Posts Tagged ‘azaleas’
October 7th, 2010
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.
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!
February 10th, 2010
There are many little tasks to keep us busy this month. The Bearded Iris (Iris Germanica ) can be lifted and divided this month. You need to lift the clump with a fork, and cut away the oldest parts. The really fun bit is triming the leaves to an inverted V, approximately 6 centimetres at the outer leaves, very neat! Replant your peices of rhizome on a slight ridge of soil leaving the tops exposed.
Another job for this month is to hoe around and under the lemon tree who could use a bit of feed this month, just to encourage it along.
Semi-Hardwood cuttings of many plants can be taken this month too, on my list is of course my Fuchisias – all of whom very badly need to be cut back, and waste not want not! It is how I got to have so many! They are good for swapping with friends and other gardeners too. To take semi-hardwood cuttings, cut off pieces of young but well-ripened (fairly hard) wood, about 20 centimetres long, preferably with a heel (this is the section that joins onto an older piece of wood). Make sure that you dip the ends of the cuttings in hormone powder and trim the leaves. Trimming the leaves helps the plant to save energy while it develops roots. Thats why you cut back the leaves on the Iris too. It gives the plant less to think about -less stress. Yes, its true, plants feel stress too.
But, why stop at fuchisias? You can also take cuttings of azaleas, camellias, pelargoniums, lavenders, rosemary Cistus…. the list goes on. Its fun and a very good way to increase your stock.
Those naughty weeds are creeping back in..so they will need to be dealt with and the usual care, watering, feeding, eating of tomatoes -all this must be kept up with. Tomatoes might also enjoy a little more mulch and if some of the leaves are turning yellow it is best to pinch them off, it looks better and helps to let more light reach the fruits to ripen them. So, much to be done, so little time.
January 5th, 2010
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.
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….
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.