September 14, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

  • The rule of thumb for pruning is to do it straight after flowering. So pruning daphnes and pinching out luculias now will encourage bushy growth. Daphne odora (the common scented one) and Daphne bholua (the Himalayan one) both benefit from regular pruning to stop them from getting leggy and twiggy. You can be drastic on bholua but it pays to be more conservative with odora. Thinning every year will encourage the plant to put on more attractive, strong, juvenile growth.
  • While the weather is dry, you can start the spring round on pesky wandering jew (tradescantia) before it makes its bid for world domination. It is dreadfully invasive. If you decide to hand pull it, you have to remove it altogether or every little bit will grow again where you leave it. Grazon is a heavy duty spray but will knock it for six but you need a follow up spray in a month’s time. Amitrol works well too and is readily available for the home gardener. Don’t waste your time with Round Up on it.
  • It is full steam ahead in the vegetable garden preparing beds for planting. Dig them over, add in compost and blood and bone and let them settle for about three weeks before planting.
  • Pruning out any dead wood from shrubs such as rhododendrons improves their appearance considerably and pruning tends to be more fun than weeding.
  • You can still lift and divide hostas but time is running out as they are in growth. This also means that every slug and snail in the vicinity will be packing their bags and moving in to munch them. Laying a ring of sawdust, sand or grit can act like a barrier and discourage them from sliming across to reach the delectable shoots.
  • It is good time to give your spring bulbs a feed of blood and cone as they finish flowering. This growth period is critical for them to build strength in the bulb for next year’s flowering. If your daffodils have not set flower buds it is either because they are too shaded or they are too congested and need to be divided up for next spring.