Garden Notes 1
See below for more pictures from Gardening Group 1
===== RECENT UPDATES (From CONNECT Newsletter) =====
Gardening Corner ~ June
We finally have the sun and long may it continue. The flowers are popping out everywhere and we can finally sit and enjoy our gardens. Hopefully you have made a start on planting out any vegetables and tomatoes grown over the last few months. If not there is still time. You can still sow salads either in the ground or seed boxes. It does make it easy to cut salad leaves for lunch if they are grown in seed trays or plastic boxes with drilled holes for drainage. Keep these on something raised - an old side table, a couple of painted pallets. Anything you can dress up a bit for the garden. Other things to plant now for autumn harvesting are pumpkin and squashes if you buy a few
plants now from any garden centre. Ready in October and pumpkin can be stored easily somewhere cool for Halloween.
My courgettes are doing well so I hope yours are too. The flowers are so bright and readily attract the pollinators that are needed to grow the courgettes. We can look forward to a good crop from next month. Now is the time to start feeding those vegetables and everything else. Roses will benefit from a good feed and don’t forget that camellias set their flowers in the next 2 months so start feeding to help with this. A good ericaceous plant food will help a lot. Clematis are growing well and may need tying in to the support. Everything needs lots of water at this time. Young plants don’t have reserves so please feed and water every evening whilst it’s hot. Those of us with clay based soil will have found there is still dampness in the soil but don’t forget that young seedlings have tiny roots and will not reach the damp layer. Feeding and watering encourages them to grow longer roots and reach this layer of nourishment. Don’t despair of clay soil, the nutrients in it are valuable to all plants. If this autumn you get extra manure to dig in you will be able to build a good loose soil with loads of goodness.
Lovers of roses need to watch out for aphids and encourage ladybirds and ants. Both of these are predators of aphids - ladybirds’ larvae feed on aphids and ants farm them for the sweet ‘honeydew’ they excrete. Ants also clip the wings of aphids to make sure they can’t fly away. So both of these creatures are a Gardeners friend. People worry about ants but they are not really harmful in the garden, their only drawback is nest building and tunnelling which can disturb the roots of small plants. Nobody likes them indoors of course, but in the garden on your roses they are helpful. All our roses are late this year so a good feed will help bring on the flowers. The feed should contain - nitrogen, phospherous and potassium plus trace elements like iron. Some use seaweed with added iron which comes in a bottle. A really good tonic for flowering plants. In fact all flowering plants in the garden need the same things to give a boost to flower numbers.
If you have fruit trees, this is the season of codling moth which attacks apple and pear trees. The moth-lays eggs which become larvae and these eat into the fruit making a hole and crawling inside, ruining the fruit. To stop this there are many products to choose from but the simplest is to start in the autumn by putting a grease band round the tree to stop the moth crawling up and the larvae from moving around. In addition if you make the trees bird-friendly the. they will pick off the larvae to eat. It really is a long term battle once you have these creatures (sorry! ). Placing moth traps by the tree works to a degree but in my experience a combination of everything is best for long term control. Remember these creatures won’t infect every apple or pear. I look on it as sharing!
Gardeners Corner ~ December
December in the garden rather depends on the weather and just now it’s a non event. On good days we can still plant trees and shrubs so long as the soil isn’t frozen or too wet. I am waiting the arrival of a Crab Apple the superb Malus John Downey. So next year our spring will be brightened by its wonderful blossom and in the autumn the birds can have a treat eating all the apples. I might make jelly, if I feel inspired. I do like to plant trees and I have as many as is possible in our smallish back garden and am now planting in the front. With a bit of imagination it is possible to get in a number of trees into quite a small space. All of this helps with global warming if we all planted a couple of trees next year that would make a great contribution. Fruit trees are great because you get both blossom and fruit so give it a go. To get in my eating apple I have an espalier on the back fence which is very thin at present but produced a couple of apples in its first year. To see really good espalier apples visit Hinton Ampner and as you walk in you will pass through their kitchen garden and the very old espaliers which look wonderful.
Your garden can also provide you with Christmas decorations too. Picking greenery is a very old tradition and looks fantastic in the house. It doesn’t have to be holly but any greenery can be used in vases, various types of spruce look good. Buy flowers to add brightness to the display. White chrysanthemums look good and the spray type with many heads on one stem are useful and go a long way if you separate them and use each flower on shorter stems. I use large wine glasses to make small decorations for shelves etc. It does take time but is very enjoyable. If you must, pop in some glitz but you can spray pine cones and rose hips add good colour. Good luck however you decorate. I admit I’m a sucker for dressing the house inside.
The picture below is a past Christmas display from Hinton Ampner to show how you can make a display out of garden bits.
The other thing to do on these dark afternoons is to look through the seed catalogues or on line and plan your vegetable patch for next year and flowers to grow of course. Get to know all the new types they are bringing in. Some very lovely bright new sweet peas from Sarah Raven I’ve found. Have an explore it’s worthwhile.
Finally, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas however you are spending it. We are staying here just the two of us with a family walk in a to-be-identified place on 27th. So have a good one and let’s hope 2021 gives us a mask free year.
Convenor Garden Group 1
Gardeners' Corner - November
November was described by Ted Hughes as being ‘After the long rain, the earth lies sodden as a lake bed...’ and so it is in 2020. So a bit of a trial for Gardeners right now but if you have left the planting of your tulip bulbs until now do remember to put some horticultural sand in the planting hole to help with drainage. You don’t want the poor things to rot away. Trees and shrubs can still be planted until we start getting frosts so the sooner the better. If you still need to cut back shrubs then do that quickly too. Cut ends left open to frost can be very damaging and allow damp to get into the cut end. Always cut on a slant to direct water away from the cut. All these things make sense when you think about it. Garden Centres at the moment are gearing up for Christmas so more tinsel than plants but lots of bags of manure and mulch of various kinds. I have been putting manure all over my garden this weekend. No need to dig it in at all except where the ground is compacted. This annual feed of the garden is so worthwhile and pays dividends the following year when you plant again. The earth has given so much to this year’s plants that it needs a boost for the next year. The hard work will be taken care of by the winter weather plus worms that drag down the manure as they weave in and out. Nature has a wonderful way of taking care of itself.
I wanted to remind you that after January 1st we will no longer be in the EU and depending on what is finally agreed in the coming weeks we may need to rely on new measures of certification. This will be important when buying plants as we will need to know they are free of the various viruses which are so damaging. So do listen out for news. I will try to keep you informed in this column by keeping check on things.
One thing we can do is old fashioned sharing of seeds at the end of the year and if you are splitting perennials because they are getting too big for your border then give clumps away to other people. I am going to start some perennial seeds off in January and if successful once they have grown to a good size I will be more than happy to give some away through this column.
Finally I do hope you are winning in the annual battle of leaves versus tidy garden. We are fortunate this year in that the strong winds have gone and in this pause it has been possible to gather and bag the leaves. You can keep leaves to make a good mulch for next year so long as you don’t add oak leaves to the mix, they are too high in tannin to be useful. Keep the sack in the dry and use it next autumn as a mulch. By the way I had a very useful present last Christmas of a long handled leaf collector. It is simply a pair of long handles with a set of big jaw like scoops on the end which collect up leaves so easily. Saves all that bending!
Convenor Garden Group 1
Gardeners’ Corner - October
It’s that time of ‘Evening mist and mellow fruitfulness’
according to Keats but for Gardeners it’s time to prepare
for Winter and tidy up. Next month, of course we will
have leaves to contend with but with all this rain that’s
not an issue for now. So pick anything that is ready and
if you’ve grown squashes make sure you store them in a
cold and dry place. Garages can be useful for this. Just
line a box with newspaper nice and deep if it’s a
cardboard box then place your squashes inside making
sure there is air space between them. If you are
overcome with tomatoes then start making chutney. Lots
of recipes on line for both green and ripe toms. After the
clearing and tidying up this is the time for mulching. If
you have your own compost start spreading if not get off
to a garden centre and buy whatever mulch you fancy.
Just bags of compost will do very well. You can also buy
manure which is excellent for the garden. It will save you
a lot of time and effort next year doing this now. Don’t
forget your garden has been feeding all the plants
through Spring and summer and now needs a boost for
You can also plant roses or trees this month giving them
a good start before the first frost. They will need a good
top dressing of mulch to protect their roots through
winter. If planting a tree it’s a good idea to make sure
you give it a good strong stake as the wind can rock a
tree out of the ground. Also give any plants when
planting some sort of fertiliser in the planting hole. Good
old bone meal is good for helping root development but
don’t over do it a handful is better than a bucket full.
Now is the time to plant those Spring bulbs if you
haven’t already, if the ground is too soggy then use pots
or alternatively buy garden grade sand and plant bulbs
on top of it by putting some in each hole. If you have sandy soil this
is not so important. It’s just about good drainage as
bulbs will rot. Once you’ve planted your bulbs keep an
eye on squirrels in the garden as they will dig them up to
eat. Have you taken up your Dahlia tubers? These
should be stored in a dry and cool place once you’ve
knocked off all the soil, throw away any mouldy ones
and the rest will be ready for you next Spring to plant
once more. Final job take cuttings especially of
pelargoniums if you use rooting compound most of your
cuttings will be successful. Put them on a coolish
windowsill to grow with a plastic bag over the pot and they will take
care of themselves you just need to check the dryness
of the soil now and then. You can, of course take other
cuttings if you want more plants. All perennials will
successfully grow on from cuttings.
To take a cutting select a healthy piece of the plant and
cut a section from it about 3 or 4 inches long. Strip off
the leaves of that piece except for the very top one or
two and dip the cut end into a pot of rooting compound,
then plant it into a pre-prepared pot near the edge (this
will help hold it up) use compost mixed with sand or
vermiculite for drainage. You can put more than one
cutting into a pot. Put a taller stick in the middle. Then
water it all before putting a plastic bag over to make a
tent with the stick. Put a rubber band round the pot to
hold it in place. A mini green house is made. It should
be almost self watering as water will collect on the inside
of the bag and drip onto the cuttings. Keep an eye on it
and only water if it looks dry. Keep it in a warm and light
position until it starts to grow and then move it
somewhere a bit cooler but frost free. Good luck!
Garden Group one.
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