14 December, 2017

September 2011

Garden experts

Broughton's gardening experts from the left Peter Blackburne-Maze and Jonathan Piercy (AGW 2011)

Jonathan’s tips

1. Lawns need more attention in September than at any other time of the year. It’s a good time to sow grass seed, whether repairing an existing lawn or sowing a new lawn. Also a top dressing can be applied and it’s a good idea to aerate.

2. Hardy annuals can now be sown so that you will get early flowers next summer.

3. Kill perennial weeds ie bindweed/dandelions with a weed killer containing glyphosate.

4. Autumn bulbs are now arriving in garden shops so be getting ready for your spring flower show  (See separate article by Jonathan on autumn bulbs).

5. If you have not already lifted your onions from the veg plot do so as soon as possible so they can dry off before winter.

6. Geraniums and fuchsia cuttings root well in September so get propagating.

7. Japanese onion sets can be planted to provide you with onions next June.

8. This is your last chance to plant out spring cabbage and cauliflower plants for next spring.

9. Early varieties of apples and pears will now be ready so they can be picked. Plums are also in abundance so make sure you get to them before the wasps do.

10. Watch out for early frosts if you have any tender plants outdoors for the summer.

11. Gather up old leaves to prevent fungus developing.

Jonathan Piercy

 

Peter’s advice

Did you know that you’ve still got time to propagate shrubs from ‘semi-ripe’ cuttings? You can still make it, but don’t hang about. These cuttings are made from shoots of this year’s growth which have begun to harden at the base but whose tips are still reasonably soft.

Some of the shrubs that can be propagated in this way are aucuba, berberis, heathers, choisya, cistus, cotoneaster, deutzia, escallonia, euonymus, fuchsia, hebe, ivy, hydrangea, hypericum, lavender, privet, honeysuckle, philadelphus, potentilla, laurel, pyracantha, rosemary, santolina, senecio, viburnum, periwinkle and weigela.

Only use the best material for the cuttings. This is normally found on the outside of the bush where the most sun falls. Also, the shoots must be completely free from pests and diseases.

The size of the cutting will vary with the kind of shrub but 4-6in. is average (excluding leaves). If you can’t find enough suitable material of this size from ‘tip’ cuttings (those containing the terminal bud), then make more than one cutting from long shoots. It must still be of this year’s growth, though.

When preparing the cuttings for insertion, either cut immediately below a leaf or, better still, retain a sliver of the older wood (a heel) at the base. Heather cuttings should always be taken with a heel. Strip off the leaves from the lower third of the cutting.

Because the cuttings are going to be rooted in ordinary garden soil, it will usually need tarting up to give them the best chance of rooting. Work in some old peat with eithe some horticultural vermiculite, perlite or sharp sand (not builders’ sand, which is too fine).

Dip the base of the cutting in hormone rooting powder, tap off the excess, make a small hole in the ground with a pencil and push in the cutting so that the lowest leaf is just above soil level.Firm in each cutting with your fingers and, when they’re all in place, give them a good watering with a fine rose watering can. Then cover them with a glass or plastic cloche.

It’s a good idea then to cover the whole thing with clear polythene sheet large enough to have the edges buried. The cuttings won’t dry out then.

Most of the cuttings will have rooted (or rotted!) by next spring, which means that it isn’t a quick job. Although the rooted cuttings can be lifted and planted elsewhere at that point, it’s usual to leave them until the autumn; making a year from start to finish.

You can also root the cuttings in a greenhouse, or in a propagator in a greenhouse, where they will form roots all the quicker, but the whole point of me talking about cloches is that anyone can use this system; you don’t need a greenhouse.

Have fun or, if you can’t be bothered, go and buy the plants from one of our local nurseries.

Peter Blackburne-Maze

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