October 12, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

  • It is 3P1F this week. That is Panic, Plant and Prune. And Feed. Get woody trees and shrubs into the ground as fast as you can now so they can settle in before we start to dry out. We are only a few weeks off the time when temperatures can start to rise dramatically.
  • Most plants are best pruned straight after flowering. This is particularly true for rhododendrons, including vireyas. As soon as they have done their seasonal spurt of flower power, get in with the loppers if they need it. Rhododendrons only put on one growth spurt in spring so you need to prune before that happens so the plant can grow in the right places and channel its energies where you want it.
  • It is important to allow bulbs such as daffodils and bluebells to take their own time to die down and become dormant. Do not cut off their green leaves and tying the foliage in knots is pretty tacky. If the splayed foliage worries you, tying a clump loosely with a narrow thread of flax leaf looks greatly preferable to knots.
  • If you grow lilies, watch for aphid infestations now. These nasty little suckers may be responsible for spreading virus in lilies and are best eliminated. Serious inorganic growers will use Orthene but there is a range of pyrethrum based aphid sprays which are less heavy duty.
  • It is full steam ahead in the vegetable garden preparing for L Day (that is Labour Day planting, a time honoured tradition). Corn can be started in little pots to be planted out in three weeks time.
  • Thin out early sowings of vegetables.
  • Earth up potatoes and keep a copper spray on them to keep blight at bay. Broad beans also need a copper spray every few weeks to stop rust.
  • If you want to boost growth in the vege garden, a light sprinkling of blood and bone is a good move at this time.