Rockvale Stone & Garden

Rain last week cooled us down after some nice hot days – weeds really take off after rain, so the sprayer was out again around the gardens, drive and pathways. I can’t believe how fast they want to grow to seed stage at this time of the year – zap them before they do, or another spray will be needed before Winter.
Cut back ornamental grasses – they look great when they first get seed heads, but the trick is to give them a chop before the seeds drop. I cut them back by two thirds and divide those clumps that have become too big by chopping into the middle with a sharp spade, then I stand on the half I don’t want to remove and pull the other half out to transplant somewhere else.
Spring bulbs are going in here, I never say no to Spring bulbs when offered and I cannot resist those big bags on offer at this time of the year. Thought needs to be given to where they are planted. If put in a narrow border, it will not take that many years for them to fill the border on their own and Spring will be the only time of the year that border will look good. To get the lovely Spring look in narrow borders, bulbs can be planted in plastic pots – and then pot and all buried into the ground. This way, pots can be lifted and put out of sight once flowers have finished. Daffodils look at their best planted in drifts in natural settings, but a Spring garden comes alive with a Daffodil display. Spring bulbs in the garden or in containers, must be planted before the end of Autumn, Tulips in May.
Keep sowing annual flower seeds – warm days will have them up in no time. I nurse them along in mushroom trays over the Winter months in a warm sunny spot, folia feed with liquid fertilizer and cover with frost cloth if needed until they are ready for a mass Spring planting.
Dahlias are doing well and should carry on flowering for a while yet – keep the water up to them and dead head to prolong flowering. I have a nice red pompom variety growing in different places around the garden,, which I plan to dig up when finished flowering and plant all together to give impact at the end of a vista.
My Roses will get only one more dead heading. Roses need to make seed heads for new growth to harden enough before the cold months and the big prune in July. Plan Winter Rose plantings now while blooms are still on show – so that you can ask the names and place your orders for June/July.
Grass grub is really bad in a few areas of our lawn – brown patches that birds pull to bits looking for grubs. The only thing to be done is remove dead grass, fill bare patches with sifted soil and plant grass seed, firm down, water and cover with shade cloth (bird protection). If done now, it will strike and thicken before the ground gets cold.
This is an important month for planting Winter veg gardens, prepared prior to planting with compost, general garden fertilizer and lime if necessary. Plant seedlings of Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Spinach, and Silverbeet – protect from white butterfly caterpillar with shade cloth cover. On the coast sow seeds of Carrots, Parsnips, Spinach, Silverbeet, Beetroot, Swede, and Turnip directly into the garden. These will need thinning later. Seeds of Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts are best sown in trays for planting out later. Potatoes and Onions can be lifted and stored in a cool dry place. Shorter days mean Tomatoes, Pumpkin and Corn will need maximum sun to ripen.
Parsley can be grown from seed sown now. Perennial Herbs such as Chives, Mint, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, and Marjoram can be divided and replanted. Basil is a Summer annual and should be picked before the cold weather, to be dried or frozen for a taste of Summer in Winter cooking.
Cheers, Linda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *