Ideas About Autumn Gardening

Fall gardening and what you can plant depends on the climate zone you are in. One quick way to find out what is best suited for your region is to simply go to your nursery and ask them and see what they have for sale at that time of the year.

Your local nursery man should be keen to share with you his experience and knowledge for successful planting at this time of year.

His/her experience will take into account the effects of weather not just on the plants that you may choose, but also on the soil as this can be affected by a lack of rain, too much rain or freezing conditions and so on.

While it is important to mulch in all regions it is especially beneficial where the ground will be covered with snow and ice.

This will help ameliorate the effects of freezing cold conditions and protect the roots of your plants. The mulch needs to be at least 4 inches thick.

If you have fruit trees such as peaches, pears, apples or plums, spray now with dormant oils to reduce insect problems later in the year.

However, wait to prune fruit trees and great until later in the winter, after the worst cold has passed.

Treat your peaches and nectarines before early March with a lime-sulphur (Bordeaux mixture) to prevent peach leaf curl.

Remember, keep turning your compost pile periodically.

BUYING ONLINE
It pays to forward plan so don’t just look at all the catalogues from the various nurseries that you subscribe to.

Get your orders in so that you won’t miss out when spring arrives next year. Just make sure that when you order, carefully look for things that do well in your climate region.

If you live in a temperate zone, often what you can plant for spring color can also be planted in autumn. Bulb varieties such as hyacinths and tulips will need about six weeks in your fridge before planting in the winter.cottage flowers for spring

Cottage flowers such as lobelia, pansies and violas can give you wonderful winter colour as the autumn soil should be still warm enough for them to get well established and be strong for winter cold.

If you are planting seeds then you will need to plant them deeper than you would in spring to protect them from the cold.

ROSES
I live in a temperate zone – so I can get another crop of roses before winter when I prune in Autumn – so give it a try!

More on cottage flowers on this page Cottage Gardens

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Autumn Gardening Tips In Northern Hemisphere

Autumn is a good time to rejuvenate your garden or the coming season and also for next spring although it is six months away.

Trying some of the following tips will help keep your garden flourishing.

If you have plants that you love and want more of them Autumn is a good time to take 10cm ( 4 inches) cuttings from hardwood herbs such as Rosemary and Bay.  Remove the lower leaves, dip the cuttings into hormone powder and pot in small containers of a premium potting mix.

Just keep moist and sheltered from strong wind in the Sun.

Trim hedges before the onset of winter to keep them compact and bushy from ground level.

Check your lawn make sure any weeds you sprayed last month are dying. Repeat the treatment if necessary. Aerate the lawn with a garden fork and scatter lime lightly over it.

This will sweeten the soil after many years of lawn food application. Rejuvenating tired lawns with a feeding get them ready for the onset of cool winter weather.

Fall is a great time to start your compost pile using the organic matter that is so abundant at this time of the year.

Throughout autumn gather your fallen leaves, grass clippings, plus kitchen scraps and shredded prunings and layer them in your compost bin.

Composting Bin

Composting Bin

Don’t forget to turn them periodically with your garden fork to allow air to circulate and feed the organisms which break down that material.

Make sure your compost is a mixture of green and brown material not just the one ingredient.

Earthworms as you would know are a sign that your soil is fertile. When you add organic matter such as leaves and cow manure to your garden soil, you will attract earthworms, so there should not be any need to add more worms.  Worms will add nutrients from their castings, and make tunnels.

Try not to dig over the soil beneath your large trees; because you may damage roots near the surface.

Keep an eye out for the next Blog on Fall Gardening

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Gardenias and Tree Gardenias

Yes, I too thought they were the same thing: gardenias and tree gardenias. But, they apparently are not.

Taxonomists often seem to rename plants needlessly, however, there is usually a good reason although often unknown to the average gardener. This means that the common name of many plants no longer relate to their botanic name.

A classic example of this is Rothmannia globosa (September bells). It was previously classified as a gardenia and therefore its name tree gardenia made perfect sense.

To add to the confusion in some countries there is also another gardenia that is called the tree gardenia. But let’s ignore that.

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Rothmannia globosa or the tree gardenia is a sensational plant. Many of us are used to rothmaniagardenia grandiflora and the Rothmannia is similar but on steroids. It can be quite sensational in any garden.

It is a small tree or large shrub that will grow to between 2m and 4m high and is quite narrow being about 1.5m wide.

The highlight of the Rothmannia is no doubt the flowers, with a gentle soft scent that is, of course, reminiscent of the gardenia genus that they once belonged.

Flowering can be very heavy, indeed smothering the plant and providing a fantastic show or display of the normally pure white blooms.

They are not especially fussy about soil and they can grow well in clay gravel and sand though as usual the better condition the soil the healthier the plant.

If you live in a coastal area they may be better suited to container a growing. They are tropical in origin and their preference is for a warm sunny aspect and they do like to be kept moist during the warmer months. Once established, they are quite drought hardy.

Scale can be an occasional problem but other pests and diseases are rare.
Using a good quality, well balanced general fertiliser will encourage strong, healthy new growth.

These are not widely grown, yet they are hardy, adaptable, versatile and easy to grow and propagate. Ask your nursery if they can obtain any.

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Gardening In Shade And Shadow

There are many plants that allow for gardening in shade and shadow with great success.

They are great solutions for gardens or yards that are overshadowed by large trees or smaller courtyard gardens that are shaded by the house or surrounding walls.

There is an excellent range of perennials and cottage garden flowers that will thrive in lawndappled light and even full shade.

In fact, these plants are ideal also in yards or gardens that are subject to high heat in summer but have shade or filtered light in the afternoons.

Don’t forget all plants including annuals and perennials thrive better in good rich friable soil that is also well mulched and has a balanced pH.

Additionally, if you are planting under trees remember that the tree will also be competing for moisture and nutrients. So supplemental watering and feeding on a regular basis will help keep your perennials and annuals thriving despite the competition from larger plantings.

I successfully grow Camellia japonicas and azaleas in full shade as well as dappled light. Azaleas with red flowers can also survive in full sun but will need careful watering in high heat. Camellia Sasanqua will grow in both light and shade.

Plant Suggestions For Shade And Dappled Light

Azaleas, rhododendrons, daphnes, camellias, fuchsias, abutilons (chinese lanterns), primroses, gloxinias and hydrangeas all thrive in these conditions.

Annuals such as begonias, lobelias, primulas, impatiens, violas and pansies all love dappled light or shade in the afternoons. gardenpix08

Even petunias and vincas can thrive in dappled light although they are probably best displayed where they can get at least morning light. I have also grown salvias in dappled light.

Don’t forget lilies – they can survive high heat with good mulching and water but they are often best displayed in dappled light.

If you have a garden that can deliver 4 to 5 hours of morning sun you can even grow roses where shade or dappled light predominates in the afternoon. Normally, of course, roses do better with more sun.

However, if you love roses but have a shaded garden with that amount of morning light you can have reasonably good success. With roses you, of course, get perfume which is a great thing to have in a garden, especially one that is a courtyard garden.

Other perennials that offer colour and fragrance: gardenias, abelias, boronias, daphnes and luculias.

Another plant that loves dappled light and shade is the fern. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Two pages that are companion’s to this article are The Fragrant Garden and Cottage Gardens

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The Best Cottage Garden Flowers To Plant

Really, the best cottage garden flowers to plant are your favourites.

While some may disagree, I think that a profusion of a variety of cottage flowers enhances the look of any garden bed and brightens up the yard.campanula cottage flowers

Although August is the last month of summer in the northern hemisphere cottage flowers can still be planted despite the heat. It is a matter of choosing plants that thrive in heat or those that can be planted in dappled shade.

In the areas that have mild climates, especially winters, you can probably replant those that you had in your garden last spring. Gardens awash with autumn colour can delight the eye and be a pleasure to watch grow.

In the southern hemisphere, spring is not too far away and so all the delights of full range of cottage flowers are at your disposal for scattering around your garden beds or planting in clumps and borders.

Cottage garden flowers can be chosen based on colour, the shape of the flowers, the foliage and its colour and perfume.

For winter, I plant lobelias, primulas, pansies and violas. The lobelias can be used for edging next to the pathways or garden beds, pansies and violas I planned in and between my perennials or simply clump in the middle of a garden bed.

This is also the time to plant your favourite bulbs of daffodils, jonquils, tulips, hyacinths, fresias and crocus to herald the coming spring.

I keep these going in spring and add in phlox, nemesias, begonias, cosmos and dwarf snapdragons.. By this time too, my winter plantings of stocks, foxgloves, hollyhocks, delphiniums and larkspurs have become well established ready to bloom in the last part of the first month of spring. The last three of course are tall growing so they are best placed at the rear of a garden bed so they don’t hide any smaller cottage flowers you have planted.delphiniums

I think foxgloves and hollyhocks, although possibly considered old-fashioned, are a spectacular addition to any garden. They also survive fairly hot conditions as well.

Hollyhocks and foxgloves can also be placed randomly amongst lower growing perennials such as azaleas.

If you plant gladioli in early spring consider staggering their planting times. For example plants some beginning of spring, some three weeks later and some a further three weeks on. This way you will have gladioli displaying beautiful flowers for cutting for a longer period of time. These take about three months from bulb planting to blooming.

The planting time and location of the above does depend on your climate. I live in a climate mild winters and hot summers. In the heat of summer I usually only have petunias as they survive heat and dry quite well and if necessary can be cut back to read bloom.

If you have mild summers, such as in the UK, then your spring cottage flowers can often be grow throughout summer.

You will find more information and suggestions on this page of the website

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Do You Love Weeds In Your Garden

It’s amazing isn’t it, no matter what you do, or how hot it gets, weeds will always survive better than your plants and veggies.

Most of us prefer not to use chemical control on weeds.

I never dig over my garden or veggie patch because I use a thick layer of mulch to control weeds. As this mulch, and my composting, breaks down it keeps the soil friable and thus lessens any need to dig over the garden.

One exception to this is when I am building a new bed or renewing a bed that I have let go fallow. Then I do dig over, not so much for weed control, but rather to dig in any manure I may put down so that it breaks down in time for my planting.

Some weeds such as oxalis a really hard to get rid of. Sometimes we can only control their spread. With weeds such as oxalis you have to dig up the ball underneath the soil. Just pulling at their foliage will only give you a minimum control and the lovely things will spring up again.

If you need to use some sort of spray to control weed spread, such as in your lawn, then first of all try to find an effective organic weedkiller.

One of the things that you could consider is that gardening should be a joy and not all out chore. So perhaps some benign neglect about removing weeds from amongst your flowers and veg is not such a bad idea. Mind you, the weeds will also use up your water and fertiliser and thus compete with your veg and flowers.

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Early Morning Gardening Chores

Even if you are not an early riser, in the height of summer, some chores are best done early in the morning as the sun rises.

Obviously, you are able to avoid the heat of summer when working in your garden.

More importantly, some of your gardening is better done in the wee hours. For example, if you wish to pick roses for the house then they are best picked as early as possible and then way they will retain their colour better as well as their fragrance.

Early morning, is also the best time to make best use of watering when evaporation is less than during the heat of the day. This is especially helpful in your veggie patch so that your tomatoes, peppers and eggplants will have enough moisture to survive the heat and sweet fruit.

With pruning, it is best not to hard prune. This applies to any of your plants, though roses can survive a medium hard prune. Most shrubs that flower in the spring can be pruned in the summer, after they have bloomed. But be careful not to prune them too late.

In Midsummer, to avoid the risk of silver leaf disease and canker, prune back your plum trees. These diseases gain entry through worms when the tree is dormant, so with plums, don’t do more than the usual winter tree pruning. Keep pinching out unwonted shoots during the growing season.

Check your herbs, they may need a haircut and benefit from a medium to hard prune back. Herbs such as thyme, which love the summer heat but can get a bit frazzled, benefit from a good cutback and a thorough watering. Also prune your herbs if they are starting to flower so that they will continue to produce the parts you want for your kitchen.

If I have been cutting back or pruning both shrubs and annuals, such as petunias, I prefer to do it in the early morning and then give the plants a good watering.

If your area is undergoing a period of drought, don’t be tempted to water established lawns too much. This will only encourage root growth nearer the surface, making the grass more vulnerable in future dry spells. The roots should be growing deeper into the soil in search of water. This really applies to all your plants.

In regards to watering, you will conserve water better and keep the soil moist if you have a good layer of mulch spread around your garden beds, both the veggie patch and the ornamental garden beds.

Remember water is one of our most precious resources, and whatever you can do to conserve your water use assists sustainability and helps keep your water bills down.

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Garden Pest Control

NEMATODES

Nematodes can be a real nuisance for the vegetable garden especially. They are microscopic wormlike creature that works its way into the roots of plants, causing them to swell and distort which eventually leads to the death of the plant.

They are especially fond of tomatoes and if your soil rife with nematodes you often will not get any tomatoes.

One garden writer that I saw said he sowed the whole of his vegetable garden with French marigolds. He then dug them in, they rotted and it worked – and the nematodes were controlled. The main problem being though that he lost the whole seasons worth of crops.

One alternative that can be tried with marigolds is to plant them amongst the crops. I think this will depend on the type of marigold as some of the newer forms do not act as deterrents to pests and nematodes. Where I live, it is not possible to tell what marigolds are what or where they are from. So going by the garden writers use of French marigolds I suspect they are the ones to plant if you can find any.

I have read also that Mexican marigolds are said to offend a host of destructive insects and wild rabbits as well.

They must be the scented type of marigolds if you are to plant them and use them as a repellent. One side-effect of marigolds I have noticed is that they do attract snails though and possibly spiders.

Here is a list of some plants that can be companion planted to help repel pests.

SUNFLOWERS – these can draw aphids away from other plants. Sunflowers are tough enough that they suffered no damage.

NASTURTIUMS – these can be planted with your tomatoes and cucumbers as a way to fight off woolly aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. The flowers, especially the yellow blooming variety, act as a trap for aphids. Of course, as you know, the flowers can also be eaten.

GARLIC – apart from being a great addition to any cooking and general health benefits especially to fight colds, garlic planted near roses repels aphids. It also helps to deter codling moth, Japanese beetles, root maggots, snails and carrot root fly.

DAHLIAS – these old-fashioned favourite cottage flowers repel nematodes and the blooms are great or adding bold splashes of color.

DILL – these are best planted with cucumbers and onions. Dill repels aphids and spider mites. Dill leaves sprinkled on your squash plants will help repel squash bugs. Tomato hornworms are attracted to deal so if you place it at a distance away from your tomato plants it will help draw destructive insects away.

CHIVES – not only a great herb for cooking planted they can repel Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies.

CHRYSANTHEMUMS – you can make an organic insecticide from these flowers called pyrethrum. Sprayed on your plants helps control things like roaches,  silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, and also to control ants in your garden.

There are many more plants that are claimed to help control pests and diseases in your garden. There may be some doubts as to their effectiveness, but if nothing else they will add some color and possibly herbs for your cooking if nothing else.

See this list from Wikipedia for a comprehensive list of companion plants – click here

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How To Grow Sweet Oranges

We all love sweet oranges and mandarins For their taste as well as for their rich taste and vitamin C content. However, it is often a disappointment to discover that our beautiful orange tree growing in our backyard produces only sour or how to get sweeter orangeshalf sweetened fruit.

One of the reasons that orange trees fail either to bloom or grow sweet oranges is due to a lack sun and nutrition. There are certain steps you can do to encourage your orange tree to produce sweeter juicier fruits.

Orange trees do need least eight hours of sun each day otherwise they will fail to bloom or only bloom sparsely. Orange trees need high heat to form the natural sugars that make oranges taste sweet.

This is especially true for navel oranges, while Valencia oranges have lower heat requirements and may be better suited to your area.

The ideal would be to have one of each as they fruit at different times of year.

SOME STEPS TO TAKE

  • 1.       Thin out some of the branches so that more of the foliage can receive the sunlight.
  • 2.       Increase the nutrition by amending the soil with a mix of quick draining mulch and organic compost.
  • 3.       Add a dose of citrus specific fertiliser to your orange tree’s soil in early spring to promote growth and blooming.

4.       Orange trees like lots of water so douse with 2 to 3 inches of water a week. Increase this watering when the tree begins blooming and bearing fruit, as water at that time will encourage bigger, juicier oranges.

5.   At the start of the fruiting period to encourage better fruiting and ripening, fertilisewith  citrus specific or phosphorus and potassium fertiliser. Orange trees require additional resources to bear fruit and will bear those larger, sweeter fruit you desire if the right nutrition is available to them.

6.       By using citrus specific fertiliser you can be assured that your tree is getting the correct balance of proper nutrients, which include trace minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese and a few others.

You can also apply potassium sulphate in a foliar spray just before flowering and once again after the flowers turn to fruit buds.

Try also to ensure that the surrounding areas of the trunk are clear of other plantings which could compete for the nutrition that the tree requires.

Some orange trees are self-infertile, meaning that their flowers will not pollinate other flowers on the tree. If your tree is not bearing any fruit at all, you may need to plan second orange tree as a pollinator, to fertilise the flowers and produce fruit.

The above steps also apply to mandarins, lemons, limes and other citrus fruits. Of course, the lemons and limes will not become sweet like an orange but they will become juicier and larger.

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Are You Caring For Your Roses

With a little effort in their care roses will always reward you with beautiful blooms and healthy growth. 

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE –  JUNErose

In moderate climate areas your roses should be well on their way to a full spring blooming. If you are having a late winter or live in the colder area, roses will be a little bit further behind.

If you haven’t already done it, put your compost and mulch around your rose bushes to create healthier soil and conserve moisture. This of course, will also help keep weeds suppressed.

Fertilising your roses as they come into bud will help keep them healthy by boosting their immune system for natural control of pests and diseases.

When you prune the spring growth after flowering, fertilise again and your roses will produce a new crop of beautiful blooms.

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE – JUNE

By this time of the year your roses should start to show signs of getting ready to go dormant.rosepruned13a

As the foliage drops make sure you clear it up especially if it has black spot, and put this foliage into the trash bin.

In mid to late July you can begin the winter prune. See this page on my website here for more details about pruning.

FREE PRUNING APP

You’ll also note on that page there is an app available if you have an android phone. The app is free.

The dormancy period is good for roses as it gives them a chance to rest. However, in some parts of your country the climate may be so mild in winter that the roses will not go into full dormancy. An example of this is in Perth Western Australia. If your country or area is on the same latitude you may very well have the same conditions for your roses.

Nothing can be done about this of course as you cannot force roses to go into dormancy when the climate and soil warm simply encourages them to keep on growing.

Despite a lack of dormancy, treat the roses as if they were dormant and don’t fertilise them until spring. If they are new roses, e.g., one year old in your garden, don’t prune them at all. I would recommend however, that you cut off any developing buds so that the growth is in the root system more than on the top of the plant. A strong root system will mean a stronger and healthier above ground plant.

More FREE Gardening Apps

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