21 October, 2017

May 2012

Peter’s advice for a Spring Garden

Peter with one of the latest flowering daffodils, the fragrant Pipit.

Bulbs which flowered indoors are going through an in-between phase at the moment. The flowers are over but the foliage lingers on. The best treatment is to plant them outside.

They’re desperately easy to keep going for another year. However, this is no reason for neglecting them because they must be kept well watered until the leaves start to yellow.

For the best results, all bulbs, whether planted and growing outdoors or in pots inside, should be fed after flowering. For the outdoor ones, I use Growmore straight after flowering.

The indoor ones I either put outside in their pots or plant them. Either way, they need feeding and I normally give them some Baby Bio; they lap it up.

Talking of the after care of bulbs, the Royal Horticultural Society did trials some years ago to find out how long the leaves of daffs and other narcissi should be left on after flowering.

The clear answer was six weeks. Even five weeks reduced flowering the following spring.

Pipit, showing the subtle two-tone lemon colours

 

Nor does this refer just to cutting back the foliage. Tying the leaves into beastly little knots, like the edge of a cheap carpet, is just as bad.

The whole point is that spring flowering bulbs need a period of growth after flowering during which they build up their strength for the next flowering.

By far the greatest source of energy during this period is sunlight because it is this which, through photosynthesis, brings the bulb up to flowering size.

If, therefore, the leaves are either cut off or tied up so that only a fraction of their foliage can absorb the sunlight, the bulbs will not be able to fatten up before the leaves die. Simple as that.

Peter Blackburne-Maze

Jonathan’s tips.

Plant further sowings on peas and beans to keep crops coming through the season.

Weed & feed the lawn and mow regularly.

Prune your forsythia and if you are lucky enough to have a fig it’s a good time for pruning that also.

Annuals can be planted out towards the end of the month after the risk of frosts.

As Spring Flowering Bulbs die back, feed them with bone meal ready for next season’s flowering.

Blood, fish and bone for all shrubs and apply rose feed to roses and conifers.

As climbing plants begin to grow, tie in the new growth regularly.

If a frost is forecast protect spring blossom with fleece.

Hand pollination of peaches and apricots will help fruit production.

Jonathan Piercy

 

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