Flower Garden Management – July to December
Flower Garden Management
This is a summary of the main operations in flower garden management involving annual borders, bedding plants (Spring and Summer),, and throughout the year:
Bedding Plants – As the earlier flowering plants such as antirrhinums and nemesia go over, cut off the old flower stalks so that a second flush of bloom will be encouraged. At this stage, a mulch of lawn mowings, or if available a 1 in. layer of, will be of considerable benefit, especially if the weather is hot and dry.
Herbaceous Borders – As the flowers go over, remove the spent blooms, both to encourage further display and to keep the appearance of the border as fresh as possible. Use the old flower heads in the compost heap as they are gathered. Make sure that the taller subjects are tied securely.
Rock Garden – There are many rock plants which can be increased from , using the new shoots, which lend themselves to propagation this month. Amongst these are phlox, aubretia, armeria, and dianthus. Unflowered shoots make the best cuttings and should be taken 2 to 3 ins. long and have the lower leaves removed and the base trimmed neatly through a leaf joint with a sharp knife. Insert the cuttings firmly in small pots, about lin. apart, in a mixture of half sand and half peat or sieved compost.
Stand the pots in a cold, shaded frame, and water with care. When the cuttings are rooted, they can be potted singly into 2 1/2 inch pots in a mixture of 2 parts loam, 1 of sand and 1 of compost, and stood out in a sheltered corner until spring when they can be planted up where there is space for them.
Annual Border – Before the plants are pulled up and composted, some may have set seed. If this is well ripened, a small amount from selected subjects can be saved for use next year. If the seed is ripe in pods or other seed containers, on the plant, shake some on to a newspaper and, after storage for a week or two in a dry place, place it in envelopes and store in cool dry conditions.
Bedding Plants – As the main display finishes, and plans are being made for autumn planting, pull out the plants a bed at a time if possible, so that the material may be composted in small batches. The taller plants can be chopped up into pieces 6 ins. or so long for easier handling. Try to compost whilst the foliage and stems are still green. Pull up the plants, and use roots, stems and leaves for.
Plantingfor Spring Flowering – As the beds or borders of and bedding subjects go out of flower, pull out the plants and fork through the to prepare for spring bedding schemes. Suitable subjects are polyanthus, wallflowers and pansies, double daisies and sweet williams. A novel effect can be obtained by planting several of these subjects in a truly mixed bed. Planting distances, whether in a mixed or single subject scheme, can be 8 ins. Make sure that the soil is firm before planting.
If a 2 in. layer of compost can be spared, spread this on the forked up surface and work it into the top 3 ins. of soil with the tips of a fork. Work in 3 ozs. of wood ashes and 2ozs. of bone meal to each square yard, also, especially if only a small amount of compost is available.
Lawns – As making a new lawn from seed and turf is dealt with, a further method should be borne in mind. This is the planting of the roots of a type of agrostis (stolonifera), in the autumn or winter. The roots can be purchased in amounts sufficient for 100 sq. ft. This grass gives a dark green lawn that requires less cutting than grass, but which is more expensive than seed. Further details should be obtained from the suppliers as space precludes more than a mention here.
The Rock Garden – All spent flowers and stalks should be cut off, and used for. No plant debris or fallen leaves should be allowed to lie between the rosettes of rock plant foliage, or this may lead to damp conditions.
This is a good time to cut back any very strong-growing plants; small shears can be used for this purpose. Make sure that none of the weaker-growing plants are being smothered by their stronger-growing neighbours.
Transplant June, work can be put out in gaps in the border or used to help fill a new border. Plant in clumps of three if possible, the plants set at 9 to 12 ins. apart, depending on their ultimate height. Plant firmly, using a trowel, lifting the plants with as much soil around the roots as possible. Do not plant if the soil is very wet; if needs be, planting can be delayed until the spring.raised from seed – plants raised as described under
Herbaceous Borders – If the border is not unduly exposed the old spent stems and foliage should be cut down to the level of the crowns. First, though, pull out the canes and pea stick material, and store this away in a dry place, for further use, if still sound enough.
When all the cleaning up is completed, spread a 2in. layer of rotted compost on the soil between the plants, and lightly fork this in so that it is mixed with the top 3ins. of soil.
Many garden plants can be lifted and split into smaller crowns every second year, e.g. michaelmas daisies,maximum, and erigeron, thus preventing overcrowding with these rather prolific subjects.
It is an easy matter to increase most perennials by root division. It should be attended to annually, in order to prevent the flowers from becoming smaller and smaller. If the clump of root is large and firmly interlaced (pyrethrums and michaelmas daisies are familiar types), the simplest way is to place a couple of garden forks right through the root clump, back to back. Then pull the inter-growing roots apart by a steady leverage.
If it is unnecessary to use the bulk of root, pull out a few of the strongest shoots, with roots attached, from the outside of the clump and replant. The shoots at the centre of the clump are the old exhausted original plant, and should be thrown away. Small plants such as forget-me-nots and polyanthus, may be divided by means of a trowel, or by pulling apart with the fingers.
Lawns – One of the most useful tools foris a springbok rake. This can be used to rake out moss and , which treatment gives the remaining grass a much better chance to make fresh growth. Two or more rakings may be needed at this time of year. Remember that all such material raked up makes an ideal ingredient for the compost heap, and every scrap should be utilised.
The use of this tool promotes better surface aeration and, as a result, better root action.
Lawns, Laying Turf – If it is convenient to buy in sufficient turf for a small lawn this may be laid now or during the next few weeks. Turf laid in the autumn has the longest possible period in which to “knit”. The soil preparation should be as forbut, immediately before laying the turf, roll the area to get it quite level and firm.
Turf is usually cut into pieces 3 ft. by 1 ft., and should be laid so that the “joins” in each row, do not come opposite each other. Firm the turf in position by laying a plank down, flat, and standing on it. When all the turf is laid, scatter some fine soil and compost, equal parts of each, into the cracks, and roll the area to settle the turf into position. It is best to avoid using the new lawn for a few weeks if possible.
By comparison with seed sowing, turf is more expensive, but it has the advantage of giving a usable area more quickly. Buy only good quality, weed free, turf for best results.
Lawns – Aeration in a lawn is all important and this can be obtained by “spiking” with a fork. A special hollow-tined fork can be used for this purpose. There are also small rollers with spikes attached which can be pushed over the lawn to make numerous holes that serve to give better aeration.
On a small area, a fork may be used, and it is best to treat a strip at a time, driving the tines in to their full depth, at intervals of 4 to 6 ins. each way. Move the tines to and fro before pulling them out. Peat or ashes can be brushed into the holes, thus improving both drainage and the air supply to the soil; even better results will be obtained from a mixture of 3 parts soil, 1 of compost and 1 of sand. A soil which is enriched with compost and used for a lawn, provides a dense mat of turf and enables the grass to withstand drought conditions. Ample compost gives a “springy” type of lawn, of the best quality.
If you have an established, yet neglected lawn to deal with, the above dressing can be modified to equal parts of compost and sand to good effect.
There may be little to do in the flower garden this month with regard to garden management, except to dig any empty beds, sort out staking material, tidy paths, and make plans for next season. There should be opportunity to attend to composting arrangements, making up a new bin, or preparing a fresh site for future compost making. Little compost making material may be available at this time, except perhaps for fallen leaves and household material.
If any major alterations are planned, take advantage of frozen soil surface conditions to wheel soil or other material to fresh sites, this being more easily done under these conditions.
See flower garden management from January to June for further details.