Plan van aksie: Nigel Colborn's essential jobs for your garden this week

Plan van aksie: Nigel Colborn se noodsaaklike werksgeleenthede vir u tuin hierdie week

  • Nigel Colborn advises on lawn’s that need a lift after a year of changing weather
  • Advises any maincrop potatoes in the ground should be lifted and taken in
  • Answers reader’s questions about n unlabelled packet of ‘anemone bulbs
  • LAWNS NEED A LIFT

    After a year of such changeable weather, lawns may require a little help. Rake out any dead grass or thatch, especially if the lawn is drought-damaged.

    On fine lawns there may be bare patches, particularly where rainfall has been low.

    This is a good time to scratch those areas with a rake to create a shallow tilth. You can then scatter grass seed on the raked soil and if necessary, water it in.

    The seed will have time to germinate and re-green the bare zones well before winter sets in. After sowing, spread a fine-mesh or some horticultural fleece over the sown areas. This will keep birds away while the grass seed germinates.

    Autumn feeds should not be needed for lawns. Growth rates are slowing and too much of a feed now would wash through to the subsoil. Most grasses, even if drought-stressed, will recover rapidly when moisture is restored.

    After a year of such changeable weather, lawns may require a little help. Rake out any dead grass or thatch, especially if the lawn is drought-damaged.

    After a year of such changeable weather, lawns may require a little help. Rake out any dead grass or thatch, especially if the lawn is drought-damaged.

    Light scatterings of fallen leaves will not cause harm, even if left for a week or two. They can look attractive, when newly fallen, especially if they coloured well for autumn. When you do rake them up, compost them.

    If you want to plant bulbs into rough grass, cut that a little more closely than usual. You can scatter bulbs at random on short grass, planting each where it falls.

    Any maincrop potatoes still in the ground should be lifted and taken in for storage. When harvesting potatoes, choose a fine day, preferably with drying breezes. Leave the lifted tubers lying on the ground for several hours. That should dry the skins and make them tougher. Potatoes must be stored with dry skins and in darkness.

    Any maincrop potatoes still in the ground should be lifted and taken in for storage. When harvesting potatoes, choose a fine day, preferably with drying breezes. Leave the lifted tubers lying on the ground for several hours. That should dry the skins and make them tougher. Potatoes must be stored with dry skins and in darkness.

    HARVEST SPUDS

    Any maincrop potatoes still in the ground should be lifted and taken in for storage.

    When harvesting potatoes, choose a fine day, preferably with drying breezes.

    Leave the lifted tubers lying on the ground for several hours. That should dry the skins and make them tougher. Potatoes must be stored with dry skins and in darkness.

    SMARTER HEDGES

    Formal hedges clipped in July may need a second or final cut. This is due to late or Lammas growth that usually occurs during August. As you work along your hedge, check its height and width. If it has grown too wide or too high, a further harder cut may be necessary in winter. That will restore your hedge to more suitable dimensions.

    READER’S QUESTION

    I’ve been given an unlabelled packet of ‘anemone bulbs’. Unlike real bulbs, these are rock hard, dark and have neither shoots nor roots. How should I plant them?

    J. Forbes, via email.

    Your description suggests tubers of Anemone coronaria. Their natural flowering time is spring. The flowers come in shades of red, blou, purple or white. Before planting, soak the little tubers for a couple of hours in cold water.

    For planting, choose a sunny spot preferably with some shelter.

    The soil should be crumbly, moist but well-drained. If you grow them in a pot, use a loam-based compost and make sure the container drains freely.

    Formal hedges clipped in July may need a second or final cut. This is due to late or Lammas growth that usually occurs during August. As you work along your hedge, check its height and width. If it has grown too wide or too high, a further harder cut may be necessary in winter. That will restore your hedge to more suitable dimensions.

    Formal hedges clipped in July may need a second or final cut. This is due to late or Lammas growth that usually occurs during August. As you work along your hedge, check its height and width. If it has grown too wide or too high, a further harder cut may be necessary in winter. That will restore your hedge to more suitable dimensions.

    PLANT OF THE WEEK: PEROVSKIA ATRIPLICIFOLIA, ‘BLUE SPIRE

    Known as Russian Sage, though it originates from Afghanistan, this plant doesn’t know whether it’s a shrub or an herbaceous perennial. Wat ook al, it’s at its beautiful best in early autumn.

    Through the growing season pale, silver-grey stems develop from ground level to more than a metre. The slender, deeply lobed leaves also have silvery undersides. Flowers of the variety Blue Spire are deep blue, contrasting wonderfully with the silver-grey, peachy-textured stems. This is a plant for fast-draining soil that is not too fertile and it must be grown in full sun.

    PLANT OF THE WEEK: PEROVSKIA ATRIPLICIFOLIA, ‘BLUE SPIRE' Known as Russian Sage, though it originates from Afghanistan, this plant doesn't know whether it's a shrub or an herbaceous perennial. Wat ook al, it's at its beautiful best in early autumn.

    PLANT OF THE WEEK: PEROVSKIA ATRIPLICIFOLIA, ‘BLUE SPIREKnown as Russian Sage, though it originates from Afghanistan, this plant doesn’t know whether it’s a shrub or an herbaceous perennial. Wat ook al, it’s at its beautiful best in early autumn.

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