Hack, chop, burn

This week I’ve had a really good clear up of the borders in the public areas of the gardens and I’m amazed how long it has taken me. Weeding, edging, cutting back things that have already flowered, removing rose suckers and the occasional sneaky bramble that had wormed its way under the radar has taken me the best part of three days, and there’s still some left, not to mention the private gardens. One of my tutors at Otley used to suggest taking the amount of time you think something will take, adding a bit and then doubling it. He’d have been about right on this one.

Christopher Lloyd states in one of his books (can’t remember which one…) that oriental poppies should be cut right back after flowering, and having recently come across the idea again I have decided to give it a try. The poppies are wonderful in flower, and the seedheads are lovely, but in between they become a large floppy mess which smother the other plants. I’ve left a clump for the seedheads, but all other oriental poppies in the garden have been hacked brutally back to an inch or two from the ground. We shall see how it works…

Another new technique for me is biological controls in the greenhouse. I have released some Encarsia to munch on the first few whitefly and some Phytoseiulius to devour the red spider mite. Last year the RSM badly effected the cucumbers and the whitefly made a sticky blackened mess of the last month or so of the tomato harvest, so hopefully they will be thwarted this year. And by ‘thwarted’ I mean ‘eaten alive’.

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