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Notes from the Garden Shed

September Notes

Old Gumboot is on holiday but sent a postcard saying “weed, weed, water and weed again are the main tasks at the moment. More next time………..”

Fun Garden & Craft Show Saturday 9th September

As you will see from the back pages of Clecs Bro Cader, it is Show Time again, so have a look at the schedule and decide what you are going to enter this year.

Even if you are not into “growing your own” there are plenty of other classes to choose from, so get baking and making! There is a Children’s section too, so why not while away the last few days of the school holiday and get creative.

All entries must be brought to the Pavilion between 8.30am and 10am on Saturday 9th September. Prize giving will start at 12.30pm and items can then be removed between 1pm and 1.30pm.

Further information from Chris Fuller 01559 384499

June Notes

Spring has finally arrived here in West Wales, we have been enjoying a really fine display of wild flowers in the fields and road verges, let’s hope that the local authority do not cut them down before they have set seed.

During the recent spell of good weather, ‘old gumboot’ took himself and the Memsahib across the sea to the south east of Ireland, where we enjoyed visiting several historic sites and ‘heritage gardens’. By far the most impressive was a 2 acre walled vegetable and fruit garden known as Colclough garden ( pronounced “Coke-Lee”) it was set up in the 1830s as part of Tintern Abbey.

As this area suffers from a higher than normal rainfall, most of the crops are grown on ‘ridges’ which are banked up prior to planting, these are like potato ridges but bigger. Rhubarb seems to thrive under these conditions as there were about 30 rows in full leaf, they looked enormous as they were also grown on top of these ridges. Potatoes too were being grown in this manner, but their ridges were 4-5 foot wide with 2 rows running along the top of each ridge, this is a very labour intensive method of growing, but it would help to prevent the tubers from rotting in the wet conditions.

I would recommend a trip to the Wexford/ Waterford area to see the interesting rural landscapes, lovely little villages and of course the extremely friendly people.

This part of the year is usually the busiest in the garden, with planting, seed sowing etc taking place. but with so many jobs to do, it is easy to overlook the dreaded weeds, which are now beginning to grow strongly along with our border plants and vegetables.

Small young weeds may be simply sliced off with a sharp hoe, and left on the soil surface to wither in the sun. Larger weeds in amongst plants can be removed using a hand fork or a larger border fork, these larger weeds should be removed by the roots if possible. If you are happy to use a herbicide, there are many types available at the garden shop. I find the most effective ones to be ‘Glysophate’ based, but be sure to ask in the shop, or read the directions on the packing, to check on safety advice before buying.

Be very careful to avoid ‘spray drift’ from the sprayer nozzle, as a small amount of drift on to your plants and crops can be disastrous, so avoid spraying when the wind is blowing.

There are also ‘flame weeders’ available, these are like a blowlamp and run on either butane gas or kerosene, these literally scorch the weeds into submission .

Which ever method you use to control your weeds, it is still important to keep on top of them, by not allowing them to set seed, thereby preventing another generation of seedlings to germinate, indeed some seeds remain viable in the soil for several years. The old saying is very true even today “One years seeds means seven years weeds”.

Enjoy your garden and try not to become a slave to your weeds.

“Old Gumboot”

March Notes

What springs to mind when Chrysanthemums are mentioned? Would it be the large, perfectly incurved blooms of the typical florists’ Chrysanthemum, some of which are like giant coloured ‘ puff balls’ . Could it be the ‘pot mums’ that are sold all the year round as gift plants? I am sure most readers are not aware of just how many different types of this popular flowering plant exist.
If you are lucky enough to own a greenhouse or cool conservatory, you could try growing some large incurving types or Japanese Chrysanthemums, both could be timed to produce some prize blooms for the Christmas table. These are rather specialist plants and require plenty of attention, particularly to feeding, dis-budding etc, through the growing season, but your patience will be rewarded with some gorgeous blooms.

If you do not have the use of a greenhouse, there are still plenty of other types which grow happily in the garden. If a good display is required in a border, the ‘Korean’ type of Chrysanthemum will give a good bold display, from September through to the frosts in November. This versatile plant is available in various colours, and will make a large during their first year.
Another type suitable for cut flower production in the garden are the pom-pom and anemone flowered types, these will bloom right through until the frosts cut them down in late autumn. The ‘Rubellum’ type of chrysanthemum is also very colourful with large single flowers and yellow centres, these last extremely well in a vase in a cool room, but I prefer to leave them in the border where they provide an excellent show.
If you are keen to try some of these versatile perennials, you could send for an illustrated catalogue from ‘Woolman’s Chrysanthemums, this long established firm of Nurserymen have been providing young plants to generations of gardeners, and have bred many new varieties over the years. Their catalogue should be available by post and also online. They supply rooted cuttings in the spring, for potting on prior to planting out. (of course other growers are available)
If you should have some established Chrysanthemum plants in the garden, you could lift your favourite ones and bed them into large pots or trays in January. If they are placed in a greenhouse, new shoots will soon appear. New shoots make ideal cutting material for creating a new generation of plants, which will be ready for flowering in the Autumn.
If you are keen on Chrysanthemums it must be worth growing a few large flowered Japanese/Incurves for a fine display at Christmas time, single blooms are a horrific price from florists, sadly most of these wonderful blooms are imported as our growers are not subsidised and are not operating on a ‘level playing field’.
Happy gardening,      Old Gumboot