January 11, 2008 Weekly Garden Guide

  • The gentle rain this week is likely to cause an explosion of fresh weeds. Nothing beats vigilance on this battle frontline.
  • Do not delay on dividing autumn flowering bulbs such as nerines, colchicums and cyclamen hederafolium because they will be starting to go into growth. Nerines are best with their necks above ground and cyclamen are planted to a shallow depth only.
  • It is the last chance to get deciduous cuttings in. Hydrangeas and some viburnums root easily for the home gardener. So do grape cuttings and willows.
  • Deadheading and tidying up renga renga lilies makes them look a great deal more presentable now that they have finished their season of glory. Tidying around the bases may also reduce some of the snail infestation that can afflict them.
  • Keep trimming back wild and wayward wisteria shoots.
  • If you have not pruned your flowering cherry trees yet, then schedule it in. Now is the time to remove dead wood and witches broom. The latter is a fungal ailment, recognisable by much denser leaf growth and it needs to be cut out. These branches will not flower and can take over the tree. Cherry trees are not long lived in our climate. We are too damp and they suffer from root problems. If you have one in major decline which needs removing, do not plant another cherry tree in its place or it too is likely to suffer from root disease. This is probably the single best reason why avenues of matched cherry trees are not a good idea in Taranaki.
  • Take advantage of the rain this week (which soaked in to dry ground nicely) to keep your vegetable garden moist over the next month. It is easier to keep moisture levels up than to get water to penetrate bone dry ground.
  • If you have not yet summer pruned your apple trees, then do it now. Shorten the non fruiting branches back to half a dozen leaves which will encourage the formation of flower buds.
  • You have until the end of this month to continue planting corn and peas for late harvest. You can continue planting green beans into February.