to get such perfect weather the weekend before Anzac day – in my mind that is Autumn and we have seen very little of it so far…
Still knee deep in leaves here, but beginning to see more light through trees – and what gentle exercise on a lovely day the raking of leaves is …
Dahlias are still putting out flowers, -keep dead-heading until the frost cuts them down. Tulips can go in now. Plant no less than 20cm deep, which keeps them cool. They take longer than other bulbs to make an appearance through the dirt, so early deep planting is best. Tulips do not need feed – they store food in the bulb for the next flowering season. If you load them up with fertiliser or manure, they tend to put all into the leaf – not the flower.
Keep taking Rose cuttings. Choose a straight stem and cut off about 12 inches from the top just below a leaf node. Pull off the leaves along the stem – two half leaves can be left at the top. Soaking in Willow water for a couple of weeks is said to introduce hormone for rooting into the cuttings, but the use of rooting hormone powders / gels on cuttings before planting, will help them to take root. Dig a spade into damp ground, make a slit in the soil and bury cuttings about six inches down into this wedge and firm the soil around cuttings. Name and water and they will make roots in the Spring. When you see they are growing on their own roots, uproot them carefully and plant into pots to grow them on. You can use this method for many Shrubs, like Ceonothus, Geraniums, Potentilla, Euonymous, Hebes, Weigela, purple Sage, and Hydrangea. Just make sure you pick a healthy firm stem. The use of rooting hormone powders / gels on cuttings before planting will help them to take root. Ericas – Autumn is when they bud up to start flowering in Winter. If cut back after flowering, they should have gone through the Summer looking fresh and green and should now be well in bud. Ericas and Callunas are wonderful ground covers and look good growing down retaining walls. Also upright varieties. They come in white and many shades of pink. Ericas need full sun and good drainage to look their best – are frost hardy and their colour intensifies the colder it is. They look great planted in drifts of 3 or 5 together to give maximum impact and are being offered for sale right now in Garden Centres.
Lawns are still putting on lush growth after all the rain. Lime and Gypsum as well as a dressing of fine compost can be spread on lawns now – Lime to sweeten, Compost to add humus and Gypsum to soften hard compacted ground which has a lot of clay content. After two or three years in a row of applying Gypsum at this time of the year, there will be no more cracks appearing in lawns during dry spells.
Vegetables: Keep planting Broccoli, Bok Choi, Broad Bean, Cauliflower, Kale, Onion, Parsley – Parsley while the ground is still warm, but cover small seedlings from birds. Fill all vacant ground with a green crop, Mustard, Blue Lupin, Wheat, Barley or Oats, to be dug in when still soft to add humus to tired soil. Pop out and see our Autumn garden – Rockvale gardens, Weston – open daily.
Reminder about our fundraiser for little Charlee McLachlan: A Ladies afternoon in the Garden Sunday 7th May, Entertainment, afternoon tea, stalls and raffles plus more.Tickets at Music on Thames.