Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Autumn Days

Now that the foliage has begun to turn to all the beautiful colours of autumn, let us prepare for the deluge of leaves that soon will fall.   It is time to set aside some space to store all the fallen leaves and to let them rot down into leaf mould.   This is a great addition for the soil in the summer beds as it releases nutrients and helps keep the soil loose where it is clay and helps retain moisture where it is sandy.  

Simply fill an empty composter with the leaves and add composting activator.   Black plastic bags filled with fallen leaves works just as well as a composter if you don't have one, when left to one side.

As your deciduous shrubs and trees become bare and their skeletal shapes appear, take the opportunity to weed out any weeds that were once hidden by their foliage, around their roots.   This is also the perfect time to remove dead or diseased branches and any over crowded limbs that may be rubbing or simply making the plant look unbalanced.

 It is a good time to asses the size of the plant in comparison to the rest of the garden layout and reduce the crowns and regain lost space and reduce over crowding of companion plants.

Finally, give your hedges a cut before winter, so that they may be neat until the warm weather returns and so that you don't disturb the nesting birds in spring.

Monday, 27 September 2010

As the days draw in.

As the last few days of September roll by and the days grow shorter still, it becomes apparent to Garden Boy that it is time to start propagation.

As we cut away at spent blooms and remove weak and diseased plant stems, we can once again see how our perennial plants have performed over the year.   For those that have done well and put on good mass, cuttings can be made and root balls can be divided, before the cold sets in.   For plants like Hostas and Agapanthus that have dense fleshy root balls, splitting with a sharp knife is a good idea.   For Asters and Leucanthemums Garden Boy would usually split them  with a spade or two forks back to back.   Each of these parts of the original root mass has the potential to produce a new plant.   Remove the older woody bit that was the original centre, as this tends to be less vigorous.

Plant these potential additions into pots with new compost and grit for drainage or back into the garden beds where they are required with a good dose of fresh compost, bone meal and micorrhizal fungi powder, all available from garden centres.   This will give them a good start before they burst back into life next spring

Do the same with your herbs like thyme, oregano, chives, salad burnett and mint.