I have been putting this job off for weeks but it is time for me to weed under the roses and give them their summer feed. Unfortunately this involves massive loss of blood on my part.
17th May: Things I have been doing today.
🌹 Feed and weed your roses. Now is the time to get under your roses and pull out all the grass and weeds that are taking goodness from the soil. There is no easy way to do this get on your hands and knees and manually ease out all the bad guys with your trowel. Because I take aspirin every day this means my blood is thin. Consequently, no matter that I am wearing my best gardening gloves I still end up bleeding everywhere. (See photo below)
But working through the pain, make sure you get all the weed and grass roots out. Once the area is clear under each rose apply a granular rose feed then cover over with well rotted compost (or some from a bag if necessary). Water this in well with a big watering can for each rose. This should be your second rose feed of the year, and is the most important one as it will ensure your next flush of flowers in late August/September. (See photo below of a nicely dressed rose).
I managed six roses today, only another twenty to go; I may end up looking like the famous Thomas Chatterton portrait ( look it up).
🌿 Finish pruning all Marguerites. I have been pruning Marguerite daisies over the past month or so depending on the type. The colourful ones are now coming to the end of their first flush and you now have to make a crucial decision. When I explained the importance of this to my wife she called me the Donald Trump of gardening; which I think might be a compliment. Anyway the decision is this; if the plant has gone dry and brown right down the lower stem then dig it up and consign it to your compost heap. But don’t worry because just below the plant you have wrenched from its home in the soil will be lots of little seedlings waiting for you to transplant them. If however the plant is not brown and dry all the way down, but instead has new leaves sprouting on the dry stem then all you have to do is cut back to leave five to ten of these little sproutlings on each stem and you will grow a new plant. The photo below shows a plant that can just be cut back as it has sprouting stems.
🍋 Take suckers off your citrus trees. By now all the fruit should be off your citrus trees apart from a few lemons that will be lingering to add flavour to summer gin and tonics and cocktails (at which my son James excels). However, you need to look carefully at the trunk and leading branches of all your trees to make sure they are not suckering. Suckers will appear (especially on older trees) as bright green little shoots of a few leaves. Wearing your gardening gloves you need to gently pull downwards on each sucker and break it off; they will come away quite easily. This will ensure that all the goodness goes into next year’s fruit. As we say never give.a sucker and even break.