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messageGardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by Gardenman March 24, 02:33PM

Hello. Well, I was busy & now Iím not. So this gives me a chance to write up my gardening tips & bore or entertain you, whichever way you want to take it. Iíve put a few philosophical views at the end, but you might be fast asleep by then)))
As many of us are now forced to stay at home, I thought, being a gardener it would be nice to tell you of the delights of being out in your garden, especially if you have children & doing a few things to engage you in nature on your doorstep. It is amazing the sense of wellbeing & peace & calm that can be found in our gardens, but we lose this when we are engaged in our work. There are many positives to be found from this virus to change our way of thinking!
You may have noticed it has been a very wet & mild winter & everything is very green & bursting into flower. Have you noticed the Viburnums & Cherry blossoms. Amazing!!!

Ok. Back to the subject. Are you sitting comfortably?

Then Iíll begin

1. Lawns
Time to start cutting. Your first cut should be to just take the top off the grass to make it level. Donít scalp it . Then give it a child & pet friendly weed feed & moss killer .
On the basis you have a lot of time on your hands right now, the more you mow your lawn, the stronger it will become. Sadly, this doesnít seem to work for my hair!! The best way to strengthen your grass is to cut it in a straight line at a higher level, then lower the height one notch & do the second cut on the bias of the lawn. This strengthens the roots & gives you a beautiful finish to your lawn. Boring, I know, but stay with me))
If your lawn is beyond repair or you want a new one, this is the season to lay a new one, itís the growing season & you wonít have to stay off it for too long. Lots of preparation for this though

2. Pruning

Please check your hedges & shrubs for birds nests at this time of year & leave alone if you find a nest. Itís their garden too)) While on the subject, give them a good quality feed of seeds away from the cats & squirrels. They can get their own food . One of my customers has just installed a bird feeder that sticks to the window so you can see the birds up close
Itís a bit late for pruning most plants, but you can cut out any dead or diseased stems or branches. Then give all hedges plants & shrubs a good feed. A reputable fertiliser or my preference is good old horse manure. Fork this in lightly among the roots.

3. Weeds
If you can get on top of your weeds at this time of year, you will be doing yourself a favour as most of them wonít come back. Pernicious weeds, the ones that grow back from little bits need digging out thoroughly picking the smallest bits & disposing of in plastic bags or fires. Do not use weed killers. We have done enough damage to our planet

4. In this sunny weather we need to protect our fruit tree blossoms & soft fruits. Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, & Strawberry. Just use a fleece of some kind, bubble wrap , plastic bags or horticultural fleece if you have it . Or you can use straw on low growing plants.

5. Still awake???
Tie in Rambling Roses ( they flower all summer) & climbing Roses ( they flower from June ) Prune them down to the ground taking out the old woody branches leaving around 6 young stems & tie them into their structures, trellises & wiring them into walls using wire starting 18Ē from the ground.
Give them a good feed of manure or fertiliser & continue to deadhead throughout the flowering season .
If your Roses have black spot , remove all infected leaves & pick up from the ground, these have spores that go into the ground & continue to infect your plant. Dispose of these in plastic bags or fires, not in your compost.

Sowing seeds.
Now we are confined to our homes, I think many of our supermarkets have a selection of seeds for you to choose from. I may be able to source some if needed.
This is most definitely something to engage with your children. Choose your favourites with them, Sunflowers, , Cornflowers, , Foxgloves, Nasturtiums & mix in a few new ones.
Also a good time to start sowing vegetables, Peas if you have the room, Carrots, Runner beans, Broccoli , Celery, Garlic, Leeks , Green onions , Parsnips , Radishes & more of you have the space & imagination. If you donít have too much space then sow them in seed trays , pots & anything you can lay your hands on. Keep them warm indoors until ready to sow out. If seeding out doors, prepare the soil to a fine grained soil well turned over. Keep them under cloches or fleece to protect them from frost . Ask your children to check on them each day for watering, weeding & pricking out
You will reap the benefits not only in fresh fruit & veg , but the enjoyment & education for your children. The effect is to ground us all at this time & realise we are connected to nature , not seperated.

Thatís it for the gardening this month. Well done for staying with me)))

As for me & I suspect most gardeners, work has dried up.
I truly believe this time has many lessons in it & one of them is to first of all care for our Selves & then, when we know how to do that, look after our families & our neighbours , our community. Maybe itís time to question or at least look at the lives we live. I believe we are at our happiest being with our families, doing the things we love, helping others with our skills & talents. I learned offices are not the place to be at one with each other, with nature. We suffer disconnection from who we truly are. We have children we donít get home to tuck into bed & read stories to. We had dreams we are a long way from living. This is a time for reflection. Some , many may be happy with what they are doing, but many I have found are not so happy are not fulfilled & are reaching for a meaning to their lives. I have found balance in my gardening & running retreats out in Kefalonia helping people find this balance . This will be available a little later this year. Keep your eyes out for my retreat dates & find a little time for your Selves out in the peace & beauty of nature on this beautiful island.
Remember, what was important yesterday , may well have changed today!

For now, I am happy to offer my services for free to any older residents or neighbours of yours that could do with a tidy up just so they can sit out in this glorious sunshine in their own gardens. Please let me know if you know of anyone who would benefit from this .
Happy gardening & realise your fears & anxieties are not helping you at this time . Get out in your gardens & find a bit of peace .

Exterior Design Gardens

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by womanofdulwich March 24, 07:31PM

Any one know where you can still buy potting compost?

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by alice March 24, 10:10PM

Stopped reading at Ďpositives...virusí

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by PlantPower March 25, 11:04AM

It's good you can share your advice and wisdom, thank you. With respect, can you kindly be more succinct? It would be far easier to read less. Just edit what you want to say by about half, I reckon! This is said with positivity as constructive feedback. Stay well. And PS we don't all have the luxury of outside space. :-)

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by Peckhamgatecrasher March 25, 03:57PM

Well I appreciated your tips. Thank you.

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by womanofdulwich March 25, 04:25PM

Me too, its not like Im in a rush to do anything..

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by Gardenman March 25, 05:33PM

To let those who do have a garden know. I am visiting my nursery tomorrow to collect some plants for a customer. If anyone would like me to collect any plants, just let me know what you want or if you would like me to make a selection for you within a specific budget.

Just call or text & I will arrange a social distance delivery

Exterior Design Gardens

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by dancet March 26, 03:16PM

Thanks for the tips! Inspired me to get out there when I finish working from home!

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by Sue March 26, 09:23PM

Thank you for this, Nigel smiling smiley

Can I just ask, re your customer with the window bird feeder - I have bird feeders which attach to windows by suction cups, but I have been scared to use them in case the birds fly into the glass (I know garden mirrors can be dangerous, for the same reason).

I don't actually know why I bought them, as I have never used them and they have been in the loft for possibly decades big grin

What are you thoughts on this? Is it likely to happen? I would love to see the birds up close through my kitchen window smiling smiley

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by Gardenman March 27, 11:57AM

Hi Sue. Having watched the bird feeders at work, the birds are focused on the food & I didnít see any of them hit the glass. Vary the food with fat balls, seeds & nuts. They will enjoy it as much as you will watching them.
Have you noticed the birdsong now there is much less traffic? As I mentioned the cherry blossoms are absolutely stunning stunning this year . So , while we were all moaning about the weather in winter, myself included, we can get to see the benefits of all that rain. Itís just like that in life. Wait until we see the full conclusion of things we perceive to be bad.
Wasnít the clapping & cheering wonderful last night))) Well fine everybody & Thankyou the NHS FOR ALL YOU DO IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS
And thank you to those who enjoy these tips

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by bodsier March 31, 08:56AM

Thank you for the tops.... I read it all for the first time.... Because the garden is my saviour in all of this...was going to prune my jasmine after the first flower...is that not ok......and my grape vine... Sorry but I don't step out to garden till now..

messageRe: Gardening tips during a time of virus & other stuff
Posted by Gardenman March 31, 01:17PM

Hi Bodsier
Thanks for reading my meanderings )))
If you are referring to the lighter deciduous Jasmine, it can still cut back that quite hard, especially to take the weight off the fence itís likely to be covering. If itís the evergreen Jasminoides trachelospermum, then cut back lightly & direct loose branches & feed both afterwards .
Itís a little late for your grape vine. But cut a sample & if no sap comes out, continue pruning hard, taking out the trailing stems back to about 5 or 6 buds . Iíve just pruned one yesterday & it was fine.
Happy gardening & I agree, our gardens are a sanctuary & I hope more people find this out for themselves

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