Hey, I’ve gone all Biblical on you by quoting Ecclesiastes 3-2 in the above heading. But as a quote it is very apt for this time of year for two reasons. Firstly, Cruella (my wife) is back from her visit to the UK and she is angry because the conflict in the Ukraine meant she had to fly low and consequently her new broom is shredded. This in turn has meant that through fear I have been sleeping with my Bible under my pillow and a string of garlic around my neck; hence the quote. Secondly, it is time to deadhead and tidy up spring plants so that we can encourage new growth. Lets get on with the gardening.
16th April 2022. Things I have been doing lately:
Cutting back early Spring flowers. Now most early spring flowers only really have one flush of flowers, but sometimes with the right encouragement you can coax a second flowering from them. So, if you want some more flowers then you have to be quite ruthless and radically deadhead now.
You can start by deadheading your Euoniums these have flowered spectacularly this year all over our part of Spain because of the heavy rains. But now it is more or less all over. Dont leave the untidy now brown flowerheads on your plant snip them off at the point below the flower where you can see the stem thinning. If you keave the flowerheads on they will either eventually die back and fall off over a period of time, or, the plant will try to grow through the defunct flower. Either way you are left with an untidy plant in your garden for months.
The first photo below shows you where you should prune your dead Euniom flowers. The second photo shows a plant trying to grow through the flower. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Other early Spring flowerers in my garden that need cutting back now include Ice Plants. These come in a variety of colours and add real charm to the garden in early Spring. You now need to trim these using either small hand shears (which I prefer) or if you don’t have these just use ordinary garden shears. The first photo below shows an Ice plant in need of pruning. The second shows me just gently going over the plant trimmimg off only the dead flower heads, try not to cut into foliage. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Feeding plants. Now that the growing season is getting underway it is important that you begin your plant feeding routine. Now there are lots of different plant foods, and I don’t want you to get hung up about it. If you just have a small garden or terrace, then normally a general purpose feed will do most things and not really harm anything. However, if you have a larger garden then where possible specialist feeds can help.
The main feeds I use can be seen in the photo below. From left to right they are: Fruiting non citrus plants, general purpose feed, Citrus feed for oranges and lemons etc. An iron mix which I add a glug to every feed, Rose feed and finally Orchid feed. There are plenty of brands so just choose the ones that suit your garden and pocket.
Removing tree suckers. An important thing to note when feeding your citrus trees is that you must remove all tree suckers. Suckering mainly occurs in older trees, where the tree takes the easy route of not pumping all the goodness up to existing branches and leaves, and instead throws out new soft suckers further down the trunk. You can recognise suckers by their bright green soft whippy growth and tendency to grow straight up. To remove them all you have to do is pull them sharply downwards and they will come away easily. The photos below show suckers and my suckering action. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Encouraging gardeners. It is important that we gardeners encourage the next generation of gardeners, and where possible draw new people into the wonderful world of gardening. For those all over the world who read this blog I am including two ways in which I am currently encouraging gardeners: Open Garden Day and The Sunflower Challenge. Both will raise some funds for the work of our local Church in our community, but just as importantly they will draw people into gardening. Why not replicate these in your area or country. Please feel free to copy and make the world a greener place. Click on each photo for a larger view.