Wow – we’ve certainly had some hot weather this week! We got into the habit of getting out into the garden early, working till lunchtime and then scuttling inside to escape the heat during the afternoons.
I expect you’ve been doing some sun-dodging too, though I have heard from Caroline that raincoats are still required in the Highlands! There are definitely some jobs to do, sunshine or not, like potting-on and pruning clematis, so let’s get on with it………………….
You may have bought some small plants earlier in the year, grown on seedlings that have now out-grown their container, have pot-bound house-plants, or be moving on rooted cuttings, but the techniques for potting-on remain the same.
I germinated a number of chillies from seed this year, and am growing them in pots in the greenhouse. My own call to action was when I noticed that the roots were starting to come through the bottom into the capillary matting.
Here’s a tried-and-tested method for successful potting-on:
- Select a clean pot that is no more than twice the diameter of the original one and some fresh compost.
- Water the plant well, then tip it upside-down with one hand spread over the rim of the pot. Tap the rim gently if it doesn’t drop out easily.
- If the roots are wound round each other, tease some out and even trim some of them to encourage them to make new roots in the fresh pot.
- Put the plant on a bed of compost in the centre of the new pot, and fill up the sides so that the plant sits at the same level it was before. Firm in the compost, then give the pot a really good soaking to make sure the roots are in good contact with the soil of its lovely new home.
By the way, if it’s a more established plant that you want to move into a bigger pot, I bet you’d find a container root knife a really useful tool to prize the roots away from the internal pot wall. Laura gives us a demo of the technique in a video – link is at the bottom. AND we have a special offer on them this week in our shop!
Cutting back clematis
Oooooh, I have LOVED the performance of most of my clematis this summer. They enjoyed the wet spring, then smiled in the sunshine, and really put on a great show.
You will find that the popular large-flowered June clematis (‘Group 2’) are finishing now – e.g. ‘Nelly Moser’ and her buddies.
But did you know that if you cut back each stem that flowered to a pair of good buds lower down, you might well have another smaller flush of the lovely blooms later in the summer? Once you’ve finished trimming the plant back in this way, give it a really good watering and a liquid feed to put it more in the mood for a second flowering.
If you don’t actually achieve more flowers in August/September, then at the very least you’ll have tidied up the plant so that it’s not too much of an eyesore among your late summer garden beauties.
- Keep taking the side shoots out from tomato plants that you are growing as cordons, leaving the main stem to carry the trusses of fruit. I now start to take off the leaves below the lowest truss of fruit, which lets more light and warmth in to ripen the baby tomatoes.
And I will pinch out the top of the main stem when six trusses are in development – I want the plants to concentrate their minds on maturing those, rather than endlessly producing more that might not ripen by the end of the summer.
- Verbena bonariensis looks as gorgeous in a vase as it does waving around above a summer border, but there can be a problem with falling petals. If you sear the ends of the stems in boiling water for a few seconds before arranging them, the petals are much less likely to drop.
- I was delighted to hear a thrush tapping snail shells against the stone steps yesterday evening – someone keeping up the good fight against the number one garden pest according to many horticultural surveys! Thank heavens that the mollusc pellets carrying poisons are being banned everywhere, so we are not poisoning our birdlife as well by their use. I came across a recipe for a very eco-friendly brew that you can spray on your most susceptible plants to deter these destructive critters: gentle boil up 2 full bulbs of garlic in 2 litres of water until they are soft. Squash them down with a fork and then pass the solution through a sieve to get rid the skins. Use in a spray once a week in the ratio of 2tbns to 5 litres of water.
- A dry compost heap will not rot down the material properly – so water it well and then cover it with polythene or cardboard to hold in the moisture.
- The CEO of the Environment Agency says that putting a pond in a garden is the single best thing we could all do for biodiversity. Here is a link to a site which tells you in pleasingly simple terms how to build yourself a garden pond.
Here is the link to the demonstration Laura gives on how to use our super container knife.
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