Issue 5

Compost Corner: 3  Summer           watercanPair

Hello! Here I am again - this now seems to be a regular spot, so Alan Titchmarsh watch this space!

We have done a lot in the garden in the last few months, Andy has made a hanging basket with all the usual summer plants in it, Lobelia, Fuchsia, Petunias, and of course the other trailing plants. The summer baskets vary from the winter ones in that the sides are well planted so trailing down. Dead heading is important as is feeding because there are a lot of plants in a small space. Feed with a weak solution of feed on a daily basis as this will do the plants more good than a heavy dose once a week; How would you like to eat once a week! If the basket has dried out due to lack of water, make sure it is thoroughly wetted prior to feeding. Plants should never be fed whilst under drought conditions. Cut back Lobelia hard when it looks straggly and it will bounce back. A good basket should last to the first frost.

We have also tried to do some budding in the hope that one of the roses in the garden, Sweet Julia, can come over to the new block. Budding involves taking a bud (scion) from the rose you want and placing it in a "T" shaped cut in a stock plant, (basically a wild rose). All roses are grown on wild rootstock, which is why you should take care when working around them so as not to encourage suckers (small shoots); this is the wild rose (root stock) trying to take over. It takes time to graft and we will not know for a few months if we have been successful.

We have also been able to see the bees at work and it is interesting to watch them follow the signs that nature has provided. Foxgloves and Irises are good plants to watch as they both have what is called guidelines to help the bees find the nectar (sugar). Guidelines are tiny tracks in the form of dots or lines made up of varying colours and to us just look like decoration. As the bee moves along the guidelines getting lower in the plant it rubs on the pollen which it then takes to other plants thus pollinating them.

The Coleus from which we took "soft tip" cuttings is doing well as are the cuttings.

We should praise the garden group, as the conditions were not ideal for these soft tip cuttings. The stock plant that I brought from college is doing well so we will be able to try a few more. Soft tip cuttings, are usually done in a mist unit, are taken from the very tip of the plant. Great care has to be taken to ensure that the plant loses as little water as possible or it will not root. We will know more about that when we move over to the new block as the glasshouses over there will hopefully have heating and misting facilities. For further education on that matter watch this space.

By: Green Fingers