To be honest I have been back from our English house about two weeks, but I have been spending about 8 hours a day just trying to catch up with the garden. If I ever suggest leaving my garden for over two weeks at the start of Summer, then just shoot me. People keeping asking me why there have been no posts lately, now you know why; I toil all day and sleep on the lid of the compost bins at night. I have even been gardening by torchlight. Anyway, just to prove it, this is what I have been up to, and , if I’m doing it so should you.
22nd May: Things I have been doing lately.
✂️ Deadheading. My Roses in particular were in desperate need of deadheading. Before I left the first flush of flowers had almost ended and up until then I had been deadheading daily. Now the thing about Roses is that if you don’t deadhead then they will not repeat flower, instead they will use all their energy in making seeds and rose hips. The first thing I had to do was undertake a mammoth dead heading exercise. This was swiftly followed by spraying for greenfly. While I was away the greenfly had founded a new nation of greenfly and happily housed it in my Roses.
The first photo below shows the start of the dead head marathon. The second one shows the start of the Sprayathon.
🌳 Trimming trees: The only trees I trim at this time of year are the Mulberry and Olive trees. The Mulberry has gradually been shaped over the years to provide a lovely shady spot for me to sit after mowing the lawn. Whilst the Olive has been subjected to my amateur topiary for a number of years and now looks lovely as a statement tree. If you have an unloved Olive tree and you are not using the fruit than have a go at reshaping rather than leaving it as big amorphous lump in your garden. The photos below show the Mulberry before and after its annual trim and a photo taken by me lying underneath the Olive tree; when Cruella (my wife) saw me lying under the tree she rushed off to check my life insurance policy and had already changed her profile on Match.com by the time I came in the house. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🌿 Thinning out borders. By now your bedding plants such as Marguerite and Carnations etc should be going over to seed and crowding your beds out. You now need to trim things back and make a little room for the second wave of plants. So get stuck in and be brave. Once you have created some space then hoe and weed the beds. When you are satisfied that the new plants have space then feed the whole thing with a general purpose feed. Feeding is important as your soil will easily become exhausted if you are growing things intensely as I do. The photos below show my flower beds at various stages of the process and finally a photo showing the general purpose food that I use. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🔪 Shredding the branches from the citrus trees. A couple of months ago I gave my Orange and Lemon trees a good prune. Rather than throwing the cuttings away I leave them aside until all the leaves have gone brown and the branches have dried up. I then shred everything and use some of it for my compost heap (carbon) but not too much. The rest I spread on paths in our wild wood garden. The photo below shows me mid shred.
🌱 Repotting cuttings. From previous posts you will remember that I took a number of cuttings at the end of Winter whilst I was pruning. These now need repotting on as they have been planted around the edge of pots and now need room to grow. I am particularly pleased with the Fig tree pruning as every one has taken and I now have 5 new Fig trees. The first photo below shows the cuttings when I originally pruned them. The second photo shows them planted up and the final photo shows my lovely new trees. Click on each photo for a larger view.
😢 Mourning the loss of my seeds. You will remember that I had carefully planned to alter my late Summer beds by planting a range of late flowering perennials such as: Geum, Gaura etc. Sadly the best made plans have gone astray. Whilst I was away my seed trays got baked in the Sun and my poor seeds never made it. The photo below shows my baked trays.
🐶 Taking the dogs out. Although not technically part of my gardening duties, it is nice now and again to take the dogs out for a long walk. Normally they just roam around the garden as it is big enough to keep them happy. So I thought I would show you them out and about to cheer myself up. Notice in the first photo they start out all enthusiastic, but they are soon seeking any shade they can find.