Linda Gardening

It’s dead heading Roses time again, I have been laying the Rose petals out on a trestle table to dry for potpourri. The fragrance as they dry is wonderful – It is 6 weeks from cut to new bud at this time of the year.
I have found old Hellebore leaves that had not been removed absolutely loaded in Green fly!! I will cut every last one out and dispose of, so Green fly do not fly off onto my waiting Roses. It is so important right now to keep the water up to the Roses. Constant feeding and deep soaking at the roots will keep them healthy and not in need of spraying. A Rose that is struggling will be susceptible to everything bad.
NIGHT BEETLES are on the wing again – newly planted young trees are the worst targeted… they can strip leaves right off. If this happens don’t be alarmed, because another lot of leaves will grow. The way I dealt to them when our trees were young, was to wait until just on dusk when they were thick on the trees tucking in. I then sprayed them with a kill-on contact spray – this way you get rid of heaps of Beetles and keep the future grass grub numbers down. Night Beetles usually sleep through the day under a tree they are feeding on.
Get rid of weeds like Biddy bid, while seeds are still green – wherever you see it pull it out – don’t let the seeds ripen and drop. Convolvulus is a battle here for me, popping up through plants everywhere. Next Winter I will make an effort to get to the roots while the garden is resting. Some gardeners have had success with soaking long Convolvulus runners in weed spray solution, which should kill well down through that net work of roots. Fat-hen is another weed that spreads quickly – it will now need to be pulled before seeds drop.
FLAG IRIS have flowered now, so large clumps can be broken up and transplanted in a sunny spot. Prepare the bed by digging in fresh compost and some lime – then plant, leaving half the rhizome (root) exposed to bake in the sun over Summer. Long leaves can be cut half way back to reduce transpiration while re-establishing. While you can still see where Spring bulbs have been, cover them with mulch to stop them drying out over Summer. Weed free compost is fine – then you can plant annuals on top to fill gaps. If large clumps of Bulbs flowered poorly, this is a good time to break them up and plant out into smaller groups, using fresh compost to give them a good start.
MONTANA CLEMATIS have finished flowering, wait a little before trimming back as they have not finished their growth spurt. If you trim now you will have to do it all over again in a couple of weeks.
However Wisterias can be dealt to now. if your Wisteria has nice strong flowering hard wood branches that flower well, then no more will be required. Remove all the new long trailers – most of these if left will in time grow into hard wood branches. A Wisteria is like a climbing tree and will take over and out grow it’s place in no time and become very heavy if you let too many leaders grow.
LAWNS: are suffering with new growth being scorched in heat we have experienced. Keep the mower blade up a little higher and mow in the cooler part of the day to help with recovery. Mow without the catcher sometimes and give deep waterings – rather than a light sprinkle. New lawns will need feeding and water kept up to help them to strengthen to cope with this Summer. If spraying lawn weeds, add liquid fertiliser and feed the grass at the same time. Don’t use sprayed grass clippings around the garden or in compost – spray containers have printed information on how long the withholding time is.
HERBS: Culinary Herbs are the original cut-and-come-again crop – if you grow them get snipping and picking. The plants really will benefit from it and you’ll have wonderful flavours to add to dishes. Most Herbs and leafy plants naturally want to create seeds and once they get to that stage, it means the end of a Herb like Parsley, Chives or Basil, so pick leaves early and often, to encourage the plant to put out more foliage and prevent it from running to seed. It may be cheating Nature, but it extends the life of your plants and gives you handfuls of Herbs to enjoy. Pick bunch and dry
VEGETABLES: Don’t feed leaf veg now or have the soil too rich, as they will put out too much soft growth and bolt. All that is needed is moisture when dry. I am experimenting with some plant concoctions to keep the white Butterfly and aphids away.
ORGANIC BUG SPRAY; 1/2 cup hot peppers – diced, 6 cloves garlic – peeled, 2 cups water. Blast in a food processor, strain, add 2 teaspoons liquid soap (without bleach) Fill a plastic spray bottle and mist spray affected plants. Cheers, Linda.

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