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Lavender

The Lavandula [labiatae/ lamiaceae]

A genus of about 25 species, this fragrant beauty is an absolute must in any garden. Particularly high in nectar and therefore extremely attractive to bees, the answer from a domestic point of view is to be careful where exactly they are planted. A case of beneficial versus pest, possibly?

Often used in rockeries, as low hedges, in herb gardens, en mass planting or as a border plant… they really are [once again] a must have/ no garden should be without plant.

My main note of advice if choosing to plant lavenders is that they are cut back every season. The problem is that when they aren’t, they do go leggy, the flowers and foliage only appearing on the lasts couple of inches of the stem and the lower [soft] wood becomes almost like a moist cardboard. This leaves them very prone to a soft woody fragile rotting at the base which breaks then quite easily….  which is great for garden centres and people like me…. but not for you 😉

To cut yours back, use a good, clean sharp secateurs. Grab a good tuft of the plant and cut straight across. In a two year old plant for example this will remove the most recent seasons growth.

Of course this all depends on the variety and the varying external conditions. But as a general rule cutting a plant back to half height is no harm. When you’re done give it a good ruffle. Trim up the loose ends and clean around the base of the plant.

However you chose to do it…. even though it might look like a sheep shearer just gave you a bad haircut [at the time] but it is well worth it in the long run 🙂

If you are thinking of cropping the flowers for pot pourri, do so before they open fully.

November In The Garden

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It is that time of year… some say it’s bloody depressing. But I like it. I don’t know why particularly… maybe it’s that I get home [a little] earlier… maybe it’s that I get to burn the timber that I have mamaged to amalgamate over the last eight months or so… I don’t know. 😉

To the garden… mine and yours, this is probably the most important month/ season, for me, in the entire calender. It is what I do here that will pay most dividends come next season. So once again, this is what will I be doing in my garden this month and what I recommend you do in yours…

new plant trees trees ireland trees dublin

Top of my list is my trees. I’m now in a position where they can be cut back without all of that foliage in the way and so some crown raising will take place [removing of the lower branches…]. I’ve also got a batch that served a purpose until the others surrounding them matured and so I’ve got to move some and relocate others… if I don’t do it this year I am literally up the creek and next year it will become an impossible task. Stakes and straps at the ready….

berry fruits birds fruit cotoneaster-1

With the trees in mind and leave fall in place… it is time once again for the bird feeders to go back out. That and I need to get some other types of berrying plants into the garden to help those birds who don’t go to sunnier spots for their winter hols. Looks like a trip to farm supplies shop is looming….. or do I still have some in the shed…

In other news…. 😯 The apples on my trees had started to drop. It is at this point that the apples are about as ready as you will get…. I’ve picked them all now – except for the smaller fruits [about the size of a plum as they won’t taste so good – best leave them to nature]. Once again when the leaves fall off some select pruning will be required, removing dead and diseased wood and then the branches that over cross each other. If you planted yours in the last two years  make sure the straps and buckles aren’t too tight.

winter-colour colourful pots cyclamen 

If you are looking for some instant colour you’ll find there’s tonnes of it to be found – don’t those pots just cheer you right up 🙂 Some instant colour – from the plant department can however be bought in the form of ornamental cabbages and cyclamens. Add them to existing beds that need a little sprucing or redo those hanging baskets you took down last month…. g’wan you deserve to treat yourself!!

hedges lavender creative

Outside of that you [and I] still have to get those hedges cut… the plants still need to be trimmed back… and with that done… the mulch has to go down. This will leave the garden pretty much with its groove back on so it doesn’t look like a brand spanking new hair cut… more a well maintained garden, come Nanny & Poppa calling around for turkey and mulled wine for the celebrations December 25th 😉

Finally, trees and bulbs!! and finally [finally 😆 ]… herbs. Crop them and what you can’t dry store… pop them in ice cube trays… pour water on top and freeze. You’ll need them for cooking that big bird in a months time and believe me there once you move from dry herbs to fresh…. you’ll never go back. 

Have I forgotten anything…. leave me a note and I’ll add it to the list.

Enjoy!

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october in the garden…

The Sepember in the garden post seemed to go down quite well so… here’s your monthly bit for October. And a little music to read with…

Now that your bedding plants have just about gone to pot and the garden [in some cases] maybe lacking a little inspiration… it’s time to take down those hanging baskets and planters, identify those blank spots in your beds and get the place spruced up. 😉 Believe me you’ll thank me for it.
garden-colour-small colourful-plants-small spring bulbs

While you’re there… don’t forget spring bulbs are on sale now. If you want some spring inspiration year after year… this is a ‘right now’ must do. Chose not to do so in advance and what one finds is that the left over bulbs are planted in pretty pots and come January, sold with a big bow wrapped around it… and a price tag to match.

removing a lawnmower blade lawnmower-blades-sharpen lawnmower-blades-sharpen-angle grinder

Next up… the evenings are getting that little bit darker so I’ve decided I’m gonna get started on some early winter chores. I’ve started with the lawnmowers. The problem has been that even when the sun did shine, the grass was still wet and the blades took the odd bit of hammering. I’ve got all the undersides cleaned out and out with the angle grinder to give the blades a bit of a sharpen. Apart from that usual service rules apply, but nothing a good drop of oil can’t solve. If you’re not into that, book it in for its annual service… before everyone else does that is!

muddy-grass weeds weed-control

From a weed control point of view… once again the weather has played absolute havoc. Assuming you have a couple of hours dryness, the grass/ weeds are dry and you use a translocated spray…. whilst teperatures are around the 12-14 degrees celcius, I’d make sure  you get the place tidy[er] for this coming winter a little sooner.

lettuce-plants lettuce greenhouse

The lettuce crops are still trying to bolt into seed. I’m still fighting it… nature will eventually take over. That said I’ve not been as reliable on my sorrell plants and as a result their green leaves will carry me easily through December. Next after that is a good tidy up of the greenhouse. I need to get ready for some spring crops….

garden-furniture sale barbeque wild-berries

If you fancy building your own BBQ check out this post. Other than that… a good clean up of the entire set is necessary and store it away until next year.Yes that’s right wash it… not leave it out to rust like you did last year 🙄

Don’t forget your wild berries. Just because they’re not in a plastic container… they’re exactly the same thing. Go pick. Make jam. Bake cakes. Free food season is on. Before the birds get it.

Passing through some garden centres recently, Now is the best time to buy your garden furniture, benches and tables for next year. It is the end of the season and some ranges – If you want to get some kind of garden together for next year and need those few bits. Take my advice – the real bargains are on now

beaujolais-nouveau

and enjoy

For the moment there’s not a whole lot else – but in garden terms always remeber that preparation is everything and forgetting this month may leave you in mild despair for next year.

With all that hard work done… 😆 You’ve a great excuse now with the evenings closing in – go ahead grab yourself a glass of wine, sit back and relax.

As I said last month… if you see something thats not here – just leave a comment – I’ll know the next time ;) I also dropped in a little music from Paulo Nutini, because I find I can read better with music when the article is a little longer. Personally, I dislike the ever copy and pasted 5 pointer one liners that reappear in the usual gardening columns so I’ve tried to make this a little different[ish]. I just hope you enjoyed it.

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powdery mildew

powdery-mildew

powdery mildew

I noticed this white almost chalk like residue on my corkscew hazel the other day.

It is powdery mildew.

Caused by a variety of fungi  including Oidium, Uncinula & Sphaerotheca; the powdery chalk like residue sits on and clings to the top of the leaf.

It’s sister downey mildew clings to the underside of the leaf and is damp and fluffy to feel… So as not to confuse the 2, remember: powders could not sit on an underside [as simple as that sounds – to the non horticultural C.S.I. diagnostics team it is very important 😉 ].

Back to it…. One must remember that this is a fungal problem. And spores are spread by wind, rain or even plants rubbing together. Powdery mildew likes a dry site and fungi usually grow in areas where it has little chance of being disturbed. So, whilst it can be sprayed/ treated chemically… this will solve the immediate problem but, the chances are the disease will return as the conditions/ environment have not changed. My methodology is to remove all of the diseased material; then wait if possible ’til the off season and move the plant to less enclosed spot.

The reality is, one should also remember that this is not a bacterial disease of the plant so whilst photosynthesis is affected; and therefore fruit/ seed production – the disease is not as such detrimental to the plant.

Chemcal treatment is usually done via the use of a translocated/ systemic insecticide and fungicide mixed as most insects are disease vectors. Make sure [please] you have a seperate applicated sprayer to the one used for herbicide 😉 That said, I prefer working with nature where possible and would always first recommend the biological control first.

While I’m here… if you are spraying it can leave a white residue…. don’t confuse the two 🙂

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the NMTT gardeners family weekend line up

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