Saturday, 28 May 2016

Plant of the Month ... Rhododendron 'Dreamland'

Good Morning!
I started this series last month and today I am back with the next instalment.
The PLANT OF THE MONTH for May is ... RHODODENDRON 'Dreamland'!

'Dreamland' is a hardy compact evergreen Rhododendron with dark foliage and trusses of pale pink flowers which have deep pink buds before opening.
These shrubs are from the Ericaceae family and prefer to be planted on Acidic soil.
Don't worry if your soil isn't acidic though as they can also be grown in a pot of Ericaceous compost ... just like mine!

You can plant this particular variety of Rhododendron in full sun or partial shade in a South or East facing aspect. They also prefer a slightly sheltered position in a moist but well drained soil. When planting make sure that they are planted shallowly as they do not tolerate being planted deeply.
If growing in a pot re-potting into fresh compost every other year is recommended along with replacing the top 5cm of soil in the year between.

Make sure that they receive adequate water throughout the year (especially if in a pot) as failure to do so can affect flowering the following Spring.
Watering with Rain water is preferred as tap water can reduce the acidity around their roots however it can be tolerated for a month or so during Summer if rain water runs out.
Feed the plant in Spring with an Ericaceous fertiliser or a 5-7cm mulch of leaf mould around the base.
The only Pruning needed is to remove dead wood and faded flowers.

- Rhododendron 'Dreamland' may be attacked by Pests such as Vine Weevil & Aphids along with suffering from Diseases such as Powdery Mildew along with Rhododendron specific diseases.
- Flower buds may fail to form or open in Spring if the plant hasn't received sufficient watering in late Summer the year before. Mulching and watering thoroughly from July can prevent this from happening.


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Here's a few things that you can be getting on with this weekend in the garden ...

1. Hardening Off  - Summer Bedding plants will be putting on good growth now and no doubt you'll be itching to get them in their final positions outside! However they need to go through a process of 'Hardening Off' first before going outside permanently. This is to acclimatise them to the outdoor temperatures and conditions as they will have been protected under cover whether you've kept them in a Greenhouse or just bought them from a Garden Centre.
Pop them somewhere sunny & sheltered during the day time for 7 - 10 days, bringing them back undercover on a night when the temps drop for the first 7 days then leaving outside still in their containers for the remaining days.
Of course if cooler temperatures and frosts are forecast (this is still possible until the first week of June) protect with a layer of fleece, I always hold off planting out in final positions until the risk of frost has passed.

2. Primulas - If you have Primulas and Primroses growing in your garden the clumps can become congested over time. Now is the chance to lift and divide them, removing offests which can be used to provide new plants for yourself, replanting elsewhere around in the garden or in pots until a later date.

3. Lawns - It's time to give the edges of lawns a good tidy up.
Over the recent months lawns edges may have lost their neatness and slowly crept into the neighbouring soil. All you need to do is get a spade or edging tool and cut in around the edges. 
Even if it's the only thing you do in the garden this weekend it instantly makes your garden look ten times neater!

4. Protect - Protect young salad and veg crops from Pests and being snacked on by Birds. 
All I have done in regards to my Raised Bed is covered the surface with some Butterfly Netting held above the plants tightly (allowing space within for them to grow) with wooden stakes.

5. Winter Bedding - I know it may seem wrong to even starting thinking about Winter, but now is the time to start deciding about what Bedding plants you would like to have later this year. If you are wanting to grow from seed plants such as Pansies the time to start doing this is over the coming weeks.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Here's a few things that you can be getting on with today in the garden ...

1. Tidy up  - If you've got some Heucheras in your garden and they are looking a little worse for wear after the recent months then now is the time to give them a little tidy up! Remove any dead or damaged foliage along with any faded flower stems that are still on the plant.
Heucheras aren't the only plants needing a little tidy up, if you've got any Penstemons growing now is the time to cut the old stems down to the fresh shoots at the bottom. The reason we don't do this after flowering is so that the old stems can help protect the shoots from severe frost in bad weather.

Potted Heuchera

2. Veggies - The soil is starting to warm up so if you'd like to get some veggies sown such as Carrots, Beetroot, Salad Crops, Radishes and Spring Onion then now is the time to get started!

3. Extra Plants - If you go into Garden Centres at this time you should see some pots of Sempervivums for sale, quite a few of them will have more than 1 rosette and each of these can give you an extra plant! I found a pack of 6 for £10 earlier in the week and I've managed to get 30 plants from these 6 pots! All you need to do is remove each rosette and pot on into some gritty compost.


4. Climbing Plants - Climbing plants such as Clematis and Honeysuckle will be putting on new growth quickly and will need tying in to their supports as soon as possible. 

5. Faded Flowers - Deadhead the faded flowers from Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Camellias but be careful not to damage the newly developing leaves. 

6. Weeds - It's one of the least enjoyable jobs for some people but it is one of the most important! Dig out as many weeds possible now and they will be much more controllable throughout the rest of the year. They soon multiply so it's best to get on top of them!

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Better Late than Never ... April's Plant of the Month!

Good Morning!
A little later than planned seeing as we are now into the month of May, but here is ...

Erythronium (or Dog's Tooth Violet) 'Pagoda' is a bulbous perennial with broad glossy leaves and leafless stems which hold one or more of the yellow star shaped flowers.
The plant is fully hardy and flowers from the start of March providing you with weeks of interest.

(Please Note - The foliage in the background of this photo is from a Hebe, not the Erythronium)

You can plant Erythroniums either 'in the green' or as a bulb, if planting as a bulb plant at a depth of 15cm and 15cm apart.
Erythroniums prefer to be planted in partial shade in most but well drained soil that doesn't dry out completely. However they will be happy facing any aspect (North, West, South or East) and will cope in both sheltered or exposed positions on any soil or pH level.

Slugs can take rather a liking to these plants but they are generally disease free!