WINTER DAMAGE

Some plants, such as shrubs of borderline hardiness, may be damaged but not killed by a cold winter. In spring cut out cold damaged shoots. Remove the affected tip only. This will greatly improve the appearance and new growth will soon hide the gaps.

PRUNING A NEW HEDGE

If you buy plants sold specifically for hedging they are likely to be young plants with probably a straight single stem. These keep the cost down, but formative pruning is particularly important to ensure that they make bushy plants later on.

New shoots will be produced if you cut back the main (leading) shoot to about 15 cm/6 in after planting. Trim these back by about half in early or midsummer. If you buy bushy hedging plants, shorten the height of these plants by one-third. Do not remove the main (leading) shoot of a conifer, large leaved evergreens such as aucubaor laurel, beech or hornbeam. Trim that off only when the hedge is approaching the desired height. If you like, shorten other shoots on these plants by between one-quarter and one-third, to stimulate instead bushy outward growth.

FORMATIVE PRUNING FOR SHRUBS

  • The best time to prune shrubs is as soon as possible after the flowers have faded. Shorten the growth from the last summer by half. It will be paler and suppler than older wood.
  • Avoid cutting into dark, older wood as new shoots are seldom produced from this.
  • From a distance the difference after pruning will not be obvious but it should be neater and more compact. The real benefit will be cumulative. Remember to start pruning while the plant is still young.

CONTAINMENT PRUNING FOR SHRUBS

  1. Simply cut back all the previous summer’s growth to within about 5 cm/ 2 in of last year’s stem. Do not worry if this seems drastic. The plant will soon produce vigorous new shoots and replace the ones you are cutting out.
  2. Cut back to just above a bud. Keep to outward facing buds as much as possible to give a bushier effect. Most of the shoots should be cut back to within about 5 cm/2 in of the base of last year’s growth, but if the bush is very old, cut out one or two stems close to ground level. This will prevent stems rubbing against each other, and improve air circulation.
  3. This is what a plant that has been cutback to a low framework of old stems looks like. Try to keep the height after pruning about 90 cm /.3 ft or less.

Save Energy at Home

Insulation means saving energy, and that is becoming more and more essential on every level, from the personal to the global. People are increasingly conscious of the importance of environmental issues. One of the greatest contributions that any one household can make is to cut down on the unnecessary wastage of fossil fuels, and so to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning them. This means making more efficient use of energy, and insulation has a big part to play in this. It saves money, too.

Insulation is a means of reducing heat transfer from a warm area to a cold one, and substantially reduces heat loss. In temperate countries, the external air temperature is below what most people regard as a comfortable level for much of the year, so heating is needed for fairly long periods and heat is constantly lost to the outside.

All materials conduct heat to a greater or lesser extent. Wood is a good insulator, brick an average one and glass is downright poor, as anyone who has sat next to a window on a cold winters day will testify.

Except in countries which have very cold winters, proper insulation of homes has until recently been a very low priority, both for house builders —who will not pay tot something that provides only a hidden benefit unless they have to — and for the legislators who frame the regulations and codes with which builders must comply. At last, however, the tide is turning, and current building rules call for much higher standards of insulation than ever before. They have also recognized that over-insulation can cause condensation, both inside the rooms and within the building’s structure.

Poor insulation, inadequate ventilation and poor heating levels can, in extreme cases, lead to patches of mould occurring around windows and inside fitted cupboards (closets).

Sources of Moisture

People themselves are a major source of the moisture in the air inside a building. Breath is moist and sweat evaporates; one person gives off 250 ml/1/2 pints of water during 8 hours of sleep: 3 times that during the day.

Domestic activities create even more moisture. cooking, washing up, a hot bath or shower, washing and drying clothes and so on can create as much as a further 10 to 12 litres/3 gallons of water a day, and every litre of fuel burnt in a Clueless oil or paraffin heater gives off toughly another litre of watervapour. The air in the house is expected to soak up all this extra moisture invisibly, but it may not be able to manage unaided. However, a combination of improved insulation and controlled ventilation will go a long way towards eliminating the problem of condensation.

This will not help people living in older properties, many of which were built with no thought to their insulation performance at all. Over the years, various attempts will have been made to insulate houses like these, but what was deemed adequate 20 years ago will he well below par for today.

Condensation

Condensation is a big problem in many homes. It can lead to serious health problems and can also cause damage to the structure of the home.

The air always contains a certain amount of moisture – a lot on it humid summer’s day, less on a clear winter one. When the air at a particular temperature cannot hold any more moisture, it is said to have reached saturation point, described as a relative humidity of 100 per cent.

Air at saturation point is the key to the problem. If that saturated air is cooled — for example, by corning into contact with a surface SUCH.1 as a windowpane on a chilly day — it can no longer hold so much vapour. The excess moisture vapour in the air condenses into droplets of water, and these are deposited on the cold surface — first as a fine film that mists up the glass burthen, as more moisture is deposited, the droplets combine to form rivulets that run down the surface to create pools of water on the window sill. This can ruin decorations and cause window sills and frames to rot and rust; it can also cause2 further problems, both of which are potentially more serious.

Constant condensation ruins paintwork and will eventually cause wooden window frames and sills to rot.

Fit an extractor fan (exhaust fan) to control ventilation in a steamy room such as a kitchen or bathroom. The type linked to a humidity detector activates automatically.

Fit a special brush draught excluder over a letter-box opening, and also to the bottoms of doors to minimize heat. loss.

If the roof of your house is pitched(sloping), lay blanket insulation over the loft(attic) floor to prevent heat loss.

Glass is an extremely poor insulator. Secondary glazing, known as double glazing, can cut down on heat loss, provided that the inner panes are well-sealed to their tracks.

With a suspended floor, you can lift the floorboards and suspend blanket insulation on netting stapled to the joists. Lay a vapour barrier, such as heavy plastic sheeting, on top.

The first is mould. Apart from moisture vapour, the air also contains millions of tiny spores which float around looking for somewhere to live and multiply. The one thing they need is a damp surface. The result is the patches of black, brown or dark green mould seen especially around windows, in fitted cupboards (closets) and in the upper corners of those rooms that have poor insulation and ventilation and inadequate heating.

The second problem is interstitial condensation. if rho materials used to build walls, roofs and other parts of a building allow water vapour to penetrate, condensation can actually occur inside rho structure. If moisture cannot evaporate to the outside the affected part of the structure remains damp; this can then encourage rot to grow on wood, and may also result in frost damage to masons’ in cold weather, caused by the water expanding as it freezes. What is more, it damp wall has a lower resistance to the passage of heat than a dry one, and therefore becomes colder and encourages yet more condensation.

Ventilation

Always be aware that, no matter how well the home has been insulated, it is vital to ensure that it is well-ventilated too and that air can circulate freely to prevent the problems of condensation. When insulating your home it is essential to make allowances for air circulation by installing, for example, an extra air-brick, an extractor fan(exhaust fan) or window vents in a bathroom or kitchen, and even a cooker hood. Simply opening a window while cooking to allow steam out can make a difference. Fuel-horning appliances such as paraffin heaters, gas cookers, central-heating boilers and fires also require ventilation to work efficiently and to dispel potentially dangerous fumes.

Quick Ways to Insulate

Once icy winds begin to whistle around your home in the winter, you will soon find out where the chill gusts blow in and where all the expensive heat escapes. The following steps will all contribute to keeping your home warmer and energy-efficient.

Sash windows are notorious for draughts, and their sliding action calls for special weatherproofing. A brush seal (with soft bristles) against inside sliding faces and a V-strip seal where sashes close against the top and bottom of the frame are best.

in cold, wet conditions. Seal it with A flexible PVC (vinyl) or brush strip pinned to the outer face.

Keyholes can let in cold air, so put cover plates on the outside.

Fill gaps around overflow and wastepipes that pass through holes in exterior walls with an exterior-grade filler (spackle), mortar or an expanding foam filler.

Fill any gaps in windows that remain closed throughout the winter with flexible, clear sealant. Apply it with a mastic gun and, when you wish to operate the windows again, simply peel off the sealant and discard.

A porch built over a front or backdoor acts as an insulating barrier by preventing cold air from entering the house and keeping warm air in. It will also keep wet boots and coats from dripping over floors.

In addition to traditional sausage-shaped door draught excluders, door curtains are a very effective way of redirecting heat loss, and can also add a decorative finish to rooms.

Insulate the wall immediately behind a radiator by simply placing tinfoil behind it to reflect the heat back