As I write this issue, the weather has changed from being very dry and Mediterranean like, to windy and wet. We had such a good spell that some plants thrived and others did not fare so well.
Many people will be delighted with the moisture as they had appplied lawn feed and weed mixtures on their lawns and fed their shrubs with some form of granular fertiliser. It is very important that these get moisture within two to three days of application.
Having fed your lawn, you will now be mowing at least once a week. Never cut too low and always use a grass box to collect grass clippings. You should also watch all newly planted trees and shrubs carefully for signs of water shortage. Keep an eye for pests, especially greenfly and red spider mite. Spray these with any insecticide. Lupins in a lot of gardens are already covered with greenfly (aphids).
In the vegetable garden you can be busy now. You should be moulding up your spuds to prevent frost damage. You can sow broccoli, cauliflower, summer cabbage such as hisp and greyhound, brussel sprouts, spinach, scallions, beetroot, courgettes, carrots, parsnips, etc. Most of these are available in trays or containers, making it easier to plant. There are also a number of types of lettuce such as butterhead, iceberg and rosso. In the fruit garden keep an eye out for fungal diseases on blackcurrants and gooseberries; spray these with any fungicide such as Benlate, Captan or Nimrod T. Also spray apple trees with any insecticide against the fruit burrowing codling moth.
If you have a glass-house or greenhouse, you can plant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, aubergines at the moment. If you wish to plant them outdoors you will have to wait until later on.
Pruning: You can prune any spring flowering shrubs now as they go out of flower.
Bedding plants have been in huge demand with the fine weather, but you must be careful as we could still get heavy frosts. If frost is threatened, cover them over well or bring them in. Only buy plants that have been hardened off to the weather.
Bedding plants can be planted in a number of ways. If you had a circular bed or rectangular bed you have the taller varities towards the centre and work out. For example, you could have antirrhinums in the centre, fibrous begonias in the next group and edge it all around with something like the white allysum or blue ageratums. Some people will go for a contrasting scheme such as blue ageratums in one group and yellow marigolds as a contrast in another group. Another mix like this would be the grey cineraria in a centre piece surrounded by the red salvias. Other people tend to go for a rainbow type scheme. This is a patchwork of a number of colours. For example say a window box with red geraniums for height, mixed coloured petunias to fill it up or busy lizzzies and the yellow bidens with the mixed lobelia trailing over the edge. When matching and mixing colours work to either of these schemes. The best buys in my view are geraniums, busy lizzies, fibrous begonias. This give great displays of colour in a bed or window box or hanging basket. They are the plants that are picked out by customers in window boxes and hanging baskets.
For those with a p6roblem with shade, say a north facing front or back wall, plants such as fuschias and busy lizzies will do well in this situation. Anyone who wishes to cut them for indoors or for drying for arrangements, varities that are good are scabiosa, sweet pea, asters, helichrysum, etc.
For hanging baskets and window boxes, plants I would recommend are any of the surinia petunias of which there are 10 varities this year, helichrysums, which are either a grey or golden or variegated foliage plant which can hang 2 ft. out of baskets, trailing fuschias, ivy leaved geraniums, nepeta, trailing lobelia, yellow bidens, brachyombe and felicia both purpley blue colour with a yellow eye.
Sometimes a basket can look as good with only one variety of plant or one colour in it, for example all pink or purple surfinia petunias. Whatever way you go about it, bedding plants if looked after will give a great show of colour and great enjoyment.
That’s it for now, happy gardening,
Bosco McDermott, Jnr.
Glynn’s Garden Centre, Lydican.