This week 9 February 2007

  • Now that summer finally seems to have made an appearance, there is not a huge amount you can do, or maybe want to do in the garden. Sitting under a large tree sipping a mint julep, perhaps? But do stay on top of watering container plants – most will need it every day now if there is no rain.
  • Cutting the spent flower heads off hostas makes them look a great deal better. If you want to save the hosta seed for sowing, be aware that the vast majority of seed will come up plain green, no matter what the parent is. The yellows can throw a higher proportion of coloured seedlings but variegations of any sort will be rare.
  • If you have not yet got around to it, do any chainsaw or heavy pruning work on flowering cherry trees now.
  • Well organised gardeners will have potted colour ready now to bring in and brighten up dull or bare patches of the flower garden through to autumn. Less well organised gardeners can buy the plants rather than starting them from seed.
  • Spray citrus trees with summer strength copper and oil for mites if you have not done so yet.
  • Keep brassicas clear of cabbage white caterpillars by using a bacterial spray. Your garden centre can advise you on best options. These are safe to humans and there is little or no with holding period before it is safe to eat the produce.
  • On the subject of sprays, the new boy on the block, Confidor, has now been approved for use in the vegetable garden and only has a with holding period of three days. We have used it for some time on ornamentals to treat whitefly infestations, weevils and other difficult to deal with insect infestations. It has been available for a while in sachets for houseplants but is now available to the home gardener in larger quantities and appears to be one of the safer and more effective options around.