Tuesday, 30 August 2016

August's Plant of the Month!

Good Morning!
The PLANT OF THE MONTH for August is ... Penstemon 'Raven'
Penstemons are one of the easiest plants to grow and are great for a gap in the border that needs filling quickly! Flowering from June to first frosts they are one of the best performers in a garden and are rarely victim to attacks from slugs and snails.
They are also a great plant for anyone that is a beginner to taking cuttings!
There are a range of varieties but the one that I have chosen for today and that is also in my garden is called 'Raven'.

Photo from Crocus

Photo from my garden (You can also see the white variety growing alongside)

This particular variety is semi evergreen, happy in most soil types and aspects in either full sun or partial shade.
This plant will grow 50-100cm tall which is great for a border. This plant is clump forming and the flowers are similar to those of a foxglove which will flower from June right up until the first frosts. To make sure that flowering is continuous make sure that you deadhead once each flower spike has finished.
During the winter months it is best to leave the plants foliage intact and give it a dry mulch to protect the crown and roots. In Spring once you can see new shoots emerging you can cut the original stems down to the base to promote a fresh flush of growth.

This plant can be propagated in the Spring time by division, softwood cuttings in early summer or semi-hardwood cuttings in midsummer.
I took some cuttings myself on the 10th of July and they were ready to be potted on into individual 9cm pots yesterday ...

Generally disease free, can be prone to attacks from pests but usually pest free.


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Yet again it's been a while since I've posted here, due to work or feeling unwell I just haven't had the time to sit down let alone venture out into the garden!
Here's hoping that changes soon and here are a few suggestions of what you can be getting on with in the garden today ...

1. Tomatoes  - Your Tomato plants should've reached a height that you're happy with and setting plenty of fruits by now. To help focus the plant's energy on the fruits trim away any foliage restricting light to the ripening fruits, you can be pretty drastic with this but make sure that you leave some foliage on the plant. Continue giving them a weekly feed and you should be feasting on your tomatoes in no time!   

2. Wildlife - If like me you also like to look after the local wildlife in your garden make sure that you clean any bird baths regularly and maintain that water levels are always topped up. It can soon evaporate in hot weather! 
I also like to give bird feeders a good wash out when they need filling up to make sure that they are kept disease free and in a good condition for the birds.

3. Collect Seeds - If there are any plants that you've been particularly impressed with this year in the garden and you'd like more of next year then now is the time to start thinking about collecting seeds! 
Plants such as Foxgloves will be setting their seeds now and the seed can be sown as soon as collected in preparation for plants next year!

4. Deadheading - As always make sure that you keep up with the deadheading to prolong the flowering of your favourite Summer plants such as Dahlias, Pelargoniums and Basket Plants!

5. Watering - Keep up with the Watering, especially of pot plants. In hot weather plants may need a good drench daily to keep them happy and healthy.

6. Paperwhite Narcissus - If you want some Paperwhite Narcissus in flower this Christmas then it's time to start thinking about the bulbs and getting them potted up! The perfume can be love or hate but I think they make a great centrepiece for a table when in flower.

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