Updated Monthly with a Good Tip or Hint from Ruth
Its now a GOOD Time to plant your Summer Bulbs - like Glady
Hanging Baskets - When to get them up?.
Tools and materials
Hanging basket and liner, compost, water-retentive granules, selection of plants eg trailers, climbers and upright bedding plants, slow-release fertiliser
Prepare the compost and liner
Never use garden soil which is too heavy, badly drained and lacking in nutrients. Always use
new compost - many plants are packed into a small area and they need the best conditions available. Pick a compost without soil, although you can add a small amount of loam-based compost improve fertility. Add water-retentive granules to the compost. These swell up into a glutinous mass, acting as a water reservoir, and claim to reduce the need to water so often. Incorporate slow-release fertilizer to reduce the need for extra feeding later. An open wire basket needs a liner to prevent compost falling through. Traditionally, sphagnum moss was used, though many substitutes are available and work just as well, such as ones made of coconut fibre, or you could even use an old woollen jumper! For a cheap liner, try a black plastic bin liner inside a thin layer of fresh grass cuttings. These start off green but soon turn to a straw colour and look fine even if they are not covered by trailing plants. Add some drainage holes a few inches above the bottom of the base to create a small water reservoir. Insert trailing plants
Stand the basket on a large plant pot for easy access. Fill to about 1/3 with compost. Make
holes 50mm (2in) apart
at this level and pass the roots of trailing plants through so they lie on top of the compost with the plants hanging outwards. Add more compost and trailers, staggered between those below until you are a few inches from the top. Cascading plants can be added around the top, every 50mm - 75mm (2in - 3in). Gently flatten and spread the rootball so more plants can be added. Firm compost around the plants. Plant the top
Add upright plants, placing carefully in the gaps in the centre and add a few climbers to grow up the chains. Leave a gap at the top for watering, or push a plastic funnel in the centre to use as a watering point. This will soon be covered by plant growth.
Hanging baskets that become thin, straggly and lacking in flowers in late summer can be helped by improving plant growth to generate new flower buds.
Regular deadheading is important and if it has been neglected the developing seedheads will have seriously inhibited growth of new flower buds. It is too late to merely remove the seedheads; instead trim back plants to remove all seedy growth. Where shearing would be excessive consider removing all open flowers and also buds. The relief from reproduction will allow the plant to generate more leaves and shoots.
Then feed to induce growth and keep it healthy.
Balanced liquid fertilisers, Miracle-Gro for example, used weekly, induce growth. When growth is satisfactory use potassium rich materials, such as tomato fertiliser to promote flowering.
Pests and diseases
Well fed, vigorous growth resists pests, red spider mites for example, or diseases such as powdery mildew, but some protection with approved pesticides may be necessary. Removing old, discoloured foliage also helps reduce troubles and improves growth.
Drying out is an increasing risk as foliage lengthens and days remain warm. Dunking dry hanging baskets in a bucket of water ensures they are fully wetted. Moving hanging baskets to a shadier spot can help where watering cannot keep pace.
Use cut-down plastic drinks bottles as funnels to direct water into the basket. These can be hidden in the foliage at the top of the basket.
Finally, look at causes of hanging baskets failing, and note preventative action for next year such as using larger baskets, adding controlled-release fertiliser and water-retention granules and going for plants that need less water and deadheading.
Pronounced zanter-DESK-ya or zanter-DEE-sha, but commonly known as calla or arum lilies which are much easier to say! Although called a calla lily, they are not related to the true lily or the lily family. Instead, they're members of the Araceae family, which includes anthuriums, caladiums and some philodendrons. They're natives of South Africa, where they grow so abundantly that they're viewed as common roadside plants and are called "pig lilies." Their genus, Zantedeschia, is named was Italian botanist Francesco Zantedeschia in the 19th century The genus includes six species that have been hybridised to create numerous cultivars.
Flower Availability and Vase Life
All year round.
Care and Handling
Best kept at room temperature. Callas take in a large amount of water so refill water levels regularly.
Florist Design Uses
The sleek lines of callas are ideal for the simple line in modern designs. And is very well suited for weddings, corsages, and boutonnieres.
Colours: White, pink, yellow and purple are most common. Shades of red, mauve-pink, ivory and golden-yellow are also available in mini calla varieties.
Meaning:- Pride, splendid beauty, timidity
Pronounced AMMA-rillis, Amaryllis is sometimes called Hippeastrum, which means, "Knight star". Known botanically as hippeastrum, from the Greek hippos, which means, "Horse," amaryllis blooms are huge, trumpet-shaped flowers clustered atop of a long, leafless stems often more than half a metre tall, are topped by four or five of these outsize blooms, making an impressive display. Members of the Amaryllidaceae family, amaryllises are at home in the tropics, and are native to South America and Africa. The flowers are traditionally sold during the winter months both as cut flowers and packaged in potted bulb kits. Amaryllis was a popular woman's name in ancient Greece.
Flower Availability and Vase Life
All year round, with peak supplies from October to May.
Care and Handling
If storing in a cool place, keep temperatures between 41-50 F. Temperatures below that may result in discoloration of petals and buds. Handle amaryllis carefully as blooms bruise easily and stems damage easily.
Florist Design Uses
Amaryllis is striking when used alone or as part of a design. Allow room in an arrangement for the flowers to open fully. Heavy amaryllis blooms may need the extra security and support of a stake or bamboo rod inserted into the hollow stem. The stem tends to curl outward at the bottom when standing in water, which does not affect the life of the flower, but can disturb a design. To remedy this wrap a piece of clear tape or a rubber band around the end of each stem.
Colours: Reds, pinks, oranges, salmons, white, and bi-colours.
Remove faded flowers to encourage others to open. Snipping off the top two or three green buds straightens the stem and helps flowers open below. Gladioli like a lot of water, and will suffer seriously if not given enough water.
Facts: Used extensively throughout Mediterranean countries in festivals and saints' days.
Dame Edna Everage hurls "gladdies" into the audience at the end of every performance.
Roses - How to look after them
If your roses start to droop but there is still water in the vase - Try re-cutting the ends and put them in a couple of inches of boiling hot water for at least 10mins and put them back into the vase with deep cold water. It will take time, but they should come back.
Possible Reason - Blocked stem - maybe a air lock.
Lilly Stains - How to Remove Them
DO NOT - rub with hand to remove. This will only make things worse and
DO NOT make it wet
Lightly dust with a dry cloth or use sellotape.