It’s getting increasingly difficult to refrain from having a serious moan about the weather, but I’m going to try! We woke up this morning determined to get in the garden and do some jobs that are normally done in February and I set a target of six. So having taken Ollie to Sutton Park for a walk (moan alert – even the high sandy ground at Boldmere was saturated), it was outside, dodging hale, sleet and rain, but having to put up with strong winds. So here goes – the results of six jobs successfully completed!
My priority was to prune the 3 standard rosa ‘Iceberg’ in the white/pastel border. I’ve played safe again this year and not taken them down into the older wood – I’m worried that they may not regrow if I go too far. Anyway, they’re now much shorter, cut to buds and they’ve had a feed with Vitax Q4 – hopefully raring to going!
The next job was a little overdue as this grass, miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ had started into new growth, so it was quite difficult to avoid damaging the stems. Some years ago, I read a tip about the cutting back of grasses and have used it ever since – in order to avoid a garden strewn with the cuttings (a particular risk when battling with strong winds), I pulled all the old stems together with string before cutting back with shears – tidy!
Leycesteria formosa, the Himalayan honeysuckle, is a lovely and useful plant providing interesting stems and foliage, along with deep red bracts and late black berries. It’s a mid sized shrub growing to a height and spread of approximately 7×5 ft and is easily controlled by cutting back in late winter/early spring. It does self seed prolifically, but this can be a bonus – plants for sharing with friends and neighbours (along with a warning!)
Our pond suffers with the dreaded duckweed, which invaded some years ago, probably on a plant bought from a garden centre. This tiny plant, consisting of a leaf and root multiplies almost in front of your eyes and can cover vast expanses of water in no time at all. Impossible to eradicate, it’s essential to keep on top of the problem by dredging them out regularly from the moment they start growing in spring. To leave them would result in a green blanket across the whole pond which would restrict light, harming pond flora and fauna. I keep a small net close to the pond and dredge as soon as I see clumps forming, at least weekly. It’s wise to leave the dredgings on the edge of the pond for a few days so that any creatures inadvertently removed can find their way back into the water.
Looking tired and rather sad with a very unhealthy looking geranium at its centre, this urn needed sprucing up. I removed the geranium (it is still alive, so it’s gone to the greenhouse for some TLC) and planted a pot full of muscari armeniacum (grape hyacinth). My mother in law gave me these for my birthday last year, so I’m really pleased to see that they’re flowering again. I’ve left them in their pot so they can be stored easily once they’re spent.
The final job of the day involved weeding out a crop of bittercress – we planted rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ in this bed last autumn and they are all growing healthy stems. The pre-existing narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ don’t look quite so happy having suffered significant disruption as the roses were planted in their new home, but I’m sure they’ll recover over the next couple of years.
That’s my six for this week; I’d recommend a visit to the home of SoS for more at: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/