This week 2 March 2007

  • It is planting time for spring bulbs so check out garden centres now to buy them loose in the pick and mix style of shopping. Don’t delay lifting and dividing clumps in the garden which you may have marked last season as due for renovation. They start to move into growth surprisingly early (lachenalias are already making root growth).
  • If you are not ready to plant the bulbs out straight away, plant them temporarily in pots. Some people like to start their anemones and ranunculus in trays to ensure good germination.
  • We don’t have an ideal climate for naturalising daffodils. They tend to flower well for the first year or two but with our good growing conditions, they can then multiply up too well and the high nitrogen levels make them put on lots of foliage but very few flowers. They will last longer if the ground is on the poor side. If you can remember where your congested patch is, you can dig and divide now and they should respond by flowering better in spring.
  • If you have agapanthus which set seed, be environmentally responsible and deadhead them as they finish flowering. This is particularly important if you live in the country, bordering reserve areas or by waterways. They have become a noxious weed in Northland. If you are going to plant agapanthus, and they have their place as a filler with attractive flowers, search out sterile plants which don’t set seed (ask at your garden centre) rather than taking somebody else’s surplus which may become rampant spreaders.
  • In the vegetable garden, it rates as the first week of autumn. Onions should be ready for harvesting. Keep on top of taking out the laterals on tomatoes (and grapes) and be vigilant with controlling pests and diseases in brassicas.
  • Remove last year’s fruiting canes on raspberries. They are now superfluous.