Posts Tagged ‘annuals’

October Jobs

October 7th, 2010

This is a good time for a visit to your favourite nursery

October is a very busy month and there is heaps to do out there in the sunny, pretty days to come.  If you plant some annuals in pots or hanging baskets now they can be looking quite beautiful for your Christmas time entertaining & they  make  super gifts.  I like to get some impatiens and put them in those dark, shady spots to cheer them up a bit.  You need to plant them around 15 centimetres apart, to get that nice full look.  Then when they get around 15 centimetres high, pinch out the centres of the plants to encourage bushiness. 

Petunias are great for hot spots

The azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons are all looking for a bit of a feed around now.  I also like to give them a bit of a prune to keep them in good shape and encourage bushiness.  Azaleas and rhododendrons are shallow-rooted and should be fed with natural fertilisers, such as blood and bone or cow manure, as chemical fertilisers can burn the roots.  It is best to feed them after they have flowered and always make sure that the soil is damp before applying the fertiliser. 

Because they are shallow-rooted, azaleas and rhododendrons should be mulched regularly.  This helps to keep the roots cool and moist over the summer months.

Weeds are rampant at this time of the year, so that is an ongoing task.  I always seem to be out there pulling them out – but they sneak back overnight.  Still, if you are ever to get on top of it – this is the month to get cracking!  I try to cheer myself up by popping in some plant or other in the spot where weeds once were.

Did you know that nasturtiums can help to keep the woolly aphids away?  I have planted some under my roses to check it out!  They are growing quite happily and are cheerfully flowering as we speak. 

Well, I am off to the nearest nursery to get som annuals to fill the little empty spaces.  Happy springtime gardening!

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January Jobs

January 5th, 2010

 

Water in the cool of the morning

Water in the cool of the morning

The summer is getting mighty hot out there so I head out first thing these days and try to finish all my little chores early in the day.  Some chores are wet and cool and there is nothing more pleasant than watering in the cool fresh morning after a hot night.  The plants enjoy it too.  Here are the main tasks that will keep me busy for the month ahead.

Fertilising: All the flowering annuals will benefit from a fortnightly application of liquid fertiliser. So will the tomatoes and any veges in that vege garden. Azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons and daqhnes can also be fertilised this month. You need to water well before and after applying the fertiliser or you can burn the plant. If you have any problems with yellow leaves on plants such as daphnes you can cure this by watering with a watering can full of water to which you have added 1 tablespoon, but no more than 1 tablespoon of epson salts just once a month.

Feed the tomatoes once a fortnight

Feed the tomatoes once a fortnight

Watering:January is the month where this really becomes a chore esp. with all the water restrictions in force. The roots of the plants should be encouraged to reach deep down into the soil, where it will be cool and moist, and this can be achieved by a good soaking once or twice a week. Lots of short waterings only encourage the roots to remain near the surface, where they dry out easily and can be burned off on a hot day. The best time to water is early in the morning. Roses are best watered in the morning, as damp foliage in the evening provides an ideal enviroment for the spread of fungal diseases such as black spot and downy mildew.

Weeding: January is that dreaded month where weeds run to seed, so we do need to try to keep the weeding under control. To win the battle you need to pull the weeds out before they go to seed. This makes the job much easier in the coming year. I mulched my garden in October so the weed situation is not too bad for me but there are some determined ones out there….

Waddles ready to help with the mulching chore

Waddles ready to help with the mulching chore

Mulching:

I find that I have a much healthier and mor robust garden if I have mulched at the beginning of the summer, but it is not too late to start. All gardens benefit from mulching. Compost, dried leaves, lucerne-hay all make excellent mulch. Water first (after pulling out those weeds) then stuff that mulch on top.  Waddles and Hazel love to help as I weed and mulch you just never know what snails are still lurking out there.

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Filling the Gaps

December 15th, 2009

Fill the gaps with some colourful annuals

Fill the gaps with some colourful annuals

I have been very busy in the garden over the past few days. The weather has been lovely and it has been good to be outside. Getting busy with the secateurs, then the choppers. Scrapping those determined weeds, digging, mulching etc.  But then I stood back and looked at all my hard work  to find….gaps! Yes, the weeds have secretly been having their own way. Sneaking into the garden when I wasn’t looking. Must have been while I was busy dead-heading the roses!
Anyway, whatever, there were gaps and they must be filled! So away to the local nursery. Such a tough job, but someone has to do it and it was up to me!
Bare patches must not be wasted! One cheap, trusted and fun option is to break open a packet of nasturtium seed. Just sprinkle these about with abandon, something usually comes from this. The packet doesn’t say ‘easy to grow’ for nothing. Really what is summer without nasturiums? You can eat them! Unfortunately, my ducks enjoy doing just this. So, I need to plant these where the ducks don’t get a look in!   

Don't waste the gap

Don't waste the gap

Petunias used to be a favourite of mine, back before the drought. But I really cannot afford to water them and it is too sad to put them in. I do miss them and their happy colour so at Christmas I treat myself to putting a few into a hanging basket which I hang right in front of my kitchen window. This cheers me up while I wash the dishes!
Some things to remember when going on a mission such as this is, well, don’t get carried away! Remember, when you get home you have to have enough gaps to fit all the plants you buy into! Also, you have to plant them and you don’t want so many that it becomes a chore and not a hobby. The hot weather is coming and you will have to nurse them along with extra water for a few weeks while they settle in. So, just calm down, maybe set yourself some limits or write a shopping list.  My sensible self always gives advice like this. Follow it if you like I seldom do and come home with heaps! Then find I can’t fit them all in!  Quick to the pots!

Putting old pots to use in summer

Putting old pots to use in summer

Talking of which after the expedition you may have some of these left over. Before you turf them into the bin try sinking them down into the soil near young trees that do not receive water from sprinklers. Fill them twice a week over the summer months. This little trick gives you a low cost way of drip watering. I find also that the pot in the ground reminds me that I need to water. It saves wasting water just surface watering, where the water just runs off and dosen’t get down to the roots where it is needed.

Well, I am off to sink some pots!

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Mandy’s mini missions for December

December 11th, 2009

Christmas is just around the corner and I really must do some shopping, cooking, cleaning…but first…just a few minutes in the garden. I guess Christmas will happen no matter what. So, out into the garden for some mini missions and a quick look around.

keep dead-heading to keep the flowers coming
keep dead-heading to keep the flowers coming

Roses: If you can keep up with the dead-heading of your roses you can expect a second flush of blooms this month.  Always lovely!  When I am cutting the dead-heads off the older bushes I take quite a bit of the stalk too, like picking a rose to put into a vase.  This helps to keep my bush, well, bushy, not lank and spindly.  We really wouldn’t want that now would we? 

Giving the plant a little feed, maybe a little blood & bone that always helps too.  While I am at it I take a few in to brighten up my desk.

Tomatoes: Yes, there are now little mini ones – could be some for the Christmas salad.  And if I don’t hurry up and get these mini jobs done and get out there into the shops that’s all we will have for Christmas dinner! 

looking like we might have some for Christmas

looking like we might have some for Christmas

But the mini mission with these are to tie them up.   I like doing this job, they smell wonderful and after I have done it my vege patch looks organised.  Of course it helps the plant too.  Last year I got behind with this and some bad wind came along and broke off some of the branches.  I feed my tomatoes every week and of course they absolutely love getting my duck poo mix..I put this under the plant being careful not to get any on the leaves.  But more of that in a latter post where I shall share my secret duck brew with all you other duck lovers. 

Hanging Baskets:  I really need to keep an eye on these because they dry out very quickly esp. during hot weather.  They need a good soaking in a tub of water.  Sometimes if I know a very hot day is coming up I just hook them down and they pretend they are just ordinary pot plants for the day.  They chat with the other pot plants and enjoy a rest in the shade.

Must take myself off to the shops…happy gardening…

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