Posts Tagged ‘fuchsia’

June jobs

June 10th, 2010

Waddles & Hazel amongst the leaves

It is June in Melbourne, Australia and baby it is cold outside!  The ducks, Waddles and Hazel are beside themselves with excitement with all the wonderful puddles!  Can’t seem to contain their excitement and have taken to looking under fallen leaves for little tasty duck treats like snails & slugs.  You need fingerless gloves working at the weeding now and I must admit it is not as appealling getting on out there as it was a week or two ago.

bulbs are pushing up!

At this time of the year you can buy and plant bare-rooted deciduous trees and shrubs.  Last year I indulged in one of these – a fig tree.  It was quite exciting, and yes it did survive and got leaves and even some figs, not that I got to eat any, but the possum enjoyed them.  She is always ready to try something new, even if it is not quite ripe yet!  Now my little fig once again looks like a dead twig, but at least I know that the leaves will come back, that is if it doesn’t drown!  Because the rain has come at last and we are awash in my backyard!  Much to the ducks’ delight!

Hydrangeas need pruning!

My little task for this month, aside from pushing myself to just get outside,  is to prune back my hydrangeas.  I quite enjoy this little task!  I love those plump buds you see on the canes.  I aways prune back to a pair of juicy ones!  I prune right down to the base all wood that is over 3 seasons old to give the plant more room to send up new shoots.  But I don’t cut back the shoots that have not flowered, I just tip-prune these to encourage more flower heads.  After it is done I pop some nice rich compost around the roots this makes the garden bed look all neat and tidy and I feel quite proud of myself! 

Hardwood cutting

Hardwood cuttings can be taken now, and I have my little list!  Fuchsias are on the list and – hydrangeas!  So after cutting back the hydrangeas I might have a little go at making a brand new plant!  Always heaps of fun!  I have indulged in some hormone powder this year but over past years I used honey.  What I do is, I take the cuttings approximately 20 to 25 centimetres long from last season’s growth.  If you are using cuttings taken from the pruning it is very important to remember which way up the plant was growing, trust me, they wont grow if planted upside down.  Fussy, aren’t they?  So, when I prune my hydrangeas I put some likely cuttings aside with the bottoms all together, so I don’t forget and stuff them in the wrong way up.  Having found the bottom of your cutting you make a slanting cut just below a node (swelling). 

plant right side up!

A slanting cut gives a greater rooting area.  Cut the top off straight, this helps to avoid confusion, something I seem to be quite good at, when planting.   Moisten the slanting end then dip it into hormone powder.  Then it is a simple matter to plant it to one-third its length in moist propagating mix or perhaps a sheltered part of the garden.

Happy gardening!

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New Beginnings

February 17th, 2010

GardenFeb10 014

I am absolutely amazed at the capacity for plants to regenerate from all sorts of bits and pieces – leaves, roots, stems and of course, seeds – aren’t plants clever?  Propagation by seed is one of the most popular ways of creating new plants and it is heaps of fun! 

GardenFeb10 017Another easy method to make new plants is division, this method is suitable for clumping perennials like clivias, agapanthus and bearded iris.  It is done when flowering is finished and the plant is entering a growth cycle.  Cut back the green leafy material above the ground and dig out the clump with a large fork.  Then, divide the clump into several pieces, using a sharp, strong knife.  Replant the clumps and water in. – Plants for free!!

GardenFeb10 024You can also take tip cuttings, this is the best method for a wide range of woody plants, including camelias, azaelias, fuchia etc.  Cuttings are ideally taken in mid to late summer, now in fact.  I use what I prune, pretty much whenever I prune and am in the mood to create.  Cuttings should be 10 to 15 cm long with three or four sets of ‘eyes’.  Remove half of the lower leaves and dip the end in a rooting hormone powder to assist the strike rate.  If you don’t have any rooting hormone powder you can try honey, it works well.  Make a little hole in your propagating mix with a chop stick, then pop in your cutting.  Water and make sure to keep it damp while your new little plants work away at making roots. 

The thing is to try it!  It is really magic, and if you have some children about try putting a little cutting of a fuchsia or pelargonium into a glass of water and watch the roots form over the next month.  Plants are clever creatures!

Happy gardening!

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February Jobs

February 10th, 2010

 

GardenFeb2010 005There 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.

Keep tomatoes happy by eating their fruit

Keep tomatoes happy by eating their fruit

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. 

Waddles & Hazel ready to help

Waddles & Hazel ready to help

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.

Happy gardening!

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The February Garden

February 6th, 2010

Only one more month of summer left, but the month of February is often the worst of the lot. My garden is already beginning to show the strain of summer heatwaves and the hottest month is yet to come.

Gardenia

Gardenia

Yet, taking a stroll around the garden this morning I am pleased at how it is looking. Not much in flower at present, although the Abelia has its pretty little white flowers and the gardenia is still blooming. The cistus, native to the south of France, Spain and Portugal has finished flowering and a week or so ago I gave it a bit of a trim back, and now I am happy to see it has put on a spurt of growth and is covered in healthy new foliage.
I have been experimenting over the lat few years, discarding and replanting and trying to collect plants that are suitable for this climate, and can take the heat. I think I can begin to see an improvement in the way my garden is coping. My watering methods have improved also. The roses are still blooming & I am still dead heading.

Tomatoes in full production

Tomatoes in full production

In the vege garden, or should I just call it a tomato patch now, I have stopped tying back and just keep picking and searching out recipies for tomatoes. Lunch now is pretty much the wonderful summer treat of fresh tomatoes and fresh basil on panne bread, lovely!!

Hazel & Waddles

Hazel & Waddles

The ducks have stopped laying just for the time being. But thats ok they will start back up again in a month or so. I have had to use snail bait on the basil, and I can’t put it in a margarine container – no I have to surround each basil plant or there is absolutely none left for me, basil that is not snail bait. The little fig tree I planted in winter is covered in leaves and seems to have settled in quite well, so that makes me happy.

The beautiful Hoya flower

The beautiful Hoya flower

My Hoya has gone crazy and desperately needs my help with direction, so thats a little job I need to attend to.  The wisteria that I planted just a few months ago has discovered a niffty pole to climb up and twist itself about, unfortunately, it is not the pole I wanted it to go up and I will need to redirect it to where I want it to be.  The fushias are all still flowering but they all need to be pruned back as they are getting a little leggy and while I am at I will strike a couple to give to friends.  And the lavender needs a trim back too.  So, looks like a busy month ahead.

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Plant of the Month

December 16th, 2009

The Fuchsia

Long ago the Fuchsia was the first garden plant I fell in love with.  I remember dancing the little flowers on my hand pretending they were beautiful dancing fairies.  A Fuchsia was the first plant that I struck and I watched it growing roots right before my eyes within the glass of water I had put on the window ledge.  It seemed like magic to watch those roots form.   There are over 500 named varieties and they are all just as pretty as the ones above.

beautiful schrub covered in flowers

Fuchsia triphylla

More than 500 different ones and they flower continuously from late spring well into winter.  Perfect for cool, semi-shaded positions.  They absolutely adore compost, can’t seem to get enough of the stuff, and they repay you for your care and attention (of which they do not require much) with heaps of beautiful flowers.  The sort of flowers that add magic to any garden.

Fuchsia X 'Lena'

Fuchsia X 'Lena'

Perfect for bush houses and hanging baskets.  In a hanging basket the flowers cascade down to dance in the breeze and lighten your heart.

In the winter they need to be pruned and the prunings can be struck to supply you with more plants.  If you do this you will have lovely Christmas Presents you can give to friends and relations.   I hope you can find some spot in your garden to enjoy a dancing queen, the Fuchsia.

The Dancing Queen

The Dancing Queen

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