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Gardening Tips February 6th 2015.

Happy New Year Everyone.
Another year has flown by and it is time to think about the garden again with Spring just around the corner. Lots of the early flowering bulbs; such as Snow Drops and Crocuses will soon be followed by Daffodils and Tulips, but The Garden Centres have a good selection of Summer Flowering bulbs in packets now, to plant a little later, and follow on from these. Freesias, Gladiolas, Liatris, Lilies and Nerines are just a few of them. If you still want to plant Daffodils and Tulips you will have to buy them in pots already growing. If you like Begonias for baskets and tubs it is time to start these corms into growth now as well. It is best to lay them in a dish, or tray of compost and gently spray them until they shoot and then they can be potted.

There is still quite a bit of pruning in the garden to do as Buddleias can be cut down very low now if desired to reduce their height because they put on a terrific amount of growth in one year. If the stems are long, straight and firm they can be dried and used later for supporting flowering annuals, or perennials. Alan has used them quite often in the past, although they won’t last for many years unlike Bamboo canes. Alternatively, if you have a garden shredder the stems will go though easily as they have no leaves on and the shreddings can then be used as a mulch. Late fruiting Raspberries should be cut right down to the ground now. It may seem harsh, but the new canes will quickly grow for Autumn fruiting. One other plant that you might not think of pruning is an outdoor Grape Vine. These should be cut back hard leaving little more than the main stems and framework as they will fruit on new growth and they will put on a lot of new growth in one season!

There is a large selection of Potatoes about in the shops now and if you are going to Chit them it is time to start Earlies in a cool frost free place. Ideally they should be put in something like cardboard egg boxes to start them into growth and wake up the eyes up before planting in mid March. There is also a good choice of Onions for Easter planting. Garlic should be growing well now, but if you see Elephant garlic and don’t know about it - the bulbs grow bigger than the ordinary one and they do not split into small Cloves. Each bulb can be cooked whole and eaten like an Apple and it is milder than ordinary Garlic.

Our Onions off the Allotment lasted until about the second week in January, but we still have some of the beetroot that Alan dug up and stored in dry compost in the garage away from the reach of Mice. We also have Parsnips that we dig up as required and lots of Kale. If you simply cut the head off the Kale to harvest it and leave the main stem in the ground it will yield another small head until it goes to seed in the Spring. It is said to be good for eyesight, but that may only be a gimmick to encourage us to eat more of it as it grows so easily. It does makes a nice change from Spinach and Cabbage though. I prefer the Black Kale to the more common Curly Kale. Jerusalem Artichokes should be planted now so that they have a long growing season. The newer type called “Fuseau,” is not so widely known as the older one, but it is easier to clean as it is not so knobbly. As an added bonus it also has rather attractive yellow flowers at the end of the season, whereas the traditional variety doesn’t. 

It is a bit early to sow most seeds, but some of the Hardy annuals can be sown now and fruit trees and bushes can still be planted. There are plenty in the Garden Centres to choose from with a lot of them reduced at the moment. You may consider growing a fruit bush in a large pot or tub. A Gooseberry bush can easily be grown in a large tub as it doesn’t mind poor soil and dryer conditions so much as some plants. Do remember to put it where no one will walk into its sharp thorns though! 

Well That’s All For Now. Cheerio. Frances Hartley


Gardening Tips Week Ending February 7th 2014.

Hello Folks
The weather is not doing too badly now the rain has eased off a bit. The birds are singing again and some have started nest building already. We were in a garden centre one day, in their café enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and piece of cake, when we heard a bird singing happily. Alan thought it was coming through the speakers with the piped music, but it was a Robin flitting round, going to and fro from various roof beams and other bits of building. Once he even landed right behind a Lady’s head and she just smiled and sat still. You don’t appreciate just how loud a song they make when they are outside, but it was very piercing, sounding over any noise from children shouting, the rattle of the café, or even the music. It was lovely to hear though and seemed to fit the surroundings of the garden centre shop and café. I was reminded that when we had our, Nursery come Garden Centre, we had a Robin that nested on a shelf behind some pottery in a large wooden double garage that was used as a retail shop. We kept all the children away unless they were very quiet so as not to disturb the nest too much. The Robin laid some eggs that hatched and she reared her young. We used to see them group up on the roof beams and flutter about a bit until they were old enough and then they flew away. They must have made a mess, but she had them well trained not too mess around the nest to prevent predators as we never saw any mess.

Gardening programmes seem to be trying to encourage us to buy only English grown cut flowers of which we have a good selection. Some can easily be grown from seed and later on in the season, no doubt, there will be packs of 6 or more available from Garden Centres and shops for us to grow on ourselves. We have seen single plants in pots ready for planting out now, but of course single plants will be a lot more expensive. There are more varieties of plants suitable for cut flowers than you might first think. From seed to name a few are; Sweet Peas, Antirhinums, Poppies, Gailardia, Corn Flowers, Rudbeckia, Alliums, Honesty, or Lunaria and even Pentstemons are very pretty, but there are many more.
I do not personally buy imported flowers for the house as even in the Winter, when there are no flowers for cutting in the garden, some of our shrubs look nice with sprays of little flowers that can be cut and put in water. Viburnum Tynus is evergreen and produces white flowers in the late
Autumn and Winter. The sprays of flowers last well in water and are slightly scented. Jasmine Nudiflorum is another pretty Winter flowering shrub with it’s small yellow flowers. Even some leafy foliage looks nice cut and arranged in a vase. For a larger display, variegated Laurel, or Acuba Japonica, put with a small leafed plain green, such as Box, or Yew, looks nice.

Even now it is not too late to put Spring flowering bulbs in. They are still on sale in some garden centres, often with the packets reduced in price to clear them out and some centres have Spring bulbs already growing in pots ready to pop here and there in odd spaces, or in tubs. Some bulbs, such as Snowdrops, are best bought when they are already in growth like this and “In the green,” as they say, because they can be a bit temperamental. If, when you are buying bulbs, you don’t know anything about them, all packets of bulbs have the times of flowering, the height they grow to and right depth of planting for the bulb on the packet. In case you are puzzled about the Metric measurements they put on the packets for depth and height, and are still working in “old Money,” like me, it is roughly 2 ½ centimetres to the inch. For instance 10 centimetres is 4 inches and 30 centimetres is about one foot.
Well, That’s all for now. Cheerio.
Frances Hartley 


Gardening Tips For Week Ending 1st February 2013.

Hello Folks
At the time of writing this we are having a bit of winter weather again with more than a little snow. Hopefully, it will help to kill off many of the bugs and diseases that seem to be appearing. I think so many of them are being brought in on imported plants which have not been certified clean, although all imported plants are supposed to be thoroughly inspected and some problems may be coming in with cuttings that are often smuggled in. If you want to grow something unusual that you see abroad, it is better to buy seed from well-known seed firms rather than bringing seeds and cuttings into the country in coat pockets etc.

I have gained two more Amaryllis, or to give them their correct name, Hippeastrums. I changed one bulb with a friend who doesn’t like them, for something I had which I didn’t like, and one I bought because it was going cheap as it was the last they had and had lost its box. I now have 8 bulbs leafing up, so have given them all a feed of tomato feed that helps with flowering. The others I have are all different ages from about 5 years old onwards.

As soon as the snow goes Broad Beans can be sown directly into the ground and the ground can also be prepared ready for general seed sowing a littler later for things like climbing and Runner Beans. Both need plenty of moisture as they grow so it is best to make a trench about 8inches deep where you intend to grow them. Then put a few sheets of newspaper in the bottom and if you can get it, a layer of horse manure, or if not, use some good garden compost and add some pelleted feed such as Growmore, or processed Chicken Manure pellets which you can see being sold everywhere now. Finally, top up with soil and leave for the worms to mix it all up until planting time comes.

It is still too cold at the moment of writing, but by the time you hear this it may have warmed up a little and may be time to start to wake up things like Chrysanthemums, Fuchsias and Geraniums. As the shoots start to appear they can be given a little water, but not too much and certainly not if there are still a lot of frosts about and they are in a cold greenhouse. Too much water will encourage any cut stems and old leaves to rot that will in turn will spread around your greenhouse on to your other plants. As your old Chrysanthemum stools start to shoot you can cut some of the young shoots that will appear from below the soil. If done at the right time these should be ready rooted and when potted will grow quickly. Another thing that might like a tiny spot of water occasionally are Dahlia tubers. Do not give them a proper drink yet, but on the other hand they should not be allowed to get too dry, especially if they are in a warm house. Again if the weather is starting to show signs of improving you can Chit potatoes in shallow compost in seed trays. These will then get off to a flying start when they are finally planted out after the worst of the frosts have gone. When they are planted in the ground though they may need “Earthing Up,” straight away if any frosts are forecast to protect the tender foliage.

Another job for late February is hard pruning grape vines to shape them ready for the new season and also pruning “Late,” fruiting Raspberries. Unlike the “Summer,” fruiting types these should be cut down hard, right to the ground now, as they will fruit on the new canes grown in the new season.

That is all for now. Cheerio.
Frances Hartley.

Gardening Tips For Week Ending Feb 3rd 2012

Hello Folks
                    Time flies, but there is still time to make good use of the greenhouse before seed sowing time. In the winter so many greenhouses are simply used as dumping places for old plant pots, unused garden tools and old boxes, etc, which is a shame. There are so many plants that will benefit from a little extra winter protection.

Obviously pots of things like Bay Trees and Figs which can suffer when it is very cold and plants that aren’t very hardy such as Citrus can make good use of the greenhouse, but other plants can be saved that many people simply throw away when they have finished flowering, such as Dwarf Pot Chrysanthemums.  If you have a pot of Chrysanth’s that have long finished flowering it is a good idea to tip them out of the pot and you will probably find 3 or more plants which can be separated. The plant nurseries pot many other plants like this as well these days including a lot of young shrubs, so that pots of plants look fuller without them having to grow the plants for a long time.  Plants grown like this can be potted individually to grow on, but if you do this with Chrysanths, especially at this time of year, they must be kept on the dry side, or else they will quickly rot. Only give them a little tiny drop to settle them in when you re-pot them. Re-potted Chrysanthemums will not be so short as they were when you had them, because they would have been specially treated with a dwarfing chemical spray that is only sold to commercial growers, but if you pinch out the growing tips they will branch out to make fuller plants that will make a nice show in the garden.

Apart from filling the staging with tender plants, another way to make more use of the greenhouse is to grow things under the staging. This isn’t so silly as it sounds because not only can you chit things like Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes at this time of year, but you can also start pots of bulbs off as well, at any time of the season.

A few weeks ago Alan dug up a couple of dozen Chicory roots that he had tried growing, for the first time, in his allotment. It is the first time that I have even seen them growing so they are new to me as well, but he has potted them 3 or 4 together, in 3 or 4 inches of compost, in the bottom of some big old pots that we had previously bought trees in. With a big plastic tray over the tops of the pots the “Chicons” will have 6 or 7 inches of space in the big pots to grow in the dark. In fact he had so many he has stacked them up like a tower block!

Many garden centres are selling Mushroom kits, so Alan has put a pack of those under the staging because they obviously like the dark as well.

We did so well with the Tomatoes at the allotments last year that we have decided not to put so many in the greenhouse this time. Instead we are going to try some Sweet Potatoes down one side. We like sweet Potatoes, the pale orange ones, as they can be boiled and mashed, or roasted the same as ordinary potatoes, but they have a real taste of their own instead of being bland like ordinary potatoes. At one of the garden centres we saw some soft-sided plastic tubs about 4 foot long and 2 ½ feet deep divided into 3 sections set in a metal type frame. They were being sold as compost bins, but us being different we had other ideas. Alan said how about putting one in the greenhouse for Sweet Potatoes as they don’t grow very well in this country without protection. Now one of the compost bins is sitting on the floor of the greenhouse and quickly getting filled with some compost out of our compost heap mixed in with spent compost out of old pots that are being emptied and a little pelleted slow release fertilizer for good measure.

It is still not to late to do a little heavy pruning of many shrubs and trees before the sap starts to rise, but with things like fruit trees you will lose all the fruit buds if you are not careful and that may not be just be for one year as many need mature wood to fruit on. It is definitely too late to prune Grape Vines as the buds are already swelling which means their sap is rising and they will “bleed” if cut. The same can be said of things like Peach trees, because they flower very early in the season and ours has buds on that are showing colour already. Heavy pruning will encourage vigorous, strong new growth, but can also be used to drastically alter the shape of a tree. Lighter pruning of thinner branches can be done in the Summer to trim out untidy stems and this is also a better time to shape up fruit trees and bushes, so you don’t lose the next years fruit and also to make fruiting “Spurs,” but do remember that bigger branches of trees will bleed badly then and may need some special attention. Generally speaking then, it is a good “rule of thumb,” to cut, or lightly prune, most plants just after they have finished flowering and fruiting, and do heavy pruning in the winter.
Well that’s all I can think of for now.
Frances Hartley.

Gardening Tips Week Ending February 4rth 2011

  Hello Folks

                    Spring maybe coming early again this year, and with any luck, will be very warm like last year, with no late frosts. It’s time to check and clean out all the debris and leaves from your water tubs, because you will be wanting the water again soon. Hopefully, none of you have found like we did, that they were split from the intense and prolonged frosts. We had two of the tall cylindrical ones split, but all the square ones were alright. So, next Winter, we will empty all of them to be safe.

Last month I mentioned planting bulbs in the garden that have grown and flowered in pots in the house. All of them need to go in deeper than they were in the pots, especially Hyacinths that are normally grown on the surface of the compost in pots.

Now is the time to think about sorting out pots and seed trays ready for seed sowing time which will soon be here. Parsley can go in this month and I find that if you water the soil with hot water where Parsley seed is going, before covering the seed lightly with some soil, you get better germination. Don’t forget to label all your trays as you do them though! The Runner Bean trench can be prepared now if you haven’t already done it. I suggest taking out about 8” of soil and putting in a layer of about 3 sheets of newspaper, then a layer of rough compost or leaf mould, some water retaining gel and mix some slow release fertilizer such as Growmore in with the soil as you top up. Then leave the bed alone ‘till the end of April or even into May depending on the weather forecast. Preparing the bed early will give any dormant seeds and weeds chance to grow before you plant your beans, so that you won’t have to start weeding for some weeks after planting.

Perennials such as Lupins, Delphiniums, Geums and many others that were planted the previous season should be showing some nice green shoots now, or at least some very fat buds. Perennials will be on sale in some of the garden centres now, but really they are better from plant nurseries where they will have been grown and over-wintered outside in this country instead of being freshly imported and probably have been grown in warm poly tunnels. I know of 3 good nurseries near Stafford and Eccleshall, but there may well be more that I haven’t found yet.

More and more Gooseberries plants for sale are seen growing like little quarter standards with a tall bare stem and the bush on top. Apparently the reason for this is the female grub of the Gooseberry Sawfly doesn’t like crawling up a lot of bare stem to lay her eggs and will leave such plants alone. This means no eggs are laid and no grubs to strip your plants of leaves when the warm weather comes. If you have Gooseberries they like a little wood ash round on the soil if you can get it from a bonfire or the like. All fruit bushes and trees should have a little Potassium Permanganate scattered round them on the soil to feed the fruit buds and any fruit that has large stones such as Plums, Peaches and Apricots may need a little sprinkling of garden lime for the stones to form. The lime also helps to stop embryo fruits from dropping.

Well that’s all for now
Frances Hartley

Gardening Tips For Week Ending 5th February 2010

                    Hello Folks

                                       It’s the start of another gardening year so lets hope it will be a better year weather wise. I have already made a start with early seed sowing, but not with annuals and only have a few Delphiniums potted so far. They can be sown in the Autumn as they are usually grown like a Bi-annual, ie, they grow one year to flower the following year, but if started early will do as well.

My son is helping me a lot more now as I can’t do so much since having my second hip done last spring. He has dug and prepared the Runner Bean trench and laid slabs to make paths so that it is easier to get at the beds; specially round the raspberries.

February is a good time to begin to start sowing Hardy Annuals and a few others. If Sweet Peas were not started in the Autumn, get them in as soon as possible. Instead of chitting the seeds, which is a fiddly job even if you have god eyesight, put the seeds in saucers of hot water for an hour and then sow them. When big enough, 2-3 inches or so, pinch out the tips and pot into 3 ½ inch pots, or into the long peat pots that will rot in the ground. After potting on, stand the plants in a cold frame, or cold greenhouse, until planting time comes around in April.

Some of the herb seeds can go in now, Basil, Oregano and Parsley are probably the most popular, but having said that a lot of people find Parsley difficult to germinate. I have my own way and it very rarely fails. Level the compost in your seed tray and gently firm it down. Next pour some really hot water over the compost and sow the seeds immediately on the hot soil and cover lightly. Put the tray in a plastic bag and place in a fairly dark, but warmish place. When the seedlings appear transfer the tray to a light place, a window ledge is ideal.

Spring flowering bulbs are on sale already potted in most garden centres. Bulbs for very early flowering such as Crocus – Ixias – Scillas and Snowdrops, to name but a few, are the main ones. These can be planted and left in situ’ for next year. They are probably a bit dearer buying them this way, but at least you can see them shooting and know they will grow alright which is quite important with Snowdrops at least, as they can be difficult to get shooting from dry bulbs.

Old flowering stems on perennials, that have been left on to give Winter protection for the new seasons shoots, can now be cut off and put on the compost heap. It is too early to hard prune shrubs and bushes like Buddleia and Roses yet, but dead flowers can be nipped off if not already done as some Roses flowered very late last year. If you had Black Spot on the leaves make sure the leaves have all been collected up and disposed off properly, because if they are left to rot, they will infect the soil all round them and you will get Black Spot again the next year. Do not compost them as the infection will contaminate your compost heap. This is also important to remember if you are in the habit of composting vegetable waste from your Kitchen. It was such a wet year last year it is possible that you may have the odd potato with Potato Blight on and if you throw these on the compost heap they will infect other plants such as Tomatoes.

Bye for now.
Frances Hartley


Gardening Tips Week Ending Feb 7th 2009

Hello folks

                        Hope this year will be better than last year’s wash out when a lot of fruit rotted, although we have not exactly had a dry Winter so far.

I grew all sorts of bulbs in pots last year and after they had finished in the Autumn we planted them in the garden along with some new bulbs that we bought cheaply just before Christmas. They are coming up thick and fast now and I am looking forwards to being able to have a lot of my own cut flowers instead of buying them.

There seem to be bigger selections of seeds each year in Garden Centres and garden catalogues with quite a lot of new vegetable seeds as well now besides all the flowers. We shall probably try a few new vegetables in pots as we haven’t really got much space left with all the fruit trees we planted last year. I like to get my seeds as soon as they are put out for sale and then they are stored in an old biscuit tin in the garage to keep them cool and out of the way of mice. Usually I get better germination as they remain more viable if kept cool as some of the shops that sell them are very warm.

Buddleias should be heavily pruned about the end of February and even if you cut into old wood they will shoot again. If Buddleias are not cut back hard they can grow far too big, especially for small gardens.

If you have stored your Dahlia tubers for the Winter, or bought new ones, they can gently be started into growth now by just putting them in trays on some slightly damp compost and keeping them cool, but frost free. When good, new shoots, appear and are 2-3 inches long they can be cut off and used as ordinary cuttings which you can root if you want some extra plants.

Tree ties should be checked to make sure they are still firm after the strong winds, but not strangling trees. A space should be left between trees and stakes to prevent rubbing and this is best done by putting the ties on in a figure eight shape.

To finish, the old fruiting canes, of Autumn fruiting Raspberries from last year, should be cut right down now, as they will fruit on the new canes.

Well that’s all for now

Frances Hartley



Gardening Tips Week Ending Feb 2nd 2008

Hello folks

Spring is on it’s way and things are beginning to wake up in the garden now. If you grow Chrysanthemums it is time to take cuttings, but don’t take the cuttings from the stem as they will not be much good, take them from the new shoots coming at the base of the old plant. You can put 5 or 6 round the edge of a 5½ inch pot. I use compost with extra grit added to pot them in and a little Silver Sand sprinkled on top of the compost. When you push the cuttings into the compost make sure some of the silver Sand goes in with them. The compost should be damp, but not wet, before you put the pot in a plastic bag, tie the top of the bag and keep it in a cool and shady, but not dark place. After leaving it for about a month the cuttings should have developed some good rots and be ready for potting.

If you want Snowdrops in the garden it is better to buy them (in the green) in pots ready growing and plant them as soon as the flowers show signs of fading. Snowdrops are such tiny bulbs that they dry out very quickly so do not grow well from shop bought packeted bulbs.

If you have room in the greenhouse it is a good idea to take a bag of compost inside it to get any frost out and take the chill off it before you use it for planting. I have noticed most garden Centres are selling 3 X 70 litre bags for £10. This is a good price, but if you don’t want 3 bags you might be able to share with a neighbour or friend, to take advantage of the offer, it is certainly worth a try.

If you haven’t sown any Sweet Peas yet they can still be done. I like to soak mine for 5 or 6 hours first before planting. It is easier and safer than trying to chit them. After germinating, pot them up as small as you can handle them and when they have developed two pairs of true leaves pinch out the tips to make them bush out. Sweet Peas make long roots, so, either pot them singly in small deep pots, or in toilet roll inners stood in a tray of compost. You can pot the Sweet Peas into special deep Sweet Pea pots that you can buy from garden Centres. These special pots can be planted in the garden without removing the plants from the pots as they will rot down in the soil after planting, which means no root disturbance for the Sweet Peas and also means they will get away quicker making better plants.

Cuttings can now be taken from any Geraniums, that you saved out of your bedding display before the Winter, if they are shooting, as the old plants will have plenty of time to make some more shoots. The old plants can be watered now, but only sparingly.

I have some upright, slow growing, Euonymous which are evergreen and they have quite a lot of yellow in the leaves that makes a splash of colour during dull Winter days. If you have a bare piece of fence why not plant a Winter flowering Jasmine. They produce yellow flowers on a bare stem in the winter and then the leaves appear in the Spring, or after the flowers have finished. If you have a fairly large space what about a prickle free Golden Holly which can be pruned heavily if need be. The winter sun will make the leaves shine.

Well that’s all for now

Frances Hartley

Feb 4rth

Hello Folks

                                       We have had a few frosty nights but I think Spring is on its way as daffodils are starting to make an appearance and the birds are getting very lively. There is a tub on our patio with some water in it and a thrush comes nearly every day for a bath. Sometimes one or two small birds wait on the edge for their turn.

Cut down old late fruiting Raspberry canes and it will soon be time to cut the Buddleias down as well. I like to cut mine down very low the last week in February. They will make plenty of new growth for flowering then. Hebe plants have been burnt with the frost this year but should be alright if all the frost damage is cut off when the weather improves. 

The garden centres have started getting the modules of seedlings in now as well as small pots of Geraniums. If the Geraniums are in peat pots just pot them as they are as the roots will grow through the peat pots. Sometimes the plants are in small special plastic pots with lots of holes in which are called rooting pots. The spaces in the walls of these pots will allow the roots to grow through as well so there is no need to disturb these plants either.

It is a bit early to buy modules of Buzzy Lizzies or Petunias unless you have a heated greenhouse. Sweet Peas will be alright in a cold greenhouse or cold frame and should be ready to have their tips pinched.

Well I think that is all for now so cheerio everybody.      

Gardening Tips Article Feb 23rd 2007

Hello folks

                    It’s a new growing year and we have had a decent fall of snow which I hope is the last of the winter, but at least the cold spell will have killed off most of the aphids and helped to break up your soil if you remembered to loosely dig the vegetable patch before the winter.

I saved some of my Geraniums from last years bedding by plunging the roots in dry compost without their pots, in an unheated greenhouse. I had lined the roof of the greenhouse with bubble polythene before the winter and when I put the plants into it I covered them with horticultural fleece for a little more protection. The Geraniums had no water all winter, but now that I have potted them I have given them just a drop and brought them into the house to bring them on so that I can take cuttings from them when they shoot.

The garden centres are now getting their stocks of young plants in that are potted in modules for those that want to make an early start and who have a greenhouse to keep them in until the weather warms up in the spring. I have bought a few more Geraniums and potted them on, because if we have a hot dry summer, they will like the conditions better than Busy Lizzies, Petunias or Trailing Lobelia. Trailing Geraniums and Trailing Begonias also look good in tubs as an alternative to lobelia. It is useful to have a few pots to fill in gaps and if you have a shady spot that needs brightening up pots of Busy Lizzies, Petunias and the fibrous rooted Begonias will grow well there.

Going back to Begonias for baskets, there are a good selection of corms about now. To start them off place them in trays with compost, but do not cover the tops of the corms with compost and just lightly moisten them. Unlike most bulbs they do not need covering and will stand on a fairly shady windowsill until they are shooting when they will need more light and can be potted up.

Well that’s all for now. Cheerio.

Frances Hartley.


Gardening Tips 26th February 2006

Hi Folks

                    The Christmas Roses (Helebores) will soon be finished flowering. I don’t normally do very well with the white ones, but the purple ones started flowering well, in late November. When the flowers have finished I like to put a handful of Growmore round the plants. When bulbs such as Daffodils and Tulips have finished, cut the dead flower stems off and scatter some growmore round them as well to feed the leaves that in turn will feed the bulbs for next year.

The winter flowering cherries will soon be flowering, smothering the trees with small pink or white flowers. If anyone wants the name they are called, “Prunus Autumnallis.”

Walking round the village it is nice to see the white of the snowdrops mixed with the yellow and purple crocuses. Winter flowering Pansies with their little faces make a splash of colour as well.

I shall be putting some tomato seeds in any day now so that in about 6 weeks they will be ready to go into a cold greenhouse. I have lined the greenhouse with bubble polythene and will keep some horticultural fleece handy in case we have any late frosty nights.

If you have kept any Geraniums and find they are growing well you can take cuttings from them to increase your stock. The plants will soon put some more growth on and become all the bushier for their trim. When rooting Geraniums do not use rooting powder but a thin layer of silver sand sprinkled on the surface of the compost will help rooting.


                             Cheerio For Now

                                       Frances Hartley