Jobs for the week/end

Jobs for the week/end

Seedlings in plantes

Monday: Flowers from seeds and cuttings

We are now hopefully through the frost zone so you can get sowing seeds

  • Choose some nice annuals as they will grow quickly and give you lots of flowers
  • Perennial plants can be grown from seed, dividing or cuttings.  Buying them in flower is useful as you can see exactly what you are getting.
  • Look after your tender new plants, slugs and snails will think they are tender too and very yummy, use organic methods such as nematodes to keep the little blighters at bay
  • Weed carefully around your new plantings, do not get weeding frenzy and pull up ones you want to keep
  • If you have children involve them in choosing and sowing seeds:  big seeds like nasturtiums, sunflowers and marigolds are great for small hands to sow and reliable so will almost certainly grow
  • Drink a nice mug of cocoa at the end of the day and think how glorious it will all look in a few weeks time
Tulips in bloom

Tuesday: Flowers from bulbs and tubers

What to choose for Summer bulbs

  • It should be warm enough for you to plant out your dahlias and cannas now.  Keep them well watered so they establish quickly and give them a weekly feed.  Liquid seawed is my plant food of choice.
  • Keep an eye out for slugs and snails, they love young dahlia shoots.
  • You will soon be choosing and planting bulbs to flower next Spring – always fun choosing what you want, keep notes on those you see and like so that you don’t forget.

Wednesday: Bare root and Rose Day

Make sure you are deadheading spent flowers so that they will repeat flower

  • Keep an eye out for greenfly, you can squidge them with your fingers or use soap-water made from swirling a bar of soap in some tepid water until it goes milky and then using this to wash off the greenfly.
  • Or leave the greenfly for the ladybirds and other wildlife that will eat them – decide how much damage you think they are doing and if you are prepared to just let them be.
  • Similarly decide your approach to blackspot.  How much do you care?  If you want to remove the affected leaves then do, but other than them looking a bit spotty they will not affect the blooms
  • Start keeping a list of the roses you want to plant next year.  You can have too many as space is always a question,  but you can push the limits of that space for quite a while.
  • Follow @rosesuk on Twitter if you want to see her daily rose choice, they are all so tempting
Vegetables and Fruit

Thursday: Fruit and vegetable day

Look after your vegetable patch

  • Weed your vegs beds and award yourself a medal for doing so, I always think I should have a medal when I do
  • You should be harvesting some broad beans, maybe the last of your purple sprouting broccoli
  • Keep an eye on your new plantings, look out for slugs, snails – you know the usual suspects!
  • Successionally sow peas and beans
  • I grow nasturtiums in my veg bed as they look great and help attract the blackfly away from my beans
  • Fruit should be plumping up now, make sure the birds don’t steal all the cherries as they start to get a little pink
  • Make sure you keep everything watered and feed regularly.  A bit of care and attention and you should get good crops
Flower Display

Friday: Floral Display Day

Making the best of cut flowers

  • Pick your flowers early in the morning or in the evening when it is out of the heat of the day
  • Plonk (technical term) cut blooms into a bucket of water as you walk around, this keeps them fresh
  • Arrange or re-plonk into a vase/anything that will hold water that takes your fancy
  • Make a list of the flowers you want to grow for cutting next year
  • Sit back, sip a Friday evening sherry, and admire your handywork
Upcycled tyres

Saturday: Project and upcycle day

Upcycling ideas

  • Have a look for what you can upcycle into something new:  that old coal scuttle can become a planter maybe?
  • What else have you got that might make a planter?  An old sink?  Some car tyres?  If you have children ask them for their ideas and get them (safely) involved
  • Make a start on that project you have been putting off.  Start drawing up a plan if it needs one, work on the shopping list and make sure you complete it, a half-finished project is a nagging project and no one wants that in their garden glaring at them.
  • Maybe make a bug hotel out of some old crates.
  • Drink tea and pat yourself on the back for getting through an enjoyable gardening filled week
Garden Transformation

Sunday: Transformation Day

Transformation tips

  • Go out into your garden and stand for a moment and breathe.  Walk around fairly slowly, let your mind relax and listen to what your garden is telling you.  What is the change you need to make?
  • Paint the shed a nice mauve lavender colour, maybe stencil some butterflies on it – go on, you know you want to really
  • Rearrange the pots with plants in to make them look different
  • Pour a large mug of tea and relax, transforming is tiring work
Posted by Alison Levey in Bulbs, Cut Flowers, Gardening Jobs, Planting Design, Planting Ideas, Transformation, 0 comments
Spring Bulb Care

Spring Bulb Care

Guess what?……….
Your spring bulb flowers need to be fed! This year especially we were all desperately waiting for some much needed Spring colour in the garden, so We need to make sure they will be there for us next year too.
I have Spring bulbs in the ground which I add Growmore to in late February to encourage the bulbs to flower the following year, as they are in the ground they require no storage, just leave them to do their own thing.

Although……..in my main border the soil is quite heavy clay which is not the best conditions especially for Tulips so I plant my Tulips in plastic pots then plant the pots in the ground and it’s worked really well, you just need to make sure you feed and water them.

The Spring bulbs I have in many pots dotted around the garden need a lot more care throughout the flowering season and some work to store them efficiently for next year.

I used to water them and that was it, then I read an article about feeding your spring bulbs to make sure you have healthy bulbs for the following year and it made total sense that lots of bulbs in a pot would be getting no nutrition! So this year I am feeding them with Tomorite every week and I will continue to feed the bulbs for six weeks after flowering. I must say the Tulips especially are looking so healthy and vibrant and are so much stronger than usual. Just look at this Tulip Gorilla, it could definitely win a wet Tulip competition 😉

Make sure you are deadheading too. I wait until they have flowered and the foliage has gone from green to yellow, I then carefully lift them and cut off the foliage. I shake off the excess dirt and put them in a warm dry area, I use the greenhouse, for a week like the photo below. Make sure you label everything for next year. After they are dry I store them in the garage or somewhere dry and dark and leave them there until they are ready to plant.

Posted by Audrey Rose in Bulbs, Planting Ideas, 0 comments
How to take Dahlia cuttings

How to take Dahlia cuttings

The time to take Dahlia cuttings is in Springtime when the tubers have been taken out of storage, cleaned up, repotted and new shoots are growing.

When the shoots have three to four sets of leaves, 3 – 4 inches / 8 – 10cm they will be ideal to take cuttings as they will have firmed up. The shoots shouldn’t be too soft.

Find the point where the shoot comes from the parent tuber. Using a very sharp & clean knife, try and slice the shoot from the tuber with a small piece attached still. You get a better result this way as the growth hormone is concentrated in the tuber.

Place the cutting on a hard surface and remove the lower pair of leaves. If the end is not a clean cut you can trim neatly to avoid rotting.

It may seem brutal but cut off the top leaves by half. This helps to reduce the surface area when moisture can be lost.
Using a round plant pot (4inch/ 9 cm) fill with a gritty compost and using a pencil or small dibber, make a hole at the edge of the pot. Insert your cutting. Repeat this process placing 3 – 4 cuttings around the edge of the pot.
Water well and leave in a warm place on a windowsill, heated pad or in a heated greenhouse. Rooting should take place within 2 – 4 weeks. When you see new leaves appearing you know the cuttings have rooted.

When taking cuttings from the parent tuber you will get an identical plant from your cutting. This is a good way to propagate your favourite dahlias.

You can take shoot cuttings that are not attached to the tuber. They may not be identical to the parent plant but can still give interesting results as I found when taking cuttings from one of my dahlias.

These pictures show the parent plant and also the plants I got from cuttings. The results gave much smaller flowers and a different flower shape to the parent plant.

Parent Daliah
Parent Daliah Plant
Plant from cutting

To take a shoot cutting, again take a shoot with 3 – 4 sets of leaves but this time make your cut below a leaf node. Remove the lower set of leaves and follow instructions as above.

You can also use the shoots if you need to pinch out the growing tips from your dahlia if they get too large.
Don’t forget to label your cuttings with the name of the dahlia if known.
Good luck and enjoy taking cuttings and increasing your dahlia stock.

Posted by Celia Wood in Bulbs, Daliahs, Planting Ideas, 0 comments