SE Fitness gardener Kate sharing a photo of “Lady Hamilton Rose” saying she does have one in her garden but it’s not out yet so this photo pinched from t’internet!
Here are Kate’s tips for this week:
Garden centres are open!
Hooray, we can now go and buy plants! (I’m not getting into the whys and wherefores of what is essential, that’s for you to decide) All our local garden centres are now open, including Halls, Pacific, Wheat & Son (from Thurs), and Dobies in Shenstone, as well as Pets and Gardens in Wylde Green which has been open all along. Like all businesses, they will appreciate our support. Obviously please observe all social distancing requirements and maybe ring to check queues if poss before setting out. Please also be patient as not all stock may be readily available as centres deal with supply issues and staff shortages.
Please be careful when planting out your precious purchases though as there may still be some cold nights to come. Best to ‘harden off’ first, ie bring in at night and gradually accustom plants to outdoors.
The Chelsea Chop
So named because this practice is carried out at around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show towards the end of May (I’m missing the shows!). It is a way of staggering the flowering times of some herbaceous perennials. Basically, you cut the stems of the clump to delay flowering. If you cut just half of the clump, this extends the flowering period by several weeks. Plants that take the Chop well include: Phlox, Helenium, Echinacea, Achillea and Sedum.
Aphids such as greenfly are probably congregating on your roses, completely ignoring social distancing rules. Try and avoid spraying them. Even organic pesticides can harm beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees. Given time, nature should sort things out and ladybirds and smaller birds will feast on the little blighters. In the meantime, you can squish them by hand, or a good squirt with a hose will often move them off your flowers. This method is known in horticultural terms as ‘cultural control’ and includes physical controls (eg barriers, netting) and ‘good husbandry’ ie ensuring healthy soil, nutrition and the right growing conditions; the idea being that a healthy strong plant, just like us, will better resist pests and diseases.