This week 22 Dec 2006

  • Sit back and enjoy the garden and visitors and family who may be around.
  • If you want the garden to look good for visitors and have left your run rather late at least mow the lawns. If time allows for more presentation, in descending order of importance the following tasks will make your place looked cared for: define path and garden edges, sweep or blower vac sealed areas, leaf rake soft surface tracks, trim hedges in prominent positions and prune sludgy rose blooms. Removing any junk or large debris also helps. That is about all you can plan for in a short space of time.
  • When bonding with family and friends gets too much, you can retreat outdoors and cut back spent flowers on annuals and perennials, water container plants if we get three days in a row without rain (faint hope), or thin out overcrowded spring bulbs while you can still remember where they are.
  • Stay on top of the weeding. It pays to have a bucket or barrow beside you to put the weeds in, especially if you have that nasty little cress which can explode and spurt out seeds over a wide radius. Don’t put seeding weeds in your compost unless you manage it as a hot mix. Otherwise you will be spreading the seed next season with the compost. Putting seeding weeds in a black plastic bag in the sun to bake them first is a good precaution.
  • If you have a hybrid clematis that has finished flowering, it can be cut back hard, fed and watered and it will take about six weeks before it delights you with a second flowering season.
  • There will be no fresh raspberries in this household for Christmas. Despite best efforts, the cold spring just has not encouraged ripening in time. We have eaten all the fresh peas, dug all the first crop new potatoes and the strawberries are past their peak. Mark is feeling a failure and we will have to resort to the fruiterer or supermarket. He says we will at least be able to have rhubarb pie.
  • This is peak time for pests in the garden. If you can’t be bothered making your own concoctions out of rhubarb leaves and soapy water, garden centres sell organic alternatives which are often safer or kinder than manufactured chemical sprays. If you use chemical sprays, watch out for the withholding period before it is safe to eat produce.