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June 2009
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August 2009

July 2009

Watering while you're on holiday

it's typical, you've spent the last 4 months getting the garden how you want it, - the plants are thriving, the pots are full the fruit and veg is producing and...... you want to go on holiday.

If like me, you need a full 2 weeks away over the July and August period, but don't want to come back to a dessicated garden, what are your choices.

1) Get a friend or Neighbour to water, - hopefully there will be someone you can trust to come every week, or every couple of days if it's hot, to make sure that your most cherished plants make it through. If swapsies don't work, how about hiring a local student to do the watering? - but make sure you leave a list of what's important to water and how often, - I once came back to rotting potatoes and bone dry hanging baskets.

Do water, Newly planted borders, everything in the greenhouse, Vegetable plots.

Don't waste water on, Lawns or established borders (unless there are visibly wilting plants)

for more details about watering look at this post

2)Plant up your new plants into the largest pots possible or get seedlings and plantlets into the ground. Large pots (3 litre size) hold water better and for longer than seedling trays

3) Put any pots on Plastic trays, or rest them on thick Newspaper or capillary matting so that any runoff isn't lost to the plants completely and can be soaked up.

4) For your most precious trees and shrubs put in watering bottles, so that your watering help knows how much and which to waterWateringbottleforacer.

This Acer was bought at a show last year and has survived in a pot being planted up through various sizes for the last 12 months, - now it is in the ground, I don't want a week of dry weather to kill it and its newly released rootball, - so a watering bottle will direct 2 litres of water to the roots rather than spreading it through the surrounding soil.

5) make sure that your hose fittings or your watering cans are easy to find and at the ready - if you want to use waterbutt water, then 2 large watering cans are a must have, so that one can be filling while the other is used for watering

6) Enjoy your holiday, - just think the worst that can happen is that something doesn't make it and you can go plant shopping on your return.

Great plants in your borders?, - don't forget the photos

i've been searching for photos to go on my website, which is currently being updated, - Plants and Gardening are a very colourful thing, and i've been enjoying going through my records of my clients gardens and my own to find the plants and mixtures of planting that I like.  What I have found is a lot of is
I wish i'd taken a photo of........, so i'm vowing to take my camera with me everywhere for the next few weeks.

Here are some of the best images from recently
Rudbeckia, Dahlias, Helenium & Geranium Rozanne against a Sambucus black lace that's getting a little too big for its boots

Asplenium fern, set off by Astrantia Roma and Geranium Johnsons Blue

Spirea summerfoliage
and just to show that there don't have to be any flowers showing to get great colours, this is 2 different spireas with Hemerocallis in the centre (a big enough group of them to make it look great with Orange flowers coming out now since I took the photo)

Bugs and Pests and how to get rid of them

The warm humid weather of the last few weeks has been a fantastic breeding ground for bugs of all sorts, - i've watched from my study window as Caterpillars have eaten my Roses, and i've found Aphids, Slugs, Rosemary beetles, Cuckoo spit and chafer bugs in clients garden this week alone.

Cuckoospit Most of these pests could be got rid of with chemicals, although Rosemary beetles and Cuckoo spit froghoppers don't have anything especially for them, but I feel that often that's too harsh a solution and besides, what if the problem is on your fruit and veg.  That's why i've been using Natural methods (picking of the bugs or blasting them off with a water jet) or Predators, - bugs that eat bugs.

These are available for all kinds of pests, and are often available from garden centres as well as online.  i've tried the vine weevil nematode nematode (steinernema kraussei) which is sent in a soil like pack that you mix with water and water onto your pots or plants, The Red Spider mite predator (phytoseiulus persimilis) is provided in a test tube of vermiculite, and you shake the bugs out onto your plants (usually in a greenhouse) - Nematodes_tips The other one i've used reguarly is Encarsia formosa which get rid of Whitefly, and Ladybird pupae which are great for aphids. (I used them with great success on my cordon apple trees in my Guildford garden)  I havn't used the slug predator yet (phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita), but after the rain that is pouring outside my window, I may need that this week.

What's eating my Rosemary?

At this time of year, there could be a very pretty bug hiding in your Rosemary plants.
The Rosemary Beetle (posh latin name - Chrysolina America) likes to spend June to August hiding on your Rosemary, Lavender or Perovskia, multiplying, so that it's hungry children can demolish your plants in the Autumn.

They are quite easy to spot, and very pretty, but i'm afraid I have to suggest that you are hard and stamp them out of existence unless you want a very bare twig of a plant by October.

There are no chemical controls that are permitted for this bug, and as most people grow Rosemary to use in the kitchen I wouldn't recommend spraying it with anything, - Happy Bug hunting.

Successional planting (or what to plant now to keep you eating veg longer)

Vegetable lettuces It's July, the days are long, the sun is hot, and i've just come in from having a BBQ in the garden with a salad of Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots, Mangetout and Rocket as an accompaniment.  I've had lunches of broad beans and peas this week, We've had the first new potatoes, and i've munched my way through plenty of berries, but i'm not content with only having Vegetables from the garden in June to September, - i'm greedy and want to eat my homegrown produce all year round, - so as well as harvesting this weekend, i've been sowing and planting as well.

Out came the Broad Bean plants, and in have gone my Leeks, which i've been growing in cell trays. Out came the spent Mange Tout and Pea plants, and in their place went more beans and peas that have been waiting in the greenhouse in Guttering 

Peas&beansinguttering it's too late to sow peas and beans now according to the seed packets, but mine have a 3 week head start from growing in their guttering trays, and I can now just slide them into prepared trenches in the garden.

I've resown coriander, lettuce, radishes and carrots so that when the summer holidays arrive they will already be small crops, and after the summer holidays, i'll start on the winter vegetable saladings of Corn salad, Mizuna, and winter hardy lettuce.

Next week i'll order my late salad potatoes, - they're not widely advertised, but you can buy seed potatoes over the next few weeks by mail order that have been kept in termperature controlled conditions so that they don't sprout, - these can be planted for autumn (and even Christmas day) harvesting, -as my first earlies are just cropping, this is excellent timing for me as they can go back in to my potato bags when the harvested ones come out.

i'll keep you updated of what else i'm sowing, - please let me know what your favourites are so I can add them to my lists