Organic spray for blackspot on RosesIn a 10litre bucket of water add 5 tablespoons of baking soda and a couple of splashes of compost tea or worm farm liquid and a dash of washing up liquid. Mix thoroughly and spray weekly.
Green garden » perennials
Planting Shrubs and Perennials
The procedure for planting shrubs and perennials is the same whether planted singly or in a row. Old wisdom for planting trees and shrubs advised to dig a hole twice the size and add compost to backfill the hole. Recent research now believes you are better off planting directly into the original soil. This prevents the soil settling and sinking the plant deeper into the ground than it should be. Also research has found that if the soil is improved with rich compost, the plants roots are loath to venture out into less hospitable environments. This can cause the plant to become root bound in their own hole.
It is better to place slow release fertilizer or compost on top of the compacted soil once the plant has been planted.
Container and burlapped stock
Dig a hole large enough to contain the root ball. Once the hole is the right size fill it with water and allow it to soak in. This ensures that the roots have a nice moist environment in which to grow. While the water is being absorbed, do the same to the plant in its pot.
Remove the plant from the pot or burlap. If the roots wrap around the perimeter of the root ball or are a tight mass of kinks, unwrap them or cut away the outer tangle. This will stimulate the growth of new feeder roots.
A root bound plant
Place the plant in the middle of the hole, making sure the top of the soil ball is slightly above ground level (around 5 cm). Backfill the hole with the original soil, pressing down firmly to remove air pockets and anchoring the plant. Water again thoroughly. Apply slow release fertiliser or compost and then at least a 5cm layer of mulch to retain moisture.
The technique is nearly the same as that of container plants. Get the plants in the ground as soon as possible to prevent them drying out. If you can't plant them right away find a shady, wind protected spot in your garden and bury the roots temporarily, tilting the trunk or stem at an angle to discourage root growth. This is called ‘heeling in’ and gives you a little longer to get plants in the ground.
When you are ready to plant, stick the roots in a bucket of water while you dig the holes. Make each hole big enough to contain the roots without bending them. Fill the hole with water and allow to soak away. Then mound the soil up in the bottom of the hole and spread the roots over the mound. Back fill the hole, firming the soil around the plant. Make sure the crown, or where the stem starts growing from the roots, is at least 5 cm above the soil level.
Bare-root plants and shrubs are dormant when they are couriered or bought from the nursery. Once you have planted them in a permanent site, water again only when the soil becomes dry. As soon as you see new growth sprouting, water more frequently.
Care and Maintenance
No garden is maintenance free but with careful preparation of the garden soil, the use of healthy, strong plants and using mulch to suppress weeds and maintain good moisture levels it is possible to have a low maintenance garden. During the first few years, when the garden is becoming established it is a good idea to install automatic irrigation and apply yearly slow release fertilizer. This gives the garden every advantage in becoming quickly and well established.
In exchange for year round pleasure your garden will require the following care.
Spring:- Cut back, remove, and compost the dried perennials and grass seed heads in early spring. Cut grasses down to about 10cm above the soil line. Apply fertilizer or compost around plant bases. Add mulch where necessary. Check for early growing weeds, such as Chickweed.
Summer:- Water and weed when necessary.
Autumn:- Prune shrubs as necessary. Weed where necessary. You may choose to keep the dried seed heads on your perennials. They make the garden beautiful over winter and give cover and food for birds and other wildlife.
Winter:- The maintenance year is over. Enjoy the beautiful ‘dried bouquet’ of your winter garden (and a well deserved cup of tea and a lie down!)