Les’s Patch: Winds play havoc with our plants

Silver Medal winner Les Foden of Morecambe, with some of his blooms at the Kirkham and District Horticultural Society Summer Flower Show on Saturday.
Silver Medal winner Les Foden of Morecambe, with some of his blooms at the Kirkham and District Horticultural Society Summer Flower Show on Saturday.

Just when we thought things were going nicely in the garden, with the bedding plants getting off to a good start and the hanging baskets also doing well, the weather suddenly throws horrible winds at us which really plays havoc with plants, in some cases stripping the plants of their flowers.

If the wind has made a mess of any hanging baskets take them down until the wind settles standing each one on an upturned bucket in a sheltered spot.

Don’t be tempted to water plants unless they seem to be coming to harm which usually shows when they start to wilt.

If the plants are okay and don’t need water they will be making roots deeper in the soil which will see them through any future droughts.

Also, when the winds blow, gardeners soon find out if supports used on herbaceous plants are adequate.

Garden pinks and carnations are short lived perennials and you will need frequent new plants to keep them looking their best.

There are two ways to renew plants.

The first is to layer shoots, that is select some healthy shoots and pin them down in the soil to allow them to make roots.

The other way is to take cuttings. Again choose healthy shoots, cut below a leaf node (the swelling where a leaf join the stem), trim off the lower leaves and plant in moist, gritty compost.

If using rooting power dab the end of the cuttings with your finger. Too much rooting powder is actually detrimental to rooting.

Potted up plants can be over-wintered in a cold frame or planted outdoors in autumn.

To keep pinks in good condition deadhead as the flowers fade by cutting off the whole flowering stems which will promote new buds.

Gardeners on the vegetable plot should be on the look out for attack from caterpillars and should inspect leaves for yellowish egg clusters and crush them. If you see any caterpillars pick them off by hand.

Four tablespoons of salt used in a full watering can and poured over cabbages, etc, should see them off.

When sowing vegetable seeds the sooner they germinate the better. There are two ways to speed up germination. One is to thoroughly soak the drill before sowing and the other is to soak the seeds in water, again before sowing. Germination is much quicker and crops should be better.

Raspberries need a dusting of Derris now against possible attack of raspberry beetle and raspberry moth.

The beetle is responsible for maggots and the moths damage the canes.