I DO enjoy the seasons that we have in this part of the world with its distinct climatic conditions and, always look forward to what the next few months bring. It might sound odd but I usually have had enough of the current season when it conveniently ends and that has been the pattern for as long as I can remember.
Our memories are not that good, no matter what you think, and things slip into the background within a short time, so when it comes to reassessing your needs within the garden and open space you need to makes notes on what is going on inside your head. Reviewing can be difficult as very often you get used to your surroundings and accept them as being just right. It might take a stranger or outsider to show you some small adjustments, which can be made to improve your space.
Gardeners who grow a significant amount of their own vegetables and fruit are a breed apart. They are usually more focused on the job in hand as if they slip up and lose time, they might miss the boat and some crops would not reach maturity. Their yearly cycle is fairly rigid and the programme starts with ground preparation, incorporating composts and manures for future crops. Thereafter there is a starting time for sowing, planting out, after care and harvesting, of which, remaining crops are now being dealt with before the cold weather sets in.
Regular readers will know we operate on a ‘live and let live’ basis as far as pests go, and leave them alone if they do not bother us. We use preventative measures on all our susceptible plants to discourage them in the first place and if some pests have a bite out of a few leaves or flowers we just leave them alone. This year there has been an explosion of wasps and numerous nests were found near the house, where they were disturbed by our dog which made them mad and they badly stung a few people so we had to get the ‘Ghost Busters’, I mean ‘Pest busters’ within our family to help move them on, which took a few late nights to do when the wasps were asleep.
Summer flowering containers continue to fade one by one and they will not recover so there is no point in keeping them. Use the compost again for replanting, putting the empty containers into storage until needed again next spring. Just keep a few out and fill with a variety of winter flowering and foliage plants, including some small spring flowering bulbs, violas, primroses, cyclamen and coloured heathers.
Trimming and pruning appears to be a continuous operation in the garden and, at this time of year, the last cutting of the hedges should be completed. Any elongated growth on general plants can be reduced back into manageable shapes, which will also reduce any wind damage during the winter. We gradually reduce our bush roses down to around 60cm (2’) by cutting any longer stems, which have no flower buds, and enjoy those that have until by late autumn all the bushes will have been pruned.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Bulbs arrive in garden shops in dribs and drabs until the end of September when the complete range should be available. It might sound odd but we still plant some bulbs every year as there is always somewhere to place them. If you have fruit and vegetables, do continue to harvest and use the perishable ones first as within a few weeks the cold weather will stop all growth. If you have any queries or comments you are welcome to share them with me on 051-384273 or [email protected] and if of general interest I will include it in a future article.