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Top gardening tips

11 May 2020
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One of the benefits of staying at home during these unusual circumstances means we have more time to tend to our gardens and make them look better than ever!

Garden Centres are expected to reopen very soon, so we’ll be able to purchase some items that we couldn't obtain during lockdown, and we can finally get around to doing those important jobs around the garden! Our Garden Tour Manager, Frances MacDonald from The Bay Garden, has some fantastic tips to make our gardens look extra pristine! Don’t have a garden? Frances also has some useful tips for those who want to make their home a little more green!

Garden tips 

  • Stake your Delphiniums and taller plants that are not self-supporting with canes before growth starts to flop over.
  • Give plants and new hedges a boost with chicken pellets - a scattering around each plant.
  • Spring feed your lawn - easier with a liquid feed and preferably after a shower.
  • Give your permanent containers a top dress with a multi-purpose compost. Remove old compost from the top of the plant and mulch with a layer of fresh preferably soil based which will help to retain moisture.
  • Water your containers each week and give a liquid feed at least once a fortnight. Move regularly and sweep underneath and keep an eye out for vine weevil.
  • Protect your emerging Hostas with organic slug pellets or patrol at dusk or after a shower armed with a pair of scissors!
  • Tie in growing Clematis and Roses with green twine rather than plastic ties.
  • Pot up your summer bedding containers and keep in the greenhouse for a week to allow them to grow on, then harden off before putting outside.
  • Discard Tulips from pots that have finished flowering - they won't do so well the second year. 
  • It's not too late to sow seeds - they have been difficult to obtain so have a go with them now and, of course, it is the ideal time to sow Wallflowers for next year. 
  • Prune early flowering spring shrubs like Forsythia or Flowering Currant, don't trim the top but take out a number of older stems from the bottom. 
  • A perfect time with filling those spaces in the garden with new plants!
  • Enjoy your Wisteria in flower!
  • Although we cannot visit gardens, many have Facebook pages or virtual tours online - visit them to be inspired!

Best plants to keep in an apartment

Although some people are lucky to have gardens during this lockdown - for many an apartment without green space is home but that doesn't mean you can't have something green and growing in your surroundings. We lack good light in our house so my concentration is on the outside. Any plants that I grow indoors have to thrive on neglect! House plants can be bought not only from Garden Centres but look out for them in your local supermarket.  Here are some easier ones to start with: 

Aspidistra: This was a plant found in pubs when smoking was allowed; it is one of the hardiest of indoor plants. No flowers but wonderful foliage and practically indestructible. 

Peace Lily: Most indoor plants rely on foliage for their beauty but this one also produces white lily like flowers sporadically throughout the year. 

Spider Plant: With its lovely variegated leaves, this is one of the most popular of houseplants so called because the main plant produces long stems which hang down and produce miniature plants. Ideal for a mantelpiece or shelf. 

Christmas Cactus: This succulent plant gets its common name for the numerous flowers that it produces around Christmas time. Coming from a desert location, it prefers a dry, gravelly compost mix and will tolerate a lack of water. It enjoys spending summer outside in a sunny spot but this is not essential.

Mother-in-Law's Tongue: Erect, strap-like variegated leaves make this a striking plant; it's neat habit makes it a good choice for a small space. 

Parlor Palm: For a larger more exotic indoor plant, choose one of the palms, if you have a good space for its elegant foliage. 

Care of indoor plants:

  • Most indoor plants are killed by overwatering, allow a plant to dry out almost completely before watering, then give it a good soaking allowing it to drain in the sink overnight before placing it back in its position.
  • Keep at an even temperature. If plants are on a window sill, don't close the curtain in front of them at night. 
  • Repot in a good compost in the spring. Mulch with decorative pebbles and co-ordinate your containers. 
  • Sometimes it works best to group your plants together. 
  • All of those mentioned will tolerate lower light levels.  
  • Feed during the growing season at least every two weeks with indoor plant food.  And always feed when the plant is moist. 
  • Refrain from feeding and cut back on watering during the winter. 

If you have any gardening queries, contact Frances or Iain by emailing thebaygarden@gmail.com. Also, you can check out our Garden holidays for upcoming trips to world-famous gardens.

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