Gardening Club notes for May 2017.
May is a lovely time of the year, signs of Summer all around, days are warmer & longer with more flowers in bloom, adding colour & scent to the garden. We can now really get on with work in the garden, but still keeping an eye open for any late frosts, be vigilant also for cold winds as these can also damage tender plants as much as a frost, check the weather forecast nightly. Tasks this month: weeding, just keep on top of those weeds, hoeing frequently, making sure your hoe is sharp for best results, over the years it is amazing how abrasive the ground is, I have seen hoes that are so worn away as be useless. Perennial weeks are best removed by digging them out, just leaving one small piece will give the weed the opportunity to grow again. Mulching is another good way of suppressing weeds plus helping the soil to retain moisture. Borders, plant ground cover plants, you will not be totally weed free, but the border will be easier to maintain. After primulas have finished flowering, dig them up & divide the roots, giving more plants for next year, plant them in an odd corner of the garden, replant in the Autumn. Do not be in too much of a hurry to pull up your daffodils, wait until the foliage has died back , then lift and store them, or again plant in a quiet part of the garden ready for planting out in the Autumn. In the greenhouse , continue pricking out seedlings & potting up cuttings. Plant up your hanging baskets, if you have not done so already, these need careful hardening off keeping them under cover when frost or cold winds threaten. Now is an ideal time to take further fuchsia and geranium cuttings. Continue with outdoor planting of gladioli dahlias, sweet peas. Sow broad beans, french & runner beans and beetroot. Also a start can be made on sowing broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, onions, parsley, parsnips & peas, a busy time that should keep your hands full, for a while.
Tales from a small garden; having moved house earlier this year to a garden that was overgrown and had been derelict for a number of years, I thought I might share my experiences of re-creating a garden. February saw clearing the ground for my workshop, a small digger really struggled with the mass of tangled roots, eventually all the overgrown plants and shrubs were removed, and with some difficulty eventually, due to the wet weather, burned. Contrary to popular belief there are very few rules regarding bonfires, number one being common sense, you should not cause annoyance to your neighbours and you can be fined if you let smoke drift across busy road. March saw borders tidied up & dug, planting an assortment of soft fruit bushes & cordon fruit trees. April, clearing up continued weeding and feeding the lawn, and those first cuts, nothing like the scent of newly cut grass! Fruit trees & bushes now showing beginning of leaves & fruiting buds. A good tip here with a newly acquired garden, particularly at the start of a new year is to see what comes up, it’s quite surprising, what comes up, we have grape hyacinths, anemones, lily of the valley, and chindoxas popping up everywhere, it’s amazing what just by letting in more light can do. A start was made clearing a site for my greenhouse, which involved cutting down a small tree, first having checking for nesting birds, my kind next door neighbour did this for me with a chain saw, we seem to have a mountain of foliage & branches that now will have to go to the re-cycling centre. To be continued……
Club news: on Monday the 20th of March our speaker was Ray Broughton, from Winchester, giving a talk entitled “ Fruit trees & bushes, for the small garden”. Ray passed on his extensive knowledge of planting, pruning & disease control for these plants, at various times Ray gave us some useful tips on moss control in your lawn, how to prevent frost damage to terra cotta flower pots, but the most bizarre was the cleaning a maintaining a sharp edge on your secateurs by using tomato ketchup! A very interesting speaker I hope we see Ray again at a future Club meeting. The member’s monthly competition was won by Doreen Davis, with a small vase of Spring flowers, fierce completion as there were some excellent entries. Our speaker this month will be a welcome return of Roger Umpelby, with a talk on weeds, something every garden has, tucked away somewhere. The member’s monthly competition will be “ A garden tool”, see what unusual tools you have lurking at the back of the shed and bring them along. On Saturday May the 13th , we will be holding our ever popular Plant sale, members are reminded to try and donate something even if it is only one plant! Remember this sale helps with our Club funds & helps us to keep going in these difficult times. Our thanks go to Jess Bailey who has grown on many plug plants for the sale, be there early, doors open at 10 am and the plants fly off the shelves. I am pleased to report we have a new committee member, Angela Salaman on behalf of the committee I would like to welcome her and I am sure we all look forward to working with her. As my theme this month seems to be weeds, I thought the following very appropriate, “A weeds is a plant, that’s not only in the wrong place, but firmly intends to stay there!”