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Blog posts tagged with 'dead heading'


Seeing as we are now, annually speaking, over the hill - having witnessed last week the `Mid-Summer` solstice- I am sure you are wondering what is left to do in the garden whilst we await patiently for the first signs of Autumn and the inevitable Christmas adverts on TV?

Well, there is a lot.

Despite the fact that somewhere our societal calendar has stepped away from tradition and now follows the schools, the garden believe it or not has much to offer.

Your lawns, I am sure could do with a good feed, but instead of running out to the shops and buying some ecologically damaging chemical or other, try a light dressing of something called 7X. If you are not sure what I am talking about, it is a bag of well rotted manure-cum-compost (not an Australian beer), available at the garden centre, high in the vital nutrient nitrogen and perfect for summer feed. It doesn`t smell either and can be walked on immediately unlike the chemicals.

Also, as I am sure the lawn has already seen a fair amount of use, despite the mixed weather, it may be an idea to spike your lawn, offering the roots some air and reducing compaction damage. This can be done with a fork.

Another job for the diligent is the dead-heading of flowering shrubs and roses. Whilst you may extend the flowering season, you are also helping the plant divert its resources from producing off-spring to the vital role of keeping itself healthy.

Indeed, as shrubs finish flowering, it is a good idea to prune them to shape, or perhaps a little harder in order that they still have a chance to grow back into shape and to grow the buds for next year’s flower. Plants like Kolkwitzia, Philadelphus and Deutzia appreciate this treatment more than a general tidy at the end of this year’s play. In fact, it is directly after flowering that these shrubs do well to have the old wood cut out entirely - letting in more air and light and ultimately producing a better plant.

Another great job for the meticulous is weeding. Many see the task as a frustrating chore, to be bemoaned and avoided, but I myself find the exercise very Zen if that is possible for Englishman. I can let my thoughts wander to ideas of what it is to be a seedling or perhaps an ant, whilst the majority of my frontal lobe is in a well-trained auto-pilot discerning unintentional from the intentional. If during this experience, my mind goes blank, even momentarily, I have become one with the garden and Nirvana reached.

Or that`s what I`m told.

Time for a cuppa I think.


September Garden Round-up

There’s a lot to do this month in the garden. Take cuttings of your favourite plants and share and swap with friends. It is time to cut hedges. If you do this now for conifer hedges, hornbeam and beech, yew and leylandii, you won’t need to do it again this year.

This month is time for sowing hardy annuals in the garden where they will germinate and overwinter as small plants that will bloom next year. Annual sown in the Autumn are always stronger and flower better than those in spring.  Order your bulbs this month. Enjoy an evening looking through the catalogues and get your order in.

Summer flowering heathers are at their peak now and you can take cuttings. Take small, unflowering sideshoots and trim to 3-4cm long and put them in a gritty compost.
Prune ornamental or fruiting cherries and plums that are getting out of hand.

If you have picked all your summer raspberries, then you can cut down the fruited canes now. Collect herbs so that you have a supply in the winter. Dry herbs in bunches, chop them and mix them with butter and freeze them or pack them into ice cube trays with water and add an ice cube to winter soups. Collect seeds on dry days to avoid them going mouldy. Collects seeds from poppies, columbines and fox gloves.

This month is the time to start preparing your gifts for Christmas. If you plant your hyacinth, narcissi and amaryllis bulbs they will flower in December and make great looking gifts. If you time it right they will just start to open up and begin releasing their fragrant perfume in time for Christmas day. Don’t forget your dead heading and weeding duties this month too!

-- Rob Amey