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Enjoy trying something new

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Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Friday, 7th August 2020, 10:50

If one good thing has come out of this enforced time at home, it is realising the importance of outdoor space and the benefit of growing things, getting down in the earth, weeding and sowing that has given so many people joy.

Take cuttings from perennial herbs

If you want to continue having a go at new things, why not try your hand at taking cuttings from perennial herbs like Lavender, Rosemary and sage? Take the cuttings early in the day and choose non-flowering side-shoots that are soft at the tip and woody at the base, about 10cms long.

Gently pull away from the main stem, leaving a little bit of the bark still attached (these are called ‘heel’ cuttings). Take off the lower 5cm of leaves from the stem, dip the end into hormone rooting powder (garden centres have this) and then insert several of these cuttings into a small pot of gritty compost.

Firm them in and water well, then cover the whole pot with a plastic bag (ensuring it does not touch any of the leaves), label and place somewhere warm but out of direct sunlight. The cuttings should have rooted by late August.

Get rid of Rosemary beetles

If you notice little metallic beetles on your rosemary you should pick them off and destroy them. You could put some newspaper underneath the plant and shake the branches to make them drop off. The Rosemary beetle can do lots of damage to the plant if they are in large numbers so keep removing them.

To increase your strawberry plants, peg down the runners that they produce using a bit of bent wire, or a stone to hold them in place. When they have rooted you can sever the stem attaching to the parent plant and replant. Remove unwanted runners to maintain the vigour of the parent plant.

Give Wisteria a summer pruning by cutting back the long, green, whippy shoots, leaving four or five leaves on each stem.

Now is also a good time to prune early summer flowering shrubs like Philadelphus, Deutzia, Wiegela and Rubus, as they have finished flowering. Pruning will encourage new shoots to spring up from the base, and if you cut out about one in three of the thickest old branches at the bottom, these new ones will take their place and ensure the flowering doesn’t decrease.

Give your shrubs a real boost

As with all shrubs when you have pruned, lightly fork in some pelleted chicken manure or balanced fertiliser like Gromore around the base, water well and mulch with some compost or well rotted manure to give the plant a real boost. Don’t touch the stems with the mulch or they could start to rot.

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