Saturday, 25 April 2015

Feed every two weeks ... Camellia

'Feed them every two weeks between now and September, with liquid fertilizer especially for Rhododendrons, Camellia, etc.' was the advice mum gave me about her beautiful pot grown Camellias, 'and every three years I take them out of their pots and tease out some of the old compost and replace it with some fresh compost', was the second piece of advice. 

The particular variety were we're looking at was one called 'Debbie'. It was in a lovely blue glazed pot and had vivid pink flowers the size of the palm of my hand. The reason it's grown in a pot is because  the soil around the area is quite alkaline and That just wouldn't do for a Camellias, which enjoys a lime-free soil with a lower pH. 

I have had Camellia's over the years, and my favourite was a 5ft 'Donation', which I left behind when we moved house. I had every intention of growing another, however, it's only recently I acquired a new one. I've to pot it on and get it growing for the next couple of years before I'll begin to look for those beautiful glowing flowers it produces in February and March. 
In the mean time, the couple of other Camellias I have will need a touch of repotting and feeding (of course, the compost used is lime-free and appropriate for Camellia, Rhododendrons, etc.) to get them up to scratch!

Happy gardening. 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Change the compost? ... Why?

It's not the most glamorous subject, however, compost is one of the most important when we are considering our pots and containers for the coming summer months. 
This was more than reinforced when I was out with a work colleague the other day, having a coffee at a local garden centre. I was advising regarding some of the plants to buy for containers for the coming summer months, and we had some discussion on what would provide colour over this time. As the plants were being purchased, I suggested to buy some compost as the existing compost would need to be changed. 

The response was why, what was wrong with the compost that was already there. (Well, I have to say, as I've gotten older I am definitely more interested in people being educated at their pace, rather than dictating.) My response to the 'why?' question, was to ask when was the compost last changed. The person wasn't sure, perhaps in the past year or two. 
Hmmmm ....

I suggested there might be a lack of food after that time to which the person responded they will liquid feed the containers. Okay, so this person really doesn't want to change the compost ... 

I simply stated putting new container plants into old compost wasn't a good idea and if it were me, I would completely empty the old compost and bedding plants out and start afresh with quality compost, otherwise you're better to leave to containers empty, as you're setting yourself up for disappointment. 

(Of course, I didn't want to bore the person to death with my own recipes for home-made compost, with food for the season, etc. ... Lol)

It did drive home though the need to continually educate people on how to get the best from their garden. Similar to my 'I'd just love to be able to do that' post and my 'It's the soil' post, sometimes this doesn't take huge additional effort, just a little know how to get the best from the resources we use.

In fact, I'd go so far to say, that the investment in good soil and compost should exceed the importance of buying the biggest size in plants, as without the former, you're leaving the latter to chance. Better to spend your money on good compost and smaller size in plants, as these will catch up in no time.

Finally, I recommended that when the containers and baskets are revamped, the person should sit them on a nice sunny patio for four or five weeks in order to allow the plants to establish (of course take them in overnight if there is going to be a cold night or frost). 

Well, the reaction to this comment was funny - 'What? Why? I want to look at them...' 

Fair enough, all one can do is advise ... Lol (here's an earlier blog I wrote on a hanging basket demonstration I did - some good advice in it) ...

Happy gardening weekend to all

Breaking Bad? No, it's breaking bud ...

Breaking Bad Bud

It really is a wonder, at this time of year, as we see plants move out of dormancy and back to life. 

This stage of the year  only lasts for a short period of time, where bare branches are clothed by a blanket of fresh green and floral colour, transforming our landscapes.

On a local level in the garden, I have an interesting blend of plants that are providing real interest as they begin to grow. 

And this year, with the weather so good, I've had the opportunity to appreciate them.

Happy gardening.