Extending the season

I was about to empty my hanging baskets with a view to planting for the winter when I realised how well they are looking. Although the Fuchsias have given up (they were never really good – probably due a shortage of water early in their lives) the geraniums (they are really Pelargoniums but everybody refers to the as Geraniums) have produced a great many new leaves and flower buds and I will keep them going until we get our first real frosts which will cut them down. If you like Pelargoniums indoors during the winter (I don’t), then now is the time to transfer them to pots and take them in, or you could take cuttings. These are very easy to strike and even if you don’t want them all, it is worth taking a few for next year’s display.  The

Having realised that the hanging baskets were in the process of rejuvenation, I started carefully looking around at my other flowers to see if they were the only plants which had decided this was the time to flower and found a number of oddities.

Some of my Roses have another flush of flower buds. These will be the third flowers they have borne this year and, as they have used so much energy to do so, I will need to feed them well next year.

The honeysuckle, which was supposed to be only three tall when I bought it, is now about seven feet tall and is still in full flower. I bought this as a ‘patio plant’ but I am glad I did not use it as such as it is very vigorous and I have already cut it back twice this year to keep it under control. Honeysuckle really does need pruning regularly or it will cover everything in its path and will not flower so well.

I also have a number of Gladioli which have just decided to flower. Gladioli corms should really be lifted during the winter as they are not particularly frost hard. Hoeever, I leave mine in the ground, taking the approach that if they do not survive, I will need to replace them. Even though the winter was very severe, some of them have still survived but as I said, they have only now started to flower. I don’t know whether this is because of the drought or because the bulbs are planted particularly deeply. I rather suspect the former.

Now is the time to really clean up your garden. The more debris and weeds you leave around, the more habitats you are keeping for pests and diseases. Clear up dead leaves and spend annuals and compost them uinless they show signs of disease when they shoukd be burned. You shoukd never put plants with large tap roots or plants (or other material) which is diseased on your compost heap as they may well not rot and  you will be spreading the problem around when you spread your compost. The same applies to plants like bindweed, ground elder and ivy. The compost heap will probably not kill the rots and you will have new problems in different places if you try to compost them. Burn them or otherwise dispose of them.


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