Action Plan: Nigel Colborn’s important tasks for your garden this week
DON’T PANIC – THIS IS ABOUT THE HEAT
Heat and drought are harmful, but the damage is often temporary. For example, if your lawn looks dead, don’t worry – the first heavy rain will soon turn the grass green.
Meanwhile, avoid wear and tear on hard-wearing lawns and give your mower a rest until the grass recovers.
However, new lawns are far less drought resistant. Newly sown or greened areas urgently need water.
A long soak is better than frequent light spraying. To reduce evaporation, water in the morning or evening – not in the heat of the day.
Nigel Colborn explains how to bring your garden back to life after a drought. A UK-based gardening expert says having stored rainwater or having access to ‘grey’ water from bathrooms or kitchen drains will save you money
Revive burnt edges by picking dead-headed and drought-stressed plants. Cut off dead or dying stems and remove or cut back any plants that are overgrown or dead.
Plants in containers could also be subject to heat stress, so pluck these and trim off any dead leaves or stems.
Water pots and troughs thoroughly and go over them twice. Make sure the water reaches and thoroughly soaks the dehydrated potting soil.
Garden ponds also suffer from extreme heat. Fill them up, preferably with rainwater. Remove excess weeds, but be careful not to damage the floating leaves of water lilies and other aquatic plants.
These provide shade to cool the water. Cold water carries more oxygen and supports more animal life.
Tap water is expensive. If you’ve stored rainwater or have access to “grey” water from bathtubs or kitchen drains, you’ll save money. And consider increasing the number of rain barrels you have for future dry spells.
Oh, and try not to complain. Nice, long evenings are with us for the time being, but darkness comes a little earlier every day
TAKE YOUR THYME
Nigel Colborn explains that you can grow new thyme plants from the cuttings or tufts pulled from the living carpet
The creeping wild thyme – Thymus serpyllum – has been blooming for weeks. You can now grow new plants from cuttings or tufts pulled from the living carpet. They can look pretty on flagstone borders, along a gravel path, or anywhere in full sun.
LOOK UP YOUR FUCHSIAS
Outdoor fuchsias in pots and containers benefit from thorough watering and a liquid fertilizer
The spring rains gave outdoor fuchsias a great start. Hardy varieties in particular grew quickly and flowered profusely. But recent strong winds and temperatures have thrown them back. Outdoor fuchsias in pots and containers benefit from thorough watering and a liquid fertilizer. I have been feeding high potassium tomato food to younger plants in hopes of increasing bud production. Established fuchsias that grow outdoors permanently, such as fuchsia hedges, are unlikely to benefit from feeding.
PLANT OF THE WEEK: LANTANA CAMARA
Although lantana is a noxious weed in the tropics, it is a popular non-hardy shrub. It belongs to the Verbena family and grows as a straggly shrub that responds well to regular pruning
Although lantana is a noxious weed in the tropics, it is a popular non-hardy shrub. It belongs to the Verbena family and grows as a straggly shrub that responds well to regular pruning.
Clusters of tiny buds open as yellow flowers, turning orange-red. Varieties include pink and cream colored Feston Rose and Snow White.
Lantanas have a pungent odor. Some describe it as citrus, but there are undertones of machine oil. As a young boy living in Kenya, I saw lantanas everywhere. So whenever I discover this unique pong, I’m suddenly back with my buddies in Bundu.
I love gladioli (or irises) but can’t get them to bloom again next year. Why? Are there really perennial varieties?
Mrs. B. Pike, Devon.
Some gladioli will give a nice show every year. The best grow gradually and can be raised, divided and planted elsewhere.
Late flowering cream or pink G.papilio is a reliable perennial. Tall, purple-maroon G. Thunder is a late summer garden variety. G.Ruby is dark red and G.David Hills is light red with pale yellow. Or earlier flowering G.The Bride has shapely white flowers.