Taking us to Chelsea in 2007.
Live images in March from Melbourne & Chelsea in May.
Please tell your friends. No one else will.
Gardening Articles for week ending
10th February 2007
Written by Wally Richards.
GETTING YOUR FLOWER GARDENS READY FOR AUTUMN
Well gardeners, its mid February already and the last month of summer,
not that it has seemed much like summer for most of us over the last couple
of months, but that’s the weather for you.
Now is time to look around your annual flowering plants in containers
and gardens to see what is going to be ok for the next few months, what
can be spruced up and what needs to be replaced.
Annuals that have being flowering for sometime that have past ‘their use-by
date’ should be taken out for replacement.
Annuals such as Petunias and Impatiens that have given a good show, but
now are getting a bit leggy and scraggly should be trimmed back with a
good pair of scissors. If you want to retain some colour or flowers, then
rather than have a gap, before they re-flower again, selectively cut back.
This means cutting back the outside of the plant and leaving the
middle part flowering. Later when the outside is starting to flower again
then cut back the middle. Or maybe do half the plant now and the other
half later. Use whichever method suits you best.
It is important to feed all the flower plants that you do this to, to
bring on the new growth, so use blood and bone with sheep manure pellets,
side dressed to to give them a boost. A faster booster would be to dissolve
some nitrogen or chook manure in water and water this around the root
Now is also the time to look at the autumn flowering plants that are currently
available through your local Garden Centre.
Chrysanthemums called Mini Mums are now in and these young plants
will quickly grow and flower over the next few months. Ideal for containers,
both indoors and out, as bedding plants and for cut flowers. Chrysanthemums
are not an annual so you will have years of pleasure from them.
Pansies for Autumn are also now in and there is a tremendous range to
choose from. Give them a more shaded situation at this time, whether in
pots or in the garden and remember to keep them moist. They are very quick
to mature and flower so you will obtain a great show in no time. Dried
Blood under the pansies at planting time also helps the plant establish
quickly and gives a lovely dark green foliage, less susceptible to mildew
and brighter coloured flowers.
Seedlings of polyanthus and primulas are now coming available and these
should be planted out over the next couple of months for winter flowering.
Citrus trees are fairly free of most disease problems and a twice yearly
spray of Liquid Copper normally keeps them clean and healthy. Scale and
mealy bugs are the two pests most likely to attack citrus trees, if this
happens one or two sprays of Neem Tree Oil should sort them out.
Citrus tree borer can destroy a prize citrus tree over time. One gardener
gave me his answer to control the pest and that is to soak an inch wide
strip of felt with a solution of Neem tree oil and water 50:50 and wrap
the felt around the trunk or the branch that has the borer. Use drawing
pins to hold secure and cover will food wrap. Leave on for 3-4 weeks and
then remove. Exit holes in the tree should be sealed with a coat of paint
as it is these holes that allow the females to enter the tree and lay
Fruit trees, with silver leaf, if not too bad at this time, can be saved
by a few monthly sprays of Perkfection. Its always a pity to lose a fruit
tree so save them, or protect them from this otherwise fatal disease.
Fruit trees or roses (which are also prone to silver leaf disease) but
are not showing any silvering will also benefit from a couple of sprays
of the same product each year.
Plum, pear and cherry trees may have the black cherry slug eating the
leaves at this time and a spray of Liquid Copper with Raingard will stop
them in their tracks. If you allow too much damage to occur to the foliage
you will reduce the size of your crop next season.
PESTS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Mites (spider mites) have been especially bad this summer and many plants
including roses may have bad infestations right now. The mites are very
small and hard to see as they often just appear as dust-like particles
on the foliage. Being spiders, sometimes they are noticed by the very
small webs they weave. Discoloured foliage is a good sign they are present
but unfortunately by the time the foliage is damaged they have got a real
hold on your plant. They are unlikely to kill the plant but they certainly
cause a lot of damage and it can set back a good plant, and may take a
year to recover. One or two sprays of liquid Sulphur will sort them out.
Thrips are also another microscopic insect and like wise, are very active
at this time. You will certainly notice them on your gladioli if you haven’t
been spraying for them.
Check also your beans, Camellias, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, tomatoes,
cubits, strawberry plants and other ornamentals. Use sprays of Neem Tree
Oil to control.
Caterpillars will be into your cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli about
this time, maybe also the loop caterpillars on tomatoes and corn. Neem
Oil can be used to control them and sprinkle Neem Tree Granules on the
soil beneath the plants for longer term control.
If you can keep the pests under control and prevent them from building
up too greater numbers, then your plants and gardens will be the better
It will be Valentines day on the 14th and a good time to give your loved
one a living gift to celebrate the occasion. There is a good selection
of roses available from the mini-roses which are always very popular
through to the red carpet rose.
Red roses are the traditional flower for Valentines day but there is no
need to only keep to tradition as there are a number of lovely, living
gifts of plants that are more than suitable to celebrate the occasion.
Take for instance Paradise Red, a member of the family, New Guinea Hybrid
Impatiens, with their extra large red flowers which are ideal as an indoor
pot plant or excellent for sheltered patios.
A house plant maybe the order of the day as these can be grown in your
loved ones office or home.
Then of course there are Gardening Gift Vouchers that along with a Valentine
Day card will appeal to everyone. If you have a number of people you wish
to give something to for Valentines Day then either mini-roses or colour
spots are going to fill the bill and not make a hole in your bank account.
Just remember that for a suitable living gift for the occasion you cant
go past your own local Garden Centre and if no one sends you a Valentine’s
gift, then treat yourself to a plant of your own choice.
Problems ring me at 0800 466 464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Web site www.gardenews.co.nz
Garden Pages and News at www.gardenews.co.nz
Shar Pei pages at www.sharpei.co.nz
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