Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Weather gives the garden a real battering


THIS year the showers have given April a miss and gone straight onto May. With all this wet and windy weather herbaceous shrubs have been taking a battering, not to mention bedding plants shot through with hail!

It's easy to stake herbaceous plants. Aquilegia. Dicentra and Verbascum are examples of soft stemmed shrubs that would benefit from support. You can use bamboo canes, pea sticks, or prunings if you need to save money! Cross the twine between stake and stem in a figure of eight shape loop to prevent the stem rubbing against the stake. For larger herbaceous shrubs, use three or four canes around it, sloping them outwards for growth, simply tying string around the canes in a couple of rows for support. Incidentally, check the staking on trees too. The rubber ties should not be so tight they rub the bark off. Use some soft material to cushion the tree tie. Do not be tempted to cut back Daffodil or Tulip leaves yet. Wait until they got yellow. Now they could do with a bit of a foliar feed, just before disappearing until next year. This way you'll get more and better flowers next year.

Dividing Herbaceous stock, conventionally done in the Autumn, can be done in Spring with Heucheras; eg, 'Palace Purple' After three years a Heuchera should be divided up after flowering to maintain vigour. Discard the older woody middle and replant the healthy side, growth of your clump.

Deutzias are one of those useful summer flowering shrubs that fill in a gap between Cytisius and the Hydrangea flowering time. The variety 'pom pom' is particularly outstanding. Also excellent now is Solomons Seal (Polygonatum) and Rogersia Pinnata, just coming into interest in early June.

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